Slow Cooker Ribs Recipe

Slow Cooker BBQ Ribs Recipe

Ribs are one of those foods that always intimidated me, and while I liked them, I was never brave enough to cook them for the first few years I was married. Then, one day, there was a huge sale on ribs at our local store, and having no better idea for dinner, I bought them. On the drive home, I realized that I didn’t have a grill at the time, so after some online research, a slow cooker recipe was born. It turned out great and we’ve been cooking these ever since!

This is one of several variations that I make, and it might be my favorite. Adjust spices and sweetener to fit your own taste…

5.0 from 7 reviews
Slow Cooker Ribs
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
These delicious slow cooker ribs are simple to prepare and a great meal to come home to on a busy day.
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: BBQ
Serves: 4+
  • 4 pounds of beef or pork ribs, cut every 3-4 ribs to fit in crock pot
  • 1 teaspoon of chili powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder (or to taste)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 1 15-ounce can of tomato sauce
  • 1 6 ounce can of tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire Sauce (make sure it's grain free. I think Lea and Perrins is)
  • ½ tsp liquid smoke (or more, to taste)
  • ¼ cup honey or molasses (optional)- can also use a dash of stevia
  1. Dice the onion and place at the bottom of a crock pot (at least 6 quarts!).
  2. Sprinkle the garlic and chili powders, salt and pepper on the ribs an put them in the crock pot also.
  3. Mix the tomato sauce, tomato paste, vinegar, worcestershire, liquid smoke and sweetener if using and then pour evenly over the ribs.
  4. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or until tender.
  5. Toss in sauce before serving.
Ever barbecued in your crock pot? How did it turn out? Share your recipe below!
Photo credit: Suzanne Perazzini

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Reader Comments

  1. says

    These sound great! I’ve been doing pork country style ribs in the crockpot adobo style. Equal parts soy sauce and rice wine vinegar (about a cup), a few cloves of minced garlic, a teaspoon of fresh minced ginger and a bay leaf. Toss it all in the crockpot over the ribs and let it cook until tender. Works with any type of  meat. You can serve it with the sauce, but I find it doesn’t need it. I also don’t like to ingest that much soy, but if you just use it to cook you eat very little of it.
    I throw the bones in my “broth bag” in the freezer and when I’ve collected enough odds and ends I make bone broth- no waste!

  2. Annedort says

    Thanks for the recipe. There must have been a sale because my husband came home with some yesterday. Instead of letting him grill them or put them in the smoker I wanted to find a recipe for the crockpot . So this comes at the perfect time. Do you know if there is a liquid smoke that does not contain MSG? I think liquid smoke is genius but my husband is highly sensitive to MSG so sadly I threw it out. Thanks :)

  3. Margaret says

    I never made ribs this way, but I think this weekend I’ll try it.  Thanks for the recipe and great post.  I’ve been using grass fed beef in all my dishes ever since I found out the benefits of it.  You should try it in one of your recipes.  Just check out the La Cense Beef website.  I’ll let you know how my ribs come out.

    • says

      I also cook with grass fed beef almost exclusively. We get it from a local farmer and it is wonderful! I’ve stopped adding “grassfed” to every post though, as I got some complaints from people who weren’t able to find grassfed.

  4. says

    Made these for dinner tonight.  So so easy to get everything in the crock pot this morning, then have dinner ready and waiting after running errands in the late afternoon!  They were delicious, and I can’t wait to try with a roast for some shredded bbq beef.  Thanks!

  5. michelle says

    Made these today!  They were FABULOUS!!!! So good and made the house smell great.  My husband was actually excited about dinner tonight! 

  6. Kristina says

    I made this for dinner tonight. It was amazing! The barbecue sauce was so easy to make and delicious. My family loved it, this is definitely an instant classic in our family now.

  7. Lisa M says

    I would love to try this recipe, but all the Worcestershire sauce I find in the store has terrible ingredients in it like MSG and/or high fructose corn syrup…can you recommend a good brand?

  8. Emma says

    When we travelled over to America a couple months ago we fell in love with ribs! Haven’t tried cooking them yet! It’s 100% on the ‘to cook’ list!

  9. Katie says

    From the first time we made these last summer (2013) to their appearance on this week’s meal plan, every single person has RAVED about these ribs!!

  10. Tom says

    That’s some killer smelling bbq sauce, it’s cooking with the ribs now. For a beginner like me, that’s exciting! I’d like to find some more of your recipes that I can do, any recommendations on where to start? Thanks for this recipe.

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