How to Cook Ribs in an Air Fryer

How to Cook Ribs in an Air Fryer

If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to cook ribs, using an air fryer is the perfect solution. Air fryers are a fantastic kitchen appliance that can deliver juicy and tender ribs with a crispy exterior. In this article, we will guide you through the step-by-step process of cooking ribs in an air fryer, ensuring you achieve mouthwatering results every time. Discover the best techniques, tips, and tricks to make delicious ribs that will impress your family and friends.

Choosing the Right Ribs for Air Frying

When it comes to cooking ribs in an air fryer, choosing the right type and cut of ribs is crucial for a successful and delicious outcome. Here are a few tips to consider when selecting ribs for air frying:

1. Baby Back Ribs: Baby back ribs, also known as back ribs or loin ribs, are a popular choice for air frying. These ribs come from the top of the ribcage between the spine and spare ribs. They are tender, lean, and cook relatively quickly, making them ideal for air frying.

2. Spare Ribs: Spare ribs are larger and meatier than baby back ribs. They come from the belly area of the pig and have more fat and connective tissue. While spare ribs can be air fried, they may require a longer cooking time to ensure they become tender and juicy.

3. St. Louis Style Ribs: St. Louis style ribs are spare ribs with the rib tips removed and the slab trimmed into a rectangular shape. These ribs are meatier and have a higher fat content compared to baby back ribs. They can be air fried but may take longer to cook due to their thickness.

4. Country Style Ribs: Country style ribs are not technically ribs but are cut from the shoulder area of the pig. They are meaty and contain more fat and connective tissue. While they can be air fried, they may require a longer cooking time and may not have the same texture as traditional ribs.

Remember to choose ribs that are fresh, preferably from a trusted butcher or high-quality meat supplier. Look for ribs with a good amount of meat and marbling, as this will contribute to their tenderness and flavor when air fried.

Now that you know the different types of ribs suitable for air frying, let’s move on to the next step: preparing the ribs for cooking.

Preparing the Ribs for Air Frying

Before you start cooking ribs in an air fryer, it is important to properly prepare them for the best results. Follow these steps:

  1. Remove the membrane: Start by removing the thin membrane from the back of the ribs. This will help the meat to cook more evenly and allow the flavors to penetrate better.
  2. Trim excess fat: Trim off any excess fat from the ribs. While some fat adds flavor, too much can result in a greasy final dish.
  3. Season the ribs: Coat the ribs generously with your favorite dry rub or marinade. Make sure to rub it into the meat to ensure even distribution of flavors. Allow the ribs to marinate for at least 30 minutes to an hour for maximum flavor.
  4. Preheat the air fryer: Preheat your air fryer to the recommended temperature for cooking ribs. This may vary depending on the brand and model of your air fryer. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the best results.
  5. Prepare the air fryer basket: Depending on the size of your air fryer, you may need to cut the ribs into smaller sections to fit inside the basket. Make sure to place the ribs in a single layer without overcrowding to ensure proper air circulation.
  6. Cooking time and temperature: Set the air fryer to the recommended temperature and cooking time for ribs. Generally, cooking ribs in an air fryer takes about 25-30 minutes at 375°F (190°C). However, cooking times may vary, so it’s important to check for doneness using a meat thermometer.
  7. Baste with sauce (optional): If desired, you can baste the ribs with your favorite barbecue sauce or glaze during the last 5-10 minutes of cooking. This will add a flavorful and sticky glaze to the ribs.
  8. Rest and serve: Once the ribs are cooked to your desired doneness, remove them from the air fryer and let them rest for a few minutes. This allows the juices to redistribute and results in more tender and flavorful ribs. Serve the ribs hot and enjoy!

With these simple steps, you can easily prepare and cook delicious ribs in an air fryer. Experiment with different seasonings and sauces to create your own unique flavor combinations. Happy cooking!

Seasoning and Marinating the Ribs

Seasoning and marinating the ribs is an essential step in achieving delicious and flavorful results. Here are some tips to help you enhance the taste of your ribs:

  • Choose your seasoning: Select a dry rub or a marinade that complements the flavors you prefer. Whether you prefer a tangy barbecue flavor or a spicy kick, there are countless options available.
  • Dry rub: If you opt for a dry rub, generously massage it onto both sides of the ribs. Ensure that the rub covers the entire surface for an even distribution of flavor.
  • Marinade: If you prefer marinating your ribs, prepare a marinade of your choice. Ingredients like soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, and various herbs and spices can be combined to create a flavorful marinade. Place the ribs and the marinade in a ziplock bag or a covered container and let it marinate in the refrigerator for at least a few hours, or preferably overnight.
  • Rest the ribs: After applying the dry rub or marinating the ribs, allow them to rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes. This step allows the flavors to penetrate the meat and enhances the tenderness of the ribs.

Remember, the longer you marinate the ribs, the more intense the flavors will be. Experiment with different seasonings and marinades to find your perfect combination. Once you have seasoned and marinated the ribs to your liking, you’re ready to move on to the next step of cooking them in the air fryer.

Air Frying the Ribs to Perfection

Once your ribs are seasoned and prepped, it’s time to air fry them to perfection. Follow these steps to achieve deliciously cooked ribs:

  1. Preheat your air fryer: Before placing the ribs in the air fryer, preheat it to 400°F (200°C). This will ensure that the ribs cook evenly and develop a nice crust.
  2. Place the ribs in the air fryer basket: Carefully place the seasoned ribs in the air fryer basket, ensuring they are not overcrowded. If necessary, cook the ribs in batches to avoid overcrowding.
  3. Cook the ribs: Set the timer for 25-30 minutes and cook the ribs at 400°F (200°C). Flip the ribs halfway through the cooking time to ensure even browning on both sides.
  4. Check for doneness: After the initial cooking time, check the ribs for doneness. They should be tender and have an internal temperature of at least 145°F (63°C) for pork ribs. If needed, cook them for an additional 5-10 minutes.
  5. Rest the ribs: Once the ribs are fully cooked, remove them from the air fryer and let them rest for a few minutes. This allows the juices to redistribute and makes the ribs even more flavorful.
  6. Serve and enjoy: Slice the ribs into individual portions and serve them with your favorite barbecue sauce or sides. Enjoy the deliciousness of perfectly cooked ribs!

Air frying is a fantastic way to achieve juicy and tender ribs without the need for a grill or smoker. With these simple steps, you can easily cook mouthwatering ribs in your air fryer.

Serving and Enjoying Delicious Air-Fried Ribs

Once your air-fried ribs are cooked to perfection, it’s time to serve and enjoy this mouthwatering dish. Here are some tips to make the most of your air-fried ribs:

1. Let the Ribs Rest

Before diving into your ribs, it’s important to let them rest for a few minutes. This allows the juices to redistribute and the meat to become even more tender. You can cover the ribs loosely with aluminum foil to keep them warm while they rest.

2. Serve with Your Favorite Sauce

Whether you prefer a tangy barbecue sauce, a sweet and spicy glaze, or a savory dry rub, ribs are best enjoyed with a delicious sauce. Brush the sauce onto the ribs or serve it on the side for dipping. Don’t be shy with the sauce – it adds an extra layer of flavor to the already delicious air-fried ribs.

3. Pair with Sides

Complete your meal by pairing your air-fried ribs with some tasty sides. Classic options include coleslaw, cornbread, baked beans, or potato salad. These sides complement the rich flavors of the ribs and provide a well-rounded dining experience.

4. Add Some Freshness

To balance out the richness of the ribs, consider adding some freshness to your plate. A crisp garden salad, sliced tomatoes, or pickles can provide a refreshing contrast to the savory flavors of the ribs.

5. Enjoy with Friends and Family

Ribs are meant to be enjoyed with loved ones, so gather your friends and family around the table to savor the deliciousness of air-fried ribs together. Share stories, laughter, and good times as you indulge in this finger-licking dish.

Remember, cooking ribs in an air fryer is a convenient and healthier alternative to traditional methods. The result is tender, juicy, and flavorful ribs that are sure to impress your guests. So go ahead, serve and enjoy your delicious air-fried ribs!


In conclusion, cooking ribs in an air fryer is a convenient and efficient way to enjoy this delicious dish. The air fryer’s rapid circulation of hot air ensures that the ribs are cooked evenly, resulting in juicy and tender meat with a crispy exterior. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can easily achieve restaurant-quality ribs in the comfort of your own home. So, why not give it a try and impress your family and friends with a mouthwatering rack of ribs cooked to perfection in your air fryer!

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