Instant Pot Ribs are fall off the bone tender baby back ribs, prepped with a dry rub, and ready in less than an hour. They’re coated in homemade barbecue sauce, then caramelized in the broiler. This foolproof recipe cuts cooking time by more than half while still providing that smoked flavor that everyone loves.
No barbecue meal is complete without side dishes like Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Four Cheese Mac and Cheese, and Honey Cornbread.
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Easy Instant Pot Ribs
In less than an hour, you can have succulent ribs that are finger-licking good! What’s the secret? The instant pot is the magic shortcut to a delicious meal. The steam from an instant pot reaches temperatures higher than the boiling point of water, locking in moisture and cooking meats faster than the oven or grill.
These flavorful ribs are covered generously in a dry rub, pressure cooked until tender, then brushed with BBQ sauce before finally being placed in the broiler. These easy Instant Pot Ribs are a time-saver and sure to be a crowd-pleaser.
Best BBQ Sauce For Ribs
Of course, Instant Pot Ribs wouldn’t be complete without a sweet and savory BBQ sauce. While store-bought sauce can work in a pinch, nothing’s better than homemade bbq sauce. My homemade barbecue sauce recipe can be made in less than 20 minutes. AND there’s a good chance that you already have the ingredients sitting in your fridge and pantry!
It’s as simple as combining all the ingredients in a saucepan and simmering over medium-low heat until it thickens. In less than twenty minutes, you will have a tangy, smoky barbecue sauce that’s free of additives and preservatives.
Ingredients For Cooking Instant Pot BBQ Ribs
- Ribs (1 1/2 – 2 lbs): I used baby back ribs because they’re lean and a really tender cut of meat. Another great option for the instant pot would be spare ribs. They are fattier but also meatier. It really just depends on your preference.
- Apple Cider Vinegar: Pressure cooked in apple cider vinegar, instant pot ribs become tenderized and cleansed of any “gamey” flavor.
- Liquid Smoke: This provides the smoky flavor that you would get from longer cooking methods like the oven or grill.
- Dry Rub: Dry rubs are a great way to season meat because it enhances the flavor and is an excellent base for a crisp coating. My dry rub is a homemade blend of spices that’s totally customizable. I use brown sugar, chipotle chili powder, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, mustard powder, pepper, and sea salt.
- Homemade Barbecue Sauce: This super easy and quick, made-from-scratch recipe will have you wondering why you ever used store-bought barbecue sauce! Of course, if you can always use whichever barbecue sauce is your favorite!
Tips For Making The Best Instant Pot Barbecue Ribs
- Buy Quality Meat:
I like to buy my meat from Butcher Box. Their cattle are pasture-raised, grass-fed and finished, and never injected with hormones, antibiotics, or steroids! What I love most about Butcher Box is its dedication to providing high-quality, humanely raised meat while treating the animals and the planet with respect!
Check Out Butcher Box Here and get the exclusive GFB Discount
2. Prepare Your Dry Rub and BBQ Sauce From Scratch.
To save time, you can make the barbecue sauce while the ribs are in the instant pot or make the bbq sauce the day before. And, skip the store-bought rub. Making your own takes a matter of minutes and tastes ten times better!
How To Make Instant Pot Ribs | Step-by-Step Guide
Prepare The Baby Back Ribs. Rinse and pat dry the ribs. Then, remove the membrane from the back of the ribs. Simply loosen it at the edge with a butter knife, then pull to remove it from the ribs and discard it. (The membrane is a thin piece of shiny tissue covering the back of the ribs. Leaving the membrane intact will result in tough ribs.)
Season The Ribs With The Dry Rub. Mix the dry rub seasonings in a small bowl. Then season all sides of the ribs generously with the rub.
Pressure Cook The Baby Back Ribs. Add the water, apple cider vinegar, and liquid smoke to a 6-quart instant pot. Then, add the rack (trivet) and place the ribs lengthwise on top of the rack.
Close The Lid And Seal The Venting Knob. Set the manual pressure to high for 25 minutes for the baby back ribs. Let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes, then release the vent to let out the remaining pressure. The pin drops when all the pressure is released.
If you are making thicker ribs, like spare ribs, adjust the time to cook for longer: 35 minutes and allow the vent to naturally release. The pin drops when all the pressure is released. (Do not release the vent immediately as the natural release is necessary to tenderize when using thicker cuts of meat.)
Coat The Ribs With Barbecue Sauce And Broil. Carefully remove the ribs from the instant pot and place them on a baking sheet. Coat all sides of the ribs generously with barbecue sauce. Transfer the ribs into the oven and broil (on the highest setting) for five minutes, or until the bbq sauce is caramelized.
Serve. Serve with more barbecue sauce and your favorite sides. Enjoy!
Instant Pot BBQ Ribs
Whether you’re putting baby back ribs or spare ribs in the instant pot, get ready for some flavorful barbecue. This simple recipe is a breeze compared to traditional rib recipes that could take hours!
Tips & Common Questions
What’s the difference between using spare ribs and baby back ribs?
The difference between spare ribs and baby back ribs is size, texture, thickness, and cooking time. Baby back ribs are a leaner cut of meat and tend to be pricier but will yield more tender ribs. Spare ribs are meatier and have more marbling (which means more flavor). Spare ribs need to be cooked for 10 minutes longer than baby back ribs, due to their size. Don’t worry, either cuts of pork are great!
Is this recipe for frozen ribs or do they need to be thawed?
Instant Pot Ribs can be cooked thawed or frozen. The baby back ribs used for this recipe were thawed. If you go the frozen route, make sure you cut and season the ribs prior to freezing. Frozen ribs will need an extra 5-7 minutes of cooking time in the instant pot.
Can you use apple juice or apple sauce instead of apple cider vinegar for Instant Pot Ribs?
You can definitely switch out apple cider vinegar for apple juice or apple sauce for Instant Pot Ribs. All three will yield the same results: juicy, flavorful ribs!
Why are my Instant Pot Ribs tough?
If your ribs come out tough, they probably weren’t cooked long enough. Another factor is the size of the ribs. Make sure they are cut small enough to cook thoroughly. It’s also important to let the instant pot vent release naturally. If you do it too soon manually, the meat won’t tenderize.
Lastly, be sure to remove the membrane from the ribs prior to cooking. Leaving it intact will result in tough ribs.
I hope you enjoy this Instant Pot Ribs Recipe!
If you try the recipe, don’t forget to rate the recipe and let me know what you think in the comments below! Take pictures, tag #goodfoodbaddie, and share them with me on Instagram! I love seeing my recipes come to life in your kitchen.
Looking For Sides To Serve With These Tasty Baby Back Ribs? Try These:
- Sweet Potato Cornbread
- Delicious Baked Okra
- Air Fryer Shishito Peppers (Quick & Easy!)
- Air Fryer Asparagus
- Best Cornbread Recipe!
- Dairy-Free Garlic Mashed Potatoes | Vegan
- Air Fryer Sweet Potato Fries
Instant Pot Ribs | Easy Recipe
- 6-Quart Instant Pot
- 1 rack baby back ribs or spare ribs, about 1 1/2 to 2 pounds*
- 1 cup Water
- 1/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1 tsp Liquid Smoke
- 1/2 cup Homemade Barbecue Sauce or your favorite store-bought sauce, plus more for serving
Dry Rub For Ribs
- 2 tbsp Brown Sugar
- 2 tbsp Chipotle Chili Powder (or regular chili powder)
- 1 tbsp Smoked Paprika
- 1 tsp Cayenne Pepper
- 2 tsp Garlic Powder
- 1/2 tsp Mustard Powder
- 1 tsp Pepper
- 1 tsp Sea Salt
- Prepare The Baby Back Ribs. Rinse and pat dry the ribs. Then, remove the membrane from the back of the ribs. Simply loosen it at the edge with a butter knife, then pull to remove it from the ribs and discard it. (The membrane is a thin piece of shiny tissue covering the back of the ribs. Leaving the membrane intact will result in tough ribs.)
- Season The Ribs With The Dry Rub. Mix the dry rub seasonings in a small bowl. Then season all sides of the ribs generously with the rub.
- Pressure Cook The Baby Back Ribs. Add the water, apple cider vinegar, and liquid smoke to a 6-quart instant pot. Then, add the rack (trivet) and place the ribs lengthwise on top of the rack.
- Close The Lid And Seal The Venting Knob. Set the manual pressure to high for 25 minutes for the baby back ribs. Let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes, then release the vent to let out the remaining pressure. The pin drops when all the pressure is released. If you are making thicker ribs, like spare ribs, adjust the time to cook for longer: 35 minutes and allow the vent to naturally release. The pin drops when all the pressure is released. (Do not release the vent immediately as the natural release is necessary to tenderize when using thicker cuts of meat.)
- Coat The Ribs With Barbecue Sauce And Broil. Carefully remove the ribs from the instant pot and place them on a baking sheet. Coat all sides of the ribs generously with barbecue sauce. Transfer the ribs into the oven and broil (on the highest setting) for five minutes, or until the bbq sauce is caramelized.
- Serve. Serve with more barbecue sauce and your favorite sides. Enjoy!
I enjoyed my Instant Pot Ribs with sauteed kale, roasted potatoes, and my gluten-free honey cornbread! SOO Good! How are you enjoying these ribs? Share in the comments below!
I love this recipe. Ribs are always a favourite here!
Ribs are a favorite in my home too! Glad you liked the recipe!
These baby back ribs were fall off the bone tender! They were so easy to make in the instant pot, and we LOVED the homemade barbecue sauce. Thanks for the recipe!
Hi Jeri! I am so happy you enjoyed the recipe and glad you loved the barbecue sauce –it’s my fav! Thanks for leaving a review 🙂
This recipe was so easy to follow and we absolutely loved the flavors! The homemade bbq sauce is a game changer!
I am glad to hear it!! 🙂
Instant Pot is a game-changer. It’s perfect for winter when you can’t fire up the smoker/grill. AND they are so fall-apart tender. So much yum!
So glad you like Jessica! I love using my Instant Pot! It makes cooking so quick and easy!
My husband is a big ribs fan and absolutely loved this recipe. I would have never thought to prepare ribs in an instant pot, but said they came out more flavorful then he ever could have imagined. Instant pot ribs is definitely a game changer.
It’s definitely a game-changer! I am so happy you both enjoyed the recipe! My partner was quite surprised when I made these ribs in the Instant Pot too! This is now a new fav in our home!
Okay, but why isn’t this BBQ sauce bottled and sold in stores?!? You weren’t lying when you said it was foolproof, but there’s no way to really articulate how tender and flavorful these ribs are. So amazing.
Oh my gosh! You just made my day!! In stores?!? IDK but I am happy you think it is that good!! I am so glad you liked the bbq ribs! Thanks for leaving a review, Marta!
Yes to this rib recipe! I can’t I can’t believe the rib came out so tender from the Instant pot. Thank you so much for this recipe especially the dry rub.
Hi Enrique! The rub is one of my favorite parts too; it adds so much flavor! Thanks for leaving a review!
I was elated to discover I could have tender, flavorful ribs in such a short amount of time. They were delicious!
Hi Robin! I am happy you enjoyed the recipe! Thanks for leaving a review!
I really love the attention to detail that went into this recipe. Your steps were so easy to follow and the pictures are so helpful! The ribs were delicious of course! Can’t wait to make them again!
Hi Crystal! I am so glad you liked the recipe and found it easy to follow! Thank you for leaving a review! 🙂
This recipe was thoroughly enjoyed by the entire family. I loved that it still had the smoky delicious flavour of ribs that have been slow cooked to perfection however it was done is less than half the time in the instapot! Definitely a fall off the bone tender baby back ribs recipe to try!
Hi Taneisha! Thank you so much! I am glad you enjoyed the flavor! Making ribs in the instant pot has become one of my new favorite methods for making tender ribs! Thanks for leaving a review!
This is such an incredible method to make ribs!! I’ve had them in the slow cooker before, but this was so quick and easy and they came out even better! I love that dry rub!
Thanks, Chenee! I think the Instant Pot has won my heart over the slow cooker! It cooks meals in a fraction of the time! Thanks for giving the recipe a try and leaving a review!
I loved how easily this recipe came together! And that bbq sauce was finger licking good!
Hi Britney! I am glad you liked the barbecue sauce!! Thanks for leaving a review 🙂
This recipe might make me buy an Instant Pot! I made it at my best friend’s place and we couldn’t believe how easy and delicious the ribs turned out. Thank you!
So glad you liked!