These Oven Baked Ribs in Foil are covered in a spicy rub, slathered in barbecue sauce, and roasted with our foolproof cooking method for the most tender, fall-off-the-bone ribs you’ve ever tasted!

These ribs are perfect any time of year and will make a great addition to your regular menu rotation. 

Oven baked ribs in foil sliced on a cutting board.

There are few things better than tender ribs cooked all day in the smoker, low and slow with applewood chips until they fill your palate with that smoky goodness.

But what if you don’t have a smoker? Or don’t have all day? Or just want to serve good ribs but with less work?

Why oven baked ribs in foil

You can slow-cook ribs in the oven and produce a terrific result, and you can do it in an afternoon. They will still fall off the bone and have a rich barbecue flavor.

And you’ll have plenty of time to put together your favorite side dishes, like baked beans, corn on the cob, potato salad, and a soul-satisfying dessert like Southern Peach Cobbler.

This is the kind of ribs recipe that makes everyone sit a little taller at the dinner table, anticipating that first flavorful bite.

Whether you’re a seasoned cook or just finding your way around the kitchen, this oven baked ribs in foil recipe is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser, bringing delightful BBQ flavors to your kitchen.

A plate of oven baked ribs in foil.

Ingredients for oven baked ribs in foil

Ingredients to make oven baked ribs in foil.
  • Baby back ribs or spare ribs – almost any cut of ribs will work with this recipe, either pork ribs or beef ribs. 
  • Apple juice – you can use any liquid here, like beer or even just water. 
  • Homemade BBQ sauce – or grab your favorite barbecue sauce from the store. 
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Homemade dry rub – our rub recipe uses a mixture of spices (listed below in the recipe card), but in a pinch, we like Southern Soul Barbecue Rub.
  • Roasting pan with rack – I use this one for so many things. 
  • Aluminum foil – use the heavy duty kind.

Dry rub ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons cumin
  • 1 tablespoon black powder
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon chipotle chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup white granulated sugar

Note: This makes quite a bit of rub, about 2 cups, which is more than you need for any single recipe. Put the extra in a sealed container and store it in a cool, dry place (not a refrigerator)

Variations

  • Substitute apple juice with beef broth or your preferred beer for a deeper flavor.
  • Add honey or maple syrup to the barbecue sauce for extra sweetness.
  • Mix in different types of peppers or hot sauce to the dry rub for more heat.
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Foolproof method for cooking ribs in the oven

  1. Preheat oven to 300°. Place one sheet of foil lengthwise on a rack in a roasting pan or baking sheet. Place another sheet widthwise. 
  2. Put the ribs on top of the foil and sprinkle a generous amount of rub on both sides of the ribs. Using your fingers, gently massage the rub into the meat. 
  3. Fold the short side foil over the ribs and seal the edges together. Then fold the long piece together and seal the edges. The foil packet is going to seal in the moisture and help make the ribs so tender!
  4. Pour ½ cup – 1 cup of liquid, depending on the size of your pan, into the bottom of the roasting pan. You want to cover the bottom of the pan with about an inch of liquid. You’ll need to check periodically throughout the cooking time to ensure there is still liquid in the pan. Don’t allow the pan to dry out!
  5. Cook for about 3 ½ hours until you can easily separate the ribs with a fork and the meat pulls off the bone. I check after 2 hours, and the ribs are usually done but not quite tender enough.
  6. Once the ribs are tender, brush the sauce on both sides gently so that you don’t brush off the rub. Then either broil the ribs for a few minutes to caramelize the sauce (do not broil in a baking dish) or place them on the grill for 3-5 minutes on each side.

Tips

  • If your ribs haven’t been trimmed, then you’ll need to cut the membrane from the back of the ribs. The thin membrane is the silver skin that coats the back of the ribs. Use a sharp paring knife to get under the skin and peel it off the underside of the ribs. 
  • If you lack a roasting pan or rack, create a makeshift rack with rolled tin foil in a deep baking pan.
  • Keep the leftover dry rub in a sealed container stored in a cool, dry place.
  • Concentrate on the key spices if you don’t have all the ingredients for the rub: garlic powder, chili powder, cumin, cayenne, brown sugar, salt and pepper.
  • This recipe also works well in the slow cooker. Just wrap ribs as directed and set them right in the slow cooker. You won’t need as much liquid, but I would still add a little bit, about 1/4 cup. 
Can you freeze this recipe?

Absolutely, just be sure to cool them completely before freezing.

Can you make it ahead?

Yes, you can prepare the ribs a day before, let them marinate in the dry rub overnight in the refrigerator, then bake when ready.

How to store?

Store leftover ribs in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Can I use other types of ribs?

Yes, St. Louis style or spareribs work well with this recipe. 

A cooked rack of ribs.

We think these tender, juicy ribs are the best bbq ribs outside of a good barbecue joint, and we’ve got plenty of those here in the South.

This easy recipe will help you master a family favorite dish that you can make often. 

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5 from 2 votes

Oven Baked Ribs

Oven Baked Ribs in Foil are covered in a spicy rub, slathered in barbecue sauce, and roasted with our foolproof cooking method for the most tender, fall-off-the-bone ribs you've ever tasted!
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 4 hours
Total: 4 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
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Ingredients 

Ribs

  • 2 lbs. baby back ribs or spare ribs
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 1 cup barbecue sauce

Dry Rub

  • 3 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons cumin
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon chipotle chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup white granulated sugar

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 300°.
  • Place one sheet of foil lengthwise and one sheet widthwise on top of a rack in a deep roasting pan.
  • Place the ribs on top of the foil and sprinkle a generous amount of rub on both sides of the ribs, rubbing it in as you go.
  • Fold the foil over the ribs and seal the edges together.
  • Pour about ½ cup – 1 cup, depending on the size of your pan, of liquid into the bottom of the roasting pan. 
  • Cook for about 3 and ½ hours, until you can easily separate the ribs with a fork and the meat pulls off the bone.
  • Once they are tender, brush the sauce on both sides, gently so that you don’t brush off the rub. Then either broil the ribs for a few minutes to caramelize the sauce (do not broil in a baking dish) or place them on the grill for 3-5 minutes each side.

Notes

  • If you don’t have a roasting pan, you can take tin foil and roll it up and make a circle to make a rack in a deep baking pan or dish and then lay the other sheets on top.
  • This makes quite a bit of rub, about 2 cups, which is more than you need for any single recipe. Put the extra in a sealed container and store in a cool, dry place (not refrigerator).
  • If you don’t have all these spices, then concentrate on the garlic powder, chili powder, cumin, cayenne, brown sugar, salt and pepper and adjust the amounts proportionately.

Nutrition

Serving: 6servings, Calories: 535kcal, Carbohydrates: 59g, Protein: 31g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 111mg, Sodium: 1440mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 46g
Course: Pork
Cuisine: American
Calories: 535
Keyword: easy barbecue ribs, easy ribs, oven baked ribs
Love this recipe?Mention @southernfoodandfun or tag #southernfoodandfun!

UPDATE NOTES: This post was originally published September 30, 2010, and on July 21, 2023, was updated with one or more of the following: step-by-step photos, video, updated recipe, new tips.

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1 Comment

  1. I am cooking this weekend for our sr management team and need some good hearty (all guys) ideas for 2 dinners, 2 brunches. I thought I will only serve two meals a day to avoid us overeating? I think your ribs and baked potatoes, then maybe a soup and bread? Any ideas would be great. I have to travel to blue ridge for the weekend so easy is what I am looking for