This Air Fryer Ribs recipe is a quick and easy way to get juicy pork baby back ribs without firing up the grill. The ribs come out tender inside with a gorgeous caramelized exterior. With minimal effort, they cook up quickly, in under 30 minutes, so you won't have to wait forever to enjoy a delicious rib dinner.
Air fryer ribs are a delicious and easy way to satisfy your craving for barbecue ribs without having to fire up the grill or smoker. By selecting the right ribs, seasoning and marinading them, cooking them in batches, glazing them, and letting them rest, you can achieve perfectly juicy and crispy ribs that will impress your guests and family.
I love how baby back ribs turn out perfectly crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. Air fryer ribs are also healthier than the traditional deep-fried ones.
You can season them however you like, and they still turn out tasty. My favorite part - no need to light up the grill or smoker when you can air fry your ribs to perfection in just a matter of minutes. To impress your taste buds even further, please give Air Fryer Lamb ribs or Air Fryer Rack of Lamb a try.
How to Make a Rack of Baby Back Ribs in the Air Fryer
Please find a printable recipe with a full list of ingredients, directions, and nutrition in the recipe card below.
Choose the Right Ribs
Spare ribs and baby back ribs are the most popular types, but the key difference is the size and amount of meat. Baby back ribs are smaller and leaner, with meatier bones and a quicker cooking time, while spare ribs are larger and fattier, with more intense flavor and a longer cooking time.
If your rack of ribs comes with a tough membrane on the back, remove it with your hands while wearing the rubber gloves, or paper towel. See the picture below.
Season and Marinade
Season and marinade your ribs to infuse them with flavor and make them more tender. You can use a dry rub or wet marinade. I used a combination of both and included barbecue sauce, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, onion, paprika, cumin, and brown sugar.
Be sure to brush the ribs evenly with the marinade and let them rest for at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours in the fridge, covered with cling wrap or foil.
Preheat and Cook in Batches
Once your ribs are marinated, preheat your air fryer to 380°F for 5 minutes (190° Celsius). When it is preheated, you can line the air fryer basket with aluminum foil or parchment paper for easier cleanup and to prevent sticking.
Place the entire rack of ribs in the basket. Depending on the type and size of your ribs and the size of your air fryer, you may need to cook them in batches. There are typically 7 to 13 ribs in one slab of baby backs. Be sure it fits in your air fryer or cut the rack in half. Cook the ribs for 24 minutes, flipping them halfway. 12 minutes on each side.
The safe internal temperature for perfectly cooked ribs in an air fryer is 145°F. Don't be tempted to cut into them to check, because we all know that leads to a loss of juiciness. Instead, invest in a trusty meat thermometer and let it work its magic.
Glaze and Charr
Once your ribs are golden brown, crispy, and cooked to perfection, it’s time to add some glaze or sauce to enhance the flavor and caramelization. You can brush the ribs with more barbecue sauce, honey, or any other sauce you like, and cook them for an additional 2-3 minutes until the glaze is set, bubbly, and charred.
Be careful not to burn the ribs or overcook them, as they can quickly dry out. After glazing, remove the ribs from the air fryer and let them rest for 3 minutes to lock in the juices and let the flavors meld together.
Enjoy your juicy, succulent, and crispy air fryer ribs with your favorite sides and garnishes. May I recommend serving the ribs with:
Corn on the Cob: this summertime classic pairs well with ribs. It's sweet, crunchy texture contrasts nicely with the juicy, tender ribs. For an added touch of flavor, try brushing the corn with butter or garlic before grilling it.
When it comes to the dipping sauce, Homemade blue cheese dip is always a great option. The sharp flavor of the blue cheese pairs well with the richness of the ribs, and the creamy texture provides a nice contrast to the crunchy exterior of the ribs. It is easy to make and can be prepared ahead of time, so it's perfect for entertaining.
You can also sprinkle some fresh herbs, chopped green onions, or sesame seeds on top for added texture and flavor.
Tip: Don’t forget to have plenty of napkins and wet wipes on hand, as these ribs are sure to be messy and finger-licking good.
Rack of Ribs vs. Individually Cut?
When it comes to ribs, do you go with a full rack or opt for individually cut pieces? I’m on Team Rack. Sure, individually cut ribs may seem more convenient or customizable, but I feel there’s something special about a big ol' slab of ribs in your air fryer.
Not only will you get a more even cook and juicier meat, but you'll also have a show-stopping centerpiece for your meal. Plus it is easier to flip the entire rack in the air fryer basket, in my opinion. Please also give the Air Fryer Rack or Lamb a try. The only way we enjoy lamb ribs lately.
Store your air-fried ribs in an airtight container in the refrigerator and consume them within four days, or keep them in the freezer safe bag for up to 3 months in the freezer. Reheat them in the air fryer for a few minutes until warmed through.
Leftover BBQ ribs make for some delicious tacos or nachos. Shred that meat up and add some spicy salsa and guacamole. Or you could make a BBQ pulled pork sandwich with a little bit of coleslaw.
Other Juicy and Fall-off-the-Bone Recipes
The Best Damn Juicy and Crispy Air Fryer Ribs
- 1 rack of pork ribs baby back ribs, membrane removed
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- ½ cup BBQ sauce
- 1 Tablespoon BBQ dry rub seasoning I used BBQ Coffee and Garlic Rub
- ½ tsp. paprika
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- ¼ tsp. cumin
- ¼ tsp. black pepper
- ¼ tsp. Salt or to taste
- If your rack of ribs come with a tough membrane on the back, remove it with your hands while wearing the rubber gloves, or paper towel.
- In a small bowl, mix together oil and all of the spices. Rub the oil and spice mixture all over the ribs. Be sure to brush the ribs evenly with the marinade and let them rest for at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours in the fridge, covered with cling wrap or foil.
- Preheat your air fryer to 380 degrees Fahrenheit (190 Celsius) on air fry mode (air crisp). Once it is preheated, you can line the air fryer basket with aluminum foil or parchment paper for easier cleanup and to prevent sticking.Place the entire rack of ribs in the basket. Depending on the type and size of your ribs and the size of your air fryer, you may need to cook them in batches. There’s usually 7-8 ribs in one rack of baby back ribs. Be sure it fits in your air fryer or cut it in half. Cook the ribs for 24 minutes, flipping them half way. 12 minutes on each side.
- Remove the ribs from the air fryer and brush with your favorite BBQ sauce. I used Trader Joe's Kansas Style BBQ Sauce. Cook for an additional 3 minutes per side, or until the glaze is set, bubbly and charred