These super easy Oven-Baked Baby Back Ribs turn tedious fire-pit cooking into a simple indoor process that delivers fall-apart baby back ribs every time. You’re going to love this recipe!
» Guess what else is great in the oven! This roasted rack of lamb and delicious tri-tip steak.
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CHEF’S TIP: The key to making fall-apart baby back ribs in the oven is to cook them low and slow in a “packet” that seals in the steam. We bake our ribs at 275° F wrapped in foil for 2-3 hours and this produces the absolute perfect ribs every time.
If you don’t have an outdoor grill, or it’s the middle of winter and you don’t want to uncover the grill and stand out in the rain, this recipe is a fantastic alternative that makes a really good rack of ribs indoors with very little mess and fuss.
Barbecue meat, especially baby back ribs, is one of the true pleasures in life, but cooking low and slow over a fire pit for hours on end is not so pleasurable. Oven-baking them leads to a perfect rack of ribs every time, with half the fuss.
Cooking ribs in the oven on a low heat for a few hours produces incredibly tender meat that is falling off the bone, just like you’d expect from cooking for hours on a bbq pit.
Ingredients You Need
You can use whatever type of rub and BBQ sauce you like, but I would encourage you to try our homemade versions because the ribs with our rub and BBQ sauce are simply to die for. If you want the full flavor explosion of this recipe, you need to make it all!
- Baby back ribs – I personally really like baby back ribs and choose these most of the time, but you can make this recipe using spare ribs or pork ribs, whatever ribs you happen to have.
- Dry Rub – Our dry rub is a savory blend of paprika, salt, pepper, chili, onion and garlic powders, mustard powder, and brown sugar. Together, these spices really elevate the flavor of the ribs (don’t leave out the brown sugar – for low carb version use a brown sugar substitute).
- BBQ Sauce – We use a delicious homemade Smoky Bourbon BBQ Sauce for these ribs. The flavors in the sauce are divine. I mix up a large batch and use it for anything that requires BBQ sauce.
Why Flavor the Ribs With Rub
Super tender meat is only one part of the equation. The key to giving these ribs intense flavor is in the dry rub. A perfectly balanced dry rub does wonders for flavor, but also seals in the juices and keeps the ribs from drying out. I swear by this BBQ rib rub.
It’s actually great on all types of meat, like chicken thighs and tomahawk pork chops, not just ribs. But I think it adds just the right amount of spice to the ribs.
Baby back ribs in the oven are just about the easiest way to make ribs and still have that fall-apart goodness you love. I actually prefer baked baby back ribs to grilled now. The texture is just perfect.
The only thing you can’t really have with baked ribs is the delicious char from the grill. So if you’re not planning to finish them up on the grill, you might want to broil them to add char to the top.
Shouldn’t I Grill the Ribs Instead?
I know rib purists will say that you should always cook your ribs on the grill or smoke them. Those are the only authentic ways to make ribs. I disagree.
I make these oven baked ribs for family outdoor barbecues all the time. The secret is to cook them in the oven at home, so they’re just about ready. Then you can slap them on the grill and baste them with BBQ sauce to get that delicious charred finish.
This is a much easier way to make ribs for a party, when fully cooking multiple slabs of ribs for would take a tedious amount of time and grill space. Doing it this way allows you to prepare the pork ribs ahead of time and just finish them on the grill, saving tons of time.
How to Make Baby Back Ribs in the Oven
Step 1. Remove the Membrane (Silver Skin)
One thing you have to remember about preparing ribs is that there’s a thin silver skin or membrane along the back of the ribs that must be removed. The membrane is a thick skin that will prevent the ribs from actually falling off the bone.
It’s not great to leave it on, because the ribs will be less tender and not as fun to eat.
To remove it is easy. Just turn the ribs over and look for a piece of the membrane around the edges of the meat that you can grab hold of. You can also slide a small knife blade between the silver skin and the ribs and pull up to loosen it.
It is silver in color and forms a very thin layer over the back. When you catch a piece, pull it back, like peeling off a piece of tape. If you get it just right, you can pull the entire membrane off in one piece. Here’s a pictorial to help.
Note: If you can’t locate the membrane, it’s possible the butcher has already removed it.
Step 2. Add a Dry Rub
As we mentioned before, the key to tons of flavor on these baby back ribs is the dry rub. Try our dry rub recipe. It’s easy to make and adds tons of flavor. Here’s what you need:
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar (use a brown sugar substitute for low carb option)
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons chili powder (use mild to hot, depending on your preferences)
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
Sprinkle the dry rub across the ribs and rub it all over, both sides. Be generous with it.
You can let it sit overnight in the refrigerator with the rub for even more flavor, but it’s not necessary.
The rub adds an extra layer of intense flavor to the ribs. I highly recommend using it. However, if you prefer, you can just use salt and pepper. Or you can use any dry rub you like.
Step 3. Wrap Ribs in Foil
To make baked baby back ribs in the oven, you need to create the perfect environment for them to steam cook. Wrapping them in tin foil is the easiest way to do that. You can also use butcher paper or parchment paper if you don’t like cooking with foil.
Cut off a piece of tin foil that’s large enough to make a packet for the ribs. They need to be completely encased in the foil. Crimp the edges together to keep the steam in. This is how the ribs become so tender.
Step 4. Bake the Baby Back Ribs
Place the baking sheet in the oven at 275° F.
How Long to Cook Ribs in the Oven
The exact amount of time it needs to cook depends a great deal on the size of the rack of ribs you’re cooking.
- It will take around 2 to 2.5 hours for a small rack of ribs.
- Medium rack will take around 3 hours. A large rack could take up to 4 hours.
- The ribs needs to cook in the oven for a minimum of 2 hours before you check it for the first time. After that time, give it a quick peek. Try not to open the foil multiple times.
How to Know When They’re Done
The meat should have pulled back from the edges of the bones. If you’re not sure if it’s done, insert a fork into the meat and give it a gentle tug. It should give easily. If it doesn’t, put it back into the oven for another 30 minutes.
Remember, it could take up to 4 hours to cook the ribs to perfection, depending on the size of the ribs you’re cooking.
Be careful not to over do it. It’s harder to pick up the bones to eat when it’s too tender. You want the meat to pull back from the bones, but not completely let go of the bone.
Can I cook the ribs at a higher temperature?
It’s tempting to want to cook them at a higher temperature so they can be done faster, but I wouldn’t do it. Cooking at 275 degrees ensures that the meat has the proper amount of time it needs for the collagen and connective tissue to break down, which is the key to fall apart tender ribs. If you cook it hotter, the meat can become overcooked without becoming tender.
Step 5. Add BBQ Sauce (Optional)
When done, remove the ribs from the tin foil and discard the juices. Slather the ribs with BBQ sauce.
For me, BBQ sauce is absolutely necessary on baby back ribs. It’s the sauce that seals in the juices and boosts the flavor. Be sure to check out our recipe for homemade Bourbon BBQ sauce – it’s to die for!
When making these ribs in the oven you might lament the lack of char that you get on the grill. But don’t worry, we’ve got a fix for that.
Step 6. Broil or Grill
Place the ribs under the broiler for 3-5 minutes. Keep an eye on it, in case of flare ups. After that, I like to give them a second dose of sauce and put them back under the broiler for another 3-5 minutes, to fully caramelize the sauce. If you’re in a hurry, the second time isn’t necessary.
If you want to grill them instead of broiling, just slap the ribs, basted with BBQ sauce, meat side up on a hot grill and close the lid. Allow them to get a little char around the edges before basting again. It’ll take about 5-10 minutes to get a really great caramelized crust on the top.
The ribs will come out with a slight char on the sauce that makes them look and taste more like they’ve been on the grill. This adds to the intensity of the flavors. If you have an air fryer you might want to try these Easy Air Fryer Ribs.
The best part about this recipe is that it’s incredibly scale-able. You can make one rack for one or two people, or even make 4 or 5 at a time to feed a crowd. This recipe can also be used with spare ribs. You’ll just need to extend the baking time by 30-60 minutes depending on the size of the ribs.
Top Tips for the Best Outcome
We’ve already given our biggest tip, which is the cook the ribs low and slow in the oven. That is going to produce the most tender, fall-apart ribs. But there are a few other things that will elevate your ribs too. These are:
- Always remove the membrane. The tough bit of silvery membrane on the back of the ribs will hold on tightly to the meat and won’t get any softer when it cooks. It’s tough to chew through and it keep the meat firmly attached to the bones. Be sure to remove that, even if it’s a bit of a battle.
- Wrap the ribs in foil and let them cook, undisturbed for at least 2 hours. The more times you look at them, the more steam you release = not good for the ribs.
- Make sure you cook them long enough that they become fall-apart tender. If they aren’t yet, leave them in for longer.
What Our Readers Are Saying
You don’t have to just take my word for it. Hundreds of readers have tried this recipe and loved it. See below some of the reviews we’ve received from visitors on Pinterest.
Oven-Baking Baby Back Ribs – FAQs
What temperature should pork ribs be cooked at in the oven?
In this recipe, we cook baby back ribs in the oven at 275 degrees F for 2-3 hours. The biggest decider of how long they must cook at this temperature is the size of the rack of ribs. A rack that is on the small side will likely take around 2 hours, while a larger rack will take up to 3 hours.
Should I cover ribs when cooking in oven?
Yes, it’s always best to cover the ribs when cooking in the oven, to keep them from drying out. Making a packet out of tin foil and cooking the ribs in the packet will produce perfect ribs every time.
How do you know when ribs are done in the oven?
You will know it’s done when the meat has pulled back significantly from the bone and the bone easily pulls free from the meat when tugged.
Do ribs get more tender the longer they cook?
Yes, ribs will become more tender the longer they cook, but there is also a point where they will stop becoming tender and will dry out.
If you’re looking for the most tender meat without drying, check the meat every 10 minutes near the end of cooking, by tugging on the bone to see how easily it comes away from the meat. Eventually it will fall right off the bone. After that point, the meat will begin drying out.
Should ribs be cooked bone side up or down?
The bony side of the ribs should always be cooking facing down; the meaty side facing up. This keeps the meat from directly touching the pan, which would dry it out as it cooks.
What to Serve With Baby Back Ribs
Looking for a side dish to serve with these ribs? Why not try one of these.
Crunchy Broccoli Salad
Corn & Black Bean Pasta Salad
Bacon, Jalapeno & Corn Salad
Classic Wedge Salad
Pear & Gorgonzola Salad
Roasted Asparagus with Cranberries & Feta
Shaved Asparagus with Pesto
Roasted Green Beans & Mushrooms
Crispy Roast Potatoes
Butternut Squash Soup
What Are Baby Back Ribs?
Baby back ribs are a type of pork rib. They come from the back area near the spine of a pig. They are shorter than regular ribs and have more meat on them.
Baby back ribs can be cooked in different ways, like grilling, air frying, and pressure cooking. Personally, we like to cook our ribs in the oven for the best texture and flavor.
Baby Back vs Spare Ribs
Baby back ribs are shorter and smaller than spare ribs. Baby back ribs come from the top of the rib cage, near the spine. They are tender and leaner than spare ribs. Spareribs come from underneath the baby back ribs, closer to the belly of the pig. They are bigger, fattier and tougher than baby back ribs but they are also more flavorful!
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Easy Oven-Baked Baby Back Ribs
- 1 rack baby back ribs (you can cook as many racks as you want at the same time)
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar use a brown sugar substitute for low carb option
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons chili powder Use mild to hot, depending on your taste preferences
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
- 1/2 cup bbq sauce (click to go to recipe)
- Pre-heat the oven to 275° F.
- Rinse and pat the ribs dry with a paper towel. Remove the silver skin membrane from the underside.
- Coat the ribs with the dry rub. It's not necessary, but if you have time, cover and let sit in the refrigerator for 2 hours or overnight to enhance flavor.
- Wrap the ribs in foil on a baking sheet, sealing the edges tightly to create a packet.
- Cook in the oven for 2 hours. You’ll know it’s ready when the meat pulls back from the bone and becomes fork tender. Continue cooking until the bone gives easily when pulled (up to 4 hours for larger rack of ribs).
- Peel back the foil and discard any juices. Baste the ribs with BBQ sauce.
Extra Steps – Not Required
- As an extra step, you can grill or broil the ribs to slightly char the top. To grill, heat the grill. When hot, put the ribs directly over the flames and grill for 3-4 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling. Be careful when transferring to and from the grill, as the meat is very tender and can fall apart easily.To broil, set the oven to broil. When hot, place the baking tray under the broiler for 3-5 minutes. Repeat with an additional layer of bbq sauce, if desired.
- To bake more racks of ribs at a time, use a larger baking pan or two separate pans.
- The cooking time will vary based on the size of the rack of ribs, and how many, you’re cooking. Check the meat at 2 hours and continue cooking in 20-30 minute increments until the bone easily pulls away from the meat.
Ready for dessert? Why not try one of these awesome Homemade Ice Cream recipes.
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Laura is a home cook who loves making new recipes and finding new favorite things to eat, whether at home or abroad. She also runs a popular travel blog and spends a lot of her time traveling for food.
75 thoughts on “Easy Oven-Baked Baby Back Ribs”
I made this for Christmas Day as a side dish. It came out perfect. It was such a big hit that I’m making it again for New Year’s Eve. I used a store bought bbq sauce instead.
That’s fantastic! Give the BBQ sauce a try some time. I’m sure you’ll love it too. 🙂
I’m making your dry rub for baby back ribs but you give a list of ingredients to make it but you don’t say how much of each ingredient, could you please tell me how much of each, thank you
Hi Dawn, the dry rub is another one of our recipes. You must click into that separate recipe, then go to the recipe card at the end for the amounts.
First time ever making baby back ribs. I expected a complicated recipe, but this is SO easy. My husband woke up this morning talking about the great meal we’d had for dinner last night! I paired it with steamed whole kernel corn and twice-baked potatoes.
I’m so glad you found it easy to make! Corn and twice-baked potatoes sounds like a perfect pairing.
Can I make these ahead & put in a roaster just to warm?
I have never, never cooked these ribs before! I purchased the rib rack, and had to look Laura up on the internet to figure out how to cook them in the oven. They were so tender and fantastic! The ribs came out tender and moist on the first try. I would definitely serve these ribs to company!
So glad you liked them, Sharon. It makes perfect ribs every time. So addictive!
These are awesome! I never really knew how to cook good ribs. Came across this recipe. My husband was amazed at how good and tender they were. Thank you for the recipe! 🙂
So glad you liked the recipe, Pam!
Came out great, and so easy!! The broil at the end is so necessary, but make sure to watch them.
Glad you liked them. The broil is where the magic happens!
Best recipe I ever got from Pinterest. Amazing!!
So glad you liked it Kathy!
This is the second time making this recipe. It is easy and delicious. I would not prepare ribs any other way. Winner!
So happy to hear that, Paula. Thanks for returning to let us know!
They were the best ribs will definitely do them again
Fantastic! So glad you liked them Cynthia.
I making 4 racks-how long should I bake it for?
Hi Anne. You can bake as many racks as you want for the same length of time (between 2-3 hours), as long as they are in one layer on one rack in the oven. The time depends more on the size of the racks than the number. If they’re on the large side, they’ll take the full 3 hours, maybe even 3.5. One the smaller side, they’ll only take around 2 hours. Use the pull test to determine when they’re done.
In your recipe you say cook at 275 deg. But in your answer to questions you say 250 deg. Just wondering which is right.
The correct temperature is 275 degrees F. They can be cooked at 250, but it will take a bit longer. I’ve updated the info in the post.
This was so good, I’ve never cooked ribs before. Used your dry rub recipe with 1/2 the chilli powder just to be sure and bought a hickory bourbon BBQ sauce they were so good. Will be a regular recipe in our house now. Thanks
Fantastic! So glad you enjoyed them. Were you worried about the chili powder being too spicy? I use a very mild chili powder and it doesn’t add much heat.
Thank you so much for this recipe. These are the best ribs I have ever made. The recipe was easy to follow. The rub was perfect. I will definitely make these again.
So happy you liked them, Donna. Thanks for leaving us feedback!
I’m trying this recipe today. But want to finish the ribs on the grill. How hot should the grill be?
If you’re just finishing on the grill, I’d set it to 350 and leave them on for about 3-4 minutes per side with the sauce. Once they get a little charred, they’re done.
This will be the third time that I have made your ribs. The first two times were for us and because they were so good, tonight for company! They are fabulous, so tender and tasty!
Thanks for leaving a comment. I’m always happy to hear that, Cheryl. I think I could eat these ribs every day and be happy.
Finished recipe exactly done, awesome! I did finish on the grill, it was great!!!!
So glad your ribs turned out great. Finishing on the grill really takes it to the next level.
Laura, I’m in love with you. Just don’t tell my wife.
Your oven baked baby back ribs recipe is perfect. Not a whole lot of fuss. Simple and easy.
I made this recipe a couple years ago, but did not save to my laptop. I loved them !!
Today….. I found it ! Will be making again , next week.
Have a wonderful upcoming Holiday Season .
So glad you found us again. I would hate for you to miss out on the delicious ribs!! And don’t worry, your secret is safe with me.
Trying this this afternoon! No matter what I do tho, cannot remove that stinking membrane!
If you use a sharp knife, you can often puncture the membrane and more easily pull it back. It’s not a huge deal if you can’t get it off. It’ll still taste good.
Here’s a helpful hint, use a piece of kitchen paper to grab the membrane, it’s slippery and the paper towel helps keep a grip on it while peeling it off.
That’s a very good tips, Mike. Thanks!
I could have sworn your oven recipe also had how to cook in an instant pot. We made it and loved it but I didn’t print out the recipe and now I am totally puzzled.
We have an air fryer link in this post, but not Instant Pot instructions. Here is a link to our sister site with the Instant Pot instructions. You cook them for 30 minutes under pressure. https://apressurecookerkitchen.com/instant-pot-baby-back-ribs/
This sounds amazing. I purchased 1 slab of pork ribs and 2 of beef ribs. Can I bake them together?
Yes, you can bake them together as long as there’s room in the oven. They may take a bit longer since they’re sharing space.
I have been doing my ribs this way ever since I found the recipe. I’m making it tomorrow.
Hi Beverly, Glad you like this recipe, we love it too!
Second time in making. A lot more tender, moist and flavorful. I increased the brown sugar and salt and mustard powder. I cooked for 3 hours and 15 minutes. The last 15 minutes I added Sweet Baby Rays BBG on it. This is my best I’ve ever done. Thank you
Glad it went so well for you this time, Randy. Must have been a pretty big rack of ribs to need 3:15, but sounds like it turned out really well.
This recipe was fantastic and it was my first try at ribs!! Would this also work for a pork loin or do you have a recipe for that too?
I’m glad you liked it, Leigh Anne. You wouldn’t want to cook a pork loin for as long, but you can still cook it with this method. You’d only want the pork loin to an internal temperature of 160 degrees before taking it out. That’s probably around 30-50 minutes, depending on the thickness of the loin.
Love your recipe! I cook them all of the time this way. I usually don’t have ground mustard so I rub prepared mustard on them before the rub. Thank you!!!!
Glad you like it, Kathy. I’m sure it’s good with the prepared mustard too.
Love this recipe! I thought I remembered reading somewhere on here about preparing the ribs ahead of time before a cook out and then finishing them off on the grill. For that process, how long do you normally pre-cook them and then how long to “reheat” on the grill? Do you place them in the refrigerator in between? For what I am looking for, it may be about 6 hours between original cooking and “reheating”. What size do you consider a small, medium or large rack?
Yes, you can cook them in the oven until just about as tender as you want them, then cool and refrigerate them until you’re ready to reheat them on the grill. A small rack would be around 1-1.5 lbs, while large racks can be 4-5 lbs. You’ll want to cook them for at least 1.5 to 2 hours for smaller sized ribs. Then get the grill up to temperature before putting the meat on the grill. Baste with BBQ sauce and grill for about 10 minutes.
Making this recipe today and it’s soo easy I got my father in law using it too, he was amazed that they were baked in the oven! I cut back on the chili powder the first time I made it because I wasn’t sure if it was gonna be spicy/hot so this time I’m using almost the full amount. Can’t wait to eat them!! pairing it with Heb’s Carolina style bbq sauce, it’s a sweeter sauce
Amazing I made them exactly as the recipe called for the best ribs I’ve ever made. Can’t wait to have my son and daughter in law over for them.
I just made these yesterday, turned out perfect! So tender and flavorful, will definitely be making again!
Thanks for the feedback, Kelli!
fork tender recipe. this one is a winner
These ribs are so tender and simple to prepare!
I used this recipe once before and everyone loved the ribs. For this go around, can I roast the ribs part way (my home) and take it to another home (daughter’s home) and finish roasting while all the dinner side dishes are being prepared? Will it matter if there is a break (couple of hours) between start and finish?
Hi Bill. It won’t be a problem to do that, especially if you take them directly from your house to the other without the need to cool them in between. If you do need to cool and refrigerate them in between, you might find that you need less oven time than is called for or they could get dry.
These are so easy and so delicious! I use your rub and sauce recipes and both are just perfect for us. To make it white sugar free, I am trying coconut sugar this time-less sweet so I did add a bit more than the recipe calls for. Making another 4 pound rack today and thinking they might take around 3 hours. I’m keeping it simple with a salad, brussel sprouts, and a baked potato. Delish! Thank you!
Excellent recipe I love it I will do it
Hi Laura, I’m making these today and have 4 racks that total about 10 pounds. How long should I plan for in the oven?
We like our ribs that are not fall off the bone. Baby backs are from the loin and for us baking them in foil for 2 or more hours – even at 275 – overcooks them. So if anyone else is like us – just bake them for 1-1/4 hours and then sauce them up and throw on the grill over charcoal – they’ll be amazing!
I made these tonight changing nothing in the recipe for the ribs and added hot sauce to the bbq sauce, cooked it down a bit as I was using a SC vinegar based sauce. These turned out perfectly and looked just beautiful. I tried this recipe out of frustration from paying $18 for 1/2 rack ribs at a local BBQ place. They were so dry they were inedible. Never again. I appreciate this easy recipe. It gave me the most tender, juicy ribs. Thank you so much.
My instacart shopper accidentally bought me an 11 lb rack of ribs instead of the 4 lbs I’d asked for. How long would I need to cook a rack that big and what temp?
Hi Sara. These ribs are so great you won’t be too sad to have the extras. 🙂 Just follow the original recipe. Make sure the don’t overlap the ribs in the foil package. I would shoot for the large rack cooking time, 4 hours, in the body of the post. Test it along the way and watch for the meat to pull away from the bone. You can always cut the rack in half and freeze one half for later. I hope you enjoy them!
your extra written part says to wrap the ribs in foil and let them *cool* for 1.5 hrs. my wife told me that it meant cook and i agree. excited to try out this recipe.
Oops! Typos are my enemy. I’ve fixed it. Thanks for the heads up.
Great recipe! Instead of using foil, try using the plastic roasting bags for turkeys. Much easier to use, and clean up! Just don’t exceed the temps listed on the box. I tried it, and it worked great!
Great recommendation, Michael. Thanks.
The ribs turned out so good! I struggled a little with removing the membrane, but I’m so glad I got it, because I think that really contributes to the meat being able to “fall off the bone”. It was very tender. I made the Bourbon BBQ sauce too and it was divine. Will definitely make this again.
So happy to hear that you loved the ribs Alice. That is one of our very favorite recipes!