This recipe for Instant Pot ribs gives you fall-off-the-bone, flavorful ribs, in around an hour! It’s almost magical and it will be your go-to when you want ribs but don’t have hours to spare.
I’m writing this on a Tuesday afternoon in late April, in my house, with jeans, slippers, socks, and a sweatshirt on. (I almost said slippers, socks and a sweatshirt because those items were indicative of the temperature, but I was worried some people might think I wasn’t wearing pants if I left the jeans detail out…)
Yesterday was 72 degrees, today is 46.
I love you, Michigan, so much! But if I was single and dating, and a guy played these kind of mind games with me, I’d be leaving as fast as I could.
I actually had the doors open this morning while I was doing some cleaning and then I realized it was about 60 degrees in the house, so I closed them and turned on the heat. Annnnnnd my son begged to wear shorts to school this morning. This morning when we went to school, it was 61 degrees. Naturally I assumed it would get warmer throughout the day as the sun rose, and I caved to his request. Whooooops….turned out I was a little bit wrong. (Update: Good news, he said he was hot all day…that’s my boy…usually at home he’s only in underwear.)
So while Michigan is teasing us with temperatures, we can get great BBQ all year round with these Instant Pot ribs. Take that, Michigan weather!
About these Instant Pot Ribs
The magic of this recipe is that you don’t have to slow cook the ribs for hours and hours to get that fall-off-the-bone texture everyone wants in ribs. Thanks to the pressure cooker, you can achieve that in about an hour, and it’s completely hands-off once you get the ribs into the Instant Pot. This cooking technique is also perfect for short ribs, which also usually take hours in the oven.
The first time I made these, I honestly expected them to be alright, but not outrageously good. Now, I won’t pretend that they hold a candle to slow-smoked ribs. Nothing is better than that! But these ribs are really good: they fall off the bone and have really great flavor especially if you grab that liquid smoke and add it to the mix. And they’re ready to eat in just an hour and a half!
Now if you aren’t in a hurry and you’d rather get the ribs going in the morning when you have a little extra time, try slow cooker ribs. They turn out great every time and they are pretty much hands off all day.
Paired with homemade BBQ rub and topped with this BBQ sauce recipe, Instant Pot ribs are outstanding and will satisfy every single rib craving you have. Or try spicy sweet cherry chipotle BBQ sauce. So good! Speaking of fruit and BBQ, these peach bbq ribs sound so incredible if you’d prefer to get outside and grill!
Serve them with some homemade healthy coleslaw and crispy roasted potatoes, and you’ve got yourself a delicious meal. Ooooh, or this healthy broccoli salad! That would be so good, too. If you have an air fryer, try homemade Air Fryer Tater Tots.
I rub these the same way I would if I were smoking them – start with a layer of yellow mustard and then layer on the spice rub. Wrap them around the edge of your Instant Pot on top of the trivet or steamer basket and then let the Instant Pot work its magic.
Once they finish cooking in the Instant Pot, give them a good coat of barbecue sauce and broil both sides. This will caramelize the BBQ sauce and make them finger-licking good. Plan on making extras because everyone will be coming back for more!
- 1 cup broth (I use chicken or beef - see note)
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon liquid smoke (optional, but highly recommend!)
- 1 rack baby back pork ribs (about 3 pounds)
- 2 tablespoons yellow mustard
- 1/3 to 1/2 cup [BBQ rub]
- 1/2 to 1 cup BBQ sauce of choice
- Place steamer rack in the bottom of your Instant Pot. Add broth, apple cider vinegar, and liquid smoke to the Instant Pot.
- Remove thin translucent membrane from the back side of the ribs. This part is kind of a pain, but it’s worth it for extra tender, fall-apart ribs. Use a knife or fork to carefully loosen it on one end, and then grip it with a paper towel and just peel it right off.
- Rub or brush meat with mustard (I use my hands...you can try to keep your hands clean during this process but it’s probably impossible so you might as well just go all in). When meat is coated with mustard, sprinkle with BBQ rub and rub in slightly to adhere the BBQ rub to the meat.
- Place meat in Instant Pot, curling around the sides of the pot, meat side out (see photo in post).
- Secure lid and turn valve to seal. Use the Manual (or Pressure Cook) mode and set on high pressure for 35 minutes.
- After cooking time has elapsed, let pressure release naturally for 15 minutes (just set a timer and leave it alone for 15 minutes).
- Meanwhile, line a baking sheet with foil and preheat broiler to high. After 15 minutes, release any remaining pressure and carefully remove ribs, placing them on prepared baking sheet. Brush one side with half of BBQ sauce and broil for 3-4 minutes or until bubbling and caramelized.
- Carefully flip over rack of ribs, brush BBQ sauce on the other side, and broil again for 3-4 minutes or until bubbling and caramelized.
- In a pinch, you can use water instead of broth
- Yield for this recipe is 1-3 servings. I know plenty of folks that can eat a whole rack of ribs, so just plan accordingly based on what else you're serving with it. Nutrition information calculated for 3 servings.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.