Instant Pot BBQ Baby Back Ribs

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Hello, Instant Pot friends! Something that really surprised me about this cool kitchen appliance was how great it does BBQ-style meals. To get really good, fall off the bone, lick your fingers clean ribs, you probably think you need to either slave away over a hot stove, slow-cooking the ribs to perfection OR spend hours tending to a smoker while the meat carefully cooks. I am married to a true grillmaster and believed the grill or smoker was the only way to go. Trust me, try this recipe and you’ll be enjoying fabulous ribs without having to fire up the grill or heat up your oven. Served with your favorite barbecue sauce, this is a ‘stick to your ribs’ kind of meal (pun totally intended!). 

Servings: 12

Prep Time: 10 Minutes

Cook Time: 40 Minutes

Total Time: 50 Minutes


  • Four pounds of boneless pork spare ribs
  • 2 ¼ cup water or broth

Sauce ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup chili sauce
  • 2 tablespoons chopped onions
  • A dash cayenne pepper
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper


Step 1 – Combine all of your homemade sauce ingredients into a bowl. Set aside.

Step 2 – Place onion inside the Instant Pot.

Step 3 – Place the ribs inside the Instant Pot on top of the onion. Add a little salt and pepper to taste. Add 2 ¼ cup water or broth. Then, close the Instant Pot and be sure that the lid is closed securely. Close the vent.

Step 4 – Set Instant Pot to the manual setting with high pressure. Set timer to 35 minutes. After the timer reaches zero, allow the instant pot to release pressure naturally for at least five minutes, then use quick release if necessary. The longer the natural pressure release, the more tender the ribs will become.

Step 5 – Serve with the sauce and enjoy!

We’d love to hear how you enjoyed this recipe. Stay tuned next week for the fourth and final BBQ recipe in this series.