The 6 Best Short Ribs Substitutes

If you are creating a dish that needs short ribs, but you do not have any to hand or cannot find any in store, then you will be happy to know that they can be substituted for something else. 

While short ribs are often the most tasty, this does not mean others will not be just as delicious. In fact, there are at least 6 short ribs substitutes in this article that you are going to love.

So, if you are in need of an alternative rib to your short ribs, then read on to find out exactly what you can use.

The 6 Best Short Ribs Substitutes

What Are Short Ribs?

To put it simply, short ribs are taken from a cow’s rib. The ribs are cut in order to create one portion. This portion of ribs includes meat and fat which is still attached to the bones. 

Short ribs have a very beefy taste, and are said to be high on the list of comfort foods. However, they are not exactly the most healthy. Even so, they are definitely worth eating every once in a while.

Often they are used for a barbeque or the meat is put into tacos. It is very rich and beefy which makes this kind of meat so popular to eat. The beef is also great for adding to stews too.

If you are looking for delicious and versatile meaty ribs, then short ribs may just be your answer.

6 Best Short Ribs Substitutes

In this article we have put together a list of the 6 best short ribs substitutes. Whether you want a healthier alternative or do not have any short ribs available, you will most certainly find something else to use.

1. Beef Shank

The 6 Best Short Ribs Substitutes (1)

A cheaper alternative to short ribs is beef shank. In fact, it has some similar qualities to a short rib too. For example, it tends to be just as tough and dry. For this reason, when you cook a beef shank you will want to ensure it is in a moist environment.

Beef shanks are ideal to use in stews and soups. Due to it being a drier meat, it will do well in a wet dish. So, why is it a little drier than other meat?

Because the beef shank is taken from the leg of a cow, it automatically becomes a drier meat due to this muscle being used a lot. Just like with the short ribs too – they are both muscles which get used every day. 

The great thing about beef shank is that you will only need to substitute it with the 1:1 ratio. This makes it a really simple and easy substitute for short ribs.

2. Lamb Ribs

The 6 Best Short Ribs Substitutes (2)

Lamb ribs are a great choice, and not just because they are another type of rib.

They are full of delicious flavor and have tender meat too. You will just need to ensure that the meat you choose has well balanced marbling to ensure it is succulent meat.

All you will need to do is swap the short ribs for lamb ribs as a like-for-like ratio.

However, you might find that the lamb ribs do not have the same strong flavor as beef. For that reason, you will want to make sure you season them well.

Keep the cooking of this type of meat slow and even. If you don’t, you will end up with a chewy finish that is difficult to eat. Cooking lamb ribs the right way ensures that the meat stays tender and moist.

3. Beef Flanken Ribs

Flanken ribs are neighbors to short ribs, because they are found next to the short ribs on a cow. However, they are cut much differently. There is only a small hint of the rib bones left on this cut of meat.

The flanken ribs are a great idea if you are not fond of seeing the rib bones that are very noticeable on short ribs.

The meat on flanken ribs is also a lot tender and softer too. It is much leaner meat and does not contain much fat, making it a healthy substitute.

When you cook flanken ribs, you will need to use the 1:1 ratio. This is because the portion of meat does not need to be changed in order to create the same meal but with a different meat. 

The cooking of the meat and its size is very similar. The only thing that is different is the bones. 

4. Lamb Legs

The 6 Best Short Ribs Substitutes (3)

Before you move onto the next meat, hear us out. Lamb legs can make a really great substitute for short ribs. However, due to the strong flavor of lamb, you will want to ensure you portion the sizes out correctly.

Lamb is a great meat to add seasoning to as well. Garlic is a great flavor to use – it really helps to bring out the flavor of the lamb.

When you use lamb leg as a substitute, for every short rib substitute it with a couple of lamb legs. However, you can also use the 1:1 ratio if you would prefer. 

5. Beef Back Ribs

If you do not recognize the name beef back ribs, it is because butchers tend to call it a number of different things. Some of these names are: rib bones, finger ribs, meat riblets, beef ribs, or even dinosaur ribs.

This kind of meat is famed for its amazing quality, fragrance, and the wonderful taste. The cut itself is taken from the space which is situated just in front of the animal’s spine.

To substitute this meat with the short ribs all you will need to do is follow the 1:1 ratio. It really is that basic. However, you will find that this meat is not as oily as short ribs, and it may seem a little bigger.

However, you will not need to change anything in order to cook this meat. For example, the amount of oil you use.

6. Beef Plate Short Ribs

Beef plate short ribs happen to be one of the best alternatives to short ribs. Not only is it a juicy meat, but it gives your meal a similar outcome as if you are using short ribs.

Another great thing about beef plate short ribs is that you can use them like-for-like without having to change any quantities. This makes it a really simple and easy substitution.

Adding the beef plates into a pot with chopped onions, apple cider vinegar, ketchup, water, brown sugar and margarine is a great way to bring out their flavor. 

Or you could just throw them on the barbeque and rub some spice into them!

Final Thoughts

As you can see there are 6 great short ribs substitutes to choose from that will be a wonderful addition to your dish. Just because you do not have short ribs available does not mean your meal has to lack when it comes to flavor.

From going with lamb instead, to trying the back ribs of beef, there really is something for every taste bud. Also, with so much variety it means that you have a bigger chance of finding it at your local grocery store!

The 6 Best Short Ribs Substitutes

Recipe by AubreyCourse: Substitutes


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If you are looking for short ribs alternatives, then look no further. Here you will find 6 best short ribs substitutes to try today


  • Beef Shank

  • Lamb Ribs

  • Beef Flanken Ribs

  • Lamb Legs

  • Beef Back Ribs

  • Beef Plate Short Ribs


  • Decide on what substitute you need
  • Pick a substitute from the list above
  • Read what you need to substitute with
  • Create the recipe and enjoy
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