Instant Pot Baby Back Ribs made with dry rub, apple cider vinegar and BBQ sauce are tender, fall-off-the-bone ribs done in under an hour. They're super flavorful and delicious!
You can make tender, fall-off-the-bone baby back pork ribs in the pressure cooker anytime -- in any weather with this easy recipe. Just season them with dry rub, cook the ribs in the Instant Pot, slather them with barbecue sauce and finish on the grill, under the broiler or in the air fryer for a crispier texture.
Next to Instant Pot creamy shells and beef, these pressure cooker ribs are one of our favorite Instant Pot recipes. Why? Well, they're absolutely perfect every. single. time. Seriously, once you make ribs in the pressure cooker, you may never go back!
This method for pressure cooker ribs is a lot like making ribs in the slow cooker, only it's a lot faster. Instead of making fall-off-the-bone ribs in a few hours, you'll be devouring these ribs in less than an hour! We love to serve them with Instant Pot Potato Salad or Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes and Instant Pot Corn on the Cob or Foil Grilled Corn on the Cob for a complete meal.
How to make Instant Pot Baby Back Ribs
First, you'll want to remove the membrane from the back of the ribs. Do you have to remove the membrane? No, but doing so makes them more tender. It' s actually very easy to do, so don't be intimidated by this step.
Just insert a paring knife or another small knife under the membrane at the smallest rib to lift it up. Then, grab the membrane, and pull. I recommend using a paper towel or napkin to grab the membrane since it's easier to hold this way.
Make a Dry Rub
Whenever we make ribs, I like to start off with a dry rub. This goes for making ribs in the pressure cooker, slow cooker or just on the grill. It adds an extra layer of flavor, so don't skip it if you can.
You can use your favorite dry rub recipe. Or, you can use your favorite dry rub mix from the store. I like to make my own dry rub with just a few simple ingredients:
- brown sugar
- sea salt
- garlic powder
- black pepper
- smoked paprika
Add Thin Liquid
Next, you add thin liquid to the Instant Pot so that it reaches pressure. I use a mix of water and apple cider vinegar, which adds some awesome flavor and helps tenderize the ribs. Note -- The ribs sit on the trivet, so they're not actually in the vinegar.
If you don't want to use apple cider vinegar, you can use apple juice or a mix of apple juice and water. I've also used beer to cook ribs and Coke or Dr Pepper. Awesome flavor!
How Long to Pressure Cook
Place the ribs on the trivet, standing up. Close the lid, set the valve to sealing, and pressure cook for 20 minutes. You can pressure cook the ribs for 15 minutes if you want chewier ribs or 25 minutes for ribs that completely fall off the bone.
It's really a personal preference. The best way to get ribs that are absolutely perfect is to experiment until you're happy with the end result.
Finish on the Grill, Broiler or Air Fryer
When the ribs are done, do a slow release for a few minutes, and then release the pressure completely. Place the ribs on a foil-lined baking sheet, slather your favorite barbecue sauce on them, and then broil for about 5 minutes or until the sauce bubbles and the ribs get a little crispy.
This is an optional step, but if you want to mimic the texture of grilled ribs, you'll want to pop them under the broiler. And that's all, folks! Go ahead and dig in!
And if the weather is nice, you can grill the ribs after pressure cooking -- so good! If you have the Instant Pot Duo Crisp, you can cut the ribs into smaller sections and use the air fryer setting to finish the ribs. You can do the same if you have the Instant Omni or Vortex air fryers or any oven style air fryer.
How Many Racks
You can make 1 or 2 racks of ribs in the 6 quart. You can make 2 or 3 racks in the 8 quart or 10 quart Instant Pot. Keep in mind, the amount of liquid will be different depending upon the size of your pressure cooker.
To make 2 racks of ribs in the Instant Pot, place 1 rack close to the sides of the pot. It will probably curve around. Place the second rack inside the curve -- You may have to curl it up a little.
Instant Pot Baby Back Ribs
- 4 pounds baby back pork ribs, membrane removed
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 3 teaspoons sea salt
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup water
- Add the the brown sugar, sea salt, garlic powder, smoked paprika and pepper to a small bowl, and stir to combine
- Remove membrane from back of ribs, and rub seasoning mix over ribs
- Add water and apple cider vinegar to Instant Pot, and place trivet on bottom of pot
- Place seasoned ribs on trivet, cover, move valve to sealing position, and hit Pressure Cook for 20 minutes
- Allow to naturally release for 10 minutes, then move valve to quick release until pin drops.
- Open lid, remove ribs to foil lined baking sheet, and brush barbecue sauce over ribs
- Place ribs in oven, and broil for 5 minutes or until ribs bubble and look crisp
- Remove ribs from oven, cut, and enjoy!
Recipe was originally published in 2017 and updated in 2021.