These are the best Air Fryer Ribs – tender, crispy, and flavorful without falling off the bone! It’s a quick and easy recipe that only takes 30 minutes to prepare.
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Baby back ribs are seasoned with a simple dry rub before being cooked in the air fryer and finished with a homemade sticky barbecue sauce.
They’re juicy, finger-licking good pork ribs that are hard to stop eating!
COOKING RIBS IN THE AIR FRYER
Hello, you don’t have to wait long to get your ribs cooked perfectly! The most significant advantage of cooking ribs in an air fryer is that they cook much faster than traditional low-and-slow methods such as baking, grilling, smoking, or sous vide.
They’re also incredibly flavorful and simple to make! It’s ideal for a weeknight dinner. It’s important to note that the texture is tender but not fall-off-the-bone.
INGREDIENTS YOU’LL NEED
Pork baby back ribs: You can substitute spare ribs for this recipe, but they will take longer to cook.
Seasonings (garlic powder, paprika, ground cumin, salt, and ground black pepper)
You’ll also need the following ingredients to make your own barbecue sauce:
- granulated sugar
- Vinegar of Apple Cider
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Cumin, ground
- seasoned with salt and pepper
HOW TO COOK AIR FRYER RIBS?
- Peel the silverskin from the back of the ribs to remove the membrane. This contributes to more flavorful and tender ribs.
- Divide the rack: Cut the rack of pork ribs into 2-3 sections to fit into the air fryer basket.
- To make the spice rub, combine the dry rub seasonings in a small bowl.
- Season the baby back ribs: Rub the spice rub all over the ribs.
- Preheat the air fryer to 375°F/190°C for a few minutes before cooking the ribs. When the basket is hot, place the ribs in it with the meat side down and cook for 15 minutes. Flip the ribs with kitchen tongs and cook for another 10 minutes at 375°F/190°C.
- Make the BBQ sauce: While the ribs are cooking, combine the ingredients for the BBQ sauce in a saucepan. Heat until the sugar and salt are completely dissolved over medium-low heat.
- Brush the ribs with BBQ sauce: Remove the basket from the air fryer and generously brush all sides with barbecue sauce. Return the basket to the air fryer and cook for an additional 3-5 minutes at 400°F/200°C, or until the sauce has set and darkened slightly. (The time will vary depending on the thickness of your ribs and the model of your air fryer.)
- Remove the ribs from the basket and set aside for 5 minutes to allow the juices to redistribute throughout the meat. Brush with additional barbeque sauce if desired.
SWEET AND STICKY BARBECUE SAUCE
You can use store-bought or your favorite bbq sauce, but I prefer our homemade sweet and sticky sauce. It only takes a few minutes to make and is bursting with flavor thanks to the combination of ketchup, brown sugar, vinegar, and other spices.
The recipe includes instructions on how to make it. I always make a double batch of the sauce to go with other dishes like burgers or fries.
HOW TO REMOVE THE MEMBRANE/SKIN OFF RIBS?
I recommend removing the thin membrane that covers the rack for the most tender ribs. It only takes a few minutes and is extremely simple:
To begin, flip the ribs rack-side up. Then, with care, slide a knife under the silverskin. Lift and loosen the membrane from the bone, and then peel it easily off the back of the ribs. (To learn more, watch our video.)
WHAT TEMPERATURE DO YOU COOK AIR FRYER RIBS?
Cooking the ribs at 375°F for about 25 minutes and then finishing at 400°F results in a nice balance of juicy ribs and crispy exterior.
While the USDA recommends a minimum internal temperature of 145°F for pork ribs, the collagens and connective tissue do not begin to melt at higher temperatures.
To get tender and juicy ribs, the internal temperature should be between 185 and 203 degrees Fahrenheit. When checking the internal temperature, an instant-read thermometer comes in handy.
STORING & REHEATING
- REFRIGERATE: Refrigerate any leftover pork ribs in a shallow airtight container for up to 3-4 days. For refrigerating, the ribs can also be tightly wrapped in plastic cling film or heavy-duty aluminum foil.
- FREEZE: Place cooled, cooked pork ribs in an airtight freezer storage container that has been vacuum sealed or is double wrapped in heavy-duty aluminum foil. Your cooked pork ribs can be stored in the freezer for up to three months, but they are best eaten within the first two months.
- REHEATING: There are several methods for re-heating food for a quick snack or lunch. Heat for 3-5 minutes in an air fryer set to 350°F (175°C). Make sure the ribs are evenly distributed in the basket so that the hot air can circulate freely. Spray the basket with oil as well to keep it from sticking or drying out and to add a bit of crispiness.
SECRETS FOR MAKING TENDER BABY BACK RIBS IN THE AIR FRYER
- To make more flavorful and tender ribs, remove the membrane.
- Before putting the ribs in the air fryer, preheat it. This will assist in preventing the ribs from sticking to the basket.
- Arrange the ribs in the basket as evenly as possible, with as little overlap as possible.
- After brushing the ribs with the BBQ sauce, raise the temperature to create a crispy texture on the outside while making the sauce sticky.
- Keep a close eye on the last few minutes to avoid burning your ribs.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you cook a rib in an air fryer?
Preheat the air fryer to 380°F for a few minutes before placing the ribs in the basket, meat side down, and cooking for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, use tongs to flip the ribs over and cook for an additional 10 minutes at 380 degrees Fahrenheit.
What temperature do you cook ribs in an air fryer?
Place the ribs in your air fryer basket or tray, meat side down, and cook for 15 minutes at 375°F (190°C). Continue to cook after turning. Open the fryer and, using tongs, flip the ribs and cook for another 10 minutes at the same temperature. Temperature and sauce.
How long does it take to cook riblets in the air fryer?
Preheat your air fryer for 4 to 6 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, using the air fryer setting, place the riblets in the air fryer basket. For about 10 minutes, shake the basket frequently on either side.
Can I put foil in air fryer?
This is due to the fact that air fryers work by circulating hot air that originates at the bottom of the fryer. Lining it with foil can restrict air flow, causing your food to overcook. If you’re going to use foil, put a small amount in the bottom of the basket and make sure not to cover the food with it.