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Jan 21, 2023

Slow Cooker Baby Back Ribs

Cooking ribs in the slow cooker and then finishing them under the broiler helps recreate the fall-off-the-bone slow smoked awesomeness of barbecued ribs. 

Slow Cooker Baby Back Ribs in a bowl.

These slow cooker baby back ribs are so easy to make, require little hands on time, and you don't need a barbecue to make them. 

With just a spice rub and some store bought barbecue sauce, you can make some amazing baby back ribs.

Slow Cooker Baby Back Ribs cut on a board with a bowl of sauce.

Giving these ribs a quick trip under the broiler after cooking them all day in the slow cooker is a great way to simulate the flavor of barbecued ribs. 

Ingredient Notes:

Spice rub: You can make your own with just a few ingredients, or use your favorite store-bought spice rub. For this rub, I combined paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, brown sugar, cayenne pepper, and salt and pepper. 

Baby Back Ribs: I bought two large racks of the ribs, which added up to about six pounds. You can easily halve this recipe if you are not feeding a crowd. 

While it is recommended that you remove the membrane from the ribs, I forgot this step both times that I made these and did not even notice. Even easier, right? 

Barbecue Sauce: Use a Kansas City-style bottled barbecue sauce. I used Bullseye Original, but brands like KC Masterpiece or Sweet Baby Ray's, all readily available at the supermarket, will work too. 

Slow Cooker Baby Back Ribs in a Bowl.

Of course, feel free to try different flavors of sauce, including your own homemade. This recipe is very flexible. 

How to Make these Baby Back Ribs:

First, make the spice rub and coat the ribs with it. 

Next, place the ribs in the slow cooker, standing up, with the meaty side of the ribs facing the walls of the insert. 

Add the barbecue sauce to the slow cooker and cook on low for six to eight hours, depending on how "fall off the bone" you want these ribs to be. 

Place the ribs on a rack in a sheet pan to rest and cook the sauce from the slow cooker in a sauce pan until reduced to about two cups. Coat the ribs with the sauce. 

Finally, beginning with the bone side, broil the ribs on both sides, slathering them with sauce until they are sizzling and charred. 

Slow Cooker Baby Back Ribs after broiling lying on a cutting board.

Be sure to let them rest, tented with foil, for about ten minutes before serving. 

Serve them with more sauce on the side for your barbecue sauce lovers. 

What to Serve With These Ribs:

Some of my favorite sides for these ribs include country style potato salad, slow cooker baked beans, baked macaroni and cheese, and a mixed green salad. Plus, don't forget the buttermilk dinner rolls

For dessert, I recommend sweet potato pie

Slow Cooker Baby Back Ribs cut into ribs on a cutting board.

These ribs are E-A-S-Y and my grandsons LOVED them. All capital letters. It was so fun serving them up and having them say "yes please" when I asked if they wanted more.

Helpful Tools:

The only specialty item you will need is a six quart or larger slow cooker

For broiling, you will need some tongs, a basting brush, a half sheet pan (you can't have too many!), and a wire rack that will fit in the half sheet pan

Slow Cooker Baby Back Ribs cut individually on a board.

More Pork Rib Recipes You May Also Like:

Thai Red Curry Baby Back Ribs

Slow Cooker Sweet and Sour Sticky Baby Back Ribs

Braised Spare Ribs with White Wine and Anchovies

Honey Maple Garlic Baby Back Ribs

Asian Take-Out Style Spareribs

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Slow Cooker Baby Back Ribs in a bowl.

Updated January, 2023. Originally published May, 2013. 

Slow Cooker Baby Back Ribs

Slow Cooker Baby Back Ribs
Yield: 8 servings
Author: Karen's Kitchen Stories
Prep time: 15 MinCook time: 8 HourTotal time: 8 H & 15 M
Cooking ribs in the slow cooker and then finishing them under the broiler helps recreate the fall-off-the-bone slow smoked awesomeness of barbecued ribs.


  • 3 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 6 pounds of baby back ribs. About two to three racks.
  • 3 cups bottled Kansas City style barbecue sauce.


  1. Mix the rub ingredients together in a small bowl and rub it all over the racks of ribs. If you prep them in advance, wrap them in plastic wrap and refrigerate until you are ready to cook them.
  2. Place the ribs, meat side out (facing the slow cooker wall). into the slow cooker, standing up. They should curve along the wall of the slow cooker. Longer rib racks should be stacked against the racks that are sitting against the pot walls.
  3. Pour the barbecue sauce over the ribs.
  4. Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for six to eight hours.
  5. Once the ribs are done, remove them from the slow cooker and let them sit, tented with foil, while you prepare the basting sauce.
  6. Remove the slow cooker insert to let it cool for about five minutes and then skim the fat from the top of barbecue sauce and juices. Pour the sauce into a sauce pan and simmer to reduce it for about 20 minutes, until you have two cups of sauce.
  7. Line a half sheet pan with foil and top with a cooling rack that has been sprayed with a nonstick spray oil.
  8. Place an oven rack about 10 inches below the broiler and preheat the oven to broil.
  9. Place the rib racks, bone side up, on the sheet pan and wire rack, and brush liberally with the reduced barbecue sauce.
  10. Broil the ribs for about 4 minutes.
  11. Turn the ribs over, brush with barbecue sauce, and broil for another 10 minutes, brushing again liberally with sauce about half way through.
  12. Move the finished ribs to a cutting board and tent them with foil for about 10 minutes. Cut the ribs individually and serve with the basting sauce.

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baby back ribs, pork, slow cooker
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Would you like to comment?

  1. These look amazing! Perfect for Memorial Day.

  2. Mmm, those look perfect!! Can't wait for barbecue season to start!

  3. So so so so so tempting Karen! I wish I had them in my kitchen now!

  4. Mouthwatering pictures! I want to bite into those ribs!

  5. Who knew you could make these in the slow cooker? Plus they look amazing with that sauce!

  6. I love making ribs in my slow cooker. They're tender and then you pop them under the broiler to glaze them. These look perfectly delicious.

  7. Baby back ribs are the best! I love how easy this is!

  8. Tried this for the first time and they were a big hit! Came out perfectly cooked and with a nice crisp exterior. I added a bottle of beer in the slow cooker and that made them very tender.


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