Make Ahead Instant Pot Baby Back Ribs

As an Amazon affiliate, and affiliate with other businesses, I earn from qualifying purchases.

The BEST Instant Pot BBQ Baby Back Ribs recipe! Pressure cook these ribs until they’re tender and juicy, then coat them with more barbecue sauce and caramelize them on the grill until they’re sticky, tender, and delicious!

Instant Pot / Pressure Cooker BBQ Baby Back Ribs recipe by Pressure Cooking Today

Football season and end-of-summer celebrations are right around the corner. Be the hero of your next barbecue or tailgating party by serving these easy-to-make baby back ribs!

I’ve been making baby back pork ribs for my family every summer for as long as I can remember.

Several years ago, I decided to make a pressure cooker version of my favorite rib recipe, which braises the ribs in the oven before grilling.

I haven’t made ribs any other way since!

Baby back ribs on cutting board being prepped for cooking in an Instant Pot with celery and onions cut and already in the Instant Pot.

How to Make Pressure Cooker BBQ Baby Back Ribs in an Instant Pot

This BBQ Baby Back Ribs recipe will work in any brand of electric pressure cooker, including the Instant Pot, Ninja Foodi, and Mealthy MultiPot. They are easy to use and can help you create these delicious Pressure Cooker Baby Back Ribs!

How do I fit the pressure cooker BBQ baby back ribs in the cooking pot?

Before cooking, I like to cut the ribs into two or three rib sections to make them easier to fit in the pressure cooking pot. I prefer this method to ensure that there is enough space around the ribs that they’ll cook evenly.

However, some of my Facebook friends have had great success rolling their ribs in a coil and standing them on their side .

Baby back ribs place inside an Instant Pot

How long do I cook baby back ribs in the pressure cooker?

As a rule of thumb, when making meat in the pressure cooker, if you release the pressure and the meat is too tough for your taste, then you need to increase the cook time. If your meat is drier than you like, decrease the cook time.

Use an instant-read thermometer to verify your baby back ribs have an internal temp of at least 145°F in the thickest part of the ribs after cooking.

I’ve found that 15 minutes at High Pressure leads to ribs that are tender yet they still have a bit of bite and hold their shape when grilling.

If you want the ribs more fall off the bone tender, cook them another longer; I’d start with 5 minutes and go from there.

I have a dry rub that I really love. Can I use it in this recipe?

Absolutely! In my cookbook, I have a chili and garlic powder dry rub recipe that I use often!

When adapting the recipe to your flavors, be careful not to change the liquid ratio in this recipe. (Adding a little extra liquid smoke is no problem, but removing any of the water would be.)

Also, make sure to adjust the seasonings to match the number of baby back rib slabs called for in this recipe.


Can I half or double this rib recipe?

You can put in as many ribs as you like, as long as they’re not packed tightly into the cooking pot. (If the ribs are pressed together like a thicker cut of meat, the steam won’t be able to reach the ones in the center and so your ribs will be cooked unevenly.)

The packaged weight of the ribs doesn’t really matter since baby back ribs are generally the same thickness; therefore, the cook time will be the same for a few ribs or a lot of ribs.

Baby Back Ribs being finished on the grill

Can I freeze them before grilling?

Well, I prefer to make them in the morning and then refrigerate them until dinner. However, you can freeze these Instant Pot baby back ribs if you like.

If you freeze, I recommend thawing the ribs in the refrigerator overnight. Before serving, coat them in BBQ sauce and heat up the grill.

Instant Pot / Pressure Cooker BBQ Baby Back Ribs recipe by Pressure Cooking Today

Do I have to make the baby back ribs ahead of time?


I absolutely prefer to make these ribs ahead so that I can have the kitchen all cleaned up before the party starts. However, if you don’t want to make them ahead, they can go right from the pressure cooker to the grill with no change to the cook time.

Baby Back Ribs on a white plate with BBQ sauce and a basting brush behind

How do you transport the ribs to the tailgate?

If you’re driving longer distances, cool the ribs, pop them in a Ziploc, and put them in a cooler until you’re ready to warm them up on the grill.

If you’re running late and only going a short distance, you can take them in the Instant Pot itself! I just release the pressure completely, leave them in the pot, and hit the road. (Be careful to not let the Instant Pot tip over; I like to place it on the ground between my feet and let someone else drive to the game.)

A plate of Baby Back Ribs, corn on the cob, and potato salad ready to serve.

How do you like to serve your ribs?

Once the ribs are caramelized and ready to serve, my husband likes to cut them into individual ribs before serving to make them easier to eat. If you’d rather, you can serve them in racks of three or four ribs.

While the ribs are the star of the show, I love to pair them with baked beans, potato salad or macaroni salad, garlic roasted red potatoes, and macaroni and cheese. And, of course, corn on the cob, fresh cherries and watermelon around the 4th of July, and raspberries and peaches in late summer.

Be sure and have plenty of napkins handy!

A plate of food on a table with Pork ribs, corn on the cob, and potato salad with Instant Pot in background.

To show you how quick and easy this is, my son and I made this super short video.


Pressure Cooker BBQ Baby Back Ribs

Servings: 12 ribs
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Additional Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Course: Pork
Pressure cooking before grilling is the secret to these great tasting, make-ahead, barbecued ribs. The ribs will be moist and you'll have the sticky, caramelized BBQ flavor you love.
Print Pin Recipe Rate


  • 1 slab baby back pork ribs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 small yellow onion large diced
  • 1 celery stalk large diced
  • 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup BBQ sauce


  • Pat the ribs dry with a paper towel and place them on a work surface. Peel the membrane off the back of the ribs. Cut the ribs into sections that will fit in the pressure cooker, and rub with salt and pepper.
  • Place the onion, celery, and water in the pressure cooking pot. (You can use a rack or not use a rack depending on what you prefer and how many ribs you're cooking.) Add ribs.
  • Close and lock the lid of the pressure cooker. Select High Pressure and a 15 minute cook time.
  • When the cook time ends, turn off pressure cooker and use a natural pressure release for 10 minutes. Then finish with a quick pressure release. When the valve drops, carefully remove the lid.
  • Remove the ribs. If making ahead, cool to room temperature. Once cool, refrigerate until ready to serve.
  • When you're ready to eat, preheat the BBQ grill to a medium-high heat. Coat one side of the ribs with BBQ sauce. Place on the grill, sauce side down, and grill for 3 minutes. Coat the other side with BBQ sauce, flip, and grill for a 3 minutes.
  • Slather on additional BBQ sauce and grill each side for an additional 3 minutes.
  • Serve immediately.



Serving: 1g | Calories: 163kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 9mg | Sodium: 1272mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 24g

More rib recipes you might like:

Country-Style Barbecue Pork Ribs

Pressure Cooker Beef Short Ribs

Sweet and Sour Country Style Ribs

Pin It:

Pin It collage for Pressure Cooker BBQ Baby Back RibsRecipe by Pressure Cooking Today

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.
originally published August 11, 2019 — last updated June 8, 2024
Categories: Pork