Timothy Woods
Published by Timothy Woods
Last Updated On: May 12, 2023

The promise of big outdoor flavor in the convenience of a slow cooker may sound exaggerated, but, in fact, after all the copious amounts of research I have put together I have found that it is possible, and the ribs are insanely delicious.

Look no further if you are looking for a mouth-watering slow cooker ribs recipe.

Quick Summary

  • Sometimes cooking ribs in a slow cooker can lead to a lot of the juices accumulating at the bottom of the crockpot, making it seem kind of like a rib stew.
  • With a spice rub slow cooker method, it is better not to add any liquid into the crockpot so that you do not have any washed-out flavor at the bottom of the crockpot once the ribs have finished cooking. Therefore, this is a dry slow cooker. The ribs will give out some of their liquid while cooking.
  • Broil the ribs in an oven until the ribs are evenly browned.

Slow Cooker Ribs Recipe

Freshly cooked ribs top view and with onions

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 6 to 7 hours

Total Time: 6 to 7 hours and 30 minutes

Servings: 6


  • 2 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp garlic (granulated)
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp black pepper (ground)
  • 3 ¼ cup tomato sauce
  • 6 tbsp apple juice
  • 2 tbsp molasses
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp Worchester sauce
  • 1 tbsp yellow mustard
  • 1 tsp black pepper (ground)
  • 3 spare rib racks (I prefer to get my spare ribs from ButcherBox meat delivery)


Raw meat ribs on bowl and wooden table
  1. Combine the brown sugar, paprika, garlic, salt, black pepper, and onion powder in a bowl to make your rub. Mix the spices and crush any lumps that the brown sugar may have formed into.
  2. Reserve a Tbsp of the spice rub to use later on.
  3. Use some paper towels to blot any excess moisture on the spare ribs.
  4. Evenly sprinkle the spice rub on both sides of the spare ribs and gently rub the spices into the ribs.
  5. Place the ribs into the slow cooker.
  6. You can either cook the ribs on high for 6 hours or on low for 6 to 7 hours.
  7. Carefully remove the ribs from the slow cooker using tongs and set them over a wire rack set over an oven tray.
  8. Let the ribs cool down and dry out for ten minutes.
  9. While the ribs are cooling down, in a pot over the stove, mix the tomato sauce, apple juice, molasses, apple cider vinegar, Worchester sauce, yellow mustard, black pepper (ground), and the Tbsp of reserved spice rub.
  10. Bring the sauce ingredients up to a boil while whisking. Lower the heat so that the sauce simmers for ten minutes until it reduces to a cup, give or take.
  11. Once the sauce has reduced, brush the ribs with half of the sauce, place them in the oven, and broil the ribs until the ribs are evenly browned.
  12. Remove the ribs after they are nice and brown, and brush them with the rest of the sauce.
  13. Place a piece of foil on the ribs and let them rest for 15 to 20 minutes [1].

Notes And Tips To Help With The Rib Cooking

Freshly cooked spare ribs and putting on a foiled tray
  • Instead of using regular paprika, you can use smoked paprika for an added smoky flavor.
  • You can also add other spices that will not change the taste too much but enhance it, like garlic powder.
  • Always ensure that your spare ribs do not have any excess moisture so that the spice rub sticks well. You can also use a store-bought rub so that there is less prep time.
  • Do not remove the membrane on the ribs, as it will help hold them together while they are cooking
  • How you place the ribs in the slow cooker will determine how they cook. Usually, one side will be bigger than the other side. The trick is to place the wider end at the bottom of the crockpot and the thinner side to go around the edges of the slow cooker, so they cook more evenly.
  • Place aluminum foil on the oven tray to help with the cleanup process.
  • Let the ribs cool down and dry out to make it easy to apply the barbeque sauce.
  • You may use any barbeque sauce of your choice, whether store-bought or homemade. You can also use the slow cooker juices to make a delicious barbeque sauce.

Do You Have To Use Spare Ribs?

Raw spare ribs on marble top

No, you do not have to only use spare ribs when using a slow cooker. There are usually several different types of ribs that you can buy at a supermarket.

Some of them are baby back ribs, short ribs, St. Louis style ribs, etc.

St. Louis and Spare ribs are cut from the same part, which is the belly area, and baby back ribs are from the pig's back.

You need to keep in mind that they will all require different cooking times because the baby back ribs have more bones and less meat than the spare ribs and St. Louis ribs.

All you need to do if you wish to use a different rib cut is to adjust the cooking time [2].

What Are Some Great Side Dishes For Spare BBQ Ribs?

Sometimes it is hard to come up with an easy side dish for your ribs. Here are a few you can throw together in a few minutes:

Make A Pasta Salad Side Dish

A pasta salad side dish close up image

Pasta salads are one of the side dishes that go well with ribs. It is easy and simple to make, and you can throw in your own twist to make it unique.

You simply need to boil some macaroni noodles, chop the vegetables you want in your salad like tomatoes, different color peppers, cucumber, add some cheese, some pepperoni, etc.

Stir in some of your favorite condiments like mayonnaise, and you're good to go.

Mash Potatoes Always Go Well With Ribs

Mash potatoes are always a crowd favorite. Simply boil the potatoes on high heat and season with salt.

You can either go with the classic potatoes where you add butter, or you can have fun and add mayonnaise, mustard, onions, hard-boiled eggs, sweet relish, etc., to ramp up the taste of your mashed potatoes. All in all, it's up to you [3].

Other Slow Cooker Recipes:


There is no going back once you use this slow cooker ribs recipe. You will have tender, juicy, flavorful ribs that look like they have just come off of the grill.


  1. https://thestayathomechef.com/the-secret-to-crockpot-ribs/
  2. https://www.bonappetit.com/story/how-to-buy-pork-ribs
  3. https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/collection/barbecue-sides-recipes
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