Air Fryer Ribs

plate of air fryer baby back ribs
The Spruce / Diana Rattray
Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 37 mins
Total: 42 mins
Servings: 2 to 3 servings
Yields: 12 to 14 ribs
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
1175 Calories
94g Fat
20g Carbs
64g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2 to 3
Amount per serving
Calories 1175
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 94g 120%
Saturated Fat 28g 140%
Cholesterol 318mg 106%
Sodium 1112mg 48%
Total Carbohydrate 20g 7%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Total Sugars 16g
Protein 64g
Vitamin C 1mg 3%
Calcium 84mg 6%
Iron 5mg 28%
Potassium 923mg 20%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Air fryer pork ribs are just as flavorful, tender, and juicy as slow-cooked or grilled ribs, and they're ready in a fraction of the time. Pork ribs make a delicious meal, and this version is fast and easy enough to prepare any night of the week. You don't have to wait until the weekend to have great-tasting ribs. Use your favorite barbecue rub or pork seasoning to flavor the ribs and finish them with the barbecue sauce of your choice.

If you plan to double the recipe for a large family, cook in batches. Place the first batch of cooked ribs in a foil-lined pan and cover with foil. Transfer it to a preheated 200 F oven to keep warm while you cook the remaining ribs.

Serve air fryer ribs with classic comfort sides like macaroni and cheese, potato salad, baked beans, coleslaw, and cornbread.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds pork ribs

  • 2 teaspoons barbecue seasoning (or pork seasoning blend)

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

  • 1/2 cup barbecue sauce (store bought or homemade)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients. Set the air fryer temperature to 370 F and preheat for 10 minutes.

    Ingredients for air fryer pork ribs
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  2. Cut the slab of ribs into 4 pieces. Rub them all over with the barbecue seasoning mixture, kosher salt, and black pepper.

    Ribs rubbed with barbecue seasoning
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  3. Spray the air fryer basket lightly with vegetable oil spray or rub it with a paper towel dipped in a small amount of vegetable oil. Place the ribs in the basket, meaty side down. Cook the ribs for 20 minutes.

    Place the ribs in the air fryer basket
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  4. Flip the ribs over and cook for an additional 15 minutes.

    Rib portions in an air fryer
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  5. Brush the ribs with some of the barbecue sauce and cook for about 2 minutes longer.

    Pork ribs in the air fryer basket
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  6. Cut the ribs into smaller portions and serve with extra barbecue sauce.

    Air fryer ribs on a cutting board
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

How to Store and Freeze

  • Refrigerate leftover cooked pork ribs in an airtight container or zip-close bag for up to four days.
  • To freeze leftover pork ribs, vacuum seal them or put the ribs in heavy-duty freezer bags, squeezing out as much air as possible. Freeze for up to three months.
  • To reheat frozen cooked ribs, thaw them in the refrigerator overnight. Place the ribs in a baking pan with a small amount of water (or broth or juice) and bake at 250 F for about 30 minutes, or until they register 165 F on a food thermometer inserted into a meaty area.

Recipe Variations

  • For a smoky flavor, rub the pork ribs with a teaspoon or two of smoked paprika or liquid smoke, then rub with the remaining seasonings.
  • If the barbecue seasoning is quite salty, reduce or omit the kosher salt.
  • For a sweeter flavor, add 1 tablespoon of brown sugar to the rub ingredients.

Tip

To infuse more flavor, prepare the pork and rub with the seasonings. Put the ribs in a food storage bag or covered container and refrigerate for up to 24 hours before cooking.

How Many Ribs in a Slab of Pork Ribs?

A slab of pork ribs has 10 to 13 ribs, enough to serve about two to three people. When serving pork ribs, plan on about 3/4 pound to 1 pound—or about 1/3 to 1/2 slab—per person. For a party with several side dishes and other entrées, plan on about 1/2 pound, or about three ribs per person.

What Is the Difference Between Baby Back Ribs and Spareribs?

Baby back ribs come from the loin which runs along the animal's back. They are more tender and are often a bit more expensive than spareribs. A slab of baby back ribs is also smaller than a slab of spareribs. Spareribs are taken from the belly area. A slab of spareribs is typically larger and has more meat between the bones while baby back ribs have more meat on top of the ribs.