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Can you cook boneless pork ribs from frozen?

Cooking boneless pork ribs from frozen is absolutely possible. With some planning and preparation, frozen ribs can turn out just as juicy and delicious as fresh ribs. Here are some tips for successfully cooking frozen boneless pork ribs.

Thaw the Ribs Properly

The first step is thawing the ribs correctly. There are a few methods you can use:

  • Refrigerator thawing: Place ribs in a single layer in a dish. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator. This slow thaw helps ribs thaw evenly.
  • Cold water thaw: Place ribs in a leak-proof plastic bag and submerge in cold water. Change water every 30 minutes. Ribs will thaw in 2-3 hours.
  • Microwave thaw: Thaw ribs in the microwave using the defrost setting if available. Otherwise, microwave at 50% power, flipping halfway. Thaw fully before cooking.

Never thaw ribs at room temperature or in hot water. This can cause bacteria to grow. Refrigerator thawing is ideal, but the cold water method also works well to thaw ribs quickly.

Remove Packaging and Rinse

Once thawed, remove ribs from any packaging or vacuum-sealed bags. Rinse under cold water to remove any ice crystals. Pat dry with paper towels.

Trim and Prepare the Ribs

Trim off any excess fat or membrane from the ribs. Cut ribs into individual ribs or pieces if desired. Rub generously all over with a dry seasoning rub. Allow to sit at room temperature while you preheat the oven or grill.

Adjust Cook Times

Frozen ribs will take longer to cook than fresh ribs. For oven-baked ribs, increase cook time by about 50%. If the recipe calls for 2 hours, cook frozen ribs for 3 hours instead. For grilled ribs, cook for about 1 hour longer.

Here are some general cook times for boneless pork ribs:

Cooking Method Fresh Rib Cook Time Frozen Rib Cook Time
Oven baked at 325°F 1.5 – 2 hours 2.5 – 3 hours
Grilled over medium heat 1 – 1.5 hours 2 – 2.5 hours

Use a meat thermometer to check doneness. Ribs are done when they reach 145°F internally.

Finish on the Grill

For extra flavor, finish cooking ribs on a preheated grill for the last 15-30 minutes. This helps add delicious char and caramelization to the ribs.

Baste Frequently

Basting helps keep ribs juicy and tender. Every 15-30 minutes, baste ribs with barbecue sauce. For oven ribs, you can reuse the same sauce. For grilled ribs, use a fresh sauce each time to avoid burning.

Rest and Slice

After cooking, let ribs rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing into individual ribs. Coat with more barbecue sauce before serving if desired.


Cooking frozen boneless pork ribs requires more time and careful thawing, but the results can be amazing. Properly thawed and cooked low and slow, frozen ribs become fall-off-the-bone tender. With the right techniques, frozen pork ribs can deliver the same great flavor and enjoyment as fresh ribs. Just remember to thaw completely, trim well, baste frequently and use a thermometer for perfect doneness. In around 3 hours in the oven or 2.5 hours on the grill, you’ll have tender, mouthwatering ribs – even when starting with frozen.