These Instant Pot BBQ Baby Back Ribs are finger lickin’ good! They cook quickly in a pressure cooker and always turn out tender with deep, smoky flavors. You’ll never go back to oven baked ribs again!Jump to Recipe
This recipe was originally posted in June 2018. The blog post was updated in April 2022 but the recipe remains the same.
Easy Instant Pot BBQ ribs
Once you try these Instant Pot BBQ Baby Back Ribs, you’ll never go back to oven baked ribs. They’re finger lickin’ good, super meaty, and fall off the bone. Who knew using the Instant Pot could be one of the best ways to cook ribs at home?
These easy BBQ ribs take less than 30 minutes to cook in the pressure cooker. Afterward, they’re finished in the oven to ensure the thick layer of barbecue sauce caramelizes and soaks into the meat. The process is so simple and you’ll have juicy, tender ribs in less than 45 minutes total.
This is the BEST Instant Pot BBQ ribs recipe because it’s:
- So easy and ready in just 45 minutes.
- Fall of the bone deliciousness.
- Slathered in a sweet and smoky barbecue sauce.
- The Instant Pot does most of the work!
Once you slice them up, bring your barbecue baby back ribs to summer parties or serve them for a family-friendly (and very impressive) dinner. Don’t forget the delicious sides, like potato salad, baked beans, and asparagus!
- Baby back ribs – Beef or pork baby back ribs are best. Baby back ribs tend to be lean, meaty, and flavorful on their own but can be more expensive than spare ribs. This recipe works just as well with spare ribs or short ribs but you’ll need to adjust the cooking times.
- Dry rib rub – This sweet, smoky, and spicy dry rub is easy to make with brown sugar, paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, and sea salt.
- Barbecue sauce – Use any kind you like.
- Apple cider vinegar – Cooking ribs in apple cider vinegar helps tenderize the meat without having to wait on a marinade. Apple juice, chicken stock, or even club soda will work if you don’t have ACV.
- Liquid smoke – For extra smoky-tasting ribs. A little goes a long way!
How to make BBQ ribs in the Instant Pot
- Make the dry rub and prep the ribs: Mix all of the dry rub ingredients together in a bowl. Apply a generous amount to both sides of the ribs.
- Cook the ribs in the Instant Pot: Place a wire rack in the Instant Pot and pour in the water, apple cider vinegar, and liquid smoke. Add the ribs onto the rack, seal the lid closed, and cook on High Pressure. Naturally release the pressure when done.
- Bake in the oven: Transfer the ribs to a foil-lined baking sheet and brush all sides with barbecue sauce. Bake for a few minutes to caramelize the sauce.
- Serve: Take the ribs out of the oven, brush on some extra sauce, and serve!
Tips and tricks
- Remove the membrane on the rack of ribs first. Start at one end of the rack of ribs and peel off the membrane with your fingers or a paper towel.
- If you don’t have a rack for your Instant Pot, make a long coiled snake out of aluminum foil and place it on the bottom of the pot. This should elevate the ribs and keep them out of the liquid.
- Finish the ribs in the oven or on the grill. Both methods will seal in the sweet and smoky flavors of the barbecue sauce.
Ribs are the main event at dinner and deserve to be served with a smorgasbord of side dishes and appetizers. This is how I like to serve them:
With dipping sauce: Don’t forget the extra barbecue sauce for dipping or garlic aioli to really accentuate those smoky flavors.
And plenty of sides: Just like steak, barbecue ribs are best served next to hearty sides like mashed potatoes or cauliflower mash, mac and cheese, corn salad, baked potatoes, apple cabbage slaw, french fries, or creamy polenta.
To double the recipe: Just wrap the second rack of ribs around the first in the Instant Pot. Double the spices, but keep the same amount of liquid. If you’re looking for variety, serve them next to my Beef Short Ribs. Serve your ribs on ribs and enjoy!
Frequently asked questions
This depends on how you like them. For tender, slightly chewy ribs, cook them on High Pressure for 16 minutes. If you prefer them to fall off the bone, cook for up to 25 minutes.
This can happen if the ribs you’re cooking are too meaty or large. The cooking time just won’t be enough for them. Instead, use smaller baby back ribs (a 3-pound rack is ideal) or cut the rack of ribs in half and cook in batches.
You need at least 1 cup of liquid to help tenderize the ribs in the Instant Pot.
Store: Wrap any leftovers in foil and place them in an airtight container. They’ll stay fresh in the fridge for 3 to 4 days.
Reheat: Brush more barbecue sauce on the ribs and warm them in a 250ºF oven for about 30 minutes.
Looking for more finger lickin’ good recipes?
- Garlic Butter Steak Bites
- Mustard and Herb Crusted Rack of Lamb
- Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Wings
- Chicken Thighs with Honey Soy Glaze
- Peruvian-Style Chicken Drumsticks
Did you try these Instant Pot BBQ Baby Back Ribs? Let me know what you think in the comments below, or share a picture on Instagram! I love to share all of your recreations on my page.
Instant Pot BBQ Baby Back Ribs
Dry Rub for Ribs
Ribs and Sauce
- 1 rack baby back ribs (beef or pork)
- ¼ cup BBQ sauce
- 1 cup cold water
- ½ cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp liquid smoke
- Combine all of the dry ingredients for the rub, mix well. Wash and dry your ribs completely. Apply dry rub generously all over the top, bottom and sides of ribs.
- Add in your wire rack, pour in the apple cider vinegar, liquid smoke and water under the rack. Add rack to keep the ribs out of the liquid on the bottom of the Instant Pot. If you don’t have a rack, ball up some aluminum foil and try to make a rack of some sort to elevate the pork.
- Close lid on your Instant Pot and cook at High Pressure for 16 – 25 minutes. Adjust the timing according to your preference: 16 minutes (Tender with a bit of chew) to 25 minutes (Fall off the bone). Let the Instant Pot sit and naturally release the pressure for 10 minutes. Open the lid carefully after 10 minutes.
- Preheat Oven: While the ribs are still cooking in the Instant Pot, preheat the oven to 475F.
- Place ribs onto a cookie sheet covered with foil, brush on the BBQ sauce all over the ribs generously on all sides including the bones and finish in the oven uncovered. Place the ribs with the baking tray in the oven for 5-10 minutes.
- Remove the ribs from the oven and serve! Brush on more sauce if desired.