Pressure Cooker Ribs

These pressure cooker ribs are gonna radically revolutionize the way you cook ribs. We're talking 30 minutes to knee-wobbling, lip-smacking, fall-off-the-bone tenderness, folks.

Pressure Cooker Ribs Recipe

We confess, until we tried this pressure cooker ribs recipe, we’d always been a little leary of pressure cookers. We’d just never imagined you could turn out anything like ribs that are fall-off-the-bone tender in 30 minutes or less. We were wrong. So spectacularly wrong. This pressure cooker ribs recipe made believers out of us. One taste and it’ll convert you, too. This recipe has been updated. Originally published December 4, 2015.Renee Schettler Rossi

Pressure Cooker Ribs Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 15 M
  • 1 H
  • Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 1/2 rack (about 1 1/2 pounds) spareribs
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup Beef Stock or low-sodium broth
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons packed brown sugar

Directions

  • 1. Cut the 1/2 rack of spareribs into 2 or 3 pieces so it’ll fit in the pressure cooker. Sprinkle the ribs on both sides with the kosher salt and season with pepper. Pour the beef stock into the pressure cooker and place the steamer insert in the cooker. Place the ribs on the steamer insert.
  • 2. Lock the lid in place and bring the pot to high pressure (15 psi for stove top or 9 to 11 psi for electric). If using a stove-top pressure cooker, maintain the pressure for 20 minutes for tender ribs or, if you prefer that the ribs be falling-off-the-bone tender, cook for 30 minutes, adjusting the burner as necessary.

    If using an electric pressure cooker, cook at high pressure for 20 minutes for tender ribs or, if you prefer ribs that are falling-off-the-bone tender, cook for 30 minutes. When the timer goes off, turn the cooker off. Do not let the pressure cooker automatically switch to the “warm” setting.
  • 3. Use the natural method to release the pressure in the cooker. Unlock and remove the lid. Using tongs, transfer the ribs, bone-side up, to a rack placed on an aluminum foil-lined sheet pan. Let the cooking liquid in the pressure cooker rest for several minutes to allow the fat to rise to the surface.
  • 4. Preheat the broiler and adjust an oven rack to the top or second position.
  • 5. While the broiler heats, spoon off and discard the fat from the surface of the cooking liquid. Place the stove-top cooker over medium heat or turn the electric cooker to “brown” and bring the stock to a vigorous simmer. Cook until the stock is reduced to 1/3 of the original volume, 8 to 10 minutes.
  • 6. Stir in the mustard and brown sugar, and continue simmering for about 6 minutes more, or until the sauce resembles a thick syrup. Remove from the heat.
  • 7. Baste the bone side of the ribs with some of the mustard sauce. Slide the ribs under the broiler until the sauce is bubbling, about 4 minutes. Remove the sheet pan from the oven, turn the ribs over, and baste with the remaining glaze. Return to the broiler until warmed through, about 6 minutes. Cut the ribs into 1- or 2-rib sections and serve.

How To Make This Pressure Cooker Ribs Recipe Using Your Own Barbecue Sauce

  • The sauce that one chooses to slather on one’s ribs is quite the personal thing. While we like the simple mustard barbecue sauce in this pressure cooker ribs recipe, we understand if you prefer to substitute a more familiar barbecue sauce that’s already near and dear to your heart. Just follow the recipe above through Step 4. Discard the broth and use your barbecue sauce to baste the ribs in place of the mustard, brown sugar and broth mixture.
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Recipe Testers Reviews

Larry Noak

Sep 02, 2017

If you don't own a pressure cooker, this pressure cooker ribs recipe alone justifies the purchase. I've tried many methods and recipes for preparing the perfect porcine delight. Smoking, oven-roasting, and on and on and on. These ribs are as fine as any that I've made. The most exciting thing? I can roll in the door at 5:30 p.m., hit the shower, and still have amazing ribs on the table by 7 p.m.! Ribs are generally relegated to the weekend when we have enough time to complete the arduous task. No more! If you want to add a bit of smoke, how about some smoked sea salt? The rib meat was very tender yet still firm and close to falling off the bone. If I could use just one word, that word would be astonishing!

Irene Seales

Sep 02, 2017

Spareribs are exactly the kind of food I'd really rather eat at home, where one can unabashedly eat with one's hands and lick one's fingers, but this never happens at our house—too much epic prep and time for 2 people—so I eagerly accept invitations for BBQ ribs from friends with smokers and maybe some Texas experience. While I was excited to see this recipe, I was also skeptical that such a simple approach would work. 

With the confidence of my pressure-cooker-loving spouse, we took this recipe on and actually made it twice. This recipe made just the right amount for 2 people. What I love about this recipe is that while it may not be something you always want to do on a weeknight, these are short-timeline spareribs, and the recipe works for just 2 people! Batch one was strictly according to the recipe and at the low end of the time at just 20 minutes under pressure (2 rings on a 7 liter Kuhn Rikon stove-top pressure cooker, using induction hob). 

For the second batch, we extended the pressure time to 30 minutes. The second batch was also from the larger, fleshier end of the rack and gave off a bit more fat. At 30 minutes, you have fall-off-the-bone meat, followed by just-short-of-blistering charred crispness from the broiler. If you can leave your oven door open when your broiler operates, you will do well to stand right there and monitor it.

The height of our tall pressure cooker made separating and reducing the liquid awkward, so I poured the cooking liquids into a gravy separator and then decanted that into a smaller saucepan that a short cook could easily watch and stir. I had to watch my broiler like a hawk, even dropping the ribs down to the third position, which was 6 1/2 inches away from the element, and I dialed back the broil setting shy of full high and snatched the ribs out a couple minutes early on each side.

The ribs were tasty and gone quickly, but we thought it needed a little more depth, either in the cooking or the sauce. Maybe a rub in addition to the salt and pepper? More depth of flavor could easily be achieved with a bit of chipotle or a smoked hot paprika in the glaze, giving you some smokiness and heat. The glaze needed a bit of something, too. It would become a little more interesting with some acid to play against the mild heat of the mustard and brown sugar combination—we thought a splash of vinegar added at the end would work just fine for this. Those are very minor issues and easily adapted to individual preferences.

Comments

    1. Pam, I don’t know why not, although I’m not certain if the timing would remain the same as we only tested the recipe with pork ribs. I’m going to ask the author of the cookbook to weigh in on your question, so kindly hold on until she gets back with us!

      1. Great, Janet, thank you so much for taking the time to reply. I just ordered a Fagor Duo-8 today. Trying out this rib recipe will be my first attempt. ?

    1. Lisa, we didn’t test the recipe with frozen ribs so I can’t say for certain and I’m not going to hazard a guess because I don’t want to lead you astray. I’ve reached out to the author of the recipe and asked her to offer her insights so kindly hold on a sec until she responds!

      1. Hi Renee, I ended up throwing them in the pressure cooker anyways. I figured it was worth a shot! I threw 3 lbs in. Thawed them just enough to cut into sections. Still frozen, though. Put everything in and cooked for 35 minutes. Then I took them out and put them in the oven for another 15 to 20 minutes. Turning over and basting both sides, halfway through cooking. These came out awesome!!! So tender! Thanks for your help! :)

  1. Lisa, I’ve never tried cooking any frozen meat in the pressure cooker, but what I’ve read in reliable sources indicates that frozen meats are best cooked in liquid, rather than steamed. (Here’s an article on the subject: How to Pressure Cook Frozen Meats.) The problem with cooking ribs in liquid is that much of the flavor ends up in the liquid and the ribs themselves aren’t particularly flavorful. A better bet would be to do what we call “speed thawing.” Place the ribs in a single layer in a sealable plastic bag and remove as much air as possible (if you have a vacuum sealer, this is a great time to use it). Submerge the package in room temperature water (not hot) as completely as possible — you may have to weight the package down. They should thaw in about an hour; a little faster if you replace the water, which will have chilled, with more room temperature water after about 20 minutes. Hope this helps!

    Janet

    1. You should never use warm or room temperature water, it puts food in the danger zone [41 to 140f]. Only use cold, running water!

      1. Chef, I completely respect what you’re saying, although as Janet indicates, the water does pick up the chill of the frozen meat, so while we want to keep the meat always cool, I think room temperature water is probably okay as it will immediately cool down considerably. Of course, the safest thing to do would be to keep a thermometer in the water to ensure the temperature remains at or below typical fridge temperature, which is 35 to 40°F.

  2. Great recipe I didn’t use mustard. I used liquid smoke and chipotle pepper, smoked paprika and Memphis style bbq seasoning. Then finished them in the oven with honey bbq sauce. Fell off the bone and seasoned all the way to the bone.

  3. Question: I have a bottled barbeque sauce that I like to use so I season the ribs, use broth and my sauce, and follow your recipe from there? Wasn’t sure where to jump in! Thanks.

    1. Elaine, terrific to hear that you’re going to give these ribs a go! Yes, season the rib as you like. Then pressure cook the ribs with the broth for the time specified above. And then ditch the broth and use your bottled barbecue sauce in place of the mustard and brown sugar and broth mixture. And kindly let us know how it goes!

    1. Ricardo, I’m certain you can cook a pork loin in a pressure cooker but I suspect the exact timing might be different than for ribs. May I suggest you consult the cookbook in which we found the recipe above? You’ll see the book cover on the page and if you click on it you’ll be taken to the Amazon page for the book. The author, Janet Zimmerman, REALLY knows her pressure cookers.

    2. I use my electric pressure cooker for almost all my meats. You can do a pork loin. I like to brown mine before pressure cooking, I feel it gives a better flavor. I put a T of oil in the bottom, sometimes a little diced onion, brown the meat, add chicken broth and any seasonings I want, then pressure cook 1 hr for a 3 lb roast. On occasion I have had to add an extra 15 min. but it is always tender and delicious

  4. First, I wanted to thank you for posting this recipe – it came out great! I used to make my ribs in the slow cooker but this is going to be my new go-to method. I just wanted to pass along a tip: right before cooking, roll up the ribs and tie with butcher’s twine like this. Next, place them into the pressure cooker on end so the tips of the bones are resting on the steamer insert. Position the ribs so they are not touching the sides of the cooker. This will keep most of the meaty parts from overcooking!

    1. Jonathan, lovely advice, many thanks! And so glad to hear that you, too, have been wooed by the pressure cooker approach!

  5. I stacked 2 sections of fresh ribs and cooked 30 min. The places where they touched came out pink so I put them back in (not touching) for another 15 min. Other than that, they were great fall-off-the-bone tender.

    1. Judy, sounds terrific! Many thanks for sharing your trick and so glad you like these as much as we do!

    1. Susan, that’s a very good question. I just checked with the author of the cookbook in which we found this recipe. She says, “If you don’t have a steamer insert, you can just place the rib sections bone side down, which will keep most of the meat out of the water. You don’t want to boil the ribs, but if some of the meat is in the water at the bottom, it will still work fine.” Let us know how it goes!

  6. Just made this recipe (got my pressure cooker yesterday!) and it was absolutely delicious. Possibly the best ribs I’ve ever had. So good that I felt compelled to leave a comment! I love that the sauce was so simple. I will definitely make these again very soon.

    1. Norbert, I am thrilled to hear that your experience with this recipe was every bit as wonderful as ours! I so appreciate you taking the time to let us know. Many kind thanks. I look forward to hearing which recipe on the site you try next…

  7. Hi, this will be my first time using a pressure cooker. How would I double or triple this recipe? Would it all fit in the pressure cooker?

    1. Destiny, so glad you’ll be trying these ribs! Here’s the thing, though. Pressure cooking is an exact science. Do not double or triple the recipe. It won’t fit and trying to crowd more into the pressure cooker will throw off the cooking times and possibly end up with very explosive results. Just make the recipe as is and if you need more you can make more batches afterwards, keeping the earlier batch warm in a very low oven.

  8. Thanks so much for the recipe! I made it tonight and the whole family gave it rave reviews. I was too impatient to let the sauce reduce very much so it was thinner but the flavor was still great. I am allergic to tomatoes so it was wonderful to have the barbecue flavor without the tomatoes that are in most sauces!

    1. You’re welcome, Summer! Thrilled to hear that your family loves this recipe as much as we do. Thanks so much for taking the time to let us know! Looking forward to hearing which recipe on the site you try next…

  9. Rather than broth, do you think I can use beer in the electric pressure cooker? Can’t wait to make these!

    1. What a spectacular question, Rose! I’m guessing it should be fine. You may want to first start with half broth and half beer just in case you’re worried about the flavor being a touch too boozy, but then, is there really such a thing as too boozy when a nice beer is involved? I’ve checked with the cookbook author just in case carbonation doesn’t play nicely with pressure cookers but she says it’s perfectly fine, so kindly let us know how it goes!

    2. Rose, I forgot to mention to Renee that since you get no evaporation in a pressure cooker, if you want to cook off some of the alcohol, you have to simmer it either before or after pressure cooking.

    3. I use beer and a little Worcestershire sauce all the time in both a slow cooker and pressure cooker along with mixed seasonings and my wife and I both love it, I do all the cooking in our house lol

      I just got the pressure cooker for Christmas so still experimenting but so far other than some slightly over cooked rice and beans meats come out great– I have used it everyday since Christmas :)

      I still use my slow cooker when I have lots of other home chores to do as the keep warm function i think might over cook some things.

      1. I meant I will still use the slow cooker not that I do as I haven’t used the slow cooker since Christmas dinner.

        1. No it’s my own recipe I’ve been using for a long time in my slow cookers, which I have 3: lol. One 4-qt, one 6-qt and an 8-qt that I cook our small turkeys in for Thanksgiving. Just 2 of us so we get the smallest turkey we can find, usually around 10 pounds. I mix Kirkland no-salt organic seasoning with a little curry powder, onions or onion powder–garlic or powder for stews and chillies and meats–sometimes adding dried hot peppers if I want more spice. This is mixed in with beer and Worcestershire for meats. I’m bad about trying other spices and mixes, too. lol. Throw it together and cook and hope it comes out good :) which it normally does but on occasion not.

            1. Trying this recipe tonight :) Only thing I will do a little different is to cook for 20 min then put on the smoker for 30 min or so.

  10. I just made this last night to have for dinner at work tonight. I work second shift. Sandwich and frozen dinner colleagues will be drooling with envy when they catch the aroma of my dinner. I’ve yet to master grilled ribs. I was surprised they held together when removed from the pressure cooker but the bones popped right out with hardly a sliver of meat on them. Beautiful.

    1. That’s so incredibly terrific to hear, Glenn! Thanks so much for taking the time to let us know! Nothing makes me happier than hearing that a recipe works as spectacularly for you as it did for us.

  11. The fall off the bone statement was right on… everyone loved the ribs? 30 minutes and I was barely able to take them out without them falling apart…

    1. Glad everyone loved them, Armando! I think much depends on the size of the ribs in terms of whether they’re super tender or actually falling off the bone. Perhaps next time, if you prefer just tender, go with slightly larger ribs. Or reduce the timing by just a minute or two.

  12. My first effort, I used a 4.8 lb slab of regular ribs (not baby back), cut up to fit in the electric cooker. I turned it off after 25 minutes and let it cool naturally for 15 minutes before venting. Everything is off the bone, nearly shredded, and way too much liquid lost from the ribs. That’s not what I want in ribs! Next time, I am venting as soon as the time is up.

    1. Hey, DAE, I wonder if the fact that you almost tripled the amount of meat caused the problem. We tested the recipe as written and there were no issues with the meat shredding or with excess liquid.

  13. My variations was to open a can of pineapple chunks & dump it in. I added 1 cup of water just to the bottom of the steamer rack & rubbed in sea salt & black pepper, then çooked 20 minutes with natural release. Slathered with BBQ sauce & broiled until sauce caramelized. Have never, ever, tasted anything better.

  14. I just got an 8qt instant pot and would like to try your recipe. I have 3 racks of baby back ribs. If my pot can hold them can I put it all in. The 8qt is huge so I don’t think I’ll have a problem. But having everyone over for Super Bowl and a new cooking method is making me nervous. I do not really want to do a bunch of small batches as I hate being stuck in the kitchen the whole time people are over.

    1. Magee, I completely understand your concern and share your belief that one should not be sequestered in the kitchen when friends are over. We only tested this recipe in a pressure cooker, not an Instant Pot, and so I’m sorry but I can’t say whether they all will fit or not. Just a thought, but what about cooking the ribs a little earlier in the day in the Instant Pot, letting them cool, wrapping them tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerating them, and then do the last step of broiling them when guests are there?

  15. I’ve barbecued ribs on a grill. I’ve smoked ribs in both a charcoal and electric smoker. I’ve baked, braised, and broiled ribs. Of all the methods I’ve tried, this one is both fastest and easiest, and also results in the most delicious, tender ribs I’ve ever tasted. It’s like discovering that I’ve been wearing my shoes on the wrong feet all these years, and finally putting them on right. Thank you for sharing this recipe — it’s a real game-changer!

    1. You are so welcome, J D! Thank you for taking the time to share your experience—I’m thrilled beyond words to learn this! Looking forward to hearing which recipe on the site you try next…

  16. I loved how tender the ribs are with the pressure cooker, but will never use the beef broth again! It burnt to a thick layer of ash after 20 minutes on my stovetop pressure cooker. Switched to water with the next two batches and came out just as tender and flavorful and only cooked for 17 minutes. My old presto pressure cooker recommended 15 minutes for spare ribs. Added store bought sauce before grilling in oven. Delicious!

    1. Gina, I’m so sorry to hear that about the beef broth! That didn’t happen in any of our home kitchens when we made this, but of course each pressure cooker is different. Switching to water was incredibly smart and I’m so glad that you gave the recipe another chance. Thanks so much for taking the time to share your experience and your solution!

  17. I’m making this right now, and I’m new to my pressure cooker. I have the power pressure cooker xl. Do I need to put it on the fish/vegetables steam button?

    1. kim, I’m sorry we didn’t see this earlier while you were in the kitchen! Each pressure cooker is different. I’m hoping you consulted your instruction manual…

  18. I was skeptical with the 30 minute pressure cooking time, but the ribs were fall off the bone tender. I’m not a total fan of the glaze – it’s a bit odd. Not off-putting, but not what I’m used to. I will definitely make them again and tweak the sauce a bit. Will be curious how they turn out.

    1. Personal preference reigns supreme as far as we’re concerned, Kate. By all means, use your fave barbecue sauce on these. So glad the technique worked so well for you!

  19. Hi! Making this as I type. Is there an important reason for omitting the fat? I don’t like to skip on fat as it is healthy. Thanks!

    1. Melynda, like you, I believe that animal fat can be incredibly healthy for most individuals, depending on how the animals were raised. The reason we skim the fat from the surface of the cooking liquid is simply because otherwise the resulting sauce may seem offputtingly greasy. Rest assured, not all of the fat will float to the surface so there will still be fat in the sauce. By all means, use some or all of the fat if you wish, just know that we chose to remove some for personal preference.

      1. In addition, please be aware: gallbladders do not like much fat. And anyone who has had their gallbladder removed–wowza! They *really* have to beware of too much fat! Each person seems to have their own quota-of-fat that they can handle at each meal. I had my gallbladder removed a couple years ago. I just made these ribs (but used bottled bbq sauce). They were delicious! But my fat quota per meal is reached by eating about three ribs. I would probably not have been able to handle eating the sauce made from the ribs even if most of the fat were drained.

        1. Yes, exactly, Donna, we each have our own threshold. Glad you are aware of yours and able to tweak recipes according to your needs.

  20. I’ve been using a pressure cooker long before I found this. I rub mine with my favorite rub. Let sit overnight. In the mean time, I soak my BBQ smoking wood that I will use overnight also. I take my left over rub and use it to make my stock. All cookers seem different, but I cook for 20 minutes, letting it cool down on its own. While they are cooking my grill is getting ready. When the ribs are done, so is my grill. Pop the wet wood on, use indirect heat, 30-40 minutes of smoking, rub down ribs before smoking with my favorite sauce( I use Famous Daves sweet-n sassy) and they are as good as anything I have ever had.

    1. Niiiiiiiiice, hu4mx! Love that! And love that you took the time to share your approach with us. Thank you!

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