Tender, flavorful crock pot ribs that practically melt in your mouth? Yes, please! This easy method for slow cooker ribs will definitely have you reaching for seconds.
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If you are looking for fall-off-the-bone meaty ribs that are ultra-tender and flavorful, you are going to love this recipe!
Not only does it result in delicious ribs every time, it also uses the slow cooker to make them, which means you can simply set it up and let the cooker do all of the work! These ribs are great for weeknight dinners or double up the recipe and serve them at your next family gathering.
The Best Crock Pot Ribs Recipe
These crock pot ribs are seriously the best ribs you’ll eat. First, you make a tasty dry rub with brown sugar, garlic, and a few other dry spices like onion powder and paprika. As it sinks into the meat, the dry rub infuses the ribs with a sweet-savory flavor all the way through. And of course, we can’t forget to add BBQ sauce for that familiar, lick-your-fingers-clean flavor!
While I love these ribs for their flavor and tenderness, the biggest selling point of this recipe is that it’s cooked mostly in the slow cooker. If you can, cook the ribs on the low setting for up to 7 hours. This will produce the absolute tenderest ribs. (You can also cook them on high for less time and you’ll still get a delicious result!). Then you’ll finish the meat in the oven to turn the outside caramelized and crisp, while keeping the inside juicy and tender. Totally irresistible—and your kitchen will smell amazing too!
Plus, prep time takes 10 minutes or less—another bonus. I love to throw this crock pot ribs recipe together in the morning and have it slow cook all day until dinner time. I’ll make a quick salad or a side of mashed potatoes and dinner is done. So easy!
Ingredients for Crock Pot Ribs
See recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.
- Brown sugar – For a wonderful sweet undertone.
- Smoked paprika – Adds color and smokiness.
- Onion powder – For savory flavor.
- Garlic powder – Garlic powder adds a kick of spice. You can also add fresh garlic.
- Salt – I use kosher salt in this recipe.
- Black pepper – Use freshly cracked black pepper if you can for the best flavor.
- Nonstick cooking spray
- Baby back pork ribs – I use 3-4 pounds of ribs in this recipe.
- Barbecue sauce, divided – BBQ sauce adds that familiar delicious bbq flavor to the ribs.
If you want really flavorful ribs you can increase the quantity of the dry rub.
How to Make Crock Pot Ribs
- Make the dry rub: In a small bowl, mix together the dry rub ingredients and set aside. Coat the inside of the slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray.
- Prepare the meat and coat it with the dry rub: Remove the membrane from the ribs (if not done already) and pat dry with a paper towel. Coat the outsides with the dry rub mixture.
- Cook the ribs in the crock pot with BBQ sauce: Add the ribs to the inside of the slow cooker; it may be necessary to cut them into a couple of pieces so they fit. Pour all but ½ cup of the barbecue sauce over the ribs. Cover with the lid and cook until the meat is tender, 6 to 7 hours on low, or 3 to 4 hours on high.
- Preheat the oven: When the ribs are almost done, preheat the oven to 425ºF. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
- Remove the ribs from the crock pot and place them on a baking sheet: When the ribs are done cooking in the slow cooker, remove and place on the foil-lined baking sheet. Using a pastry brush, coat with the remaining ½ cup of barbeque sauce.
- Bake in the oven until the outside starts to caramelize: Bake for 8 to 10 minutes on high heat until the outside starts to caramelize. Remove from the oven and serve.
How to Store Crock Pot Ribs
Store leftover ribs in an airtight container or tightly wrapped in foil in the fridge for up to 5 days. To reheat, place the ribs on a microwave-safe plate or dish and reheat at 30-second intervals until warm. You can also freeze leftover ribs. Wrap them in plastic wrap, then foil, and place in the freezer for up to 2 months. Defrost in the fridge before reheating.
Ribs go so well with the classics, like macaroni and cheese or coleslaw or so much more! Here are some of my favorite ways to serve crock pot ribs:
- Homemade macaroni and cheese. I have so many great recipes for mac and cheese including Easy One-Pot Macaroni and Cheese, Southern Baked Mac and Cheese, and Crock Pot Macaroni and Cheese.
- Macaroni salad. Serve a cold and creamy Macaroni Salad with your slow cooker ribs!
- Coleslaw. A fresh batch of coleslaw is great alongside ribs.
- Mashed potatoes. Ribs and mashed potatoes are made for each other. Choose from my Classic Mashed Potatoes, Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes, or Loaded Mashed Potatoes recipes.
- Cornbread. I love a basket of fresh, warm cornbread! My Homemade Cornbread and Skillet Cornbread are delicious with slow cooker ribs.
- Baked beans. Add a side of homemade baked beans to your ribs.
You don’t have to cover the ribs in the crock pot, but they do need a small amount of liquid to help them cook.
In my recipe, you get the best of both! You do the bulk of the cooking in your crock pot and then finish it in the oven for that crackly, caramelized texture and flavor.
For the tenderest results, you should place the ribs with the bone side facing the heat source.
Crock Pot Ribs
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 3-4 pounds baby back pork ribs
- 3 cups barbecue sauce, divided
- In a small mixing bowl, mix together the dry rub ingredients and set aside. Coat the inside of the slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray.2 tablespoons brown sugar, 1 tablespoon smoked paprika, 2 teaspoons onion powder, 2 teaspoons garlic powder, 2 teaspoons kosher salt, ½ teaspoon black pepper, Nonstick cooking spray
- Remove the membrane from the ribs (if not done already) and pat dry with a paper towel. Coat the outsides with the dry rub mixture.3-4 pounds baby back pork ribs
- Add the ribs to the inside of the slow cooker; it may be necessary to cut into a couple of pieces so that they will fit. Pour all but ½ cup of the barbecue sauce over the ribs. Cover with the lid and cook until the meat is tender, 6 to 7 hours on low, or 3 to 4 hours on high.3 cups barbecue sauce, divided
- When the ribs are almost done, preheat the oven to 425℉. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
- When the ribs are done cooking in the slow cooker, remove and place on the foil lined baking sheet. Using a pastry brush, coat with the remaining ½ cup of barbeque sauce.
- Bake for 8 to 10 minutes until the outside starts to caramelize. Remove from the oven and serve.