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Tender Pork Ribs in Air Fryer

Pork ribs in air fryer with dry rub recipe that makes your beef or Ninja foodi pork ribs come out tender and full of flavor. Enjoy as is with light seasonings like salt and pepper or smother with barbecue sauce and dinner is done in no time.

bbq air fryer ribs

Have you made ribs in the air fryer machine yet? If you’re in a pinch and don’t have all day to smoke or bake them, this is a great alternative for sure! One of our newest air fryer recipes here on The Typical Mom blog. (affiliate links present)

Fall off the Bone Air Fryer Ribs

We love to air fry everything I tell you! I have 2 traditional air fryers as well as making lots of Ninja Foodi recipes too. Any model will do if you follow these easy directions below. No pressure cooking required with this one, just the hot air will work to get these the perfect texture on the outside and in too.

If you have only cooked these outside on your grill or smoked ribs on your Traeger you are in for a real treat. When it is cold or snowing outside I am not about to spend much time cooking, it is all about my small kitchen appliances in that case.

If you love easy air fryer recipes too, here are some resources to start with:

cosori review
Removing Membrane From Ribs

BBQ Air Fryer Ribs

Now let’s talk about the #1 tip you MUST follow if you’re making a tender ribs recipe. You must remove the membrane. That is the thin skin like layer on the bottom side of your rack. If you don’t, they won’t be nearly as perfect as if you did. Removing membrane from ribs is quite simple. If you have never done it, just click on the link and follow our step by step directions.

How long to cook ribs in air fryer?

About 20 minutes does the trick. Of course this may vary depending on how much meat there is, how large the rack is and whether they are boneless or not. You should start there though, flipping about halfway thru so the hot heat can break down the connective tissues and get the meat to pull away from the bone.

This is a Game Changer y’all! I will start by saying that I am VERY particular when it comes to this food. If I have to pull at all with my teeth to get the meat off the bone, they weren’t cooked correctly, period. This way surprisingly works amazingly well to have the protein pull away and literally melts in your mouth. A bit like our Crockpot ribs would, but much faster.

Is pork or beef ribs better?

Well I guess that would depend on whom you’re asking. In my opinion there is NO question, pork!! If you want the tenderest ribs ever this is the rack of ribs you want to choose. Pork is a leaner option too.

What kind of ribs have the most meat?

You can choose baby back ribs or spare ribs, the latter has more meat. Our country style pork ribs Instant Pot recipe is another amazing way to make these babies.

homemade barbecue sauce

We have made these ribs in air fryer another way as well. First I have made Instant Pot teriyaki ribs and put on their air crisp lid to crisp the top. Those are pressure cooked and then air fried and come out fall off the bone tender. More work for sure but amazing as well.

The meat in is version won’t be as tender as those because you’re skipping the pressure cooker all together. BUT if you don’t have that option then I’d give these a whirl and see what you think. For a quick ribs recipe I’d say it’s a definite winner for dinner!

Is it better to boil ribs before cooking?

Some people do like to parboil spare ribs for a little bit in order to tenderize the meat. If you choose to do this, make sure to simmer them rather than cook them at a full boil for a long time.  Boiling too long and for too high of heat may result in tough meat. I prefer to cook ribs in oven at 350 or air fry over all other methods.

How to cook boneless ribs in an air fryer

I’d follow the same directions. The timing should still work great and without the bones they should soften up even better.

air fryer pork ribs

Boneless Pork Ribs in Air fryer

You can use boneless or bone in for this one. The timing is going to vary depending on how much meat is on the bone, so there will be some wiggle room y’all.

Ribs with Dry Rub Ingredients

  1. Rack of ribs
  2. Salt and pepper
    1. or use our steak dry rub recipe here
  3. Bottle of barbecue sauce or:
    1. ketchup
    2. brown sugar
    3. garlic powder
    4. onion powder
    5. pepper

How do you prepare ribs?

First make sure you remove the membrane like I talked about above. Then you’ll want to season the ribs on the outside with at least salt and pepper. Massage it in generously. Then brush on your favorite bbq sauce. Preheating your air fryer is important too so it cooks evenly right from the start.

air fryer recipes

First off, this is the best way to make barbecue ribs on the grill ever. If you want over the top flavor massaged into the meat that is out of this world, try this. We have one for Crockpot Express ribs too if you have that machine.

How to Cook Ribs in an Air Fryer

  1. Remove membrane from underside.
    1. cut into pieces so it will fit into the basket
  2. Season top and bottom with salt and pepper.
  3. Brush on bbq sauce on both sides.
  4. Preheat air fryer to 400 degrees fahrenheit.
  5. Place inside with meat side facing down in air fryer basket.
  6. Cook for 20 minutes.
    1. make sure internal temp. is at least 145 degrees before consuming
  7. Remove, lather ribs with bbq sauce again hitting all sides of the ribs.
  8. Easy and delicious right??!!

Other ways to cook ribs

We even have a recipe for pressure cooker short ribs, fresh or frozen if you want to try those too! About the same timing, maybe closer to 30 minutes total, great softness but won’t get crisp.

best way to smoke ribs 1

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5 from 2 votes

Ribs in Air Fryer

Ribs in Air Fryer with dry rub recipe that makes your beef or pork ribs come out tender and full of flavor. Smother with barbecue sauce and dinner is done in no time.
Course Entree, Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword air fryer, beef, pork, ribs
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 158kcal
Author The Typical Mom




  • Remove membrane from ribs. This will make them much more tender, link to instructions above in post.
  • Cut rack in half (so it will fit). Rub salt and pepper on both sides
  • In a bowl mix together last 5 ingredients on list to make homemade bbq sauce, or us jarred.
  • Preheat air fryer at 400 degrees for 5 minutes, then spray basket with non stick spray.
  • Brush meat side of ribs with bbq sauce, then put into air fryer basket with bone side facing up.
  • Brush bbq sauce on top and close basket.
  • Cook for 20 minutes at 400 degrees, flipping over after 12 minutes. Remove when outsides are as crispy brown as you'd like them and meat is cooked.
  • Remove, brush on more bbq sauce and check internal temp to ensure it is cooked through. Serve


Nutrition Facts
Ribs in Air Fryer
Amount Per Serving (2 oz)
Calories 158 Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value*
Fat 1g2%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Sodium 894mg39%
Potassium 311mg9%
Carbohydrates 38g13%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 33g37%
Protein 1g2%
Vitamin A 462IU9%
Vitamin C 4mg5%
Calcium 26mg3%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Ribs in Air Fryer
5 from 2 votes (2 ratings without comment)
Recipe Rating

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Kristen Whittle

Tuesday 10th of November 2020

I will NEVER cook ribs in the oven again!! These were AMAZING! I had to add another 10-15 minutes to the cooking time since they weren't done all the way, but other than that..... PERFECT RIBS!

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