Irresistible Korean Pork Ribs with a sticky spicy-sweet glaze. Once you make Instant Pot ribs you will never turn back – incredibly tender, easy and foolproof.
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Published March 2018, Updated July 2020
Eating ribs always reminds me of barbecues and summertime, but there’s no reason you can’t enjoy them year-round! In fact, all the MORE reason to make them in winter 😉
These Korean Pork ribs with their sweet-spicy sticky glaze are irresistible whatever the season. Lucky they are SO EASY to make then.
I love making pork ribs in my slow cooker and was very curious to try making them in an Instant Pot. Turns out the pressure cooker method is equally successful and a lot faster, but this recipe works in both.
Pick Your Ribs!
You have a few choices when it comes to type of pork ribs you can use.
- Baby back ribs, so called because they are the smallest and most tender are the easiest to source. You can find that as a rack or separated as riblets. Baby back ribs cook faster at around 23 -25 minutes in the Instant Pot, allowing for 5 minutes natural release. In the video I used the small pork riblets.
- Spare ribs are larger and meatier but can be quite fatty. They need a slightly longer cooking time of 30-35 minutes plus natural release in a pressure cooker.
TOP TIP If you buy a rack of ribs, you might need to remove the thin membrane that covers the back. Simply slip the tip of a knife under the thin membrane that covers the bony side of the ribs and pull it off – it should come off quite easily.
Korean Pork Ribs
I have used gochujang paste and Korean red pepper powder (gochugaru) in this recipe. Both these ingredients are available online or in Asian supermarkets. If you are a fan of homemade kimchi, you probably already have some gochugaru stashed in your pantry.
Fear not if you DON’T have these ingredients, I have provided some substitutes which will provide pretty similar results. If you want to dial the heat down a bit you can use a smaller amount of gochujang or replace with Sriracha sauce.
How to make Instant Pot Ribs
Full measurements and instructions can be found on the printable recipe card at the bottom of the page. Please take a look at the steps and video before attempting this recipe!
DRY RUB Mix Korean red pepper powder (gochugaru), paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper together to make a spicy dry rub which will make your ribs super flavorful!
KOREAN BBQ SAUCE Combine all the ingredients for the glaze – ginger ale, gochujang paste, ketchup, soy sauce, fish sauce, brown sugar, minced garlic and ginger. This will also be your cooking liquid for the ribs. Add this to your Instant Pot.
COOK YOUR RIBS Add the ribs to the pressure cooker. If you are using a rack of ribs then use the trivet and place the ribs on top. Cook baby back ribs for 23 minutes + 5 minutes natural release. Cook spare ribs for 30 minutes + full natural release. Transfer the ribs to a baking sheet.
REDUCE THE SAUCE Add the cornstarch slurry to the Instant Pot and select Sauté. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is reduced and becomes sticky. You will use these to baste your ribs and as a dipping sauce!
BROIL THE RIBS Liberally brush your ribs with the glaze and place under the broiler (a.k.a grill) until they are crispy and slightly charred.
ENJOY! Garnish with a little lime zest and serve with the sauce on the side for much dipping joy! I served mine with some Asian slaw and a side of kimchi – YUM!
If you prefer to cook these in a slow cooker instead please follow the notes in the recipe card below. The results are very similar, but the cooking time will be significantly longer.
Pressure cooker Korean pork ribs
- 1 tbsp gochugaru or 1 tbsp hot chilli powder
- 1 tbsp sweet paprika
- 1 tsp salt or to taste
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
For the ribs
- 1.8 kg (4 pounds) pork spare ribs or baby back ribs
- 250 ml (1 cup) dry cider or ginger ale
- 2 tbsp gochujang paste or Sriracha
- 2 tbsp ketchup
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp Asian fish sauce
- 2 tbsp brown sugar or palm sugar
- 4 large garlic cloves minced
- 1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
- 1 tsp lime juice or to taste
- 1 tbsp cornflour (cornstarch) diluted in 1 tbsp cold water
- zest of 1 lime to garnish
- salt and pepper to season, if needed
- If you are using a rack of ribs, you might need to remove the thin membrane that covers the back. Simply slip the tip of a knife under the thin membrane that covers the bony side of the ribs and pull it off – it should come off quite easily.
- Combine all the ingredients for the dry rub then use it to liberally coat the ribs.
- In a small bowl, mix the ginger ale, gochujang paste, ketchup, soy sauce, fish sauce, brown sugar, minced garlic and ginger.
- Add this to your Instant Pot. Add the trivet (if cooking spare ribs) and place the ribs on top.
- SPARE RIBS: Cover, set vent to sealing and cook on high pressure for 30 minutes. Allow the pressure to release naturally.BABY BACK RIBS: Cover, set vent to sealing and cook on high pressure for 23 minutes. Allow 5 minutes natural release then release the remaining steam manually.
- Transfer the ribs to a rimmed baking sheet, meat side up.
- Add the diluted cornflour to the sauce and set the pressure cooker to ‘sauté’. Cook, stirring occasionally until the sauce is reduced and sticky.
- Meanwhile preheat the grill (broiler). Liberally brush the ribs with the sticky sauce then cook for 2-3 minutes until slightly charred and sizzling.
- Scatter with lime zest and serve with some extra sauce on the side.
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