These instant pot pork ribs are tender and juicy, full of flavor, and perfect for instant pot beginners and pros alike. The rib rub recipe is included below, and I promise you’ll never want ribs any other way after trying this recipe.
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As a Texan, barbecue is super important. It’s a way of life! While I do feel that making ribs in anything other than a smoker or a grill isn’t true BBQ, it’s unrealistic to think I’ll never make them inside. I’m a food lover! I like it all. Smoked ribs, oven-baked ribs, grilled ribs, you name it.
Besides, I love my pressure cooker. It has a way of replicating slow-cooking in an oven or crockpot that just blows my mind every time. I make all kinds of meats in my Instant Pot.
This is THE Instant Pot to get if you’re looking to upgrade like I am by the way. I’ve done a ton of research on different pressure cookers. With our family size and the amount of use our Instant Pots get, this is the one I’ll be purchasing very soon. Our old one is falling apart at this point!
This is now my go-to recipe for pork ribs. You can’t replicate that smoky flavor you’ll find in BBQ places down here in Texas in anything but a smoker, but these are a very close second. I’ll have to share my husband’s smoked pork ribs recipe soon. That’s his specialty.
These are as delicious as it gets when you’re making ribs indoors. They are superb.
These ribs are a staple in our house. I don’t usually cook them in the oven anymore unless I wake up super early! Oven-baked is great, but it takes a long time, and I can’t infuse it with the same flavors as I can in my pressure cooker.
I actually picked up some tips for cooking ribs in an Instant Pot from my mother-in-law when pressure cookers first became popularized. I’m not sure where the apple cider vinegar trick comes from, but that was something she taught me to do years ago.
Don’t those look delicious? These easy instant pot ribs will change the way you cook ribs forevermore. Seriously!
Tips for cooking the perfect ribs in an instant pot
Why are my ribs tough from my instant pot?
If your ribs are coming out tough, they were likely big racks that need a longer cook time. If you open your pressure cooker lid, and the ribs are not pulling away from the bone at all, and they appear to be tough and not fully done, I definitely suggest cooking them longer.
This is always frustrating when working with pressure cookers because then it has to come to pressure again, which can take around 15 minutes. For that reason, I recommend buying racks that are about 3-4 lbs. If your rack is 4+ pounds, add 10 minutes to your cook time.
How much liquid do you put with the ribs in an instant pot?
About 1 cup of liquid is the perfect amount to add to your Instant Pot when cooking pork ribs.
Many people do water. I like to take ours to the next level by using beef broth. The brand we use is called “Better Than Bouillon.” I use the beef flavor for this one, of course. However, regular beef stock would also be delicious. And when in a pinch, water works just fine!
Is it better to slow cook or pressure cook ribs?
This is debatable. Again, as a Texan, smoked ribs are superior. However, when we’re comparing basic dinner ribs, my personal preference is definitely the pressure-cooked ribs.
Slow cooking is usually the way to go, but the Instant Pot is such an amazing appliance that you really can’t even tell that something was cooked quickly. So, why bother waiting around?
Another reason I prefer to pressure cook my ribs as opposed to slow roasting them in the oven is that it gives me the chance to infuse them with flavors that otherwise wouldn’t be involved. I suppose you could do a marinade overnight, but again, the flavor is just as potent and delicious, so I just stick to doing them in the pressure cooker.
Can I stack ribs in an instant pot?
You can, but it’s an unnecessary step. Simply curl the rack of ribs up as seen below. The cook time is the same. If you insist, you can cut them into smaller segments and stack them on the trivet at the bottom of your Instant Pot.
If you’re trying to cook 2 racks instead of 1, simply coil the second rack up tighter, inside the outer rack.
Can you overcook ribs in a pressure cooker?
Yes, for sure. You can definitely overcook your ribs, even in a pressure cooker with liquid.
Be sure to pay attention to the weight of your ribs so they’re about the same as mine, and adjust slightly as needed. Also, not that it matters unless you’re trying to win a BBQ competition down here in the south, but there is definitely a thing as ribs being too tender.
I know, crazy right? Tender = delicious. But, ribs where the meat quite literally falls off the bone just by looking at it are not preferred. They should take a little pulling to be a true award-winning masterpiece of meat.
How do you remove the membrane from ribs?
Flip the ribs meat-side down and slide a knife in between the membrane and the rib bones. Some people actually skip this step, and I refuse to say whether or not I’m one of those people. Just know… when it’s a busy day and children are crawling up your legs while you’re in the kitchen, and you decide not to remove the membrane, I’m looking the other way. And I feel for you. They will still come out delicious.
If you want to learn more about removing the membrane from your ribs, check out this step-by-step guide.
How long to cook ribs in an instant pot
25 minutes is the normal amount of time it takes to cook ribs in an instant pot. Remember, it takes about 15 minutes to come to pressure, and another 15 or so minutes to naturally release. Altogether, you’re looking at having ribs in about an hour though, and that’s amazing!
Ingredients for Instant Pot Ribs
Ready to learn how to cook ribs in the instant pot? This recipe is for bone-in pork ribs.
3-4Lb Rack of Pork Ribs
Our go-to is St. Louis. They’re better than baby back ribs in my opinion, but honestly, you can’t really go wrong with ribs.
Water + Beef Better Than Bouillon
Or, in other words, 1 cup of beef broth. This is the best brand though! Trust me.
Apple Cider Vinegar
The apple cider vinegar adds a nice sweet, tangy flavor that can’t be replicated otherwise. I love it!
Liquid smoke adds that smoky favor without having to actually smoke the meat. No, it’s not the same. Yes, it’s still really yummy, and I totally recommend adding it if you have it! A bottle goes a long way.
I can’t pronounce it, but I sure do love it. I add Worschestire sauce to most red meat recipes when I’m just winging it. And it always comes out with nice undertones and layers to the flavor profile.
I mean, garlic is always a welcome addition to any dinner if you ask me. I don’t rub it on the meat, I simply plop a little spoonful down at the bottom of the pot with the rest of the liquid.
Add a fresh bay leaf to the bottom of the pot. Dry bay leaves are essentially pointless by the way, so stop buying them. Fresh is always the way to go!
Ingredients for homemade pork rib rub
- 1.5 tbsp Brown Sugar
- 1 tbsp Paprika
- 1 tsp Ground Black Pepper
- 1 tsp Kosher Salt
- 1 tsp Chili Powder
- 2 tsp Garlic Powder
- 1 tsp Onion Powder
- 1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper
I also add cumin sometimes. I specifically measured my rib rub amounts for the purposes of this article. Anyone that’s been following me for a while knows that I don’t usually measure seasonings. But, unless you’re in my kitchen with me, watching how much I add, there’s no other way to give a recipe to you!
Just, measure with your heart, and add if you think something is missing. This is my base recipe and is perfect as is, or with slight adjustments and additions.
Instant Pot Pork Ribs Recipe
How to cook ribs in the Instant Pot
Pat the ribs dry with a paper towel
This helps the seasonings stay on better.
Make the dry rub by combining the ingredients together in a bowl.
Remove the membrane
Slide a butterknife or fork between the membrane and the rib, and gently pull the membrane up.
Season the ribs
Rub the spice mix into the meat. Make sure to cover both sides completely. It looks like I actually did not do that in my picture below, which is just shameful. I’m not sure what happened, I must have just been busy or completely forgot. Don’t be like me! Season both sides!
Add your ingredients to the pot
Put the trivet that comes with your Instant Pot at the bottom of the cooker. To the pot, add 1 cup of water and 1 tsp of beef Better Than Bouillon (or 1 cup of beef broth), 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar, 1/2 tsp of liquid smoke, 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce, and 3 tbsp of minced garlic.
Place the ribs on the trivet by coiling them in sideways.
Cook your ribs
Set the Instant Pot to cook on high for 25 minutes. Make sure the valve is set to seal, and lock it in place. It will take 10-15 minutes to come to pressure.
Let the Instant Pot naturally release
Allow the Instant Pot to naturally release pressure. This time is vital for the ribs to get nice and tender, so don’t skip it, no matter how excited you are!
Once the pin drops, the pressure is done releasing and it is safe to remove the lid. Using tongs, transfer the ribs, meat-side up onto a foil-lined baking sheet. Don’t be alarmed if they look kinda soggy and sad. That’s what the oven is for.
Brush the ribs with BBQ of your choice on all sides
Broil your ribs in the oven
Broil the ribs in the oven until the sauce starts to caramelize just a bit and a nice crispiness has been added to the ribs. Anywhere from 2-7 minutes. Make sure you stay close to keep an eye on them because broiling is no joke. Your dinner can go from crispy to burnt in a matter of 30 seconds.
Allow the ribs to cool, then cut and serve!
Transfer the ribs to a cutting board and allow them to cool for 10 minutes. Cut in between each rib and serve with sides of your choice.
And voila! The best Instant Pot ribs you’ll ever have!
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