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Individual spare ribs brushed with sauce on a red plate with a bowl of barbecue rub in the background

Instant Pot Spare Ribs

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 7 reviews

  • Author: Mike Vrobel
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 1 slab of ribs 1x


Instant Pot Spare Ribs - quick and easy, pressure cooked with liquid smoke for a big meaty flavor, brushed with barbecue sauce, and glazed under the broiler.


  • 1 slab pork spare ribs, membrane peeled off
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon liquid smoke

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

Barbecue sauce (1 cup of my Easy BBQ Sauce), or use your favorite store-bought sauce

  • ¾ cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard (or cheap yellow mustard)
  • ½ teaspoon soy sauce


  1. Make the BBQ rub: In a small bowl, stir the barbecue rub ingredients: Fine sea salt, paprika, brown sugar, chili powder, ground black pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder. Stir and mix until thoroughly combined, breaking up any clumps of brown sugar with your fingers. Set aside for later. (Or, use a tablespoon of store-bought BBQ rub)
  2. Make the BBQ sauce: In a medium bowl, whisk the barbecue sauce ingredients: ketchup, brown sugar, cider vinegar, dijon mustard, and soy sauce. Whisk until smooth. Refrigerate for later. (Or, use a cup of store-bought BBQ sauce.)
  3. Remove the membrane from the ribs: On the bony side of the slab of ribs, work a butter knife between the membrane and one of the bones. Grab the membrane with a paper towel and pull gently but firmly to peel the membrane away from the ribs. If the membrane tears while you’re pulling, work the knife under the remaining pieces and pull them off as well. Trim the flap of meat from the bone side of the slab. You can discard it, or sprinkle it with rub and add it to the pot with the ribs as a cook’s snack.
  4. Season the ribs and put them in the pressure cooker: Cut the rack of ribs into 4 pieces, cutting between every 3rd bone. Sprinkle both sides of the ribs with the rub. Pour the cup of water into the Instant Pot (or use the minimum liquid amount for your pressure cooker), and then add the liquid smoke. Stack the ribs in the pot in a loose pile, bone side down.
  5. Pressure cook the ribs for 30 minutes with a Natural Pressure Release: Lock the lid and pressure cook on high pressure for 30 minutes in an Instant Pot or other electric PC (“Manual” or “Pressure Cook” mode in an Instant Pot.), or for 24 minutes in a stovetop PC. Let the pressure release naturally, about 15 more minutes. (You can quick release any remaining pressure after 15 minutes if you're in a hurry.)
  6. Sauce and (optional) broil the ribs: Transfer the ribs to a rimmed baking sheet. Brush the ribs with barbecue sauce, turn them bone side down, then put the sheet under a broiler set to high. Broil the ribs until the sauce is bubbling and just starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the broiler, brush with another layer of sauce, and serve.
    • Prep Time: 10 minutes
    • Cook Time: 50 minutes
    • Category: Weeknight Dinner
    • Method: Pressure Cooker
    • Cuisine: American