Instant Pot Baby Back Ribs are fall-off-the-bone tender and juicy in about an hour from start to finish! This super easy, foolproof method of cooking ribs will give you succulent, mouthwatering results every time. The sweet and smoky BBQ rub gives the ribs that outdoor smoked flavor.
More ways to use your Instant Pot include our Instant Pot Mexican Rice and Instant Pot Spaghetti!
Mouthwatering BBQ Baby Back Ribs Recipe
Tender, juicy, and flavorful baby back ribs that don’t require lots of time at the grill or oven? Sign me up! These Instant Pot Baby Back Ribs are just as tender and ready to fall off the bone as those that have been slowly cooked for hours but require just under an hour of time, from start to finish!
They begin in the Instant Pot, with a sweet and smoky dry rub and a bit of liquid smoke, and are finished in the oven with some of your favorite BBQ sauce for a nice, caramelized finishing touch.
Serve with some Southern BBQ classics like mac and cheese, coleslaw, or cornbread, and enjoy these BBQ baby back ribs year-round.
This baby backs rib recipe is made with just a handful of ingredients, including a dry rub and BBQ sauce.
(Scroll below to the printable recipe card for details and measurements.)
- Baby back ribs – This recipe was created using a 2 & 1/2 pound rack.
- Spice rub – My BBQ rib rub is made with brown sugar, salt & pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, cumin, chili powder, and dry mustard.
- Liquid smoke – Infuses the ribs with the classic smoked flavor.
- Apple cider vinegar – Adds tangy flavor.
- Barbecue sauce – Use your favorite store-bought sauce or use our homemade BBQ sauce.
How to Make Instant Pot Baby Back Ribs
These juicy, tender BBQ baby back ribs are ready in under an hour with just a few simple steps.
(Scroll below to the printable recipe card for details and measurements.)
- Remove the membrane. If the membrane of the ribs is still intact, remove it by running a knife underneath it, lift, and pull stripping it from the rack.
- Add the spice rub. Combine the brown sugar and spices in a bowl. Rub generously on both sides of the ribs.
- Pressure cook the ribs. Add the water and liquid smoke to the bottom of the trivet and place the ribs in the pressure cooker as well. Pressure cook on high for 25 minutes then allow to naturally release.
- Bake. Transfer the ribs to a sheet pan lined with foil. Brush with the cooking liquid from the Instant Pot. Combine the BBQ sauce with apple cider vinegar. Brush over both sides of the ribs. Bake for 12 minutes to caramelize.
- Serve. Brush with more sauce. Cut and serve.
How Long To Cook Ribs In the Instant Pot?
25 minutes will result in super tender ribs that will fall off the bone with a bit of a pull. For an even softer pull texture, add 4 or 5 minutes to the pressure cooking time, and 5 to 10 minutes to the natural release time.
Note that this recipe was developed using a 6 quart Instant Pot and a 2 & 1/2 pound rack of ribs. Anything over 3 pounds will need another 5 minutes of pressure time (30 minutes total) and about 20 minutes to naturally pressure release.
Can I Double This Recipe?
We did not test this recipe with two racks, but you should be able to do 2 (2 & 1/2 lb) racks for the same amount of time, overlapping one rack inside the other if necessary. Just make sure the racks are as close to the same size in weight as possible. Keep in mind, the Instant Pot will take longer to come to pressure and you’ll need to double the dry rub ingredients.
Can I Finish These On The Grill?
Yes, if you want to pop these ribs on the grill instead of in the oven, you can absolutely do that. Just make sure the grill is properly preheated. You’ll get that extra grilled taste without needing to stand at the grill for hours.
Tips for Success
If this is your first time making ribs in the Instant Pot, here are a few tips to make them even better!
- Don’t leave the rub on too long. You can leave the rub on the ribs for up to 12 hours in the refrigerator. Any more than that and the salt will begin to pull moisture out of the meat.
- Make extra dry rub. Double the BBQ rub and store half of it in the pantry for the next batch of ribs!
- Use oil instead of BBQ sauce. If you’d rather not baste the ribs with sauce before oven searing, brush them with a bit of canola oil before putting them in the oven. Watch them closely so they do not dry out.
- Sear the ribs. If your oven has it, use the convection function to sear the ribs.
BBQ baby back ribs pair well with so many sides! Here are a few of my favorites:
- Mexican street corn salad
- 7UP Biscuits
- Baked beans
- Roasted green beans
- Pea Salad
- Macaroni salad
- Potato Salad
How to Store Leftovers
Leftover BBQ baby back ribs can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Reheat in the oven (or toaster oven) or microwave. I recommend storing them with some extra cooking liquid to prevent the meat from drying out and basting with extra BBQ sauce if you’re reheating it in the oven.
More Pork Recipes:
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Instant Pot Baby Back Ribs
- 2 & 1/2 pounds rack baby back ribs
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 & 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons black pepper
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 2 teaspoons dry mustard
- 1 cup water
- 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
- 1/2 cup sweet barbecue sauce
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- Remove membrane from the back of the rack of ribs, if intact: Place the rack meat side down on a cutting board or sheet pan, laying it horizontally in front of you. Starting about 2 bones in from the left end of the rack, run a long skinny knife under the membrane and slide the knife left toward the end of the rack. Now firmly grasp the piece of membrane you’ve lifted, and pull it to the right, stripping the membrane from the rest of the rack. (Grip it with a disposable latex glove or paper towel if you’re having trouble hanging onto it.)
- In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, cumin, chili powder, and mustard powder. Rub both sides of the rib rack very generously with the mixture.
- Place the rack in the pressure cooker on the trivet. Pour the water and liquid smoke in the bottom of the insert. Secure the lid, and if your Instant Pot has a floating valve, turn it to the ‘sealing’ position. Pressure cook on high for 25 minutes, press ‘cancel’ when the time is up, and allow it to naturally pressure release for 10-12 minutes. Release any remaining pressure.
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F and line a sheet pan with foil or parchment paper. Place ribs on the sheet pan and brush with the cooking liquid in the bottom of the pressure cooker (loads of flavor in that liquid). Mix the barbecue sauce with the apple cider vinegar in a small bowl, brush both sides of the rack generously.
- Bake ribs in the center of the oven for about 12 minutes to caramelize the barbecue sauce. Alternately, you can put the ribs under the broiler on high until they are caramelized to your liking – do not put parchment paper under the broiler, use foil.
- Brush with more sauce just before serving, cut between each bone to portion. Serve immediately with more sauce if desired.