“How to Cook Ribs in the Oven” is a question I hear fairly often. So let’s talk about how to get tender, fall-off-the-bone ribs without ever firing up your grill!
Lots of people want to know how to cook ribs in the oven. So many parts of America aren’t friendly to backyard cooking during the winter months and we don’t crave ribs just when the summer weather is just right. Knowing how to make them in the oven is a great skill to have when the backyard is full of rain or snow and you still want all the meats.
Ingredients for Oven Ribs
- Spare Ribs or Baby Back Ribs: The cook times in this recipe are for spare ribs. Baby back ribs are leaner and cook faster. Use the oven cooking time chart below for both. This recipe has only been tested with pork ribs and not beef ribs.
- Dry rub: Use a store bought dry rub or try this easy dry rub recipe with smoked paprika for a little smokey flavor.
- BBQ Sauce: Use a quality barbecue sauce you like, either store bought or a homemade BBQ sauce.
(Scroll down to the bottom for the printable recipe card with exact measurements and recipe instructions.)
How to Cook Ribs in the Oven
- Prep Ribs: Remove the membrane.
- Season: Add a dry rub or generously season both sides with salt and pepper.
- Bake: Cover the ribs in foil and bake until the ribs are tender.
- Broil: Slather the ribs with barbecue sauce and broil for 10-15 minutes longer.
How to Remove the Membrane from Ribs
A little trick that not everyone knows is to always remove the membrane from ribs before cooking. Leaving the membrane on results in less-flavorful and tougher ribs.
- Turn the slab to the bone side.
- Slide a sharp knife under the membrane and lift and loosen with the dull edge of the knife.
- Use your hands to peel it away once loosened. Using a paper towel will help grip it better.
How Long to Cook Ribs in the Oven
Ribs should be cooked the way you like. For fall off the bone ribs, cook at a low and slow temperature and for tougher ribs that don’t fall off the bone bake for less time at a higher temperature. Higher temperatures are also good if you don’t have time. For juicy, not quite fall all the bone cook around 300 °F Degrees.
|Oven Temperature||Baby Back Ribs||Spare Ribs|
|225 °F Degrees||5 Hours||6 Hours|
|250 °F Degrees||4 Hours||5 Hours|
|300 °F Degrees||2 1/2 Hours||3 1/2 Hours|
|350 °F Degrees||2 Hours||2 1/2 Hours|
|400 °F Degrees||1 Hour||1 1/2 Hours|
|450 °F Degrees||45 Minutes||1 Hour|
Baby back ribs and spare ribs should be cooked to an internal temperature of 185°F-200°F.
Cooking ribs until they’re fall-off-the-bone tender is easier when you remember the most important phrase associated with this type of cooking: low and slow. You just can’t rush good ribs, even in the oven.
How to Store Leftover Ribs
Leftover baked ribs can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3-5 days or in the freezer for 2-3 months. Ribs can also be tightly wrapped foil and stored in the fridge.
How to Reheat Ribs
The best way to reheat ribs is slowly and in an oven. Simply preheat the oven to 250˚F and slather on extra BBQ sauce to moisten, if you prefer. Place the ribs in a single layer on a pan and tightly wrap with foil. Reheat the ribs for approximately 20-30 minutes or once they reach an internal temperature of 130˚F to 140˚F.
Ribs can also be reheated in an air fryer. Preheat the air fryer to 350˚F and slather on extra BBQ sauce to moisten, if you prefer. Reheat the ribs in the air fryer for approximately 5-8 minutes, or until warmed and heated through.
To quickly reheat ribs cover in a microwave-safe dish and heat for 30 second bursts until heated through.
- 2 racks spare ribs, baby backs will work but they won't need as long to cook (see cooking time chart)
- Your favorite barbecue sauce
Dry Rub (optional but recommended)
- 3 tablespoons Brown Sugar
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 tablespoons crushed black peppercorns
- 1 1/2 tablespoons smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- Preheat oven to 300ºF.
- Remove the membrane from the bony side of the ribs.
- Pat the ribs dry and place on foil-lined baking sheet.
- Rub the top and sides with the dry rub, slightly massage it into the meat.
- Cover the ribs more tin foil and crimp the foil together but don't cover the ribs too tightly.
- Bake until the bone starts to be exposed (2.5-3.5 hours). Start checking after two hours.
- Remove the aluminum foil and slather the ribs in BBQ sauce.
- Broil at 400ºF for 10-15 minutes to caramelize the ribs.
The ribs are done when they reach an internal temperature of 195ºF and the bones start to be exposed. You can also check with a fork try to pull off a small piece of meat.
For fall off the bone ribs cook a little longer but be careful not to overcook them as they will become mushy.
What to Serve with Ribs
From smoked mac & cheese to tater tots and salads, there are so many options. Here are some of my favorite sides to serve with ribs.
- Air Fryer Tots
- Baked Garlic Parsnip Fries
- Crispy Baked Potato Wedges
- Garlic Green Beans
- Garlic Herb Browned Butter Cauliflower
- Loaded Mashed Potatoes
- Macaroni Salad
- Pasta Salad
- Scalloped Potatoes
- Seafood Mac & Cheese
- Smashed Brussel Sprouts with Parmesan
- Smoked Mac & Cheese
- Twice Baked Potatoes
- Wedge Salad with Bacon
And don’t forget the wine and beer or even a beer margarita!