I like to whiff st.lk or st.lp then buffer a non-shortcut srk (F,D,DF) during the animation and throw fireballs in between.
If you ever watch John Choi or other great Ryu players, this is common practice and makes it easier to react.
You should definitely learn to do the shortcut though, as it allows you to uppercut from crouching easier. This gives you more time to react and makes uppercutting deep easier as well.
A deep uppercut has the added advantage that you get the second hit of the mp srk as well and you take full advantage of the srk’s invincibility frames, meaning that you also eliminate the risk of a trade.
The shortcut is: DF,D,DF>Punch
It’s quick and easy to mash
Also important that you do not have to anti-air with uppercuts at all. At the start it is much easier to learn your regular anti-airs which helps you cover a lot more ranges and introduces you to the concept of thinking about your positioning.
standing heavy kick for jumps coming in from far away
standing heavy punch for jumps that would make you whiff an srk if they are empty
standing light punch for ghetto anti-air against cross-up tatsus or divekicks
and crouching heavy punch for everything you would use medium srk for (kind of as a crutch because uppercut anti-airing is very hard as a beginner).