What Are the Best Ways to Reheat Ribs?

Have you found yourself with BBQ ribs leftovers after a big party? Then you might want to learn how to properly store and reheat them to avoid turning this delicacy into a dried out mess.

And we’re here to help! In this step-by-step guide, we’ll be sharing some secrets on how to warm up ribs to have them as juicy and flavorful as they were at first bite. Furthermore, we’ll describe different methods so that you can find the best way to reheat ribs that works for you. You’ll also get to know how to properly store them to lock in as much moisture as possible. Interested? Then let’s get to it!

Reheating Ribs In The Oven

We would say that reheating ribs in the oven is one of the most effective, reliable and fuss-free methods. Your goal here is to avoid drying ribs out and keep them juicy and tender. So, how to reheat ribs in the oven? Follow these steps:

  1. Remove ribs from the fridge 30 min. Before reheating them – they should come to room temperature. This way, ribs will reheat more evenly.
  2. Set the oven to preheat to 225˚F.
  3. Slather on another coat of sauce – that will keep the meat juicy. Or you can sprinkle it with a few tablespoons of water, broth, coke, or beer.
  4. Place the moistened meat in a pan or sheet of aluminum foil and tightly wrap the foil around. Add another layer of foil to be sure that no liquid escapes when you reheat ribs in the oven.
  5. Cook the ribs until their internal temperature comes up to 145˚F.
  6. Unwrap the meat and leave it in the oven for another 10-15 min so that the sauce caramelizes.

Reheating Ribs In Air Fryer

An air fryer works by using super heated air to imitate cooking in the electric deep fryer, making it great for reheating smoked ribs with a dry rub. But on the other hand, it doesn’t work well with moist foods, so if you are going to reheat ribs soaked in the sauce, an air fryer may not be the best option.

Here is the way you should use an air fryer to reheat ribs:

  1. Preheat the air fryer to 350° F.
  2. Do not jam ribs in, instead slice them and put them comfortably into the machine. If you overload your air fryer, it will not be able to distribute hot air evenly. And some ribs won’t reach the right temperature.
  3. Sprinkle the meat with 1 tbsp of oil to avoid drying them out. 
  4. Air fryers cook the food rather fast. To ensure that your ribs won’t get too dry, reheat them in short bursts: cook for about 3-4 min, then check their internal temp – it should be 140°F when the ribs are done.

Reheating Ribs In A Steamer

How to reheat smoked ribs while keeping them super juicy? You’ll need a steamer! This device will also help you to create a delicious gravy.

Here’s what you should do:

  1. Put ¼ cup of beer, apple juice, or thin beef broth in a sizable pot on the stove and boil it.
  2. Place the meat in the steamer basket, cover it with the lid, and put it over the pot.
  3. Let the ribs sit there for about 30 minutes. Do not remove the lid! Otherwise, you’ll let the steam come out, and ribs will take longer to cook.
  4. Steam the ribs until their internal temperature is 140˚F. If necessary, add a bit more liquid to the pot.
  5. Season the gravy left in the pot, stir it well and coat the reheated ribs with it.

Reheating Ribs Using Sous Vide Method

Sous vide is considered the best way to reheat any type of ribs, it uses a hot water bath to cook or reheat meals that are sealed in plastic bags. If you store your ribs leftover in the vacuum sealer, just take it from the fridge or freezer and put it into the Sous vide – either a specially designed cooker or an ordinary large pot on the stove-top.

So, to reheat ribs with a sous vide you’ll need to:

  1. Heat the water to 165° F.
  2. Put the vacuum plastic bag filled with ribs into the Sous vide.
  3. The bag must sit in hot water for 45 min. If you are preparing frozen ribs, leave them for another 30 minutes.
  4. Do not add moisture into the bag – sous vide uses indirect heat to warm up your ribs, leaving them juicy and tender.

Ways To Reheat Specific Ribs

Although the methods mentioned above work well for all types of ribs, you may be wondering how to reheat specific ribs to preserve their unique flavor even better.

So, here are the best ways to reheat the most popular rib varieties: 

How To Reheat Beef Ribs?  

There are 3 types of beef ribs: chuck short ribs, back ribs, and plate short ribs. All these types deserve much love since they are full of connective tissue and marbling, making them ideal for low and slow cooking over indirect heat.

So, what is the best way to reheat beef ribs while preventing them from drying out? Reheat them in the oven, using the method we’ve described above. Just make sure to preheat the oven to 250° F and cook ribs for about 30 minutes until their internal temp comes up to 165° F. As you can see, the only difference is the temperature, the rest of the steps are the same.

How To Reheat Baby Back Ribs?  

Baby back ribs are very tender, but they have less fat content, hence they easily dry out. You’ll get the best results from reheating this type of ribs in the oven by using a low temperature – about 225° F. Baby backs need extra moisture, so coat them with sauce. Then tightly wrap the ribs in a double layer of foil and cook them for about 40 minutes. If you do everything right, they’ll come out steamy, tasty, and juicy.

How To Reheat Spare Ribs/St. Louis Style?  

St. Louis Style ribs can boast more fat content than the others. It means they have a bit more natural juice, even after being warmed up.

So, to reheat BBQ ribs, you will need to add sauce but not as much as you would use to cover baby back ribs. Then wrap spare ribs in the foil, place them in the preheated oven (250F) and let them sit there for about 40-60 minutes. The ribs’ extra fat will keep them moist and tasty.

How To Store Cooked Ribs    

The Wozniak Method

If you haven’t found out in advance how many ribs per person you should cook and now see that there’s going to be plenty of leftover meat, it’s a good idea to use the Wozniak method to store cooked ribs.

  • When the ribs are cooked, cut them.
  • Seal them tightly in the foil.
  • Place the package in the watertight plastic bag.
  • Bring this to the cooler and cover it with ice.
  • When you lower the temp down to 40° F, you can move the package to the refrigerator.

How To Store Ribs In The Fridge?

You can keep cooked ribs in the refrigerator for no more than 4 days, just make sure that the temperature is lower than 40° F. Use a vacuum bag or airtight container to preserve the flavor and reduce moisture loss.     

How To Store Ribs In The Freezer?

You can store cooked ribs in the freezer for as long as 6 months, however, they must be sealed tightly! Foil, plastic wrap, or zip lock bags work nicely, but vacuum bags are the best option, besides you can place them right into the sous vide to reheat your ribs.

How Long Can I Store Cooked Ribs?

It depends on how and where you are going to store cooked ribs. So let’s take a closer look at how to store cooked ribs:

  •     If you keep ribs at room temperature, don’t leave them for longer than 2 hours.
  •     Ribs can sit in the fridge for up to 4 days if sealed properly.
  •     In the freezer, ribs can keep the best quality for 3 months and remain safe for much longer – up to 6 months. That is, again, if stored properly.  

How Can I Tell If My Stored Meat Is Bad?

Before reheating cooked ribs, do check them! Bad ribs have a sour smell and slimy texture. If you’ve noticed these symptoms, do not even taste the ribs, discard them immediately! Better safe than sorry!

How To Reheat Ribs Without Drying Them Out: Essential Tips

The following tips will help you get the best from your leftover ribs so that you can enjoy them the next day:

  • Refrigerate the cooked ribs as soon as possible, otherwise, bacteria will start to grow fast.
  • Don’t leave ribs unrefrigerated for more than 2 hours.
  • When you store ribs in the fridge or freezer, take steps to lock in moisture – keep them properly sealed as we’ve described above.
  • When cooking or reheating ribs, make sure that meat’s internal temperature is not less than 145 °F – this is a USDA recommendation.
  • When reheating the ribs, do apply the liquid since refrigeration and warming up will steal the moisture. You can add broth, coke, apple juice, or cider vinegar.
  • Avoid high direct heat when reheating ribs to keep them moist.


How Soon Do I Have To Freeze/Refrigerate My Ribs?  

It’s better to refrigerate or freeze the ribs within 2 hours after you cool them. Otherwise, they’ll develop harmful microorganisms.

Should You Reheat Ribs In The Microwave?

Although reheating ribs in the microwave is the fastest method, you should try to avoid it unless you want very dry ribs. That is because the microwaves tend to dry out foods, as well as not heating them consistently.

Can I Reheat Ribs A Second Time? 

Sure, but we’d recommend avoiding this. There is a greater risk of contamination because of the additional time the meat has spent unrefrigerated. And all that freezing, thawing, and reheating will not add to the meat quality and taste.   


A lot of time and effort goes into grilling or smoking ribs and nobody wants their work to go to waste! So when you make a bit too much, and need to store this food for later, remember that you can store the ribs for later and then reheat them.

And hopefully, now you know some good methods on how to reheat ribs! There are many of those, but we personally think that the sous vide is the best way to reheat ribs. However, the oven method is a lot more practical, seeing how many people own this device.

Regardless of what ribs reheating method you choose, just remember to refrigerate ribs quickly and keep them moist while reheating – and you’ll enjoy that finger-licking delicacy again!

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