How to Reheat Ribs in Instant Pot in 5 Easy Steps

Ribs are a favorite food all around the world, but they can be difficult to reheat correctly. They are prone to drying out and burning when heated using conventional methods. However, using an instant pot can avoid these problems and easily reheat the ribs.

The five steps to reheating ribs in instant pot are:

  1. Use a heat-safe container
  2. Add water
  3. Cover containers with foil
  4. Set timer
  5. Remove ribs safely

Read on to learn more about how to reheat ribs using an instant pot in five easy steps.

Can Instant Pot Be Used for Reheating Ribs?

Yes, an instant pot can be used for reheating ribs. Generally speaking, instant pots are used to pressure cook different foods. However, if you carefully check the settings, you can also use the instant pot to reheat different foods, including ribs. 

When you are reheating food in the instant pot you will want to use the slow cook, keep warm, or steam function. All of the other functions will generate too much heat which could dry out the food over time or overcook the food. 

The previously mentioned settings are all more gentle and can slowly heat up food so that it becomes hot without overcooking it.

Regardless, if you decide to use your instant pot to reheat ribs or other food, you should almost always add extra water. This will help to prevent the food from drying out and allow it to retain its original texture.

How Do You Reheat Meat Ribs in an Instant Pot?

In this section, you will find instructions on how to heat ribs using an instant pot. Of course, you will likely need to tweak the instructions as you go depending on how much food you are cooking and what type of food it is.

  1. Use Heat Safe Container

The first step to heating your meat ribs using an instant pot begins as soon as you store the food. When you store the meat ribs you will want to store them in a heat-safe container that can is safe to use in the instant pot. That way, you won’t have to deal with dirtying your instant pot and you won’t have to switch your meat ribs to a new container to heat them.

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The best containers for this are thick glass containers. These will handle the heat well and are durable enough that you don’t have to worry about them breaking easily. They also come in many different sizes which makes them ideal for storing food in different quantities.

Easy to Pick Up

When you are picking out which container to use when storing your food, you should make sure that you pick one that is easy to grab with tongs. This will make your reheating process significantly easier when it is time to take your food out of the instant pot.

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When your food is reheated, the container will become very hot with it. To remove the container safely, you will need to do so with tongs. The easiest containers to remove with tongs are those that have a large lip or a handle already built into the design. 

If you use a container that cannot be easily removed with tongs you will need to use a foil sling. This will help you to remove the container from the instant pot without using tongs. To create a foil sling you will line the bottom of the pot with enough foil that it goes up the edges as well. Then you will place the container on top of the foil.

Once you are done heating the foil you will grab both edges and remove the container using the foil sling. Foil does not retain heat as long as glass so it will be safe to touch far faster than the actual container. 

Of course, you should still use gloves when handling the foil as a precaution to avoid burning yourself.

  1. Add Water

To prevent your food from drying out you will want to add some water to the bottom of your instant pot. You will want to add about one cup of water to the bottom of the instant pot. This will keep the inside of the pot humid and prevent your food from drying out and becoming tough.

The only food that you should not do this with is soup since it already has a high enough moisture content. To learn more about how to reheat soup in an instant pot, click here.

If you are reheating pasta you may also want to add a small amount of oil to the pasta and mix it in. Doing so will help to keep the pasta from sticking together in clumps as it reheats.

  1. Cover Containers with Foil

Once your instant pot is prepped with enough water, you will want to cover the containers in foil. The purpose of this is to prevent any condensation that may accumulate from dripping into your food and making it watery.

You should take a small amount of foil and loosely cover the top of your container. This will help to prevent water from dropping in without cutting off the air circulation to the food. Remember, the goal is not to seal the food off, you still want the airflow to be possible as that is how the food will reheat.

  1. Set Your Time

Once the containers have been covered it is time to place them in the instant pot. Remember, if your container does not have a lip that will allow it to be gripped with tongs you should place your food into a foil sling. This will make for easier removal once the food is done reheating.

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With the water in the bottom of the instant pot, you should set your instant pot to the steam setting. Most of the time, around 5 minutes will be long enough to reheat your meat ribs without overcooking them. However, this will depend on the number of ribs that you are reheating, how thick they are, and how many containers you have them in.

The more spread out the ribs are, the faster they will reheat. If the ribs are piled on top of each other or are especially thick, you may have to cook the ribs for slightly longer than 5 minutes to ensure that they are heated evenly.

If the ribs are extremely cold you also may need to reheat them for slightly longer. Similarly, if the ribs are at room temperature you may not need an entire five minutes to fully reheat them.

  1. Remove The Ribs

Once you have finished steaming your meat ribs it is time to remove them. When you open your instant pot you should always exercise caution. After all, the last thing you want is a severe burn to prevent you from eating your ribs.

Make sure to allow the pressure cooker to release its steam before you attempt to open it. Once everything is open and the steam has dispersed you will want to use tongs to remove the dish. This will keep you from burning yourself in the hot container. If the container is difficult to remove with tongs you can also use an aluminum foil sling to remove the food.

When you remove the container from the instant pot make sure to place it on a heat-safe surface. This can be a stovetop or, if you don’t have a stovetop, you can also use pads to keep your hot dish from touching the table. The dish will be so hot that it can burn plastic and wood surfaces easily.

After the ribs have cooled sufficiently they are ready to eat! 

Instant Pot Alternatives When Reheating Meat Ribs

Although instant pots are a great device for reheating meat ribs, not everyone has access to an instant pot. If you don’t have access to an instant pot there are several alternatives that you can use to reheat your meat ribs. Some of these alternatives include the microwave, oven, and air fryer. 


Using a microwave is probably the most popular way to reheat meat ribs. After all, it is super quick, easy, and almost everyone has a microwave.

The biggest thing that you will want to be careful about when using a microwave is making sure the food doesn’t dry out. The best way to prevent this is by placing a small amount of water in the microwave along with the food. This will increase the humidity in the microwave and help keep the moisture in the meat ribs.

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When you heat your meat ribs in the microwave do it in 2 minute increments. This will help to keep the ribs from overcooking.

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Another very popular way to reheat meat ribs is using a regular oven. This will take longer, but it allows the ribs to heat evenly and you won’t have as many issues with the meat drying out.

Two things to make sure you do when you reheat ribs in the oven are to add extra moisture and cover the ribs with foil. Adding extra moisture, in the form of water or cola, will help keep the ribs from drying out. Covering the ribs with foil will keep the outside of the ribs from burning.

Air Fryer

The last method for reheating your ribs is using an air fryer. Air fryers have risen in popularity over the last several years and for good reason. Air fryers allow you to cook a large variety of foods in an extremely short amount of time.

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When using the air fryer you will want to make sure to cover the ribs in foil. This will trap the moisture in the ribs and keep the skin of the ribs from burning. 

Related Questions

How long should you reheat ribs in an instant pot?

On average, you should reheat your ribs for 5 minutes in an instant pot. However, if you are reheating a large number of ribs or exceptionally thick ribs, you may want to increase that time to about 10 minutes. 

How do you store leftover ribs?

The best way to store leftover ribs is in an airtight container in the refrigerator. This will help to prevent bacterial growth and oxygenation that could spoil the meat.

How to tell if meat ribs have spoiled?

The easiest way to tell if meat ribs have spoiled is by smelling them. Spoiled meat has a strong, rancid odor that is easy to detect. If the meat has mold or discoloration then it has also gone bad.

Final Thoughts

Using an instant pot is one of the easiest and fastest ways to reheat ribs. The best way to reheat ribs in an instant pot is by using the steam setting. This will allow you to reheat the ribs without drying them out. It also lets you heat up the ribs evenly and avoid overcooking the tips of the ribs.

The most important thing to remember when reheating meat ribs in an instant pot is to place them in the appropriate container. This will make sure that the ribs heat evenly and don’t lose moisture throughout the cooking process. It will also make the ribs easier to remove at the end of the reheating process.