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Easy Air Fryer BBQ Ribs

These Easy Air Fryer Ribs are juicy, tender, and easy to whip up! You can use baby back, spare, or any of your favorite cuts of pork. Be sure to drizzle these in your favorite BBQ sauce.

raw rack of ribs in an air fryer

This post was originally published in 2018. It has since been updated.

This post contains affiliate links. Please read my full disclosure here.

air fryer ribs with BBQ sauce

Do you live in a part of the country that has harsh winters? I do! I’m a Midwest gal. I live in Kansas City. Not only do we have harsh winters, but we are KNOWN for our BBQ here. No other city or state can compare to ours! The air fryer makes it easy to enjoy ribs year round.

What Type of Ribs to Use

You can use any ribs you like in this recipe, the prep and cook times will remain about the same. I used spare pork ribs.

Spare ribs are cut from the belly and behind the shoulder. They are closer to the belly and tend to have more fat. These ribs are also really flat. Because they have more fat, there’s lots of flavor so some people tend to favor these.

A slab or rack of baby back often includes 10-13 ribs and weighs 1- 3 pounds. One rack is usually enough to serve 2 people, maybe 3 or 4 if 2 pounds. This slab was a little over 3 pounds.

St. Louis Style ribs are spare ribs that have been trimmed down by cutting away the hard breastbone and chewy cartilage, otherwise known as connective tissue.

Beef back ribs are from the upper part of the cow and are the same cut found in bone-in ribeyes. These are usually mostly bone and fat, with a small amount of meat, but have lots of flavor.

Beef short ribs come from the lower part of the animal. These are typically really meaty and often served braised.

raw ribs on a cutting board

How to Season the Ribs

You can use a dry rub or a liquid marinade for the ribs. A dry rub is a combination of spices and seasoning added to the meat to enhance flavor. It’s different from a marinade which has liquid ingredients (often to tenderize the meat) like apple cider vinegar or citrus.

The purpose of a dry rub is to create a crust around the meat. A dry rub will enhance the flavor of the ribs without using moisture or a liquid marinade. Rubs are usually a little more coarse than simply adding seasoning.

 I love to use my Homemade BBQ Rub and Seasoning for these. It’s a combination of the following:

Feel free to use your favorite rub.

How to Make Easy Air Fryer Ribs

  1. Remove the membrane from the back of the ribs.
  2. Drizzle the liquid smoke over both sides of the ribs.
  3. Season both sides with the pork rub, salt and pepper.
  4. Air fry.
sliced ribs on a cutting board

Air Fryer Temperature

I use 360 degrees.

Cook Time/How Long to Cook

The ribs will need 30 minutes to marinate and another 30 minutes of cook time. You can complete the recipe in about an hour.

ribs in air fryer

How to Store Leftovers

Leftovers can be stored tightly covered and sealed for 3-4 days.

How to Reheat

Reheat leftovers at 350 degrees in the air fryer until warm.

Freezer Tips

You can freeze ribs tightly covered and sealed for up to 3 months.

person holding air fryer ribs

If you prefer to make your own BBQ sauce, check out this post on Homemade BBQ Sauce recipes.

More Ribs Recipes

Traeger Smoked Ribs (3-2-1 Method)
Instant Pot Baby Back Ribs
Grilled Baby Back Ribs

Pair These With:

How to Grill the Best Burgers
Air Fryer Baked Potatoes
Southern Coleslaw
Southern Potato Salad
Air Fryer Green Beans
Air Fryer Quesadillas
Air Fryer Cheeseburgers
Air Fryer Homemade Fries
Air Fryer Panko Breaded Bang Bang Shrimp
Air Fryer Turkey Legs
Air Fryer Sausage
Oven Baked Roasted Corn on the Cob

Get a full list of Air Fryer Recipes here.

ribs in an air fryer

Easy Air Fryer Ribs

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 35 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes

These Easy Air Fryer Ribs are juicy, tender, and easy to whip up! You can use baby back, spare, or any of your favorite cuts of pork. Be sure to drizzle these in your favorite BBQ sauce.

Ingredients

  • 1 rack ribs (baby back or spare ribs)
  • 1 tablespoon liquid smoke
  • 2-3 tablespoons pork or BBQ rub I used my Homemade Rub linked in the notes below
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup BBQ sauce

Instructions

  1. Remove the membrane from the back of the ribs.This is a thin layer that can be tough to remove. Sometimes it will peel right off. You can also cut it, and pull it off.  Cut the ribs in half or so the ribs are able to fit in the air fryer.
  2. Drizzle the liquid smoke over both sides of the ribs.
  3. Season both sides with the pork rub, salt and pepper.
  4. Cover the ribs and allow the ribs to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. 
  5. Add the ribs to the air fryer. It is ok to stack the ribs.
  6. Cook for 15 minutes on 360 degrees.
  7. Open the air fryer. Flip the ribs. Cook for an additional 15 minutes.
  8. Remove the ribs from the air fryer. Drizzle the ribs with BBQ sauce.

Notes

Get the recipe for Low-Carb Homemade BBQ Sauce here.

Get the recipe for my Homemade BBQ Rub here.

Nutrition Information
Yield 4 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 375Total Fat 27gCarbohydrates 12 net gProtein 18g
ribs in an air fryer

Amanda G.

Friday 17th of December 2021

I love how these came out with a slightly crunchy outside but were very tender and juicy on the inside! I paired them with your ranch roasted potatoes and some roasted asparagus-delicious!

staysnatched

Friday 17th of December 2021

That sounds like a great pairing!

Kate Yonder

Tuesday 30th of November 2021

I marinated my ribs (for 48 hours) with a recipe I was craving for then cooked them in my Instant Pot VP air fryer. They burned for the first 15 minutes. I found that 360 was too high. I reduced the temperature to 300 for the remaining 15 minutes. The ribs were cooked perfectly. Very tender. I have another rack and will repeat this. I will try 320 degrees for 25 minutes.

Thank you for providing a base for me to work with. New to air frying here.

staysnatched

Tuesday 30th of November 2021

I'm glad to hear it worked out. I've never used that air fryer.

Antoiniece Robinson

Sunday 19th of September 2021

There’s are ALWAYS a hit. Making them again today for our game festivities !

staysnatched

Tuesday 21st of September 2021

Perfect for game days!

Carol Hofbauer

Saturday 3rd of July 2021

When you say you can stack the ribs, do you mean vertically or horizontally? Thanks so much!

staysnatched

Saturday 3rd of July 2021

Either

Koreatha

Thursday 22nd of April 2021

Can I use something other than liquid smoke? Just curious

staysnatched

Thursday 22nd of April 2021

You can omit it.

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