Slow Cooker Baby Back Ribs

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If you love BBQ as much as we do, you are going to flip for these ribs.

We live in the great state of Texas where BBQ is a way of life. We love smoking ribs in our awesome electric Smokin’ Tex smoker. But, we are not kidding when we say these slow cooker ribs give the smoked kind a run for the money. The Easy Homemade BBQ Sauce makes them over-the-top delicious.

A person holding a baby back rib that has been pulled from a rack of slow cooker baby back ribs.

How To Make Slow Cooker Baby Back Ribs


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The Ingredients You Will Need

There are just a handful of ingredients that you’ll need to make truly spectacular baby back ribs. The homemade BBQ sauce can be made days in advance, and we highly recommend you make it. It’s easy and incredibly delicious! Here’s what you’ll need to have on hand:

Pork Baby Back Ribs – Ask your butcher to remove the membrane on the back side of the ribs. Or, you can use a small sharp knife to pull the membrane free, and then use a paper towel to help you pull it completely from the ribs.
Brown sugar – We love dark, but light will work, too.
Chili powder – A regular blend is great, if you like a little heat, then go with an ancho chili powder.
Paprika – Smoked adds an amazing depth of flavor.
Seasonings – Salt, pepper, and cayenne.
BBQ sauceHomemade is best, but a good-quality purchased bottle will work, too.

EXPERT TIP: Use your fingers to help adhere the rub to the ribs. Press it into the meaty side of the ribs. It’s okay if some of it falls, you just need it to be nicely coated with the rub.

A person wearing protective latex gloves pressing a pork rub into two slab of baby back ribs on a large cutting board.

Tips for Making Perfect Slow Cooker Baby Back Ribs

Remove the Membrane – Ask your butcher to remove the membrane from the back of the ribs before seasoning and placing them in the slow cooker to ensure maximum tenderness.

Cook on LOW – For the most tender meat, slow cook the ribs on LOW heat for 7-8 hours, allowing them to slowly tenderize and develop a melt-in-your-mouth texture.

Finish The Off Under the Broiler – Carefully remove the ribs from the slow cooker and then slather with the homemade BBQ sauce. Place them under the broiler for a short time to create an incredibly sticky, caramelized glaze.

Have Extra Sauce On Hand – You may want to make a double batch of the BBQ sauce, because your guests will want to dunk their ribs into their own side of sauce. It’s really that good!

EXPERT TIP: You’ll most likely need to cut your full rack in half for it to all fit in your slow cooker. This is no problem, simply stack the racks on top of each other. Don’t let the ribs go longer than 8 hours, as they may start to get a little too dark and will completely fall apart when you remove them from the slow cooker.

Two images with the first being two racks of baby back ribs that have a BBQ rub all over them in a slow cooker and then the next after the ribs have slow cooked all day.

How To Serve

These ribs are messy, that’s part of their charm. You’ll need to have plenty of paper towels on hand. A big roll of paper towels for the table works perfectly.

The perfect sides to go with the ribs are macaroni and cheese, dirty rice, baked beans, or potato salad.

And don’t forget the extra BBQ sauce for each guest.

A person pouring homemade barbecue sauce from a clear glass bottle onto a rack of slow cooker baby ribs that have been fully cooked.

Other Slow Cooker Recipes To Try

There is just something special about preparing a dish in your slow cooker. The way your house fills with incredible smells, and the anticipation of digging in is just the best. Here is a collection of our all-time favorites that we’re certain you and your family will love, too!

Mississippi Pot Roast
Classic Beef Stew
Beef Braciole
Chopped Brisket Sandwiches
Pulled Pork
Spiral Ham
Provencal Chicken Stew
Coconut Chicken Curry
Chicken Chow Mein
Baked Beans
Corn on the Cob
Asparagus Risotto

These are all amazing and tried and true. But, in the meantime, aren’t these gems calling your name?

Two half-racks of slow cooker baby back ribs stacked on top of each other and with barbecue sauce smear over the tops of each rack.

Ready to make a batch of ribs that will rival any BBQ joint in Texas? Go for it!

And when you do, be sure to take a photo of them, post it on Instagram, and tag @HowToFeedaLoon and hashtag #HowToFeedaLoon!

A person holding a baby back rib that has been pulled from a rack of slow cooker baby back ribs.

Slow Cooker Baby Back Ribs

These slow cooker baby back ribs truly give authentic Texas-style smoked ribs a run for the money. The rub and homemade sauce deliver that authentic BBQ taste and cooking on LOW makes them melt-in-your-mouth tender.
5 from 11 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Entree
Cuisine: BBQ / Southern
Keyword: easy baby back ribs recipe, how to slow cook ribs, Ribs
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 7 hours
BBQ Sauce: 20 minutes
Total Time: 8 hours 35 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 593kcal


  • 1 6 to 7 quart slow cooker


  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar light or dark
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp ground thyme dried
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 3 to 3 1/2 lb baby back ribs trimmed and membrane removed from the back of the ribs
  • Easy BBQ Sauce


  • Coat the slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray.
    Non-stick cooking spray
  • Combine the brown sugar, chili powder, paprika, thyme, salt, black pepper, and cayenne.
    2 tbsp brown sugar, 1 tbsp chili powder, 2 tsp smoked paprika, ½ tsp ground thyme, 1 tsp Kosher salt, ½ tsp ground black pepper, 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • Rub the mixture all over the ribs.
    3 to 3 1/2 lb baby back ribs
  • Place ribs in slow cooker and cover.
  • Cook on LOW for 7 - 8 hours, or until ribs are tender.
  • Easy BBQ Sauce
  • Remove ribs from the slow cooker and discard the liquid.
  • Turn your broiler to low, or, turn your slow cooker to high.
  • Coat the ribs with the sauce and place under the broiler (or back into the slow cooker).
  • Cook under broiler for about 2 minutes, remove, re-coat with another layer of sauce, and cook for another couple minutes. OR, let ribs cook on HIGH in slow cooker for 30 minutes. IMPORTANT: Broilers vary, keep an eye on the ribs, and don't let them burn!
  • Remove and serve at once, with additional BBQ sauce!


See the video near the top of the blog post for visual guidance. If you liked the video, please subscribe to our YouTube channel. 
If you don't have a butcher available to help you remove the membrane on the underside of the ribs, and you don't want to attempt to remove it yourself, just leave it on. Removing it simply makes the ribs easier to break apart, but they will still be extremely tender, even with the membrane unremoved. 
The ribs can be prepped with the rub up to 12 hours in advance. Keep covered in the fridge until ready to start slow cooking. We don't recommend letting the ribs slow cook for more than 7 hours, 8 maximum. If they go much longer, they might burn on the bottom and the meat will become so tender that they will fall apart when you try and remove them from the slow cooker.
The BBQ Sauce can be made up to several days in advance. 
Leftovers will keep in the fridge (covered) for up to 5 days. 


Calories: 593kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 48g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 0.4g | Cholesterol: 173mg | Sodium: 834mg | Potassium: 693mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 1173IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 95mg | Iron: 3mg
Tried this recipe? Take a Picture!Mention @HowToFeedALoon or tag #HowToFeedALoon!

POST UPDATE: This post was originally published in September 2016, but was updated with improved tweaks to the recipe with new tips and photography and a fabulous new video in January 2024!


  • My ribs are in the crock pot as we speak. However my oven for some reason doesn’t have a broil. I’m going to try and grill them on our outside grill for maybe 10-15 minutes?? ..I will let you know how they turn out I didn’t make the sauce

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