Why they’re so good!

These Mexican short ribs are a flavour sensation and seriously easy to make. They take 15 minutes to prepare then braise slowly in the oven to shreddable perfection and are then smothered in the rich and comforting sauce.

  • Flavour packed – rich and comforting, a little spicy and super beefy.
  • So easy to make.
  • Fall-apart, meltingly tender beef ribs.
  • Serve it over rice, in quesadillas or tacos or on nachos and so much more.

We are loving these Mexican beef short ribs right now. Just a few minutes to seal and caramelise the ribs, then add all the sauce ingredients, give it a mix then let the oven work it’s magic.

The tomato and chipotle (in adobo) sauce reduces down to something like a ragu – thick and rich. It makes it easy to remove any excess oil then in goes a hit of lime for an irresistible tang. We love this incredibly tender meat in tacos and over nachos especially but it’s great with my Spanish red rice too.

6 Mexican short ribs on a tray with rice.

Ingredients you’ll need

Ingredients for Mexican short ribs on a baking tray.

Jump to the recipe for full ingredients and instructions.

  • Beef short ribs: Short ribs can be cut a number of ways. For this recipe we’re looking for the type that are the thick bone with thick layer of meat and fat on top of it. I use short ribs that are about 15cm / 6 inches in length but you can also use riblets which are the same thing cut into smaller pieces, maybe half that length.
  • Beef stock: Beef stock or beef broth are what you need here for the rich, savoury flavour.
  • Tinned tomatoes: Just 1 tin (400g / 14oz) of crushed tomatoes or finely chopped tomatoes.
  • Chipotles in adobo: Chipotles in adobo are dried chipotle peppers that are rehydrated in a flavourful sauce (adobo sauce). They’re spicy, sweet and tangy all at once. Sometimes it will be whole chipotles and others may already be chopped up – both are fine. I use this Latin Deli brand or La Morena, just depending on where I’m shopping at the time. If you aren’t sure where to find them, check the Mexican section of a good supermarket.
  • Apple cider vinegar: Apple cider vinegar adds a little tang and sweetness and helps to tenderise the meat.
  • Garlic and onion: Used as a flavour base in so many recipes, garlic and onion both impart wonderful flavour and natural sweetness.
  • Spices: The dried spices are very simple here – just a little dried cumin and dried oregano.
  • Sugar: A little brown sugar helps to make the sauce a little sweet and richer.
  • Lime juice: The Mexican ribs are finished off with some lime juice for a great tang to the rich sauce. That tanginess helps to cut through the rich and fatty flavour of the short ribs.

How to make Mexican short ribs (step-by-step)

This recipe is seriously simple stuff. You’ll brown off the ribs, then add the sauce and bake it all in the oven. I recommend a large dutch oven for this recipe. If your dutch oven isn’t too big, get the ribs cut into smaller portions so it still fits.

There’s no need to marinade, you can get straight into cooking and the braising does all the flavouring and tenderising the ribs need.

A collage showing how to make Mexican Short Ribs.

Jump to the recipe for full ingredients and instructions.

  1. Sear the ribs: Caramelisation is flavour so that’s where this recipe starts. Heat some oil in your dutch oven then cook the ribs in batches until browned all over. You aren’t trying to cook them through, just seal and get some caramelisation on the outside.
  2. Create the sauce: I like to blend the chipotles in adobo to a puree first – just to make it easier to measure and store leftovers. Add those along with all the other sauce ingredients to the dutch oven with the short ribs.
  3. Oven braise: Now cook the ribs in the oven, uncovered for 2 hours. The sauce will reduce right down in this time. Now, cover the pan and cook for an extra 30-60 minutes until the meat pulls away from the bone and and the meat is fork tender (it should shred fairly easily).

You can also make this recipe in a slow cooker. Cook it for 7-8 hours on low or around 4 hours on high.

Tips and tricks

  • Blending the chipotles: I like to empty the whole tin of chipotles in adobo into a mini food processor and process it all to a puree first. This way I can easily measure the amount I need and freeze the rest in small portions.
  • How to know when short ribs are done: For this style of recipe, where they are braised for hours, they will undoubtedly be cooked through however you know these are done when the meat is tender and fall off the bone. The meat at this point should be easy to pull apart.
  • You can make them in the slow cooker too: Still brown the short ribs in a pan on the stove then add everything to the slow cooker / crock pot. Cook it for 7-8 hours on low or around 4 hours on high.
  • Using a dutch oven or large braiser pan – something that can go from stove top to oven to save on washing up.
Sauce being drizzled over Mexican short ribs.

What to serve with Mexican short ribs

These Mexican beef ribs can be enjoyed in numerous ways.

  • Spanish red rice. I’m also currently working on a Mexican green rice recipe which I served with test #1 of this recipe and it was fantastic.
  • Over mashed potatoes.
  • In tacos
  • On nachos – my favourite way so far
  • In enchiladas
  • In quesadillas with lots of cheese and black beans. Yum!
  • Condiments: In these pictures, the ribs are topped with my fresh jalapeno relish – it is amazing! These are also really good with mojo verde or chimichurri. All of these condiments have a fresh and zesty vibe which is great for cutting through the richness.

Yield and storage

This makes enough for 6-8 serves depending on how you’re serving it. We got 6 meals out of this before I froze the remaining amount that could have done another 2.

As if these Mexican short ribs could get any better, but they can because they taste even better the next day. Store them or the shredded meat mixed through the sauce in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.

The meat in the sauce freezes well too for up to 3 months.

Mexican short ribs with jalapeno and coriander.

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Cooked short ribs on a baking tray.
4.8 from 5 ratings
These Mexican short ribs are braised until falling apart and so easy to prepare. Cooked slowly in a rich, chipotle spiked sauce, these meltingly tender beef short ribs are flavour packed.


  • 1.8 kg beef short ribs (4lb)
  • 1 ¼ cup beef stock
  • 400 g tinned crushed tomatoes (14oz)
  • cup chipotles in adobo
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar (note 1)
  • 1-2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (note 1)
  • Coriander (cilantro) and wedges of lime to serve

For best results, always weigh ingredients where a weight is provided


  • Large dutch oven


  • Preheat the oven to 180C (160C fan) / 350F.
  • Trim visible excess fat from the top of the ribs.
  • On the stove top, in a dutch oven or large oven safe braiser pan, heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil over medium-high heat.
  • Add the ribs in 2-3 batch, browning all over – they don’t need to be cooked through, just sealed and browned.
  • Set the ribs aside and add the remaining sauce ingredients except the lime juice to the pan – the beef stock, tomatoes, chipotle in adobo, vinegar, garlic, onion, salt, cumin, oregano and sugar. Mix it all together then add the beef ribs back and turn to coat them in the sauce.
  • Bake for 2 hours, uncovered, or until falling off the bone, turning the ribs over after 1 hour.
  • Cover the pan (with lid or aluminium foil) and bake a further 30 mins or until the meat shreds easily.
  • When the ribs are ready, remove them from the pot and transfer to a warm plate. Cover with aluminium foil.
  • The sauce should be reduced to almost a paste. Tip the pan to one side and use a spoon to scoop out the excess oil and discard.
  • Add ½ cup of hot water and 1 tablespoon lime juice and stir through. Taste and add the remaining lime juice if you want a little more tang.
  • Serve ribs whole and spoon over the sauce or shred them and mix the meat through the sauce.
  • Please take a moment to leave a comment & rating. It's appreciated and so helpful.


  1. I use a standard Australian 20ml tablespoon (equal to 4 teaspoons worldwide). Many countries use a 15ml tablespoon – check yours before measuring.
Have you tried this recipe?Don’t forget to leave a rating and comment below and let me know how it was! I love hearing from you. Nutrition information is approximate and derived from an online calculator. The brands you use may cause variations.
Nutrition Facts
Mexican Short Ribs
Amount Per Serving
Calories 329 Calories from Fat 153
% Daily Value*
Fat 17g26%
Saturated Fat 7g44%
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 7g
Cholesterol 97mg32%
Sodium 976mg42%
Potassium 848mg24%
Carbohydrates 10g3%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 5g6%
Protein 33g66%
Vitamin A 124IU2%
Vitamin C 7mg8%
Calcium 53mg5%
Iron 5mg28%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.