Cola-Braised Short Ribs

published Apr 7, 2022
Cola-Braised Short Ribs Recipe

In this make-ahead meal, Coca-Cola adds a tangy sweetness while tenderizing the meat.

Serves4 to 6

Prep20 minutes

Cook3 hours 30 minutes

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serving of cola brased short ribs and mashed potatoes at the table
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Micah Morton; Prop Styling: Gerri Williams

Every year, as winter approaches spring, grocery stores begin to stock a special variety of Coca-Cola that’s only available for a few weeks. Noted by its yellow lid, Kosher for Passover (K4P) Coca-Cola is free of high fructose corn syrup and made, instead, with cane sugar. Its arrival means that you can have soda during the holiday — and that delicious cola-braised short ribs can be a part of your Passover, whether for Seder or one of the other nights of the week. When it comes to make-ahead meals, braised short ribs get high marks for their luxurious tenderness, born from hours of slow cooking. The meat is arguably even better after resting overnight in the fridge, and it reheats easily, so you can prep this dinner well in advance.

Braising the meat in cola — a trick that’s commonly seen in recipes in Southern spiral-bound cookbooks — adds a tangy sweetness while also tenderizing the meat. The saucy, sumptuous ribs make an elegant main course, served with mashed potatoes or cauliflower. While the meat is the main event here, don’t sleep on the vegetables that slow cook with the ribs. The braised onions, celery, and carrots are full of savory flavor that adds depth to the final dish.

Bowls or plates of the ribs and veggies are great with a Kosher for Passover red wine — or an ice-cold KFP Coke.

Cola-Braised Short Ribs Recipe

In this make-ahead meal, Coca-Cola adds a tangy sweetness while tenderizing the meat.

Prep time 20 minutes

Cook time 3 hours 30 minutes

Serves 4 to 6

Nutritional Info


  • 4 pounds

    thick-cut or English cut bone-in short ribs, cut into pieces no larger than 4 inches

  • 3 teaspoons

    kosher salt, divided

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

  • 6

    medium carrots (about 1 pound total)

  • 4 stalks

    celery (about 12 ounces total)

  • 6 cloves


  • 1 tablespoon

    olive oil

  • 2

    medium yellow onions

  • 2 tablespoons

    tomato paste

  • 2 cups

    kosher for Passover or regular Coca-Cola

  • 2 to 4 cups

    beef broth

  • 4 sprigs

    fresh thyme

  • 2

    bay leaves

  • 4 sprigs

    fresh parsley


  1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 325ºF.

  2. Pat 4 pounds short ribs dry with paper towels. Season all over with 2 teaspoons of the kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, and let sit at room temperature until ready to use. Prepare the following, adding each the same medium bowl as you complete it: Peel and cut 6 medium carrots crosswise into 2-inch pieces. Cut 4 celery stalks crosswise into 1-inch pieces. Coarsely chop 6 garlic cloves.

  3. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Working in batches and adjusting the heat as needed, add the short ribs and sear until all 4 sides are browned, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a large plate. While the short ribs are searing, thinly slice 2 medium yellow onions.

  4. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the onions and cook, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon occasionally, until golden-brown, 10 to 14 minutes.

  5. Add the carrot mixture and remaining 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until starting to soften, about 5 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons tomato paste, stir to coat the vegetables, and cook until the paste is darkened in color, about 3 minutes.

  6. Add 2 cups Coca-Cola and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan with the wooden spoon. Return short ribs and their accumulated juices to the pot. Add enough beef to just cover the short ribs. Add 4 fresh thyme sprigs and 2 bay leaves.

  7. Cover and transfer the pot into the oven. Braise until the beef is very tender and pulls away from the bone, 2 to 2 3/4 hours. Let rest covered for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, pick the leaves from 4 fresh parsley sprigs and finely chop.

  8. Transfer the short ribs to a large plate or serving platter with tongs. Some of the short ribs may separate from the bones; discard the bones with no meat. Pour the vegetables and liquid through a fine-mesh strainer fitted over a large glass measuring cup or bowl. Discard the bay leaves and thyme sprigs. Use a ladle to skim the fat from the surface of the liquid (or use a fat separator).

  9. Return the vegetables to the cooking liquid. Serve the short ribs with the saucy vegetables spooned over the top. Garnish with the parsley.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The short ribs can be cooked up to 1 day in advance; do not strain and let cool completely, then cover and refrigerate. Scrape off the hardened fat from the surface and discard, then reheat on the stovetop.

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days or frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and reheat on the stovetop over medium heat until warmed through.