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Easy Air Fryer Spare Ribs Recipe

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Hey there, air fryer aficionados and soon-to-be converts! Get ready to dive into a rib-tastic adventure with these Air Fryer Spare Ribs. Imagine tender, juicy meat with a mouthwatering blend of smoky, sweet, and savory flavors. 

air fried spare ribs, served on a white plate

If you’re looking for a recipe that’s as easy as it is delicious, you’re in for a treat.

A friendly heads-up: This recipe isn’t designed for fall-off-the-bone ribs. It’s focused on simplicity and ease. Suppose you’re seeking those incredibly tender spare ribs; no worries. In that case, we’re actively working on that version as I’m penning this down. Stay tuned for the upcoming developments!

air fryer spare ribs ribs, recipe bite-shot, with ketchup on the side

Notes: We are currently in the development and testing stage for this pork spare ribs air fryer recipe. Stay tuned for more updates. If you have any tips on making this dish even better, please leave us a comment below. We appreciate your input!

Happy frying!

Ingredients for Air Fryer Spare Ribs

Here are all you need to make easy air fried pork spare ribs.

  • Spare ribs
  • Salt and pepper
  • Black pepper
  • Brown sugar
  • Smoked paprika
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Dried thyme (optional)
  • Barbecue sauce

You can find the exact measurements of the recipe ingredients and customize the serving size in the recipe card after the detailed step-by-step instructions section.


When it comes to the barbecue sauce, go wild! Pick your favorite brand or whip up your own signature sauce. 

Furthermore, while you can use a store-bought rib rub, I can’t promise it’ll deliver the same level of goodness. However, if you’ve crafted your blend, I’m confident it’ll yield impeccable results. 

Don’t hesitate to share your homemade rub in the notes section below!

How to Cook Spare Ribs in an Air Fryer?

Let’s face it, ribs can sometimes be a daunting task. 

But fear not because these air fryer pork spare ribs are here to make things a breeze. This recipe’s got you covered with flavors that’ll dance on your taste buds and simplicity that’ll make you smile.

Step 1: Prepare the spare ribs.

Next, let’s prep the ribs:

  1. Turn your ribs over to their backside. 
  2. Then, remove the membrane. Don’t worry; it’s easier than it sounds!
    1. Slide a butter knife or your fingers under the membrane’s edge. 
    2. Grab a paper towel, use it to get a firm grip, and start peeling it away from the meat. 
    3. If you’re lucky, you can remove it in one action.
  3. Cut the ribs into 2 – 4 pieces. 

Let’s be honest here:

If you’re working with a compact air fryer, its limitations become apparent in this scenario. The reason? You can’t and SHOULD NOT stack the spare ribs. This means you’ll have to cook them in batches, which could extend the cooking time by two or even three rounds. 

In such a case, you might opt for the oven instead.

Why the no-stacking rule? Well, it’s all about even cooking. Overlapping the ribs would hinder proper air circulation, resulting in unevenly cooked meat.

You can cut it into each rib piece as a last hail mary. This’ll ensure you can fit more in one batch, saving you time. Just remember that it should be arranged in only one layer in the air fryer.

Step 2: Preheat your air fryer to 380ºF (193ºC).

Preating Instant Pot Vortex Plus Air Fryer to 380°F (193°C).

If your air fryer doesn’t have a preheating option, set your desired temperature then let it cook for 5 minutes without food.

Step 3: Season the pork spare ribs.

Mix up brown sugar, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, and dried thyme for a flavor explosion. 


Get hands-on with your pork ribs! Sprinkle the meticulously crafted seasoning blend over the ribs, and dive in with your hands. Give the meat a hearty rub, ensuring every inch is enveloped in this flavor explosion.

💡 Pro Tip: After seasoning, allow the meat to rest at room temperature for 15 – 30 minutes. This enhances the adhesion of the spices. A tip I picked up from Meat Church; thanks, Matt! Additionally, it can act like a speedy brine if your dry rub includes salt, resulting in a more flavorful result.

Step 4: Air fry spare ribs for 30 – 40 minutes at 380ºF (193ºC).

Lay your seasoned ribs in the air fryer, leaving room in between for the air fryer to work its magic. Cook at 380ºF (193ºC) for 30 – 40 minutes, flipping halfway.

🚨 Remember: Do not overlap nor stack the pork ribs

If you’re creating your own sauce, you can make it while the spare ribs are air frying.

Around 10 minutes before your ribs finish cooking, brush on your favorite barbecue sauce on both sides. Let it caramelize in the last 10 minutes of cooking.

Step 5: Check for doneness.

Use a meat thermometer to ensure your ribs hit an internal temperature of 145ºF (63ºC). It’s a little science, a dash of art, and a lot of deliciousness.

Consider extending the cooking time by 5 to 10 minutes for even more tender air-fried spare ribs. Remember that prolonged cooking at 380ºF might lead to dry results, so be cautious with the extra duration.

Step 6: Serve and Enjoy!

air fried spare ribs, served on a white plate

Once the pork has reached a safe temperature, bring it out to room temperature. Then, let it rest for 5 – 10 minutes before serving.

Finally, serve and pair these succulent air fried spare ribs with your favorite sides. You’re in for a treat that’ll have everyone begging for seconds.

There you have it, a rib-tastic journey that’s big on flavor and easy on the prep. The air fryer’s your ticket to finger-licking goodness that’ll leave everyone asking for your culinary secrets. 

So, grab your apron, gather your ingredients, and get ready to dive into a rib experience that’s nothing short of spectacular. It’s time to fry it, to believe it!

Freezing & Storage

Freezing: Got some ‘spare’ spare ribs for another day? Freeze ’em for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge and pop ’em in the air fryer at 350ºF (175ºC) for 5 – 10 minutes to bring ’em back to life.

Fridge: Leftovers are friends, not food waste. Store ’em in the fridge for up to 3 days. When hunger strikes again, reheat them in the air fryer at 350ºF (175ºC) for 5 – 7 minutes until they return to their juicy, mouthwatering best.

Frequently Asked Questions

Air frying spare ribs take around 30 – 40 minutes at 380ºF (193ºC) to cook to juicy perfection. Remember to flip them halfway for even cooking. Ensure an internal temperature of 145ºF (63ºC) using a meat thermometer for the ultimate rib experience.

Yes! You can cook spare ribs in the air fryer. Air fryers make spare ribs recipes a breeze. Prep with your favorite dry rub or seasoning, then air fry at 380ºF (193ºC) for 30 – 40 minutes, flipping halfway.

Pop spare ribs in the air fryer, reheat at 350ºF (175ºC) for 5 – 7 minutes, and voilà! They’ll be warm and ready to delight your taste buds again. Add more cooking time depending on the number of ribs you’ll reheat.

prep time10 minutes
cooking time30 minutes
total cooking time40 minutes

Easy Air Fryer Spare Ribs

Savor the convenience of delectable air fryer spare ribs seasoned with a mouthwatering dry rub. Effortlessly prepared and bursting with flavor, these ribs are a delightful addition to any meal.
air fried spare ribs, served on a white plate
5 from 1 vote
number of servings2

This ingredients checklist is interactive; you can use it as your grocery list.


  • 1 rack spare ribs
  • 1/4 cup barbecue sauce

For the Dry Rub:

  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper adjust to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme optional for extra flavor


  • Prepare the ribs. Flip the rack of spare ribs over so the bone side is facing up. Use a butter knife or your fingers to gently lift the thin membrane. Use a paper towel to grip and remove the membrane from the back of the ribs. This step is essential for optimal seasoning adherence.
  • Cut the ribs into 2 to 4 pieces based on your air fryer's size.
  • Preheat your air fryer to 380ºF (193ºC) for 5 minutes.
  • Create a rib rub seasoning blend. Combine the brown sugar, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, and dried thyme in a small bowl.
  • Season pork ribs. Sprinkle the dry rub mixture evenly over both sides of the rib pieces. Gently press the rub onto the meat for an even coating.
  • Air fry spare ribs. Place the seasoned rib pieces in a single layer in the air fryer. Cook at 380ºF (193ºC) for 30 – 40 minutes, flipping halfway.
  • Brush with BBQ sauce. About 10 minutes before the ribs are done, brush a layer of barbecue sauce on both sides. This step adds a final burst of tantalizing flavor and a sumptuous glaze.
  • Check for doneness. Confirm the ribs reach an internal temperature of 145ºF (63ºC) using a meat thermometer. Extend the cooking time by 5 – 10 minutes for even more tenderness if desired.
  • Once cooked, remove and let the spare ribs rest at room temperature for 5 minutes. This ensures the juices redistribute, creating a succulent and satisfying eating experience.
  • Serve & enjoy your air fried spare ribs and relish in a hassle-free and delicious meal.


  • DO NOT overlap nor stack the ribs in the air fryer. Otherwise, they won’t cook properly. If you have a small air fryer, cook them in batches.
  • Considering that cooking time varies depending on the meat’s thickness (and your air fryer’s specs), always check with a meat thermometer if your pork is cooked thoroughly. The pork’s safe internal temperature is a minimum of 145ºF (63ºC).
  • If your air fryer doesn’t have a preheating option, you can set the temperature to 380°F (193°C) and then let it cook for 4-5 minutes without food. 
  • You can skip preheating by adding 2-4 minutes to your cooking time. Increment gradually to prevent burning the spare ribs.
  • I used a 6-quart (air fryer) to test the spare ribs. Cooking time and temperature may vary depending on your air fryer and the number of servings you are making. For optimal results, begin with the lower end of the suggested cooking time.


Calories: 758kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 38g | Fat: 56g | Saturated Fat: 18g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 10g | Monounsaturated Fat: 20g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 191mg | Sodium: 1728mg | Potassium: 732mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 689IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 68mg | Iron: 3mg
Keywords: air fryer spare ribs, spare ribs in air fryer

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