Considering how simple it is to make, you’ll be astonished by how wonderfully Air-Fryer ribs turn out, with tender meat and perfectly crisp edges.
People were raving about my oven-baked baby back rib recipe a day after I posted it, so it only seems logical to put them in an air fryer now.
Although baking baby back ribs in the oven has always been my go-to method since it’s quick and easy and results in the tastiest ribs, I’m now calculating the ups and downs after using an air fryer for cooking ribs of baking the ribs in the oven.
Although nothing beats hours of slow cooking on an outdoor barbecue, they are still really tasty after only 30 minutes.
With just a few basic ingredients, my tender Air Fryer Ribs are ready in no time! Enjoy amazingly delicate, delicious baby back ribs quickly and easily.
With this simple method, you won’t believe how great the ribs turn out!
Also, check my Oven Braised Costco Short Ribs Recipe.
Ingredients you’ll need
The list of ingredients is almost identical to my oven-baked ribs, minus the onions.
Pork Baby Back Ribs: I prefer to get the leanest baby back ribs when purchasing pork. I’ll trim off any surplus fat before applying the sweet dry rub.
BBQ Sauce: You may either make your own or buy it. The Stonewall Kitchen’s baby back rib BBQ sauce is my favorite.
Brown Sugar: Although light brown sugar would also be suitable, I opted for dark brown.
Paprika: This ingredient gives the ribs a gorgeous color, and I like to use sweet paprika over smoked paprika.
Salt & Pepper: You can adjust the salt and pepper to your preference.
Garlic Powder: To ensure that all ribs are evenly covered, I like to use garlic powder in this recipe rather than raw garlic.
Onion Powder: Onion powder is also included in this dish’s flavor. It contributes to the distinctive flavor of the spice rub.
Dry Ground Mustard: you may use yellow mustard if you’d like. Wet yellow mustard should be used to coat the ribs and marinate them for at least two hours in the fridge.
Cayenne Pepper: The ribs get a little bite from this spice, which goes well with the other tastes. If you don’t like spice, you may leave this out or change the quantity to your preference.
How to make Air-Fryer Ribs
Here is a brief guide on how to cook these baby back ribs using an air fryer.
Step 1: Remove the Silver Skin
When cooking ribs, keep in mind that the thin silver skin or membrane that wraps around the back of the meat must be removed. The membrane, a substantial skin covering, will prevent the ribs from moving. It is not a good idea to leave it on since it will make the ribs less tender and less delightful to consume.
It is straightforward to eliminate. Find a bit of the membrane surrounding the flesh that you can grab by turning the ribs over. You may also insert a tiny knife blade between the ribs and the silver skin to separate them.
It has a silver color and forms a very thin coating on the back. Use paper towels and pull back when you’ve captured a piece of the silver skin. If you do it correctly, the membrane should come off in one piece and its whole.
Step 2: Apply Sweet, Dry Rub
Next, prepare, apply, and thoroughly rub the dry rub into the ribs. It is easy to make and adds a ton of flavor.
You may leave it in the fridge overnight with the rub for even more flavor, but it’s unnecessary. The ribs gain an additional layer of robust flavor from the rub. I definitely suggest using it.
But if you like, you can season it with salt and pepper. Make sure to season the ribs generously.
Step 3: Air-Fry your ribs
Before cooking the ribs in the air fryer, it is crucial to preheat the appliance. This prevents the food from adhering to the basket and enables it to reach the proper temperature for uniform cooking. Set it to 380 degrees Fahrenheit (195 C).
It should take three to five minutes to heat. The ribs may be placed in the basket once it has warmed up. The basket doesn’t need to be sprayed with oil.
Depending on the size of your air fryer, you may need to chop the rack of ribs in half or even thirds to fit it within. When chopped in half, it fits in my 5-quart air fryer. The cooking is unaffected by the slight center overlap of the halves.
Place the ribs on the air fryer tray, meat side down, and cook for 20 minutes, flipping them after 10 minutes.
Step 4: Finishing the Ribs
Once the 20 minutes are up, remove the basket and use BBQ sauce to coat the ribs on both sides. Return them to the air fryer with the meat facing up.
Increase the heat to 390°F (200°C) and cook the ribs for additional 3-5 minutes or until the tops are slightly browned. Brush with extra BBQ sauce and serve.
- When the 20 minutes are up, remove the ribs from the air-fryer and coat them well in BBQ sauce on both sides.
- Take them back to the air fryer, flesh facing up.
- The ribs should be cooked for a further 3-5 minutes, or until the tops are just beginning to brown, over a higher heat of 390°F (200°C).
- Serve after rubbing with more barbecue sauce.
Air-Fryer Ribs Recipe
These tasty and speedy Air Fryer Ribs are soft, juicy, and covered in the BEST rub mixture and BBQ sauce.
For the Ribs
- 2 lbs of baby back ribs
- BBQ sauce
For Dry Rub
- 2 Tablespoons of brown sugar
- 1 Tablespoon of paprika
- 1 teaspoon of black pepper, ground
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon of onion powder
- 1 teaspoon of ground mustard
- ½ tsp of cayenne pepper
- Preheat your Air-Fryer to 380°F.
- Remove the silver skin from the ribs’ backs. On both sides, season the ribs with prepared dry rub.
- To fit in the air fryer, divide the rack of ribs in half. Put the ribs on the air fryer tray, meat side down, and cook for 20 minutes, flipping them over halfway through.
- Take out the basket and brush the ribs with BBQ sauce once the 20 minutes have passed. Return them to the air fryer with the meat facing up. Turn the heat up to 390°F (200°C) and cook the ribs for a further 3-5 minutes or until the tops are slightly browned. Serve after brushing with more BBQ sauce.
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At what temperature should I cook the ribs in the air-fryer?
Baby back ribs are air-fried in this dish for 20 minutes at 380 degrees Fahrenheit. The size of the rib rack has a significant impact on how long they need to cook at this temperature. A rack that is on the smaller size will probably take 18 minutes, while a larger rack may take up to 30 minutes. 5-8 minutes should be added to the cooking time if cooking two racks at once.
Should I cover the ribs in the air-fryer?
The ribs should not be covered in the air-fryer. Both covering the ribs and placing parchment paper below them are not necessary. To cook food evenly, the air fryer moves air around the meal. You may stop the airflow by covering them.
How do I know when the ribs are cooked in the air-fryer?
The ribs are cooked when the internal temperature hits 175 degrees F (80 degrees C). Meat at this stage is still juicy and tender. Don’t use the absence of bone-retracting or crumbling meat as a sign of doneness; it only occurs with long and slow cooking.
Shouldn’t the ribs get more tender the more they cook in the air-fryer?
Yes, the longer they cook, the more tender the ribs get. This is why lengthy, slow cooking is favored versus quick cooking, such in an air fryer. But the ribs turn out moist and tender without turning dry, thanks to this quick and simple cooking method.
Should I place the ribs bone side up in the air-fryer?
For the first ten minutes of cooking, the ribs’ bony side need to be exposed. The ribs are cooked with the boney side down for the final 15 minutes. With uniform cooking and the development of crispy particles on the meat’s surface, thanks to this.
More Air-Fryer recipes:
Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets