Mexican Ribs are knock your socks off flavor packed ribs that are super easy to make! Marinated in a lime chilli seasoning before being oven baked then grilled these tender ribs fall off the bone. Mexican pork ribs are not only finger licking good they are lick the juices from your chin serious deliciousness good!
🤍 Recipe Highlights
I have summarised everything that you will come to know and love (LOVE ❤) about the recipe in the points below:
- Mexican food: enough said 🤣👍.
- Homemade ribs: sure we all want to go to the local pub every now and then, order a cold beer and plate of ribs to share. But, homemade ribs allow you to know exactly what ingredients were used and how they were cooked.
- Family favourite: there is chilli in the recipe but its been intentionally moderated as to appeal to a wide range of ages of eaters. Flavoursome yet not overwhelmingly so.
- Taste and texture: we have some lovely texture from the marinade infused onto the ribs and then the smothering of enchilada sauce adds a depth of flavor to make it a real 'Winner, winner Mexican dinner'. All of your tastebuds will be ticked 🤣😉👌.
- Feed a crowd: sometimes you need not a meal but a variety of dishes to fulfill a theme, party or event. These Mexican style ribs are a great way to offer diversity from traditional favourites such as tacos, nachos or quesadillas.
The photo below is to show you everything you need to make the 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:
- Pork ribs: you will be able to get these from your local grocery store or butcher. We are looking for baby back ribs that are usually sold as a pack of 2 racks.
- Enchilada sauce: saving us a little time we use store bought Mexican sauce. You will find this in the Asian, Mexican, International foods section of the supermarket.
🍖 Mexican Seasoning
As much as I say use a store bought enchilada sauce for the ribs, I do like to make our own Mexican seasoning for the dish. It doesn't take too long and uses many pantry staples.
- Chilli powder: an unmistakeable spice used in Mexican recipes. I do however, tame the quantity of it so the ribs are mouth watering not eye watering 🤣🤣.
- Garlic powder: a great dry form of garlic for recipes.
- Onion powder: as above. The only thing to keep in mind for these 2 ingredients is that they can dry out if kept in the pantry but not regularly used. So check the bottle if you haven't used it for a while before you head to the shops.
- Dried cilantro: a less common spice to have in the pantry. But a great alternative to Italian herbs and spices. This is a typically Mexican spice.
- Cumin: whilst this is not a hot spice I find it a very strong spice that needs to be used in moderation. Hence, we are mindful of not overwhelming the entire dish with this one spice flavour.
- Limes: fresh and zesty these are an excellent citrus to use.
- Olive oil: we use this to create a wet base for the marinade. It also helps when we cook the ribs to ensure that they are juicy, moist and return results when grilled.
Here are the step by step instructions to make the recipe. We start by zesting the limes, juicing them then gathering the ingredients for the marinade and whisking it together.
- Zest the limes (Photo 1)
- Juice the limes (Photo 2)
- Gather the marinade ingredients (Photo 3)
- Whisk to combine (Photo 4)
👩🍳 How to Make Mexican Ribs
We want to start by preparing the limes. You will need a micro plane zester, chopping board and juicer. Try an get as must zest as you can from them, then use a knife and cut them in half.
Once halved, we go through and juice each one. As there are no pips to discard the way that there are with lemons, we can add the whole juiced amount to the marinade.
Next gather the olive oil, lime zest, lime juice, chilli powder, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, dried coriander, cumin, salt and pepper. Use a mini whisk to stir and combine.
- Remove the membrane from the back of the ribs (Photo 5)
- Cut into individual ribs (Photo 5)
- Pour in marinade (Photo 6)
- Toss, cover and refrigerate (Photo 8)
Use a piece of paper towel folded into a square to pull the membrane off the back of the ribs and discard.
Then use a sharp knife to cut the rack into individual ribs.
Once done, place the ribs into a bowl and pour over the marinade. Then use a pair of tongs to stir and toss, consistently covering the ribs in the marinade.
Pull cling wrap tightly over the top, then place in the fridge to marinade.
Use this time to preheat the oven as well as spray a baking dish with cooking oil.
- Place ribs into oiled baking dish (Photo 9)
- Cover with foil (Photo 10)
- Cook for 1 hr, rotate then cook for another hour (Photo 11)
- Baste in sauce then grill x 2 (Photo 12)
🍽 Serving Suggestions
Or stick with the theme and give the fully loaded Mexican Fries a go.
For corn try the Air Fryer Corn on the Cob. This will allow you to use a different appliance so the ribs can keep cooking in the oven.
Of course we need sauce!
Yes, I know we use the enchilada sauce for basting. But that is good for cooking, we need an eating, dippable, dunkable, dollop worthy sauce.
As much as the flavour of the ribs is not knock your socks off hot. The yogurt sauces still work remarkably well as to balance the flavours in the marinade.
👍 How to Guide
How to Store
Store leftover Mexican ribs in a sealed, airtight container or plate with cling wrap. They can be refrigerated for 2 days.
How to Freeze
I don't recommend freezing leftover cooked ribs as they will never taste as good as when freshly cooked then grilled if they have been frozen. You can however, purchase your ribs then freeze them (ahead of time) and thaw prior to using when you are ready to make the recipe.
How to Reheat
Place the ribs onto a silicon baking mat and reheat in the oven (moderate temperature) for 5 to 10 mins to reheat. If you are in a hurry, you can microwave them on high for 2 to 3 minutes.
😉 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:
- You can add a teaspoon of dried chilli flakes if you wish to increase the spice level.
- You can use fresh cilantro (coriander) up to 1 tbs in place of the dried teaspoon.
- Sour cream or Greek yogurt are other options for a dipping sauce for the ribs.
- Garnish with fresh lime wedges and cilantro if you want the pops of colour and additional juicy limes to squeeze over the top of the ribs.
- You can use this Mexican marinade for beef short ribs or lamb ribs.
💡 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:
- Removing the membrane from the back of the ribs can be a little bit tricky. If however, you fold a piece of paper towel into a square this will make it easier as it allows you to grip it more firmly.
- I have 2 micro plane zesters, one is cheap but barely gets the skin off the fruit. The other is much sharper, but you have to be careful you don't loose a finger! For this reason, I developed the recipe with the use of 5 limes with measured amounts of lime zest and lime juice. Don't think that you need to grate the whole lime, sometimes that is not possible!
- If you don't have time to refrigerate the marinated ribs, that is ok. Simply ensure they are thoroughly coated in the marinade and then you can add them to the oiled baking dish.
- When basting the ribs, we change the oven setting, temperature and move the rack to the top shelf.
- We do want to keep on eye on them however, as to baste but not over do them. This high heat can change things quickly!
🤓 Frequently Asked Questions
What are the 3 types of pork ribs?
The 3 types of pork ribs are called baby back ribs, spare ribs and St Louis style ribs.
What is another name for pork short ribs?
Usually short ribs refer to beef short ribs. However, pork ribs can sometimes be called loin back ribs, pork short ribs or baby back ribs.
How long should you cook pork ribs in the oven?
Pork ribs should be cooked for at least 2 hours in the oven. Often they are also cooked for this period of time, removed from the oven and basted in a sauce before then being grilled for 10 to 20 minutes.
😍 More Easy Dinner Recipes
Never have to think or worry about 'What's for dinner?' again with an array of recipes up your sleeve that you can whip out as needed. Here are some ideas I hope that you will love:
- Crumbed Lamb Cutlets
- Rigatoni Alfredo
- Mongolian Beef Noodles
- Garlic Pepper Beef
- Sweet and Sour Pork Meatballs
- Italian Short Ribs
- Penne Bolognese
- Salmon Fettuccine
- Grilled Chicken Alfredo
- Penne Alfredo
It is time to get our Mexican on my friend. I feel that calls for a margarita also 😉👌. You can also find all of my dinner recipes in the one spot.
- 1 Chopping board
- 1 Knife
- 1 Juicer
- 1 Jug to hold the marinade ingredients
- 1 Paper towel
- 1 Cooking spray
- 1 Baking dish
- 1 Kitchen Tongs
- 1 Mini whisk
- 1 Pastry Brush
- 1 Silicon baking rack
- 1 Baking tray with wire rack
- ½ cup/125ml olive oil
- ½ cup lime zest Note 5 limes
- ½ cup lime juice 5 limes
- 2 teaspoon chilli powder
- 2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 teaspoon onion powder
- 2 teaspoon dried coriander
- 2 teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1.5 kg/3 pounds pork ribs
- 1 ½ cups enchilada sauce
- limes cut into wedges
- Preheat the oven: preheat the oven to 180°C / 350-375°F / Gas Mark 4-5. (This step is only needed 15 mins before the ribs go into the oven, so if marinating overnight, leave till the next day).
- Limes: use a micro plane zester and chopping board to zest the limes, then juice these.
- Marinade: add the olive oil, lime zest, lime juice, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, dried coriander, cumin, salt and pepper to a large jug and use a mini whisk to combine.
- Ribs: remove ribs from packaging and pat dry with paper towel. Flip to the bone up side. Then fold a piece of paper towel into a square and pull the membrane off Discard this then use a sharp knife to slice the rack into individual ribs. Repeat for the other rack of ribs.
- Marinate: place individual ribs into a large bowl then pour the marinade over the top. Use tongs to toss and ensure all of the ribs are consistently coated in the marinade. Then place a layer of cling film over the top and place into the fridge. Marinade time is: optional 0 mins to 24 hours ok.
- Baking dish: spray a large baking dish with cooking oil. Then remove the ribs from the fridge, pull the cling film off and transfer the marinated ribs into the oiled baking dish. Place a layer of tin foil over the top and then place the ribs into the oven on the middle shelf.
- Bake: allow the ribs to bake for 1 hour. Then use oven mits to remove and place on a heatproof surface. Pull the foil off, use tongs to rotate each rib to the other side and then place the foil back on. Again use the oven mits to place the tray into the oven. Bake for a further hour.
- Grill/broil: change the oven setting to grill at 200°C 392°F6.
- Baste: remove the cooked ribs from the oven and transfer them using tongs to a silicon lined baking mat. Use a pastry brush to baste the ribs (liberally) with the enchilada sauce. Then place the ribs onto the top shelf of the oven and grill for 10 mins. Remove once grilled then repeat the baste and grill process for a further 10 minutes.
- Serve: once grilled remove the ribs from the oven and place on a heatproof surface. Let them sit for 2 - 3 minutes then use tongs to transfer them to a serving plate. Pop some yogurt sauce on the plate for dipping and provide napkins for the eaters.
- Serving size: this really depends on how many ribs you want per person. This is determined by the serving of the ribs as an appetizer, side or main. For starters, everyone needs at least 2 ribs!