These Instant Pot Ribs are the most tender and fall-off-the-bone baby back ribs, rubbed in spices and cooked in your pressure cooker. Finish them off on the grill or under the broiler for the best ribs ever!
Why This Method Works
One of the most impressive meals you can make in your pressure cooker are definitely ribs! They are fall-off-the-bone delicious, and some even say that they are better than smoked or grilled ribs!
This method makes cooking ribs faster, without sacrificing the flavor. My homemade BBQ spice rub is so easy to whisk up and most likely you already have the spices on hand. If you like, you can add ½ teaspoon of liquid smoke to the water/apple juice mixture for a right-off-the-grill flavor!
- baby back ribs: you can use 1 to 2 racks and cut each into three pieces or roll them up and place them in the Instant Pot;
- water: needed to build up the pressure;
- apple cider vinegar: recommended since it helps tenderize the meat;
- apple juice (optional): adds sweet flavor;
- brown sugar: adds sweetness and caramelizes;
- spice rub: made with ground cinnamon, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt, and pepper;
- liquid smoke (optional): if you want to add the smoky flavor;
- BBQ sauce: choose your favorite; I use my homemade recipe.
How to make ribs in the Instant Pot?
- Start by preparing the spice rub in a small bowl.
- Mix all the liquids in a glass cup. Pour into the IP insert.
- Trim any excess fat from the ribs, remove the membrane from the back of the rack, and cut the ribs into 3 pieces.
- Rub spice mix on the ribs and arrange them on a trivet in the Instant Pot. See my photo for visual reference.
- Close the IP, and set the timer to 25 minutes on HIGH pressure.
- Once done, let the pressure release naturally.
- Remove ribs onto an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet, brush with your favorite BBQ sauce, and broil OR throw on the grill to caramelize the sauce.
Baby back ribs vs. spare ribs
Baby Back Ribs are a favorite around here since they are the more tender cut of meat. Spare ribs are tougher and meatier. You can prepare both kinds in the Instant Pot, just make sure to add 10 more minutes of cooking time for the spare ribs. I recommend Natural Pressure Release for both kinds.
How to prepare ribs for pressure cooking?
First, you need to remove the membrane from the back of the rib rack. Simply insert a fork or knife under the membrane to loosen it up, then pull it off the whole rack. Next, prepare the dry rub and generously cover the ribs. Cut the rack into 3 pieces; it will make it easier to fit the ribs in your Instant Pot. It also makes it easier to broil or finish off on the grill.
Baby back ribs require 25 minutes of cooking, plus natural pressure release (another 10 minutes). If you are cooking spare ribs, set the timer to 35 minutes plus NPR as well.
More Instant Pot recipes:
To learn more about the Instant Pot, check out my Guide for Beginners. If you experienced the “burn” message while using your IP, check out my Instant Pot Burn Message post to learn how to fix the issue and prevent it in the first place.
If you like this recipe and make it, let me know in the comments below! Don't forget to rate it if you enjoyed it!
Instant Pot Ribs
for the ribs:
- 1 rack baby back ribs
- ½ cup water
- ½ cup apple juice
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- ½ teaspoon liquid smoke optional
- 3 tablespoons packed brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 ½ teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¾ teaspoon black pepper
- ¾ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- Prepare the ribs: remove membrane from the back of the rack (a thin film) by inserting a fork or knife underneath it and loosening up, then pull the membrane off and discard. Trim off any excess fat of the ends of the rack. Cut the ribs rack into 3 equal pieces.1 rack baby back ribs
- In a small bowl, combine all spice rub ingredients. Generously cover ribs with the spice mix and rub it in.3 tablespoons packed brown sugar, ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon, 2 ½ teaspoons chili powder, 1 teaspoon salt, ¾ teaspoon black pepper, ¾ teaspoon garlic powder, ½ teaspoon onion powder, 1 teaspoon paprika
- Make sure the stainless steel insert is in your Instant Pot.
- Pour water, juice, vinegar and liquid smoke (if using) into the insert and stir.½ cup water, ½ cup apple juice, ¼ cup apple cider vinegar, ½ teaspoon liquid smoke
- Place trivet in the IP.
- Arrange ribs on the insert, standing up. The spice rub won't come off during cooking, no worries.
- Close the lid and set valve to sealing position (newer models do it on their own).
- Make sure the Instant Pot is set to cook on HIGH pressure. Press the "manual/pressure cook" button and set timer to 25 minutes.
- The Instant Pot will beep and start coming to pressure (that takes about 10 minutes).
- Once the timer is done, press "cancel/off" and let the IP release pressure naturally (do not switch the valve!). Set your kitchen timer to 10 minutes. Once the pressure pin is down, carefully open the lid away from your face.
- Remove ribs onto a sheet pan. Brush with your favorite BBQ sauce and broil OR throw it on the grill to caramelize the sauce. You can also skip the sauce and use leftover liquid from the IP to baste the ribs.
- The spice rub stays on the ribs during pressure cooking. Make sure to cover the ribs generously, mostly on the meaty side.
- You can use the leftover liquid to baste ribs before broiling or grilling.
- Please note, that the nutrition value can vary depending on what product you use. The information below is an estimate. Always use calorie counter you are familiar with.