This EASY Slow Cooker Ribs recipe results in the most tender BBQ ribs with very little effort.

Looking for more slow cooker recipes? Try Crock Pot Baked Ziti, Beef Noodle Soup, or Pot Roast!

A large rack of ribs, sliced and covered in BBQ sauce.

We make Slow Cooker Ribs often on Sundays because I love having something wonderful to eat for family dinner, but low maintenance so I can enjoy a day off. They only require 15 minutes to prep, and you don’t have to babysit them at all while they cook. They’re restaurant quality and will wow your dinner guests!

Pro Tips:

Type of Ribs to Buy: baby back ribs, spare ribs, or country-style ribs will work for this slow cooker recipe. (I prefer baby back pork ribs. Costco sells high quality, well prices ribs in a three-pack.)

Remove membrane, if needed: Depending on where you purchase them, the ribs may still have a white, shiny membrane connective tissue on the back (bone side) that needs to be removed. Place the ribs meat-side down and slide your fingers under the membrane and use force to pull it off.

How to Make BBQ Ribs in the Slow Cooker:

Cut Rack of Ribs (Optional): You can leave the rack whole and curl it around the slow cooker if it fits well. Otherwise, cut the rack into a few sections.

Season the ribs on both sides with salt and pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and brown sugar.  Lay them on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper or foil.

Side by side pictures of baby back ribs being covered in spices.

Quick Pre-Bake: Bake the ribs at 400 degrees for 15 minutes on each side to seal in the juices and render some of the fat. Alternately, throw them on the grill on HIGH for 5 minutes on each side.

Place in Slow Cooker: Layer the ribs in the bottom of your slow cooker or curl the rack around the inside. Cook on LOW for 4-6 hours. Mine are usually done cooking around the 4 hour mark. You want them to be tender, but no meat falling off the bone.

Side by side pictures of baby back ribs that are seasoned and then covered in BBQ sauce.

Serve: Baste the ribs with more bbq sauce and serve with your favorite sides (see my suggestions below).

BBQ baby back ribs laying on a counter with a person taking away one rib.

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The BEST Slow cooker BBQ Ribs. Fall-off-the-bone tender and they couldn't be easier to make. |
Prep 10 minutes
Cook 4 hours 30 minutes
Total 4 hours 40 minutes
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  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. 
  • Season the ribs generously on both sides with salt and pepper. Rub garlic powder, onion powder and brown sugar onto both sides of the ribs. 
  • Pre-Bake: Line a large baking sheet with tinfoil or parchment paper. Bake the ribs on prepared pan for 15 minutes. Flip the ribs to the other side and bake for another 15 minutes.
  • Slow Cook: Place the rack of ribs around the inside of the slow cooker, meat side facing out. Alternately, cut the ribs into a few sections and place them in the slow cooker. Smother them in some barbecue sauce, reserving some sauce for serving later. Cover and cook on LOW for 4-6 hours, until tender but not falling off the bone.
  • Serve warm with extra barbecue sauce slathered on top.


Ribs: I prefer baby back pork ribs, but spare, or country-style will also work.
BBQ Sauce: Try my homemade BBQ sauce, or store-bought (Sweet Baby Rays and Masterpiece brand are my favorite).


Calories: 716kcalCarbohydrates: 94gProtein: 29gFat: 25gSaturated Fat: 8gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gMonounsaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 98mgSodium: 2460mgPotassium: 891mgFiber: 2gSugar: 76gVitamin A: 539IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 122mgIron: 3mg

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I originally shared this recipe October 2017. Updated November 2019 and September 2022.

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About The Author

Lauren Allen

Welcome! I’m Lauren, a mom of four and lover of good food. Here you’ll find easy recipes and weeknight meal ideas made with real ingredients, with step-by-step photos and videos.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    I make this recipe all the time. I also double it cause I use 2 racks of ribs. It’s the best recipe I’ve used and sooooo delicious!!

  2. I was wondering if 2 racks of ribs could be made in the slow cooker at the same time. If yes, would it take longer….this is probably a silly question. Thanks for all the great recipes and I love the cook book!!

    1. Hi there, thank you so much for your kind words about the recipes and cookbook! Your question is not silly at all, it’s actually a common one.

      Yes, you can certainly cook two racks of ribs in the slow cooker at the same time, as long as they fit properly. I recommend standing them up on their sides and wrapping them around the inside of the pot if you’re struggling with space.

      As for cooking time, it should remain approximately the same as long as your slow cooker distributes heat evenly. It’s more about the thickness of the meat than the quantity. As long as the ribs aren’t stacked on top of each other and they all have exposure to the heat, they should cook uniformly.

      Remember, the key to slow cooking is low and slow, so don’t rush the process. You’ll know they’re done when the meat is tender and easily pulls away from the bone.

      I hope this helps! Enjoy your ribs, and feel free to share how they turn out!

  3. 5 stars
    We have made this twice now, and my family LOVES it. We cook it for 6 hours on low, and they come out perfect. So easy and delicious.

  4. 5 stars
    This is by far my favorite method to make ribs. I have used this procedure at least 3 times and every time it comes out perfect. The ribs come out super tender, and myself, I do prefer it to fall right off the bone, so I’ll let it go closer to 4.5-5 hours, or even longer if necessary. And either way it’s perfect for my household, my grandpa has a hard time with tougher/chewier meat but these ribs are no problem for him.

    Some suggestions for the home cook: Mess with the seasonings! Like if you like a spicier kick, add some cayenne, chili powder, or just more black pepper. Use whatever you like, and don’t be afraid to experiment with it!

    Another thing you could try is after pulling them out of the slow cooker, brush a little extra bbq sauce on them and put them under the broiler for a few minutes to let the sauce thicken up or maybe char a little.

    All in all a great method for ribs, way better than pressure cooking or straight grilling in my opinion. 5/5, will eat many times.

  5. 4 stars
    These were easy to prepare and very tender. I added a drop of liquid smoke for flavor and deducted a star for Sweet Baby Ray endorsement….full of high fructose syrup. Masterpiece and Kinders have awesome flavors available without HFS and of course making your own works too but I have never been able to replicate the flavors of 2 brands listed above. I love how your recipes are always easy to follow and include plenty of ideas for adaptations and serving suggestions. And your cookbook is one of my favorites!

    1. I wouldn’t call it a sweet baby ray’s endorsement, her first suggestion was her homemade bbq sauce, and she listed a couple store bought varieties as her personal favorites, including the Masterpiece brand you mentioned. I haven’t tried Masterpiece or Kinder, but my favorite is Stubbs, which also skips the HFCS. But yes ribs made this way are absolutely perfect.

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