It's so easy to make these fall off the bone tender Instant Pot ribs at home. With just three simple steps they're keto, paleo, Whole30 and family-friendly.
Easy instant pot ribs
There are basically three easy steps to these fall off the bone tender ribs:
- Dry rub. This is an important step for developing the flavor of the ribs while they cook. Be sure to add the dry rub no matter which cooking method you use.
- Cook until tender. My favorite way to cook ribs is to pressure cook them in the Instant Pot. But you can also cook them low and slow in the oven or crock pot.
- Sauce and finish on the grill or under the broiler. This last step adds an extra layer of flavor. I love getting a little bit of char and smoky flavor on the ribs by grilling them.
As you can see, this recipe gives you plenty of options. The ribs turn out great no matter which method you choose. But my family's most requested way to make them is cooking in the Instant Pot and finishing on the grill. Luckily, this is the fastest and easiest way too!
And if you don't have an Instant Pot yet, I've included simple oven and slow cooker instructions as well.
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How to cook ribs in an instant pot
Cooking ribs in the Instant Pot couldn't be simpler. Start with either baby back ribs or St. Louis ribs. (St. Louis ribs are juicier and more flavorful from the belly fat. I get them here.)
Make sure you check the back of the ribs for the membrane. Depending on where you buy your pork ribs, this membrane may already be removed. It's important to remove this since it's chewy and hard to eat. If you see a thin whitish membrane across the back of the ribs just pull it off with your fingers.
Once the membrane is removed, put the dry rub on the ribs. We only use one dry rub in our house and it's based on my homemade chili powder. The blend includes smoked paprika, garlic, cumin, sea salt, and a little bit of coconut sugar. If you are doing a Whole30, you can omit the coconut sugar but I like the hint of sweetness with the smoky spice mix.
Next, set up your instant pot with a trivet in the bottom of the cooking pot and pour the water into the the pot. Stand the racks of ribs on the trivet as shown in the photo above.
Set your Instant Pot to pressure cook or manual (depending on which model you have) and cook ribs on high pressure. I find 25 minutes is a good cook time for baby back ribs and 30 minutes for St. Louis ribs.
Use a natural release (wait until the button releases). Then remove the ribs and either place them on the grill or on a baking sheet to finish under the broiler. It takes just a few minutes either way.
Brush with your favorite low carb BBQ sauce and let them cook just until they start to brown or get grill marks. If you prefer no sauce ribs, you can skip this step, but I would still finish them on the grill for a little extra flavor.
How to make ribs in the oven
The key to tender ribs in the oven is cooking them low and slow. This recipe is so forgiving. You can wrap the spice rubbed ribs in foil… or not.
True story, my husband was putting the ribs in the oven for me and I asked him to put the rub on then wrap them in foil and put them in the oven. What he did was put the dry rub on and put them in the oven unwrapped—they turned out just as good.
As with the Instant Pot ribs, you can finish them on the grill or under the broiler. We've even finished them by turning up the heat on the oven at the end to give them a little crust after slathering them with BBQ sauce.
I have also cooked this recipe in the crock pot. Just put the rub on and put them in the slow cooker. I don't add any liquid while they are cooking. Cook them on low for 8 – 10 hours. Then finish the ribs on the grill or under the broiler.