These Crockpot Spare Ribs are melt-in-your-mouth tender and so tasty! This is an easy, no-fuss recipe where the slow cooker does all the work.

Finished Slow Cooker Spare Ribs with text overlay for Pinterest.

May is National Grilling Month. I LOVE grilling season. I’ve dedicated an entire category to it. Here are some of my favorite grilling recipes. There are so many amazing things to grill, but unfortunately, I don’t always have the time to stand outside and babysit whatever I make that day. That is where these Crockpot Spare Ribs come in. 

Melt-in-your-mouth Crockpot Ribs

These ribs are fall-off-the-bone delicious. Do you know the kind of flavorful ribs that melt in your mouth? Yep, these spare ribs made in the slow cooker are that kind of ribs. 

Let the crockpot do the work for you. Throw the beef spare ribs in the crockpot and walk away. That’s it! You will return to a house that smells amazing and a comfort meal that tastes just as good as though you had grilled it. 

Your family will love these spare ribs and will never guess just how easy they were to make in the crockpot! Don’t worry; I won’t tell. It will be our little secret!

Barbecue sauce being brushed onto cooked spare ribs.

Slow Cooker Ribs ingredients and cost

RECIPE COST: $12.66

PER SERVING COST: $2.11

NOTE: The recipe prices are used calculating name-brand products from Walmart’s website. The actual cost of the recipe will vary depending on what your pantry is already stocked with and current grocery prices. 

  • 4.5 pounds spare pork ribs $11.60
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic powder $0.10
  • 1/2 Tablespoon smoked paprika $0.31
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder $0.03
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin $0.03
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar $0.06
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander $0.09
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper $0.07
  • 1/2 cup barbecue sauce $0.36
  • 1 teaspoon salt $0.01

How to cook Crockpot Ribs

  1. First, remove the silver membrane from the back of the ribs. Cut the ribs to fit in your crockpot, then pat dry with paper towels and massage the dry rub into the ribs on both sides. 
  2. Place the ribs into the slow cooker and cook on low for 7-9 hours. 
  3. Finally, 45 minutes before the timer goes off, brush ½ cup of barbecue sauce over the ribs. 

How long to cook Ribs in Crock Pot

According to the USDA, ribs are finished cooking when they reach 145 degrees Fahrenheit. However, in my opinion, they are not done at this point. They are still too tough. Cook them longer until they reach 180-205 degrees Fahrenheit, and that’s where the magic happens. At this point, they are tender and juicy. 

An overhead picture of the finished ribs that have been slathered with barbecue sauce.

Crock Pot Ribs cook’s note

  • Use your favorite homemade or store-bought barbecue sauce for this recipe. I personally like Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbecue Sauce. 
  • Note that you’ll need to spread barbecue sauce on these ribs 45 minutes before they finish. That’s pretty much all the babysitting you’ll need with these ribs. 
A fork with a chunk of meat that has fallen off the bone of a crockpot spare rib.

Tools you need for this Crock Pot Ribs Recipe

  • Large Slow Cooker
  • Basting Brush – I use this for spreading sauce on meat like these ribs. I also use it for brushing butter and egg whites on baked goods. It’s made of silicone, and it’s easy to clean.

What to Serve With Pork Ribs in Crock Pot

How to store Crockpot Ribs

STORE: Let the ribs cool down to room temperature before storing them. If your ribs are in a large piece, consider separating them into smaller portions or individual servings. This makes it easier to store and reheat only what you need. Place ribs in an airtight container or wrap them tightly with plastic wrap.

CHILL OR FREEZE: If you plan to consume the ribs within 3-4 days, store them in the refrigerator. For more extended storage, freeze the ribs. Properly stored, frozen ribs can last up to 2-3 months.

THAW: Thaw the ribs in the refrigerator overnight.

REHEAT: When you’re ready to enjoy the ribs, reheat them in the oven, microwave, or on the stovetop until they are heated through. Ensure they reach a safe internal temperature of 165°F.

Crock Pot Ribs Recipe FAQs

Why are my spare ribs so tough?

It is most likely because they did not cook long enough. Getting them to the point where they are so tender they melt in your mouth is a process. So be patient and cook them for a good long time. They should reach an internal temperature of about 180-205 degrees Fahrenheit over a low and slow cooking method. Basically, they need to be cooked at a low temperature for a long period of time. 

How do you keep ribs from drying out in a slow cooker?

To keep ribs from drying out in a slow cooker, follow these tips:
1. Use the right amount of liquid: Ensure enough liquid in the slow cooker to provide moisture throughout the cooking process. You can use broth, BBQ sauce, apple juice, or a combination of liquids to keep the ribs moist.
2. Trim excess fat: While ribs need some fat for flavor, excessive fat can lead to greasiness and make the ribs dry. Trim off any large pieces of fat before cooking.
3. Cook on low heat: Slow cooking on low heat for longer allows the ribs to become tender and juicy without drying out. Avoid cooking on high heat, which may result in overcooking and drying out the ribs.
4. Use a tight-fitting lid: Ensure the slow cooker’s lid fits tightly to prevent steam and moisture from escaping during cooking.
5. Add liquid during cooking: If you notice the ribs starting to dry out during the cooking process, add a bit of additional liquid to keep them moist.
6. Avoid opening the lid frequently: Opening the lid too often can cause heat loss and extend the cooking time, potentially leading to dry ribs.

Can you slow cook ribs too long?

Yes, you can slow-cook ribs for too long, resulting in overcooking and making them dry and less flavorful. Slow cookers are designed to cook food slowly over a low heat setting, and while this is excellent for tenderizing tough cuts of meat like ribs, there is still a limit to how long they should be cooked.
It’s essential to monitor the cooking time and follow the recipe’s guidelines to avoid overcooking. Generally, cooking on low heat for 6-8 hours is sufficient for ribs to achieve tender and flavorful results. If you’re unsure about the ideal cooking time, use a meat thermometer to check for doneness. The internal temperature of the ribs should reach about 190°F.

Do you cook ribs in a slow cooker covered or uncovered?

When cooking ribs in a slow cooker, cooking them covered is best. The slow cooker’s lid traps heat and moisture, creating a gentle cooking environment that helps tenderize the ribs and retains their flavors.
The covered cooking method helps the ribs cook evenly and prevents excessive evaporation, keeping the meat moist and preventing it from drying out. It also allows the flavors to develop and meld together during cooking.

More from Food Folks and Fun

An overhead picture of the finished ribs that have been slathered with barbecue sauce.
4.39 from 21 votes

Crockpot Ribs Recipe

Author Jillian – a Food, Folks and Fun original!
Recipe Cost $ 12.66
Serving Cost $ 2.11
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 9 hours
Total Time 9 hours 10 minutes
6 people
These Crockpot Spare Ribs are melt-in-your-mouth tender and so tasty! This is an easy, no-fuss recipe where the slow cooker does all the work.

Equipment

  • Crock-Pot
  • basting or pastry brush

Ingredients
 
 

  • 4-5 pounds spare pork ribs thawed if previously frozen

DRY RUB:

TO FINISH:

Instructions

  • In a small bowl combine the rub ingredients.
  • Remove the silver membrane from the back of the ribs. Cut the ribs so they will fit in your slow cooker. Pat them dry with paper towels and massage the dry rub into the ribs. Evenly distribute the rub over the ribs (make sure you get both sides!).
    Rub the ribs on all side with the rub mixture.
  • Nestle the ribs into the slow cooker, and cook for 7-9 hours on LOW, or 4-5 hours on HIGH.
    Place the rubbed ribs inside of the slow cooker.
  • 45 minutes before the timer goes off, brush 1/2 cup of barbecue sauce over the ribs. Cover and continue cooking.
    After the ribs have cooked, slather them with barbecue sauce.
  • Slice and serve with additional barbecue sauce (optional).
    Cut spare ribs on a white plate with coleslaw in the background.

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 904kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 47g | Fat: 71g | Saturated Fat: 23g | Cholesterol: 242mg | Sodium: 886mg | Potassium: 829mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 440IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 62mg | Iron: 3mg

did you love this recipe?

Share it with me on Facebook and find more recipes on foodfolksandfun for more!

The crockpot spare ribs after they are done cooking with barbecue sauce on them.
4.39 from 21 votes (11 ratings without comment)

Leave a Reply

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

Recipe Rating




19 Comments

  1. Janette@culinaryginger says:

    Who knew that ribs could be so good from the slow cooker? Very nicely done.

  2. KC the Kitchen Chopper says:

    Your dry rub herb and spice combo sounds like a spot hitter. What an easy way to do ribs. Love it!

  3. I love making dinner in the slow cooker. This recipe is perfect for our family. Thank you for sharing!

  4. Bookmarking this to make in my slow cooker!

  5. I never realized I could make spareribs taste so amazing in the crock pot. This is the only way I am making them from now on.

  6. Linda Moore says:

    These sound so good! And it is easy to make these in the crock pot! And it keeps the kitchen cool!

    Wishes for tasty dishes!
    Linda

  7. This sure looks amazing! I haven’t done anything remotely adventurous with my slow cooker, and this is one I’d like to try, it is so easy, too!

  8. Pat Weber says:

    I just made these today. They were so good, I won’ t need to hit the local bar-b-que place. And so easy too. I was always afraid of messing up spare ribs. No need to worry with this recipe. I highly recommend.

    1. So glad you enjoyed the recipe, Pat. Thanks for stopping by to let me know!

  9. Traci Clark says:

    Do you put anything in the bottom to prevent sticking or does it even stick?

    1. Food Folks and Fun says:

      I didn’t but you can lightly spray the bottom of the pot if you’re worried.

  10. These spar ribs where among the best I cooked. Easy to prepare and cook.

  11. I made these in crockpot to the day before our cookout let them cool refrigerated them then next I sauced them and put them on grill ..amazing outcome

  12. I love cooking ribs in the slow cooker. It gets them soooo tender, and I can make them even in bad weather.

  13. My husband is the meat eater in the family and found this recipe. He wanted me to tell u it was fabulous and so easy to make.

  14. So easy to make and absolutely delicious and fall off the bone tender!

  15. First time making ribs in the slow cooker and they turned out perfectly! Will be saving this recipe to make again.

  16. Cooking ribs in the crockpot like this ensures that these ribs are fall off the bone good. I will be making them like this in the future!