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A pile of sliced Instant Pot baby back ribs with barbecue sauce.

Instant Pot Ribs

Saucy, succulent easy Instant Pot Ribs are baby back perfection smothered in your favorite BBQ sauce and finished on the grill or under the broiler. This is the easiest way to make tender ribs that are fall-off-the-bone good!
5 from 6 votes
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Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 40 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4 servings



  • 1-2 racks baby back ribs or spare ribs (3-4 pounds)
  • 1 cup water or apple juice
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon hickory liquid smoke (optional)
  • ½ cup barbecue sauce


  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons sweet or smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper


  • Remove membrane, if necessary, by turning the ribs meat-side down. Use a knife to separate the membrane from the ribs a bit to loosen, then grab it with paper towel to help you grip and peel it off the ribs.
  • Combine rub ingredients and generously coat the ribs all over with the rub.
  • Place trivet in the Instant Pot, then add the water or apple juice, vinegar, and liquid smoke. Roll the ribs up and place in the Instant Pot standing on their sides.
  • Secure the lid and set the valve to sealing. For baby back ribs, cook on HIGH (manual) pressure for 25 minutes. Do a natural pressure release for 10 minutes, then vent to release remaining pressure. For spare ribs, cook on HIGH (manual) pressure for 35 minutes. Do a natural pressure release for 15 minutes, then vent to release remaining pressure.
  • Set oven to broil or heat grill to high heat. Remove ribs and transfer to a large baking sheet. Brush with the barbecue sauce, then broil or grill for 3-4 minutes until caramelized.


  • Instant Pot: I use a 6-quart Instant Pot but you may need an 8-quart if you have a lot of ribs.
  • To store: Keep leftover ribs in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. You can also freeze the cooked ribs for up to 2 months. Just be sure to thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating.
  • To reheat: Ribs reheat best in a pan in a 350°F for 10-15 minutes or in the air fryer for 5-7 minutes. You can also reheat in the microwave, if you prefer.
  • Make-ahead. You can prep your ribs and rub them with the dry rub the night before, then wrap in plastic wrap and store in the fridge until you plan to cook them.
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