These Instant Pot Baby Back Ribs and rich barbecue sauce are melt-in-your-mouth tender. They are the perfect choice to make for a satisfying and easy family night dinner. You can make the bbq sauce from scratch in the Instant Pot. To make it even easier, use your favorite store-bought BBQ sauce. These Instant Pot baby back ribs are easy to make and deliver mouth-watering results.
How to Make Instant Pot Baby Back Ribs
Every great recipe starts with the best ingredients. Those ingredients get backed by easy to follow instructions. Following is what works best for this delicious Instant Pot pork ribs recipe.
Ingredients You Need for Instant Pot Pork Ribs
- Pork Ribs. Baby back ribs are ideal for this recipe. Baby back ribs are shorter than spare ribs. They are are from different sections of the pig. Baby back ribs are also leaner than spare ribs. which can result in less tender ribs if they aren’t cooked well. This is where the Instant Pot shines! Baby back ribs get so tender when pressure cooked and you will have amazing meaty ribs to enjoy.
- Dry Rub. Season the ribs liberally with the dry rub in the recipe or check out the suggested variations below. There is nothing exotic here, only typical spices you would have in your pantry. If you don’t have one or two on hand, they are spices that you can use for many other recipes.
- BBQ Sauce. The flavorful barbecue sauce contains ketchup, apple cider vinegar and ground yellow mustard. These are the only ingredients for the sauce. The dry rubs seasonings and the cooking liquids add more flavor. The sauce gets thickened by a little cornstarch mixture. A final simmer in the Instant Pot makes it into a glorious sauce to baste over the ribs.
- Dry Rib Rubs. You can try this BBQ Rib Rub or this recipe for the Best Dry Rub for Ribs. You can use a store-bought spice rub for ribs or ready-made Montreal Steak Seasoning. Omit the dry rub ingredients, skip step 1 of the dry rub instructions and follow all the other steps as listed.
- BBQ Sauces. Use an Easy Homemade BBQ Sauce, Homemade Sweet and Tangy BBQ Sauce, or Kansas City Barbecue Sauce for the sauce used in the recipe. If you want to make the recipe even easier, use your favorite bottled barbecue sauce. omit the sauce ingredients in the recipe and replace with 2/3 cup of one of these alternative sauces. Follow the instructions for making the BBQ Sauce, omitting step 2 and adding in your chosen sauce.
- Glazed Ribs. On a foil lined baking sheet, arrange your ribs and broil for 3 to 5 minutes or until a sticky glaze forms. Watch ribs in the oven so they do not burn.
Prepare the Ribs for Pressure Cooking
- Remove the Membrane. The membrane, or silverskin, is the long whitish piece linking the ribs together. It is a good idea to remove it since the membrane is tough, chewy, and has no flavor whatsoever. Some ribs will already have their membrane, or silverskin, removed.
- Using a paring knife, on one end of the ribs cut under the membrane and next to the bone.
- Lift up the membrane until it starts to tear away from the bone.
- Then, pull the membrane the length of the ribs like you were lifting off a long piece of tape from a package.
- The membrane should come off in one long strip, but if it doesn’t, tear it off in smaller pieces.
- Rub the Ribs with Seasoning. Do not sprinkle your ribs with seasoning, but work (rub) the spice rub into the ribs. I like to use kitchen gloves for this to prevent any salts or peppers from irritating my skin. Plus it does make rubbing in the seasoning so much easier.
- Divide Each Rack of Ribs. Cutting each rack into 3 sections makes them pre-portioned for serving. It also lets me work the cut edges with dry rub.
- Arrange the Ribs. Standing the ribs up for cooking allows the ribs to cook evenly and absorb the aromatic liquid.
- Use Thawed Ribs. Do not use frozen ribs in this recipe. First, the dry rub will not work into the ribs. Secondly, and more importantly, wrapping frozen ribs in the pot or cutting to fit ribs in the pot is not going to work.
- End the Burn Notice. Cook your ribs on the steam rack with the recommended amount of liquid in the pot. This will end the dreaded burn notice on your Instant Pot.
More Tips for Pressure Cooking Ribs
- Cook Ribs Until Fork Tender. Fall-off-the bone is not a good term when used with BBQ ribs. Ribs that fall off the bone are overcooked. While they may taste okay, you want to be able to eat the meat from the bones like ribs are meant to be eaten. Cook the Instant Pot Baby Back Ribs according to the directions. You can always add more cooking time if needed.
- Do Not Marinate. You should not soak the ribs in vinegar. Vinegar can turn the pork meat into mush. Cooking in the Instant Pot is all you need to tenderize your ribs to perfection.
- Do Not Overfill the Instant Pot. You can fit up to 2 racks of ribs in the Instant Pot for best results. Add more ribs to the pot and you risk them cooking unevenly.
- Determine Serving Sizes. This ribs recipe serves 6 people with 2 racks of ribs which weight approximately 3-1/2 to 4 pounds total. Each full rack will have on average 12 rib bones. So with 2 racks of baby baby ribs you will have about 24 ribs, or 4 ribs per person. For 8 people you will need 3 racks of ribs. The suggested serving sizes depend on the number of side dishes and appetizers. Also factor in the mix of people you are serving.
- Cover BBQ ribs tightly and refrigerate for up to 5 days. You may want to store them in an oven-safe glass storage container. Then, reheating them in the Instant Pot is super easy and makes for one less dish to wash.
- Reheat ribs in the Instant Pot. Place the steam rack (the one that came with your Instant Pot) inside the pot and add 1 cup of water to the pot. Arrange the ribs in a glass food storage dish (see tip above) and place on the rack. Close and lock the lid. Steam cook on high for 5 minutes. Check the ribs and add more time if needed to warm them throughout.
- If you buy ready-to-eat ribs, you can use the the reheating instructions above to cook your pre-cooked ribs in the Instant Pot.
- You can cut the recipe in half and make one slab of ribs. Yet, only decrease the cups of beef broth to 1 cup. You need this amount to bring the Instant Pot fully up to pressure.
If you enjoy this recipe, you may also want to try Ribs in the Oven. This BBQ ribs recipe is a delicious way for oven cooking ribs.
Side Dishes That Taste Great With Baby Back Ribs
- Cucumber Tomato Salad
- Mexican Street Corn Recipe
- Microwave Corn on the Cob
- Skillet Cornbread
- Sautéed Broccoli
- Sautéed Green Beans
Melt-in-Your-Mouth Instant Pot Baby Back Ribs
- 6 tablespoons ketchup
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon ground yellow mustard
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons cold water
- In the inner pot, add the minced onion, minced garlic and beef broth. Place the rack inside the pot and set aside.
- Cut the pork ribs into 3 sections per slab and set aside.
- In a small bowl, combine the paprika, salt, black pepper, chili powder and cayenne pepper.
- Rub dry rub mixture evenly over ribs. Stand the ribs vertically on top of the rack in the pot.
- Close and lock the lid and turn the steam release handle to Sealing. Set your Instant Pot to pressure cook on High for 25 minutes.
- When the timer beeps, press Cancel and let the pot stand, covered, for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, turn the steam release handle to Venting and remove the lid. The ribs should be fork tender and almost ready to fall off the bone. (If more cooking is needed, reset the manual pressure to High for 5 minutes.) Transfer ribs to a serving platter and tent with foil to keep warm.
- Discard all but 1/2 cup of the liquid in the pot. Skim off any fat. Press Sauté.
- Stir in ketchup, vinegar, Worcestershire and mustard. In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and cold water. Stir the cornstarch mixture to the pot.
- Cook sauce, stirring, for 4 minutes or until sauce is thickened. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Brush sauce over ribs. Serve any remaining sauce in a bowl on the side.