How To Cook Ribs In Slow Cooker


Cooking ribs is an art that requires patience and precision. If you’re looking for a simple and delicious way to make ribs, using a slow cooker can be the perfect solution for you. Cooking ribs in a slow cooker can yield fall-off-the-bone tenderness with little to no effort. In this article, we’ll guide you through how to cook ribs in a slow cooker.

Choosing The Meat

The type of ribs you choose can make a significant difference in the cooking process. Pork ribs are the most popular choice for slow cooker recipes. However, there are different types of pork ribs to choose from. Spare ribs have more meat, which can result in a longer cooking time, while baby back ribs are smaller, making them easier to handle. Once you have selected the ribs you’d like to cook, it’s essential to select the right seasoning to enhance the flavour of the meat.

Seasoning The Ribs

Covering your ribs with seasonings will help to add flavour and keep them moist while cooking. You can use a pre-made seasoning mix or create your own blend to suit your taste. A popular seasoning blend for ribs is a dry rub made up of salt, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and black pepper. Apply the seasoning mix to the ribs evenly, and cover them with plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Allow the ribs to marinate in the seasoning for at least an hour, or you can leave them overnight to infuse the flavour for a more pronounced taste.

Slow Cooking The Ribs

Once the ribs have been seasoned, it’s time to cook them. The slow cooker is perfect for cooking ribs as they require a long, low temperature to become tender and fall off the bone. It’s best to cook the ribs on low heat for 8-10 hours or on high heat for 4-6 hours. Place the ribs in the slow cooker, bone-side-down to prevent them from sticking to the bottom. To help add moisture, you can add some liquid to the slow cooker, such as apple cider vinegar, beer, or water. Pour the liquid over the ribs and cover them with the lid.

Adding Sauce To The Ribs

If you like saucy ribs, then you’ll want to add your favourite BBQ sauce to the slow cooker. It’s best to add the sauce to the ribs for the last hour of cooking. The sauce will adhere to the ribs and create a flavourful glaze. If you prefer, you can leave the sauce off and let the natural flavours of the seasonings shine through.

Finishing The Ribs

Once the cooking time is complete, remove the ribs from the slow cooker and transfer them to a baking sheet. The ribs should be falling off the bone tender at this point. If you added BBQ sauce, you can brush some more on the top of the ribs for extra flavour. Preheat your oven to 400°F (204°C) and bake the ribs for 10-15 minutes, or until the edges are crispy and caramelized. Finally, let the ribs rest for 5-10 minutes before serving to help let the juices redistribute throughout the meat.

Tips For Making Perfect Slow Cooker Ribs

– Choose the right seasoning for the ribs to enhance the flavour of the meat.

– Allow the ribs to marinate in the seasoning mix for at least an hour, or overnight for a more pronounced taste.

– Cook the ribs on low heat for 8-10 hours or on high heat for 4-6 hours.

– Add liquid to the slow cooker for extra moisture.

– Add BBQ sauce to the ribs for the last hour of cooking for a flavourful glaze.

– Finish the ribs in the oven to create crispy edges.

– Let the ribs rest before serving to help redistribute the juices.


Cooking ribs in a slow cooker is a simple and delicious way to enjoy fall-off-the-bone tenderness with minimal effort. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can create an impressively tender and flavourful rack of ribs. Experiment with different seasonings and sauces to find your perfect flavour combination. With a slow cooker, you can enjoy mouthwatering and perfectly cooked ribs right at home.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Cooking Ribs in a Slow Cooker

What’s the best way to prepare ribs before cooking them in a slow cooker?

Before cooking ribs in a slow cooker, it’s a good idea to remove the silver skin from the back of the ribs. This tough membrane can make the meat difficult to chew. You can also season the ribs with a dry rub or your favorite sauce to give them extra flavor.

How long does it take to cook ribs in a slow cooker?

The cooking time for ribs in a slow cooker can vary depending on the recipe and the size of the ribs. In general, it takes about 6-8 hours on low heat or 3-4 hours on high heat. You can tell the ribs are done when the meat is tender and falls off the bone.

Can I cook other meats in a slow cooker?

Yes, you can cook a variety of meats in a slow cooker, including beef, pork, chicken, and even fish. Just be sure to adjust the cooking time and temperature to suit the type and size of the meat you’re cooking. You can also experiment with different seasonings and sauces to create a variety of flavors.

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