Making oven baked baby back ribs is a terrific way to get that slow-roasted flavor and fall-off-the-bone end result you crave from BBQ baby back ribs when they get cooked properly. Our easy barbeque ribs recipe teaches you all the tips and tricks for truly making the BEST slow-cooked BBQ ribs in the oven!
Learn how to make baked ribs with a dry rub or how to add BBQ sauce, learn the difference between pork spare ribs and baby back ribs, plus get easy adaptions to make these low carb, gluten-free, or keto ribs too. It's a WHOLE LOTTA YUM!
These are the BEST Baked Ribs!
If you're looking for baby back ribs recipes in the oven, consider this a tutorial for making the best BBQ ribs everyone will love. Who knew melt-in-your-mouth baked barbecue ribs could be so easily made indoors instead of grilling?
And if you've thought that baby back ribs must be from baby pigs, they are not! Which I admit to thinking up until I was in my 40's. It just refers to the cut of pork the ribs are coming from on the pig.
Why you'll love these Oven Baked Ribs
- Cooking the ribs on a very low temp mean they turn out juicy and tender every time
- Our method works for EITHER pork spare ribs in the oven or baked baby back ribs
- Learn how to make a pork rib dry rub that is so tasty you might just skip the BBQ sauce!
- They're easy to adapt to various health plans like paleo, low carb, gluten-free, or to make keto ribs.
- They're super EASY!
What you'll need for Baby Back Ribs in Oven
Baking BBQ ribs in the oven just takes a few ingredients, ribs, dry rub seasoning, and BBQ sauce. We include a recipe for our homemade pork rub, but you can easily use a store brand, or just season them with salt and pepper if you prefer super saucy ribs with BBQ sauce.
BBQ Rib Ingredients
- 1 rack of ribs (pork ribs or baby back ribs) - This is very easy to double, two racks will fit on a large baking sheet.
- 2 T dry rub mix - we love to make our own, but your favorite store-bought brand works too. This is easy to make with brown sugar or to make it sugar-free for keto ribs.
- BBQ sauce (optional) - Our favorite store-bought national brand is Sweet Baby Ray's and if you're wanting to make baby back ribs without sugar (that's also low carb and paleo) is Primal Kitchen's BBQ sauce.
Dry Rub Ingredients
Our recipe for a dry rub for ribs makes more than you'll need for this recipe. The mix will keep in a lidded container for 6 months or more. You'll need about 2 tablespoon of mix total for each rack of baby ribs you're baking.
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon ground dried garlic
- 1 Tbsp ground onion powder
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 2 tablespoon sea salt
- 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 teaspoon brown sugar (or 2 teaspoon golden monk fruit for keto ribs)
- Large baking sheet
Foil is an essential supply, you must have it for this recipe. Tightly sealing the oven-baked baby back ribs and steaming them in their juices is how they turn out so moist and tender.
How to make Ribs in the Oven
Making oven baked ribs is seriously so simple to do! You'll just need to sprinkle them with seasoning, cover with foil, bake, and add sauce after cooking. Easy peasy ribs in the oven!
Temperature for cooking ribs in the oven
Preheat the oven to 275F and put the oven rack in the middle position.
1. Prep the Ribs
Cover the baking sheet with aluminum foil to make for easier cleanup. This isn't a required step but will definitely make it easier when it comes time to wash the pan.
Remove the membrane from the backside of the ribs if it's still attached. With a sharp knife, lift the point of the knife under the white membrane. Once it's a little loosened you can take your clean hands and slowly pull the membrane from the back of the ribs. Here's a Youtube video if needed.
This is also optional, but baking baby back ribs in the oven will turn out better and more tender without the tough membrane attached.
Lay the baby back ribs on the baking sheet.
If you're making a homemade dry rub mix, put all of the ingredients in a small bowl and combine.
Sprinkle 2 T+ of dry rub mix on each rack of ribs and gently press the mix into the meat to help it stick to the surface. We like our ribs heavily seasoned, but you can cut this back to 1 tablespoon per rack if preferred. Gently press the rub into the meat with your clean hands.
If you have extra time, putting the ribs in the fridge for 2 hours (optional) to allow the rub flavors to infuse with the meat is ideal.
Skipping this step when you're short on time and instantly putting the baby back ribs in the oven immediately after spreading the dry rub is perfectly fine also. I have done this MANY times and the ribs are still fantastic!
3. Cover and Bake
Tightly wrap the baking sheet with foil to cover the ribs and keep the steam from escaping.
Cook the baby back ribs until a thermometer inserted into a center portion of the meat reads 185 to 190F. The meat is technically done before that point but wouldn't be cooked to a fall off the bone level, which is definitely what you want for baby back ribs.
How long does it take to cook ribs in the oven?
Check the ribs after 3 hours of cooking on 275F, they'll be at the perfect point if you can easily wiggle the bones and the meat is very soft. They'll take about 3-3 ½ hours to cook.
Racks of baby back ribs come between 1 ½ lb and 3 lb, the lighter they are the less time they'll take to cook.
4. Add BBQ Sauce
There's a great debate in the BBQ world on whether ribs should be served with BBQ sauce or without. In our family, we enjoy them both ways, and we often cook 2 racks--one with just the dry rub and the other rack with rub AND sauce.
If you prefer adding barbecue sauce, which definitely gives a "hot off the grill" appearance, you can broil the ribs for 3-4 minutes until the top of the baked baby ribs is lightly brown on top. Pull them out before the sauce starts to burn.
You can also put them on the grill after brushing sauce on after they cook for a BBQ ribs recipe that's oven then grill cooking.
Serve and enjoy! Each baked BBQ ribs rack makes about 3 generous servings.
Baked Ribs recipe tips
- The baked ribs should be literally fall off the bone tender, if your ribs aren't doing this, that means they need to cook LONGER. Baby back ribs aren't properly cooked until the tough collagen breaks down.
- Be sure to tightly cover the baking pan with foil, if the foil isn't on there tight enough the ribs won't properly steam. They'll still taste great but they won't be as tender as they should've been.
- Cook the ribs with the meat side up, and flipping during cooking is NOT necessary.
- The baby ribs can be served just with dry rub, many people prefer them this way! Adding barbeque sauce is totally optional.
- Brush BBQ sauce on the meat then grill or broil to get that "just grilled" appearance.
- Pork spare ribs can be substituted for baby back, they'll take longer to cook since they weigh more.
- Just have a 9x13 pan? Cut the rib rack in half before seasoning and baking the BBQ ribs.
How to serve baked Oven Ribs
Since we’ve been following a low carb program we usually serve these ribs with coleslaw or a kale caesar salad. Serving roasted vegetables on the side like broccoli, mushrooms, onions and peppers also make a great idea.
- Caesar salad
- Corn on the cob
- Roasted vegetables
- Baked beans
- Macaroni and cheese
- Collard Greens
Low Carb Sides with Ribs
- Baked cauliflower mac and cheese
- Keto coleslaw
- A simple green salad
- Collard greens (a Southern fave!)
Oven Baked Ribs storage
Store: Leftover oven baked ribs can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Freezer: To freeze leftover ribs, wrap them in plastic wrap and then in a double layer of foil. They can be frozen for up to 3 months for the best taste and texture.
Reheat: To reheat ribs, preheat your oven to 350 F. Wrap the leftover ribs in foil, making sure they are tightly wrapped. Cook in the oven on a baking sheet for 20-30 minutes until they’re heated through. You can broil them for 1-3 minutes to get a crispy crust.
FAQs for Oven Ribs
What's the Difference Between Spare Ribs and Baby Back Ribs?
Have you ever gone to the store and all you could find were "pork ribs"? Are those baby back ribs or what type of ribs are they exactly? Pork ribs and spare ribs are the same cut of meat and come from the belly area of a pig, whereas baby back ribs are a smaller cut of pork that comes from the loin section.
Baby back ribs or back ribs are considered more tender and more expensive than pork spareribs. Pork spare ribs are larger and can be cooked with the same method as baby back, you'll just need to cook them longer since they'll weigh more and are a larger rack of meat.
Do ribs cook better in foil?
Making Keto Ribs?
If you're following a keto or low carb plan, you might be wondering if baby back ribs are keto. Meat on its own is basically a no-carb meal, where the carbs come in is with the sauce or rub mix you plan to add.
As long as you use keto dry rub for the ribs and if you add BBQ sauce at the end, make sure that's also a low carb and no sugar brand.
A serving of baked baby back ribs with just the dry rub is only 1 net carb! Be sure to adjust the carb count if you add the sauce.
Likewise, if you also use a sugar-free homemade dry rub and a sauce like Primal Kitchen's paleo/whole30 BBQ sauce, then these are a paleo and whole30 rib recipe too.
Want More Rib Recipes?
Got an instant pot? Here are a few rib recipes you'll want to try! Instant pot ribs TRULY make the FASTEST way to cook baby back ribs.
Be sure to post below with your low carb, paleo, and keto oven-baked baby back ribs results and feedback! We'd also love reviews and make sure to upload your photos to the Pinterest pin.