How to Make Easy Instant Pot Baby-Back Ribs

white plate with two servings of baby back ribs with bbq sauce

Looking for a fast and simple way to make fallin’-off-the-bone ribs? Grab your Instant Pot to make some saucy, sticky, and tender ribs in just 25 minutes of cooking time.

baby back ribs with bbq sauce stacked on a plate.

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Instant Pot Baby-Back Ribs

I’m dead serious when I say these Instant Pot Baby-Bake Ribs are ah-mazing! We did a back flip over these juicy, fall-apart, tender pork ribs and now we won’t make them any other way.

My family enjoyed these Baked Yum-Yum Potato Wedges a great deal when served alongside the ribs, and we also like just about ANY kind of potato salad, as well – Instant Pot Potato Salad, Grandma Lucille’s Warm German Potato Salad, or even Broccoli Potato Salad.

This recipe for pork ribs in your Instant Pot is pretty darn fool-proof (plus you can make them in any brand of electric pressure cooker, fyi) for getting dinner on the table in a hurry.

If you’ve ever made oven-baked ribs or ribs on the smoker, you already know that it takes quite a while before the ribs get nice and tender. This is not the case when you are cooking ribs in your Instant Pot – thank goodness!

So What ARE Baby-Back Ribs, Exactly? Do They Come from a Baby Pig?

Back ribs are cut from where the rib meets the spine after the pork loin is removed.

Be sure to understand that the upper ribs are only called baby-back ribs because they are shorter in relation to the bigger spare ribs. Baby-back ribs do NOT come from a baby pig! Let’s be clear on that.

Spare ribs are the meaty ribs cut from the belly of the pig. They are usually trimmed down into the popular St. Louis-style spareribs.

St. Louis-style spareribs are flatter than baby back ribs and there is a lot of bone but also a higher amount of fat, making them very flavorful if cooked properly. 

What Ingredients Will I Need to Make Instant Pot Baby-Back Ribs in my Instant Pot?  

Baby Back Ribs – you’ll need one slab of baby-back ribs that will typically weigh 2-4 pounds. Baby back ribs usually cost around $3.00 – $3.50 per pound, a little more pricey than spareribs since spareribs have more bone and fat.

Mustard, Your Favorite Rib Rub, Brown Sugar – the mustard is to slather on the ribs and helps to adhere the rub (made of the rub combined with the brown sugar) to the ribs better.

Chicken broth, cider vinegar – these ingredients are what you will use to cook the baby-back ribs in the Instant Pot.

BBQ sauce – this is for slathering the ribs once they are done cooking in the Instant Pot. Once you place the slab of ribs beneath the broiler, the bbq sauce gets nice and caramelized and sticky. YUM.

How to Make Easy Instant Pot Baby-Back Ribs in Just 35 Minutes

  • Unwrap the ribs, placing them onto a large sheet of foil or a rimmed baking sheet.
  • Flip the ribs over so that you are working on the back side of the rib rack. Use a doubled-up paper towel to grab the edge of the white membrane (it runs the entire length of the rib rack) at the end of the ribs that has the shortest rib bones.
Underside of a rack of baby back ribs as membrane is being pulled back.
  • Pull the membrane back and off of the rib rack, slowly working until it is completely removed from the ribs.
  • Continuing to work on the back side of the ribs, squirt yellow mustard onto the ribs, then use your fingertips to rub it into the nooks and crannies of the ribs.
Two racks of ribs being rubbed with mustard.
  • Sprinkle the mustard-rubbed ribs with the prepared spice rub, then flip the rib rack over and repeat the steps on the front of the ribs.
  • Place the trivet into the bottom of Instant Pot, then pour in the broth and the cider vinegar.
  • Place the prepared rack of ribs on top of the rack in the Instant Pot, curling the rack of ribs around the center of the pot, letting them expand as needed once you let go.
  • Cook the ribs under high pressure for 25 minutes, then let them rest for 10 minutes using a natural release.
  • Remove the ribs from the Instant Pot and place them onto a foil-lined baking sheet. Slather the ribs with your favorite bbq sauce.
  • Place the slathered ribs beneath the broiler for a few minutes, letting the bbq sauce hot, bubbly, and caramelized. Serve at once.

What Tools Do I Need for Making Instant Pot Baby-Back Ribs?

As you already know, you’ll need an Instant Pot. I use the 6-quart Instant Pot most of the time, but if you want to cook 2 racks of baby-back ribs at one time, the 8-quart Instant Pot is your best option…otherwise the pot is too crowded. (In my opinion.)

I have also used a sturdy silicone basting brush for the mustard, especially if you don’t want to use your fingertips. I always wear food-safe gloves when using my fingertips, because they are easy to strip off and throw into the trash when the task is completed.

Rimmed baking sheets are handy for working on the rib racks when doing the mustard and rib rub part (or you can use a sheet of foil) and you’ll need a rimmed baking sheet when you place the cooked ribs beneath the broiler to caramelize the bbq sauce.

foil-lined baking sheet with a rack of ribs being cut apart.

Tips for Making Tender and Juicy Baby-Back Ribs in Your Electric Pressure Cooker (Your Instant Pot)

  1. Use lots of aluminum foil! I spread aluminum foil out over my work space for use when I’m rubbing the ribs with the mustard and seasoning them.
  2. I also use heavy-duty aluminum foil for covering my baking sheets for the ribs. I HATE scrubbing baking sheets that are covered with stuck-on BBQ sauce. It’s so nice to pull the foil off after the ribs have baked, tossing it right into the trash can. You may still have to wash your baking sheet a bit, but it will be sure easy.
  3. If you’re wondering why this recipe calls for the mustard for rubbing on the ribs, it’s because it gives the flavor of the ribs a bit more complexity and also helps hold the rub to the ribs.
  4. We always remove the membrane that’s on the back of our rack of baby back ribs. However, know that there other cooks who completely disagree with this – it’s personal preference. We find that membrane to often be tough and sinewy, so we remove it.
  5. Before you cook your ribs in the Instant Pot, unwrap them and let them rest on your work surface for 30 minutes or so. This gets the chill off of the meat and the ribs will cook more evenly, plus it will take less time for your Instant Pot to come up to pressure when the ingredients you’re cooking aren’t ice cold.
  6. I like to cook 1 rack of ribs in my 6-quart Instant Pot. If I’m cooking two racks of ribs at the same time, I use my 8-quart Instant Pot. If your racks of ribs are pretty small (say around the 2 pound mark), you may be able to cook both racks in a 6-quart Instant Pot.
  7. I like the addition of the cider vinegar to the chicken broth when cooking the ribs since this helps tenderize the meat and also gives the meat a bit of tang.
  8. Once your ribs are fully cooked and tender in the Instant Pot, make sure you slather them well with BBQ sauce and then place them beneath the broiler so the sauce can get nice and sticky and caramelized – both important things for ribs!
BBQ ribs stacked on a plate.

What Should be Served with Baby Back Ribs?

We really enjoy so many different side dishes when we eat ribs! My family likes me to pair a rib meal with Saucy Cowboy Beans and Creamy Mashed Potatoes Supreme Casserole or Loaded Mashed Potatoes with Cheddar and Bacon.

I’ve been craving BLT Pasta Salad recently, and also Summer Corn Salad – both pair well with barbecue, anytime of year. And, of course, my guys like me to make Spicy Jalapeno Deviled Eggs with ribs, too.

Printable Recipe for Making Easy Instant Pot Baby-Back BBQ Ribs

white plate with two servings of baby back ribs with bbq sauce

How to Make Easy Instant Pot Baby-Back BBQ Ribs

Looking for a fast and simple way to make fallin'-off-the-bone ribs? Grab your Instant Pot and make some saucy, sticky, and tender ribs in just 25 minutes of cooking time.
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 340kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbs. dark brown sugar
  • 3 Tbs. of your favorite rib rub, I used Three Little Pigs Rib Rub, Kansas City Championship
  • 1 rack baby back pork ribs, 2-4 lbs., rinsed and patted dry
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce

Instructions

  • In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar with the rib rub.
  • Remove the membrane from the under side (the back) of the ribs rack. Using a doubled-up paper towel to grab the end of the membrane that is at the end of the rack that has the shortest ribs; pull the membrane back, removing it from the entire length of the ribs.
  • Rub the mustard all over the back side of the rib rack, then season the ribs with the prepared rib rub; turn the rack over and repeat on the other side.
  • Add the chicken broth and apple cider vinegar to a 6-qt Instant Pot. Place metal trivet into the pot, then place the prepared rack of ribs on top of the trivet, wrapping the rack in a circle.
  • Using the manual setting on the Instant Pot, choose high pressure for 25 minutes, bringing the Instant Pot to full pressure. When the timer sounds, allow the ribs to rest in the Instant Pot, using a natural release for 10 minutes, then perform a quick release to remove any remaining pressure in the pot.
  • Preheat the oven to the broil setting with an oven rack positioned about 6 inches beneath the broiler. Line a rimmed baking sheet with heavy-duty foil.
  • Place the cooked rack of ribs, meat side up, onto the foil-lined baking sheet; brush with barbecue sauce.
  • Place the rack of ribs into the oven; broil until the barbecue sauce is caramelized and bubbly, approx 4-5 minutes, keeping a careful watch on the ribs.
  • Serve immediately with more warm sauce, as desired.

Notes

**Please note:  the cooking time stated for this recipe does not include the time required to bring the Instant Pot up to pressure since this can vary. This recipe was made using a 6-quart Instant Pot. 

Tips for Making Tender and Juicy Instant Pot Baby-Back Ribs 

  1. Use lots of aluminum foil! I spread aluminum foil out over my work space for use when I’m rubbing the ribs with the mustard and seasoning them.
  2. I also use heavy-duty aluminum foil for covering my baking sheets for the ribs. I HATE scrubbing baking sheets that are covered with stuck-on BBQ sauce. It’s so nice to pull the foil off after the ribs have baked, tossing it right into the trash can. You may still have to wash your baking sheet a bit, but it will be sure easy.
  3. If you’re wondering why this recipe calls for the mustard for rubbing on the ribs, it’s because it gives the flavor of the ribs a bit more complexity and also helps hold the rub to the ribs.
  4. We always remove the membrane that’s on the back of our rack of baby back ribs. However, know that there other cooks who completely disagree with this – it’s personal preference. We find that membrane to often be tough and sinewy, so we remove it.
  5. Before you cook your ribs in the Instant Pot, unwrap them and let them rest on your work surface for 30 minutes or so. This gets the chill off of the meat and the ribs will cook more evenly, plus it will take less time for your Instant Pot to come up to pressure when the ingredients you’re cooking aren’t ice cold.
  6. I like to cook 1 rack of ribs in my 6-quart Instant Pot. If I’m cooking two racks of ribs at the same time, I use my 8-quart Instant Pot. If your racks of ribs are pretty small (say around the 2 pound mark), you may be able to cook both racks in a 6-quart Instant Pot.
  7. I like the addition of the cider vinegar to the chicken broth when cooking the ribs since this helps tenderize the meat and also gives the meat a bit of tang.
  8. Once your ribs are fully cooked and tender in the Instant Pot, make sure you slather them well with BBQ sauce and then place them beneath the broiler so the sauce can get nice and sticky and caramelized – both important things for ribs!
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: bbq, instant pot, Pork, pork ribs

Nutrition

Calories: 340kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 51mg | Sodium: 885mg | Potassium: 439mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 31g | Vitamin A: 255IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 80mg | Iron: 2mg

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Let’s Get You Cookin’,
Chef Alli

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Chef Alli

Chef Alli is a home-grown Kansas girl on a mission to strengthen families through enabling kitchen confidence, educating the family cook, and encouraging better food relationships. She believes with her whole heart that time spent with our loved ones and our overall quality of life is greatly enhanced by nutritious food made at home with simple, wholesome ingredients. She loves being able to connect and share this passion with others through her website, her social media presence, and her coveted speaking engagements.

Blog Comments

When cooking 2 racks of ribs, do you increase the chicken broth & cider?

Hi Linda – I’m glad you asked that question because if you’re wondering that, it’s likely that others are, as well! I need to add that into my blog post.
Soooo…..the answer is NO, unless you’re using an 8 quart Instant Pot to cook your ribs in. In that case, you just want to be sure there’s enough broth and cider vinegar in there to cover the bottom of the pot by about 1/2″. If that doesn’t make sense, let me know.
Thanks a bunch,
Chef Alli

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