Fall-Off-The-Bone Slow Cooker Ribs | Renee's Kitchen Adventures

Monday, May 18, 2015

Fall-Off-The-Bone Slow Cooker Ribs

No need to fire up the grill when you make Fall-Off-The-Bone Slow Cooker Ribs! These ribs are perfectly cooked every single time. Tender and moist pork baby back ribs are slathered in your favorite sauce and cooked to perfection right in your slow cooker.

Fall-Off-The-Bone Slow Cooker Ribs by Renee's Kitchen Adventures cut into serving sizes in a clear dish ready to serve

Any day is a great day for Slow Cooker Ribs! 

In my perfect world it would be summer all year long.  I love everything about summer, including traditional summertime foods like Slow Cooker Cowboy Baked Beans and these amazing Fall off the Bone Slow Cooker Ribs!

But, you don't have to worry about the weather forecast or even the time of year when you make these ribs. Rain or shine, these slow cooker ribs are always in season. That's because the grill is optional when you make Slow Cooker Ribs!

Over the years, I've tried many methods to achieve tender fall-off-the-bone baby back ribs... I've slow baked ribs in the oven, boiled ribs, and cooked them all day on the BBQ grill. While all of these methods work, none of them compare to cooking baby back ribs in a slow cooker. When you put your slow cooker to work, you'll get tender and moist baby back ribs every single time!

Fall-Off-The-Bone Slow Cooker Ribs by Renee's Kitchen Adventures in the crock of a slow cooker, basted with BBQ sauce

There is really no need to put the ribs on the grill at all...but I admit, sometimes I finish them off on the grill to give them a "grilled look" and to caramelize the BBQ sauce. However, it's perfectly acceptable to just slather on more warmed up BBQ sauce before serving and bypass the grill completely. 

What type of ribs should I cook in the slow cooker?

Fall-Off-The-Bone Slow Cooker Ribs  by Renee's Kitchen Adventures chart explaining the different types of pork ribs
Image source: Three Little Pigs BBQ 

In my opinion, because of their size and meatiness, baby back ribs are the best suited type of ribs to cook in the slow cooker. You can use this recipe for other pork ribs, such as St. Louis-style ribs and Spareribs, providing you can make them fit into the slow cooker crock. Keep in mind, you may need to adjust cook time when using ribs other than baby back ribs for this recipe. I would not suggest using country-style pork ribs in this recipe. 

How to cook ribs in the slow cooker

  • Prebake before adding to the slow cooker. The trick to these great ribs is pre-baking them in a HOT (425 degree F) oven for 20 minutes before putting them into the slow cooker.  This allows some of the fat to melt off ahead of time, so it doesn't pool in your slow cooker while the ribs are cooking.
  • Cut ribs in half so they fit into your slow cooker. My slow cooker will not hold a long slab of baby back ribs, so I cut them down the center into two half slabs after I remove the membrane on the underside. 
  • Let ribs sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Before I start the whole cooking process, I like to let the ribs sit out at room temperature. This helps even out the cooking. Once the ribs are out of the oven for the prebake, I set the ribs up on their sides in the slow cooker, to allow any extra fat to drip down and off of them while they slow cook.  I then pour about a cup of my favorite BBQ sauce on to the ribs, cover and cook on low for about 6 hours or until they are fork tender. 
  • Optional finish on the grill. Once the ribs are done, they can be quickly grilled to caramelize the sauce. You can also skip the grill entirely and simply cut them between the bones, slather them with more warmed up BBQ sauce, and enjoy.  

They are so moist and tender....

Fall-Off-The-Bone Slow Cooker Ribs by Renee's Kitchen Adventures ready to serve in clear serving dish with sides in the background

As you can see...the meat will, literally, just fall off the bone!  YUM! 

Fall-Off-The-Bone Slow Cooker Ribs  by Renee's Kitchen Adventures bones on a red plate with no meat attached and a fork.

Is it wrong to dream about BBQ ribs?  If it is...I don't want to be right!  

What to serve with Fall-Off-the-Bone Slow Cooker Ribs

I like to serve these delicious BBQ spare ribs with a slaw like this zesty Firecracker Coleslaw or this healthy Red Cabbage Slaw with Cashews. Also delicious with Fall-Off-the-Bone Slow Cooker Ribs is an easy to make salad like this Easy Broccoli Pasta Salad or Mom's Potato Salad. Also great with these ribs when in season, is fresh corn on the cob! 

Slow Cooker Ribs, Slow Cooker Spare Ribs
Main Course, pork
American, BBQ
Yield: 6 servings
Author: Renee Paj
Fall-Off-The-Bone Slow Cooker Ribs

Fall-Off-The-Bone Slow Cooker Ribs

Prep time: 5 MinCook time: 6 H & 20 MTotal time: 6 H & 25 M
Fall-Off-The-Bone Slow Cooker Ribs are tender and moist baby back pork ribs cooked to perfection right in the slow cooker. No need to grill!



  1. Cut slab into two halves so it will fit into the crock of your slow cooker. Spray crock with cooking spray.
  2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with foil and put both halves of ribs on the sheet. Season both sides of rib halves with your favorite spice rub/seasoning of your choice. Rub into meat and allow meat to come up to room temperature as the oven heats.
  3. Bake ribs, bone side down, in oven for 20 minutes. Remove and place into crock of slow cooker on it's side. (so bones are vertical in the crock)
  4. Pour about a cup of your favorite BBQ sauce onto the ribs, cover and cook on LOW for about 6 hours,or until the ribs are tender, but not falling apart.
  5. Remove ribs and cut into serving pieces place in serving dish and baste with more warm BBQ sauce OR take slab halves and finish off with more sauce on a hot outdoor grill to caramelize the sauce.

Nutrition Facts



Fat (grams)

1.54 g

Sat. Fat (grams)

0.47 g

Cholesterol (grams)

4.85 mg

Carbs (grams)

19.56 g

Fiber (grams)

0.43 g

Sugar (grams)

15.95 g

Net carbs

19.13 g

Protein (grams)

1.72 g

Sodium (milligrams)

498.19 mg

Nutritional Information is an estimate

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Renee's Notes:  I'm not kidding, you've got to give this method a try!  I know you will be sold on it like I was!  Pork Baby Back Ribs is a special occasion meal around here because ribs aren't the healthiest choice, however, my son adores them, so I do make them occasionally.  I love that these can be made no matter what the weather is outside!  I've even made them in the winter!  Give this method a try and make sure you come back and let me know what you think!

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  1. My daughter would love to eat ribs every single day. Love the idea of cooking them in the slow cooker. That means she can have them more often.

  2. Oh my goodness!! These are totally my kind of ribs! Looks fantastic, Renee!

  3. I'm all over this recipe! It's been awhile since I've made ribs. Thanks for the tip of cooking them before putting them in the slow cooker!

    1. I think that's what makes this recipe work, that precook! Thanks!

  4. Yummy! Looking at them makes me hungry :)

  5. My hubby LOVES ribs! he'd eat them every day if I made them. these ones look amazing! I can't wait to make them!

    1. It's funny, not my hubby's favorite and I think he's weird, because I think most guys love ribs! haha

  6. I usually do mine in my oven at 250 for 3 hours, then finish them off on the grill. I could make these at work in the crock pot though and bring them home to grill - ha! :D

    1. Yup, that's how I used to make mine before I started making them in the slow cooker. I'm sold on this slow cooker method! It would be so convenient for you when you work Biz.

  7. I have been wanting to try and make ribs in the slow cooker for forever! This looks so simple and easy and delicious too! Definitely giving this a try soon. :)

    1. This is the best slow cooker method I have tried! Hope you get a chance to try them this way!

  8. I love this method! I'm always happy to find a good slow cooker recipe and I know my guys would be pretty happy to see these ribs!

  9. Ribs are the first post I made on my blog. Hands down the best thing to cook in the slow cooker. Great recipe Renee!

  10. These ribs look mouth watering! I don't usually pre-bake them, but I'll have to try it the next time.

  11. The recipe looks good and easy.
    Your blog is difficult to read. You have too many ads on your page. It's very annoying.

    1. Thank you for your feedback. I'd love to know what device you are using to read it (laptop, phone, tablet). I am currently working with my ad network to reduce the amount of ads shown and increase reader satisfaction.


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