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St. Louis ribs are rubbed and slathered in a honey chipotle bbq sauce, then slow-cooked until they are fall-apart tender. This Ribs in Slow Cooker recipe will be made again and again.

ribs in slow cooker on a piece of foil

I absolutely adore ribs. They are one of my favorite things to eat EVER; luckily, with this easy Ribs in Slow Cooker recipe, I can enjoy them whenever I want.

Not only are they slow-cooked until tender, but I also rub them with a chipotle spice rub and then brush them with honey chipotle bbq sauce. Talk about a flavor explosion, I think these are the most flavorful ribs I have ever tasted.

But, I do have to say my favorite part is adding more bbq sauce at the end and then popping them under the broiler. That way the ribs get that amazing caramelized sticky bbq sauce glaze on them.

Slow cooking the ribs makes this recipe so easy, and in my opinion, makes the best ribs in general. You just rub them, place them in the slow cooker and then pour on the sauce, they cook, that’s it.

You just can’t get that signature tender aspect to meat than when you slow cook it, something magical happens in there!

We do use St. Louis-style ribs for this recipe, but if all you have on hand are baby backs, those work too.

If you have a rack of ribs laying around and are not sure what to do with them, you need to try out these Ribs in Slow Cooker STAT!

Some of our other favorite slow cooker recipes on our site include: BBQ Crock Pot Chicken Wings, Slow Cooker BBQ Beef Sandwiches, and Slow Cooker Beer Brats.

ribs in slow cooker on a metal try

WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS:

  1. It makes a lot to feed a crowd.
  2. Minimal ingredients and time help this recipe come together quickly.
  3. You can also use baby back ribs in place of St. Louis.

INGREDIENTS NEEDED (SCROLL TO THE BOTTOM OF THIS POST FOR THE FULL RECIPE CARD):

  • St. Louis style ribs (spare ribs)
  • Onion powder
  • Garlic powder
  • Black pepper
  • Smoked paprika 
  • Ground chipotle chili pepper
  • Barbecue sauce
  • Honey
  • Worcestershire sauce
ingredients needed to make ribs in slow cooker

HOW TO MAKE RIBS IN SLOW COOKER:

  1.  In a small bowl make the dry rub, mix together the onion, garlic, pepper, paprika, and 1 teaspoon of the chipotle, and set aside.
  2. Remove the tough membrane off the underside of the rack and pat them dry with a paper towel.
  3. Place the ribs on a sheet tray and cut them in half. Begin rubbing the spice rub all over the ribs on each side. Make sure to get the sides of the ribs as well.
  4. Place the coated ribs, meaty side up in a 8 quart slow cooker.
first steps on how to make ribs in slow cooker in a collage
  1. In a small bowl, mix together the bbq sauce, honey, Worcestershire sauce, and the remaining chipotle seasoning.
  2. Pour half of the bbq sauce mixture over the stacked ribs in the slow cooker. Save the rest for later. 
  3. Cook on high for 6-7 hours or low for 8-10 hours.
  4. Once done, preheat the broiler on high. Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil and place the ribs onto the pan; using the extra bbq sauce, begin basting the ribs all over.
  5. Place the pan into the oven and broil until caramelized; keep an eye on them or they might burn. Cut into individual ribs and serve.
a collage showing the final steps for making ribs in slow cooker

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT THIS RECIPE:

WHAT ARE ST. LOUIS RIBS?

St. Louis-style ribs are flatter than baby back ribs, which makes them easier to brown and get just right on the grill, and they have a more succulent and fattier characteristic. The fat is bursting with flavor, but there is plenty of meat there as well.

You will find St Louis style ribs are connected to baby backs, but the baby back ribs are closer to the spine, whereas St Louis is further down surrounding the belly.

St. Louis-style ribs are a popular barbecue food in the Midwestern United States, particularly in St. Louis, Missouri. They are typically served with a dry rub or a wet sauce.

I have seen them more often on menus than baby back ribs because they are cheaper.

ARE THESE SPICY?

These crock pot ribs have a good kick to them, but to me, it is not overly spicy.

If you want less spicy, only use 1 teaspoon chipotle powder for the whole recipe.

To amp up the spice, you can use more chipotle powder or add red chili flakes or even your favorite hot sauce to the bbq sauce.

up close image of ribs in slow cooker on a piece of foil

DO I HAVE TO TAKE OFF THE MEMBRANE?

Yes, for the most tender best slow cooker ribs, you should take off the membrane. Otherwise known as silver skin or connective tissue, it runs along the bone on the underside or bone side.

The easiest method to remove it is to take a pairing knife and, at one end of the ribs slice into the membrane so it is detached. You should be able to grab it with your fingers.

Then, use a paper towel, this helps you grip the membrane, and just pull it off in the opposite direction. It should come off in one whole piece, but if it shreds some, that’s okay just keep doing the same process until it’s fully off.

But, if you don’t want to do that step, you don’t have to, but the ribs might not be quite as tender.

ANY SUBSTITUTIONS?

Of course, you can switch up the rub and the barbeque sauce, and you can even use baby back ribs if desired, here are some suggestions:

For the rub

  • To make it sweeter, add some brown sugar
  • Add chili powder, in addition, or in place of the chipotle powder
  • Add cayenne pepper with the chipotle powder for more spice
  • You can skip making your own rub and just purchase a premade bbq spice rub

For the sauce

  • For additional smokiness (the chipotle powder adds a lot of smokiness already), you can add a little liquid smoke
  • For a fruity aspect to the sauce, use some apple juice or apple cider and whisk it in, 1/4 cup will do. This will thin the sauce, so keep that in mind.
ribs in slow cooker on a metal tray

HOW TO STORE:

Store leftover ribs in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

To warm, place into a foil packet with a splash of water and seal it tightly. Place in a hot oven until warmed through.

Reheating them in the microwave or back in the slow cooker may dry them out.

Freeze for up to 3 months.

Place leftovers in the freezer in a freezer-safe container. To thaw, place the dish in the fridge overnight.

DANA’S TIPS AND TRICKS:

  • Use good quality ingredients. This will make a big difference in the flavor of your ribs.
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment with different flavors. You can add other spices, such as cumin or extra garlic powder, or onion powder, to the sauce or rub.
  • Don’t overcook the ribs as they might dry out. They should be tender but still have a bit of a bite to them.
  • Serve the ribs with your favorite sides. Some good options include coleslaw, macaroni and cheese, or cornbread.
  • Reheat in the oven in a foil packet with a splash of water until warm to prevent the ribs from drying out.
overhead image of ribs in slow cooker on a piece of foil

Not sure what to do with that rack of ribs hanging out in the freezer or fridge? You must try Ribs in Slow Cooker, a total game-changer.

If you’ve tried these RIBS IN SLOW COOKER, let me know how it turned out in the comments! You can follow me over on PINTEREST, INSTAGRAM OR FACEBOOK to find some more of our mouthwatering recipes! 

This Silly Girls Kitchen Logo
5 from 7 votes

St Louis Ribs in Slow Cooker Recipe (Honey Chipotle)

Author Dana at ThisSillyGirlsKitchen.com
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 10 hours
St. Louis ribs are rubbed and slathered in a honey chipotle bbq sauce then slow-cooked until they are fall-apart tender. This Ribs in Slow Cooker recipe will be made again and again.
Servings 4 servings

Ingredients
  

Instructions

  • In a small bowl make the dry rub, mix together the onion, garlic, pepper, paprika, and 1 teaspoon of the chipotle, and set aside.
  • Remove the tough membrane off the underside of the rack and pat them dry with a paper towel.
  • Place the ribs on a sheet tray and cut them in half. Begin rubbing the spice rub all over the ribs on each side. Make sure to get the sides of the ribs as well.
  • Place the coated ribs, meaty side up in a 8 quart slow cooker.
  • In a small bowl, mix together the bbq sauce, honey, Worcestershire sauce, and the remaining chipotle seasoning.
  • Pour half of the bbq sauce mixture over the stacked ribs in the slow cooker. Save the rest for later.
  • Cook on high for 6-7 hours or low for 8-10 hours.
  • Once done, preheat the broiler on high. Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil and place the ribs onto the pan; using the extra bbq sauce, begin basting the ribs all over.
  • Place the pan into the oven and broil until caramelized; keep an eye on them or they might burn. Cut into individual ribs and serve.

Notes

  • Use good quality ingredients. This will make a big difference in the flavor of your ribs.
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment with different flavors. You can add other spices, such as cumin or extra garlic powder, or onion powder, to the sauce or rub.
  • Don’t overcook the ribs as they might dry out. They should be tender but still have a bit of a bite to them.
  • Serve the ribs with your favorite sides. Some good options include coleslaw, macaroni and cheese, or cornbread.
  • Reheat in the oven in a foil packet with a splash of water until warm to prevent the ribs from drying out.

Nutrition

Calories: 1308kcal | Carbohydrates: 108g | Protein: 51g | Fat: 75g | Saturated Fat: 24g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 13g | Monounsaturated Fat: 27g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 254mg | Sodium: 1702mg | Potassium: 1217mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 96g | Vitamin A: 838IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 112mg | Iron: 5mg
Nutrition Disclaimer
Course Main Course
Cuisine American

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5 from 7 votes (7 ratings without comment)

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