This Instant Pot Ribs Recipe makes fall off the bone, tender and delicious ribs in under 1 hour! Ribs in Instant Pot are ready in fraction of the time of your traditional ribs.
Table of Contents
- Why Cook Ribs in Instant Pot?
- Ingredients for Instant Pot Ribs Recipe
- How to Cook Ribs in Instant Pot
- What Types of Ribs Are Best to Use?
- How Long to Cook Ribs in Instant Pot?
- Why Are My Ribs Tough in Instant Pot?
- How Much Liquid Do You Put in the Ribs in Instant Pot?
- What Do I Serve with Instant Pot Ribs?
- How to Store and Reheat
- More Instant Pot Recipes to Try
- Instant Pot Ribs Recipe Recipe
Why Cook Ribs in Instant Pot?
Instant Pot ribs are a favorite any time of the year, but especially in summer when I don’t want to overheat the kitchen!
- It’s a much faster and easier way to cook pork ribs.
- They’re succulent and very tender.
- You can customize the seasoning to your liking.
- This easy Instant Pot ribs recipe can make a lot at a time and they make great leftovers.
- Instant Pot doesn’t heat up the kitchen for hours.
- Perfect for BBQs, potlucks, and game day parties.
- No need to turn on the BBQ.
Ingredients for Instant Pot Ribs Recipe
To make ribs in Instant Pot, you will need just a few simple ingredients. You can use store-bought BBQ sauce but I also include a homemade BBQ sauce recipe as well.
- Pork ribs: We are talking about pork ribs. Beef ribs are a whole other thing! See more below.
- Dry rub: Chili powder, smoked paprika, onion powder, pepper, and salt.
- BBQ sauce: You can use store-bought BBQ sauce, this healthy BBQ sauce or hawaiian BBQ sauce. BBQ sauce brands that contain low sugar are Stubb’s, Primal Kitchen, and Annie’s. They are made with recognizable ingredients and with no high fructose syrup on the list.
For homemade BBQ sauce you will need tomato paste, applesauce, molasses, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, onion and garlic powder, prepared mustard, cayenne, liquid smoke, and salt.
How to Cook Ribs in Instant Pot
Here is a quick overview how to cook ribs in Instant Pot. Instant Pot method gives you tender, juicy texture with minimal effort. Full recipe card is located below.
Remove the membrane: The pork ribs you purchase may or may not have a membrane. It is shiny connective tissue at the back of the ribs that hold them together.
You want to slide a butter knife or handle of a spoon under to loosen it up a bit and then pull. If slippery, hold on with a paper towel, remove and discard both.
Removing the membrane helps spice rub penetrate the meat better resulting in more flavorful Instant Pot ribs. I usually take it off and I don’t mind that ribs fall apart when I take them out. If keeping them intact is super important to you, by all means, leave the membrane on while they cook, and remove it later on.
Season pork ribs with dry rub: Sprinkle a blend of chili powder, smoked paprika, onion powder, salt, and pepper on both sides of the ribs. I recommend sprinkling spices instead of rubbing because a lot ends up sticking to your fingers and not meat.
Prep the Instant Pot: To the bottom of Instant Pot, add trivet and 1 cup cold water. Trivet helps to lift ribs out of the water. And it doesn’t matter if the trivet has handles or not.
Pressure cook ribs in Instant Pot: Place curled up and coiled rack of ribs in Instant Pot, close the lid and set the release valve to Sealing position. Press Pressure Cook on High pressure or Manual button for 25 minutes.
Release pressure and carefully remove the ribs: After 25 minutes is up, wait 15 minutes and then release the remaining pressure by turning the valve to Venting position. You can also go with Natural Release all the way for even more tender Instant Pot ribs recipe.
Carefully remove ribs from the Instant Pot with tongs onto large baking sheet. Be careful as ribs are super tender and it is tricky not to break them in half. If they do break, it is OK since we will slice them anyways.
Brush ribs with BBQ sauce and broil: Broil cooked BBQ sauce brushed ribs under preheated broiler at 500 degrees F for 5 minutes on the middle rack.
This step is optional and how much pressure cooker ribs will caramelize depends on the barbecue sauce you use.
What Types of Ribs Are Best to Use?
Feel free to cook any type of pork ribs in Instant Pot. Here are a few of our favorites and recommendations.
- Baby back ribs: My preference is towards cooking baby back ribs in pressure cooker. These are ribs cut from the top of the rib cage and have less meat on them. They are also easy to find in any grocery store.
- Spare ribs: Spare ribs are more meaty with more marbling between the bones than baby back ribs. They also have less meat on top.
- Frozen ribs: Cooking frozen ribs in Instant Pot is possible! Make sure to cut your frozen baby back ribs or frozen spare ribs into smaller sections, so they fit in your Instant Pot. Also, run them under cold water, dry and then sprinkle with spices. Otherwise the dry rub will not stick to the meat.
How Long to Cook Ribs in Instant Pot?
How long to cook ribs in Instant Pot depends on the type of ribs you have. Both spare ribs and baby back ribs are cut from different areas which means they have different amounts of meat on them. Spare ribs need more time because they are meatier.
I have included this handy chart for your quick reference. Cook your ribs in a pressure cooker as per this table and always use 15 minutes Natural Release or let the pressure subside on its own completely.
|Type of Ribs
|Pressure Cooking Time
|Baby back ribs
Why Are My Ribs Tough in Instant Pot?
If your Instant Pot ribs come out tough it is probably because you didn’t cook them long enough. Another reason can be the size of the ribs. It is also important to release the pressure on Instant Pot naturally for at least 15 minutes.
To avoid tough ribs in Instant Pot next time, let the pressure subside on its own completely, cut ribs into smaller sections or try different brand or type of ribs. Sometimes it is a problem of ribs themselves.
How Much Liquid Do You Put in the Ribs in Instant Pot?
With Instant Pot recipes, it is always recommended to add at least 1 cup of liquid. To make ribs in Instant Pot, you need to add 1 cup of water, broth or you can even try apple juice or apple cider (don’t confuse with apple cider vinegar).
What Do I Serve with Instant Pot Ribs?
The day I tested this recipe, I also made fresh and crunchy Asian chopped salad. This exotic coleslaw went so well with ribs!
And oh, avocado corn salad would be fantastic!
How to Store and Reheat
To store: Refrigerate Instant Pot ribs leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
Freeze: Freeze cooked and cooled sliced ribs in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
Keep warm for parties: Just remove a bit of liquid from the pressure cooker, so it sits below the trivet. Stack cut up ribs, close the lid and press Keep Warm button. Ribs in pressure cooker will stay warm for up to 10 hours. Perfect for potlucks and outdoor summer parties. Plus your kitchen stays cool!
To reheat: If it is a small amount of Instant Pot ribs you need, you can just pop them in the microwave. If it’s a full rack, place ribs in Instant Pot on a trivet along with 1/2 cup water. Press Saute, close the lid, and let it simmer for 3 minutes. Then press Cancel and let ribs warm through with steam for 5 minutes.
This way sauce and ribs will not dry out and you will avoid using more sauce. But who can resist adding more BBQ sauce anyway?! Enjoy!
The secret to tender juicy ribs in Instant Pot is to pressure cook them for at least 25 minutes, let pressure come down naturally and use delicious BBQ sauce.
To remove membrane from the ribs, place them meaty side down on a solid surface and slide a butter knife or back of the spoon under the white shiny connective tissue which is a membrane. Then pull with your hands.
They are not. Short ribs are made from beef, while baby back ribs are pork.
You want to prevent your ribs sitting in a cooking liquid. If you don’t have a trivet, cut up a large onion into quarters, spread on the bottom of the Instant Pot, and arrange racks of ribs on top.
More Instant Pot Recipes to Try
Browse all Instant Pot healthy recipes.
Instant Pot Ribs Recipe
For Homemade BBQ Sauce (optional):
- 1 cup cold water
- 6 oz can tomato paste low sodium
- 1/2 cup applesauce
- 3 tablespoons molasses
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon prepared yellow mustard
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- In a small bowl, add chili powder, smoked paprika, onion powder, pepper, salt and stir with a fork. Set aside.
- Remove membrane from the back of the ribs by sliding butter knife or spoon handle under. If slippery, use paper towel to pull off membrane. Some ribs might not have it.
- Sprinkle each side of the ribs with spice mixture. Don't rub as a lot of seasonings will end up sticking to your fingers.
- In Instant Pot, add 1 cup water and place trivet inside. Place ribs in Instant Pot, on their side and curling in a circle. Close the lid, set pressure valve to Sealing and press Pressure Cook on High or Manual for 25 minutes.
- (Optional) Homemade BBQ sauce: While ribs are cooking, combine water, tomato paste, applesauce, molasses, apple cider vinegar, honey, onion and garlic powders, mustard, liquid smoke and cayenne pepper in a small pot and stir. Bring to a boil and cook half covered on low heat for 10 minutes. Set aside.
- After 25 minutes cook time is over, wait 15 minutes and then turn the valve to Venting position to release remaining pressure. Or let pressure release on its own.
- Preheat broiler to 500 degrees F and position oven rack in the middle. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Open the lid, remove ribs carefully using tongs and place on baking sheet. Ribs will be very tender and probably will fall apart in half, no worries. Brush top and sides with generous amount of BBQ sauce and broil for 4-5 minutes.
- Keep warm: You can put ribs back in Instant Pot on a trivet and Keep warm for up to 10 hours. Perfect for parties, summer BBQ, beach picnics etc.
- Store: Refrigerate rib leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
- Reheat: Small portion use microwave. If it’s a full rack, place in Instant Pot on a trivet along with 1/2 cup water. Press Saute, close the lid and let it simmer for 3 minutes. Then press Cancel and let ribs warm through with steam for 5 minutes. This way sauce and ribs will not dry out.