Meet the most fall-off-the-bone tender, no oven, I-think-I’m-gonna-need-a-bigger-bib Crockpot Ribs. Do yourself and every rib lover in your life a finger-lickin’ favor: put a batch in your slow cooker. TODAY.
The original catalyst for this easy crockpot ribs recipe was Ben’s enthusiasm for all things barbecue and my love for simple, hands-free cooking in the slow cooker.
Like my Instant Pot Ribs, these crockpot ribs have the deep, finger-licking-good flavor that you love but they’re so much easier.
After only 10 minutes of prep, you can let the slow cooker do the rest of the work. When the cooking time has ended, you’ll open your crockpot to find the best slow cooker ribs you’ve ever had.
These tender ribs are ideal for game day parties, easy weeknight dinners, or anytime you’re in the mood for something undeniably delicious (and that’s even before pairing these with Healthy Coleslaw!).
Why I Love Crockpot Ribs
This crockpot ribs recipe will work for any style of pork ribs. We did baby back ribs (cook’s prerogative—baby back ribs are my favorite), but country-style ribs or spare ribs could be used too. I haven’t tried crock pot boneless ribs yet, but I see no reason why those wouldn’t work. I’d suggest shortening the cook time.
In addition to being one of the best crock pot recipes to come out of my kitchen in a long time, these slow cooker ribs have a full rack of winning qualities.
- The prep is quick and easy. You’ll need less than 10 minutes to get them sauced and in your slow cooker.
- The BBQ Sauce is homemade. I adore the recipe below, and if you are looking for some extra sauce to serve on the side or another saucy option, you can check out my homemade barbecue sauce.
- Keep the oven off. Wondering how long to cook ribs in the oven at 200 degrees? Three to four hours! To me, that is a looooong time to have my oven running. The slow cooker will keep the house cool and the oven available if you need it for other endeavors.
- Less risk of overcooking. While I adore the flavor of barbecue ribs made on the grill, how long to cook ribs on the grill is challenging even for pit masters (the New York Times agrees). Keep it simple and let the slow cooker do the work.
- Super smells. By the time the crock pot ribs are done cooking, your entire kitchen will smell like slow-cooked BBQ paradise.
- Pork Ribs. Juicy, tender, and one of the best cuts for barbecue! While I made slow cooker baby back ribs, spare ribs or country-style ribs will also work.
- Ketchup. A key ingredient in our BBQ sauce. While I’m not usually a fan (true confession), here it adds thickness and sweetness.
- Molasses. Another essential element in our sweet, sticky sauce.
- Apple Cider Vinegar. To add tangy flavor and balance the sauce.
- Hot Sauce. For a little bit of heat.
- Spices. Spices are the final component that takes our BBQ sauce to the next level. This recipe uses a combination of chili powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
- Spray a slow cooker with nonstick spray, and add the ribs. Mix the sauce ingredients, and pour half of it over the ribs.
- Cook on low for 8 hours, until tender. Serve immediately with the reserved sauce, and DIG IN!
- Thermometer. Ribs are safe to eat at 145 degrees F, but the temperature should be at 190 degrees F or higher to ensure the most tender meat. You can use an instant read thermometer to check the exact temperature.
- Color. When done, the meat in the middle should be white, and there shouldn’t be any pink juices.
- Bones. Check your ribs to see if the meat has drawn back from the bone. When done, the meat will expose some of the bone at the thin end of the ribs.
- Flexibility. Your ribs should be flexible but not falling apart. When you think your ribs are done, grab one end with a pair of tongs and pick them up. The ribs should bend towards the ground without falling apart.
- Tenderness. Gently insert a toothpick between two of the bones. If the toothpick goes in easily, then the ribs are done.
What to Serve with Crockpot Ribs
- Beans. Easy Baked Beans are the perfect side dish for these crockpot pork ribs.
- Creamed Corn. For a more decadent side dish that everyone will love, try this Crock Pot Creamed Corn.
- Salad. Mediterranean Chickpea Salad, Israeli Couscous Salad, or
- Creamy Cucumber Salad would all be fresh, healthy sides to balance these ribs.
- Potatoes. For a crowd-pleasing side dish, serve these ribs with Pesto Potato Salad or Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes or Oven Roasted Potatoes.
- Carrots. Carrots are always a great dish. Learn how to roast carrots and pair them with these ribs for a crowd favorite.
Recommended Tools to Make Crockpot Ribs
- Programmable Slow Cooker. This one switches to warm when done so food doesn’t overcook.
- Pastry Brush. Perfect for brushing the ribs with that sweet, sticky BBQ sauce.
- The Add a Pinch Cookbook. My friend Robyn’s book and the source of this sticky crockpot ribs recipe. It’s loaded with delicious recipes that, while true in spirit to the traditional Southern classics that inspired them, feel fresh and original. You can feel Robyn’s warmth and charm in the writing on every page, and the photos are stunning.
Since you can prep the pork ribs ahead and serve them right out of the crock pot if you like, I have this recipe bookmarked for times when I need to serve a crowd, when I need to save oven space, and for when I need to set up my meal at an alternate location, such as a friend’s barbecue or even a tailgate.
I can guarantee that with this simple, ultra-delicious recipe at your disposal, you’ll find every reason to make these slow cooker ribs.
- 3 1/2 to 4 pounds pork ribs cut into individual ribs (spare ribs, baby back, or country-style will all work with this method; I used baby back)
- 1 cup ketchup
- 1/2 cup molasses
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Spray a 6-quart or larger slow cooker with nonstick spray. Add the ribs in an even layer.
- In a small bowl or large measuring cup, stir together the ketchup, molasses, vinegar, hot sauce, chili powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Pour half of the sauce over the ribs, then cover the sauce bowl and save the rest in the refrigerator.
- Cover the ribs and cook on low for 8 hours, until they are cooked and ultra tender. Serve immediately with the reserved sauce (I like to warm up the extra sauce for serving too).
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