by Olena

Instant Pot Ribs (Video)

by Olena

5 from 11 reviews

Instant Pot Ribs are the most juicy, flavorful and easy pork ribs you will ever try. Smothered in homemade healthy BBQ sauce or use healthier store-bought. Ready in unheard of for ribs 1 hour. Instant Pot magic!

Looking for more ideas for your magic pot? Check out these 40 healthy Instant Pot recipes.

Instant Pot Ribs

Instant Pot Pork Ribs

Instant Pot Ribs are not exactly health food but why not indulge once in a while?! Just can’t be cooking chicken in Instant Pot and drinking smoothies all the time. 🙂

I see our family making ribs in Instant Pot when we have big company, for Father’s Day and a few times during summer. Instant Pot ribs come out wonderfully tender with minimal effort. A lot of fat drains to the bottom of the pot – yay! And then we brush ribs with my super healthy BBQ sauce for that sticky, finger licking good, one of a kind ribs experience.

I also was thinking, if busy you could buy healthy BBQ sauce and have included my favorites below.

Instant Pot Ribs with homemade healthy BBQ sauce

Types of Ribs You Can Use

6 quart or 8 quart Instant Pot can hold up to 2 regular size racks of ribs. 3 quart can fit in 1 rack. As long as you can close the lid. Ribs can stick up higher than 2/3 max line as it is used as a guideline only for liquids.

  • Baby back ribs: I use baby back ribs. These are ribs cut from the top of rib cage and have less meat on them.
  • Spare ribs: Spare ribs are more meaty with more marbling between the bones than baby back ribs. They also have less meat on top.
  • Frozen ribs: You can use frozen ribs. Make sure to cut them into smaller sections so they fit in your Instant Pot. Also run under water and then sprinkle with spices, otherwise dry rub will not stick to meat.

Instant Pot Ribs served on a blue dish

How to Prep Ribs for Cooking

Your pork ribs may or may not have a membrane – shiny connective tissue at the back of the ribs that holds them together. You want to slide butter knife or handle of a spoon under to loosen it up a bit and then pull. If slippery, hold on with paper towel, remove and sicard both.

Removing membrane helps dry spices penetrate the meat better resulting in more flavorful ribs. Yum!

how to remove membrane from pork ribsseasoned pork ribs with dry rub

How to Make Instant Pot Ribs

New to Instant Pot? Check out my Instant Pot guide. Don’t have one yet? See which one I recommend to buy.

  • Season ribs with a blend of chili powder, smoked paprika, onion powder, salt and pepper. I recommend to sprinkle it instead of rubbing because a lot ends up sticking to your fingers and not meat.
  • Add trivet and 1 cup liquid to Instant Pot. I like to use just water but you can add 1 tsp of liquid smoke or sub 1 cup of apple cider. Trivet helps to lift ribs out of the water. You don’t need one with handles. Don’t have trivet at all? Cut up large onion into quarters and stack ribs on top.
  • Curl up ribs into a coil and cook for 25 minutes on High pressure. On different Instant Pot models, you have to either press Pressure Cook and select High pressure, or use Manual button.

Instant Pot Ribs arranged inside pot and ready to cookcooked Instant Pot Ribs

  • Make healthy BBQ sauce while ribs are cooking. My recipe is super simple and consists of tomato paste, applesauce, water, liquid smoke and spices and ready in 15 minutes. You can also buy healthier store-bought brands like Stubb’s, Primal Kitchen or Annie’s. I highly recommend not to buy “regular” BBQ sauce like Baby Ray’s where main ingredient is high fructose corn syrup. It contains 4 times more sugar than homemade or healthy one, yikes!
  • Carefully remove ribs. Since ribs are so tender, it is tricky not to break them in half. I use 2 silicone end tongs and they still broke in half which is OK since you will be slicing them anyway.
  • Brush with BBQ sauce and broil on high 500 degrees F for 5 minutes on a middle rack. This step is optional and how much ribs will caramelize depends on a barbecue sauce you use.

how to make healthy BBQ saucecooked ribs on a baking sheet brushed with BBQ sauce

broiled Instant Pot Ribs

How to Serve and Store Ribs

Serve ribs traditionally with mashed potatoes and corn on the cob. The day I tested this recipe, I also made fresh and crunchy Asian salad. This exotic coleslaw went so well with ribs!

Other great pairings:

Instant Pot Ribs recipe

To keep ribs warm and serve later use Keep Warm function on your Instant Pot. Just remove a bit of liquid from the pot so it sits below the trivet, stack cut up ribs, close the lid and press Keep Warm button. Ribs will stay warm for up to 10 hours. Perfect for potlucks and outdoor summer parties. Plus your kitchen stays cool!

More Instant Pot Recipes

Did you know we have entire Youtube channel dedicated to healthy Instant Pot recipes and tips? My goal is to help you become confident with your Instant Pot by demonstrating each delicious foolproof recipe in step-by-step videos.

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Instant Pot Ribs recipe


Instant Pot Ribs

instant pot ribs

5 from 11 reviews

Instant Pot Ribs are the most juicy, flavorful and easy pork ribs you will ever try. Smothered in homemade healthy BBQ sauce or use healthier store-bought. Ready in unheard of for ribs 1 hour. Instant Pot magic!

  • Author: Olena of
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: North American


For Ribs:

  • 2 racks of ribs
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Healthy BBQ Sauce:

  • 1 cup water
  • 6 oz can tomato paste, low sodium
  • 1/2 cup applesauce, unsweetened
  • 3 tbsp unsulphured molasses
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp honey or maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp yellow mustard
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper


  1. In a small bowl, add chili powder, smoked paprika, onion powder, pepper, salt and whisk with a fork.
  2. In Instant Pot, add 1 cup water and place trivet inside.
  3. Remove membrane from the back of the ribs by sliding butter knife or spoon handle under. If slippery, use paper towel to pull off membrane. Some ribs might not have it.
  4. Sprinkle each side of ribs with spice mixture. Don’t rub as a lot of seasonings will end up sticking to your fingers.
  5. Place ribs inside Instant Pot on a trivet, on their side and curling in a circle.
  6. Close the lid, set pressure valve to Sealing and press Pressure Cook on High or Manual for 25 minutes.
  7. While ribs are cooking (takes about good hour), make healthy BBQ sauce. Combine water, tomato paste, applesauce, molasses, apple cider vinegar, honey, onion and garlic powders, mustard, liquid smoke and cayenne pepper in a small pot and stir. Bring to a boil and cook half covered on low heat for 10 minutes.
  8. After 25 minute cook time is over, let pressure in Instant Pot come down naturally for 15 minutes and then release remaining pressure using Quick Release – turn valve to Venting.
  9. Ribs will be very tender. Remove them carefully using 2 silicone end tongs on baking sheet line with silicone baking mat. They probably will fall apart in half, no worries. So tender!
  10. Brush top and sides with generous amount of BBQ sauce and broil on middle rack for 4-5 minutes.
  11. Cut with serrated knife between bones and serve warm.
  12. You can put ribs back in Instant Pot o na trivet and Keep warm for up to 10 hours. Perfect for parties, summer BBQ, beach picnics etc.


  • BBQ sauce leftovers: I used half of BBQ sauce on 2 racks of ribs. You can refrigerate remaining half in a glass jar for up to 7 days.
  • Recommended store-bought BBQ sauce: You can also buy healthier store-bought brands of barbecue sauce like Stubb’s, Primal Kitchen or Annie’s. I highly recommend to stay away from “regular” BBQ sauce like Baby Ray’s and generic store brands where main ingredient is high fructose corn syrup. They contain 4 times more sugar than homemade or healthy BBQ sauce.
  • No trivet? If you don’t have a trivet, cut up large onion into quarters, spread on the bottom of the pot and arrange ribs on top.
  • Instant Pot size: You can fit up to 2 racks of ribs into 6 quart or 8 quart Instant Pot and 1 rack into 3 quart. Ribs can stick out higher than 2/3 max line. As long as you can close the lid.
  • Frozen ribs: Cook for 30 minutes.

 Did you make this recipe? Please give it a star rating in the comments.

olena osipov in the studio

Hello and welcome to iFOODreal.

My name is Olena Osipov. I'm a mom to 2 boys and a wife to Alex. And this is our healthy family recipes blog. I grew up in Ukraine on real food. As an adult, I tried many diets without results. Now for over 10 years, I cook quick and easy healthy meals for my family. I can help you with “What’s for dinner?” too.

What You Will Find Here

Healthy family recipes with simple ingredients. Many are inspired by my Ukrainian heritage. I share mostly dinner recipes because it just never ends... I’m obsessed with healthy freezer meals. And more than in love with my Instant Pot.

A Little More About Me

Originally from Ukraine, I now reside on magic Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada with my family. I started this blog in 2012 when I ended up at home with 2 small kids unemployed and a wee bit chubby.

20 comments on “Instant Pot Ribs (Video)

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  1. Amazing as always! I didn’t remove the membrane ( too lazy 😉 ) and my guess that’s what kept ribs from falling apart. I used smoked paprika instead of liquid smoke and a little more cayenne pepper for a kick. The ribs were juicy and tender – everyone loved it! Looking forward for more instant pot recipes from you Olena!

  2. Never do ribs because they are too much work but this was super easy and delicious!

    1. I’ve cooked these twice now and wow! I used to make ribs by the low and in oven for 3 hours but instant pot method makes them so better w/o all grease from oven cooking. I will admit to cheating with commercial BBQ sauce. If I could one complaint is ribs are darn tender it’s hard to them intact out of the pot w/o them falling apart!

  3. I’ve been cooking ribs for years in the oven or BBQ low and slow. I was given an Instant Pot for a gift, and honestly I wanted to return it.
    The rib recipe is brilliant! The worst problem is the ribs are so tender they keep falling apart trying to get them out of the pot!

  4. I just made these ribs and bbq sauce tonight and I think I’m now obsessed!! The ribs turned out fantastic and the bbq sauce was extremely flavorful for being so much less sugar than other main stream sauces. I paired them with some cauliflower mashed “potatoes ” and a little salad. Another hit! Thank you!

  5. Just got my new POT and wanted to make ribs! Gonna have them for dinner tonight. Thanks for the recipe!

    1. You are welcome Geraldine. Don’t be shy to leave a comment and star review once you have made the ribs. Enjoy your new instant pot!

  6. Hi I really like the idea of this but not being American means I am not really used to using cups in recipes. Any way you could advise what 2 cups of zucchini in grams would be? Also, maybe the problem is just with me but the amount of ads on this web-site is making it nearly impossible to read and follow – ads are constantly popping up from below, from the top, on the left, on the right, videos starting without prompting, etc.. (you might want to look into it but it maybe just me though)

    1. I’m not sure what that is as I use cups in Canada. Also you are asking on ribs recipe about zucchini recipe. Just FYI if you can’t find my answer. Maybe google the weight?! The only pop up is a video player with clear close button. Other ads we have are in the content as you scroll. Ads allow free recipes otherwise the only ad free experience I know of today is to buy cookbooks.

  7. Sounds great, Olena! Will try. My question is: can I use “riblets” with this recipe too? and if yes, what would be the time of cooking (as their bones are much shorter)? Thanks!.. Also, your barbecue sauce sounds awesome!

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