how to reheat ribs

The Best Way to Reheat Ribs and Keep Them Delicious! – 5 Methods

Tender ribs no matter what kind, baby back, spare ribs or pork are delicious served at a BBQ or as a hearty meal with potatoes and veg. A favorite of ours and no doubt a favorite of yours. When served fresh the meat should be tender and fall off the bone. So, when you have lots left and want to reheat leftover ribs you want them to be just as tender.

We’ve all been in a situation where we’ve tried to reheat ribs and they’ve ended up coated in burnt BBQ sauce or not cooked all the way through. Not ideal when all you want to do is tuck into your food.  Or worse yet when you’ve invited people over for a BBQ and not everyone shows up so you’re left with ribs and aren’t sure how to reheat them.

Well, there are lots of potential ways to reheat your ribs, but we’ve delved deep into the reheating world and put together a list that factors everything from convenience, time and tenderness to just about everything else. So, if you want to know the secrets to not drying out your ribs, then look no further. We’ve got you covered.

Related Article: How Many Ribs On A Rack? Learn More About Ribs Here

Method 1 – Reheat Ribs Using The Microwave

Reheat Ribs Using The Microwave

Ok, so the microwave isn’t the best option for keeping your ribs moist but it is going to be the best option if you’re in a hurry. But we did pre-warn you – microwaving any meat does tend to dry it out. There are ways to prevent this, but we would only recommend this option if you are rushing or if hunger won’t let you wait.

What you need?

All you need for this option is a microwave safe dish and some wet paper towels. Always make sure your dish is microwave safe.

Step by step guide

  • Put a wet paper towel at the bottom of the microwave-safe dish and then again over your ribs when you place them in it.
  • This will help lock moisture in.
  • Leave space between each rib to allow them to cook right through.
  • Heat for one minute to warm up then take out and check.
  • If they are not heated fully put back in the microwave for 30-second bursts and keep checking.

Pro & Cons – This option is the best if you want your ribs fast, but it can dry the meat out, which isn’t desirable for any meat lover.

Top Tips – Pour BBQ sauce over the ribs before putting them in the microwave. The sauce keeps the meat tender and will help to prevent drying it out.

Method 2 – Reheat Ribs Using Convection Oven

Reheat Ribs Using Convection Oven

A convection oven is great for keeping ribs juicy. We’re often asked what is the best temperature to reheat ribs in the oven? We would always recommend heating ribs at a temperature of 250° F for a convection oven. This locks in the flavor and keeps your ribs tasty.

What you need?

You need a baking tray, some aluminum foil, some BBQ sauce for flavor and your oven.

Step by step guide

  • Preheat the oven to the recommended 250° F and put some BBQ sauce on your ribs.
  • Wrap the ribs in two layers of aluminum foil, this is the best guarantee to keep the flavor in.
  • When the oven is ready, pop your ribs on a baking tray and in the oven for 1 hour.
  • Heat for the hour and check if the center of the ribs is at the recommended temperature of 155° F.
  • If they are then change the setting on the oven to ‘broil’ leave the oven open, take off the foil and leave for another 10 minutes, or until the BBQ sauce is bubbling.
  • Take out and leave to cool for 5 minutes and then, tuck in.

Pros & Cons – This is a great way to get that fresh from the grill taste and is the best method to the best way to reheat dry rub ribs and reheat pork ribs but an hour in the oven is a long time if people are hungry.

Top Tips – Always use two sheets of foil to lock in as much flavor as possible. Also, don’t forget that BBQ sauce it really is a Godsend when it comes to saving ribs.

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Method 3 – Reheat Ribs Using Air Fryer

Air Fryers are great for cooking tender ribs. And, we know we’ve mentioned fall off the bone a bit but it really is the number one criteria for good ribs and that’s where the air fryer wins some points because it cooks the ribs to perfection. Knowing how to reheat pork ribs without drying them out in an air fryer can be a real lifesaver for parties (or just dinner).

What you need?

All you need for this method is your air fryer, your ribs, and some seasoning, if you feel like it.

Step by step guide

  • Cut your ribs to suit your air fryer, every fryer is different so this can be your own judgment.
  • The air fryer should be set to 350°F.
  • Place your ribs in and let cook for 30 minutes, or until ribs are tender.
  • Once cooked leave to sit for 5 minutes and then serve.

Pros & Cons – This method is quick and will guarantee tasty ribs but air fryers can burn food quickly so should be monitored carefully.

Top Tips – Don’t open the air fryer during the cooking process. It will lose heat and skew the recommended cooking time.

Method 4 – Reheat Ribs Using Frying Pan

Reheat Ribs Using Frying Pan

Reheating ribs on a pan is a great simple method for reheating. It locks in flavor and is so convenient it’s hard to fault it. If you are looking for the best method for how to reheat bacon, then frying is a failsafe.

What you need?

A frying pan, that should be no more than 3 inches deep. This will be sturdy enough to hold sauce but not to over steam your ribs.

Step by step guide

  • Add a little bit of boiling water to the bottom of the pan, this will keep the bacon or other rib meat tender.
  • Don’t add too much water because it could overdo the meat.
  • Put the ribs in the pan on medium heat and cover them in the sauce of your choice.
  • This will keep the moisture in and stop the ribs burning.
  • Keep covering the ribs in the sauce when turning them and leave on the pan for about 15 to 20 minutes.

Pros & Cons – This method is much faster than the oven and allows you to add sauces and flavors as you. But it can be easy to dry out the ribs.

Top Tips – Make sure to keep turning the ribs when cooking on a frying pan and adding sauce to any exposed areas of the rib. This will keep everything tasting great.

Method 5: Reheat Ribs Using  Slow Cooker

Reheat Ribs Using  Slow Cooker

There’s no denying slow cookers make everything taste better. They cook meat to absolute perfection every time and turn the most mundane dishes into tasty treats. Using a slow cooker is going to be ideal if you have the time and is perfect if you want to pop out while you leave the ribs at home cooking.

What you need?

A slow cooker, tongs, rib sauce, and water

Step by step guide

  • Turn on your slow cooker and set it to warm.
  • If your slow cooker only has high and low options we would suggest setting it to low.
  • Add 1/3 a cup of water if there is no sauce on your ribs.
  • If there is then add just enough water to the bottom of the slow cooker so that it covers the bottom.
  • Use your tongs to place the ribs in the cooker, cover over and leave to sit for four to six hours.

Pros & Cons – This method guarantees tender ribs but the obvious downfall is the timing.

Top Tips – Use this method if you know exactly when dinner will be served and have some work or other things that need to be done.

How to Store Leftover Ribs?

how to reheat ribs

Now that we’ve run through all the ways to hear ribs to keep them as tasty as possible, storing them is worth mentioning, too. Because it plays a huge part in the lifespan of your reheated ribs. When you have reheated your ribs make sure not to leave them sitting out for nay longer than two hours. Anything after two hours has the potential to create a build-up of harmful bacteria on the meat. To store your ribs all you need is some aluminum foil or cling film and an airtight container. Everyone usually has these kitchen utensils handy, and if you don’t, then get on it because they are needed to store pretty much all meat products. Wrap the ribs in the foil and place in the container, making sure not to keep them near any uncooked meat. Your ribs will last for 4 days in the fridge. If you want to freeze them, pop them in a freezer safe container and put them in your freezer. They should last for up to 3 months this way in their best condition but after this, they can still be eaten for up to a year.


Ribs really are great for any occasion and although no one can argue that eating them fresh is the best way to go, the variety of options listed will help you make the most informed decision when you do find yourself needing to reheat your ribs. The oven is going to be the best way to heat ribs and keep the freshness but the other options can be great, too. It’s about finding your preferred method because everyone usually has a certain way that they like to cook their ribs. Once you find it, we would recommend following that method for reheating. Always make sure your ribs are cooked all the way through. Ribs are considered cooked at 145°F internal temp so check for this temperature before serving. Ribs can still be quite tough at this stage 190 to 203°F is the optimum temperature for more tender and juicy ribs. Now that we’ve given you all this reheating rib knowledge, we hope you find your preferred method. If you do, let us know in the comments section.

Want More Reheating Tricks?

Knowing how to get the most out of your food is something that we take seriously. We hate waste and we always want to give our readers informed guides on the best way to keep their food, so it has a longer lifespan. It’s super important to us and when you get into the swing of reheating food properly, it becomes easy and allows you to get more from your shopping and your money. If you have more leftovers than you know what to do with then fear not, we have a whole range of articles to keep you in the know on how best to store, reheat and keep all your food. Our reheat fried chicken post gives a breakdown of everything you need to know to keep your chicken tasting fresh and most importantly keeping that fried texture, not the soggy chicken of nightmares. Our reheat chicken wings article also shares an overview of some of the best ways we have found for to reheat wings and, again, lock in the flavor and goodness.

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