No need to fire up the grill! This Oven-Baked Baby Back Ribs recipe has all the flavor, no charcoal necessary.

A top-down view of Oven-Baked Baby Back Ribs brushed with barbecue sauce next to a plate with cornbread and a bowl containing sliced pickles

My mom Noni’s baked baby back ribs are legendary, not only in our house but in friends’ homes across the country. She’s been perfecting her technique for decades, and the result is tender, fall-off-the-bone baby back ribs that deliver maximum flavor with minimum fuss. Best of all, her DIY foil packet makes cleanup a breeze. So click your tongs, and let’s get started!

Unbaked rib slabs with a dry spice rub atop a foil-lined baking sheet

What’s the Best Rib Seasoning?

This is my tried and true rub for tender, flavorful baby back ribs. However you choose to season your ribs, the basic rib rubs involves a seasoned salt, garlic, brown sugar and pepper. You can customize it with fun additions, like coffee grounds, smoked paprika, and even celery salt. The goal is a balanced blend of savory, sweet and smoky flavors.

My ultimate blend stars Lawry’s Seasoned Salt, garlic powder, pepper and brown sugar. This mix guarantees a perfectly salty, yet sweetly caramelized crust on your ribs that will really sing once you baste it with tangy barbecue sauce.

Barbecue ribs atop a foil-lined baking sheet

How Long to Bake Baby Back Ribs

Slow and low is the name of the game for baking baby back ribs. You’ll start your bake at 200°F for the 5 hours, covering the ribs in tin foil to lock in moisture and to make sure they don’t dry out.

After five hours, you’ll remove the foil cover, check that the ribs have reached an internal temperature of 145°F and baste with your barbecue sauce. Broiling is the next step in your path to baby back rib greatness, and 3 minutes is all you’ll need to achieve those crispy edges.

The best Oven-Baked Baby Back Ribs next to a small bowl containing barbecue sauce and a plate piled with cornbread

How to Make Tender Baby Back Ribs

Using your oven almost guarantees you’re going to be digging into some of the best baby back ribs. The even temperature of your oven is way easier to maintain than a grill’s, making sure there is no dry meat on your watch. Another pro tip? Remove the clear membrane on the back of the ribs prior to seasoning and baking for some seriously tender, fall-apart ribs.

Do I Have to Use Liquid Smoke?

Absolutely not! I like the subtle smokiness and flavor that liquid smoke imparts in the ribs, which mimics the cooked-over-a-flame flavor, but if you aren’t a fan of it, simply omit it from the recipe.

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Main Course

Oven-Baked Baby Back Ribs

No need to fire up the grill! This Oven-Baked Baby Back Ribs recipe has all the flavor, no charcoal necessary.
5 from 4 votes
A top-down view of Oven-Baked Baby Back Ribs brushed with barbecue sauce next to a plate with cornbread and a bowl containing sliced pickles
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 5 hrs
Total Time 5 hrs 20 mins
Servings 4 servings

Ingredients 

  • 2 slabs baby back ribs
  • 2 Tablespoons Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar 
  • 1/4 cup liquid smoke
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups homemade or store-bought barbecue sauce

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 200°F. (See Kelly’s Notes.) Arrange two large pieces of foil on a baking sheet so that it hangs off on all sides.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the Lawry’s Seasoned Salt, garlic powder, pepper and brown sugar. Sprinkle the ribs on both sides with the spice rub. 
  • Place the rib slabs side-by-side on the foil then gather the foil up and over the ribs to make a secure foil packet. Pour the liquid smoke and water into the bottom. Place one more piece of foil on top and press together the edges to seal the foil packet.
  • Bake the ribs for 5 hours. 
  • Remove the ribs from the oven and remove the top piece of foil. The ribs are done cooking when they have reached an internal temperature of 190 – 200°F. 
  • Change the oven to broil.
  • Brush the ribs generously with barbecue sauce then broil them until the edges just begin to crisp, about 3 minutes.
  • Remove the ribs from the oven, brush them one more time with barbecue sauce, then serve. 

Kelly’s Notes:

  • To speed up the cooking time, the ribs can also be baked at 300°F for 3 hours.
  • Depending on the size of your slabs, feel free to increase the quantity of seasonings and spices.
  • For the most tender, fall-apart ribs, remove the clear membrane on the back of the ribs prior to seasoning and baking them.
  • ★ Did you make this recipe? Don't forget to give it a star rating below!

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Nutrition

Calories: 533kcal, Carbohydrates: 51g, Protein: 28g, Fat: 24g, Saturated Fat: 8g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g, Monounsaturated Fat: 10g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 98mg, Sodium: 4753mg, Potassium: 638mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 41g, Vitamin A: 274IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 91mg, Iron: 2mg

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Comments

  1. I haven’t made the ribs yet but if you don’t use the liquid smoke do you increase the water? Also do you pour the liquid outside or inside the foil packet?

    1. Hi Brenda! You can simply omit the liquid smoke from the recipe, there’s no need to add any additional water. And the liquid goes inside the foil packet. :) Looking forward to reading your results!

  2. 5 stars
    Followed the directions as written. Added coffee to the rub, cooked at 300 on the grill for 4 hours. Topped off with bourbon BBQ sauce on the finish.
    These were the BEST ribs ever. Thanks for sharing this recipe.

  3. 5 stars
    I made these for dinner last night and was honestly shocked how easy and spectacular they were! The meat just falls right off the bone. INCREDIBLE! Would give these 10 stars if I could. Great, simple, fool-proof recipe that’s going in our regular rotation!

  4. 5 stars
    Amazing recipe! I followed it exactly and the ribs turned out perfectly. My husband went back for seconds… and thirds! thank you!

    1. Hi Nancy! I’d do the exact same prep and bake it the same amount of time as directed. Enjoy!

  5. We really like SBR Hickory/Brown sugar BBQ sauce. I know it subjective, but with brown sugar in the seasoning, do you think that will be too sweet? Or over powering in brown sugar?

    Thanks for any suggestions!!

    Wanna try it this weeknd, first time making ribs.

    1. Hi Chris! I don’t think it’d be overpowering at all! Sounds absolutely delish. Let me know how they turn out!

    2. 5 stars
      They were great!! Couldn’t figure out the film/membrane that should be removed. But still great awesome. Glad the recipe was randomly in my FB feed.

    1. Absolutely! I haven’t timed that cooking method out but it’ll definitely work. I’d start on the lower side (around 300°F).

      1. Lillian Jenkins July 9,2022
        I tried recipe today it was easy and very tasty thank you