Air Fryer Ribs

These air fried pork ribs are a game changer! The delicious barbecue rub gives them a hint of smoky flavor and crisps up on the edges to give these ribs amazing texture.

These air fried pork ribs are a game changer! The delicious barbecue rub gives them a hint of smoky flavor and crisps up on the edges to give these ribs amazing texture.

Ribs were just about the last thing I ever thought I’d make in my air fryer, but it turns out they’re one of my favorites. The meat comes out so tender and juicy inside, with a crispy, salty crust outside.

Serve them with your favorite barbecue sauce for dipping. You won’t be able to stop licking your fingers!

So, how do you actually fit ribs in an air fryer, anyway?

Trust me, this was the first thing I grappled with when I decided air fryer ribs needed to happen. Air fryer baskets are small and I wanted a decent amount of ribs.

At first I considered cutting them into individual ribs and staking them in the air fryer basket, but they cooked too fast that way and didn’t get tender.

Then I had a revelation: Keep the ribs together and snake them around the outside edge of the air fryer basket. I’m able to easily fit 3 pounds of ribs in my 2.6 quart air fryer.

How long to cook ribs in the air fryer?

Ribs are traditionally cooked low and slow for hours. Even grilled, they take well over an hour to cook. But in the air fryer, you’ll be rewarded with tender, juicy ribs in just 45 minutes! You won’t believe how tender they get in so little time.

Some recipes call for the ribs to be cooked at a steady medium-high temperature, but I’ve had the best results cooking them for about 35 minutes at 325°F until they’re almost cooked through, then blasting them at 400°F for 10 minutes to finish the cooking process and crisp up the outside. For well-done ribs, you’ll want the internal temperature of the meatiest ribs to be 170°F. A pen-style thermometer is great for checking this quickly!

Starting low and finishing high means you get that awesome crispy crust without overcooking the ribs or drying them out.

The best rub for ribs

Good ribs are all about the rub. This recipe uses:

  • Brown Sugar, which caramelizes and gets you that nice bark on the outside of the meat
  • Smoked Paprika, for color and to mimic the smoky flavor of grilling
  • Chili Powder, Black Pepper, and Cayenne Pepper, for a touch of heat
  • Garlic Powder, for flavor
  • Kosher salt

Mix everything together and then slather it on both sides of your ribs. It’s so good!

Reheating ribs in an air fryer

Air fryers are also great for reheating Instant Pot ribs. Since these ribs are always tender and cooked through, they only need 10 minutes at 400°F to crisp up and get hot.

 

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Air Fryer Ribs


  • Author: Lauren Keating
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings

Description

These air fried pork ribs are a game changer! The delicious barbecue rub gives them a hint of smoky flavor and crisps up on the edges to give these ribs amazing texture.


Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp. Kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp. light brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 Tbsp. chile powder
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 2 1/2 to 3 lbs. back ribs
  • Barbecue sauce, for serving

Instructions

  1. Mix together the salt, sugar, paprika, chili powder, black pepper, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper in a small bowl.
  2. Rub the seasoning rub all over both sides of the ribs.
  3. Spray the basket of your air fryer with cooking spray.
  4. Keeping the ribs together, arrange them in a circle around the edge of your air fryer basket.
  5. Cook for 35 minutes at 325°F, then increase the heat to 400°F and cook for 10 minutes, or until the meatiest part of the ribs reaches an internal temperature of 170°F.
  6. Using a sharp knife, cut the meat between the bones into individual ribs. Serve with barbecue sauce.
Air Fryer Ribs

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