How to Cook Ribs in a Pressure Cooker: Pressure Cook Your Ribs to Perfection in 30 Minutes

Discover the culinary magic of cooking ribs in a pressure cooker, where tender, flavorful results are achieved in about 30 minutes. While traditional methods may demand hours of preparation, the pressure cooker streamlines the process, turning sceptics into believers with its fall-off-the-bone tenderness. Choose your favourite type of ribs and savour the convenience of last-minute dinner decisions, thanks to the Instant Pot’s speedy performance. These ribs boast a symphony of flavours, from saucy and sweet to savoury and sticky, with only a few required ingredients. Elevate your meal with delectable pressure cooker side dishes. Whether a novice or a seasoned chef, this introductory recipe promises finger-licking success, making you the rib master you’ve always wanted to be. Say farewell to lengthy waits and hello to quick, impressive rib dinners that’ll have everyone craving seconds.

Table of Contents

How to Cook Ribs in a Pressure Cooker?

Cooking ribs in a Pressure Cooker is a quick and delicious way to achieve tender, fall-off-the-bone results. Here’s a step-by-step guide:


  • Two racks of baby back ribs
  • Barbecue meat rub (homemade or store-bought)
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup apple juice
  • 1-2 teaspoons liquid smoke (optional but recommended)
  • Your favourite barbecue sauce


Step 1: Prepare the Ribs

Begin by detaching the membrane from the underside of the ribs, as this facilitates improved flavour infusion. Proceed to generously apply your preferred barbecue meat rub to the ribs, ensuring thorough coating on both sides. This step holds significant importance in enhancing the overall flavour profile.

Step 2: Instant Pot Setup

Place a trivet or rack at the bottom of your Instant Pot. It will elevate the ribs above the cooking liquid, preventing them from sitting in it. Add a flavorful liquid to the Instant Pot. A combination of vegetable broth, apple juice, and optional liquid smoke infuse flavour into the ribs during cooking.

Step 3: Pressure Cooking

Carefully arrange the seasoned ribs in the Instant Pot. Curling them around the pot’s edge is essential to ensure they fit comfortably without overcrowding. Close the lid of the Instant Pot and set it to “manual” mode. After the designated cooking duration has elapsed, permit the Instant Pot to undergo a natural pressure release for about 8-10 minutes. Then, manually release any remaining pressure.

Step 4: Broiling for Flavor

Preheat your oven’s broiler while you prepare the ribs for the final step. Gently move the prepared ribs to a baking sheet with aluminium foil. Generously brush your favourite barbecue sauce over the ribs, making sure to coat all sides, including the bones.

Now, it’s time to work some culinary magic. Slide those ribs beneath the broiler for a span of 5-8 minutes. Vigilance is key here; your aim is to achieve that perfect caramelization, endowing the ribs with a delightful char and an enticing smoky flavor. Keep a watchful eye on the process to ensure the utmost deliciousness.

Step 5: Serve and Enjoy

Remove them from the oven once the ribs are nicely caramelized and have that irresistible barbecue flavour. Slice the ribs into sections for easy serving. Serve your  mouthwatering ribs immediately, and enjoy the tender, flavorful result of pressure cooking.

What’s the method for cooking frozen ribs in the Instant Pot?

To cook ribs from frozen in the Instant Pot:

Season the rib racks before freezing and cut them into smaller pieces for easy fitting into the pot. If your ribs happen to be frozen, here’s your game plan: gently position them inside the Instant Pot, pour in 1 cup of water, securely seal the lid, and adjust the valve to the “Sealing” position. Opt for the “Manual” setting and let the pressure cook for 35-40 minutes, contingent upon your preference for tenderness. Allow a natural release of pressure for about 10 minutes, followed by a quick release. With care, retrieve the ribs, brush them generously with barbecue sauce, and pop them under the broiler for a few minutes until the sauce achieves a tantalizing caramelized finish. Serve and enjoy your succulent ribs cooked directly from the freezer.

Choosing the Right Ribs for Your Instant Pot

When it comes to preparing ribs in your Instant Pot, you’ll discover a variety of choices at your disposal. Each type of rib brings its distinctive flavors and textures to the table, empowering you to craft a meal tailored precisely to your tastes.

Baby Back Ribs

Also known as loin ribs, they are named “baby” because they are shorter than other varieties. They are prized for their leanness and tenderness, making them a popular choice for many.

Spare Ribs

Alternatively called side ribs, spare ribs are known for their juiciness and robust, meaty flavour. They typically have more meat between the bones, especially on the top portion.

St. Louis Style Ribs

These ribs, often called Kansas City cut, are spare ribs with the tips removed, resulting in a slightly shorter rib. This trimming gives them a distinct appearance and flavour.

Choosing the Right Type

The type of ribs you choose to cook in your Instant Pot largely depends on your taste preferences.Baby back ribs are celebrated for their tenderness and lean quality, while spare ribs present a richer, more substantial meatiness, thanks to their marbling. It’s crucial to bear in mind that cooking times might fluctuate, influenced by variables like your elevation and the specific rib type you opt for. Ultimately, deciding between baby back ribs, spare ribs, or St. Louis-style ribs is a matter of taste, with baby back ribs being the most minor and most tender and spare ribs being larger, meatier, and richer in flavour.

Pressure Cooking Times for Ribs

When preparing ribs in your pressure cooker, it’s crucial to get the timing just right for perfectly tender and flavorful results. Here’s a concise breakdown of cooking times for various types of ribs:

Baby Back Ribs

Pressure cook on high for 23 to 25 minutes, allowing for a 5-minute natural pressure release (NPR). For frozen baby back ribs, pressure cook for 30 minutes, followed by 10 minutes of NPR.

Spare Ribs

Pressure cook on high for 30 to 35 minutes with a 20-minute NPR. This extended NPR time ensures exceptionally tender ribs. For frozen spare ribs, pressure cook for 42 minutes, followed by 20 minutes of NPR.

St. Louis-Style Ribs

Follow the exact timing as spare ribs, pressure cooking for 30 to 35 minutes, with a 20-minute NPR. This extended NPR time is essential for achieving tender St. Louis-style ribs. For frozen St. Louis-style ribs, pressure cook for 42 minutes, followed by 20 minutes of NPR.

Tips for How to Cook Ribs in a Pressure Cooker

Cooking ribs in a pressure cooker can be a breeze, but a few tips can help ensure your ribs turn out tender and flavorful:

Adjust Cooking Time for Desired Tenderness

If you prefer more tender ribs, extend the cooking time to 35 minutes on high pressure. For fall-off-the-bone tender ribs, go for a 40-minute high-pressure cook.

No Steamer Basket? No Problem

If you don’t have a steamer basket, place the ribs on a trivet or tripod inside the pressure cooker.

Prevent Sticking

To avoid the ribs sticking to the pressure cooker’s bottom, add a touch of oil or cooking spray before placing the ribs.

Experiment with Vegetables

Feel free to add extra flavour by including vegetables like potatoes, carrots, or onions in the pressure cooker with the ribs.

Choosing the Right Ribs

You can select either baby back ribs or spare ribs; both are suitable for pressure cooking.

Trim for Excellence

 Before cooking, remove any extra fat or silver skin from the ribs.

Season Liberally

Season the ribs with herbs and spices, like salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder, to impart a delightful flavour.

Adequate Liquid is Key

Ensure there’s enough liquid in the pressure cooker to cover the bottom, preventing sticking.

Cooking Time Matters

Depending on your desired tenderness, cook the ribs on high pressure for 30-40 minutes.

Natural Pressure Release

Following the cooking process, let the pressure naturally release for 10 minutes before applying the quick-release method to remove any remaining pressure.

Optional Broiling for Flavor

For an extra flavour boost, consider broiling the ribs on high for a few minutes before serving.

What to Do with Leftover Ribs?

If you find yourself with leftover ribs, don’t settle for mundane reheats. Instead, embark on a culinary adventure with these creative and mouthwatering ideas:

Smoky Quesadillas

Transform your smoked ribs into savoury quesadillas by enveloping tender rib pieces in melted cheese and soft tortillas. It’s Tex-Mex comfort at its finest.

BBQ Pork Sandwich

Make a classic southern-style BBQ pork sandwich by placing your rib meat between slices of bread and topping it with your favourite barbecue sauce. Pair with baked beans and coleslaw for the whole experience.

BBQ Pork with Cheesy Grits

Shred leftover pork ribs, simmer them in BBQ sauce, and serve over creamy, cheesy grits. It’s a Southern-inspired dish that’s sure to satisfy.

Breakfast Hash

Create a hearty breakfast hash by combining fried potatoes, tender veggies, cheese, and leftover ribs. Prepare it ahead for a morning feast.

BBQ Pork Rib Tacos

Elevate Taco Tuesday with juicy taco fillings made from your leftover ribs. Add your preferred toppings for a quick weeknight dinner.

Baby Back Rib Soup

Warm up with a hearty soup using your leftover baby back ribs. Simmer it with veggies and enjoy it with bread or cornbread.

Leftover Prime Rib Sandwich

Craft a prime rib sandwich with caramelized onions, wilted arugula, and horseradish mayo dressing for a high-flavour portable meal.

Irish Prime Rib Pie

Transform your ribs into a savoury prime rib pie filled with vegetables and fresh herbs. A store-bought crust keeps prep easy.

Leftover Prime Rib and Barley Soup

Create a hearty barley soup with juicy rib meat and tender vegetables, served in a well-seasoned tomato-based broth.

Prime Rib Casserole

Enjoy a creamy casserole loaded with penne pasta, fresh parsley, bacon, and prime rib. It’s comfort food at its best.

Leftover Prime Rib Beef Stroganoff

Whip up a rich and creamy beef stroganoff with tender rib meat, noodles, and a flavorful sauce for a quick one-pot meal.

Leftover Prime Rib and Mashed Potatoes

Dice spare ribs, sauté with onions and mushrooms, and serve over creamy mashed potatoes for a satisfying dish.

Leftover Prime Rib Chili

Turn your prime rib leftovers into a flavorful chilli with diced tomatoes, beans, and a spicy kick, perfect for game day.

Leftover Prime Rib Philly Cheesesteak

Stack sautéed onions, bell peppers, and sliced spare prime rib on a hoagie roll with provolone and white American cheeses for a mouthwatering sandwich.

Prime Rib Soup with Pasta

Enjoy a comforting vegetable soup with macaroni noodles and leftover rib meat, combining the best of both worlds.

Prime Rib Pasta

Stretch your leftovers with a creamy, filling and delicious pasta dish, perfect for satisfying hungry appetites.

Leftover Prime Rib French Dip

Elevate your sandwich game with French dip sandwiches featuring tender prime rib and homemade au jus sauce.

Prime Rib Stew

Savor a thick and flavorful stew filled with prime rib pieces, vegetables, and a hearty broth.

Prime Rib Phyllo Pot Pie

Reinvent pot pie with flaky phyllo dough, veggies, gravy, and prime rib, all baked into an irresistible entree.

Leftover Prime Rib Tostadas

Transform your prime rib into crispy tostada cups filled with fresh ingredients like pico de gallo, jalapenos, and cilantro.


In conclusion, cooking ribs in a pressure cooker offers a swift and convenient method to achieve tender, flavorful results in approximately 30 minutes. This approach simplifies the traditional hours-long preparation process and ensures succulent, fall-off-the-bone ribs. Whether you prefer baby back, spare, or St. Louis-style ribs, the Instant Pot’s efficiency allows for impromptu meal decisions. You can create a mouthwatering dish with a straightforward rub and a few essential ingredients. The provided tips, including adjusting cooking times for desired tenderness and experimenting with flavorful liquids, guarantee delicious outcomes. Additionally, cooking ribs from frozen adds to the method’s convenience. Say goodbye to lengthy cooking times and embrace the pressure cooker, becoming the rib master you’ve always wanted to be, leaving everyone craving more.


Q1: Do I need to marinate the ribs before pressure cooking?

While marinating is optional, it can enhance the flavour. You can marinate ribs in your favourite sauce or seasonings overnight or overnight.

Q2: Should I use the rack in the pressure cooker when cooking ribs?

Yes, using a rack or trivet is recommended. It prevents the ribs from sticking to the bottom and allows for even cooking.

Q3: What liquid should I use when pressure-cooking ribs?

You can use broth, water, or a combination of both. Adding a flavorful liquid like broth can enhance the taste of the ribs.

Q4: How do I release pressure after cooking the ribs?

There are two methods for pressure release: natural release (letting the pressure subside on its own) and quick release (manually venting the pressure). Follow your pressure cooker’s instructions.

Q4: Can I finish cooking the ribs on a grill after pressure cooking?

Yes, for that smoky flavour and grill marks, you can transfer the pressure-cooked ribs to a grill for a few minutes on each side.

Q5: What are some seasoning ideas for pressure-cooked ribs?

Popular seasonings include BBQ rubs, garlic, onion powder, paprika, and brown sugar. Experiment with your favourite flavours.

Q6: Can I cook frozen ribs in a pressure cooker?

Cooking frozen ribs directly in a pressure cooker is not recommended, as it may affect the cooking time and texture. Thaw the ribs before cooking for the best results.

Q7: Are there any safety tips for cooking ribs in a pressure cooker?

Always follow your pressure cooker’s safety guidelines, ensure the sealing ring is in place, and do not overfill the cooker.

Q8: What side dishes pair well with pressure-cooked ribs?

Classic sides like coleslaw, baked beans, cornbread, and potato salad complement pressure-cooked ribs perfectly.

Q9: Are there any vegetarian alternatives for cooking ribs in a pressure cooker?

You can use plant-based alternatives like seitan or jackfruit with BBQ seasoning for a vegetarian or vegan option.


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