Instant Pot Pork Ribs


or How to Get Back Several Hours of your Life

It's the Fourth of July, and there's something so summertime, so American, about sitting down to a big rack of ribs that have been slowly braising or smoking for hours. 

What if I told you I have a kitchen device that will allow you to cook delicious, falling-off-the-bone barbeque pork ribs in under an hour?!  You're probably screaming at your mobile device right now:

Chef Kibby, you must be crazy!

That may be true, but I'm not a liar: you can cook a rack of ribs (two, if they'll fit) start-to-finish in under one hour with my new favorite kitchen multi-tasker...

Yes, you guessed it - the Instant Pot.  That's right, kids, it's not just for making bone broth or yogurt any more!

How It's Done

Making pork ribs in an Instant Pot could not be easier (unless you ask someone else to do it so you can get back to watching Independence Day; nothing says America like the Fresh Prince vaporizing aliens).

As soon as you get those ribs home from the store (assuming you didn't harvest your own), remove them from the packaging and get rid of that nasty connective film on the under side of the bones.  You can use a dull knife to release it from one end and then pull it off like you were ripping off a big piece of duct tape.

The next thing you'll want to do is season the ribs, top and bottom, with kosher salt.  Salt is a mineral and a catalyst for chemical reactions; the sooner you season the meat, the better it will taste.

Next comes the rub.  This is a source of much debate, and I'm not going to choose sides on this one.  Buy it from the store, make your own, whatever you wanna do.  Remember that most rubs have salt in them already, so you'll need to adjust accordingly.  My rub of choice is Penzey's Arizona Dreaming, which has no additional salt.

When it's time to get cookin', place a steamer basket in the bottom of your Instant Pot.  Pour in your liquid - I use a mixture of apple juice and apple cider vinegar, but you can get creative with it, adding things like broth or liquid smoke.  Next, take the rack of ribs and curl it up to fit inside the pot, flesh side out, resting atop the steamer basket.  Put on the lid.

There are a couple different settings you can use, either the manual pressure cooking function or the Meat/Stew function.  I chose the latter at 20 minutes.  The Instant Pot manual says there are three variations on the Meat/Stew function - less, normal, and more - and that the "more" setting will give you falling-off-the-bone meat.  I found that I got the same result on normal.

It will take the Instant Pot about 15 minutes to pressurize, 20 minutes to cook, and another 15-20 minutes to release pressure (unless you get anxious like me and let out the pressure manually).  While it's cooking, you can make a sauce!  Much like the rub, everyone has their own way of making sauce, so I'm just gonna give you an example recipe and let you ignore it if you so choose.

Take the ribs out of the Pot and slather them with sauce.  If you want to caramelize the sauce on the ribs, set them under a broiler for a few minutes.  You're ready to serve!

If you don't have an Instant Pot and want to learn more about the benefits of owning one, check out my gear review.  However, if this recipe has convinced you to order one, follow this Amazon affiliate link (I'll get a small referral bonus, so thanks for that).

before you start cookin', make sure you have the right tools for the job!

Instant Pot Pork Ribs

Makes one rack of ribs

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour

1 rack pork ribs, connective film removed
2 t kosher salt
2 T Penzey's Arizona Dreaming

3 c apple juice
1 c apple cider vinegar
1/2 t liquid smoke (optional)

1/4 c ketchup
2 T brown sugar
2 T apple cider vinegar
1 T Worcestershire
1 t mustard
Dash chipotle chili powder

  1. Season ribs with salt and rub with Penzey's.
  2. Place a steamer basket in the Instant Pot and add liquid ingredients.  Curl the rack of ribs and place in the pot atop the basket, flesh side out.  Attach the lid.
  3. Set the Instant Pot to Meat/Stew, normal, 20 minutes.
  4. In the meantime, place remaining sauce ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Simmer for 10-15 minutes to combine flavors.
  5. Once the pressure has been released, remove the lid from the Instant Pot and place ribs on a sheet tray lined with foil.  Brush sauce over the ribs and place under a preheated broiler until the sauce is caramelized, keeping a close eye to make sure nothing smokes or burns.  Serve immediately.