Ditch the grill or smoker and whip up air fryer baby back ribs! The beautiful crust on the outside and fall-off-the-bone tender meat on the inside are absolutely crave-worthy.
Craving a rack of ribs but don’t feel like babysitting the grill or the smoker all day? You’re going to love making baby back ribs in the air fryer!
The process is so easy, but the results are out of this world. The air fryer gives the ribs a beautiful crust on the outside while the inside cooks to tender perfection!
Best of all, you can be ready to serve in less than an hour.
Here’s what I’m going to teach you in this post:
- The best way to make fall-off-the-bone air fryer baby back ribs
- How long to cook ribs in the air fryer
- What to serve with your air fryer ribs
- How to reheat leftover ribs in the air fryer
The next time you find yourself craving a big ole rack of ribs, do yourself a favor and try this air fryer method.
It’s faster than cooking them with the grill, the smoker, or the oven, but the results are every bit as irresistible. Make sure you have your favorite BBQ sauce ready!
How to Make Air Fryer Baby Back Ribs
A full printable version of this recipe with ingredient measurements is available at the bottom of this post.
STEP ONE: Peel the silverskin membrane from the back of the ribs. Slice the rack into 2-3 sections that fit into your air fryer basket.
STEP TWO: Preheat the air fryer to 380 degrees.
STEP THREE: Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the paprika, garlic powder, salt, brown sugar, chili powder, and pepper. Season both sides of the ribs with the bbq spice rub, covering both sides well.
STEP FOUR: Place the rib sections in the air fryer basket, meat side down, and air fry for 15 minutes.
STEP FIVE: Flip the ribs with a pair of tongs, then air fry for an additional 10-12 minutes.
STEP SIX: When the timer is up, open the basket and brush the ribs with your desired amount of BBQ sauce.
STEP SEVEN: Close the air fryer and cook for another 5 minutes.
STEP EIGHT: Remove the ribs and allow them to rest for 5-10 minutes. Serve with additional BBQ sauce, if desired.
Do Ribs Get Tender in the Air Fryer?
Oh yes, they do! For me, ribs have to be tender to be worthwhile. When I make baby back ribs in the air fryer, the meat is so perfectly cooked that it pretty much falls off the bone!
How Long to Cook Ribs in the Air Fryer
We want to cook the ribs long enough for the internal temperature to reach between 190 and 200 degrees F. The meat should be tender enough to pull apart but not so overcooked that it starts to get mushy.
The final cooking time is going to depend on your specific air fryer. When I make my Cosori air fryer baby back ribs, cooking the ribs for about 30 minutes total usually does the trick.
That means cooking them for 15 minutes meat-side down, 10 more minutes meat-side up, then brushing with barbecue sauce and cooking for 5 more minutes.
Tips for Making the Best Air Fryer Baby Back Ribs
- Always make sure to remove the membrane, also called the silverskin, from the underside of the ribs. Some butchers handle this for you, so it never hurts to ask if you’re unsure.
- If the ribs seem to have a lot of excess moisture on the outside, pat them dry with paper towels before adding the bbq spice rub.
- Check that the internal temperature has reached at least 190 degrees F before you remove the ribs from the air fryer.
Easy Air Fryer Baby Back Ribs
You’ll love making baby back ribs in the air fryer! No babysitting the grill or smoker all day, and the meat cooks to absolute perfection. Ready in less than an hour!
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 40 minutes
- Total Time: 50 minutes
- Yield: 4 1x
- Category: Main Course
- Cuisine: American
- 3 pound rack of pork baby back ribs
- 3 teaspoons paprika
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup BBQ sauce, plus more as desired
- Peel the silverskin from the back of the ribs then cut the rack into 2-3 sections that fit into your air fryer basket.
- Preheat the air fryer to 380 degrees F for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine paprika, garlic powder, salt, brown sugar, chili powder, and pepper. Season both sides of the ribs with the spice mixture bbq spice rub, covering both sides well.
- Place the rib sections in the air fryer basket, meat side down, and air fry for 15 minutes. Flip the ribs with a pair of tongs and air fry them for an additional 10-12 minutes.
- When the timer is up, open the basket and brush the ribs with BBQ sauce – as much or little as you want. Close the air fryer and cook for another 5 minutes.
- Remove the ribs and allow them to rest for 5-10 minutes before serving with additional BBQ sauce if desired.
How to reheat baby back ribs:
1. Air fry at 380 degrees for 5-8 minutes or until hot.