Love BBQ Pork Ribs? These Instant Pot Pork Ribs come out delicious, flavourful and fall-off-the-bone tender all the time! You won’t need to go to a restaurant for baby back ribs anymore with this pressure cooker recipe.
Instant Pot Ribs
I love BBQ ribs and typically order them when I visit restaurants specializing in barbecue. There’s just something about getting messy with your hands, eating delicious and tender meat off the bone and licking your fingers clean of barbecue sauce after.
This is why I was so excited to make Instant Pot Pork Ribs when I got the Instant Pot Duo Crisp + Air Fryer. And I am so happy how they turned out.
Perfect. All. The. Time! Fall-off-the bone tender meat with nice sticky caramelized crust.
I can honestly say that these baby back ribs are my most favourite thing to make on the Instant Pot to the point that I stock on baby back ribs in the freezer so I can make them whenever I want to.
I tried and tested making these BBQ ribs four times so I can perfect this Instant Pot Pork Ribs recipe. They have the best combination of fall-of-the-bone with still a bit of chew. I hope you enjoy them.
What Makes This Instant Pot Recipe So Good?
Once you try this Instant Pot Baby Back Ribs, you won’t have to order them at restaurants again! Here’s why it’s so good:
Easy. Once you make this Instant Pot Pork Ribs, you’ll realize how easy it is to make. It uses repeatable steps that always comes out perfect.
Cheap(er). Buying baby back ribs in the grocery costs around $15. In restaurants, they tend to be quite expensive, usually more than $25, and it can even be a hit or miss with the quality. But these Instant Pot Pork Ribs are always delicious and better than a lot of the ones in restaurants!
Flexible. A lot of the ingredients are flexible so the possibilities are endless with what you can play around. For example, you can use spareribs or beef ribs instead of baby back ribs. You can use a different sauce instead of BBQ. I once did Instant Pot Jerk Ribs.
Versatile. BBQ Baby Back Ribs are definitely one of the perfect dishes for the Instant Pot Duo Crisp + Air Fryer because it allows you to pressure cook and air fry all in one pot. However, you can still do the caramelization in other ways by broiling in the oven or air frying separately, and I’ve included them here too. Or you can even just skip the caramelization and stick with delicious pressure cooked ribs.
No Grill. This is very important for me because I live in a condo where a grill isn’t allowed. By using the oven or air fryer, we’re able to make these BBQ ribs look like they’re grilled due to the caramelization of the BBQ sauce.
Also Read: Texas Barbecue Tour in Austin, Texas
What You Need For Instant Pot Ribs Recipe
I used the Instant Pot Duo Crisp + Air Fryer for this recipe, which is perfect because I can use it both for pressure cooking the ribs and caramelizing it after without using an oven or a separate air fryer.
BBQ Ribs Ingredients
- Pork Ribs – I used Baby Back Ribs but this recipe can work for other kinds of ribs with slight adjustments.
- Liquid – Some sort of liquid mixture is required for pressure cooking ribs. I used water for this recipe but other popular liquids used are apple juice, apple cider vinegar or even soda. You can even elevate these ribs by adding some liquid smoke to the mixture.
- BBQ Sauce – You can buy pre-made barbecue sauce or make it from scratch like the homemade BBQ sauce I made for Air Fryer BBQ Pork Tenderloin.
- Dry Rub – You’ll want to have some dry rub on the ribs when pressure cooking so there’s more flavour. The easiest one is simple salt and pepper. For this recipe, I made a dry rub mix using salt, pepper, paprika and basil.
How To Make Pressure Cooker Ribs On Instant Pot
Pat the ribs dry and remove the membrane. The membrane is the slippery tough white layer found on the bone side of the ribs (curved toward you).
To remove it, slide, lift and loosen the membrane with a butter knife. Once there’s enough loosened for you to grab on to, pull the entire membrane off.
Travelling Foodie Tip: Since the membrane is quite slippery, it is best to use a paper towel to pull off the membrane.
Make your rub in a bowl (if making your own). Cut the ribs in half and apply dry rub generously on both ribs.
On the Instant Pot inner pot, add the liquid mixture, place the trivet and put the ribs on top. Note: You can use the air fryer basket too if using Instant Pot Duo Crisp + Air Fryer.
Put the lid on the Instant Pot and set Pressure Cook on High for 20 minutes then a 20-minute Natural Release followed by Quick Release (although if you can wait, by all means, you can natural release the entire time).
Remove the ribs and coat generously with barbecue sauce on all sides.
How To Caramelize Instant Pot BBQ Ribs
Optionally, you can caramelize the BBQ baby back ribs. I always like to caramelize it after so the BBQ sauce sticks to the meat and the crusts of the meat browns and crisps a little as well.
Here are some options that doesn’t require a grill!
Option 1: Instant Pot Air Fryer Lid / Instant Pot Duo Crisp + Air Fryer
If you’re using the Instant Pot Air Fryer Lid, just put the coated ribs back in the inner pot and put the air fryer lid on top. Run Air Fry for 10 minutes at 400F.
Travelling Foodie Tip: It is preferred to have the inner pot drained of liquids and dried before placing the ribs back for air frying. BUT I also tried just air frying without doing this and didn’t find a big noticeable difference in quality so it really depends if you want to do the extra cleaning step, which I don’t.
Option 2: Broil in the Oven
Place the pork ribs on a tray lined with aluminum foil and broil for 6-8 minutes in a pre-heated oven.
Option 3: Air Fryer
Tips On The Perfect Instant Pot Pork Ribs
How many ribs can fit in an Instant Pot?
I haven’t had to cook a lot of ribs in one shot but you can fit 2-3 racks of ribs in an Instant Pot by placing them side ways instead of flat and making a circle out of them. You can cut the ribs into smaller sections too if you need more space.
Can I use spare ribs instead of baby back ribs (or pork back ribs)?
You can definitely use spare ribs for this Instant Pot recipe. Since spare ribs are bigger than baby back ribs (smaller bones – hence, baby!), you’ll need to pressure cook longer at around 25-30 minutes.
I typically prefer baby back ribs because they are generally more tender and less bones than spare ribs. But spare ribs are bigger and more marbled so it really depends on preference.
In terms of the cut, back ribs are located right above the spare ribs and below the loin.
Does meat get more tender the longer you pressure cook it?
Yes, the longer you pressure cook, the more tender the meat will be because the connective tissues are broken down more. But this doesn’t mean you must always cook it long because it might become too tender.
Having a bit of chew on your meat is important too. This is why I made sure my Instant Pot pork ribs recipe has that perfect fall-of-the-bone tenderness while having a good chew.
Is it better to slow cook or pressure cook?
One isn’t necessarily better than the other. Both slow cook and pressure cook have their own advantages and disadvantages.
What I love with slow cooking is you can leave it for long periods without worrying. I have left food slow cooking overnight so that when I wake up, the food is ready.
What I love with pressure cooking is it saves so much time! And with the Instant Pot, you can do multiple things on the same pot like sautéing before or air frying after on top of pressure cooking.
Can you reheat ribs in the air fryer?
You can definitely heat ribs in the air fryer! I legit use my air fryer for reheating most food that can be placed on the air fryer basket nowadays.
Cut the ribs into 1-2 bones so you can place them on the air fryer basket without overlapping or overcrowding. Air fry for 400F for 3 minutes.
Can you eat the membrane on ribs?
You can definitely eat the membrane, but the question is: why would you want to? The membrane is really tough and chewy, and it doesn’t soften even if you pressure cook it.
It also makes the Instant Pot pork ribs less flavourful because the dry rub gets applied to the membrane on one side instead of the meat. The bottom part also gets less heat passing through it because the membrane is blocking it.
Side Dishes To Serve With Instant Pot BBQ Ribs
- Air Fryer French Fries
- Air Fryer Sweet Potato Fries
- Instant Pot Edamame Green Onion Rice
- Prosciutto and Cheese Cupcakes
- Beans Poriyal (Green Beans Coconut Stir Fry)
Instant Pot Baby Back Ribs Recipe
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- 1 rack Baby Back Ribs
- 1/2 cup Barbecue Sauce
- 2 cups Water
Dry Rub Seasoning
- 2 teaspoon Sea Salt
- 2 teaspoon Pepper
- 2 teaspoon Paprika
- 1 teaspoon Dried Basil
- Make dry rub by combining all ingredients in a small cup.
- Pat the pork ribs dry and remove the white membrane from the back of the rack.
- Cut the baby back ribs in half and apply rub to all sides.
- Place trivet inside Instant Pot and add water.
- Place ribs on top of the trivet.
- Pressure Cook on High Pressure for 20 minutes. It takes around 8 minutes to pressurize.
- Natural Release for 20 minutes then do a quick release.
- Remove the baby back ribs and coat all sides with BBQ sauce.
(Optional) Broil the BBQ Ribs for caramelization
Option 1: Instant Pot Air Fryer Lid or Duo-Crisp + Air Fryer
- Place the ribs back on the trivet.
- Using the Air Fryer lid, air fry the ribs for 10 minutes at 400F (204C).
Option 2: Oven
- Line a tray with aluminum foil.
- Place the pork ribs on the tray.
- Broil for 6-8 minutes in pre-heated oven.
Option 3: Air Fryer
- Place the ribs on Air Fryer basket.
- Air fry the baby back ribs for 8 minutes at 400F.
- When using Instant Pot Duo Crisp + Air Fryer, you can use the air fryer basket instead of the trivet.
- If you don't have the Instant Pot Air Fryer lid, you can also use an Air Fryer.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 318Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 66mgSodium: 1625mgCarbohydrates: 21gFiber: 1gSugar: 16gProtein: 19g
Please note that nutrition information you see is provided and automatically calculated by Nutritionix. This may vary depending on the specific ingredients that you use. To ensure the most accurate information, I suggest entering your specific ingredients into a nutrition calculator.
Hope this Instant Pot Pork Ribs recipe gives you an idea on what to have for lunch or dinner! You will not need to go to a restaurant for BBQ baby back ribs after having this pressure cooker ribs.