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Easy Slow Cooker BBQ Ribs

Prep Time 10 mins
Total Time 8 hrs 10 mins
Servings 4

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Slow Cooker BBQ Ribs are rubbed with a homemade spice blend, then slow cooked in the crockpot until fall off the bone tender and so juicy! Brush with your favorite barbecue sauce before serving.

See the step by step recipe video down in the recipe card.

overhead image of slow cooker ribs with coleslaw and pickles
Table of Contents
  1. Tips for making the best Crockpot Ribs:
  2. How long do you cook ribs in the slow cooker?
  3. Can I stack the ribs in the slow cooker?
  4. Take your Slow Cooker Ribs up a notch with a homemade barbecue sauce!
  5. Easy Slow Cooker BBQ Ribs Recipe

Cooking ribs can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to!

These Slow Cooker Ribs turn out flavorful and juicy every time, but without all of the hard work.

My husband will happily slave over a rack of ribs on the grill or the smoker but me? I prefer the easy way out and always use my crockpot or make these Instant Pot Ribs!

Crockpot Ribs are an awesome way to segue from Spring to Summer.

You can have all of that summer barbecue flavor, without all of the work.

And when it’s too hot to even think about cooking, the slow cooker takes all of the work out and keeps the house cool!

Total win, right?

Just don’t forget an ice cold glass of Homemade Lemonade, and a bowl of homemade Coleslaw, Potato Salad or Broccoli Salad (<– all of our favorite barbecue sides!).

brushing cooked ribs with barbecue sauce on sheet pan

To be completely honest, I think these are the best ribs I’ve ever made.

I wanted them to be tender, with the meat easily pulling off the bone but not mushy and falling apart. I wanted a good crust of intense flavor and a sweet, sticky barbecue sauce coating. Also, I wanted easy!

The husband gave them “two meaty thumbs up” (<— his words, as he was stuffing his face), and even my kids liked them!

Tips for making the best Crockpot Ribs:

  1. Remove the membrane from the back of the ribs: this isn’t 100% necessary but it does keep the ribs from becoming tough. See a video tutorial here.
  2. Opt for baby back ribs when you can — they have a thicker layer of meat!
  3. Season well on all sides — take the time to really rub that spice blend in for maximum flavor!

How long do you cook ribs in the slow cooker?

The exact cook time will depend on the size of your ribs, and the exact cooking temperature of your slow cooker.

Because all slow cookers are different, this can be difficult to pinpoint but thankfully ribs are really forgiving in the crockpot.

I usually cook mine for 8 hours on low or 4 hours on high and they are falling off the bone and juicy.

If you want them not to be quite so tender because you are throwing them on the grill later, you may want to cut your cook time down by an hour or two.

overhead image of meat falling off of bones of slow cooker ribs on sheet pan

Can I stack the ribs in the slow cooker?

I try not to, so opt for the biggest slow cooker you have.

When I can, I like to place my ribs around the edge of the slow cooker, standing up on their side so that they aren’t sitting in the juices.

This results in juicy, tender ribs that still have a bit of that glorious crust and caramelization on them.

pulling meat off of crockpot ribs with fingers

Take your Slow Cooker Ribs up a notch with a homemade barbecue sauce!

Here are a few of our favorites:

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Easy Slow Cooker BBQ Ribs

5 from 6 votes
These Easy Slow Cooker BBQ Ribs couldn’t be simpler! They have a homemade spice rub and are slow cooked until they fall off the bone, then you can slather them in any barbecue sauce you like!
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 8 hrs
Total Time 8 hrs 10 mins
Cuisine American
Course Main Course
Servings 4
Calories 476cal

Ingredients

  • 4 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 3 teaspoons seasoning salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3-4 lbs pork ribs (side or back) membrane removed
  • 1/2 cup barbecue sauce

Instructions

  • In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, chili powder, seasoning salt, garlic powder, onion powder and black pepper.
  • Cut ribs into 4 sections for an easier fit or leave whole. Rub spice mixture over both sides of the ribs.
  • Lightly grease a 4 quart slow cooker and line the sections of ribs up around the edges (so the meaty part is pressed against the side). Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.
  • Remove from the slow cooker, brush with barbecue sauce, and grill for 5-6 minutes or broil for 2-3 minutes, until sauce is sticky and slightly caramelized. Serve.

Notes

*To make ahead: prepare the rub mixture and leave on the ribs overnight, in a ziploc bag or refrigerator container. You can also cook in the slow cooker, store in the refrigerator and reheat in the broiler or grill with barbecue sauce before serving.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 476cal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 44g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 167mg | Sodium: 545mg | Potassium: 861mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 690IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 73mg | Iron: 2.8mg

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Meet Ashley

My name is Ashley Fehr and I love creating easy meals my family loves. I also like to do things my way, which means improvising and breaking the rules when necessary. Here you will find creative twists on old favorites and some of my favorite family recipes, passed down from generations!

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Comments

  1. JodiM says

    I have really never been good at cooking ribs but this recipe is so so delicious. Flavorful and melt in your mouth. I opted for a peach BBQ sauce. I will definitely make this rib recipe again!

  2. Jo Ann Anderson says

    Shaved an hour off cooking time. Heated ribs in microwave for 3 minutes. Done in 3 hours on crockpot high. Wonderful.

  3. Jo Ann Anderson says

    Cooking. Looking forward to taking ribs out of crockpot. Smells wonderful. Tried a lot of your recipes. Easy and flavorful.

  4. Dini says

    These were so tender and flavorful I may never make BBQ ribs any other way again! The spice rub and the flavors were on point. Thank you so much for a great and easy recipe!

  5. Lisalia says

    I can’t see if my comment came through! If it’s a duplicate please delete! This was so so good. I loved the method of making it in the slow cooker and it was a bonus that my clothes don’t smell like smoke or grill… you know what I mean? The meat was perfectly tender and fall-off-the-bone. Why would I make ribs any other way. Love all your recipes Ashley! Thanks for this one too!

  6. Beth says

    This looks so flavorful and very tasty! My family is going to be all over this recipe, so excited to make this soon!

  7. jimAND ROSE nashwinter says

    why do you call a pressure cooker an instant pot??Sounds wierd?Like it has a wizerd in it?dont understand you young folks??My mom always used a pressure cooker??No instant pot?So dumb??

    • Ashley Fehr says

      An Instant Pot is an electric pressure cooker, so not just a pressure cooker. I’m sorry you have such a big problem with the name “Instant Pot”.

  8. Ashley says

    If I want to do more ribs than it calls for is it okay if the ribs aren’t touching the side of the crockpot? Like I would still kind of stand them up so they don’t sit in the juices the whole time.

  9. Karen says

    These are better than restaurant ribs! Love the rub and also the pineapple brown sugar BBQ sauce. I’ll never buy jar sauce again. These are so yummy!

  10. Jason Jungling says

    Haven’t made before, I put the rub on tonight, and will be inserting then in the crock pot tomorrow morning as I head off to work. I’m thinking of adding a bit of liquid smoke to get that smoke flavor.

  11. Hoosiersmoker says

    I resort to the crock pot once it gets too cold outside to maintain temp in my smoker. I have a large crock pot and have cooked 3 full racks of ribs at a time. The night before after removing the membrane I rub them, wrap them and refrigerate over night. 8-10 hrs or so before I serve them I just trim them to length, stand them on edge and curl them all together drop in the trimmed parts and turn it to low for 8-10 hrs. It’s great to come home from work to ribs! If you add a teaspoon of liquid smoke to your sauce it really gives it that outdoor flavor too!

  12. Michelle says

    I’ve never put the ribs along the sides of the crockpot before, is that so they cook differently?

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