How to Reheat Ribs without Drying them Out – 6 Ways

We all have come across a lot of similar things like after every festival we get lots of leftover food that may be your favorite barbeque, like ribs and steaks. It would be very unethical and shameful to waste those ribs and steaks. The best thing you can do is to keep it in the fridge and reheat it at the time of use.

How to reheat ribs

Have you ever gotten into the situation when you reheated your leftover ribs and they got dried and tasteless? Today I come up with all the tips that how to reheat ribs without drying them out. Fire up the grill and tuck into a platter of ribs that still taste as deliciously smokey as the day they were first cooked.

Here I will be discussing:

  • Different ways to get reheated juicy ribs
  • Which is the best way to reheat ribs
  • How long can you store ribs in the fridge and freezer.

It is also an art that how to reheat ribs without losing their juicy flavor and providing new life to them. If you don’t care about little things while reheating it, you may end up getting a bad taste of your food.

Now without wasting any time let’s come to the solutions to all your problems.

What Do I Do With Leftover Ribs?

The USDA’s Food Inspection Service recommends to refrigerate your leftover ribs as quickly as possible. Don’t let them stay at kitchen counter for so long. If you have taken them off from grill and you see you won’t be needing them, immediately keep it in fridge. According to current USDA guidelines, if you are keeping it in fridge on time then it is as healthy to eat as fresh ones.

How Long Do Cooked Ribs Last in the Refrigerator or Freezer?

It is a good practice to consume your food within 3 to 5 days. It is completely safe but if you feel like you can’t eat at this time then store it in freezer and it will be safe for about 3 to 6 months. You may defrost it whenever you desire to eat it. 

In order to keep the ribs wet, a few things need to be taken care of.

  • Keep your food quickly in the refrigerator. As long as it will stay in temperature between 40 ˚F to 140 ˚F. Bacteria like E. coli and Salmonella will start growing in it.
  • Now it is better to cut leftover ribs into smaller pieces, it would be better for storage.
  • Keep those ribs in zip lock or a sealed plastic bag. The vacuum-sealed bag is a much better option in order to keep ribs moist and juicy.
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6 Ways of Reheating Ribs

1- How to Reheat Ribs in Oven 

One of the best way to reheat ribs involves leaving the ribs in a covered dish and place the covered dish in the oven at a very low temperature, such as 250 degrees Fahrenheit. The low temperature will keep the ribs warm without cooking them. The time required to reheat a rib will vary based on the type of meat and how well it was cooked prior to being left out. It isn’t a bad idea to use oven for reheating your leftover ribs.

How to reheat ribs in oven

To get the most juicy ribs, use these steps:

  • You need to preheat your oven in order to maintain juiciness and moisture of ribs. USDA recommends temperature for oven should be in between 250˚F and 325 °F.
  • But in order to avoid sticking and dryness of food, don’t cook it on more than 250 ˚F. Slow reheating will make it taste like a fresh one.
  • Adding a little more sauce while preheating will prevent it from drying and keep it moist during reheating process.
  • Wrap the ribs loosely in aluminum foil. You must provide the ribs a little breathing space, so that when they are reheated, the oven heats them from all sides.
  • According to USDA, internal temperature of food should not be less than 140 ˚F for about 20 to 30 minutes, this temperature is necessary to kill bacteria from food.
  • At this stage you will be needing thermometer in order to check meat’s internal temperature.
  • You may also read our article to know the best smoker thermometer in terms of accuracy and durability.

Now let the ribs cook for about 10 minutes after unwrapping them. It will let the sauce to consolidate.

2- Reheating Ribs in Microwave 

You can reheat ribs in the microwave. And you can even do it within a few minutes. Microwaves are truly a lifesaver in terms of saving time. But as we know Microwave makes food dry and provides uneven heat distribution.  To maximize the effectiveness of the microwave. You need to use 2 wet paper towels.

Reheating Ribs in Microwave

Following are steps to Reheat in Microwave:

  • Soak two paper towels in water.
  • Now keep one towel under the container containing ribs and one over ribs.
  • Microwave the ribs for 2 to 3 minutes on medium heat and check temperature of ribs internally as microwave is not good enough to distribute heat evenly.
  • If internal temperature reaches 140 ˚F. Your stored ribs are fresh and ready to serve now.
  • If internal temperature is not 140 ˚F, microwave it for about 40 more seconds in order to get required temperature. Enjoy your food now. You’ll probably be amazed at how quickly they come back to life. So if you’re looking for a quickest and easiest way to warm up your next barbecue, give this a try!

3- Steaming Leftover Ribs

Steamer is the best way to reheat leftover barbeque as it keeps all its moisture in it.

Steaming Leftover Ribs

  • Take apple juice around quarter cup in a large pot.
  • Heat it until it start boiling.
  • Keep ribs in steamer basket.
  • Cover basket with lid and place it on the pot.
  • Now steam ribs for about 30 minutes. Add more liquid in pot if required.
  • Check internal temperature of your meat, if it is 140 ˚F dish it out. And if it is less than it, let it steam for few minutes more.
  • Use the remaining liquid to season the bottom of the saucepan and generously baste the reheated ribs.

4- How to Cook Pre Cooked Ribs in Air Fryer

Using an air fryer for reheated ribs is the best option as it ensures to have a nice crust on outer side and good juicy ribs from inside.

How to Cook Pre Cooked Ribs in Air Fryer

You need to follow the following steps:

  • Preheat Air Fryer to 350 ˚F. According to USDA guidelines, 350 ˚F will kill all bacteria from your red meat and make it safe for consumption.
  • If you cut your ribs into smaller pieces, it will fry faster. So it is better to make small chunks of it.
  • Add one or two teaspoons of oil in order to maintain juiciness of ribs.
  • Your leftover ribs will be perfectly reheated in 5 to 8 minutes.

5- How to Reheat Ribs in Toaster Oven

Did you know you can reheat ribs in the toaster oven? I know you’re going to love these tips and tricks because the toaster oven method lets you enjoy the benefits of slow, moist, delicious oven-baked ribs without the hassle of turning on your oven.

How to Reheat Ribs in Toaster Oven

Want to learn how to reheat ribs in the toaster oven? Read on for my step-by-step instructions.

  • Preheat your toaster oven to 250 ˚F.
  • Brush some extra BBQ sauce on ribs and wrap them tightly in foil.
  • Keep wrapped ribs on a tray and slide tray in toaster oven.
  • It will take 20 to 30 minutes to get perfectly preheated.
  • Keep checking internal temperature of ribs that should be 140 ˚F.

6- How to Reheat Ribs in a Sous Vide Machine

Reheat ribs in this sous vide machine, you won’t believe how good this sous vide machine really works. It’s much healthier. No greasy, high-fat foods. Just pure, juicy flavor.

How to Reheat Ribs in a Sous Vide Machine

Either using Sous vide machine or simply you can use your stove for this method. As you have to simply steam your leftover ribs.

  • Bring your saus vide machine temperature upto 165° F.
  • If you are using vacuum sealer bags for storage then this machine is best for you. Simply take out frozen ribs from freezer and put it in machine.
  • For one inch thickness of meat, let the ribs sit in hot water bath for around 45 minutes.
  • If you are using frozen ribs, give additional 30 minutes for defrosting.
  • You don’t need to worry about dryness as sous vide provide indirect heat to your food.

So go ahead and give this machine a try. Let me show you how easy it is. And you’ll be amazed at how well it does.

You can also read my article How to Reheat Brisket without Drying it out


Q1. How Long Before I Refrigerate Leftover Ribs?

You may take around 2 to 3 hours after grilling to refrigerate your leftover ribs, if you will take longer than this time, your food will not remain safe and healthy for consumption.
Before keeping it in fridge, it is recommended to cut those ribs in small chunks. It will give best results in storage.

Q2. Can You Eat Cold Ribs?

Well there is nothing wrong and unhealthy about eating cold ribs directly coming out of the fridge unless your food was properly cooked at around 145ºF temperature and was stored on time.
It is all about matter of your choice. But I personally don’t like to eat cold meat, I would always be reheating it first before consumption.

Q3. How long to reheat ribs at 250?

For moist and juicy ribs, wrap them up with foil carefully. Preheat toaster oven for 20 to 25 minutes approximately. Keep wrapped ribs on a try and slide tray in toaster oven. Keep checking the internal temperature of ribs which must be 140 degrees. It may take 15 to 20 minutes.

 Q4. How long to reheat pulled pork in oven?

The best way of reheating pulled pork in oven is to wrap it in a foil and place it on dish with some leftover meat juices or broth at cook slowly at 250 degrees Fahrenheit until its internal temperature of it reaches 165 degrees. Reheating pulled pork on stove or on the grill also results in perfect moist ribs.

Q5. How long do you reheat baby back ribs in the oven?

Set your oven to 250ºF. Place baby back ribs in it and let it cook until internal temperature reaches 145ºF. It may take 25 minutes or more depending on the size and quantity of ribs placed in the oven.

Q6. How Do You Reheat Ribs And Keep Them Moist?

Reheating frozen ribs doesn’t mean eat them hard and dried. Either using any of the above method for reheating your ribs, you will be getting perfect juicy ribs as they are fresh off the grill.

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