This Air Fryer Spare Ribs recipe is a fast way to get flavorful and juicy ribs in a short amount of time. Coated with a homemade dry rub, these tender ribs will be ready in just 30 minutes! Pair with a few easy sides and you'll have a delicious and filling meal.
Spare ribs are some of my favorite types of ribs. The meat just tends to be juicier, meatier, and full of flavor. I've not met a spare rib that I didn't devour, and cooking them in the air fryer proves that to be true.
Since there are minimal ingredients and steps to make ribs in the air fryer, get ready to be hooked. It's also a great way to not have to fire up the grill for hours (like with 3 2 1 ribs) during the coldest times of the year and still enjoy a meaty and delicious rib dinner.
All that our recipe needs are some hearty sides to pair with it and you've got yourself quite the feast. Or, you can skip the sides altogether and just chow down on the ribs. No judgment here.
Ingredients and Equipment
Spare Ribs: I typically cook up about 2.5 pounds of ribs per meal. If there are any leftovers, they heat up great. If you want to do more, just increase the amount.
Garlic Powder: Great flavoring that really stands out against the pork.
Onion Powder: Gives a nice oniony flavor to anything you use it on.
Smoked Paprika: Mixed with the other two spices is delicious. It gives a great smoky flavor to foods without needing to use a smoker.
Air Fryer - This works with any type or size of air fryer just be sure that you don't overcrowd. I also use my air fryer lid attachment on my Instant Pot.
How To Cook Air Fryer Spare Ribs
Step One - Preheat the air fryer to 400 degrees. Spray the air fryer basket with non-stick spray as well.
Step Two - Mix the seasonings to make the dry rub and then apply all over the ribs.
Step Three - Cut down the ribs so that they fit in the air fryer. Air fry them for 15 minutes.
Step Four - Once the initial 15 minutes have passed, flip them with a pair of tongs and cook them for an additional 15 minutes.
How To Serve Air Fryer Ribs
Once the ribs are cooked, you can slice them into singular ribs and enjoy. Most people will grab and eat all the way to the bone, toss it in the trash, and grab another and enjoy.
Ribs are great for a big dose of protein and are always a hit. You can wrap them in aluminum foil and have them sitting out on the table to save yourself from having to dirty up a plate.
Are spare ribs beef or pork?
Spare ribs are referring to pork ribs whereas short ribs are referring to beef ribs. Both are delicious and can easily be cooked in your air fryer. Spare ribs tend to be a bit meatier than short ribs.
Can you add sauce to spare ribs?
Absolutely. No matter if you like dry rub ribs or ribs covered in barbecue sauce, do what you want to do. I still recommend using the dry rub and then you can always brush on the sauce at the end.
You can also just use BBQ sauce as a dip, too.
What side dishes pair well with pork spare ribs?
Air fryer pork ribs are good with just about anything. Cooking up some fries is a great idea, or pairing it with a low carb or keto friendly vegetable is great, too. We even love serving them with smoked pineapple for a sweet and savory combo.
I'm also a big fan of coleslaw and any type of beans. Corn on the cob is excelling during the summer months.
How to store leftover dry rub or BBQ ribs
No matter if they're covered in barbeque sauce or not, any ribs that are leftover can be stored in the fridge. Just put them in a container with a lid and keep them nice and cool. As long as they're stored properly, they should stay good for 3-5 days.
To reheat the ribs, you can warm them up low and slow in the oven or in the microwave.
Can you freeze cooked ribs?
You can. Once you have the ribs cooked, you can add them to a freezer-safe bag and store them in the freezer. Make sure to squeeze out any excess air so that the bag doesn't have any.
I like to freeze a few in a bag so I can unthaw and enjoy and save some for later.
- 2 lb spare ribs
Smoked Paprika Rub
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Preheat air fryer to 400. Spray basket and rack with cooking spray.
- Mix together rub ingredients and rub on the ribs.
- Place ribs in the air fryer and cook for 15 minutes.
- Flip. Cook an additional 15 minutes.