Slow Cooker Ribs – AMAZING & EASY

Published on June 26, 2015 by Lauren

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  • You don’t need a smoker to have AWESOME ribs! These Slow Cooker Ribs will fit the bill when you’re in the mood for some fall-off-the-bone baby back ribs.


    Slow Cooker Ribs

    Slow Cooker Ribs:

    Cooking ribs don’t have to be hard – it is actually pretty easy! Only a few ingredients and 6-8 hours in the slow cooker will make your family VERY happy!

    Step 1:

    Trim any excess fat off the ribs and cut to size. You want to make sure that the ribs will fit in the bottom of the slow cooker. Don’t trim off all the fat though, you want to make sure you still have some left on there. That is what makes ribs so juicy!

    Step 2:

    Chop the ribs in half, and then slice the onion and lay it on the bottom of the slow cooker. Top with the ribs, then the spices, and finally the BBQ sauce and the water.

    Step 3:

    Cook on low for 6-8 hours. You want them tender and to come off the bone easily when you bite them, but not so much that they will fall apart when you simply pick them up.

    Slow Cooker Ribs


    Helpful hints for easy slowcooker ribs:

    Tip 1:

    Some recipes just call for BBQ sauce but adding paprika, pepper, and garlic really kick these up a notch. Once the ribs are done and you pull them out, the sauce left in the slow cooker is so good; you will definitely want to pour some extra on the ribs!

    Tip 2:

    If you want a super-tender rack of ribs, then you’ll want to keep an eye out for the thin membrane on the underside of the rack. This thin layer isn’t inedible, but it does toughen up quite a bit during cooking. If you do find that your rack of ribs has this membrane, simply turn your rack over and remove the thin membrane before cooking. That way you will have a very tender rack of ribs!

    Tip 3:

    I like to pre-cook my ribs in the slow cooker and then finish them off on the grill. Not only does this give me more control over the cooking temperature, but it also gives me more tender ribs. I tend to cook my ribs for 4 hours in the slow cooker and then finish them on the grill. When they are almost finished on the grill, I brush more bbq sauce on them and grill for a few minutes to give them the extra crunch I like.

    Frequently asked questions:

    What kind of ribs do you buy for Crock-Pot ribs?

    You can use any type of rib that you want, but for the crock-pot, I tend to use baby back ribs. I like them better than country style, and they seem to fit into the slow cooker a little easier.

    How long do ribs take to cook in a slow-cooker?

    I like to cook my ribs for 6-8 hours in the slow cooker. I find that if I try to rush them and cook them on high for 4 hours, they come out undercooked and tough.

    You want to cook them low and slow to break down connective tissues, that way they fall right off the bone.

    Can you overcook slow cooker ribs?

    The whole point of ribs is to eat them off the bone, so cooking them low and slow is the way to go. I find that you cannot overcook ribs in the slow cooker, but you can slow cook ribs without them falling off the bone. You do this if you cook them at too high a temperature and too quickly. If you cook ribs too quickly, they will become very tough and chewy. This may make you think that you’ve overcooked them, but you’ve actually just cooked them way too fast.

    When cooking ribs in the slow cooker, you want to cook 6-8 hours on low. Let those juices get into the ribs and slowly moisten the meat until it falls right off the bone.

    Should you sear ribs before cooking?

    You should not sear your ribs before cooking. You want to cook them low and slow to break down the connective tissue so they will fall off the bone when eating.  I do find that a quick sear will help to lock in juices and provide a good smoky flavor. I love a good rib that not only falls off the bone but also has a nice crispy outside layer!

    Slow Cooker Ribs

    And if you like this one, you might be interested in 40 other slow cooker dump recipes that are AMAZING!

    Slow Cooker Ribs

    Slow Cooker Ribs

    Slow Cooker Ribs

    5 from 1 vote
    Print Pin Rate
    Author: Lauren Cobello


    • 2 - 2.5 lbs. baby back pork ribs
    • 1/2 onion sliced
    • 1 Tbsp paprika
    • 1 tsp black pepper
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1/2 16 oz. bottle BBQ sauce
    • 2 cloves garlic minced or pressed
    • 1/2 cup water


    • Slice onion and place on bottom of slow cooker.
    • Cut ribs into halves or thirds and place over the onion.
    • Add all spices and garlic on top of the ribs.
    • Add the BBQ sauce and water.
    • Cook on low for 8-10 hours
    • Remove from slow cooker and enjoy!

    Slow Cooker Ribs

    Have you grabbed my freezer meal plans, yet? I might be biased but I think they are pretty amazing! They have saved our dinner hour for years now. Check them out!

    Slow Cooker Ribs



    • Delicious, smokey depth of flavors to the ribs. I keep a scrap bag of leftover veggies, i.e. red peppers, carrots, celery which I use to flavor soups or stocks but i threw them in the bed of the crockpot, more garlic (I’m Italian 🙂 and a teaspoon of molasses. They were moist and tender, the bed of veggies is so important. My husband ate almost every last one. I had to pry a second one for me from his hands, which is all I ended up getting. But he’s Superman and more than worth it. Thank you for a really great recipe that me and Superman both enjoyed.

    • I love ribs, but my dad lacks teeth in the front of his mouth, so I can’t usually male them. I made your recipe and cooked it on low for 7 1/2 hours. The meat fell off the bone! My dad and I had the best robs ever! Thank you!

    • Sounds so good! How long would it be on low? I want to make it tomorrow June 11.. thank you!

    • Thank you for your help! Super easy meal, had used recipe in past just forgot amounts. Great for Father’s Day and don’t need to turn oven on. CLD

    • Hello Lauren, I don’t use my slow cooker so as I am writing this I placed everything in my pressure cooker. I am hoping that the receipe and cooking time stays the same. I will definitely let you know but I am looking so forward to eating these ribs. Thanks for sharing!

    • There is no such slow cooker setting as Medium!!!
      I’m gonna be really upset if, after 8 hours on low, the only good alternative, this turns out to be a waste of effort (and money). I can’t believe I didn’t realize before that there was no such setting.

      • Howard check your slow cooker very carefully, mine has a medium setting on it and anyone else I know also have a medium setting on theirs.
        It is possible that your brand does not have a medium setting but I have never seen one without the medium setting

      • I only have “warm, low, and high” settings on all 3 of my crockpots SBLbut I cooked this on low for 7 hours and it came out just fine.

      • My slow cooker only has warm, low, and high. I cook these on low for 8 hours and they are delicious. Be sure to peel the membrane off the back to make them more tender.

    • I have been loving all of your recipes so much… thank you!! I couldn’t find 2-2.5 lbs of babyback ribs at Aldi… I got 3.07 lbs which was the smallest one they had. Wonder if I should increase the amount of anything in it?

    • my opinion is that it will feed 2-3 people…maybe 4 small children?
      i just put some in the crock, with this recipe and that’s for their lunch, and mine .
      🙂 maybe mom can have some too… hee hee

  • yo, Lauren G. i’ve made my own red sauce from scratch before and your recipe for authentic Sicilian sauce is right on target, thanks for keeping it simple & traditional. i’m now all over your ribs cooked in a slow cooker recipe. again, is not new to me, but thanks for putting cooking recipes out on the net.

  • Does anyone know if you could use country ribs in this recipe instead and would it change the cooking times?

  • These are currently in the crockpot as Im typing this… I bought a little over 3lbs of baby back ribs, so I added 1 more clove of garlic, added a cup of water and just about 16oz of bbq sauce by Guy Fieri Brown sugar and bourbon flavor. Cant wait until these are done! thanks for the easy recipe!

      • I feel like my slow cooker cooks everything super fast. I had mine go for 4 hours on low and they’re dry. Sometimes idk if it’s not done all the way since it took such little time or if they’re just over cooked. Three hours next time I guess.

  • Thank you Lauren – just cooked these delicious!

    The only change I made was to add an extra half a cup of water and to put them in the oven at the end at 190c for 15mins with some extra sauce…..4 hours in the slow cooker on high is perfect!

    This will become a regular at our house.

  • I have a recipe where you bake in the oven with a spice rub of your choice, close to this one, then charcoal grill them 2 minutes on each side. Why not crock pot bake for 3 hours instead of four and then grill? We served them over polenta with the juices left and it was amazing!

    • Well Jennifer,
      This is Lauren’s recipe and it was posted based on how she cooked it and the good results she received from it. If you’d like to create your way of doing ribs, then do that and not question the chef’s recipe, it’s disrespectful. How it was posted on her blog is how it’s suppose to be, not you recreate your version of the recipe and question why Lauren will not try it your way. Start your own recipe blog.

      • She wasn’t questioning it, it was more like a suggestion to herself that ended up working. Like “why not do this too?!” She probably thought to herself.

  • Hi Lauren,

    We made these at thanksgiving and they were amazing. It easily fed three people as a main course using our 5 quart crock pot 6 hours on medium . We’re wondering how to scale this to feed 7 adults and two kids at Christmas. I’ll be able to borrow a 12 quart crockpot. Can I double all the ingredients and cook the same duration or is it twice as long?

  • Great recioe & so tasty. I added some cayenne pepper cuz my hubby likes spicey sauce. Will be making them again.

  • First time making them , my crockpot says low or high so I put it on low for 6hrs I hope that is fine

    • My crockpots have only had low and high settings also. When you cooked them on low for 6 hours were they fall off the bone?

  • Excellent recipe, I make these ribs about twice a month and my family just raves over them!

  • We sear the ribs quickly on the bbq earlier first
    with a few soaked wood chips to create smoke…then put in crockpot to slow cook a few hours…Best of both worlds!!
    and with the potatoe salad made the day before, and other salads or desserts brought by our guests, I can actually enjoy the party!!!

  • We were not pleased with this recipe. If this had been my first time eating ribs, I would never eat them again.

  • Just made these today for Sunday dinner: So, so good! This recipe is definitely a keeper! Thanks for sharing it!

  • This is my go to recipe for ribs. I cook on low for 8 hours. Then broil the ribs with extra barbecue sauce for about 5 minutes. Ribs are fall off the bone good and so tender! Thank you so much for this wonderful recipe!

  • I saw the recipe for ribs and I L USI my crock pot and I love ribs so I wanted to give it a try
    Do I went to the store with bought S and a just put them in
    I will let you know H they turn out.

  • I love love love this recipe and so do my family and friends. I personally add a whole sweet onion and I make it to wear j pull the bones and to make pulled pork sandwiches. amazing!!!

  • I make ribs all the time in the crock pot, I put them in frozen thawed just enough to bend with onion soup mix, can or bottle of root beer on high for an hr and 30 mins then on low for at least 5 more hrs. Then I finish mine off in the oven on broil watching for the char on the bbq sauce that you want! This way I can make them all winter long too!

  • What I couldn’t seem to find is instructions for how long ‘finishing off’ on the barbecue equates to. I have always cooked them on low for around 5 hours using this recipe, but wanted to try taking them out of the crock-pot after 4 hours like she suggests and then putting them on my gas barbecue.

    Suggestions anyone? 30 minutes? 15? Indirect or direct heat?

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