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The Best Instant Pot Ribs

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Meet your new family favorite meal. These no fail Instant Pot ribs are falling-off-the-bone good in less than an hour with—no smoker needed! 

Instant Pot Ribs with sweet baby rays bbq sauce

This recipe: easy, crowd pleasing, and fast

I’d never made ribs before I got my Instant Pot. It seemed too intimidating because I didn’t have a grill or a smoker, and I didn’t want to boil them forever.

Really though, if you feel like you’ve only had fails in your Instant Pot, or if you think you suck at cooking, TRY THESE!

These Instant Pot ribs are simple to make, yummy to eat, and SO impressive to share!

Instant Pot ribs would go great with Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes and Instant Pot Bacon Green Beans, Instant Pot Salt Potatoes, Instant Pot Baked Potatoes or Instant Pot Broccoli, don’t you think?

Instant Pot Ribs with sweet baby rays bbq sauce

What kind of ribs for an Instant Pot? 

If you don’t make ribs often, you might find your head spinning as you look through the meat aisle at your grocery store. Here’s the quick breakdown: 

Pork: Baby back, spareribs, and St. Louis-style ribs. Pork ribs are the most common cuts as they tend to be milder in flavor. 

Beef: Short and back ribs. These short ribs are often made into beef brisket and feature a relatively strong, meaty flavor.

Of all ribs, baby back and spareribs are the two most popular cuts. 

Instant Pot baby back ribs

Baby back ribs are from the upper portion of the ribcage. They’re relatively small and feed only about 2 people per rack. They’re a bit pricey, but they’re also lean and oh-so-tender—definitely worth the cost! 

Instant Pot baby back ribs

Instant Pot spareribs

Spareribs are larger than baby back ribs. Cut from the underside of the ribcage, they have significantly more meat and fat. If cooked correctly, all of that fat can make some incredible favor! Spareribs are dang good, and they’re a great option if you want to keep prices down.

Which ribs are best for you?

One of the great things about this recipe is that it really doesn’t matter what kind of ribs you use. The recipe is so simple that you can easily make it a few different times trying different kinds of ribs—and they’re going to turn out delicious no matter what!

I personally like the baby back ribs sold at Costco. They come 3 in a package and are a super good deal. If you purchase the baby back ribs at Costco, they also come with the back membrane removed which is one less step for you!

If you want more details, check out this article on pork ribs or this one on beef ribs

pieces of ribs with bbq sauce in the background

What size Instant Pot for ribs?

I usually cut these ribs in smaller pieces, either half or quarters depending on how many portions I want to serve. But you can make these Instant Pot ribs in any size Instant Pot as long as you can fit them all in there!

A 3 quart Instant Pot may not fit an entire rack of ribs unless you cut them into two-piece portions. This recipe works great in a 6 quart Instant Pot or an 8 quart Instant Pot.

How to make the BEST Instant Pot ribs

I’d never made ribs before I got my Instant Pot. It seemed too intimidating because I didn’t have a grill or a smoker, and I didn’t want to figure out how to grill them forever. Sound familiar?

These ribs from your Instant Pot won’t be exactly the same as ribs that are smoked for hours and hours, but they will be crowd-pleasing—guaranteed. And best of all, they’re ready in only an hour! 

a large slab of ribs with a sprig of parsley

Prep your ribs

Step 1: Prepare!

This step is simple, but important! You’ll always want to rinse your ribs clean and pat them dry. 

Next, remove the shiny membrane on the bottom side of the ribs. This membrane is not good to eat, and it’s important to remove it! Just grab it with a paper towel and pull.

If you like, chop the ribs into halves or quarters.

Next up, seasoning.

 a platter of baby back ribs

Instant Pot ribs: dry vs wet rubs 

Step 2: Season your ribs.

A wet rub is the same base mix of seasonings as a dry rub, only it’s supplemented by liquid(s) like apple juice, vinegar, oil, liquid smoke, etc. to create a thick paste. For an Instant Pot, I like to use a sort of hybrid of the two: 

First, add all of the liquid ingredients to a gallon sized ziploc bag. Then, add the dry seasonings to the bag, mix, then add the ribs to the bag and squish them to mix. This will make a sort of marinade that creates amazing flavor! 

I have a delicious recipe for a homemade rib rub included in this recipe card, but feel free to use a premade dry rub! Add the liquid ingredients from the recipe to the marinating bag first, then sprinkle the ribs generally with your dry rub of choice. 

fall off the bone ribs

If you’re short on time, skip the marinade and just add the liquid ingredients directly into the Instant Pot, placing your dry rubbed ribs on top of the trivet. 

Whether or not you decide to marinate the ribs is up to you. They can be marinated in a plastic bag for up to two days before cooking, or they can be cooked immediately. I’ve found that the ribs that have been marinated have slightly more flavor, but I’ve done them both ways and they are both fantastic.

How long to cook ribs in the Instant Pot

You’ll find recipes all over the internet for Instant Pot ribs giving times from 25-60 minutes. I’ve tested these multiple times and my favorite time is 40-45 minutes (depending on how big or meaty they are).

If you’d like more meatier, chewier ribs, just cook them for less time. If you want them super super tender, cook them for longer.

Fall off the bone ribs! Here's the proof!

Instant Pot country style ribs

If you like this recipe, you’ll love these Instant Pot country style ribs. They’re actually not rib meat, but that’s what they’re called. In fact, country style “ribs” are completely boneless strips of shoulder meat. Ribs or not, they’re super cheap, easy, and so satisfying!

Instant Pot country style ribs
Try these Instant Pot country style ribs. They’re super cheap, easy, and delicious!

If you like this recipe, you’ll love my super simple Chicken Drumstick recipe! Dinner will be on the table in less than 30 minutes!

Fail-proof Instant Pot sides

About Lisa

Lisa childs holding an instant pot lid with a mickey instant pot

Lisa Childs is the food blogger behind Tried, Tested, and True. Join the hundreds of thousands of people each month that learn from Lisa-

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Instant Pot Ribs with sweet baby rays bbq sauce

Instant Pot Ribs

Yield: 2
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Additional Time: 8 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 3 minutes

These Instant Pot BBQ Ribs will easily become a family favorite meal! The Ribs cook in the Instant Pot for about 30-40 minutes, and in less than an hour you've got fall-off-the-bone ribs! This is a no-fail Instant Pot recipe!

Ingredients

  • One Rack of Ribs
  • Your Favorite BBQ Sauce
  • 1/2 Cup of your Favorite Dry Rub (or my homemade rub below)

Dry Rub

  • 1/4 C. Brown Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Smoked Paprika
  • 1 Tablespoon Kosher Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Chili Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Onion Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Garlic Powder

Liquid Ingredients

  • 1 C. Apple Juice (1.5 cups for 8 quart Instant Pot)
  • 1 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Liquid Smoke (or, bbq sauce)

Instructions

Marinated Ribs (Preferred Method)

  1. Combine all liquid and dry ingredients in a gallon sized Ziploc bag.
  2. Add cleaned and washed ribs (with membrane removed) into the bag and squish all over.
  3. Let marinade in the refrigerator overnight or at least 6 hours and up to 2 days.
  4. When ready to cook, add the trivet to the Instant Pot and dump the entire bag into the Instant Pot.
  5. Stack the ribs on the trivet to allow as much circulation as possible. You can stand them up, or stack on top of one another.
  6. Lock the lid, and turn the knob to sealing. Cook on manual high pressure for 40-45 minutes.
  7. Allow at least 10 minutes for a natural pressure release. Arrange ribs on a foil-lined baking sheet and sprinkle additional dry rub along with a smear of your favorite bbq sauce. Broil for 5-8 minutes to get nice and caramelized.

Quick Method

  1. Clean and wash ribs, then pat dry
  2. Turn the ribs over and peel the shiny membrane off the bottom side of the ribs. Find a corner of it on the edge and grab it with a paper towel and pull. I've found that the ones I get at a normal grocery store always have the membrane, but the ones I got at Costco already had it removed. This is a super tough part that won't cook down, so it's important to take it off.
  3. Sprinkle liberally with dry rub
  4. Cut the rack of ribs in half, or quarters, if you like. You can leave the rack whole as well.
  5. In the pot, combine liquid ingredients.
  6. Stack the ribs on the trivet to allow as much circulation as possible. You can stand them up, or stack on top of one another.
  7. Lock the lid, and turn the knob to sealing. Cook on manual high pressure for 40-45 minutes.
  8. Allow at least 10 minutes for a natural pressure release. Arrange ribs on a foil-lined baking sheet and sprinkle additional dry rub along with a smear of your favorite bbq sauce. Broil for 5-8 minutes to get nice and caramelized.

Notes

  • This recipe can be doubled or tripled (I can fit about 3 racks of ribs in my 8 quart). The liquid ingredients and quantity stays the same, the rub recipe may be doubled, and the time stays the same.
  • I usually serve 1/2 rack of ribs per person as a main dish, or 1/4 rack of ribs if there are a lot of sides or other main proteins. The smaller racks of ribs I buy at the grocery store usually feed two, but the large racks of ribs I get at Costco serve 4.
  • This recipe freezes very well. Add all ingredients to a ziploc bag and freeze the bag in the Instant Pot liner so it keeps its shape. Once frozen, you can remove from the liner and store in the freezer. When ready to cook, run the bag under warm running water to easily remove it from the bag. Add 1/2 cup of water to the Instant Pot, along with the frozen ribs and sauce and cook for 45 minutes with a 10 minute natural pressure release.
  • Nutrition Information:
    Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
    Amount Per Serving: Calories: 149Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 9mgSodium: 1972mgCarbohydrates: 28gFiber: 3gSugar: 20gProtein: 4g

    Did you make this recipe?

    Tag me @tried_tested_true on Instagram!

    Elizabeth Harris

    Friday 28th of May 2021

    I made the ribs and they were delicious but a little dry. I made a full rack cut in half and cooked the ribs 40 minutes. I have an Instant Pot air fryer lid and after I used barbecue sauce on the ribs, I used the air fryer lid and cooked at 400 for 6 minutes. I will definitely make ribs again using your recipe.

    Chuck

    Tuesday 4th of February 2020

    I made these tonight and loved them. I was pleasantly surprised how they turned out. I cooked them for 40 minutes and natural released them for 10 min. Next time I think I will let it go for 45 min. I will be making these again.

    Lisa Childs

    Monday 17th of February 2020

    awesome! Thanks so much for making and reviewing, chuck!

    Dianne

    Friday 10th of January 2020

    Just bought 1st instant pot and am not good in the kitchen. For the spareribs and future recipes on your site, does T stand for teaspoon or tablespoon. Sorry but a cold I’m not. So I’m sure I gave some of you a good laugh for the day. I’ll let y’all know how they come out lol

    Lisa Childs

    Wednesday 15th of January 2020

    No problem! T is Tablespoon and t is teaspoon

    Madison

    Sunday 11th of August 2019

    I love, love, LOVED this rib recipe!! They turned out so delicious. Thank you!!

    Lisa Childs

    Tuesday 10th of September 2019

    THANK YOU so much, Madison!! I'm so glad you liked them too!

    Marisol Rosa

    Saturday 6th of July 2019

    Hi! Can I broil in the AF? If so what temperature and how long?

    Thank you!

    Lisa Childs

    Monday 29th of July 2019

    Absolutely! You won't be able to do them all at once, but I always warm them up the next day in the AF on 400 degrees for about 5-10 minutes.

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