I could not be happier about sharing this recipe with you today; Instant Pot Baby Back Ribs, two ways. As Chef, I’m often asked what kind of food I love to cook; I answer each time with a big smile on my face, “BBQ, low-and-slow”.
The Instant Pot is the opposite method, using higher heat and a shorter cooking period. If you enjoy tender ribs that fall of the bone, you've found the place.
Keywords To Know
- When the timer goes off do nothing further.
- The exhaust valve will be set on "Sealing".
- The pressure will calm down on its own. The pressure pin will fall back into the lid and will be safe to open at the point.
- The process of moving the exhaust valve from "Sealing" over to "Venting". --- Take note, hot steam will be forced out of the valve. I use a long tool like a knife to move the valve.
- The steam will calm down and the valve pin will drop back into the lid.
Preparing The Ribs
When shopping for the Baby Back Ribs buy a rack of ribs that is “Meaty”. The thicker Baby Back Ribs will end up being juicier and offer a more tender bite.
Key Step – Make sure to season the Baby Back Ribs 10 minutes before going into the instant pot. You can go up to 8 hours, overnight.
- First, rinse the ribs off underwater and pat dry with a paper towel.
- If you choose to remove the membrane, now would be the time before adding the BBQ dry rub.
- Cover the ribs with a good bit of seasoning. Use your favorite dry rub seasoning. I like to add a small amount of sea salt ot the ribs before adding the dry rub.
- Allow the ribs to sit out for at least 10 minutes at room temperature. This will allow the seasoning to penetrate the ribs better.
💭 The Rib Membrane
This is a topic of great discussion. Do you take the membrane off or leave it on?
Backyard BBQ, the membrane comes off. The membrane will not break down while cooking at low temperatures, and it will stay chewy.
With Instant Pot pressure cooked ribs, the pressure "handles" the membrane to the point it is not chewy. I found this hard to believe until I tried it. With pressure-cooked ribs you can leave the membrane on. Shocking I know.
Not convinced? I don't blame you one bit. I created a video showing the different ways to cook Instant Pot ribs.
- Test 1 - Membrane ON & OFF - you can see the results for yourself
- Test #2 - Water/liquid levels - high volume & low volume
Here's the link to our test video: Ribs Instant Pot Style Cooked 4 Different Ways
🔪 Removing Membrane
To begin, have the rack of ribs facing presentation side down on a cutting board and patted dry with a paper towel. The membrane is the white cover on the backside of the rack of ribs.
To remove the membrane, I like to use the back of a spoon handle. Look along the edge of the ribs for a location to get underneath the membrane. Once you find a spot, the spoon handle will tuck underneath the membrane. The idea is to get enough to grip.
Use a paper towel to grip the membrane and pull the membrane from one end to the other. Pulling the length of the ribs.
Ribs 2 Ways
There are 2 different methods for cooking Instant Pot ribs.
Method 1# Using a lower amount of water with a shorter cook time
Method 2# Using a higher amount of water with a longer cook time
The question to ask yourself? What finished texture would you like?
- Method 1# = will come out tender, but with chewier ribs.
- Method 2# = will turn out tender, to the point they fall off the bone.
📖 Setup & Settings
Place the seasoned ribs into the Instant Pot in a curve. Or you can cut the rack in half.
Tip: Make sure to insert the included wire rack into the bottom first.
The Liquid Amounts
Method 1# - Add 2+ cups of orange juice to the Instant Pot (Apple juice works great too). Plus 1 Tablespoon of BBQ dry rub.
Method 2# - Add 8 cups of water, plus one frozen orange juice can (12oz). Mix together with 3 tablespoons of dry rub seasoning.
Secure the lid and move the exhaust/release valve on the top of the Instant Pot to the “Sealing” setting.
Tip: On the underside of the lid, make sure the plastic seal ring is installed. This part is removable and needs to be washed between uses. Dishwasher safe!
- Click the “Meat/Stew” option, this is the best pressure cooker setting for ribs.
- The Instant Pot will turn ON shortly, in 1 minute. The pressure cooker button will also turn ON. (lower right corner of the control panel)
- Set the pressure to "HIGH" pressure.
- Set the heat to "Normal". Shown in the picture below.
Important To Know: The "Less", "Normal" & "More" equals temperature settings
⏲️ Cook Time
- Timer settings: If you have normal size Baby Back Ribs use a timer of 25 minutes. Thin ribs would be 20 minutes. Large ribs, 30 minutes.
- Next, the Instant Pot will pressurize. You will see the timer switch over to the word “ON”. The pressurization will take about 7 to 10 minutes to build up.
- From there, the timer will reappear on the display and the clock countdown will begin.
- Once the timer goes off, use natural release for 15 minutes.
- After 15 minutes, switch the valve on the lid to "Venting" and allow the rest of the pressure to escape. The pressure pin on the top of the lid will fail back into the lid when the pressure is gone. Which means it is now safe to open the lid.
Timer setting: for large ribs use a timer of 40 to 45 minutes. Thin Ribs would be anywhere between 30 minutes to 35 minutes.
The Instant Pot will now pressurize. The timer will switch to the word “ON”. The pressurization will take about 10 to 15 minutes. (Longer time due to more liquid to pressurize.
From there, the timer set will reappear and the clock countdown will begin.
Once the timer goes off, use the quick release method.
I place a knife right underneath the exhaust valve and the steam escapes.
⛑️ Safety Tips
This is the main part of pressure cooking that scares everyone. “How to remove the food from the Pressure Cooker”?
- Photo Below - What Does The Pressure Pin Look Like?
This is the KEY safety tip to pay attention to; the release pin/exhaust valve. Make sure the small valve pin falls back down into the instant pot lid.
The pressure inside the Instant Pot is what causes the valve to push up. Once it falls, the pressure is low enough to open the lid.
Once the lid is off, remove the ribs and pour out the cooking liquid. Then place the ribs back into the Instant Pot to cool off for about 3 minutes. This will make handling the ribs a lot easier.
Place the ribs on a cookie sheet with a roasting rack on top and paint on the BBQ sauce. Recipe below.
Finishing the Ribs
In The House/Oven: Under the broiler for 5 minutes or so. The key is to make sure your oven rack isn’t too close to the broiler or the sugars in the BBQ sauce could burn.
In The Backyard Smoker: Have the smoker going at 225 degrees. You will want to place the ribs on the smoker using a wire rack. See photo above. This will make sure moving the ribs will be easy.
Paint on bbq sauce and allow the natural sugars to caramelize and create a beautiful presentation.
👨🍳 Chef's FREE Secret Texas BBQ Dry Rub Recipe
⭐ Special offer to our followers ⭐
Click the Image below for the recipe. You will find it pinned under the description at the top. First Comment
Spare ribs work great in the Instant Pot. The best part, you need to change nothing. Simply follow the same instructions above and below.
Yes, there are two ways to make Instant Pot ribs
1) Method 1# uses less water and often less time. You can add water/liquid to the level right below the wire rack at the bottom of the Instant Pot. The settings use the meat/stew option and set a timer of 25 minutes. The ribs will stay together and have more bite to them.
2) Method 2# (Higher liquid ) longer cook time.
-This method is more like a pressurized-braising technique for real fall off the bone ribs
For more flavorful ribs be sure to season the ribs 10 minutes before cooking.
Yes, you can go longer. Up to 8 hours/ overnight.
Recipes To Try
- Traditional Texas Smoked Prime Rib
- Instant Pot Hasselback Chicken
- Instant Pot
Did You Make This Recipe? Click Here To Leave A Review
Instant Pot Baby Back Ribs
Method #1 Ingredients - Low Liquid
- 1 rack Baby Back Ribs
- 2 cups Orange Juice
- 4 Tablespoons BBQ Dry Rub
- BBQ Sauce
Method #2 Ingredients - High Liquid
- 8 Cups Water
- 1 rack Baby Back Ribs
- 12 oz Orange Juice- Concentrated / or apple juice
- 6 Tablespoons BBQ Dry Rub
BBQ Sauce Ingredients
- ⅔ cup BBQ Sauce - Recipe Below This Recipe card
Preparing The Ribs
- Remove the Ribs from the package and rinse the ribs off and pat dry.
- Membrane: if you choose to remove it, now would be the time. See directions in the article above.Yet, you might not want to with pressure-cooked ribs. Read why in the post.
- Sprinkle a small amount of sea salt on both sides of the ribs.Next cover the ribs with honey. Pour enough to cover. This will act as glue to help the dry rub stick. Then sprinkle on 2 Tablespoons of BBQ dry rub. Work it into the ribs.
- The ribs need to sit for at least 10 minutes with the dry rub. This will act like a quick cure allowing the dry rub to penetrate the meat. Longer is better, up to 8 hours or overnight.
Method #1 - Low liquid
- - Place the included wire rack into the bottom of the Instant Pot. - Add 2 cups of orange juice or apple juice-Add the ribs on top of the wire rack.- Inspect the Instant Pot lid. Make sure the plastic sealing ring is inserted.- Secure the lid.- Make sure the exhaust valve is in place on the lid and set to "Sealing"
Method #1 - Low Liquid - Cooking & Settings
- Control Settings:- Use the "Meat/Stew" setting- Temperature setting: "Normal"- Pressure setting: "High Pressure"Timer Setting: - Normal sized ribs = 25 minutes- Large sized ribs = 30 minutes- Thin sized ribs = 15-20 minutesPressure Release Setting:- Use natural release (see details in the article above)- After 15 minutes of natural release, then switch to "Venting" on the exhaust valve on the lid.Tip: Using natural release requires you to do nothing once the timer goes off. Look at the front display panel and you'll see a new clock timer appear and starts to count upward. This is your timer for how long you are using natural release. Once the time expires switch over to "Venting" and allow the remaining pressure to escape.
Method #2 - High Liquid - Cooking & Settings
- Control Settings:- Use the "Meat/Stew" setting- Temperature setting: "Normal"- Pressure setting: "High Pressure"Timer Setting: - Normal sized ribs = 40 minutes- Large sized ribs = 45 minutes- Thin sized ribs = 30-35 minutesPressure Release Setting:- Method is Quick Release- On the lid, move the exhaust valve from "Sealing" to "Venting".WARNING: the steam inside wants to escape. You could get burnt. To protect yourself, use a tool like a knife to move the exhaust valve. - Allow all the steam to leave the Instant Pot.Note: You will know it is safe to open when all the steam was escaped. Look for the pressure pin located on the top of the Instant Pot lid dropping back into the lid.
Finishing The Ribs
- Remove the lid and pour out all the cooking liquid and place the ribs back into the Instant Pot for a few minutes to cool down. When cool enough, move the ribs to a cookie sheet with a roasting rack on top.Cover the ribs with BBQ sauce.
- In The House/Oven:Under the broiler for 5 minutes or so. The key is to make sure your oven rack isn’t too close to the broiler or the sugars in the BBQ sauce could burn. In The Backyard Smoker: Have the smoker going at 225 degrees. You will want to place the ribs on the smoker using a wire rack. Like the photo above. This will make sure moving the ribs will be easy.
- Secret BBQ Dry Rub Recipe - Get It Here - Looking at the top pinned comment for the recipe.
- 1 cup Ketchup Hunts Brand – No High Fructose Corn Syrup Helpful with controlling the sweet level yourself.
- 2 Tablespoon Brown Sugar
- 2 teaspoon Honey Mustard - Use what you like
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon Favorite hot sauce - add all ingredients first then taste season and adjust before adding more hot sauce
TOP Secret Ingredient:
Wasabi Sauce – Wasabi is not HOT but is spicy it’s strongly floral and fragrant like horseradish. What makes it a secret flavor weapon. The heat side of the Wasabi is upfront then quickly calms down. Not like spicy peppers that have capsaicin, which is an oil. Once the oil from a pepper touches your tongue that spiciness isn’t going away quickly as Wasabi does.
- 1 Tablespoon Wasabi paste
- 1 Tablespoon Honey
- 1 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
- Salt & Cracked Black Pepper - to taste
- Texas Style Ingredient: ½ teaspoon Liquid Smoke