Sweet, spicy, messy and so easy to make, these slow cooker Chinese spare ribs are a great home cooked ribs recipe. They make a delicious family friendly dinner and could not be tastier!
Every time I cook spare ribs I wonder why I don't do them more often. Of course, they are messy to eat and you maybe wouldn't want to eat them on a first date, but we're a long way from first dates here. There's no reason now not to have messy food if we want it!
Cooking the Chinese spare ribs in the slow cooker is a great way to prepare them too. After 9 hours they are incredibly soft and tender and you can almost just lift the bones out, avoiding all that mess, if that's what puts you off them.
I often cook ribs in the slow cooker with homemade barbecue sauce, but this time, I wanted a slightly different flavour. And that's why I decided to develop this recipe for a more zesty oriental taste.
What ingredients do you need for Chinese spare ribs?
To make this slow cooker Chinese spare ribs recipe you'll need:
- Pork ribs
- Vinegar - I use rice wine and a little malt vinegar. You can just one kind of vinegar. It also doesn't matter whether you use the clear rice wine vinegar or the darker cloudier one.
- Sesame oil
- Soy sauce - I use light soy sauce
- Garlic - You can use fresh garlic or garlic paste or puree
- Lime - This is just for the zest so make sure that you use an unwaxed lime.
- Chinese five spice powder
- Soft brown sugar
How to cook Chinese spare ribs in the slow cooker?
These chinese spare ribs are really easy to make with almost no prep. Just follow these simple steps:
- Mix up all the ingredients except the ribs.
- Put the ribs in the bottom of the slow cooker.
- Pour the sauce on top and around the ribs.
- Cook them on low for 8 hours
It's really that simple. If you find you have too much sauce at the end you can take the ribs out of the slow cooker and reduce the sauce so you get a thick sticky sauce.
I have a Crock Pot Express Multi Cooker which has a saute function. That means I can reduce the sauce without having to transfer it to a different pan.
By the way, do check out my favourite kitchen appliances to see what other gadgets I love to use in the kitchen!
Can you cook these Chinese spare ribs in the oven instead?
This recipe can be adapted and you can cook these Chinese spare ribs in the oven. Coat the ribs in the marinade and then put them in an oven proof dish covered with foil. Bake at 150C for 2 hours.
Can you use a rack of ribs or individual ribs?
I have made this recipe with both a rack of ribs and individual ribs. If you use a rack you will proabably need to cut it up a little so it fits snuggly in the slow cooker.
Storing and reheating the leftovers
Any leftover ribs can be stored in the fridge for up to thre days. Reheat them in the microwave or the oven. They will take about 20 minutes in the oven covered with foil at about 160C.
Can you freeze leftover ribs?
Yes, just wrap them up well and freeze them in an airtight bag. They will keep well for at least three months. Defrost in the fridge overnight before reheating.
What to serve with Chinese spare ribs?
These oriental ribs are very versatile. You can serve them by themselves as a starter or with some sides as a main meal.
They are lovely with egg fried rice and some stir fried green vegetables.
More recipes you might like
If you like Asian flavours then why not try my Asian flavoured duck kebabs?
Or if you are looking for more slow cooker recipes try one of these:
- Slow cooker pork in peanut sauce
- Slow cooker Chinese chicken with stir fried vegetables
- Slow cooker harira with lamb
Chinese Spare Ribs
- Slow Cooker
- 800 g pork ribs a rack or individual ribs
- 90 ml rice wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoon malt vinegar
- 2 tablespoon sesame oil
- 4 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 garlic clove crushed
- 1 lime zested
- 1 teaspoon Chinese Five Spice Powder
- 1 tablespoon soft brown sugar
- Mix together all the ingredients for the sauce.
- Put the ribs in the bottom of the slow cooker and pour the sauce around them. If you have time you can leave the ribs to marinate before beginning to cook them.
- Cook for 8 hours on low. They will be very tender and falling apart.
- Take the ribs out of the slow cooker. If you are able to reduce the sauce in the slow cooker, switch to the simmer/saute setting and let the sauce reduce. If you can't reduce the sauce in the slow cooker, transfer it to a small saucepan and reduce it on the hob. If necessary, stir in a little cornflour dissolved in cold water to help it thicken.
- Serve with rice and stir fried vegetables.