Instant Pot Baby Back Ribs

BABY, come BACK – You asked for it, so you’re getting it!

Because the most requested video recipe to come my way was RIBS, and since we’re in the swing of summer, there’s no better time than now to share this with everyone.

And so, I give you BABY BACK RIBS!

It couldn’t be easier, and because we’re cooking these in our fabulous Instant Pot, it’s fall-off-the-bone style.  We’re talking the most tender, flavorful, messy and to-die-for ribs – they way they should be!

Here’s How I Made It!:

Let’s start off with some unseasoned/unsauced baby back ribs (or pork loin backribs).  You can really use up to two racks if using a 6 qt or three if you use an 8 qt.  I get mine from Costco and they come three in a pack for a very reasonable price!

Plus, the membrane is already removed.  BUT if you don’t have a Costco membership, no worries!  Just get however many racks you want from your supermarket and peel off the membrane (the tough film on the underside of the ribs) if it’s still on it.

You may also want to cut each rack in half for easy removal when done cooking since they will be SUPER tender by that stage.

Lay the ribs in a coil fashion in the Instant Pot.

Now we’re gonna add the magical ingredients that make these ribs so fall-off-the-bone tender and out of this world.  Start with some apple juice.

Then add in some apple cider vinegar…

…and some liquid smoke.  Secure the lid and cook em up.  It will take a bit of time to come to pressure due to the amount of liquid and volume in the pot – but not to worry!  It’s SO worth it.  Just set it and forget it!

When done cooking, your ribs are going to be super delicate due to how tender the meat has become!

Using two sets of tongs (or a set of tongs and a spatula), CAREFULLY transfer the ribs from the IP…

…to a foil-lined baking sheet.

Brush on a generous amount of a fantastic barbecue sauce of your choosing.

Doesn’t that look pretty?!

And pop it in the oven to roast up and caramelize for a few.

Then take those beauties out of the oven…

…and see?  FALL. OFF. THE. BONE. NIRVANA.

You’ll never make ribs any other way again.  Because it’s (yes) that easy and (yes) that good!

Yield: 6

Instant Pot Baby Back Ribs

Instant Pot Baby Back Ribs

Ribs in your Instant Pot? You'd better believe it. We're talking ribs so incredbily tender and flavorful, they'll fall right off the bone. Make it keto or paleo with a sugar-free barbecue sauce.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3-6 pounds (up to 2 full racks) of Baby Back Ribs (Pork Loin Backribs), unseasoned and membrane removed (I got mine at Costco – three racks came in the pack and they already have the membrane removed. They are excellent quality so I suggest those if you can get them!)
  • 64-ounce bottle of Apple Juice (NOTE: you can halve this or even just reduce to 2 cups. I just like to use the full bottle so ALL the meat gets infused)
  • 1 cup of Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/4 cup of Liquid Smoke (either Hickory or Mesquite is fine)
  • Barbecue Sauce to slather the ribs in (a few cups worth. I only use Sweet Baby Ray’s because it’s the best!)

Instructions

  1. If your ribs come with a membrane layer, peel/slice it off the best you can (it’s fine if you don’t get it all)
  2. Take the ribs and coil them so they fit in the Instant Pot lined against the perimeter of the pot.  The 6qt should be able to handle up to 1.5 racks of ribs where the 8qt can handle 2 full racks.  If you wish to cut each rack in half before inserting for easier removal once cooked, feel free to do so
  3. Add the apple juice, apple cider vinegar and liquid smoke
  4. Secure the lid and hit “Manual” or “Pressure Cook” High Pressure for 30 minutes for 5-6 lbs/1.5-2 racks of ribs (25 minutes for 2-4 lbs/1 rack).  Go for only 23 minutes for 5-6 lbs/1.5-2 racks of ribs if you want the ribs slightly firmer (18 minutes for 2-4 lbs/1 rack). HOWEVER, I do suggest you go for the longer cooking time in order to achieve that super tender, fall-off-the-bone bite ? NOTE: THIS MAY TAKE ABOUT 20 MINUTES TO COME TO PRESSURE DUE TO THE AMOUNT OF LIQUID IN THE POT.  YOU AREN’T DOING ANYTHING WRONG!
  5. As the ribs are cooking, pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees (or to Broil if you want them slightly crispy/burned)
  6. When done, allow a 5 minute natural release followed by a quick release. (NOTE: Although mine did not, if it splatters while releasing, you can throw a dish towel on top of the nozzle to absorb any splatter OR allow a full natural release meaning you never turn the release nozzle and let it release on its own until the pin drops)
  7. Since the ribs are going to be super duper tender, CAREFULLY remove the them from the pot to a baking tray lined with non-stick tin foil (bone side down).  I used two sets of tongs to make this happen and it’s okay if the rack splits in half when doing this – just try to be delicate.  Discard the juices from the pot after the ribs are removed (or freeze it if you have the space in your freezer for a future encore!)
  8. Using a basting brush, generously coat the tops of the ribs with the barbecue sauce.  Slather it real good! (Note: In my video, I dip the brush right into the big container of sauce – which was fine because I used it all by making many more ribs after.  If only using some of the sauce, pour it into a separate bowl before coating ?)
  9. Pop them in the oven and cook for 10 minutes (if you are broiling, keep a closer eye on them so they don’t burn too much).  The sauce will caramelize
  10. Take them out of the oven and slice em up however you want
  11. Grab lots of napkins and enjoy!

Jeffrey's Tips

Have a barbecue and don’t want to use the oven?  Feel free to throw the sauced ribs on there too when done to make it extra crispy. But be careful – these ribs are SUPER tender and can easily come apart if handled roughly!

Want to make the most insane rib sandwich ever?  We’re talking a McRib but actually made out of ribs.  Once cooked and before coating with the barbecue sauce, cut off 1/4 of the rack and pull out the bones (they should slide right out) and then brush on the bbq sauce, cook in the oven or bbq and place on a hero or semolina roll.  Top with some Provolone, Mozzarella or Monterey Jack cheese to really set it over the edge!

Want a GREAT side to go with it?  Try my Ultimate Macaroni Salad or this amazing Mac & Cheese!

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Sue

    Bought your book. This was the first recipe I made. They were absolutely fabulous. They fell off the bone taking out of instant pot. This will be the way we fix ribs from now on. Thank you!

      • Scott

        Jeff, This recipe is so easy and tastes awesome. Thank you so much. One question though, I have done this a few times and when I release the pressure I always get a significant amount of liquid spitting out the vent. I do fill the pot close the the max level with the apple juice. Is there anyway to minimize the mess or is there a gadget to put over the release to flow into a sink or bowl?

  2. Tammie

    These are the best ribs!! I have made them several times and they are perfect every time. I went to a friends house, who had not even opened her instant pot she got for Christmas, and showed her how to make these ribs and her husband still brags about them. Thank you!!

  3. David

    Can I make a smaller amount (1 rack perhaps) in a 3qt. adjusting the other measures accordingly? Seems every recipe I see is 6 qt or 8 qt.

  4. Howard

    Being Jewish, we usually go to a movie and then out for Chinese food. No open theaters a d no indoor dining so, we stayed home, watched a movie and I made the ribs. I was going to make shrimp and lobster sauce, but I’ve made it several times, so ribs were requested. I made it once before and we loved it. It’s the easiest to make and it’s so delicious. Thanks!!

  5. Tammy

    First meal in my instapot duo crisp+ air fryer. Didn’t have every ingredient available. these were right up there side by side with my 5 hour smoked ribs. Definitely kid approved, which is difficult to do. Thank you for your time and efforts to make us better cooks.

  6. Kelly

    Hi, I got an Instant Pot for Christmas and bought your book the next day! I am getting ready to make these ribs and was wondering what your thoughts are on making them ahead of time and waiting until later to put the ribs in the oven? I wanted to make the mac and cheese to go with it as well so thought maybe I could get an early start before dinner time if the ribs were all ready to just stick in the oven to get hot/caramelized. Also, for the future, it would be nice to know if I could make a couple of batches ahead of time if I’m having people over for a barbeque. Can’t wait to try so many recipes in this book! Thank you!

    • Jeffrey

      Thanks for getting the book, Kelly! I hope you enjoy it. You can pressure cook the ribs ahead dog time but they will be INCREDIBLY tender and prone to want to fall apart after pressure cooking and before popping in the oven with the BBQ sauce to caramelize. So I don’t suggest waiting more than an hour.

  7. Deb

    I am cooking ribs for the first time in my IP duo c+af. It has a baked button. Can I just keep them in the IP to make the sauce sticky? Also I have sweet potatoes. Can I put then at the same time?

  8. Marta

    Made this today as the first recipe I’ve ever made in my new Instant Pot. Soooo yummy! But the smell of the vinegar pressure cooking reminded me of my mom brewing vinegar over and over and over when they cleaned the coffee pot (yuk). I look forward to making more!

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