Timothy Woods
Published by Timothy Woods
Last Updated On: September 14, 2023

I've experimented with various air fryer recipes over the years, but it's the air fryer ribs that have truly captured my heart.

The best air fryer ribs are made when hot air rapidly circulates around meat that has been seasoned with a perfectly balanced dry rub.

My air fryer ribs recipe creates a delicious flavor that will be the talk of any BBQ gathering.

Easy Air Fryer Ribs Recipe


Recipe Overview

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cooking Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Number of Servings: 4



  • 2 lbs pork ribs (spare or baby back ribs)
  • 1 cup BBQ sauce (with extra BBQ sauce for serving)
  • Large air fryer

Dry Rub

  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper


an air fryer on a table
  1. To cook ribs in the air fryer, preheat the air fryer to 380°F for 5 minutes.
  2. Mix the garlic powder, paprika, brown sugar, salt, and black pepper in a small bowl to create a dry rub.
  3. Pat ribs dry with a paper towel to ensure a crispy exterior during cooking. Remove the very thin layer of silver skin from the back of the racks if it is still present. This will help the seasoning penetrate the meat.
  4. Liberally coat both sides of the ribs with the spice rub, pressing it into the meat for intense flavor.
  5. Place the seasoned ribs in the air fryer basket in one layer, with the ribs meat side down. Consider making ribs in batches if they don't all fit in one layer.
  6. Air fry the ribs at 380°F for 20-25 minutes, turning them meat side up halfway through the cooking time to ensure even cooking.
  7. During the last 5 minutes of cooking, brush the ribs with BBQ sauce on both sides to create a delicious glaze. Return the ribs to the air fryer and cook for 5 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 195°F where you have the most tender ribs.
  8. Once you have the ribs cooked and tender, remove them from the air fryer and let the ribs rest for a few minutes before serving.
  9. Serve the air-fried ribs with additional BBQ sauce on the side for dipping.

Recipe Notes

Sticky ribs on a plate

Here are some tips and tricks that might come in handy when making this recipe:

  • You can use spare or baby back ribs for this air fryer recipe. Baby back ribs are leaner and cook faster, while spare ribs are meatier and take a little longer to cook.
  • Choose your favorite barbecue sauce for this easy recipe. You can use store-bought or make your own homemade BBQ sauce for a personalized touch. You can add more barbecue sauce and put it on the ribs liberally.
  • Feel free to adjust the spice rub according to your taste preferences. You can add more or less of any specific spice to suit your liking.
  • Consider adding sesame seeds, chopped green onions, or fresh herbs on top of the cooked pork.
  • The dry rub can be prepared in advance and stored in an airtight container for future use.
  • Preheating the air fryer ensures that the ribs cook evenly and achieve a crisp exterior.
  • Note that about 50% of the fat in pork is monounsaturated fat. Another 40% is saturated fat, leaving only about 10% as polyunsaturated fat [1].
  • You can oven-bake ribs, but air fryer ribs turn out to cook in about half the time of oven-baked ribs. A convection oven is faster than a conventional one.


  • Calories: 320
  • Total Carbs: 8g
  • Protein: 20g
  • Fat: 22g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Net Carbs: 7g

What To Serve With Pork Ribs?


Here is a list of dishes or sides that would complement your air fryer ribs:

  1. Coleslaw: Coleslaw is a classic and refreshing side that complements the richness of the ribs. The creamy and tangy dressing of coleslaw helps balance the flavors, offering a delightful contrast to the smoky and savory taste of the air fryer ribs.
  2. Cornbread: Cornbread is a perfect pairing for ribs due to its slightly sweet and crumbly texture. The combination of tender meat and comforting cornbread creates a harmony of flavors and textures that will satisfy your taste buds.
  3. Grilled Vegetables: Grilled vegetables, such as zucchini, bell peppers, and asparagus, provide a healthy and flavorful accompaniment when you air fry ribs. The charred and smoky flavors of the vegetables enhance the barbecue sauce, adding a dose of freshness to the meal.
  4. Potato Salad: Creamy potato salad is another fantastic side to serve with ribs. The soft and creamy potatoes contrast beautifully with the ribs, and the blend of mayonnaise, mustard, and seasonings in the salad complements the barbecue sauce.
  5. Macaroni and Cheese: The richness and creaminess of macaroni and cheese create a comforting and indulgent pairing with ribs that you air fry. The cheesy goodness of the pasta complements the smoky ribs and adds a comforting element to the meal.

"Using an air fryer to prepare ribs is a fantastic way to achieve that perfect slow-cooked flavor in a fraction of the time."

- Bobby Flay, American Chef

Note: Storing leftover ribs is crucial to maintain their freshness and prevent foodborne illnesses. If you intend to cook pork ribs within 1 to 2 days, store them in the refrigerator [2]. Place the cut ribs in a sealed container or wrap them tightly in plastic. Keeping them cold will inhibit the growth of bacteria and maintain their quality.

Related Articles:


What Is the Secret to Moist Ribs?

The secret to moist ribs lies in the cooking method and preparation. Preparing ribs using an air fryer with its air circulation helps seal in moisture, resulting in tender and juicy ribs. Using a dry rub before cooking adds flavor and also helps retain moisture.

Why Are My Ribs Not Pulling Back from the Bone?

If your ribs are not pulling back from the bone, they may need more cooking time. Ensure you cook the ribs in the air fryer at the recommended temperature for the appropriate duration. This allows the connective tissues to break down, resulting in the desired tenderness and pull-back from the bone.

Elevate Your Cooking Game with Air Fryer Pork Ribs

Cooking ribs in the air fryer is a culinary adventure that delivers tender, juicy, and restaurant-quality ribs right in your kitchen.

You can achieve perfectly cooked air fryer baby back ribs by following this easy recipe and using the right ingredients.


  1. https://discover.grasslandbeef.com/blog/pork-belly-the-worlds-most-popular-food/
  2. https://www.fsis.usda.gov/food-safety/safe-food-handling-and-preparation/meat/fresh-pork-farm-table
Was this article helpful?

About the author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *