Instant Pot Honey Spare Ribs is literally fall-off-the-bone tender. These spare ribs are so flavorful and delicious, and it’s the easiest and quickest ribs made right in your pressure cooker. It‘s another great, easy, and family-approved recipe for a weekday dinner.
Looking for a new way to use an Instant Pot at home? Last time when I shared the Instant Pot Sticky Asian Ribs recipe, many of you made it and shared the picture of your delicious ribs on social media. Now I’m inspired by you and today we’re making Instant Pot Honey Spare Ribs (圧力鍋で作るハニースペアリブ)! These sweet and savory flavors work great on the ribs! You’ll be surprised how quickly you can make these spare ribs with the Instant Pot!
Watch How to Make Instant Pot Honey Spare Ribs
Instant Pot Honey Spare Ribs – Literally fall-off-the-bone tender!
Making Fall-Off-The-Bone Tender Spare Ribs on a Weekday!
I used to cook this Honey Spare Ribs over the stove and enjoyed watching and smelling the food as they were being cooked. The slow cooking and interaction in the kitchen has such a therapeutic effect, and it’s definitely one of my favorite times. However, I no longer have the luxury of time to spend an afternoon in the kitchen anymore. I found myself cooking less and less of my favorite dishes that require long simmering.
Then the electric pressure cooker came to my life. Since then it has utterly changed the whole dynamic of my weekday cooking. Craving a bone-in meat dish on a hectic Tuesday is now made possible!
I still spend some time searing the meat (I don’t want to miss out on the extra delicious flavors), but once that’s done, I just let the Instant Pot cook my meat and leave the kitchen.
Pressure cooking has definitely made this recipe a whole lot simpler. Since everything is done in one-pot, cleaning up is a breeze too. I know you and I are probably sharing the same busy lifestyle, so I hope the Instant Pot recipes on Just One Cookbook come in handy when you wish to cook up better meals for the family.
Spare Ribs vs. Back Ribs
There are basically 2 kinds of pork ribs. Some of you may wonder what’s the difference between spare ribs and back ribs.
Spare ribs – we’re using these ribs today
- Most commonly found in supermarkets.
- Thicker, meatier, and flatter ribs (easier to brown).
- 11 ribs and weighs 2 to 3 pounds; can feed 2-3 people.
- Tough, but incredibly succulent and flavorful.
- Good for slow-cooking, barbecuing or braising.
Back ribs / Baby back ribs
- Little less common and more expensive than spare ribs.
- Leaner and smaller.
- 8 ribs and weighs 1 to 2 pounds; can feed 1-2 people.
- Tender and lean but less flavorful than spareribs.
- Good for grilling, broiling, or barbecuing.
In this recipe, we use tastier spare ribs. Pressure-cooking helps tenderize the meat without spending a long time braising on the stovetop. Ask the butcher to cut the spare ribs into 1 to 1.5-inch pieces. As we eat spare ribs with chopsticks, they should be smaller pieces.
Make Gluten-Free Recipes with Kikkoman® Gluten-Free Tamari Soy Sauce
If your family or friend follows a gluten-free diet, you can now enjoy the same food with Kikkoman® Gluten-Free Tamari Soy Sauce! Kikkoman®’s soy sauce is known for an appealing aroma and rich color that stimulate the appetite. Their soy sauce works great when you add heat to it. You can purchase it on Amazon or from large grocery stores.
You can find more gluten-free recipes here on Just One Cookbook.
Not on a gluten-free diet? Feel free to use regular soy sauce (I often use Kikkoman® Organic Soy Sauce). The flavor is pretty much the same, so there is no need to adjust the amount.
In addition to soy sauce, we’ll only need the regular staples – sake, mirin, sugar, rice vinegar, and honey – for the sauce. It is sweet, salty, savory with a touch of tang.
For a family meal, I like to serve the Instant Pot Honey Spare Ribs with rice and sides of greens and soup. Sometimes with fried rice and a fresh colorful Asian coleslaw.
Japanese Ingredient Substitution: If you want to look for substitutes for Japanese condiments and ingredients, click here.
Instant Pot Honey Spare Ribs
- 3 lbs spare ribs (full rack; ask the butcher to cut into 1-inch cubes as we eat spare ribs with chopsticks and they cook faster)
- 1 tsp Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- ½ onion (4 oz, 113 g)
- 1 tsp ginger (grated, with juice; from a 1-inch, 2.5-cm knob)
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 Tbsp neutral oil
- 4 Tbsp sake (for deglazing; or substitute dry sherry or Chinese rice wine)
- Gather all the ingredients.
- Pat dry 3 lbs spare ribs with paper towels and season with 1 tsp Diamond Crystal kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Finely mince ½ onion.
- Grate the ginger and measure 1 tsp ginger (grated, with juice). Mince 1 clove garlic (or use a garlic press).
- Press the Sauté button on your Instant Pot and heat 1 Tbsp neutral oil.
- Sear the spare ribs on both sides until nicely charred. Sear in batches and don't overcrowd the cooking surface. Don’t touch the meat until it has a nice char; it will release by itself once the surface achieves a golden-brown crust. So don’t worry about the meat sticking to the bottom of the pot.
- Once seared, transfer the meat to a plate or bowl. Continue with the remaining spare ribs.
- If there is a significant amount of oil left on the pot, discard by wiping it off with a sheet of paper towel. It really depends on the spare ribs. I had to use this trick for some spare ribs, while I didn’t see much oil left for this batch of spare ribs.
- Add the minced onion and coat with the oil. Then, add 4 Tbsp sake to deglaze the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon. Make sure to deglaze completely so the IP doesn’t give you a "Burn" message. If the alcohol evaporates too quickly, just add a splash of sake again.
- Continuously add the grated ginger and minced garlic and stir to mix.
- Add the spare ribs, 4 Tbsp mirin, 3 Tbsp sugar, and 1 Tbsp rice vinegar (unseasoned).
- Add in 4 Tbsp soy sauce and 4 Tbsp honey and mix all together one last time.
- Press Cancel to stop the Sauté menu. Close the lid and press the Manual or Pressure Cook menu. Then set to High pressure for 20 minutes. If your pieces are bigger than 1 inch, increase the cooking time to 25–30 minutes. Make sure the steam release handle points at Sealing and not Venting. The float valve goes up when pressurized.
- While pressure cooking, you can prepare blanched vegetables and steamed rice.
- When it’s finished cooking, the Instant Pot will switch automatically to the Keep Warm mode. Let the pressure release naturally for 30 minutes. If the valve hasn’t dropped yet, then quick release the air (be careful and cover your fingers with a kitchen towel).
- Open the lid and gently stir the ingredients. Serve the spare ribs with steamed vegetables and rice.
- Keep in the airtight container and store for 3–4 days in the refrigerator.
- Instant Pot