Chicken Ribs are sweet, spicy, tangy and most importantly finger licking good! Quick and easy to make using a homemade spice rub they are baked then grilled to perfection. Smothered in barbecue sauce this will become your family and friends favorite chicken spare ribs recipe and they will hassle you to make every single week. It's what I like to call my 'Winner, Winner Chicken Rib Dinner 🤣👌'.
🤍 Recipe Highlights
I have summarised everything that you will come to know and love (LOVE ❤) about the recipe in the points below:
- Economical: many types of ribs can be expensive. Chicken ribs on the other hand are reasonably priced to give you the 'at home ribs' experience without the heavy price tag. Plus they come individually, so are easier to work with than a full rack of ribs.
- Taste and texture: the sauce is sweet and sticky, the chicken, tender, moist and juicy. The savory flavor of this recipe will kick both the taste and texture boxes with ease.
- Versatile: these are a great party starter, finger food, game day appetizer or snack. Pop a plate of them on the table as soon as the guests arrive and it won't be long before the plate is empty again!
- Flavour packed: this chicken ribs recipe is so flavor packed that I actually offer you ways to take a little heat out of the recipe. This is so that if you want to serve them to little ones, you can with a less intense spicy kick about them.
- Baked and grilled: is my favourite cooking combination to use when making ribs. It also allows for the spice and sauce pairing that you will read about in the post. They are much healthier than fried chicken ribs, but let's face it, they are ribs smothered in sauce so they ain't exactly diet food either 😉😁.
- Not wings or legs: chicken wings are good, chicken legs great, both are delicious at times. The raw meaty bone of chicken ribs are....yup there is no words for them, they just are! 🤣
The photo below is to show you everything you need to make the chicken ribs recipe. Please refer to the printable recipe card for specific ingredient measurements as well as detailed instructions.
As you can see the recipe calls for:
- Salt and pepper: we use a little salt and black pepper as part of the ingredients used to season the ribs.
- Onion powder: an excellent pantry staple. It is a great balance to the garlic powder:
- Garlic powder: another fantastic pantry staple. One thing I like to mention with these 2 is that they can dry out if left in the pantry and not used for a while. So check the bottle before you head to the shops.
- Cayenne pepper: a bright reddish orange spice which helps us get a little kick of heat in the ribs.
- Paprika: made from capsicums (peppers), this also has an intense colour, yet leans towards red not orange. It is mild in flavor.
- Honey: sweet and sticky we use this as an ingredient in the sauce. This helps us in the grilling stages of the recipe and ensures that the ribs are indeed 'finger licking good'.
- Worcestershire sauce: excellent to use to give a little robustness to recipes. Shake your bottle before you use it to ensure it is not gritty.
- Tomato sauce (ketchup): bright red in colour, this helps us to achieve a depth of flavor in our homemade sauce.
- Barbecue sauce (or bbq sauce if you prefer): the final of the 4 ingredients used to make the sauce.
- Chicken ribs: you will most likely need to get these from your local butcher. They will sell them as a pack, already done up so the hard work is done for you. They will either be labelled 'chicken ribs' or 'chicken spare ribs' not 'baby back ribs' which are other proteins. If in doubt, ask and they will let you know 👍.
Tasty Tip: I like to provide you with a number of substitutions and variations giving you an array of options when making the recipe. If in doubt of any of the above ingredients, or wanting alternatives, read this section (further below) before jumping into the instructions on how to make the recipe which are coming next 😉👌.
Here are the step by step instructions to make the recipe. We start by making the seasoning.
- Gather seasonings (Photo 1)
- Whisk to combine (Photo 2)
- Gather sauce ingredients (Photo 3)
- Whisk to combine (Photo 4)
👩🍳 How to Make Chicken Ribs
Get starting on making the ribs by gathering the seasoning mixture that we will use for the dry rub.
Add the garlic powder, onion powder, mustard powder, cayenne pepper, paprika, salt and pepper to a glass and use a mini whisk to combine.
Set the dry rub aside and then gather the ingredients to make the bbq sauce.
Add the honey, Worcestershire sauce, tomato sauce and barbecue sauce to a seperate glass and whisk to combine.
Then get your ribs, place them onto a chopping board and use paper towels to pat them dry.
- Pat ribs dry with paper towel (Photo 5)
- Add ribs to bowl (Photo 6)
- Sprinkle with seasoning (Photo 7)
- Toss to coat (Photo 8)
Once the ribs are dry, you can add them to a large bowl and sprinkle over half of the dry rub.
Use a pair of kitchen tongs to toss and combine the rub with the ribs, then pour in the other half of the seasoning and continue to toss.
Next spray a baking dish with olive oil then transfer the seasoned ribs into the dish.
Lay them in a flat layer, squished together is fine, but try and not have them overlaping (or use a bigger dish).
Then use tin foil to cover the baking dish and place the ribs into the oven on the middle shelf.
Cook the chicken spare ribs for 15 minutes, then use oven mits to remove the dish, place it on a heatproof surface and rotate the ribs to the other side.
Put the foil back on and then return the dish to the oven for another 15 minutes.
Once the 30 minutes of cooking time is up again use oven mits to remove the baking dish and place it on a heatproof surface.
You can then discard the foil.
- Place the ribs into the baking dish (Photo 9)
- Cover with foil (Photo 10)
- Bake for 15 mins, then rotate (Photo 11)
- Place on silicon mat, cover with sauce, grill x 2 (Photo 12)
Use tongs to place each rib onto a silicon mat lined baking rack.
Change the oven setting to grill and turn the heat up a little.
Next use a pastry brush to baste each rib in the barbeque sauce.
Place the basted ribs into the oven on the top shelf and let them grilled for 10 minutes. Once this time is up, use the oven mits to remove the baking tray and rest it on a heat proof surface. Then baste the ribs again in the bbq sauce. Then return the baking rack to the oven for a final 10 minutes. They will turn a lovely golden brown colour with a slick sauce coating.
Once done, you can remove the oven tray, place it on a heat proof surface and let the ribs rest for a couple of minutes.
Before serving, I also like to transfer them to paper towel to let it absorb some of the juices (this keeps the plate a little less messy too 👍😉).
🍽 Serving Suggestions
Sauce, sauce, sauce it up!
As much as we are literally smothering the ribs to the point of (almost but not quite) overdoing it, we also want to provide a dipping sauce for them.
I also like to provide a different sauce to bbq, as you can never have enough yum on a plate, right 🤣👍.
The white sauce that you see in the photos through the post is the Horseradish Yogurt Sauce. It offers a sauce with a lot of flavor and a little kick to it. Not so much 'hot sauce' more so, got the flavor combo right sauce 😉.
I make one slight change to that recipe when pairing with ribs and that is to add a little parsley to the mix. You can simply throw that in when blitzing the garlic, salt and pepper. I find the little bit of green creates a nicely textured sauce and offers more than a little plain coloured white sauce does.
Similar yet more subtle sauces are the Herbed Yogurt Sauce. Cilantro Lime Yogurt Sauce or Parsley Yogurt Sauce. Or if you want other spicy options try the Spicy Yogurt Sauce. Garlic Yogurt Sauce or Mustard Yogurt Sauce.
👍 How to Guide
How to Store
Store leftover ribs in an airtight sealed container in the fridge. They can be kept for 3 days and are best reheated before being consumed.
How to Freeze
You can freeze the raw chicken ribs once purchased and then remove and thaw when you want to make the ribs. This gives you a convenient option. I do not however, recommend freezing left over ribs for a meal down the track as they simply don't taste the same as made and eaten on the day or next day 😭.
How to Reheat
You can reheat the ribs on a plate with cling wrap in the microwave. Simply use high heat and they will take 2 - 3 minutes.
Or you can return them to the oven, place them on a silicon mat and heat for around 5 minutes or until warmed through.
The microwave offers the quickest and most convenient reheating method.
😉 Substitutions and Variations
Here are my sub ins and outs that you might be thinking about as you read the post and I will tell you if I think they will work or why they won't:
- If you don't want to use the 4 listed ingredients to make the bbq sauce, you can simply use 'barbecue sauce'.
- You can omit the cayenne pepper if serving children as they will find the heat of it too much.
- You can use maple syrup in place of the honey for the sauce if you wish to.
- If you would like to use this dry rub and sauce combination to make other types of ribs, ie pork ribs, you can.
- For a plain store bought sauce to pair with the ribs, you can use Greek yogurt or sour cream.
💡 Tasty Tips
Here are my top tips and tricks that I want to share with you so that you master the recipe from the get go:
- We pat the ribs dry with paper towel as they best absorb the spices if they are dry not wet. So it is a good step not to skip 😉👌.
- Try and keep the dry rub away from any other moisture or liquids. It works best if it is rubbed or tossed with the chicken without getting wet.
- The other reason I say local butcher and not grocery store for the ribs is that if they do have then, they are likely to be a marinated version that you can cook at home eg 'Texas Dry Rubbed and Smoked', 'Crumbed Chicken Ribs' or 'Southern Fried Chicken Ribs with Mild Chilli Sauce', these each sound good. But yours my friend are going to be delicious!!
- If you have purchased frozen chicken ribs, allow them to thaw completely before using them.
- I recommend using the middle shelf of the oven for the baking stage when cooking the ribs and then the top shelf for the grilling stage.
- The oven mits, tongs and a heatproof surface (I have a silicon mat for the bench) come in super handy for the recipe. They mean no close handling of the meat and that you can make the recipe with space to put things as you go.
🤓 Frequently Asked Questions
What are chicken ribs?
Chicken ribs are the scapula bones of the chicken, taken from around their rib cage. These bones are surrounded with meat and sold as 'chicken ribs' or 'chicken spare ribs'.
What to serve with chicken ribs?
11 Great Side Dishes for Chicken Ribs
- Corn on the Cob
- Sweet Potato Fries
- Onion Rings
- Garlic bread
- Grilled peppers
- Potato salad
Is chicken rib boneless?
No, chicken ribs have bones in them. Chicken breast are boneless and you can get boneless chicken thighs.
😍 More Easy Dinner Recipes
If you are sick of hearing 'What's for dinner?', the solution might be to have more options up your sleeve. Diversity through cook time, method, protein, carbs and appliances will help the 'I got this sorted' box.
Here are some recipes to give you more options:
- Kottbullar Meatballs
- Wagyu Meatballs
- Cocktail Meatballs
- Wagyu Burgers
- Sweet and Spicy Sriracha Meatballs
- Slow Cooker Pulled Lamb Shoulder
- Crispy Fried Mushrooms
- Bolognese Pappardelle
- Macaroni With Alfredo Sauce
- Chicken Chorizo Paella
Its time to get our ribs on my friend, there's nothing (actually everything!) chicken about it 🤣👌. You can also find all of my dinner recipes in the one spot.
Chicken Ribs (Baked then Grilled)
- 1 Mini whisk
- 1 Glass jug to combine the chicken seasonings
- 1 Large glass jug to combine the bbq sauce ingredients
- 1 Baking dish with 2 - 3 inch rim
- 1 Kitchen Tongs
- 1 Chopping board
- 1 Spray oil
- 2 Oven Mits
- 1 Paper towel
- 1 Silicon Baking Mat
- 1 Pastry Brush to coat the ribs with the bbq sauce
- 1 Baking tray with rack
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder Note 1
- 1 tablespoon onion powder Note 2
- 1 tbsp mustard powder
- ½ tablespoon cayenne pepper Note 3
- ½ tablespoon paprika Note 4
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 kg/2 pounds chicken ribs Note 5
- ½ cup/125ml bbq sauce Note 6
- ½ cup/125ml tomato sauce (ketch up) Note 7
- 2 tbs Worcestershire sauce Note 8
- 2 tbs honey Note 9
- Preheat the oven: preheat the oven to 180°C / 350-375°F / Gas Mark 4-5.
- Dry rub: combine the garlic powder, onion powder, mustard powder, cayenne pepper, paprika, salt and pepper in a small glass and use a mini whisk to combine.
- Barbecue sauce: combine the bbq sauce, tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce and honey in a jug and use a mini whisk to combine.
- Chicken ribs: pat the chicken ribs dry using paper towel and a chopping board. Then transfer them to a medium bowl.
- Rub onto ribs: sprinkle half of the dry rub over the ribs and then use kitchen tongs to toss and combine. Then sprinkle in the other half and again toss to combine.
- Baking dish: spray a baking dish with olive oil. Then add the seasoned ribs to the dish in one flat later. Cover with foil and place in to the oven on the middle shelf. Allow to cook for 15 minutes, then use kitchen tongs to remove, place on a heat proof surface, pull the foil off and use tongs to rotate the ribs to the other side. Place the foil back on and then place the ribs back into the oven for another 15 minutes.
- Grill/broil: use oven mits to remove the cooked ribs from the oven and place on a heat proof surface. Change the oven setting to grill at 200°C 392°F6. Use kitchen tongs to transfer each rib to a silicon baking mat on an oven rack and tray. Use the pastry brush to re coat each rib with the homemade bbq sauce. Place the tray into the oven on the top shelf. Grill the ribs for 10 mins. Repeat basting and grilling x 1. (Total grill time is 2 x 10 mins = 20 minutes).
- Serve and enjoy: use oven mits to remove the baking tray from the oven and place on a heat proof surface. Let the ribs rest for 1 to 2 minutes before using tongs to transfer them to a serving plate. Provide horseradish yogurt sauce (optional) for serving.
- Note 1 - Garlic powder: another fantastic pantry staple. As above, check the pantry to make sure your bottle hasn't dried out.
- Note 2 - Onion powder: an excellent pantry staple. It is a great balance to the garlic powder. This can dry out so check your bottle before you head to the shops.
- Note 3 - Cayenne pepper: a bright reddish orange spice which helps us get a little kick of heat in the ribs.
- Note 4 - Paprika: made from capsicums (peppers), this also has an intense colour, yet leans towards red not orange. It is mild in flavor.
- Note 5 - Chicken ribs: you will most likely need to get these from your local butcher. They will sell them as a pack, already done up so the hard work is done for you. They will either be labelled 'chicken ribs' or 'chicken spare ribs'. If in doubt, ask and they will let you know 👍.
- Note 6 - Barbecue sauce (or bbq sauce if you prefer): the final of the 4 ingredients used to make the sauce.
- Note 7 - Tomato sauce (ketchup): bright red in colour, this helps us to achieve a depth of flavor in our homemade sauce.
- Note 8 - Honey: sweet and sticky we use this as an ingredient in the sauce. This helps us in the grilling stages of the recipe and ensures that the ribs are indeed 'finger licking good'.
- Note 9 - Worcestershire sauce: excellent to use to give a little robustness to recipes. Shake your bottle before you use it to ensure it is not gritty.
- Portion size: this depends on whether you want to serve the chicken ribs as an appetizer or main. For each person at least 2 ribs are recommended as a starting point.