Easy Air Fryer Ribs with Barbecue Sauce

5 from 24 votes

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These Air Fryer Ribs are so tender, juicy, and flavorful but NOT fall-off-the-bone! This easy method makes the best ribs EVER and they are ready in 30 minutes for a quick dinner. Baby back pork ribs are seasoned with a simple dry rub, and then cooked in the air fryer, finally coated with a homemade sticky barbecue sauce. They are moist, finger-licking good!

These are the best Air Fryer Ribs – so tender, crispy, and flavorful but not fall-off-the-bone! It’s a super easy recipe that takes 30 minutes to make. Baby back ribs are seasoned with a simple dry rub, and then cooked in the air fryer, finally coated with a homemade sticky barbecue sauce. They are juicy, finger-licking delicious pork ribs and so addictive! #AirFryerRibs #AirFryerPorkRibs #AirFryerBabyBackRibs
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Good news guys, you don’t have to wait for a long time to get your ribs cooked perfectly!

You may have cooked them with traditional low-and-slow methods such as baking, grilling, smoking or sous vide. They are tender and delicious, but sometimes we want to make them for a quick dinner on a busy weeknight.

Welcome to 30-Minute Air Fryer Ribs!

  • They are cooked in a fraction of the time in an air fryer. No more fussing over an oven or grill for hours!
  • The forced circulating hot air creates a crispy exterior, which is difficult to achieve in a traditional oven. 
  • They’re super juicy and tender but not falling off the bone. With a homemade sweet and sticky BBQ sauce, it’s incredibly delicious.

You’ll never make ribs another way again! 😋

Watch How to Make Them!

Ingredients You’ll Need

For this easy air fryer pork ribs recipe, all you need is ribs, rub, and barbecue sauce!

Air Fryer Ribs ingredients on the counter.
  • Pork baby back ribs: You can also use spare ribs for this recipe, but they’ll need a longer cooking time.
  • Spices made of garlic powder, paprika, ground cumin, salt, and ground black pepper.
  • Homemade Barbecue sauce made of ketchup, brown sugar, cumin, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper.

How to make juicy and tender ribs in an air fryer

Air Fryer Ribs Recipe: step 1 and 2 photos.

1. Remove the membrane: Peel off the silverskin from the back of the ribs. This helps to make more flavorful and tender ribs.

2. Divide the rack: Cut the rack of pork ribs into 2-3 sections so that it can fit into your air fryer basket.

Air Fryer Ribs Recipe: step 3 and 4 photos.

3. Make the spice rub: In a small bowl, mix the dry rub seasonings.

4. Season the baby back ribs: Rub the ribs on all sides with the spice rub.

Air Fryer Ribs recipe: step 5 and 6 photos.

5. Cook the ribs in the air fryer: Preheat the air fryer to 375°F/190°C for a few minutes. Once hot, place the ribs into the basket with the meat side down (arrange the ribs properly, overlapping as little as possible) and cook for 15 minutes. Use kitchen tongs to flip the ribs, and cook for 10 more minutes.

Tip: Preheat the air fryer BEFORE placing the ribs into the basket. This will help to avoid the ribs from sticking to the basket.

6. Make the BBQ sauce: While the ribs are cooking, you can add bbq sauce ingredients in a saucepan. Heat over medium-low heat until the sugar and salt are completely dissolved.

Air Fryer Ribs recipe: step 7 and 8 photos.

7. Brush the ribs with BBQ sauce: Remove the basket from the air fryer and brush generously with barbecue sauce on all sides. Place the basket back in the air fryer and cook for 3-5 more minutes at 400°F/200°C, or until the sauce has set and darkened slightly. (It may take more or less time based on the thickness or your ribs and the model of your air fryer.)

Tip: Increasing the temperature after brushing the ribs with the BBQ sauce will create a crispy texture on the exterior while making the sauce sticky.

⚠️ Caution! Watch very closely during the last few minutes so that your ribs won’t get burned.

8. Let the ribs rest: Remove the ribs from the basket and let them rest for 5 minutes so that the juices can redistribute through the meat. Feel free to brush with more barbeque sauce if you like.

Type of ribs to use and cooking time in an air fryer

Different types of pork ribs on the counter: baby back ribs, spare ribs, St Louis style ribs, and country style ribs.
(left to right) baby back ribs, spare ribs, St Louis style ribs, and country style ribs.
  • This 30-minute air fryer ribs recipe is best for baby back or St. Louis pork ribs
  • It will also work for spare ribs but the cooking time should be increased to about 40 minutes as they are larger ribs.  
  • You can use this recipe for cooking country-style ribs, but need to reduce the time to about 25 minutes as they are leaner ribs.

The cooking time will vary depending on the size of the ribs as well as your air fryer, so adjust accordingly.  

Homemade Barbecue Sauce for Ribs

This homemade BBQ sauce is used for both glazing and serving. It tastes real and delicious without the artificial aftertaste!

Skip the store-bought BBQ sauce and make a homemade sauce instead. It takes just a few minutes to make, and it’s so flavorful with the combination of ketchup, brown sugar, olive oil, vinegar and other spices. See how to make it in the recipe card below.

Closeup of dipping the ribs into the bbq sauce.

The best temperature to cook ribs in an air fryer

We find cooking the ribs at 375°F for about 25 minutes and finishing up at 400°F for 3-5 minutes create a nice balance of juicy ribs and crispy exterior. 

While the minimum internal temperature for pork ribs should reach 145°F according to USDA, the collagens and connective tissue don’t start to melt at a higher temperature. We’ve found the internal temperature should reach 195-203°F to get tender and juicy ribs. An instant-read thermometer is very useful when checking the internal temp.

These are the best Air Fryer Ribs – so tender, crispy, and flavorful but not fall-off-the-bone! It’s a super easy recipe that takes 30 minutes to make. Baby back ribs are seasoned with a simple dry rub, and then cooked in the air fryer, finally coated with a homemade sticky barbecue sauce. They are juicy, finger-licking delicious pork ribs and so addictive! #AirFryerRibs #AirFryerPorkRibs #AirFryerBabyBackRibs

What to serve with air fryer ribs

Air fryer ribs are perfect for any occasion, from game day to family dinners. For a Southern-style BBQ feast, serve them up with a slide of coleslaw, macaroni salad, and corn on the cob. Or try out my favorites:

  • Potato salad
  • Cornbread
  • Mac and Cheese or Coconut Rice
  • To balance out the rich flavor, serve them with salads or cooked green vegetables. Don’t forget to have extra napkins on hand because these ribs are going to be messy and finger-licking good!

More Air Fryer Recipes

If you tried this recipe, let me know how your air fryer ribs turn out in the comments below!

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These are the best Air Fryer Ribs – so tender, crispy, and flavorful but not fall-off-the-bone! It’s a super easy recipe that takes 30 minutes to make. Baby back ribs are seasoned with a simple dry rub, and then cooked in the air fryer, finally coated with a homemade sticky barbecue sauce. They are juicy, finger-licking delicious pork ribs and so addictive! #AirFryerRibs #AirFryerPorkRibs #AirFryerBabyBackRibs
5 from 24 votes

Easy Air Fryer Pork Ribs Recipe (+Video)

By: Izzy
Air fryer ribs are the best tender ribs with a crispy exterior! Done in about 30 minutes, you will never cook pork ribs another way! Serve them with coleslaw, macaroni salad, and corn on the cob!
Tips to success: Increase the temperature to 400°F for the final few minutes for the extra sticky flavor!
Prep: 3 minutes
Cook: 28 minutes
Resting Time: 3 minutes
Total: 34 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients 

Ribs and Dry Rub

  • 3 pounds baby back pork ribs, (1 rack)
  • 3 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin

Sweet and Sticky BBQ Sauce

  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions 

  • Remove the membrane*: Peel off the silverskin from the back of the ribs.
  • Cut the rack of pork ribs into 2-3 sections so that it can fit into your air fryer basket.
  • Make the spice rub: In a small bowl, mix garlic powder, paprika, salt, pepper and cumin.
  • Season the baby back ribs: Pat the ribs dry and rub the ribs on all sides with the spice rub.
  • Cook the ribs in the air fryer: Preheat the air fryer to 375°F/190°C for a few minutes. Once hot, place the ribs into the basket with the meat side down and cook for 15 minutes. (It’s important to let the air fryer to heat up first to avoid the ribs from sticking to the basket.)
  • Flip the ribs using kitchen tongs, and cook for 10 more minutes at 375°F/190°C.
  • Make the BBQ sauce: While the ribs are cooking, you can add bbq sauce ingredients in a saucepan. Heat over medium-low heat until the sugar and salt are completely dissolved.
  • Brush with BBQ sauce: Remove the basket from the air fryer and brush generously with barbecue sauce on all sides.
  • Place the basket back in the air fryer and cook for 3-5 more minutes** at 400°F/200°C, or until the sauce has set and darkened slightly. (It may take more or less time based on the thickness or your ribs)
  • Remove the ribs from the basket and let them rest for 3-5 minutes so that the juices can redistribute through the meat. Feel free to brush with more barbeque sauce if you like.

Video

Notes

  • *For the most tender ribs, I recommend removing the thin membrane covering the rack. It takes a few minutes and is easy. First, flip the ribs with rack-side facing up. Then carefully slide a knife under the silverskin. Lift and loosen the membrane off the bone, and then you can peel it off the back of the ribs easily. (Watch my video here)
  • **Check frequently during the last few minutes so that your ribs won’t get burned.
  • How to bake it in the oven? It takes much longer to cook ribs in a traditional oven. Preheat oven to 300°F and bake for 3 hours or until the internal temperature reaches 185 deg F. Brush the ribs with BBQ sauce, and return to the oven. Bake for 30 more minutes. See my baked pork ribs recipe for detailed instructions.
  • How to store the leftovers? Allow them to cool down completely and store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
  • To reheat: Preheat your air fryer to 350°F and cook for 5-10 minutes, or until they are heated through. You can also reheat them in the oven by placing them on a baking sheet and cooking at 350°F for 10-15 minutes.

Nutrition

Calories: 540kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 42g | Fat: 37g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Cholesterol: 148mg | Sodium: 935mg | Potassium: 636mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 632IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 69mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate only and will vary based on ingredient brands and cooking methods used.

Like this recipe? Rate and comment below!
These are the best Air Fryer Ribs – so tender, crispy, and flavorful but not fall-off-the-bone! It’s a super easy recipe that takes 30 minutes to make. Baby back ribs are seasoned with a simple dry rub, and then cooked in the air fryer, finally coated with a homemade sticky barbecue sauce. They are juicy, finger-licking delicious pork ribs and so addictive! #AirFryerRibs #AirFryerPorkRibs #AirFryerBabyBackRibs

About Izzy

I'm Izzy, a food lover and photographer. Here you’ll find a collection of simple recipes that are perfect for busy people. My blog aims to help you make and enjoy delicious and healthy food at home.

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42 Comments

  1. if you have them sealed in foodsaver bags, I would just cover them in water…. Fill the sink with water and immerse the ribs still sealed. They will thaw pretty quickly and I figure they will turn out better. I have tied this method and it has worked well for me. While I haven’t tried cooking ribs or butts from frozen, I recently read an article concerning how this practice may make for a tougher piece of meat….. so take that for what its worth, which may not be much….

  2. 5 stars
    I LOVE these ribs! When you noted they “don’t fall off the bone”, I knew this was the recipe for me! What good are ribs when you can’t rip and tear them from the bone? Where’s the fun?

  3. I plan on making these tonight.
    Do you always cut them into individual rib pieces?
    How long resting before I do?
    They look amazing!

  4. 5 stars
    I’m airfrying them right now. They smell delicious. I hope I can find the sauce recepie soon

  5. 5 stars
    Izzy, thanks for the simple recipe. It turned out very well. My wife was so impressed!

    Definitely gonna check out your blog for more simple yet awesomely delicious recipes.

  6. 5 stars
    Such a great and easy recipe!! Was in the mood for dry rub ribs so didn’t make the sauce and they were still so delicious!! My ribs had little meat so the time needed was slightly shorter but an awesome recipe I’ll use again and again. So exciting to know that ribs can be made so quickly! Thanks for a great recipe

  7. 5 stars
    Ribs were amazing,perfect timing & texture. I added mustard,1 squeezed orange and apple juice when I marinated my ribs apart from the seasoning was absolutely delicious. On the bbq sauce I also added a little honey,red pepper flakes for spice & a tablespoon of strawberry jam for a sweet,tangy & spicy sauce taste . Thanks again for your recipe made my dinner such an easy clean up & saved me plenty of time to do sides.

  8. 5 stars
    This are the best ribs I’ve ever eaten, I will never cooks ribs in my oven again only in the air fryer . Absolutely delicious , Thanks