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Instant Pot Ribs | Chinese Takeaway Spare Ribs!

Instant pot ribs are glorious and this recipe gives you all of the flavour of Chinese Spare Ribs at home in the shortest way possible!

Portrait image of a pile of sticky Instant Pot Chinese Spare Ribs served on a board with spring onions and a dipping sauce

Pressure Cooker Chinese Spare Ribs.

For many years Spare Ribs or Chinese chicken and mushrooms were my go-to choice from our local takeaway.

As I grew older I became more adventurous but they still hold a special place in my nostalgic food memories!

Just like my Slow Cooker Char Siu Ribs, these play homage to those memories.

These sticky Instant Pot Chinese ribs are loaded with the sweetness of hoisin sauce helped along with a little ketchup.

Then there is the addition of a little soy sauce and some Chinkiang vinegar to amp up the salty, sweet and sour vibe.

I always strain the sauce that coats the ribs and serve it as a dipping sauce on the side.

You will notice that these instant pot Chinese spare ribs are not a lurid red.

That is because they contain no food colouring, much like Tandoori chicken in India, it is common to load some dishes with colouring.

I don’t do that, feel free to do so if you want that full Chinese Takeaway experience.

Portrait image of sticky Instant Pot Chinese spare ribs being dipped into a sauce

What Ribs to Use.

When choosing your ribs for this recipe Instant Pot Recipe go for something tightly cut to the bone. You do not want too much meat or fat.

This is because you want to optimise the glaze to meat ratio and get your ribs proper sticky!

If you have too much meat on the ribs you can always trim them up and grind the pork. I just so happen to have a great minced pork curry that the trimmings would be perfect for!

Growing up in the UK the ribs were always on the longer side from the centre of the rib.

Although now try and buy them from as far up towards the neck as possible.

You can swap out the spare ribs for baby back ribs if you like, they will take 2-3 minutes less time to cook in the instant pot.

Cooking ribs in the Instant Pot really does lead to the very best and succulent meat as far as I am concerned!

Portrait overhead image of a pile of sticky Instant Pot Chinese Spare Ribs served on a board with spring onions and a dipping sauce

Serving Suggestions.

There are so many options as a side dish for these Instant Pot Ribs!

Now I like to go full-on retro takeaway with these and always serve a bowl of special fried rice with them!

Growing up I would always order them with chips.

Our Chinese takeaways in the UK used to cook great chips that were like chip shop chips but without the salt and vinegar.

Sometimes I opt to serve my instant pot ribs with a salad option and something like this noodle salad would be wonderful!

Square image of a pile of sticky Chinese Spare Ribs served on a board with spring onions and a dipping sauce
Yield: 4 Servings

Instant Pot Ribs Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes

Cooking ribs in a pressure cooker helps break down the connective tissue and leads to the most succulent Chinese spare ribs.

Ingredients

For the Spare Ribs:

  • 1.2 Kg (2lb 10oz) Spare Ribs
  • 1 Tbsp Chinese Five Spice
  • 1 Tsp Crushed Szechuan Pepper Corns
  • 1 Tsp Salt
  • 1 Onion
  • 10 Cloves Garlic
  • 250 ml (1 Cup) Water

For the Glaze:

  • 125 ml (1/2 Cup) Hoisin Sauce
  • 65 ml (1/4 Cup) Tomato Ketchup
  • 2 Tbsp Honey
  • 2 Tbsp Chinkiang Vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Light Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Dark Soy Sauce

Instructions

  1. If your ribs are not separated begin by removing the membrane on the bottom* and then cut into individual ribs.
  2. Season the ribs with the salt, Szechuan pepper, and the five spice.
  3. Roughly chop the onion and remove the skins from the garlic and place in the base of the instant pot followed by the water.
  4. Add a trivet followed by the ribs and then seal the lid and cook on manual high pressure for 20 minutes.
  5. Whilst the pressure cooker is cooking, heat your oven as high as you can get it.
  6. Add all of the ingredients for the glaze into a pan and bring to a simmer.
  7. Allow the pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes and then carefully remove the ribs.
  8. Drain off the cooking liquid and discard leaving behind the onions and garlic.
  9. Add this to a blender along with the glaze and blend to a smooth paste.
  10. Pass through a fine mesh sieve and then coat your ribs.
  11. Drop them in the oven as hot as you can get it and allow them to crisp up and colour, this will take around 10-12 minutes.

Notes

*Remove the membrane by picking at a corner with a knife and then pull. If you are lucky it will come off in one piece.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1111Total Fat: 73gSaturated Fat: 22gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 33gCholesterol: 243mgSodium: 2559mgCarbohydrates: 64gFiber: 3gSugar: 44gProtein: 52g

Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.

Did you make this recipe?

If you made this recipe, I'd love to see what you did and what I can do better, share a picture with me on Instagram and tag me @krumplibrian and tell me how it went!

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Josephine

Sunday 5th of July 2020

I live in San Diego, California. I came across your recipe because of a recipe I saw on the Costco "Connection" magazine (Asian Style St. Louis BBQ Ribs) but since I have an Instant Pot, I searched for rib recipes using Instant Pot and yours caught my eyes!

Your ingredients list for the glaze states light soy sauce and dark soy sauce. I only have Kikkoman Tamari soy sauce and regular Chinese Low Sodium soy sauce. Do I really need to purchase light and dark soy sauces? Could I modify/substitute with what I have, somehow? Thank you for your response!

Brian Jones

Sunday 5th of July 2020

Hey Josephine... I think you could make something work, but it will require a little "tweaking" for flavour at your end.

Like tamari, dark soy sauce is less salty and a little bit sweeter than light soy sauce, so you can use that in place of the dark and then use your low sodium soy in place of the light soy. Add the same quantities and gave a taste of the sauce once it has simmered, if you think you need more salt then add either more light soy sauce or some salt.

It will be a slightly different flavour to mine but it will be subtle and should work just fine.

Enjoy.

Brian

Linda Chorley

Tuesday 21st of April 2020

It's lockdown in UK and I have a new instant pot and a fancy for Chinese ribs. A google search led me to your recipe (amongst others which I read but decided against). I like the way you wrote about the recipe, the ingredients and the method. The photo looked delicious. So I got my home grocery delivery and the ribs looked at me from the fridge for a couple of days. I made them tonight and ate the lot. Thank you for sharing this recipe. As I told my vegetarian daughter - they were so good I would pay for them. With best wishes, Linda

Brian Jones

Thursday 23rd of April 2020

I am so glad that you enjoyed these Linda, they are proper finger-licking delicious and we love them!

Helen

Thursday 23rd of January 2020

Brian I made these on Sunday and they were a hit. I actually marinated another rack of ribs and froze them because these were probably the best Chinese style ribs that I’ve made thus far!

Brian Jones

Friday 24th of January 2020

Thank you so much for taking the time to write to me Helen and very glad to hear that you liked the ribs, they are a firm favourite in our house too :D

Susy Saunders

Wednesday 24th of July 2019

Thank you so much for the recipe, made this tonight & the whole family love it!! Better than bought one and easy to make! Definitely going to be a fav family dish.

Brian Jones

Wednesday 24th of July 2019

Thanks for taking the time to write to me Susy, so glad you liked them, they are a real favourite with us too!

Greg Gall

Saturday 1st of June 2019

These look great. I'm adapting a chinese takeaway recipe for the instant pot. (YouTube: Ziang's Oriental Food Workshop - Chinese Takeaway BBQ Ribs). They don't use artificial food colouring but fermented red bean curd instead. They also fry theirs after letting them cool in the fridge but I'm going to try your oven method as it's quicker and less messy. Thanks for sharing.

Brian Jones

Sunday 2nd of June 2019

That's super interesting, I bet the bean curd would add a fantastic flavour. I love frying and fried foods but on a practical level it just does not work for me on a regular basis, although I'm certainly gonna track it down and have a play at some point!