How to Cook Ribs in an Air Fryer – A Surprisingly Simple Method!

If you’re anything like me, you probably love the convenience of an air fryer—it’s not just for whipping up crispy french fries and chicken nuggets anymore! Today, I’m excited to share with you a simple yet satisfying way to cook ribs in an air fryer. Trust me, this basic recipe is not only a time-saver, but it’s also delicious and works for most types of ribs.

So, let’s dive in and see how your trusty air fryer can help you create some mouthwatering, tender, and flavorful ribs in no time.

What Type Of Ribs Should You Use?

different types of ribs like pork, beef, lamb

For this air fryer rib recipe, you can experiment with various types of ribs to suit your taste preferences.

Pork Ribs

Some popular options include pork spare ribs, known for their rich and well-marbled meat; baby back ribs, which offer consistent tenderness and ample meat between the bones; St. Louis-style ribs, providing a fattier and richer flavor due to more marbling; and country-style pork ribs, which boast a hearty and meaty texture.

Here’s a helpful hint for you: When cooking pork ribs in an air fryer, I recommend using a meat thermometer to guarantee you achieve the ideal internal temperature. For perfectly tender and juicy ribs, aim for a temperature range between 195°F and 203°F (90°C and 95°C), requiring approximately 20-25 minutes of cooking time. This will ensure your pork ribs are cooked to perfection.

Beef Ribs

Beef lovers might consider trying short ribs or beef back ribs, both of which offer unique flavors and textures to satisfy any palate. The only problem for me with some of the beef ribs is that they are too long and just won’t fit into my tiny air fryer basket.

Here’s a handy tip: When you’re cooking beef short ribs and beef back ribs in an air fryer, grab a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature while they’re cooking. You’ll want to reach around 200°F to 205°F (93°C to 96°C) for super tender and juicy beef ribs. It usually takes about 20-25 minutes to get there, so keep an eye on them to make sure they turn out perfect!

Lamb Ribs

Last but not least, my personal favorite choice for air-frying ribs has to be a rack of lamb or lamb riblets. These delightful gems venture beyond the traditional pork and beef options, offering a distinct and truly mouthwatering taste.

What makes lamb riblets so special is their adaptability to a variety of seasonings and sauces, allowing you to explore and experiment with unique flavor combinations. The air fryer cooks them to perfection, ensuring a tender, succulent, and flavorsome rib experience that will leave you craving for more.

Trust me, once you try air-fried lamb riblets, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more satisfying rib indulgence.

Here’s a top tip for you: When preparing a rack of lamb in an air fryer, always use a meat thermometer to accurately gauge the internal temperature, ensuring it’s cooked to your preference. If you’re looking for a beautiful medium-rare result, target a temperature of 145°F (63°C), which typically takes around 15-20 minutes. For those who prefer their lamb well-done, aim for 160°F (71°C), requiring approximately 20-25 minutes of cooking time.

No matter which type of rib you choose, this air fryer rib recipe will result in a delicious and satisfying meal.

How To Cook Ribs in an Air Fryer?

this is how to cook ribs in an air fryer

Step 1: So, first things first, I like to prepare the dry rub. Grab a small bowl and mix together some salt, paprika powder, garlic powder, black pepper, and cumin.

making dry rubs

If you’re missing any of these spices, don’t worry—just using salt and pepper will still taste great, or you can try the Famous Dave’s Rib Rub below.

Famous Dave's Seasoning Variety 3-Pack With Steak & Burger, Rib Rub For Beef or Pork, Chicken Rub, Grill Masters Delight…


Step 3: I like to pat the ribs dry with a paper towel after removing the membrane. If your air fryer is on the smaller side like mine, you might need to cut the rack into 2-3 sections to make them fit.

Step 2: Now, let’s tackle that thin white membrane on the back of the ribs. It can get tough and chewy when cooked, so I recommend sliding a knife under it and peeling it off. I usually ask my butcher to do it for me.

preparing the ribs for cooking

Step 4: Time to season! Rub that tasty dry-rub mixture all over the ribs, making sure to coat every bit of them. I like to be generous with it.

seasoning the ribs with dry rub

Step 5: Preheat your air fryer to 375°F (190°C) and place the ribs in the basket, meat side down. Cook ribs in an air fryer for 15 minutes at this point.

placing the ribs in the air fryer basket

Step 6: Carefully flip the ribs over in the air fryer basket using some kitchen tongs. I like to cook them for another 10 minutes to make sure they’re perfectly tender.

Step 7: Once they’re done, remove the ribs from the air fryer, cover them with aluminum foil, and let them rest for about 5 minutes. I know it’s hard to wait, but it’s worth it!

flinging the ribs over

Step 8: Cut the ribs into individual portions and serve with your favorite condiments like ketchup or barbecue sauce. And there you have it—tender, crispy, and super flavorful air fryer ribs. Enjoy!

cooked air fryer ribs

NOTE: Keep in mind that cook times are just estimates. The actual time needed may vary depending on your air fryer model and the size of the ribs. Always check the meat’s internal temperature to ensure it’s cooked properly before eating.

Do You Cook Ribs Bone Up or Down?

When cooking ribs, I suggest starting with the meat side facing down and the ribs side facing up in the air fryer basket. This allows the extra fat on the bone side to infuse the ribs with even more flavor. After 15 minutes, go ahead and flip them for even cooking and perfect results.

Should I Cut Ribs Before Cooking?

cut pork ribs

My air fryer basket is small, so I do cut the ribs before cooking. Cutting the ribs into smaller sections will ensure they fit properly in my air fryer basket and cook evenly. So, I recommend cutting the rack into 2-3 sections, depending on the size of your air fryer, but NOT into individual ribs, as they then dry out too much when cooking.

How To Serve Air Fryer Ribs?

Air fryer ribs make a versatile and tasty dish, whether you’re enjoying a quick meal solo or prepping for tomorrow’s lunch. Complement them with scrumptious sides like coleslaw, potato salad, or creamy mashed potatoes.

And be sure to have plenty of napkins ready because when you slather on that barbecue sauce, these mouthwatering ribs are bound to be a deliciously messy affair!

How To Store Air Fryer Ribs?

To store your air fryer ribs for later enjoyment, let them cool down fully before placing them in an airtight container or freezer bag. You can keep them in the fridge for up to four days or stash them in the freezer for as long as three months.

And, while you’re at it, be sure to check out my other article on how to reheat ribs in an air fryer for the best reheating tips and tricks!

Easy Air Fryer Ribs Recipe

Recipe by Jen Evansy
0.0 from 0 votes
Course: DinnerCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy


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Cooking time




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Discover a simple and delicious method for cooking ribs using your air fryer. This versatile recipe works for most types of ribs, offering a tasty alternative to traditional BBQ or oven methods. With minimal preparation and a few easy steps, you can achieve tender, juicy, and flavorful ribs that are sure to impress. Give your air fryer a new purpose and enjoy a mouthwatering meal in no time.

Cook Mode

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  • 1 rack of ribs (about 3 pounds, lamb rib, rack of lamb or pork baby back ribs, or beef short rib)

  • Dry Rub
  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 2 teaspoons paprika powder

  • 3 teaspoons garlic powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin


  • Prepare the dry rub: In a small bowl, mix together the salt, paprika powder, garlic powder, black pepper, and cumin. If you don’t have any of these spices, you can simply use salt and pepper.
  • Remove the membrane: On the backside of the ribs, there is a thin, white membrane that can be tough and chewy when cooked. Remove this membrane by sliding a knife under it and carefully peeling it away from the ribs.
  • Prepare the ribs: Pat the ribs dry with a paper towel, and if you have a small air fryer, cut the rack into 2-3 sections so that they can fit into your air fryer basket.
  • Season the ribs: Rub the dry rub mixture generously on both sides of the ribs, ensuring all surfaces are well coated.
  • Cook the ribs: Preheat the air fryer to 375°F (190°C). Once heated, place the ribs in the air fryer basket with the meat side down. Cook for 15 minutes.
  • Flip the ribs: Using kitchen tongs, carefully flip the ribs over in the air fryer basket. Continue cooking for an additional 10 minutes at 375°F (190°C).
  • Rest the ribs: Remove the ribs from the air fryer basket, wrap them in aluminum foil, and let them rest for about 5 minutes.
  • Serve: Cut the ribs into individual portions and serve with ketchup or barbecue sauce, if desired. Enjoy your tender, crispy, and flavorful air fryer ribs!

Recipe Video


  • Preheat the air fryer: Preheating your air fryer to 375°F (190°C) ensures even cooking and helps to achieve a crispy exterior on the ribs.
  • Cook in a single layer: Place the ribs in a single layer in the air fryer basket to ensure even air circulation and cooking. You may need to cook in batches if your air fryer is smaller.
  • Adjust cooking times: Cooking times may vary depending on the thickness of the ribs and the specific air fryer model. A general guideline is to cook a rack of lamb ribs or baby back ribs for 25-30 minutes and spare ribs for 35-40 minutes, flipping halfway through the cooking time.
  • A quick tip: Use a meat thermometer when air frying a rack of lamb. For medium-rare, aim for 145°F (63°C) in 15-20 minutes. For well-done, target 160°F (71°C) in 20-25 minutes.
  • Baste with sauce: For saucy ribs, baste the ribs with your favorite barbecue sauce during the last 5-10 minutes of cooking. This will allow the sauce to caramelize and adhere to the ribs without burning.

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Read Also: How To Cook Bacon in an Air Fryer – The Crispy Breakfast Hack!

So there you have it.

Cooking ribs in an air fryer is not only super easy, but it’s also a delicious way to enjoy this delicious cut of meat. I’ve had so much fun experimenting with different rib types, rubs, and sauces, and I’m sure you’ll love it too.

The convenience of using an air fryer for ribs just can’t be beaten, plus it frees up your oven for other dishes. Give it a try, and I bet you’ll be hooked on this fantastic method for cooking mouthwatering, tender air fryer ribs.

Enjoy, and don’t forget to share your air fryer rib adventures with me in the comments below—I’d love to hear how it goes for you!

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About Jen Evansy

Nutritionist, researcher, avid home cook, and writer interested in everything nutrition and food-related. Striving to inform, encourage, and inspire all the readers to make healthy and informed choices when it comes to cooking, food, diet, and nutrition.