The Ultimate Guide To Making Delicious Slab Of Ribs In An Air Fryer

slab of ribs air fryer recipe

Air fryers have been taking the culinary world by storm for the past few years. With its ability to make delicious and crispy foods with less oil, air fryers have become the go-to kitchen appliance for people who want healthier meals without compromising on taste and texture.

One of the most popular foods that can be cooked in an air fryer is a slab of ribs. Ribs are the ultimate comfort food and can satisfy any craving. However, making ribs can be daunting, especially for first-time air fryer users. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know to make a perfect slab of ribs in your air fryer.

The Science behind Cooking Ribs

To understand the best way to cook ribs in an air fryer, it’s essential to understand the science behind cooking meat. When meat is heated, the proteins in it denature and coagulate, causing the meat to shrink and dry out. The problem with cooking ribs is that they have a lot of connective tissue and fat, which can make them tough if not cooked correctly.

The solution to this problem is to cook the ribs slowly at a low temperature. This allows the collagen in the connective tissue to break down into gelatin, making the ribs tender and juicy. Unfortunately, cooking ribs slowly can take several hours, making it an impractical option for anyone who wants to cook ribs quickly. This is where an air fryer comes in.

An air fryer can cook ribs faster because it circulates hot air around the food, cooking it from all sides. This allows the ribs to cook evenly and quickly, while still producing the same tender and juicy results as slow-cooked ribs.

Selecting the Right Ribs

The first step in making delicious ribs in your air fryer is selecting the right ribs. Pork ribs come in three main types: baby back ribs, spare ribs, and St. Louis-style ribs.

  • Baby back ribs – These are the smallest and most tender ribs and are usually taken from the upper part of the rib cage. They are a good option if you want a meatier rib.
  • Spare ribs – These are larger and meatier than baby back ribs and are typically taken from the belly. They have more connective tissue, making them more flavorful but also more difficult to cook.
  • St. Louis-style ribs – These are a type of spare rib that is trimmed down to remove the excess fat, making them more flavorful and easier to cook.
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Once you’ve selected your rib type, make sure to choose high-quality ribs that are fresh. Avoid ribs with excessive bruising or discoloration as these can indicate that the meat has been damaged or has been sitting unsold for too long.

Cleaning the Ribs

slab of ribs

Before you start cooking your ribs, it’s important to clean them properly to avoid any harmful bacteria. Rinse the ribs under cold water and pat them dry with a towel. Then, remove the tough membrane that covers the bone side of the ribs, as this can make the ribs tough and chewy. A good trick to removing the membrane is to use a butter knife to loosen the bubble of the membrane at one corner, then grab that corner with a paper towel and pull it off.

Preparing the Ribs

slab of ribs

Once you’ve cleaned your ribs and removed the membrane, it’s time to prepare them for cooking. Seasoning your ribs is a crucial part of making them delicious. You can use any type of seasoning you want, but a good rule of thumb is to use a dry rub or marinade that complements the natural flavor of the meat.

A dry rub typically consists of a blend of spices and herbs such as garlic powder, onion powder, brown sugar, paprika, salt, black pepper, and cumin. You can also add other spices like chili powder, cinnamon, or nutmeg to create a flavor profile that suits your taste.

If you prefer a marinade, you can use a mixture of oil, vinegar, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, honey, or mustard, along with your choice of spices and herbs.

Once you’ve seasoned your ribs, let them sit in the fridge for at least an hour or overnight to allow the flavors to penetrate the meat.

Tips for Cooking Ribs in an Air Fryer

close up view of air fried slab of ribs

Now that you’ve got your ribs seasoned and prepared, it’s time to cook them in your air fryer. Here are some tips to help you achieve the perfect slab of ribs:

  • Preheat your air fryer to 350°F for about 3-5 minutes
  • Add the seasoned ribs to the air fryer basket in a single layer
  • Cook the ribs for about 25-30 minutes, flipping them halfway through
  • Check the temperature of the meat with a meat thermometer to ensure it’s cooked to your preferred doneness. For pork, the safe internal temperature should reach at least 145°F without letting the thermometer touch the bone
  • If the ribs need a little extra browning, brush barbecue sauce on them
  • Once cooked, let the ribs rest for a few minutes before cutting them to retain moisture
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A Delicious Recipe for Air Fryer Ribs

close up view of air fried slab of ribs

Here’s a quick and easy recipe for making delicious air fryer ribs:


  • 1 slab of pork ribs
  • ½ cup of brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons of garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons of onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon of chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  • 1 tablespoon of black pepper
  • Barbecue sauce


  1. Preheat your air fryer to 350°F.
  2. Mix brown sugar, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, salt, and black pepper in a bowl.
  3. Rub the spice mixture all over the ribs, making sure to coat them evenly.
  4. Place the ribs in the air fryer basket, bone-side down, and cook for 25-30 minutes, flipping them halfway through.
  5. Brush barbecue sauce on the ribs and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes, or until the sauce is caramelized.
  6. Check the temperature of the meat with a meat thermometer to ensure it’s cooked to your preferred doneness.
  7. Remove the ribs from the air fryer and let them rest for a few minutes.
  8. Cut the ribs into individual portions and serve with your favorite side dishes.


Once you have mastered the basic recipe for air fryer ribs, you can experiment with different flavors and seasonings to create something unique.

  • Honey mustar air fryer ribs – Use a mixture of honey, mustard, and soy sauce to season your ribs, and add a touch of ginger or sesame seeds for extra flavor.
  • Smoky air fryer ribs – Use smoked salt and smoked paprika to create a deeper smoky flavor, and add a little bit of liquid smoke for an extra burst of flavor.
  • Spicy air fryer ribs – Add some cayenne pepper or hot sauce to your seasoning mix to create a spicy version of air fryer ribs.
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Making delicious air fryer ribs is easy and convenient. Whether you prefer baby back ribs, spare ribs, or St. Louis-style ribs, an air fryer can help you achieve the perfect slab of ribs in less time and with less oil than traditional methods. Follow our tips, try out our recipe, and experiment with your own flavor combinations to create the ultimate comfort food that your whole family will love.

  • Air Fryer Pork Ribs –
  • FAQS On Slab Of Ribs Air Fryer Recipe

    What Cut Of Ribs Is Best For Air Frying?

    St. Louis-style spare ribs or baby back ribs are the best cuts for air frying.

    Do I Need To Preheat The Air Fryer Before Cooking The Ribs?

    Yes, preheating the air fryer is essential for even cooking. Preheat it for 5-10 minutes before cooking the ribs.

    How Long Should I Cook The Ribs In The Air Fryer?

    Cooking times may vary depending on the size of the ribs and your air fryer. Generally, cook St. Louis-style spare ribs for 25-30 minutes at 375°F, and baby back ribs for 20-25 minutes at the same temperature.

    Can I Add Barbecue Sauce To The Ribs Before Air Frying Them?

    Yes, you can. But wait about 5 minutes before the end of the cooking time and then brush the sauce on.

    Do I Need To Flip The Ribs During Air Frying?

    Yes, flipping the ribs halfway through is crucial for even cooking and browning.

    Can I Cook Frozen Ribs In The Air Fryer?

    Yes, you can. But you will need to add some extra cooking time of around 5-10 minutes.

    How Do I Know If The Ribs Are Fully Cooked?

    Use a meat thermometer to ensure the internal temperature of the ribs reaches 165°F. Pierce the meat with the meat thermometer in the thickest part of the meat to ensure accurate temperature reading.