Chinese Beef Short Ribs — Instant Pot or Crock Pot {10 minute prep!, Paleo, Keto, Low Carb & GAPS}

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From the pickiest of eaters to the most sophisticated, this slightly sweet, rich, delectable sauce and fall apart meat (that comes with slow-cooked short ribs!) will have you proud of the ten minutes of labor you enjoyed! Seriously, ten minutes is all it takes to make this amazing meal — one that will have you licking your fingers and reminding yourself to stop when you’re full… because you’d rather keep eating it. Young kids will love the flavors. Grown-ups will ask you for the recipe. You’ll be able to say it’s a quick Instant Pot or Crock Pot recipe suitable for Paleo, Keto, Low Carb and GAPS!

a dish of keto low carb paleo beef short ribs with greens in a white dish


The Chinese Ingredients

The Chinese 5-Spice is worth seeking out if you don’t already have this lovely spice on hand. Chinese 5-Spice makes the dish full of nuances, complex and mildly spicy. (This spice powder combination, by the way, is also excellent for making kraut– one with grated apple, carrot and cabbage.)

You can select either coconut amino acids or real fermented soy sauce to make the sauce. Both are good. I have made the recipe both ways. Coconut amino acids is much milder, so you’ll see that reflected in the recipe below: you need more. If you choose the fermented soy sauce, it’s saltier; so that recipe option calls for less. The jar lasts a long time. Use whichever suits your dietary needs best: one is coconut-based and is ideal for the GAPS Diet and most Paleo eaters; the other is soy-based and lower in carbs, but the soy is long-fermented as it should be, so it’s a safe condiment for those who don’t need to avoid soy altogether. It’s a Traditional fermented food.

Also, the bones! The bones in the short ribs have some serious value. While the stew cooks, there is essentially a meat stock being made. Beautiful, healing gelatin and collagen come out of those bones infusing our stew with a rich umami flavor and gut-healing benefits.

Paleo, Keto, Low Carb and GAPS

You’ll see below in the recipe that there are two variations: one for Paleo and GAPS and one for Keto and Low Carb.

The Paleo and GAPS version uses coconut amino acids and honey.

The Keto and Low Carb version uses non-GMO long fermented traditional soy sauce because it’s lower in carbs (find it here) and a pure liquid monk fruit sweetener (find it here). You may also opt to use your favorite liquid low carb sweetener in place of honey. The nutritional data provided below the recipe reflects the Keto and Low Carb version. Only 4 net carbs per serving!

The Paleo and GAPS version with coconut amino acids and honey has more carbs, which is a non-issue for those diets, but just FYI. 😉


Regarding the amazing sauce itself, you will have leftovers. This is good. Here’s how it works: The beef short ribs cook in plenty of sauce. They stay really moist and the bit of meat that sticks up out of the sauce gets a bit caramelized — so yum. After you’ve served the meat and gobbled up all the goodness, you’ll have a lot of the cooking sauce leftover.

What to do? Rejoice! You have two more easy meals waiting for you!

Freeze the sauce, or eat Chinese food for two more nights.

Here’s how: The first night you can cube or place whole chicken thighs into the sauce, boneless and skinless. Add chopped broccoli, too. Simmer until the chicken is cooked through. If you left the thighs whole, shred them, using two forks. Serve over riced cauliflower, over white rice, or just so.

The second night, which is really your third meal with this sauce, you can cook up 1-1/2 to 2 pounds ground beef in a large skillet. Add zucchini or sautéed onions or mushrooms, whatever else you like. When the meat and veggies are mostly cooked, add the remaining sauce and cook to combine for 2 to 3 minutes. This is yummy. It’s goulash-y and super comforting. I put it in my daughter’s thermos for lunch one day and she came home saying, “What was that in my lunch today? That was so good.” Ha! Meal three on the same sauce, but it tastes new and different. 🙂

Super happy food, this — easy, comforting, kids like it, etc. etc.

Eat on, friends! Enjoy, with love.


5 from 1 vote
Chinese Beef Short Ribs
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
8 hrs
Total Time
8 hrs 10 mins

Chinese Beef Short Ribs are easy-to-make comfort food. Use your crock pot or Instant Pot and only 10 minutes of labor for this delicious meal. Paleo, Keto, Low Carb and GAPS

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: beef short ribs, chinese, keto, low carb, paleo
Servings: 6
Calories: 517 kcal
Author: Megan
  • 4-4.5 pounds beef short ribs cut in 4"- 6" lengths (usually this is already done by the butcher)
  • 1 cup bone broth
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce (real long-fermented) or 2/3 cup coconut amino acids for Paleo and GAPS
  • 20 drops monk fruit liquid , or more to taste, for Keto and Low Carb OR 1/3 cup honey for Paleo and GAPS diet (or preferred liquid low carb sweetener)
  • 2 Tablespoons sesame oil needs to be "toasted"
  • 1/4 cup fresh ginger , freshly grated or minced
  • 10 cloves garlic minced or crushed
  • 2 teaspoons Chinese five spice powder
  1. Place short ribs into crock pot. Top with all remaining ingredients. Cook on low for 8-10 hours. Serve.
  2. For an easy vegetable side dish, bake winter squash for Paleo and GAPS (such as butternut or kabocha) until very tender OR roast/steam cauliflower for Keto and Low Carb; add enough of the finished Chinese cooking sauce to create a mashed potato consistency by puréeing in food processor, high powered blender or by mashing and stirring by hand. Serve ribs over mashed/puréed squash/cauli with a bit of sauce poured over all. Also add a side of quickly sautéed or roasted greens (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, spinach or collards) to make the plate pretty and complete.

  3. See Recipe notes for Instant Pot instructions.
Recipe Notes

To Cook in Instant Pot

  • Add all ingredients to insert. Put on lid and seal.
  • Set Instant Pot on “Stew/Meat.”
  • The IP will automatically set itself for 35 minutes on high pressure.
  • Make sure steam valve is closed.
  • The Instant Pot will automatically switch over to Warm when the cooking time has elapsed. Allow IP to release pressure on its own slowly, about 45 minutes.
  • Carefully open steam valve, then lid.
  • Serve. Or purée some of the sauce with cooked winter squash or cauliflower (Keto/low carb), to make an easy and delicious side dish.
Nutrition Facts
Chinese Beef Short Ribs
Amount Per Serving
Calories 517 Calories from Fat 315
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 35g 54%
Saturated Fat 11g 55%
Cholesterol 130mg 43%
Sodium 880mg 37%
Potassium 871mg 25%
Total Carbohydrates 4g 1%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Sugars 1g
Protein 45g 90%
Vitamin C 2.5%
Calcium 3.8%
Iron 31.4%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Do you use your Crock Pot or Instant Pot more often?

Comments 20

  1. Wow this sounds amazing!!! I am all about the beautiful sauce. My husband would LOVE this! Can’t wait to make it.

  2. Just gorgeous Megan! I am posting a short rib recipe this week and wishing I had taken a photo of the meat pulled apart to show it’s tenderness! Great job. Pinned, shared etc…

  3. This just sounds SO incredibly tasty, and I love that you get so much extra sauce to stretch out over a few different recipes, too. Thanks for so many ideas in the one post! Pinned 🙂

  4. Hi there!

    My son will have been on GAPS for 3 years in Oct. As I read different websites and such, some say coconut aminos are ok on GAPS, others say it’s illegal. What is your feeling about that? Thanks so much for your website! It’s been invaluable to me!!

    1. Post

      I’m so glad Heather! Thank you for your encouragement. Personally, I would say Yes for someone who’s been on GAPS for years … assuming no reaction and that he does well with coconut. Also, have you already read elsewhere on my blog?, after 3 years, I’m of the opinion it’s a good time to either try adding in resistant starch foods like tiger nut flour OR if there’s still major healing that needs to happen, consider the Vitamin A Detox diet. (I think we were on GAPS too long and needed additional approaches to add to our GAPS precepts. For what it’s worth!) xo 🙂

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