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Air Fryer Spare Ribs

Ditch the grill and revolutionize your rib game with these quick and tasty air fryer spare ribs, perfect for any BBQ lover!

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Crispy air fried BBQ spare rib recipe.

Craving smoky, BBQ-flavored ribs but short on time? Air fryer spare ribs turn out super juicy with an irresistible crispy, caramelized glaze on the outside, and they only require a few minutes of prep time!

Compared to baby back ribs, pork spare ribs are larger and meatier. They’re also less expensive than baby back ribs, so when you know how to make them the right way, you can enjoy an incredible meal without the hefty price tag!

Making air fryer pork spare ribs is your shortcut to achieving that classic rib taste without spending all day at the grill. 

Marinating ensures every bite is packed with flavor while the air fryer cuts down cooking time and keeps your ribs super juicy and flavorful!

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Air Fryer I recommend: Large, easy to clean, square basket, burner on top and bottom. Click to see it.
Barbecue sauce, pork spareribs, chicken broth, and homemade seasoning mix.

How to Make Air Fryer Spare Ribs

A full printable version of this recipe with ingredient measurements is available at the bottom of this post.

STEP ONE: In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar with all of the spices. Mix them thoroughly to ensure an even distribution of flavors, adjusting the amount of cayenne pepper to your preference.

Homemade barbecue seasoning.

STEP TWO: Trim the excess fat and silver skin from the rack of ribs. Cut them into smaller sections to fit in the air fryer.

STEP THREE: Rub the ribs generously with the homemade BBQ seasoning on both the meat side and the rib side.

Seasoned and unseasoned spare rib cuts on parchment paper.

STEP FOUR: Marinate the ribs for 1-2 hours in the fridge.

STEP FIVE: Preheat the air fryer to 375 degrees F.

STEP SIX: Arrange the ribs in a single layer in the air fryer and cook for 12-15 minutes.

Glazed pork ribs in air fryer basket.

STEP SEVEN: Mist the ribs with broth or apple juice, then flip and rotate the ribs.

STEP EIGHT: Air fry ribs for another 12-15 additional minutes, misting halfway through, until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees F.

STEP NINE: Brush the front, back, and sides of the ribs with the additional BBQ sauce, then air fry the ribs for an additional 3-5 minutes to caramelize the glaze.

Brushing barbecue sauce onto spare ribs.

STEP TEN: Let your air fryer ribs rest for 10 minutes before slicing between the bones.

Tips for Making the Best Spare Ribs in the Air Fryer

  • Trim excess fat and marinate the spare ribs for the best flavor.
  • Air fry ribs in batches if necessary to avoid overcrowding, allowing for even air circulation and better cooking.
  • Flip and mist air fryer pork ribs periodically for even cooking and to keep them juicy.
  • Use a meat thermometer to ensure the ribs reach an internal temperature of 145°F.
  • Let air fried ribs rest for 10 minutes after cooking to lock in the juices.

More Air Fryer Rib Recipes

Barbecue glazed pork ribs on parchment paper.

Variations for Air Fryer Pork Spare Ribs

  • Experiment with various BBQ sauces, from classic BBQ to a spicy version.
  • Use Chinese five spice, hoisin sauce, and soy for an Asian-inspired flavor twist.
  • Swap out pork spare ribs for baby back ribs, short ribs, beef ribs, or country ribs to switch it up.
  • Dial up the cayenne if you love heat. You could also omit the cayenne entirely if you prefer.
  • Spritz the ribs with apple cider instead of chicken broth for a hint of sweetness.

What’s the Difference Between Pork Spare Ribs and Baby Back Ribs?

Baby back ribs are leaner than pork spare ribs and are also more expensive.

Baby back ribs have a reputation for being more tender than spare ribs, but when you cook spare ribs in the air fryer, they turn out just as tender and juicy as baby backs!

How Long Do You Cook Air Fryer Pork Ribs?

The cooking time for spare ribs will vary depending on their thickness and your make and model of air fryer.

I find 30-35 minutes total is usually perfect as long as you flip the ribs halfway through air frying.

Sliced spare ribs lining a cutting board.

Can You Use this Recipe for Boneless Spare Ribs?

This air fryer pork ribs recipe calls for a rack of St. Louis-style spare ribs, which means you cook them bone-in.

Cooking boneless spare ribs calls for a different process than a rack of ribs, so I would be cautious about using this recipe for boneless ribs.

How Do You Reheat Leftover Spare Ribs?

I recommend reheating leftover spare pork ribs in the air fryer. Preheat to 375 degrees F, air fry the ribs for about 5 minutes or until heated through, and enjoy!

What to Serve with Air Fryer Spare Ribs

For a simple side, you can’t go wrong with potatoes and onions or delicious air fryer cabbage.

If you want something heartier with your ribs, Dutch oven mac and cheese or mashed potatoes are always a crowd-pleaser!

Sliced pork ribs lining a plate.

More Air Fryer Pork Recipes:

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Yield: 6 servings

Air Fryer Spare Ribs

Barbecue glazed pork ribs on parchment paper.

Marinated in a delicious blend of spices and coated in a savory honey BBQ sauce, these juicy spare ribs are cooked to perfection in the air fryer.

Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 27 minutes
Rest Time 10 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 37 minutes

Ingredients

  • 5 lbs spare ribs
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup honey BBQ sauce, or your favorite barbecue sauce, divided
  • ¼ cup chicken broth for dabbing or spritzing

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar with all of the spices. Mix them thoroughly.
  2. Trim excess fat and silver skin from the rack of ribs and cut them into smaller pieces, enough to fit into your air fryer.
  3. Rub the ribs generously with your homemade BBQ seasoning on the meat side as well as the rib side.
  4. Marinate the ribs for 1-2 hours in the fridge (optional, but it will add more flavor).
  5. Preheat the air fryer to 370 degrees F.
  6. Remove the ribs from the fridge and arrange the ribs in a single layer in the air fryer tray.
  7. Cook them at 370°F for a cooking time of 12-15 minutes.
  8. Mist the ribs with broth or apple juice. Flip and rotate the ribs to even out the cooking.
  9. Cook for another 12-15 additional minutes until the internal temperature of the ribs reaches 145°F. Mist them again halfway through.
  10. Brush the front, back, and sides of the ribs with the additional BBQ sauce and cook them for an additional 3-5 minutes to caramelize the glaze.
  11. Let the air fryer BBQ ribs rest for about 10 minutes before slicing between bones.
  12. Serve a delicious rib dinner with extra BBQ sauce and favorite sides.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1346Total Fat: 91gSaturated Fat: 27gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 40gCholesterol: 306mgSodium: 1642mgCarbohydrates: 73gFiber: 2gSugar: 64gProtein: 62g

This nutrition information is based on the exact products I used in this recipe. Brands and sizes of products could alter exact nutrition and should always be calculated independently.

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About Samantha

I’ve always had a love of cooking and creating new recipes, so it only made sense to create a food blog so I could share those recipes with you. This site is designed to provide easy and flavorful recipes with as little ingredients as possible. That means you still get great flavor combinations without all that extra time and effort. Read more...

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