Instant Pot BBQ Baby Back Ribs

Want to know the secret to amazing ribs? The results are in! These Instant Pot Baby Back Ribs are fall-off-the-bone perfection and take a fraction of the time to make.

Juicy Pressure Cooker BBQ Ribs with sauce and potato salad
Nick Evans

Have you ever made a recipe where the minimal work involved does not correlate with the deliciousness of the final dish? Like, you must have unwittingly taken some kind of cooking shortcut, because something this easy can't possibly be this good?

These BBQ ribs – cooked in an Instant Pot or pressure cooker and finished under a broiler – are exactly that. They're ready in about an hour (from start to finish!) and will knock the socks off even the most seasoned rib eater.

Why You Should Make Ribs in the Instant Pot

Normally, ribs take a long time to cook. My former approach to cooking ribs was to use the 3-2-1 method. Each of those numbers represents HOURS so the total time involved was – you guessed it – six hours.

But when you use an Instant Pot or other pressure cooker and add just a little bit of liquid smoke, you can have smoky fall-off-the-bone-tender ribs in literally an hour. An hour! Once you try it, you will never want to make ribs any other way.

Instant Pot BBQ Ribs Recipe on a platter with potato salad
Nick Evans

What Kind of Ribs to Buy

In theory, you can use any cut of pork ribs for this recipe, but I think baby back ribs fit best in most pressure cookers. Since spare ribs are larger, you wouldn't be able to fit as many in the cooker.

How to Season the Ribs

Definitely dry rub the ribs before pressure-cooking them. If possible, do this up to a day in advance so the seasoning really penetrates the ribs. You can use your favorite store-bought rub, but I recommend this great homemade pork rub—I used it for mine and they were delicious.

Pile of Instant Pot BBQ Baby Back Ribs
Nick Evans

To Get Crispy Bits on Your Ribs

While the ribs will be very tender when they come out of the pressure cooker, they will be missing that caramelized top texture that comes after a lot of time on the grill or smoker. You can get some of that back by basting the ribs with barbecue sauce and then broiling them under high heat for five minutes.

You could also toss them on a hot grill until the sauce has caramelized on the ribs.

Pressure Cooker Baby Back BBQ Ribs
Nick Evans

What to Serve with These Ribs

The ribs pretty much speak for themselves. I like to serve them with big bowls of extra sauce and a few simple sides. You can’t go wrong with this German Potato Salad as a side dish!

How to Store and Reheat Leftover Ribs

If you cook two full racks of ribs, you will probably have leftovers, lucky you! Keep them in the fridge, and when you are ready to reheat them, wrap them well in foil with a little extra sauce and heat them in a 350 ̊F oven until they are tender, about 15 minutes.

More Amazing Rib Recipes!

Can You Use Other Ribs for This Instant Pot Recipe?

You can cook other ribs in your instant pot, but you'll have to adjust the cooking time. For pork spare ribs, cook on high pressure for 35 minutes, and let the pressure release naturally. Since spare ribs are larger and tougher than baby back ribs, you'll need that extra time to make them tender.

For beef short ribs, cook on high pressure for 45 minutes, then do a 10 to 15 minute natural release.

The Best BBQ Sauce for Ribs

We suggest your favorite BBQ sauce for this recipe. You can use store-bought, but it's so easy to whip up your own, like this South Carolina Mustard BBQ Sauce, Kansas City Barbecue Sauce, or spice it with the sauce from these Korean BBQ Pork Ribs.

Quick Sides for Instant Pot BBQ Ribs

Here are some side you can make while your baby back ribs are cooking in the Instant Pot!

From the Editors Of Simply Recipes

Instant Pot BBQ Baby Back Ribs

Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 65 mins
Total Time 80 mins
Servings 6 servings

These ribs do best when the dry rub is applied up to a day in advance, so the seasoning really penetrates the ribs.

Ingredients

  • 2 full racks (3 to 4 pounds) pork baby back ribs

  • About 1/3 cup dry rub for pork, store-bought or homemade

  • 3/4 cup water

  • 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar

  • 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke (optional)

  • 2 cups barbecue sauce, your favorite store-bought or homemade

Method

  1. Prep the ribs:

    Working with one rack at a time, use a paring knife to separate the thin transparent membrane on the inside of the ribs. Peel it away from the ribs. It should come off in one big piece. This will make it easier to slice and serve the ribs.

    Remove the thin white membrane on the ribs for Instant Pot Baby Back Ribs
    Nick Evans
  2. Apply the dry rub:

    Rub the ribs well on all sides with dry rub. If possible, cover and let rest in the fridge overnight.

    Seasoning Pressure Cooker BBQ Ribs
    Nick Evans
  3. Cook the ribs:

    In the bottom of your Instant Pot, add some foil balls or a rack to raise the ribs above the liquid. Pour water, vinegar, and liquid smoke (optional) into the Instant Pot. Add ribs, bending them to fit. You should be able to fit two racks of baby back ribs in a 6-quart Instant Pot or pressure cooker.

    Lock the pressure cooker and cook on high pressure for 30 minutes. Release the pressure naturally for 10 minutes, then vent off remaining pressure.

    Raw rack of BBQ baby back ribs in the Instant Pot bowl
    Nick Evans
    BBQ Baby Back Ribs in the Instant Pot
    Nick Evans
  4. Broil the ribs:

    Remove the ribs from the Instant Pot and spread them out on a baking sheet. Brush liberally with barbecue sauce and broil on high heat for 5 minutes. Slice the ribs and serve with sides and extra sauce.

    Rack of Pressure Cooker Baby Back BBQ Ribs on platter
    Nick Evans
    Pressure Cooker Baby Back BBQ Ribs
    Nick Evans

    To reheat leftover ribs, wrap them tightly in foil and heat them in a 350̊°F oven until heated through, about 15 minutes. You can also grill them for 10 to 15 minutes over medium heat.

    Serve with extra sauce!

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
208 Calories
4g Fat
39g Carbs
3g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
×
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 208
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 4g 5%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Cholesterol 11mg 4%
Sodium 1053mg 46%
Total Carbohydrate 39g 14%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Total Sugars 32g
Protein 3g
Vitamin C 1mg 3%
Calcium 39mg 3%
Iron 1mg 5%
Potassium 272mg 6%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.