Can I Cook Baby Back Ribs in an Instant Pot?

Can I Cook Baby Back Ribs in an Instant Pot
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Baby back ribs are one of our favorite cuts of meat here, and if you’ve found your way to this article, we’d bet that they’re one of your favorites as well. These ribs are taken from where the ribs meet the spine underneath the loin. 

In other words, the baby back rib is just another name for the upper ribs! They’re also much smaller than the spare ribs, which is why they’re referred to as ‘baby’ ribs. Baby back ribs fall right off of the bone and don’t come with much fat covering them.

Although they’re smaller than spare ribs, you’ll often find that they’re more expensive than their larger counterparts. There are many different ways to cook baby back ribs, but can you do so in an instant pot? 

Well, a quick Google search will tell you that you can in fact cook baby back ribs in an instant pot, and it’s also very easy to do. Below we’ll be looking into cooking ribs in an instant pot, so you can walk into your kitchen feeling confident and excited about the promise of delectable baby back ribs.

What is an instant pot?

An instant pot promises two things: quicker cooking times and more free countertop space in your kitchen. Instant pots can cook numerous ingredients, so you don’t need to scramble around trying to find enough space to fit lots of different individual cookers. 

Instant pots can step in when you need a pressure cooker, a rice cooker, and a slow cooker. Expect to be able to saute, steam, warm, and even sterilize baby bottles with an instant pot! The vast versatility of an instant pot makes them so popular and a true must-have in a smaller kitchen.

For an appliance that was created only 10 years ago, it’s impressive how the instant pot swept the nation and made everyone fall in love with them.

However, while the list of foods that you can cook in an instant pot is seemingly endless, there are also a few foods that you have no choice but to question whether it’s really possible. 

For example, how are your baby back ribs going to cook evenly in this tiny little appliance? With any meat, you need to ensure that it is cooked thoroughly to prevent you from falling ill.  You’ll need to ensure that you use your instant pot correctly while cooking your ribs.

How long do baby back ribs take in an instant pot? 

Baby back ribs will take a mere 25 to 30 minutes to cook in an instant pot, which is around one-sixth of the time they would take to cook if you were to decide on the oven method. That’s right, you read those numbers correctly! 

Gone are the days of having to cook ribs for two hours before you’d be able to enjoy them! Now we bet you can see why instant pots are so popular!

Before you go off to scour the internet for your new instant pot, let’s look at some tips and tricks to ensure that cooking baby back ribs in an instant pot is as simple as possible for you.

Tips for cooking baby back ribs in an instant pot

Make a Dry Rub

Creating a dry rub is one of the easiest ways to season your baby back ribs. Making your own mix of spices allows you to tailor it to your individual tastes. For example, we love making a dry rub that is the ideal balance between sweet and spicy.

Popular spices to include in your dry rub are chili powder or flakes, onion powder, brown sugar, parsley, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper. However, feel free to include anything that you’d enjoy! 

Make sure that you mix the spices together thoroughly so that you get even coverage all over your baby back ribs. Once you’ve created the mixture, simply cover both sides of the ribs and place them in your instant pot! 

Use the Liquid to your Advantage

Instant pots require liquid to be poured into it before you begin cooking. Preparing baby back ribs is no different, and the liquid that you choose to use will define the taste of your final product. 

A broth is a very common liquid to use, as well as apple cider vinegar mixed with water. Water is also a viable option if you have nothing else to use; however, it will not add anything to the flavor of your ribs. 

If you enjoy the taste of smoked ribs but don’t want to wait for multiple hours before the smoker cooks your ribs, you can also add some liquid smoke into the instant pot. However, make sure that you use this sparingly so that you don’t overpower the taste. 

Using the Rack

Speaking of the liquid, you’d ideally want the baby back ribs to be lifted slightly off of the bottom of the instant pot so that the meat isn’t submerged in liquid. To do so, most instant pots come with a rack that you can place underneath the meat. 

However, if you don’t have the rack to spare you can always use aluminum foil to act as a barrier between the pot and the meat. Simply scrunch the foil into enough little balls that they cover the entire bottom of the pot. This will prevent the tender meat from sticking to the metal. 

Size of Instant Pot

You can choose between a 3, 6, and 8-quart size of an instant pot. Most people find that the 6-quart option is big enough for their needs, as the 3-quart is considered a miniature size and the 8-quart is best for bigger families. 

Unless you’re looking to cook multiple racks of baby back ribs at once, a 6-quart instant pot should be fine for your needs. This size is also small enough for you to keep in any kitchen, and don’t forget that you’ll be able to use it for many more dishes as well!

How to cook baby back ribs in an instant pot

Once you’ve prepared your baby back ribs and have your instant pot ready, you’re most likely wondering how to actually cook your ribs! Let’s look at the very easy steps that you’ll need to go through to cook your baby back ribs. 

Step One

Remove the membrane on the baby back ribs. The membrane is a piece of tissue on the bone side of the ribs. Simply remove it from the rack either with a butter knife or your fingers. It will come off easily enough and often in one piece - just pull it off. 

Step Two

Create your dry rub and evenly cover the entire rack of ribs. Don’t forget the bottom of the rack where you’ve just pulled the membrane off of!  

Step Three

Pour the liquid into the instant pot, whether it be broth, water, or your own special concoction. 

Step Four

How you put the ribs into the instant pot will depend on how many you have. If all of the ribs are attached in one long line, you can wrap them around the edge of the instant pot with the bones facing in towards the middle of the pot. 

If your ribs are shorter and precut, you’ll have to position them so that the meat is facing outwards towards the sides of the instant pot. You can either do this by leaning them up against each other like a teepee or wrapping them around like you would if they were attached. 

Step Five

Make sure that the pressure release valve is in place, and it is set to the Sealing Position Lock the ribs within the cooking chamber and set the instant pot to high pressure.  You should allow up to 15 minutes for pressure to build within the pot. Cook the ribs in the instant pot for around half an hour. You can adjust the cooking times depending on how tender you want your ribs to be. 

Step Six

Carefully release the pressure within the instant pot and remove the ribs with tongs. Voila! You’re all done.

How to take your baby back ribs one step further…

Feel free to remove your baby back ribs from the instant pot and serve them straight away, but if you want to take them to the next level and really wow your audience, follow the next steps down below. 

Step Seven

Preheat the oven while you’re waiting for the instant pot to work its magic. Get a baking sheet ready and prepared and ensure that it’s large enough for all of your ribs. 

Step Eight

Transfer the meat onto the baking sheet and smother the baby back ribs with as much barbeque sauce as you desire. 

Step Nine

Cook the barbeque ribs in the oven for around seven minutes. You’ll be able to check the meat easier when it’s in the oven, so you can continue cooking them until you get to the perfect tenderness. The barbeque sauce will also begin to caramelize onto the ribs, leaving you with the ideal taste and texture.