Instant Pot Spare Ribs

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Learn how to cook Tender & Juicy Instant Pot Spare Ribs (Pressure Cooker Spare Ribs) with few pantry ingredients. Super easy to make flavorful, sticky-sweet caramelized bbq pork spare ribs. So finger-licking deliciously good!

Ribs were the first dish we’ve experimented in our Instant Pot. And it definitely made a delicious first impression that kick-started our love journey with our Instant Pot! 😀

When you don’t have access to a smoker or grill, this hits the spot when you’re craving barbecue.

For the past years, we’ve been experimenting with various cuts of beef ribs and pork ribs in our Instant Pot Pressure Cookers. So we’re excited to share this easy Instant Pot Pork Spare Ribs recipe with you!

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What are Spare Ribs?

The most common cuts of pork ribs are Spare Ribs, Baby Back Ribs, and St. Louis Style Ribs.

Spare Ribs are the cut of pork ribs from the bottom (belly side) of the rib cage (above the breast bone). The full slab of meat has straight & flat bones.

It’s meaty, tender, and packed with porky flavors. In comparison, Spare Ribs are longer and a bigger cut of meat than baby back ribs and St. Louis Style Ribs, while likely being the least expensive!

Spare Ribs (Chinese: 排骨) are really popular in Chinese cuisine – especially the Spareribs with Black Bean Sauce!

Whereas, Baby Back Ribs are the cut of pork ribs from the top of the rib cage (near the backbone).

Spare Ribs vs. St. Louis Style Ribs

How about St. Louis Style Ribs? 

St. Louis Ribs are actually a part of Spare Ribs!

You simply trim off the flap, skirt, & rib tips from a rack of spare ribs to end up with a rack of St. Louis Style Ribs (from top photo to bottom photo).

spare ribs vs st. Louis style ribs #AmyJacky #recipe #pork
Spare Ribs (top) vs St. Louis Style Ribs (bottom)

Compared to Baby Back Ribs, St. Louis Style Ribs have less meat, thinner, & flatter, but the meat is fattier & more flavorful!

Time to Cook Spare Ribs in Instant Pot!

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Instant Pot Spare Ribs

Learn how to cook Tender & Juicy Instant Pot Spare Ribs (Pressure Cooker Spare Ribs). Super easy to make flavorful, caramelized bbq pork spare ribs with few pantry ingredients.
5 from 3 votes
Print Rate This Recipe
Marinating Time: 1 hour
Total: 1 hour
Servings: 2 - 4
Calories: 396kcal
Author: Amy + Jacky

Ingredients 

Instructions

  • Optional - Trim Spare Ribs into St. Louis Style Ribs (see photos): With a sharp knife, remove the flap at the end of the spare ribs.
    Remove the skirt (strip of meat that runs diagonally on the backside).
    Separate the rib tips by making a horizontal cut. Try to fold the ribs lengthwise and you should find where the breastbone and cartilage are connected.
    *Pro Tip: Save all the meat you trimmed off for our next recipe.
  • Marinate Spare Ribs: Mix 1 tsp (3.2g) garlic powder, 1 tsp (3.8g) onion powder, and 2 tbsp (30ml) apple cider vinegar together. Brush the marinade all over the spare ribs. Generously season the spare ribs with ground black pepper and salt. Marinate ribs for at least 30 minutes in the fridge.
    *Pro Tip: The optimal marinating time is 1 - 2 hours. This allows the vinegar to tenderize the meat and let the salt penetrates the meat just a bit.
  • Pressure Cook Spare Ribs: Add 2 - 3 drops of liquid smoke to the Instant Pot (optional). Place 1 cup (250ml) of cold water and a steamer rack in Instant Pot. Place the marinated spare ribs on the rack.
    Close lid, then turn Venting Knob to Sealing position. Pressure Cook at High Pressure for 20 minutes (Tender with a bit of chew) to 25 minutes (Fall off the bone) + 15 minutes Natural Release. Release the remaining pressure, then open the lid.
  • Apply Sauce & Broil in Oven/Air Fryer: Carefully set the spare ribs on an oven tray or chopping board, then generously apply BBQ sauce all over the ribs on all sides.
    *Note: You can use an oven, toaster oven, Instant Pot Duo Crisp or Air Fryer Lid for this step.
    *Pro Tip: If you're using the Duo Crisp lid or Air Fryer lid, you'll need to cut the spare ribs into halves, then finish them in 2 batches.
    *Pro Tip: It's best to broil the spare ribs before cutting it into serving size to retain more moisture.
    Option 1 - Oven/Toaster Oven: Place the BBQ Spare Ribs on an oven tray under the "Broil" function (or the highest temperature setting) for a few minutes until the BBQ sauce is caramelized.
    Option 2 - Air Fryer Lid: Place air fryer basket with tray on the middle rack in Instant Pot. Layer ribs on air fryer tray in Instant Pot. Place the Air Fryer Lid on Instant Pot. Press "Airfry" button, set Temperature to 400°F and Cooking Time to 15 minutes. (It takes roughly 9 - 11 minutes + preheat time. You can open the lid to check the progress.) Air fry the second batch of spare ribs in Instant Pot.
  • Serve: Chop up the BBQ Spare Ribs to serving sizes. Serve these tasty BBQ Spare Ribs immediately! Enjoy~ 🙂
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Recipe Notes:

How to Buy Spare Ribs: Try to look for ribs that have lots of marbling!
*Rate Recipe: If you've tried the recipe, don't forget to Rate the Recipe in the Comments Section. Thank you!

Nutrition:

Calories: 396kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 104mg | Sodium: 294mg | Potassium: 365mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 40IU | Calcium: 25mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Main
Cuisine: American
Keyword: instant pot pork spare ribs, instant pot spare ribs, instant pot spare ribs recipe, pork spare ribs instant pot, pressure cooker spare ribs, spare ribs in Instant Pot, spare ribs instant pot
Tried this recipe?Mention @pressurecookrecipes or tag #AmyJacky!

Step-by-Step Guide: Instant Pot Spare Ribs

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Prepare ingredients for cooking spare ribs in Instant Pot.

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How to Remove the Membrane from Spare Ribs:

  • Locate the membrane on either end of the rack (at the back of the ribs).
  • Slide a butter knife in between the membrane and bones (see picture below).
  • Pull the membrane and tear it off with a paper towel (for better grip).

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Pulling off the membrane from baby back ribs

1

Optional: Trim Spare Ribs into St. Louis Style Ribs


Spare ribs are usually cheaper than St. Louis Style Ribs. You can easily trim the spare ribs into St. Louis ribs by following these simple steps.

With a sharp knife, remove the flap at the end of the spare ribs.

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Then, remove the skirt (as shown in photo below). 

*Pro Tip: The skirt is the strip of meat that runs diagonally on the backside. 

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Try to fold the ribs lengthwise and you should find where the breastbone and cartilage are connected. 

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Then, separate the rib tips by making a horizontal cut.

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Save the rib tips and all the meat you trimmed off. You can save them for our upcoming recipe!

2

Marinate Spare Ribs


First, mix 1 tsp (3.2g) garlic powder, 1 tsp (3.8g) onion powder, and 2 tbsp (30ml) apple cider vinegar together.

Then, brush the marinade all over the spare ribs.

marinate spare ribs #AmyJacky #recipe #pork

Generously season the spare ribs with ground black pepper and salt.

Then, marinate the ribs for at least 30 minutes in the fridge.

*Pro Tip: The optimal marinating time for this recipe is 1 – 2 hours. This allows the vinegar to tenderize the meat and let the salt penetrates the meat just a bit.

3

Pressure Cook Spare Ribs


Optional: add 2 – 3 drops of liquid smoke to the Instant Pot.

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Place 1 cup (250ml) of cold water and a steamer rack in Instant Pot Pressure Cooker.

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Place the marinated spare ribs on the rack.

Close lid, then turn Venting Knob to Sealing position.

  • Pressure Cooking Method: Pressure Cook at High Pressure for 20 minutes (Tender with a bit of chew) to 25 minutes (Fall off the bone) + 15 minutes Natural Release

Instant Pot Pressure Cooker High Pressure 20 minutes #AmyJacky #InstantPot

After releasing pressure naturally for 15 minutes, carefully turn the Venting Knob to Venting Position to release the remaining pressure.

Once the Floating Valve drops, open the lid carefully.

pork spare ribs in Instant Pot #AmyJacky

*Note: We pressure cooked these spare ribs at High Pressure for 25 minutes + 15 minutes Natural Release, so they were falling off the bone!

4

Apply Sauce & Broil in Oven/Air Fryer


First, carefully set the spare ribs on an oven tray or chopping board, then generously apply your favorite BBQ sauce all over the ribs on all sides.

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*Note: You can use an oven, toaster oven, Instant Pot Duo Crisp‘s “Air Fry” function or Instant Pot Air Fryer Lid for this finishing caramelization step.

*Pro Tip: If you have a large oven, you can finish the spare ribs in one batch. If you’re using the Duo Crisp lid or Air Fryer lid, you’ll need to cut the spare ribs into halves, then finish them in 2 batches.

*Pro Tip: It’s best to broil the spare ribs before cutting it into serving size to retain more moisture.

Option 1 – Oven/Toaster Oven

Place the BBQ Spare Ribs on an oven tray under the “Broil” function (or the highest temperature setting) for a few minutes until the BBQ sauce is caramelized.

Option 2 – Air Fryer Lid

Place the air fryer basket with the tray on the middle rack in Instant Pot (as shown in the photo below).

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Now, layer the spare ribs on the air fryer tray in Instant Pot.

Then, place the Air Fryer Lid on the Instant Pot.

  • Air Frying Method: Press the “Airfry” button, set the Temperature to 400°F and Cooking Time to 15 minutes.

*Pro Tip: It will take roughly 9 – 11 minutes + preheat time. You can open the lid to check the progress.

Now, air fry the second batch of spare ribs in Instant Pot.

5

Serve BBQ Spare Ribs


Chop up the Instant Pot BBQ Spare Ribs to finger-licking serving sizes.

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Serve these tasty Instant Pot BBQ Spare Ribs immediately! Enjoy~ 🙂


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Make this super easy no fuss 4 ingredients Easy BBQ Instant Pot Ribs in 40 mins! Brushed with your favorite sweet & smoky BBQ sauce, these tender baby back ribs are finger lickin' good. Perfect weeknight meal, last minute dinners, or cook them for your next BBQ. :D

Instant Pot Short Ribs

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