Baby back ribs in under an hour? You may think it's just a dream, but with our BBQ air fryer ribs recipe, you may need to pinch yourself! We start with a beautiful cut of pork ribs, add BBQ dry rub, wrap in foil, and let the air fryer do what it does best - make all of our foods a WHOLE LOTTA YUM!
Pork Ribs in Air Fryer (Baby Back Ribs)
We're seriously a pork ribs obsessed family, eating fall-off-the-bone BBQ ribs is definitely something that regularly makes an appearance for dinner. My go-to method has been the Instant Pot because of how rapidly they cook, but being able to air fry ribs just as quickly makes this recipe a winner! Quickly cooking them in an air fryer means they aren't quite fall-off-the-bone, but these seriously turned out SO juicy and tender, it wasn't necessary!
We love to serve our baby back ribs in air fryer alongside our bourbon baked beans, air fryer corn on the cob, and our healthy coleslaw recipe! Together we get an amazing, authentic BBQ right in our home.
Why You'll Love This!
- Our tender and juicy air fryer pork ribs can be made using either baby back ribs or pork spareribs!
- While we love using our homemade pork rub, you can make your BBQ air fryer ribs using ours or your favorite storebought mix.
- Our baby back ribs in air fryer recipe needs just 45-minutes of cook time, yet they will taste like they slow-roasted all day long!
- Ribs are perfect for gluten-free eaters, and as long as you are using our keto rib rub, and a low-carb sauce, you can easily make your air fryer BBQ ribs compliant with keto, low-carb, paleo, and Whole30 lifestyles.
We love using our air fryer to make a wide variety of dishes! If you are looking to see how well other pork options will cook up in your air fryer, be sure to try out our air fryer sausage dinner and our air fryer ham!
Whether you opt for baby back ribs or pork spareribs, our ribs in air fryer recipe needs just a few basic ingredients... but the flavor will be anything but basic!
- baby back ribs - or pork spare ribs
- pork dry rub - you can use our sugar-free rib rub or opt for a store-bought variety
- BBQ sauce - technically optional, but adds a ton of flavor to the final product
Step by Step Instructions
Making your air fryer ribs is pretty similar to conventional methods. We are going start with prepared ribs, add our favorite dry rub and wrap in foil, and then let the air fryer work it's magic and cook these ribs to absolute air fryer perfection!
Blot the ribs dry with paper towels but do not rinse.
As an optional step, you can pull off the thin membrane from the back of the ribs, ours came with this already removed from the ribs. If the membrane is on your ribs, you can watch this tutorial to learn how to easily remove it.
Cut the rack of ribs in half with a sharp kitchen knife.
Sprinkle the pork ribs with 2 tablespoon seasoning on the meaty side of the ribs, this will be 1 tablespoon per half. Press the seasoning into the meat with clean fingertips to help get the rib mix to stick to the ribs.
Wrap them tightly in foil and place them meat side down in the air fryer. It's ok if the halves overlap slightly.
Preheat the air fryer for 5 minutes.
Air Fryer Ribs Temperature
We are going to be air frying the ribs at 360F. Preheating your unit for at least 5 minutes will ensure the unit has come up to temperature before you add the ribs.
Air Fryer Pork Ribs Cooking Time
Cook the pork ribs for 20 minutes in the air fryer and then flip them over.
Continue cooking with the meat side up (the ribs are still wrapped in foil) for 20 more minutes.
Carefully open up the foil packages and baste BBQ on the ribs if desired (optional).
Air fry the ribs for 5 more minutes until the sauce is starting to brown and has that slightly charred "grilled" appearance.
The ribs had an internal temperature of 175 F after cooking.
Serve with additional BBQ sauce for dipping and your favorite air fryer ribs sides.
- Allowing the ribs to rest on the counter for 30 minutes before cooking your air fryer ribs helps the meat to cook more evenly.
- Removing the membrane from the ribs is optional, but strongly recommended as it will make them more flavorful and tender when they have finished cooking. You can ask your butcher to remove it for you or watch the tutorial to learn how to easily remove it yourself.
- While wrapping your ribs in foil is technically optional, it's is both highly recommended and traditional. The foil wrap helps your air fryer ribs to cook evenly and stay super moist.
- Fall-off-the-bone ribs are usually cooked to the 185-190 F range. If you prefer them even softer, try cooking them for 25 minutes per side; however, we have not tested this amount of cooking time for the recipe.
It's easy to cook frozen meats like pork ribs in an air fryer, you can usually just follow a recipe and add a slightly longer cooking time until the internal temperature reaches the required degree of doneness. The one consideration with air fryer frozen ribs is that a whole rack of frozen ribs will be too long to fit into an air fryer unit unless you have a large air fryer oven. If you know you're purchasing pork ribs to air fry later, cut them in half before freezing so that they'll fit in the air fryer when it's time to cook them.
What turns out better, cooking ribs in an air fryer or cooking pork ribs in an Instant Pot? While it can definitely come down to personal preference, Instant Pot ribs are VERY juicy and tender and are truly fall-off-the-bone. If you prefer your ribs to have a little bite to them and not be literally falling off the bone, we suggest cooking air fryer pork ribs. Both methods have terrific flavor!
More Rib Recipes
Looking for more rib recipes?
- Instant Pot country style ribs
- Instant Pot baby back ribs
- Baby back ribs in the oven
- Asian Instant Pot beef ribs