July 6, 2022

Slow Cooker Baby Back Ribs

Prep Time: 25 mins
Cook Time: 6 hrs
Skip to recipe
post featured image

These Slow Cooker Baby Back ribs are fall off the bone, fork tender, and some kind of good. I'm talking melt in your mouth, finger licking good. They're seasoned with a homemade dry rub and slow cooked in a semi-homemade smoky BBQ sauce with a splash of whiskey and brown sugar.

Place the racks of ribs in a large Crockpot Slow Cooker for 6-8 hours and you're done. You get all of the flavor without all of the hassle of using a grill.

Love rib recipes? You've got to check out these Peanut Curry Braised Ribs.

sliced baby back ribs on a tray covered in bbq sauce

These are seriously the easiest and most delicious slow cooker ribs recipe you'll ever make. Like the best ribs ever. You simply season, cook, and then broil in the oven for a good sear that caramelizes the BBQ sauce and gives these delicious pork ribs a nice crispy skin on top.

After you make these ribs in the crockpot, this will likely become your favorite and easiest method of cooking them.

sliced rack of ribs on a brown serving board with a bowl of bbq sauce

Don't get me wrong, I love grilled ribs. However, I hate grilling. In fact, my husband does all of the grilling because a live fire scares me. That's where the Crockpot comes in (not to mention, I love an easy recipe).

It's lightweight and easy to use and doesn't heat up the house in the warm summer months. It also makes for an easy clean-up which saves me so much time.

Best of all, I can place these barbecue BBQ ribs in the slow cooker in the morning and have delicious ribs by dinner time.

It's frankly a win-win for me. It's all of the smoky flavor of grilled ribs without all of the hassle. Save this recipe for (unfinished sentence?)

ingredients for slow cooker baby back ribs on a baking sheet - barbecue sauce, apple cider vinegar, whiskey, and seasonings in a bowl.

Ingredients

For these slow cooker pork ribs, I used baby back ribs because they're so meaty and tender. Baby back ribs are smaller than spare ribs which I've found work best for cooking in the Crockpot.

I also used:

dry rub seasonings: smoked paprika, chili powder, cayenne pepper, onion powder, ground mustard, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes. This mix of spices is the BEST.

brown sugar: to go with the tangy barbecue sauce and give the sauce some sweetness

apple cider vinegar: a little science for you, vinegar actually helps tenderize the meat and helps the seasonings really get into the ribs to maximize flavor! It's a must.

Worcestershire sauce: for that umami flavor that we all love. This this ingredient is KEY. Some people use soy sauce, but I prefer this as it has a more vinegar based flavor.

Whiskey: whiskey adds deep caramel flavors to the braising liquid and pairs so well with the smokey barbecue sauce. *for an alcohol free replacement, use beef broth or omit entirely.

a hand pulling the ribs out of the slow cooker with a pair of tongs.

How to Make Ribs in a Slow Cooker

First things first, remove the silver skin on the back of the ribs. This is critical because if left on, the seasonings won't penetrate the meat and the skin, after cooked, get super tough and leathery. If you don't know how to remove the silver skin, check this video.

a slab of uncooked ribs on a baking sheet to remove the silver skin.
  • Then start with seasonings. Build up that flavor by adding salt and black pepper to both sides of the ribs. Them combine garlic powder, smoked paprika, ground mustard, chili powder, cayenne powder, onion powder, and red pepper flakes in a small bowl.
  • Mix seasonings together and coat both sides of the ribs with the dry rub. (Tip: you can let these ribs marinate overnight in the fridge for extra flavor)
  • Pour your favorite BBQ sauce into the Crockpot slow cooker along with brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, a splash of whiskey, and some Worcestershire sauce.
  • Whisk everything together, cut the slab of ribs in half, and then place half of the ribs on the bottom of the slow cooker.
  • Spoon the BBQ sauce on top of the ribs and then cover with the lid.
uncooked ribs in a slow cooker lathered in braising liquid and bbq sauce.

How Long to cook ribs in a slow cooker - (Cooking Time) 

These slow cooker bbq BBQ ribs have varying cooking times depending on the desired result.

For super tender ribs that fall off of the bone, cook on low heat for 6-8 hours or high heat for 4 hours. For tender ribs that are tender but don't fall apart, cook on low for 4 hours or on high for 2 hours.

Then place the ribs on a baking sheet and slather with the remaining sauce / braising liquid from the Crockpot. Broil in the oven for about 5 minutes.

What size Crockpot Slow Cooker should I use?

For this recipe, I used the Crockpot™ 7-Quart Cook & Carry Slow Cooker and the ribs fit perfectly when cut in half. If you have a smaller Crockpot Slow Cooker, simply cut the rack of ribs into smaller pieces to allow them to fit into whatever size slow cooker you have.

These crock pot BBQ ribs will turn out phenomenally either way. I promise, this easy ribs recipe is really hard to mess up!

sliced baby back ribs in front of a crock pot slow cooker.

What to eat with Crock Pot Ribs

The best way to enjoy these ribs is however you like. BUT - I love eating them with some of my favorite sides like potato salad, baked beans, corn on the cob, coleslaw, greens, mac and cheese - you name it.

Put it all on a plate and you've got a delicious meal that the whole family will love.

sliced ribs covered in bbq sauce

Tips

  • The slow cooker sauce is actually my favorite barbecue sauce. It's such a delicious recipe. If you want to double the batch, save half of it to dip the ribs into the while eating them for a true country-style pork ribs experience.
  • If you love that smoky flavor from the grill, add a little bit of liquid smoke to the BBQ sauce mixture - just a dash (about 1 tsp)! This will mimic that charcoal grilled flavor that we all love!
  • If you're running low on time, head to the grocery store and buy prepared sides. Yes, this is one of the easiest slow cooker recipes ever, but sometimes we're busy and don't have time to prepare sides.
  • For MAX flavor, season the ribs the day before slow cooking and then cook them the next day. This give the seasonings time to sink into the meat.

FAQs

What kind of ribs should I use?

In my opinion, bone-in pork baby back ribs are the best. I've never cooked with boneless ribs, but I imagine once cooked in the slow cooker, they wouldn't hold their structure too well. You can also use spare ribs, just be mindful of cooking times as spare ribs tend to be larger meaning they'll take a little longer to cook.

Should I cook on low temperature or high?

This comes down to time. I always prefer low and slow, however, I know that sometimes we're in a bit of a rush. The difference between the low and high setting is the amount of time it takes for the crockpot to get to the simmer point. So, either way, the baby back pork ribs will still have tender meat when all is said and done!

Can you slow cook ribs from frozen?

No, you should not. The BBQ bbq baby back ribs will be soggy and watery because they'll thaw as the slow cooker warms. All of the water will render out into the sauce it'll be a mess. I do not recommend. Use thawed meat for this crockpot ribs recipe.

More delicious crockpot slow cooker recipes

Want more delicious and beautiful recipes? Subscribe to my newsletter, where you'll hear about new recipes FIRST and get tantalizing and exclusive perks!

Let's stay connected on social media and continue to cook together! Also, if you decide to make this recipe, please leave a star rating on the recipe card and leave a comment below! Tag @BritneyBreaksBread on Instagram and hashtag #britneybreaksbread so I can see your creations! I hope that you love this recipe as much as we do!

sliced rack of ribs on a brown serving board with a bowl of bbq sauce

Slow Cooker Baby Back Ribs

These Slow Cooker baby back ribs are fall off the bone, fork tender and delicious! Seasoned with dry rub and slow cooked in BBQ sauce.
Serving: 8
Prep Time: 25 mins
Cook Time: 6 hrs
Total Time: 6 hrs 25 mins
Calories: 353kcal

Equipment

  • Crockpot™ Slow Cooker

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp Garlic Powder
  • 2 tsp Smoked Paprika
  • 1 tsp Ground Mustard
  • 2 tsp Chili Powder
  • ½ tsp Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 tbsp Onion Powder
  • 1 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
  • Salt and Pepper (to taste)
  • cup Brown Sugar
  • 2 cups BBQ Sauce
  • cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 3 tbsps Worcestershire Sauce
  • ¼ cup Whiskey (use beef broth for an alcohol free option)
  • 1 slab Baby Back Ribs

Directions

  • Remove the silver skin on the back of the ribs. Pat the ribs dry and season both sides of the ribs with salt and pepper.
  • Them combine garlic powder, smoked paprika, ground mustard, chili powder, cayenne powder, onion powder, and red pepper flakes in a small bowl. Mix seasonings together and coat both sides of the ribs with the dry rub. (Tip: you can let these ribs marinate overnight in the fridge for extra flavor)
  • Pour your favorite bbq BBQ sauce into the slow cooker along with brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, a splash of whiskey, and some Worcestershire sauce. Whisk everything together.
  • Cut the slab of ribs in half, and then place half of the ribs on the bottom of the slow cooker and the other half on top. Spoon the bbq BBQ sauce on top of the ribs and then cover with the lid.
  • Cook on low for 6 hours. (See notes section for cooking times)
  • Once ribs are finished cooking, place ribs on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Coat with remaining BBQ sauce/braising liquid from the crockpot. Broil the ribs in the oven for 3-5 minutes on the middle rack. (be sure to watch as they can burn quickly)

Notes

*BBQ ribs have varying cooking times depending on the desired result.
For super tender ribs that fall off of the bone, cook on low heat for 6-8 hours or high heat for 4 hours. For ribs that are tender but don't fall apart, cook on low for 4 hours or on high for 2 hours.
 

Nutrition

Calories: 353kcal | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 49mg | Sodium: 898mg | Potassium: 462mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 34g | Vitamin A: 702IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 69mg | Iron: 2mg
Course: Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine: American

Did you make this?

instagram icon

Tag us on the gram @britneybreaksbread to be featured in our stories!

Rate + Review

What do you think of this recipe?

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe Rating