Instant Pot Baby Back Ribs

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Looking for fall-off-the-bone tender ribs without spending hours by the grill or oven? You’ve got to try these Instant Pot Baby Back Ribs—so juicy and flavorful, they just might change your rib-cooking game forever.

instant pot ribs

Why You’ll Love It

  • Time-Saving: The Instant Pot cuts the cooking time significantly, letting you enjoy tender ribs in under an hour, as opposed to the multiple hours it would take on a grill or in the oven.
  • Consistent Results: With the Instant Pot’s precise pressure and temperature controls, you can achieve consistently tender and flavorful ribs every single time you cook them.
  • Less Mess, Less Stress: Say goodbye to fiddling with charcoal, wood chips, or oven settings. Cooking ribs in the Instant Pot is straightforward and mess-free.

Cyann A says: 5 stars This recipe was delicious a perfect way to make baby back ribs. It’s definitely a new family favorite

Jessica F says: 5 stars I love baby back ribs, but I love them even more now that I know I can make them in the Instant Pot! Thanks so much for sharing the recipe!

» Serve these ribs with Instant Pot Mac & Cheese or Instant Pot Pasta Salad.

Ingredients Needed

instant pot baby back ribs ingredients
  • Rack of ribs – Baby back ribs fit best in the 6-quart Instant Pot, but you can also cook spare ribs or a larger rack of pork ribs. If you want, you can double the recipe. I can fit two racks of baby back ribs in at a time.
  • BBQ sauce – Use your favorite BBQ sauce (I use Sweet Baby Rays), or leave off the sauce, if you’re not a fan.
  • Dry Rub Ingredients – Paprika, brown sugar, salt, garlic powder, chili powder, ground black pepper

Equipment Needed

Instant Pot Duo Plus
  • Instant Pot – I use a 6-quart Instant Pot Duo Plus to make all of my recipes, but you can use any size or brand of electric pressure cooker. If you’re using an 8-quart pot, you will need to adjust the amount of liquid accordingly, as it requires more water to build steam.
  • Trivet – It’s best to set the ribs on the trivet to keep them out of the water (as long as they fit).

Expert Tips For the Best Ribs

  • Make sure you remove the tough silver membrane on the back of the ribs.
  • A dry rub does a lot to flavor these ribs. Use our homemade rub or use your favorite store-bought rub.
  • Since these are cooked in the pressure cooker, they won’t get that delicious char of the grill. To get that char and caramelize the BBQ sauce, you must broil them or grill them on high heat after they’re done in the Instant Pot.
  • If you have an Instant Pot Duo Crisp with the air fryer lid, you can change lids on the IP and crisp up the ribs that way. I’ve also successfully finished the ribs in a separate air fryer, so I didn’t have to use the oven.
baby back ribs

How to Make Instant Pot BBQ Ribs

Step 1: Remove the Membrane

A rack of ribs has a silver membrane on the backside. For the best fall-apart meat, the membrane needs to be removed.

Turn the ribs over and find the edge of the skin at one corner of the meat. If you grab it just right and pull with some force, it should be easy to remove the membrane in one piece, just like removing a plastic film from a package.

membrane on ribs

Step 2: Dry Rub

I always add a dry rub to my ribs before putting them in the Instant Pot. This can be a dry rub that you purchase at the store, or one you make at home. I like to make my own rub, and I use a combination of salt, paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, and brown sugar.

baby back rib rub

Mix up the seasoning and use it all to season your rack of baby back ribs. It’s going to feel like a lot, but that’s what you want.

If you have time, let the ribs sit for about 10 minutes so the rub really sets in.

rub on ribs

Step 3: Fit the Ribs in the Pot

Pour 1 cup of water into the inner pot and lower the trivet into the pot. You need the trivet to keep the ribs from sitting directly in the water. If you don’t have a trivet, you can use a steamer basket.

A rack of baby back ribs can fit rolled up on its side in the Instant Pot, as long as it’s not too wide. Give it a try. Put the trivet in the bottom of the pot, then roll up the ribs and set them inside.

ribs in an Instant Pot

If the ribs are too wide, they might not fit without exceeding the max fill line. You may have to cut the rack of ribs in half to fit in the Instant Pot.

It really won’t matter much how you fit them in. They’ll cook the same either way.

ribs in an Instant Pot

If you have at least a 6-quart Instant Pot, you can likely fit 2 racks of baby back ribs, rolled up or cut in half, in the inner pot. An 8-quart pot will fit 3 racks of ribs.

Step 4: Pressure Cook

Close and lock the lid in place. Set the vent to the sealing position (if that’s necessary for your model).

Press the “Pressure Cooker” or Manual button and set the cook time to 30 minutes (on high pressure). It’ll take about 5-15 minutes to come up to pressure, depending on which Instant Pot you have. When the 30 minute cook time is up, allow a natural pressure release. This will take about 10 minutes.

When the pin drops, you can remove the lid. Your ribs are now done! You can baste them with BBQ sauce and serve them.

Step 5: Broil (optional)

This step isn’t required, but it does make for much more tasty and desirable ribs. Heat the broiler (upper grill) of your oven.

Place the ribs on a baking sheet with parchment paper. Baste them with the BBQ sauce. I use either Sweet Baby Rays, or this homemade Bourbon BBQ Sauce. Put the baking sheet of ribs under the broiler with the ribs about 2-3 inches from the heating element.

Grill them for about 5 minutes, until the top starts to bubble and char a bit. You can repeat this step once more, slathering on more BBQ sauce and grilling again, if you wish. I like to do that to develop even more flavor, but it’s not necessary.

Baby Back Ribs

These ribs turn out so tender that you won’t believe it. All in, it takes just about 45 minutes to make perfectly tender ribs that are nearly as good as a slow cooked, grilled version.

We make these ribs all the time, thanks to the Instant Pot. It’s now an easy meal that we can enjoy whenever we want, rather than an all-day affair that takes forever to finish.

What to Serve With Instant Pot Baby Back Ribs

The best thing to serve alongside baby back ribs is corn on the cob. You can easily make the corn on the cob in the Instant Pot as well. Try one of these 4th of July Instant Pot recipes, which always go well with ribs.

A side salad, potato salad, or baked beans also go really well with baby back ribs. They aren’t just a summer treat anymore with an Instant Pot, so you might also want to serve an Instant Pot Butternut Squash Soup as a side.

baby back ribs

Questions About the Recipe

Why are my ribs tough in the Instant Pot?

If you cook the ribs for 30 minutes on high pressure and allow a full natural release of the pressure, they should not turn out tough. It does sometimes happen that ribs are tough if you release the pressure manually or if you’ve submerged the meat in the cooking liquid. Try cooking them for 10 minutes longer to see if the connective tissue just has not broken down yet.

Do I have to use the dry rub?

You don’t have to use dry rub on these ribs, but I would at the very least use salt and pepper to season the meat. It will result in much more flavorful ribs. The dry rub has several seasonings that work together to really boost the flavor.

How much liquid do you put in the Instant Pot?

As with most other things you make in the Instant Pot, there must be at least one cup of water (1 1/2 in the 8-quart) in order to build enough steam. If you put more than one cup, it might cause the ribs to be partially submerged, so only put in one cup.

More Instant Pot Ribs To Try

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Baby Back Ribs

Instant Pot Baby Back Ribs

These Instant Pot Baby Back Ribs are cooked to tender in the Instant Pot then grilled.

Note: Made in a 6-qt Instant Pot

4.96 from 21 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Pressurizing Time 15 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4 people
Calories 708 kcal

Ingredients
 

  • 2 racks baby back ribs
  • 1/2 cup (118 ml) BBQ sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon (4 g) paprika
  • 1/2 tablespoon (6 g) brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons (12 g) salt
  • 1 teaspoon (3 g) garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon (2 g) chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon (2 g) ground black pepper
  • 1 cup water

Instructions
 

  • Carefully remove membrane from back of baby back ribs with a sharp knife, if necessary.
  • Combine the paprika, brown sugar, salt, garlic powder, chili powder, and black pepper in a bowl. Season the ribs on both sides with the dry rub.
  • Add water to Instant Pot and insert the trivet. Place the seasoned ribs on top of the insert. (Do not stack them flat on top of each other).
  • Lock the Instant Pot lid into place and turn the pressure valve to sealing. Press the pressure cooker button and adjust the time to 30 minutes.
  • Once cooking time is complete, do a quick release by turning the sealing valve to the venting position.
  • Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon mat. Preheat the broiler to high.
  • Transfer ribs to prepared baking sheet. Brush ribs with a generous amount of BBQ sauce on each side.
  • Broil the ribs for 5 minutes or until bubbly and beginning to char. Remove from oven and cool slightly. Serve immediately with extra BBQ sauce for dipping.

Notes

  • If you’d prefer to grill the ribs outside instead, preheat your grill to 400 degrees and place the ribs over direct flames for 3-5 minutes to char.

Nutrition

Calories: 708kcalCarbohydrates: 17gProtein: 55gFat: 47gSaturated Fat: 16gPolyunsaturated Fat: 8gMonounsaturated Fat: 19gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 196mgSodium: 1786mgPotassium: 813mgFiber: 1gSugar: 13gVitamin A: 330IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 106mgIron: 3mg
Keyword BBQ, Ribs
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11 thoughts on “Instant Pot Baby Back Ribs

  1. Jessica Formicola says:

    5 stars
    I love baby back ribs, but I love them even more now that I know I can make them in the Instant Pot! Thanks so much for sharing the recipe!

  2. Margaret says:

    5 stars
    I made these ribs tonight my family loved them. I put them on the grill after the instant pot for about 10 min without bbq sauce, i put the juice from the IP on them beforeIgrilledthem, a little crisp and full of flavor

    • Angela Morris says:

      You will need a cup of water for a 6 quart IP and 1 1/2 cups of water for an 8 quart. It should work just fine to refrigerate and grill the next day. Enjoy!

4.96 from 21 votes (14 ratings without comment)

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