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How To Reheat Ribs In The Air Fryer – The Ultimate Guide

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Even though leftover ribs might be a rarity in your home, there might be the one chance that you find yourself lucky enough to have some extra ribs to enjoy for lunch the next day!

There are a few ways that you can reheat ribs, but a great way to do so is to reheat ribs in the air fryer.

This is a healthy and quick way to warm ribs up, and it can help to keep ribs moist and tender, but still with a slight crispy and char on the outside.

How do you reheat ribs in the air fryer? Reheating ribs in the air fryer is fairly easy. It is best to cut up ribs before placing them in the air fryer, to ensure that they heat up evenly and that you do not overcrowd the air fryer. Done right, ribs reheated in the air fryer will still be fall-off-the-bone soft!

Keep reading to find out all you need to know about reheating ribs in the air fryer, and a few extra tips on storing them properly!

Reheating Ribs In The Air Fryer

Having an air fryer in your kitchen is amazing, it opens you up to healthy cooking, and gives you a great way to reheat food relatively quickly.

The air fryer will help to keep ribs tender as they reheat, and you can enjoy them tasting as great as they did when they were first cooked.

Here is how to properly reheat ribs in the air fryer:

  1. Remove your ribs from the fridge or the freezer. If the ribs were kept in the freezer, you will need to wait for them to defrost before reheating them.
  2. You will need to start by cutting the ribs if they are still in a rack. Cut each rib individually so that you will be able to fit them into the air fryer basket. It is a good idea to keep similar-sized ribs grouped together, as reheating ribs of the same size allows them to reheat evenly and at a similar time.
  3. Set the air fryer to 350°F. It should take around 5 minutes to heat, but this will depend on the air fryer that you are using. Make sure that the air fryer is properly heated before placing the ribs in the basket so that they reheat properly in the right amount of time.
  4. Layer the ribs into the air fryer basket. Make sure that you layer them in a single layer and that you do not overlap the ribs. Try and put the same size ribs in the air fryer, so they reheat at the same time. If you have quite a few ribs to reheat, you will have to do a few batches. If the ribs have dried out in the fridge or freezer, you can drizzle some oil over the top or add some more dry rub onto them.
  5. Place the ribs into the air fryer and leave them to reheat for 10 minutes. 
  6. After 10 minutes, remove the ribs from the air fryer and glaze them with some BBQ sauce, olive oil, or more dry rub. Place the ribs back into the air fryer for another 5 minutes.
  7. After 5 minutes, remove the ribs from the air fryer and check to see that they are piping hot and reheated thoroughly. You can place them back into the air fryer for another 5 minutes if needed, but keep a check on them as the BBQ sauce can burn quickly.
  8. Remove the ribs from the basket and enjoy!

Keeping The Ribs Warm

If you have quite a large amount of ribs to reheat, you need to reheat them all in batches. However, the problem with this is that you would have some ribs which are hot and reheated, waiting for the rest.

To avoid these then becoming cold again, you can preheat the oven to around 240°F and place the reheated ribs onto a baking sheet.

Line the baking sheet with some aluminum foil to reduce mess, and cover the ribs with some more aluminum to stop them from drying out. Add in more batches of ribs as they are reheated in the air fryer.

Keep the reheated ribs in the oven to ensure they do not cool down before all are ready and hot. Once all the ribs are reheated, remove them from the oven and enjoy!

Why Use An Air Fryer?

An air fryer might not be your first choice when thinking of how to reheat ribs, but it should be!

Air fryers have so many great benefits in the kitchen, and not only do they help to cook healthier meals with less oil and fat, but they can create crisp and crunchy food that is still moist and tender on the inside too.

Another benefit of using an air fryer, especially when you cannot wait to dig into your ribs, is that it offers quicker heating than an oven, so there is less time spent waiting!

How Long Can Ribs Last In The Fridge?

If you have had a good portion of ribs for dinner, but there are still some leftovers, you can store them in the fridge to be enjoyed for a meal later on.

Pre-cooked ribs can be kept in the fridge for up to 3 days, as long as they are stored properly. To properly store ribs in the fridge, they need to be placed in an airtight container or wrapped in aluminum foil and plastic wrap.

Kept in the fridge, the ribs need to be kept below 40°F, to ensure that they are kept at a safe temperature.

Store the ribs in an airtight container or wrapping and place them at the back of the fridge. If wrapping the ribs in aluminum foil and plastic wrap, make sure to wrap them tightly.

Ribs can have quite a strong odor, and by keeping them contained properly, they won’t transfer their odor to other foods in the fridge.

Make sure to eat the ribs within 3 days, and if you do not get the chance to, then rather discard them.

Can I Store Leftover Ribs In The Freezer?

You are able to freeze leftover ribs, as long as they have not already been reheated. The best way to freeze ribs would be to place them into a plastic freezer bag, remove as much air from the bag as possible, and seal the bag properly.

You could also place the ribs in an airtight, freezer-safe container and wrap this with plastic wrap, or securely wrap the ribs in aluminum foil and then in more plastic wrap.

Whichever freezer-safe way you choose to store the ribs, make sure to label the container with the contents and the date of freeing.

Ribs kept in the freezer should be eaten within 3 months.

They will still be safe to use after this time, but the quality will begin to decrease, and that is not doing any justice to the delicious ribs that are supposed to be tender, soft, and juicy!

Make sure to seal the ribs tightly in their container to stop them from passing their odor onto other food in the freezer.

Can I Reheat Ribs Twice?

It is not advised to reheat ribs, or any other food, more than twice. The more you reheat ribs, the higher the chance of food poisoning

Changing the temperature of the meat too many times increases the chance of bacteria growth, which can then lead to foodborne illnesses.

By reheating the food multiple times, the nutrients in the meat will decrease too, as well as the quality.

Only ever reheat the amount of ribs you are going to eat then and there, and do not put any reheated ribs back into the fridge to then reheat at a later stage.

If you are not sure how many ribs you might eat in a sitting, reheat a few, and then judge if you want to reheat any more from there. Once reheated, the ribs either need to be eaten or thrown away!

How To Defrost Frozen Ribs

If you kept the leftover ribs in the freezer, you would need to defrost them before reheating them in the air fryer.

The best and safest way to do this would be to leave the ribs in the fridge to thaw overnight.

Obviously, this does take some time and planning ahead, but it offers a safe way for the ribs to thaw without them reaching a temperature that could cause bacteria growth.

If you are really desperate and cannot leave the ribs to thaw in the fridge overnight, there are two other options.

Bear in mind that these are not as safe as thawing the ribs in the fridge, and the quality of the ribs might decline using these methods.

You could defrost the ribs in the microwave if your microwave has a defrost function, or use the microwave on low heat.

Do this until the ribs have thawed enough for them to be reheated in the air fryer, but do not leave them to defrost for too long that they begin to dry out.

The other option is to place the ribs in their container into a bowl of water.

Do not place them into hot water, as the temperature change might cause a higher risk of spoiling. Rather use cool water, which will help to defrost the ribs gradually.

It is not a good idea to reheat frozen ribs in the air fryer, so you really should try to plan ahead and place the ribs in the fridge overnight, or for a few hours, to allow them to thaw to be ready to reheat.

Can You Reheat Ribs In The Microwave?

If you do not have an air fryer at home and do not want to wait for the oven to heat up, you can reheat your ribs in the microwave.

This can be a little tricky, as you do not want the ribs to explode BBQ sauce all over the inside of your microwave, which can be a nightmare to clean up.

However, it is still a great benefit to be able to reheat the ribs in a short amount of time, compared to reheating them another way.

If not done properly, or if left in the microwave for too long, the ribs might even dry out, which won’t be appetizing, and which means that most of the flavors will be lost! 

However, there are some ways to prevent the ribs from drying out when reheated in the microwave, so that you have tender and juicy ribs heated up in a short time. Here is how to do it:

  1. Dampen some paper towels with some warm water.
  2. Place the ribs in a microwave-safe container, but do not cover them with a lid.
  3. Place the damp paper towels underneath the container in the microwave, and place one or two over the top of the container too.
  4. Turn the microwave on for 3 minutes on high heat.
  5. After 3 minutes, check to see that the ribs have heated thoroughly throughout.
  6. If not, place the ribs back into the microwave for 45 seconds at a time until heated through.

The paper towels create steam in the microwave, which ensures that the ribs stay juicy and moist and that they do not turn dry. It also stops the BBQ sauce from flying around the microwave and making a mess.

Related Questions

Now that we’ve gone over how to properly reheat ribs in an air fryer, let’s take a look at a few related questions on the subject!

How do you reheat ribs in the oven?

To reheat ribs in the oven, you should baste them again and then cover them in aluminum foil. Reheat them slowly in the oven, so that they keep their soft, juicy texture, and great taste, without drying out.

How long do pre-cooked ribs need to be cooked in the air fryer?

Pre-cooked ribs should be cooked for around 25-30 minutes in the air fryer and should be turned halfway. This ensures they are super soft but still slightly charred on the outside.

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