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A plate of Instant Pot Apple Ribs

Instant Pot Apple Ribs

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5 from 2 reviews

  • Author: Mike Vrobel
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 rack of baby back ribs 1x


Instant Pot Apple Ribs. Baby back ribs, pressure cooked until fall off-the-bone tender, with apple juice and spice rub, with an apple-flavored barbecue sauce.


  • 1 rack of baby back ribs, membrane removed
  • 1 cup apple juice (or apple cider)
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke (optional)

Barbecue Rub (2 tablespoons of my Homemade Barbecue Rub), or use your favorite store-bought rub

  • 1½ teaspoons fine sea salt (or 2 teaspoons kosher salt)
  • ¾ tablespoon paprika
  • ¾ tablespoon brown sugar
  • ½ tablespoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • ⅛ teaspoon dried thyme

Barbecue sauce (1 cup of my  homemade barbecue sauce ), or use your favorite store-bought sauce

  • ¾ cup ketchup
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ¼ cup apple butter (or applesauce)
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Franks Red Hot sauce


  1. Remove the membrane from the ribs: On the bone side of the slab of ribs, work a butter knife between the membrane and the bone, then grab the membrane with a paper towel and pull, slowly and firmly, to lift it off of the ribs. (If it tears while you're pulling, work the knife under the remaining pieces and pull them off.)
  2. Make the rub and sauce: In a small bowl, stir the barbecue rub ingredients, breaking up any clumps of brown sugar with your fingers. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk the barbecue sauce ingredients until smooth. Set aside.
  3. Season the ribs and put them in the pressure cooker: Cut the rack of ribs into 4 pieces, cutting between every fourth bone. Sprinkle both sides of the ribs with the barbecue rub.
  4. Everything in the pot: Pour the apple juice and liquid smoke into an Instant Pot or other pressure cooker. Stack the ribs in the pressure cooker in a loose pile, bone side down.
  5. Pressure cook the ribs for 30 minutes with a Natural Release: Lock the lid and pressure cook on high pressure for 30 minutes in an Instant Pot or other electric pressure cooker or 24 minutes in a stovetop PC. (Use Manual, Pressure Cook, or Pressure Cook - Custom mode in an Instant Pot). When the cooking time finishes, let the pressure come down naturally for about 15 more minutes. (You can quick release any remaining pressure after 15 minutes).
  6. Sauce and broil the ribs (Optional): Put the ribs, bone side down, on a rimmed baking sheet. Brush the ribs with the barbecue sauce, then put them under a broiler set to high. Broil the ribs until the sauce is bubbling and just starting to brown, for about 5 minutes. Remove the ribs from the broiler, brush with another layer of sauce, and serve.
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Category: Sunday Dinner
  • Method: Pressure Cooker
  • Cuisine: American