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Five-Spice Short Rib Tacos

Have you ever cooked with Five Spice powder? Oh my! It’s so delicious. Five-Spice powder is a blend of spices used in Chinese and Vietnamese cooking and it packs a seriously incredible aromatic punch to everyday foods. Here in this Five-Spice Short Rib Tacos recipe, I’ve made the most incredible Asian-fusion taco recipe… it’s just one of those meals that you’ll make for your family and friends and their jaws will just HIT. THE. FLOOR. 

Quality spices can make such a big difference in everyday cooking. In this recipe, the quality of spices that you are using makes a big difference since they are really the stars of the show here. I am a huge fan of the spices and spice blends by Frontier Co-op.  They not only taste fresh and delicious, but their spices are also sustainably sourced by a member-owned co-op that puts our planet and their customers first. I originally fell in love with their brand for their Adobo Seasoning (it’s the only one I’ve ever seen without added junk) and from there, I’ve been in love ever since and use their spices in my everyday cooking to elevate all of my dishes. You can shop online for their spices, or you can find them in Whole Foods Market, Natural Grocers, and more.

Five-Spice Short Rib Tacos

In these Five-Spice Short Rib Tacos, the Five Spice is obviously the star of the show, but I’ve also incorporated Frontier Co-op garlic powder and ground ginger root to add another layer of flavor to the tacos. Cooked until fall-apart tender in my Instant Pot (you can do them in a crockpot, too) then topped with a simple, crunchy slaw and a creamy Sriracha infused aioli– these tacos are an explosion of flavor that will just knock you off your feet! 

Five-Spice Short Rib Tacos

If you are wanting to do something unique this holiday season and really impress your family and friends, I encourage you to make these Five-Spice Short Rib Tacos. It’s really taking something that a lot of people make for the holidays (short ribs) and turning it into something unique, fun, and absolutely delightful. I just know you will LOVE these tacos as much as I do.


InstantPot Five-Spice Short Rib Tacos
Serves 4
A delicious Asian-fusion taco recipe that will rock your world!
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 30 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 30 min
For the Short Ribs
  1. 3 pounds bone-in short ribs
  2. 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  3. 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  4. 2 tablespoons arrowroot flour
  5. 2 tablespoons avocado oil
For the Five-Spice Sauce
  1. 2 teaspoons FRONTIER CO-OP Five Spice Powder
  2. 1/2 cup Gluten Free Tamari
  3. 1/2 cup beef broth, low sodium
  4. 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  5. 3 tablespoons brown sugar or coconut sugar
  6. 1/4 teaspoon FRONTIER CO-OP Ginger Root Powder
  7. 1/2 teaspoon FRONTIER CO-OP garlic powder
  8. 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
For the Siracha Aioli
  1. 4 tablespoons mayo
  2. 1 tablespoon siracha
  3. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  4. 1/2 teaspoon fresh lime zest
  5. 1 tablespoon lime juice (or 1/2 lime)
For the Simple Coleslaw
  1. 3 cups coleslaw mix
  2. 3 tablespoons lime juice (or 1 lime)
  3. 1 teaspoon fish sauce
For the Tacos
  1. 8 tortillas, warmed
  2. 1/4 cup thai basil, loosely chopped (regular basil is fine)
  3. 1/4 cup cilantro, loosely chopped
  1. Generously season the short ribs all over with kosher salt and pepper. Next, place arrowroot flour in a shallow bowl and dredge all sides of the short ribs in arrowroot so that they are lightly coated all over, shake off excess flour.
  2. Hit the ‘saute’ button on your instant pot and heat 2 tablespoons of the avocado oil. When the oil is shimmering, brown the short ribs on all sides until a deep brown crust forms, about 3-4 minutes per side. (You may need to do this in two batches depending on the size of your Instant Pot, being careful not to overcrowd the instant pot, so the short ribs brown evenly all over and do not steam.) Set browned short ribs aside on a plate and continue until all are browned.
  3. Meanwhile, make the Five Spice Sauce by combining all of the sauce ingredients in a bowl and whisking until well combined.
  4. Once short ribs are browned, press the ‘cancel’ button. Nestle all of the short ribs in the instant pot. Try to do this in a single layer, but its okay if a few don’t squeeze in and you have to set them on top. Pour the Five Spice Sauce over the short ribs. Seal the lid and turn the valve to ‘seal’. Now, click the manual button and set on high pressure for 60 minutes. Leave your Instant Pot and let it do its thing.
  5. While your short ribs are cooking, make your Sriracha Aioli by combining all of the ingredients in a bowl and whisking until well combined. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  6. About 10 minutes before short rib cook time is done, make your coleslaw. In a large bowl, combine all of the coleslaw ingredients and toss to combine. Set aside.
  7. After the cook time is complete, manually release the pressure by carefully turning the vent to release.
  8. Turn oven broiler on high to get hot while you shred your beef.
  9. Once the pressure has released, carefully open to the Instant Pot. Transfer the cooked short ribs onto a rimmed baking sheet (do not discard the liquid in the Instant Pot) and using two forks, shred the short ribs into bite size pieces. Discard the bones and pour 1 cup of the reserved cooking liquid from the instant pot over the shredded meat and toss to coat.
  10. Spread the shredded short ribs into a single layer on the baking sheet and place it on the top rack of your oven under the broiler. Cook until the short ribs begins to crisp up on the edges, about 2-4 minutes (depending on how hot your broiler gets). Remove from oven and pour 1 more cup of the reserved cooking liquid all over the short ribs and, using tongs, toss to coat evenly and spread it out into a single layer once more. Place back into the oven and cook once more until edges are crisp again, another 2 more minutes but watching carefully so it doesn’t burn.
  11. Remove from the oven and serve the shredded meat in warm tortillas topped with the simple coleslaw and Sriracha aioli. Garnish with thai basil and cilantro. Serve and enjoy!
Crockpot Method
  1. Do step 1, then brown your short ribs stove top over medium-high heat until golden brown all over. Nestle the browned short ribs in a crockpot and pour sauce over and cook until the short ribs are fall apart tender, on high for 4-6 hours or low for 8-10 hours.
  2. Remove from crockpot and continue with step 10 to crisp up your meat.
The Defined Dish
Please note that I only work with companies and products that I feel passionately about and that align with The Defined Dish’s views and that this post contains sponsored content from Frontier Co-opWhile I am compensated for the work I do, my opinions are always 100% my own.

Welcome! I’m Alex.

I’m a food lover sharing healthy, simple, delicious, recipes from my kitchen to yours. Here you’ll find lots of Whole30, lots of healthy, and a little indulgence here and there because…it’s all about balance y’all!

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  1. Looks delicious! Would it be possible to use boneless short ribs?

    Could you skip the initial sear and cook in the crockpot with sauce?

  2. I swear this recipe may be what I request as my ‘last meal’! Making these tonight for my husbands birthday and we’re so excited! We have used a pork butt and even a chuck roast and it always turns out amazing. Thanks, Alex!

  3. These are delicious. I’m making a second time today and going to attempt with chuck (just what I have, I definitely think short ribs are superior)! I think you could even serve over rice with a veggie but.. tacos.

  4. Can’t wait to make these! I am doubling the recipe but only have an average sized Instant Pot- will this be ok? They definitely will not all fit on the bottom.

    Thank you!!

  5. Made these tonight and they are UNREAL good! Wow. Always love an easy instant pot recipe and this was one of our favorites of all time.