This EASY Slow Cooker Ribs recipe results in the most tender BBQ ribs with very little effort.
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!
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.
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.
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Slow Cooker Ribs
- 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.
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I originally shared this recipe October 2017. Updated November 2019 and September 2022.
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