Air fryer short ribs are a fast alternative to slow-roasting, delivering melt-in-your-mouth tender beef in just 10 minutes or less total cook time. My Korean-inspired marinade requires no chopping, just mix, dump, and let sit for 30 minutes.

Plus, learn how to turn extra marinade into a sweet and spicy umami sauce to use as a garnish! These boneless short ribs are perfect for back-to-school and meal prep, too! For a bone-in version, try my flanken-style air fryer Kalbi beef riblets.

Photo shows thick-cut boneless short ribs cooked in an air fryer with Korean sauce on the side.
30 min. marinade is all you need for these delicious tender short ribs!

Ingredients

This quick short ribs recipe is the kind of effortless meal you’ll find yourself coming back to time and again. Cooking boneless beef ribs in air fryer is the fastest way to cook short ribs, with minimal cleanup. Made with accessible ingredients, these Korean-flavored ribs are a winner all around!

Photo shows ingredients used to marinate boneless beef short ribs

For the Ribs:

  • Boneless short ribs: These are portions of rib meat cut away from the bone. It’s cut from either the chuck or shoulder parts of the animal.
  • Coconut aminos: A gluten-free soy sauce substitute that tastes naturally sweeter and less salty than soy sauce, with a similar umami hit.
  • Rice vinegar: Rice vinegar helps break down the muscle of the meat, allowing for tender ribs without the need to slow roast. This is the secret of how to cook short ribs fast in the air fryer!
  • Garlic Powder, Granulated onion powder, Coarse salt, and ground black pepper
  • Toasted sesame oil
  • Mirin or rice wine (optional)
  • Honey (or sweetener of choice): See substitutions for alternatives.
  • Gochugaru (optional): Korean red pepper flakes don’t contain seeds so aren’t as spicy. They give the dish a lovely smokey flavor with mild spice.
  • Olive oil (to spray or brush on air fryer tray)

For Garnish:

  • Spring onions
  • Toasted white sesame seeds

Substitutions and variations

  • Light soy sauce: Use in place of liquid aminos if you tolerate soy and gluten.
  • Ginger: Can add a touch of grated ginger or ⅛ tsp ginger powder to the marinade for flavor.
  • Cayenne pepper: Use ⅛ tsp in place of gochugaru if you don’t have the Korean chili flakes.
  • Apple cider vinegar: Sub for rice vinegar.
  • Alternate marinades: Add a touch of Korean spicy flavor with a tablespoon of my gluten-free gochujang sauce to the marinade or incorporate homemade gluten-free hoisin sauce for a sweet and nutty flavor addition.

How to cook short ribs in air fryer

These air fryer beef short ribs are different from the traditional bone-in, fall-of-the-bone style, but they’re just as delicious. Think of them like a well-seasoned and succulent steak—full of flavor, thick, and incredibly juicy. Here’s how to make short ribs in the air fryer in 40 minutes or less (total time):

Person demos how long to cook short ribs in an air fryer
  1. Marinate the Beef: Slice the short ribs against the grain into bite-sized chunks. In a large bowl, marinate the short ribs with ingredients from coconut aminos to gochugaru, if using.
    • For thick-cut (1.5-inch thick | 3.8cm), marinate the beef for 1 hour and up to 3 days in advance in the fridge.
    • For thinner-cut (¾-inch thick | 2cm), marinate the beef for 30 minutes and up to 3 days in advance in the fridge.
  2. Cook Short Ribs in the Air Fryer: Preheat the air fryer. Pour off extra marinade (save for sauce!) and place the beef chunks into the basket with some space between them. Lightly spray with olive oil. Here’s how long to cook beef short ribs in air fryer at a temperature of 320°F (160°C):
    • For thick-cut, air fry for 9 minutes for medium-rare or 10 minutes for medium;
    • For thin-cut, air fry for 7 minutes for medium-rare or 8 minutes for medium.
  3. Thicken Marinade into Sauce (optional): Pour the leftover marinade into a small pot and reduce it over low heat on a stovetop for about 5-6 minutes or until the liquid thickens. Stir often with a wooden spoon.
  4. Serve: Transfer the short ribs onto a serving plate and let them rest for 5-8 minutes before slicing. Garnish with scallions, sesame seeds, and a few drizzles of the sauce reduction.

What to do with the leftover marinade?

With the price of groceries on the rise, there’s no need to waste your extra marinade! If you marinate the beef for 30 minutes or overnight, you can extra marinade it to marinate a second batch of ribs or cook it down into a flavorful sauce for serving.

To reduce the sauce on a stovetop, heat the marinade drippings over low heat in a small saucepan, stirring often until it thickens. Use it to drizzle over the short ribs, rice, or vegetables—yum!

If the sauce has been sitting in the fridge for more than 5 days, or if you made ahead and froze marinated beef, it might not be as fresh enough to use again. In that case, I recommend you discard any extra marinade.

How to make ahead, store, and reheat

These Korean short ribs in air fryer are sure to be a family favorite, and luckily they are a great recipe to make or prep ahead of time, so they’re always at your fingertips!

  • Make-ahead:
    • Overnight: Mix the marinade, slice the beef, and mix well. Store in an airtight container in the fridge until you’re ready to cook the next day.
    • Freeze: Store uncooked, marinated beef chunks in a freezer-friendly bag, sealed tightly and laid flat for easy thawing. Store for up to 2 months in the freezer.
  • Storage: From cooked, it’s best to enjoy air fried short ribs within 3-4 days.
  • Reheat: Reheat leftover ribs in the air fryer or traditional oven at 320°F (160°C) temperature for 3 to 4 minutes.

What to serve with boneless short ribs

These air fryer short ribs are a faster and easier version of a Korean favorite. Pair this tender and juicy meat dish with some classic Korean sides (banchan) for an all-out feast!

Umami Tips

Cooking boneless short ribs in an air fryer can result in an easy, delicious, and tender meal. Here are some expert tips to ensure success:

  • Slice into Similar-Sized Pieces: It’s easy to slice boneless beef short ribs. Slice them into roughly the same sizes so they can cook at the same time and temperature.
  • Marinate Your Short Ribs: Ideally, marinate the ribs for at least 1 hour, or even better, overnight. This will enhance their flavor.
  • Preheat Your Air Fryer: Preheating your air fryer can ensure that the cooking time in the recipe is accurate. Most air fryers will preheat to the desired temperature within 5 minutes.
  • Don’t Overcrowd the Air Fryer: Make sure the short ribs are placed in a single layer in the air fryer basket. They should not be stacked or crowded. This is important because the air fryer works by circulating hot air around the food.
  • Check and Turn the Ribs Halfway Through: Even though the air fryer circulates hot air, it’s a good idea to check the ribs halfway through and turn them if necessary. This ensures even cooking on all sides.
  • Check the Temperature: Make sure the ribs reach a safe internal temperature before you eat them. For beef short ribs, this would be at least 145°F (63°C) for medium-rare, although some people prefer them more well-done. Use a digital meat thermometer to check.
  • Rest the Beef: After air frying, let the ribs rest for 5-8 minutes before serving.
  • Season Again if Necessary: Taste the ribs after they’ve rested and before you serve them. If they need more flavor, add desired herbs and spices at this point.
  • Serve with a Sauce: To not waste the marinade, you can reduce the marinade sauce into a great dipping sauce to serve on the side or pair it with your favorite bbq sauce.

FAQs

How long does it take for short ribs to be tender in an air fryer?

Cooking tender boneless short ribs in an air fryer will depend on rib thickness and specific air fryer models. Bone-in short ribs will need a longer time to cook than the boneless version. In general, for bone-in short ribs, cook at 400°F (200°C) for about 15-25 minutes.

How long to cook boneless short ribs in air fryer?

For thicker-cut pieces (1½ inch thickness), air fry for 9 minutes for medium-rare or 10 minutes for medium. For thinner-cut pieces (¾ inch thickness), air fry for 7 minutes for medium-rare or 8 minutes for medium.

How do you keep boneless short ribs moist in an air fryer?

To keep boneless short ribs moist in an air fryer, add a touch of acidity to the marinade. Vinegar is a great choice. The longer you marinate the ribs, the more tender they will be. Cook at the proper temperature, around 320°F (160°C), and avoid overcooking.

More Asian beef recipes you’ll love

If you enjoy this beef short ribs in air fryer recipe, be sure to check out some of my other Asian beef favorites!

A side close shot shows boneless beef ribs cooked to tender fast in an air fryer
Air fryer short ribs served on a white plate with Korean marinade sauce drizzle on top
5 from 2 votes

Air fryer short ribs recipe

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Marinate time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 5 servings
Author: ChihYu Smith
This boneless thick-cut air fryer short ribs is fast and easy! The recipe comes with a quick Korean marinade and only need to air fry for 10 minutes. Perfect for weeknight and meal prep!
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Ingredients 

  • 2 lbs Boneless thick-cut short ribs, 1.5-inch (3.8cm) thick-cut
  • ¼ cup coconut aminos, or 3 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1.5 tbsp rice vinegar, or 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion granule
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp coarse salt
  • 2 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp mirin, or rice wine, optional
  • 2-3 tsp honey, coconut palm sugar, brown sugar, or date syrup
  • ½ tsp gochugaru, optional
  • Olive oil spray

Garnish:

  • 1-2 whole spring onions, finely chopped
  • Sprinkle Toasted white sesame seeds

Instructions 

To marinate the beef:

  • If you prefer leaner bites, trim some fat off. Slice the short ribs against the grain into 1.5-inch (3.8cm) chunks.
  • In a large bowl, marinate the short ribs with ingredients from coconut aminos to gochugaru, if using.
  • For thick-cut (1.5-inch thick | 3.8cm), marinate the beef for 1 hour and up to 3 days in advance in the fridge.
  • For thinner-cut (¾-inch thick | 2cm), marinate the beef for 30 minutes and up to 3 days in advance in the fridge.

To air fry the short ribs:

  • Preheat the air fryer to 320°F (160°C). Slightly drip off the marinade and place the beef chunks into the basket with some space between them. Lightly spray with olive oil.
  • For 1.5-inch thick, air fryer for 9 minutes for medium-rare or 10 minutes for medium.
  • For ¾-inch thick, air fry for 7 minutes for medium-rare or 8 minutes for medium.

Optional Step – thicken the marinade sauce:

  • In the meantime, pour the leftover marinade into a small pot and reduce it over low heat on a stovetop for about 5-6 minutes or until the liquid turns thicker. Stir often with a wooden spoon.

To serve:

  • Transfer the short ribs out to a serving plate and let them rest for 5-8 minutes. Slice the cubes against the grain before serving. Garnish with scallions, sesame seeds, and a few drizzles of the sauce reduction. Serve hot with the extra sauce reduction on the side.

Notes

How long to marinate boneless short ribs
  • You can marinate the beef as short as 30 minutes and up to 3 days in advance in the fridge. The longer you marinate, the stronger the flavor will be and the beef will also be more tender. This is because the acidity in the marinade has time to develop and help break down the muscle fiber.
What to do with the leftover marinade sauce?
  • If you only use it to marinate the beef for 30 minutes or overnight and feel you don’t want to waste the sauce, you can use it to marinate a second batch.
  • You can also reduce the sauce on a stovetop – reduce the liquid over low heat in a small saucepan and stir often until it turns into a thicker sauce. Use it to drizzle over the short ribs. yum!
  • If, however, the sauce has been sitting in the fridge for more than 5 days, it might not be as fresh anymore. In that case, I recommend you discard the marinade.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving, Calories: 384kcal, Carbohydrates: 7g, Protein: 35g, Fat: 23g, Saturated Fat: 8g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 11g, Cholesterol: 107mg, Sodium: 587mg, Potassium: 666mg, Fiber: 0.2g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 60IU, Vitamin C: 0.1mg, Calcium: 18mg, Iron: 4mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Korean
Keyword: Air fryer short ribs, short ribs in air fryer
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