Slow Cooker Asian Spare Ribs

I never expected my recipe for Easy Fried Rice to be so popular! I have received messages and comments from so many of you telling me how much you liked that recipe, how easy it is to make, and how the leftovers are even better! What was common from all the messages: We Love our Asian food- and you asked for more! I came up with another great recipe that will satisfy any craving for another staple: Spare Ribs! These ribs are almost as good as what you would get from a restaurant. They have a fantastic aroma and they are soft and tender thanks to cooking in a delicious marinade in a slow cooker. The more they marinate, the better they taste! This is truly one of those recipes you can just “set and forget” and you can’t mess it up.

These are classic Asian-inspired ingredients. I opted for low sodium soy sauce and the 5 Spice powder elevates the taste profile. A few drops of red food coloring are optional but make these spare ribs look just like they came from my local Chinese restaurant. When they’re done in the slow cooker, a short time under the broiler gives them a nice sweet caramelization or just lather on the thickened sauce and serve them as is. A sprinkle of sesame seeds and sliced green onions make them perfect as an appetizer, main dish, or ideal for a party. Try these and change up the recipe with your own favorite ingredients.


2-3 pounds spare ribs (bone in best)

1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce

1/4 cup honey

1/3 cup hoisin sauce

1 1/2 teaspoon 5 Spice Powder

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 -3 tablespoons sweet chili sauce (optional)

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger

1 teaspoon red food coloring (optional)

2 teaspoons corn starch

Sesame seeds and sliced green onion for garnish

  1. Make the marinade: Whisk together the soy sauce, honey, hoisin sauce, 5 Spice powder, brown sugar, chili sauce if using, garlic, ginger and food coloring if using.
  2. Place the spare ribs in a large re-sealable bag. Pour the marinade over the spare ribs and gently mix to coat the ribs. Allow spare ribs to marinate in the refrigerator for 12 to 24 hours.
  3. Spray the inside of the slow cooker with vegetable spray. Place the spare ribs inside the slow cooker. Cook on Low for 6 hours or on High for 4 hours.
  4. When the cooking is done, carefully remove the spare ribs and arrange on baking sheet. Keep warm.
  5. In a small bowl, dissolve the cornstarch with a few tablespoons of water until it becomes a thin liquid.
  6. In a medium saucepan, combine the cornstarch with the remaining cooking liquid from the slow cooker. Bring to a boil over medium-high het and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens.
  7. Baste or brush the spare ribs with the thickened cooking liquid. Broil about 2 inches away from the broiler for 4 to 5 minutes until the spare ribs are caramelized.
  8. Garnish with sesame seeds and sliced green onion.

Photo: Ahmad on Unsplash

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