Go Back
Cooked Instant Pot Ribs on a Sheet Pan. Brushed with BBQ sauce.

Instant Pot Ribs

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Total Time 1 hour


  • 2 racks baby back ribs (three pounds each)
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 ½ tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ½ cup BBQ sauce recipe below
  • ½ cup water

BBQ Sauce

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar optional


  1. Whisk together the brown sugar, smoked paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, and salt. Set aside. 

    Spice rib rub in bowl.
  2. Pat ribs with a paper towel to dry.
    Drying baby back ribs with a paper towel.
  3. Remove membrane from ribs. Place ribs, bone side up, on a large cutting board. Slide the point of a paring knife between the thin, white membrane and the rib. Lift. 

    Point of knife under the silverskin of a rack of baby back ribs.
  4. Once enough of the membrane has come away from the rib, remove the knife. Grasp the membrane with your hand and pull away from the rib. Usually, it comes off in one large piece. If it tears, repeat, as needed to remove all the membrane.

    Removing the silverskin membrane from ribs.
  5. Cut ribs in half. This makes it easier to fit them into the pressure cooker. Slide a sharp knife between two bones. Cut the meat with a sharp knife to separate ribs.
  6. Turn ribs over. Rub ¼ of the prepared rib rub into the ribs. Turn over. Repeat. Do this for each rack of ribs.

    Baby Back Ribs coated with spice rib.
  7. Place on a baking sheet. Cover sheet with foil. Chill for 8 to 24 hours.
  8. Add ½ cup BBQ sauce into the insert (cooking pot) of an electric pressure cooker. Whisk in a half cup of water.

  9. Place the ribs, meat side out, into the pressure cooker.
    Two racks of ribs in the Instant Pot.
  10. Close lid. Set to sealing position. Select an 18 minute cook time. Once the cooking cycle ends, allow the pressure to release naturally. This takes about 20-22 minutes. When pin drops, turn the valve to the “release” position. Remove lid.
  11. Place ribs on a baking sheet. Brush with reserved sauce. Broil on high until bubbling, about five minutes.
  12. Serve with remaining sauce.

For the BBQ Sauce

  1. Whisk together the ketchup, water, molasses, and cider vinegar until smooth.

  2. In a small saucepan, heat the oil. Cook onions, stirring frequently, until soft. Add garlic. Cook for an additional minute. Add the sauce. Stir to combine. Reduce heat to low. Cook for 20 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent sauce from burning. Taste sauce. Add brown sugar, if desired. Adjust with salt and freshly ground black pepper, if needed.