Complete guide to reheating ribs [air fryer, oven, microwave]

You had a party the other night and you have some leftovers of baby ribs in your fridge. Now, you’re worried whether the leftover ribs would still taste juicy or would dry out. Moreover, you want to know how to reheat ribs in air fryer and keep them moist.

Of course, without moisture, the ribs would lose their juicy flavor and would be tough to eat. So, you want to know how you can best reheat the leftover ribs or how to reheat bbq ribs.

Well, there are ways to keep leftover ribs still tasty and juicy after reheating them. If you do the right thing, you can ensure that you can keep the leftover ribs juicy for the following days.

Ribs are one of those foods that you don’t want to see go to waste. If there are any leftover ribs, you should consider storing then reheating them instead of discarding them immediately.

You shouldn’t be concerned about how to reheat your leftover ribs since it’s simple. The flavor and texture of the ribs will be identical if you reheat them using the appropriate method.

How to Reheat Ribs in Air Fryer

Heating ribs or any meal may be made simple and enjoyable with the help of various grilling equipment such as an air fryer, oven, or microwave. Here, you’ll learn how to reheat ribs in air fryer, oven, and microwave.

You simply need to follow the handy tips for perfectly reheating ribs.

Do’s For Reheating Ribs in an Air Fryer

The easiest approach to keep the meat from becoming dry is to reheat ribs in the air fryer. You just have to simply rely on a dependable air fryer to cook the ribs to your specifications and enjoy it!

However, you might worry about reheating the ribs since they may become overdone and dry as a result of doing so. The good news is that you can still enjoy the tenderness and juiciness of your leftover ribs. You can do this by following the basic do’s and don’ts when you reheat ribs in air fryer below:

Do preheat your air fryer before you start reheating

An air fryer operates in the same way as a standard oven. It pumps heated air, resulting in crispy food. Thus, preheating the air fryer for a few minutes before reheating the ribs might be beneficial. This is because it will decrease the heating time and ensure that your food is cooked to perfection.

To preheat an air fryer, simply set the temperature at which you want to cook the ribs meal and let it run for about 5 minutes before cooking.

Do use the right cooking spray for air fryers

When reheating ribs in an air fryer, make sure to grease the basket to prevent the food from sticking. Although this is not always necessary, it makes reheating meals and cleaning up afterward a lot easier.

Remember that non-stick coating on your air fryer may be damaged if you use cooking sprays that include silicone or lecithin. Alternatively, you may just use a spray bottle with some cooking oil.

Do turn your food midway

The use of tongs or shaking the fryer basket midway through the frying process will help to distribute the heat evenly. You can do this around 2 to 3 times during the cooking process to maintain the uniform texture of the meal.

Do line your air fryer with aluminum foil or parchment paper 

When reheating sticky food items such as ribs coated in sticky sauce in an air fryer, line the basket with some parchment paper or aluminum foil before placing the food item inside. This will avoid a sticky mess when cleaning up and make cooking a lot less difficult for you.

Do add water to the air fryer’s drawer

Placing a little amount of water in the drawer beneath the basket will keep the grease from becoming too hot and causing it to smoke.

Dont’s For Reheating Ribs in an Air Fryer

Don’t overfill the air fryer basket

Using an air fryer to prepare a large quantity of food might result in overcrowding. If you add too many food items simultaneously, it is possible that some sections of the ribs will not cook thoroughly. 

Portioning the ribs into smaller sizes will allow the air to circulate efficiently inside the air fryer, cooking the food more evenly. It will take more time, but it will be well worth it!

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Don’t forget to clean the air fryer after using

Although it appears to be time-consuming, cleaning your air fryer immediately after use can make your life significantly simpler. There is less clean-up to do, and the next time you want to use your air fryer, you can get started right away!

Don’t put anything on or near your air fryer

The air fryer cooks food by circulating hot air. Thus, allowing the appliance some breathing room will ensure appropriate ventilation within. 

Ensure there are no things on top of the air fryer and leave at least 5 inches of space around each side of the appliance. Keep in mind that air fryers can work more efficiently and prevent overheating in a well-ventilated area. 

Guidelines for reheating ribs in an air fryer or oven

If you go online and search for How to Reheat Ribs in Air Fryer and keep them juicy, you’ll get several answers. These answers are somewhat similar to each other and with few variations. This is because the different methods for reheating ribs follow the same formula.

The result, however, of the reheating process greatly depends on how you’ve stored the leftover ribs. As long as you store and cook the leftover ribs correctly, you can always expect good results afterward. So, without further ado, here are the steps that you should take to keep leftover ribs juicy and tasty when you reheat them:

First, store the leftover ribs properly!

If you intend to cook leftover ribs after a day or two, you need to properly store them. You can do this by cutting them into manageable portions. This will make reheating easier. Yet, you should not cut them into very small pieces for they will tend to lose their juiciness and dry out sooner.

You should remember that cooked meat if left outside the fridge for a long time tend to dry out. So, if you intend to reheat leftover ribs, make sure that you put them away immediately. Moreover, after you have removed the ribs off the grill, you should not leave them outside for more than two hours.

So, as you store the leftover ribs, you should keep them in a place below 40°F. If you store them using the right temperature, they could last for a week, though they are best consumed within 4 days.

If you intend to refrigerate or put the leftover ribs inside a freezer, you should store them in an airtight container or a zippered plastic bag. You should also wrap them with additional aluminum foil layers. This should be done to keep air out of the plastic bag.

You can also spruce the leftover ribs before storing them with flavorful sauce to add flavor when you reheat them. After sealing them inside an airtight container, you can then store them inside the fridge or freezer.

Lastly, when storing leftover ribs, you should store them at an ideal temperature. The maximum freezing temperature should not be higher than 40°F. 

How to Reheat Ribs in Air Fryer

If you’re a meat lover, eating ribs won’t be complete unless the food is soft, juicy, and cooked to perfection. However, there may be times when you have cooked too much and decided to store the leftovers in the freezer or fridge.

Reheating ribs using an air fryer is one of the quickest and most convenient methods to prepare a quick and easy meal. You’ll just simply place the ribs in the air fryer and let the rest take care of itself. Cleaning is fast and simple too since there’s no need to heat the entire house or have your baking sheets covered in barbecue sauce.

What you will need

  • 3 lbs pork back ribs or beef
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Parchment paper, aluminum foil, or cooking spray
  • Tongs
  • Air fryer

Steps For Reheating Ribs in an Air Fryer

When it comes to reheating ribs, temperature management and timing are critical to achieving the desired tenderness and juiciness. Here are some quick and easy-to-follow steps for reheating ribs in an air fryer:

  1. First, wrap the ribs in aluminum foil so that any liquid sauces may be collected throughout the heating process. This is especially important if you don’t want the ribs to become overcooked. 
  2. Next, preheat the air fryer to 350°F before placing the ribs in. The ribs may need to be divided or sliced into smaller pieces if they are too large to fit in the basket. 
  3. Although it is entirely optional, putting a tiny quantity of oil on each rib can help them to become juicier.
  4. After the air fryer has been preheated for approximately 3-5 minutes, you may place the ribs in the air fryer basket and close the lid. Try not to overlap each cut for the best results. 
  5. Put the ribs into the air fryer and cook for approximately 4-5 minutes, or until each rib is well cooked.
  6. Four to five minutes into the cooking time, you may check the ribs to see whether they have reached the tenderness you desire.
  7. If you still have some leftover sauce from the previous night, you may spoon some over the ribs to give them some flavor before reheating it for a few more minutes. Keep an eye on the sauce to ensure it doesn’t catch on fire. 
  8. When the timer goes off, you can now take the ribs from the basket and serve immediately. The aluminum foil in the basket aids in the reduction of the amount of time spent cleaning at the end.
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How to Reheat Ribs in Oven

One of your primary questions when reheating leftover ribs is: “What is the best temperature to reheat bbq ribs in the oven?” Of course, there is a specific range of temperature to use when reheating leftover ribs. But before you reheat, you need to preheat the grill or the oven that you will use to reheat bbq the ribs.

Your best option, however, for reheating the leftover ribs is to use the oven. Using the oven allows you to have perfect control over the reheating temperature.

As mentioned above, before reheating the ribs, you should preheat the oven up to 121°C or 250°F. Refrain from using higher temperatures when reheating leftover ribs. High heat will shrink the ribs and the meat will lose most of their moisture.

If you want to bring back the off-the-grill flavor of the meat before reheating, you should baste all sides of the ribs with your favorite BBQ sauce. Pour the BBQ sauce on the meat to give the meat more moisture and flavor.

You can also add flavored liquids at the foil’s bottom to further increase moisture and flavor. Then, you should wrap the ribs with layers of foil before you reheat them!

You should, afterward, seal the foil to ensure that the meat retains moisture and gains more flavors when reheated. You should make sure that you seal them in more than one layer of foils. Make sure likewise that the ribs are completely sealed with no cracks.

Aside from an air fryer, ribs can also be reheated using standard kitchen equipment such as an oven. Using an oven to reheat ribs can revive and enhance the juiciness of the meat. The secret to reheating ribs to perfection is using the low and slow barbeque technique. This gives the ribs time to get back to their original texture and formulation.

What you will need

Take a look at the things you need to prepare when reheating ribs using an oven below:

  • Ribs
  • Aluminum foil
  • Oven

Steps For Reheating Ribs In An Oven

Check out the quick and easy steps of reheating ribs using an oven below:

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the oven has reached 250°F, you can put your sealed leftover ribs inside. Make sure that you regulate the temperature throughout the reheating process.

Double-wrap your ribs using aluminum foil to keep the excellent taste from leaking out throughout the reheating process. The high sugar concentration in barbecue sauces means that the ribs will burn more quickly during the reheating process. Wrapping the ribs twice in aluminum foil will keep the ribs from burning and help maintain their juicy taste.

You can cook the ribs for up to 30 minutes. Afterward, let them cool a bit for five minutes before serving them.

Cook the wrapped ribs on a baking sheet for 20 to 30 minutes, depending on how powerful your oven is, or until they are perfectly cooked as per your preference.

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The ideal internal temperature for reheating ribs is 155°F. There are instances, however, that the temperature may go as high as 160°F. The trick is to make sure that you are reheating the ribs at a safe temperature which is not less than 145°F.

Based on the research done by the USDA, the safe internal temperature for cooking meat is at 145°F. You should not let the internal temperature of the meat fall within the range of 140°F to 145°F which is considered the danger zone when reheating leftover meat.

It is safe to reheat meat as long as you follow the abovementioned tips and precautions.

Reheat Baby Back Ribs Without Drying

How long does it take to reheat ribs in an oven?

Reheating ribs using an oven should take up to 30 minutes. After that, the ribs should be warm and juicy all the way through and may even fall off the bone. Depending on the thickness of the ribs, you may still adjust your cooking times by 5 or 10 minutes.

How do I reheat ribs in a microwave?

Are using air fryers and ovens the only ways to reheat ribs? Of course not! You can also use a microwave oven if you don’t have a conventional oven, air fryer, or grill. However, please note that although microwaving is a fast way to reheat the ribs, it can dry the meat out, making it not the best method to get the job done.

To prevent the ribs from drying out when reheating them using a microwave oven, coat them generously in barbeque sauce and set the temperature to medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes.

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How Long Can You Store Ribs in a Fridge?

The shelf life of cooked ribs depends on the storage circumstances. The cooked pork ribs can be reheated and consumed for 3 to 4 days if refrigerated properly.

If you’re storing the ribs in the freezer, they will retain their best quality for 2 to 3 months but remain safe for more extended periods.

The most effective method to determine if a batch of cooked ribs is bad is to smell and examine the food. Stored ribs with a sour scent and a slimy texture should be discarded. Make sure not to taste any ribs that have an odd smell or sight before tossing them.

How To Store Leftover Ribs

Ribs should often be refrigerated within 2 hours of cooking for the best results. Refrigerate cooked pork ribs in shallow airtight containers or wrap them securely in aluminum foil or plastic wrap to extend their shelf life while maintaining safety and quality.

After thawing in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days, cooked pork ribs can be stored for 3 to 4 days in the fridge before cooking. Ribs that have been thawed in the microwave or cold water should be consumed immediately.

Keep in mind that bacteria develop fast at temperatures ranging from 40 degrees Fahrenheit to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Thus, cooked pork ribs should be discarded if kept at room temperature for more than 2 hours.

Additional: Creative Ways To Use Leftover Barbecue

If you still have some leftover barbeque, you can create other delicious meals using them. You can add the chopped meat to your baked beans or use them to make thick stews or mac and cheese. Leftover barbeque can also be tossed in a salad or served as pizza toppings. You can also fill taco shells or tortillas with this meat.


This post basically answers the question of How to Reheat Ribs in Air Fryer and keep them moist. Of course, the answers may vary from one person to another. But they all contain basically the same facts and tips. Reheating ribs is easy as long as you follow the abovementioned tips and precautions.

You should remember that each step contributes to the overall result of the reheating process. Hence, you should ensure that you follow each step and precaution to ensure that you get the optimal taste and flavor from leftover ribs.

Thank you! Brooklyn Grill.

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Paul Goral

Paul Goral

I am the founder of Brooklyn Grill and I have a master’s degree in Engineering Acoustics. I love cooking, grilling, and trying new recipes. I also love camping and high-quality knives. I wanted to start this blog and share my passion with others.