You don’t need a smoker to make deliciously tender pork ribs! These Instant Pot Ribs are tender, flavorful and ready in a fraction of the time. They’re so easy to make, and the recipe includes cooking times for both spare ribs and baby back ribs!

Instant Pot ribs with bbq sauce and scallions

I own several kitchen appliances, and my Instant Pot is one that I simply can’t live without out.

The ability to cook amazingly tender pulled pork and beef bourguignon in an hour or less instead of several hours is just so convenient.

These Instant Pot Ribs are my latest revelation. I own a smoker, and while it produces amazing ribs, it takes hours to get them perfectly tender.

With my Instant Pot, (2) racks of spare ribs cook up in 45 minutes, and the meat is falling off the bone tender. And baby back ribs cook up even faster!

You’re welcome. 🙂

Racks of instant pot pork ribs on baking sheet

Why you’ll love this recipe:

  • Instant Pot Ribs are seasoned with an easy bbq rub, pressure cooked until perfectly tender, then slathered with barbecue sauce and broiled until caramelized.
  • Recipe includes instructions to cook 1-2 racks of ribs quickly and easily.
  • Pork ribs can be customized with your favorite seasonings and served with your favorite bbq sauce.
  • You can make this recipe in advance to enjoy on busy weeknights.

Recipe ingredients

You only need a few ingredients for this Instant Pot ribs recipe, and most may be customized as outlined in the ingredient notes below.

Instant Pot ribs recipe ingredients

Ingredient notes

  • Ribs. I used pork spare ribs for this recipe because they’re larger and meatier, but baby back ribs work wonderfully as well and they cook up even faster. Ask your butcher to remove the tough outer membrane on the underside of the ribs for you, and look for ribs that don’t have an excessive amount of fat to save you prep time.
  • Seasoning. I seasoned the ribs generously with salt, pepper and my bbq rub, which is versatile enough to use with any type of meat. Feel free to substitute it with your favorite rub or seasonings.
  • Apple cider vinegar. Liquid must be added to the Instant Pot to provide moisture. I used a combination of apple cider vinegar and water to add a nice tangy flavor to the pork ribs. The liquid may be substituted with apple cider, apple juice, beer, or simply use water.
  • Liquid smoke. If you have liquid smoke on hand, I recommend using it as it imparts a nice smoky flavor to the ribs as they cook.
  • BBQ sauce. Use my homemade BBQ sauce or your favorite store bought brand.

How to make instant pot pork ribs

Cooking ribs in the Instant Pot is extremely easy, and they’re ready in a fraction of the time using other cooking methods.

When I make this Instant Pot ribs recipe, I usually cook up 2 racks because they go quickly in my family.

It takes 5-10 minutes longer to cook 2 racks versus 1 rack, so decrease the cooking time if you only want to prepare 1 rack of ribs.

Pro tip: Choose ribs that don’t have an excessive amount of fat and ask your butcher to remove the tough outer membrane on the underside of the ribs to save you a significant amount of prep time.

See the recipe card below for full instructions.

How to make ribs in instant pot
  1. Blot the ribs dry and season generously with salt, pepper and bbq rub.
  2. Place the apple cider vinegar and water in the Instant Pot, then set the trivet inside with the handles up. Wrap both racks of spare ribs on the trivet meat side facing outward, overlapping them so that the thickest ribs are on opposite ends.
  3. Cook at High Pressure for 45 minutes, then naturally release the pressure for 10 minutes.
  4. Place the ribs on a foil lined baking sheet meat side up.
  5. Brush the ribs generously with bbq sauce.
  6. Broil for 3-4 minutes or until the sauce has caramelized.
Instant pot pork ribs on a baking sheet

FAQs

What’s the difference between spare ribs and baby back ribs?

Pork spare ribs are cut from the lower part of the pig, or in the region of the belly or breastbone behind the shoulder. They’re longer, meatier, and generally contain more fat than baby back ribs.

Baby back ribs are cut from where the rib meets the spine after the loin is removed. They’re smaller and leaner than spare ribs, but they’re also more expensive.

How to prep pork ribs?

Trim excess fat as needed and remove the tough outer membrane from the underside of the ribs.

To remove the membrane, insert the tip of a knife under the membrane and pull it up. From there, pull it back as you separate or scrape the membrane from the rib with the tip of the knife until it’s been removed.

How long do pork ribs take to cook in the Instant Pot?

Two racks of pork spare ribs will be falling off the bone tender after 45 minutes of cooking time. Decrease the cooking time to about 35 minutes if preparing just one rack of spare ribs.

One rack of baby back ribs will be tender in about 25 minutes, while 2 racks will take about 30-35 minutes.

Cut Instant Pot spare ribs on parchment paper

Serving suggestions

Recipe notes

  • Pro tip:  Be sure to remove the tough outer membrane from the bottom of the pork ribs prior to seasoning.  You can have your butcher do this for you to save you prep time!
  • Choose ribs without an excessive amount of fat as they’ll be much leaner and there won’t be much fat to trim.
  • Cooking time will vary based on whether you cook 1 or 2 racks of ribs and whether you’re using spare ribs or baby back ribs.  For baby back ribs, cook for about 25 minutes and let the pressure naturally release for 15 minutes.
  • One rack of pork spare ribs is 2 1/2 lbs. and feeds 3-4 people.  One rack of baby back ribs is 1 1/2 – 2 lbs. and feeds about 2-3 people.
  • Instant Pot ribs will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Instant pot spare ribs in front of the pressure cooker

More Instant Pot recipes you’ll love:

Did you try this recipe?

If so, be sure to leave a comment and star rating below, and don’t forget to tag @flavorthemoments on Facebook and Instagram!

Instant Pot ribs with bbq sauce and scallions

Instant Pot Ribs

Instant Pot Ribs are the foolproof way to make delicious, tender pork ribs every time! Recipe includes cooking times for both baby back ribs and spare ribs!
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Ingredients

  • 2 racks pork spare ribs blotted dry, fat trimmed and silver skin removed; see instructions below for baby back ribs
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons barbecue rub or your favorite seasonings/rub
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke optional for smoky flavor
  • 1 cup BBQ sauce or your favorite

Instructions 

  • Blot the ribs dry with paper towels and remove the tough outer membrane on the underside. Season both sides with salt and pepper, followed by the the bbq rub.
    2 racks pork spare ribs, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper, 2 tablespoons barbecue rub
  • Combine the apple cider vinegar, water and liquid smoke in a 1 cup measuring cup, then pour into the Instant Pot.
    1/2 cup apple cider vinegar, 1/2 cup water, 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • Place the trivet in the bottom of the Instant Pot with the handles up. Wrap both racks of ribs meat side facing outward on the trivet, overlapping them so that the thickest ribs are on opposite ends.
  • Secure the lid and close the sealing valve. Select High Pressure and set the time to 45 minutes. Note: It will take up to 10 minutes for the Instant Pot to come to pressure. When the cooking time is over, naturally release the pressure for an additional 10 minutes, then carefully open the sealing valve and remove the lid when safe to do so.
  • Place the ribs on a foil lined baking sheet and brush evenly with the barbecue sauce. Broil for 3-5 minutes until caramelized. Remove from heat, slice and enjoy!
    1 cup BBQ sauce

Notes

  • Pro tip: Be sure to remove the tough outer membrane from the underside of the pork ribs prior to seasoning.  You can have your butcher do this for you to save you prep time!
  • Choose ribs without an excessive amount of fat as they’ll be much leaner and there won’t be much fat to trim.
  • Cooking time will vary based on whether you cook 1 or 2 racks of ribs and whether you’re using spare ribs or baby back ribs.  For baby back ribs, cook for about 25-30 minutes and let the pressure naturally release for 15 minutes.
  • One rack of pork spare ribs is 2 1/2 lbs. and feeds about 4 people.  One rack of baby back ribs is 1 1/2 – 2 lbs. and feeds about 3 people.
  • Instant Pot ribs will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Nutrition

Calories: 977kcal, Carbohydrates: 17g, Protein: 51g, Fat: 77g, Saturated Fat: 25g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 13g, Monounsaturated Fat: 28g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 260mg, Sodium: 926mg, Potassium: 909mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 12g, Vitamin A: 179IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 100mg, Iron: 5mg

Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.

Did you try this recipe?Be sure to tag @flavorthemoments with the hashtag #flavorthemoments on Instagram so I can see what you made!

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