How to Make Ribs in a Slow Cooker in 4 Hours

Spare ribs cook in a slow cooker with moist heat for tender meat that you can cut with a fork. Slow-cooker ribs require little prep time, and do not heat up the house like oven-cooked ribs.

Use a slow cooker for tender ribs. (Image: rez-art/iStock/GettyImages)

Spare ribs have little meat around the bone, making it difficult to check the internal temperature. The ribs are at a safe temperature when the meat pulls away from the bone, at about 160 degrees Fahrenheit.

Things You'll Need

  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

  • 2 teaspoons brown mustard

  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar

  • 1 teaspoon chili powder

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

  • 3 pounds spareribs

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • Large skillet

  • Tongs

Step 1: Make Your Sauce

Mix balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, brown sugar, chili powder, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Set the sauce aside.


To cut your prep time, substitute the sauce ingredients for your favorite bottled barbecue sauce.

Step 2: Cut Your Ribs

Cut the ribs into sections of three with a sharp knife to speed the cooking time with more exposed surface area of the meat.

Step 3: Brown Your Ribs

Pour the olive oil into a large skillet and heat it on medium-high. Place the rib sections into the skillet and brown the meat for two minutes.

Flip the ribs with tongs and brown the other side for an additional two minutes.

Step 4: Add Ribs to Slow Cooker

Take the ribs out of the skillet with the tongs and put one layer in the bottom of the slow cooker. Brush the ribs generously with the sauce.

Repeat with each layer until all the ribs are in the pot. Pour any remaining sauce over the top of the ribs.

Step 5: Cook Your Ribs

Cover the slow cooker and turn it to the "High" setting. Cook the ribs for three to four hours, or until the meat falls off the bone.


The longer you cook your ribs in the slow cooker, the more flavorful they will be. If you're not in a rush, opt for the "Low" setting on your slow cooker for six to eight hours.

Step 6: Check Rib Temperature

Check the internal temperature in a thick area of one rib to verify it is 160 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 7: Remove and Enjoy!

Remove the ribs to a platter. Make additional sauce to serve with the ribs. Enjoy!

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