An Easy Instant Pot Baby Back Ribs (Foolproof + Tender)

Kid FriendlyGluten Free

An Easy Instant Pot Baby Back Ribs Recipe that’s fall off the bone tender, loaded with smoky flavor and cooks in just 30 minutes! These Baby Back Ribs will be your new go to recipe when you don’t have access to the grill and are craving them for dinner! 

If Instant Pot Recipes are your jam then you need to try out my Instant Pot Rotisserie Chicken or my Instant Pot Chipotle Beef Barbacoa.

overhead instant pot bbq baby back ribs

Instant Pot Baby Back Ribs

Baby Back Ribs are kinda my “thang.” Well, I guess cooking is kinda my thing but baby back ribs are one of my speciality. Let’s just say I learned it from my momma and momma knows how to cook some ribs!

To be honest, I was of the opinion that ribs should only be made on the grill. It’s the ONLY way I’ve EVER made them. Well, a friend of mine gave me a challenge –> Instant Pot Baby Back Ribs. She told me to make them taste like the grill and still fall off the bone.

You guys will be glad to know, I accepted the challenge, doubled down on the flavor and man are they good! The only downfall for this recipe is, you can only fit two full racks in the Instant Pot at one time! Haha! Let’s dive in!

finished easy instant pot baby back ribs piled on top of each other

Ingredients for Instant Pot Ribs:

You only need a few ingredients to make these Instant Pot Ribs. The key to this flavorful recipe is my dry spice rub and the liquid because it helps “steam” the ribs until they fall off the bone! Here’s what you’ll need. 

  • Baby Back Ribs – Two full pork baby back ribs, not the beef rib or spare ribs. Make sure they are pork and say baby back.
  • Water – for steaming.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar – The apple cider vinegar gives it that nice Kansas City Rib flavor, a little bit goes a long way!
  • Liquid Smoke – It sounds fancy, but it’s not. It’s essentially a small bottle filled concentrated smoke flavor. This will give your ribs the flavor from the grill even though they aren’t being cooked on the grill.
  • Onion – I use this for added flavor.
  • Garlic – A great aromatic to add more flavor.
  • Spice Rub – This is a special spice rub I use on my Grilled Baby Back Ribs. It’s a mixture of garlic powder, paprika, chili powder, cinnamon (yes you read that right) , 
  • BBQ Sauce – I put the BBQ Sauce on after the ribs have cooked in the Instant Pot. Then I slather them with my Homemade BBQ Sauce, or you could use your favorite BBQ Sauce, and place them under the broiler to crisp up.

how to remove the membrane from baby back ribs

how to process easy instant pot baby back ribs

How to remove the membrane from baby back ribs?

Most ribs still have the membrane or silver skin on them. The membrane is the white shiny connective tissue on the back (bone side) of the ribs that can make meat a little chewy. Removing this from your meat can give you a more tender end product. Check to make sure the membrane on your ribs has been removed and if it hasn’t, follow these steps to remove it:

  • Flip the rib over so that the meat side is face down and bone side is facing up.
  • Starting on one side, gently slide a knife under the membrane and pull it off just a little bit. Once you have enough membrane to hold on to you should just be able to pull it all off in one pull. Just make sure you are pulling from one side all the way to the other to ensure you’re removing the entire thing.

What size Instant Pot should I use for Ribs?

For this recipe I used my 6 quart Instant Pot. However, if you have a larger instant pot that will work too.

how to make easy instant pot baby back ribs

finished easy instant pot baby back ribs

How to cook baby back ribs in Instant Pot?

  1. Remove the membrane from the bottom side of the ribs. Starting on one side, gently slide a knife under the membrane and pull it off just a little bit. Once you have enough membrane to hold on to you should just be able to pull it all off in one pull. Just make sure you are pulling from one side all the way to the other to ensure you’re removing the entire thing.
  2. To prepare the spice rub, to a small bowl add garlic powder, paprika, chili powder, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Rub all over the both sides of the ribs.
  3. Next, add water, apple cider vinegar and liquid smoke to the bottom of the Instant Pot. Place the wire rack in your instant pot and curl the the ribs inside the pot. Standing them on their side, wrapping around the inside of the pot with the “meat side” facing out. Top with cubed onion and garlic.
  4. Secure the lid for the Instant, making sure the vent is closed. Press the Pressure Cooker mode and set to 25 minutes. When the cooking time ends, let the pressure naturally release for 10 minutes. Then quick release for the rest.
  5. Turn the oven on to Broiler “HIGH.” Then line a baking sheet with tin foil.
  6. Carefully remove the ribs from the pressure cooker and set on prepared baking sheet. Slather each rack of ribs with BBQ sauce.
  7. Place ribs, uncovered, under the broiler for 2-3 minutes. Remove and serve.

How long to cook baby back ribs in Instant Pot?

This will depend on how “meaty” your ribs are. The more meat they have the longer you’ll want to cook them or if you’re doing multiple racks you’ll want to cook longer. Here is a quick guide on cooking times. 

  • 1 full rack – 23 minutes
  • 1 full meaty rack – 25 minutes
  • 2 full racks – 25 minutes
  • 2 full meaty racks – 27 minutes

baby back ribs that were made in an instant pot

Can I cook them from frozen?

Yes, you can cook Instant Pot ribs right from frozen. You’ll just need to cut them into the right size and add the spice rub to them prior to freezing. So that all you have to do is just place them in the Instant pot and follow the rest of the instructions. Because they are frozen you’ll need to add about 5-7 minutes extra to the cooking times.

Even though you can cook them from frozen, I recommend that you thaw them out. Whenever I’ve cooked anything from frozen I find the meat tends to be a little drier than if thawed out completely.

Can I Prep Instant Pot Ribs in Advance?

Yes, you can definitely make these ribs ahead of time. I’d recommend cooking the ribs in the Instant Pot up to 2 days in advance. Then all you would need to do is reheat them in the oven, slather them in BBQ and place under the broiler.

What to serve with BBQ Baby Back Ribs?

If you’re serving baby back ribs you definitely want to make them the star, but having some simple yet delicious sides is always a good idea! Here are our favorites:

overhead photos of easy instant pot baby back ribs

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overhead photos of easy instant pot baby back ribs

Instant Pot BBQ Back Back Ribs

  • Author: Krista
  • prep_time Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • cook_time Cook Time: 27 minutes
  • total_time Total Time: 31 minutes
  • yield Yield: 2 full racks 1x
  • category Category: Pork
  • method Method: Instant Pot
  • cuisine Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

An Easy Instant Pot Baby Back Ribs Recipe that’s fall off the bone tender, loaded with smoky flavor and cooks in just 30 minutes! These Baby Back Ribs will be your new go to recipe when you don’t have access to the grill and are craving them for dinner!

Scale

Ingredients

  • 2 full racks of baby back ribs
  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 1 yellow onion, cubed
  • 3 whole garlic cloves
  • 1 cup BBQ sauce

Spice Rub Blend:

  • 1 T. garlic powder
  • 1 T. paprika
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground pepper

Instructions

  1. Remove the membrane from the bottom side of the ribs. Starting on one side, gently slide a knife under the membrane and pull it off just a little bit. Once you have enough membrane to hold on to you should just be able to pull it all off in one pull. Just make sure you are pulling from one side all the way to the other to ensure you’re removing the entire thing.
  2. To prepare the spice rub, to a small bowl add garlic powder, paprika, chili powder, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Rub all over the both sides of the ribs.
  3. Next, add water, apple cider vinegar and liquid smoke to the bottom of the Instant Pot. Place the wire rack in your instant pot and curl the the ribs inside the pot. Standing them on their side, wrapping around the inside of the pot with the “meat side” facing out. Top with cubed onion and garlic.
  4. Secure the lid for the Instant, making sure the vent is closed. Press the Pressure Cooker mode and set to 25 minutes. When the cooking time ends, let the pressure naturally release for 10 minutes. Then quick release for the rest.
  5. Turn the oven on to Broiler “HIGH.” Then line a baking sheet with tin foil.
  6. Carefully remove the ribs from the pressure cooker and set on prepared baking sheet. Slather each rack of ribs with BBQ sauce.
  7. Place ribs, uncovered, under the broiler for 2-3 minutes. Remove and serve.

Keywords: instant pot ribs, instant pot baby back ribs, baby back ribs instant pot, instant pot pork ribs, instant pot ribs recipe instant pot bbq ribs, ribs in the instant pot, how to make ribs in the instant pot

pinterest image for easy instant pot baby back ribs

pinterest image for easy instant pot baby back ribs

pinterest image for easy instant pot baby back ribs

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Krista
Hi! I'm the recipe developer and food photographer behind all these easy healthy recipes! I love food, Jesus, morning lattes, and am obsessed with fantasy football!

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