There’s no easier way to make amazing ribs than this Slow Cooker Ribs recipe! It produces tender, flavorful ribs that only take a few minutes to prep and are sure to impress any guests!

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

A close up image of the Best Slow Cooker Ribs on a baking sheet, smothered in homemade BBQ sauce.

Why I love these ribs:

  • Hands-Off – Put the ribs in the slow cooker and let it do the work! There’s no babysitting them like you would on the smoker, and the end result is fantastic.
  • Favorite Meal – We enjoy ribs year-round, whether during the winter with a side of mashed potatoes and roasted veggies, or in the summer with potato salad, baked beans and cornbread.
  • The BBQ Sauce– If you want to make them extra special, use my homemade BBQ sauce recipe!

How to Make BBQ Ribs in the Slow Cooker:

Prep Ribs on both sides with salt and pepper. Rub garlic powder, onion powder and brown sugar onto both sides. Lay them on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper or foil. Pre-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.

A rack of ribs cut in half and placed on a baking sheet, rubbed with a dry rub from garlic powder, onion powder, brown sugar, and salt and pepper.

Place in Slow Cooker: Layer the ribs in the bottom of your slow cooker or curl the rack around the inside, meat side facing out. Smother them in BBQ sauce, reserving some for later. Cook crockpot bbq ribs on LOW for 4-6 hours. Mine are usually done cooking around the 4 hour mark. You want them to be tender, but not falling off the bone.

Two images of a rack of ribs smothered in BBQ Sauce in a slow cooker, and then after it's cooked.

Serve crockpot ribs with more bbq sauce and your favorite sides.

A baking sheet with easy crockpot ribs cut into pieces and served with a side of bbq sauce.

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 (and I buy them in a 3-pack from Costco).
  • 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.

Serve With:

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Recipe

A close up image of the Best Slow Cooker Ribs on a baking sheet, smothered in homemade BBQ sauce.
Prep 10 minutes
Cook 4 hours 30 minutes
Total 4 hours 40 minutes
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Equipment

Ingredients
 
 

Instructions
 

  • 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: (I like to use a slow cooker liner, for easy clean-up). 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.

Notes

Ribs: I prefer baby back pork ribs but spareribs, country-style and boneless ribs will all work. Double or triple the recipe for multiple racks of ribs. I can fit two racks of ribs in my 5 quart slow cooker.
BBQ Sauce: Try my homemade BBQ sauce, or store-bought like Stubb’s or Sweet Baby Rays.

Nutrition

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, September 2022 and January 2024.

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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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Comments

  1. I cannot wait to try this! I’m really enjoying going through the different recipes you’ve shared. You have SO many great ideas. I’m a sucker for classic comfort food and usually stay in a safe-zone of classic italian and mexican dishes. But you’re inspiring me to try new things in the kitchen. Recipes that I usually find intimidating (such as east indian/asian dishes) are now very practical in regards to my time, budget, skill level, AND satisfying the hungry teen at home. Please keep doing what you’re doing and know that you are appreciated. Ignore the select few who leave the bitter, unhelpful, unnecessary comments. Some people cannot function unless they have something to complain about. It’s clear your recipes are a big hit in so many homes. Thank you for all you do!

  2. 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!!

  3. 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!

  4. 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.

    1. You need to change the title to slow cooked ribs. I’m looking to use my sloecooker so the title threw me off completely. Wasted my time reading all the ingredients and instructions only for an oven to be used lol.

      1. The ribs are initially baked for 15 minutes in the oven to seal in the juices and render some of the fat. They are then finished in a slow cooker.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 5 stars
    Excellent recipe! Easy ribs that don’t take a huge amount of effort to make. My boys love it with mac & cheese.

  8. These fall off the bone baby back ribs are amazing! Absolutely delicious and unbelievably easy! Both of our favorite rib joints closed so we have been on the hunt for perfect ribs for a long time. My husband said, “This is it!” Thank you
    Lauren!!

  9. I make mine just in the slow cooker. I don’t start them in the oven. I call it one of my dump recipes…just season and dump them in the crockpot with bbq sauce (except I put pineapple preserves on top of the ribs first). Low for 8 hours, fall off the bone tender!

  10. Do you remove the membrane from the back? Will beef ribs work?
    Your recipes are spot-on they are all wonderful!

  11. 5 stars
    Typo on my last question…I would like to make a large batch of these for a crowd in my electric roaster (not toaster). How long would you recommend cooking them in a roaster and at what temp?
    Thank you!
    Shannon

  12. 5 stars
    I made these and they were excellent! I want to make them again but I’d like to make them in my electric toaster. How long would you recommend cooking them in a roaster and at what temp?

    Thank you – love your recipes!
    Shannon

  13. If I don’t have parchment paper can I still do in over or can I just put straight into slow cooker?

  14. 5 stars
    I have never been a rib fan; I have always thought they are too messy and difficult to eat with any sense of dinner table manners. To add to that, I have had false teeth for several years now which deepened my aversion to eating ribs. Well, a friend of mine has a February birthday and loves ribs and since I (modestly admit that I) am a pretty experienced home cook and Winn-Dixie always has BOGOs on ribs, I thought I would give it a try. I specifically sought out a slow cooker recipe to ensure that I wouldn’t have to whip up a batch of mac and cheese while my friend nibbled his b-day special ribs. I found your recipe, improvised a bit on sauce and seasoning, and the result was astonishing. I slow cooked for ten hours on low and the meat practically melted in our mouths. Another rib sale this weekend means that tonight I will be making these for the 3rd time in as many months. Thanks so much for helping me get over my ribophobia!

  15. 5 stars
    FABULOUS and so friggin’ EASY. If you follow the method instructions carefully, you CANNOT fail. Thank you!!!

  16. 5 stars
    This is my go to rib recipe! So easly to make and absolutely top quality! Thanks for sharing this recipe!

  17. 5 stars
    My first time making ribs. Followed the recipe exactly using Sweet Baby Rays BBQ sauce and they were great. Equal to restaurant ribs.
    Will be using this recipe again and again. Thank you!

  18. I am now trying this way of cooking ribs. I just cooked mine in the pressure cooker for 15 min to remove the fat. I then seasoned them the way it’s written and they are now cooking in the slow cooker. After reading all the comments here about how good the ribs are cooked this way, both my husband and I are waiting to try them while drooling.

    Thanks for the recipe.

    From Canada.

  19. 5 stars
    Delicious! I broiled in the oven at the end was perfect. My 6 and 9 year old loved it too! And they are pretty picky. Will definitely make again!

  20. 5 stars
    I made these yesterday and they came out great! I put them under the broiler for a few minutes before serving just to crisp them up but you could serve these straight outta the crockpot and they would be just as tasty. Thanks for the recipe!

  21. 5 stars
    Love this recipe! My son asks for ribs every week! My brother said the taste is restaurant quality! Sooo easy to make! Thank you!

  22. Made this recipe yesterday exactly as instructed and used President’s Choice Bacon Maple BBQ sauce — oh Mama it was divine! Think seasoning the ribs and popping in the oven prior to saucing and putting in the crockpot made all the difference. My husband is an experienced BBQ smoker and he really enjoyed the ribs from the crockpot too especially on a cold Canadian night as he didn’t have to be outside adjusting the smoker all day! Will make these throughout the winter and have no problem serving them to company.

  23. 5 stars
    Several times I have made this recipe and the results have been fantastic. It’s one of the favorites in our household!

  24. 5 stars
    This will be my go-to ribs recipe! I followed the instructions and recipe as written and the ribs turned out delicious. Haven’t had much experience with ribs, so this was a milestone for me. The comments have great suggestions so will try some of the ideas next time around. Definitely will give the slow cooker bags a try!

    1. Try the liners for the crock pot they are like a plastic bag you put in before cooking. I used them everytime and no scrubbing.

  25. 5 stars
    This recipe comes perfection every time. Found this “go to” recipe on my first search. (Chose this one because I looked at ratings and comments before I made it) I do remove the under membrane & slow cook high for 3 hrs & meat falls off the bone, absolutley tender & gets devoured!! I do 45 minutes of work & then I can get ready for the party, or not exhausted when dinners ready… because did work 3 hrs before!

  26. 5 stars
    These are great, very easy and incredibly tender. To carmelize the sauce a bit we basted the ribs again at the end and broiled on high in the oven for a few minutes. They were awesome.

  27. Looking to make these for a crowd around the holidays. Would it be possible to make ahead by cooking in oven then freezing. Defrost later then finish in crock pot with bbq sauce around Christmas?

  28. 5 stars
    I did some country style ribs in the slow cooker,grilled them on small pit on each side for a few minutes to get that little crispiness. Mmmm Mmmm man were they delicious.😋

  29. I don’t wish to complain so please don’t take it as such but…i did country style ribs followed your instructions to the T annnndd ended up with very dry meat. I did the quicker method so in high 3-3.5 hours. I pulled mine out at just under 3 because when i checked temp they were already over cooked at 190°. Any suggestions on where i went wrong if you had to guess. The preheat at 400 15 minutes on each side produced allot of juice in my pan which may be the issue but not certain. But other then dry they taste great with the Mac n cheese.

  30. Ok, so the recipe says to bake for 15 minutes. Off hand, I’d just toss them in the oven at 375 degrees, does that sound about right? There is no baking temperature given…

    I’ll make these soon, they sound great!

  31. 5 stars
    I did these ribs 2 weeks ago and they were so good the kids asked for them again the next week. This is unheard of in my family, especially from my picky 17 year son 🙂 who announced they were the best thing I’d ever cooked.

  32. What name brand and type of bbq sauce do you use to give them that orange color?

    Last time they came out to dark.

  33. Made this recipe for the first time. It is a keeper! The ribs were tender and delicious. I will definitely be making this again!

  34. 5 stars
    I have made these ribs 5 to 6 times and they are really great. One thing I found is that I end up using twice as much onion garlic powder mixture as the recipe calls for to cover 3 lbs of ribs. Am I applto much? I don’t mind using that much because they are so good.
    Ron

  35. 5 stars
    These ribs are delicious. So easy to make. Husband who doesn’t care for ribs loved them. Fall right off the bone.

  36. I tried your Instant Pot recipe and it was delicious. However I am currently only with a slowcooker and thought I would tryout your slowcooker ribs recipe. I noticed that you don’t use liquid smoke, or apple vinegar in this recipe. Is there a reason why? Thank you!

    1. Since the pressure cook steams the ribs I wanted to add those to the water to infuse the flavors in the ribs while they cook in the Instant Pot. With the slow cooker recipe I cook the bbq sauce right in with the ribs the whole time, which is what makes them really flavorful. If you wanted a smokey flavor you could use a smokey bbq sauce, or a tangier bbq sauce if you like them tangier. That’s my thought behind it anyways 🙂 You’re welcome to add either of those in with the bbq sauce in the slow cooker method if you’d like to add those flavors.

  37. 5 stars
    I’ve never heard about removing that membrane from the ribs and I’ve been cooking them for quite a while! It really made a nice difference. On top of that, the ribs themselves were wonderful. I couldn’t get over how crisp and fall-off-the-bone good they were. I was surprised that being cooked in the slow cooker, they were crisp. Usually, things cooked in a slow cooker are good and tender, but not crisp. I’m assuming that the first 30 minutes in the hot oven is what made the difference. I’ll probably never use another recipe for ribs again! These were too good!

  38. 5 stars
    Hi Lauren
    Thank you so much for sharing this delicious recipe.
    I made it for Christmas dinner and it was great.
    Christmas greetings from Durban, South Africa!
    Best Regards
    Riccardo

  39. 5 stars
    I have made ribs on the grill and smoker, and I think the crock pot method beats both! This recipe is the best.

  40. 5 stars
    I will never make ribs using another recipe, again! They turned out AMAZING and were so easy! Thanks for the recipe