Weeknight Asian Style Instant Pot Short Ribs


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Photo by @thenonchalantcook

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I have a love/hate relationship with my pressure cooker. I would categorize it as “it’s complicated.” As a self-diagnosed food snob, when Instant Pot’s and other similar devices started taking over my feed I filed the terrifying looking contraptions away as something I would never use. Fast forward a few weeks and said terrifying pot all of a sudden became something I had to learn how to use for work—and quickly—because I had to do so on camera.

Recipe development is something I love and usually comes easily to me (I say usually because I made this dang cake 87 times, but trust me it was worth it), but working with an Instant Pot is a whole different ball game and a world of opposites. Something you are taught to cook low and slow (i.e short ribs) and with lots of braising liquid is all of a sudden ready in 40 minutes using just one cup of liquid. The moral of the story is you have to throw *most* of your hard and fast rules out the window when developing an electric pressure cooker friendly recipe.  

But alas, hindsight is 20/20 and 2019 is the year of the truth,  so if I’m being honest, this recipe took more than a few tries even though I should know better at this point! The first two passes at it were delicious, but they were not perfect. If someone is going to spend the money on short ribs, they need to be perfect, right? (Side note: when did short ribs start costing 1 million dollars?!)

My first mistake was using far too much braising liquid. It goes against everything I learned in culinary school, but when trying to achieve a result similar to a braise in an Instant Pot, you need to use far less liquid than you would in a traditional braise. The reason? All that liquid has nowhere to escape or evaporate in a sealed pressure cooker so you end up boiling your meat instead of braising it. And guess what? Boiled Beef = No Bueno.

BUT in each test, when I added my liquid to the pot it never looked like enough! How could 1 cup of liquid cook 3-4 pounds of beef? The answer. Magic (and some sort of chemistry I don’t quite understand).

The moral of the story? An electric pressure cooker is a mom’s (or any busy homecook) best friend. You can hard boil eggs, sterilize bottles, make a killer chicken stock and get dinner on the table in record time—but you have to learn how to be flexible. Sure, it may not be the traditional way to cook, but it sure does save some time!

Now on to the nitty gritty of these ribs.  They are packed full of flavor thanks to aromatics like lemongrass, ginger, garlic and scallions and spiced with a touch of sambal oelek. If you can’t find lemongrass feel free to substitute with 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon zest. If you prefer things less spicy, skip the sambal. When I make this for my son, I actually save the sambal and add it add the end (when I add the cornstarch slurry) so I can control which ribs get doused with the spicy sauce! The best part? A recipe usually reserved for a lazy Sunday can be made on a busy weeknight in about an hour, and most of that time is hands off!

Using Lemongrass for the first time? Head here for a video tutorial on how to properly clean and prep it for use in dishes like this! 


Recipe and Headnote Molly Adams

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  • Recipe Card

*I prefer using longer bone in Short Ribs, so if you are serving 4 people, 4 of these work well here!

Prep time 15mins
Cook time 1hr 15mins
Serves or Makes: 4

Recipe Card

For the Short Ribs


  • 3 1/2 pounds short ribs, bone- in (about 4 large)*
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil, plus more, if needed
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Black peppercorns, freshly ground, to taste
  • 6 scallions, whites chopped, greens thinly sliced
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, tender inner white bulb only, smashed and minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 inch piece ginger, minced
  • 1 tablespoon sambal oelek
  • 1/4 cup beef broth
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1/4 cup low sodium tamari
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon mirin
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • Steamed rice, for serving
  • Cucumber salad, for serving (recipe below)
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges
  • Red chile, sliced for garnish

To Make the Short Ribs


  • Step 1

    Season the short ribs generously with salt and pepper. Set the Instant Pot® to ‘sauté’ function and add canola oil. Once shimmering, add half of the short ribs and sear on each side until brown, about 3 minutes a side. Set the browned short ribs aside and repeat with the remaining ribs.

  • Step 2

    Once all of the ribs are browned discard all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the Instant Pot®. Add the scallion whites, lemongrass, garlic, ginger and sambal to the Instant Pot®. Cook for about 2 minutes, or until the vegetables start to caramelize. Add the beef broth, orange juice, tamari, honey and mirin and bring to a simmer.

  • Step 3

    Once the liquid reaches a simmer, return the ribs to the pot, making sure they are each partially submerged in liquid. (you may need to play a bit of tetris here and move the ribs around so they are able to fit in a mostly even layer)

  • Step 4

    Turn the ‘saute’ function off and secure the lid. Set the pressure release to ‘sealing’ and set to manual pressure for 40 minutes.

  • Step 5

    When the cooking time is done, let the pressure release naturally for 15 minutes, then manually release the remaining pressure. Remove the short ribs from the sauce, and set the liquid back on the ‘saute’ function.

  • Step 6

    Mix the cornstarch with 1 tablespoon of water, stirring until smooth. Once the liquid in the pot reaches a simmer, whisk in the cornstarch and cook for about 2 minutes, or until the sauce thickens.

  • Step 7

    Serve the short ribs over rice with the sauce, cucumber salad and lime wedges. Garnish with sliced green scallions and red chile

For the Cucumber Salad


  • 1 English cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Simply Organic Black Sesame Seeds
  • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped cilantro
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Black peppercorns, freshly ground, to taste
  • pinch red pepper flakes

To Make the Cucumber Salad

  • Step 1

    Add all ingredients to a medium bowl and stir to combine.