Skip to Content

Leftover Ribs Recipe

If you’re anything like us, then you love eating ribs every now and again.

But what happens if your next meal isn’t going to be on schedule?

You may have leftovers from an event or party that were supposed to feed guests but instead ended up being eaten by yourself.

Or maybe you just got home late one night and realized there was no time in the day for dinner.

In these cases, it makes sense to turn those over-cooked ribs into something else—or at least eat them while they still taste decent enough to enjoy!

leftover ribs recipe

What Is The Best Way To Cook Leftover Ribs?

The truth is, we don’t know exactly how many ways people go about cooking their leftovers.

But we do know that this process involves two major steps: first, reheating and second, preparing new meals with the ingredients you already had.

It seems simple enough, but when you try to execute both of these tasks simultaneously, things can get messy pretty fast.

So before you spend any more precious time trying to figure out what to do with all those delicious ribs, let’s look at the easiest options available.

1.      Cooked Ribs Reheated

When it comes to reheating food, most experts agree that microwaving is probably the best option.

However, not everyone has access to microwave ovens, so other methods should also be considered.

For example, you could use a slow cooker, which will take care of the reheating part without much effort on your end.

Another great idea would be to throw everything into a pot on the stovetop and simply boil away until the meat reaches desired tenderness.

Of course, none of these three methods are perfect.

If you want to make sure that your ribs remain tasty even after heating, you should consider investing in a convection oven.

This type of kitchen appliance ensures that heat is evenly distributed across its interior space, making it possible to cook meats faster than ever before.

2.      Make New Recipes With Leftover Ingredients

Now that we’ve covered how to get rid of leftover ribs, let’s talk about what to do with the rest of the ingredients.

You’ll need to find another dish to serve alongside your reheated ribs (and vice versa).

But where do you start looking for inspiration? There are several factors that influence the final outcome of a particular recipe.

For example, the amount of protein found within each ingredient can affect how well the finished product tastes.

  • Protein content is important because different types of proteins require distinct amounts of time to break down during cooking.
  • The fat content of each item plays a crucial role too, since fats help keep foods moist during cooking.
  • Lastly, the size of each component influences how long it takes to finish cooking.

With these variables in mind, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that finding a suitable replacement for your overcooked ribs might be difficult.

That said, here are several ideas to get you started:

  • Use cooked rice, pasta, or couscous as a substitute for the meat portions of your original recipe.
  • Replace the sauce used in the original recipe with a similar flavor profile.
  • Make a sandwich using cheese, veggies, and bread.
  • Turn leftover bones into stock.
  • Add leftovers to soups, stews, and casseroles.

What Are Some Good Leftover Ribs Recipes?

Here are several ways to prepare leftover ribs so that they don’t end up tasting disgusting after sitting around for too long:

  • Cooked meat takes on its own flavor when cooked with other ingredients.
  • So even though you might not want to use all of the ingredients listed below, try adding half of each item until you find the right combination.
  • To keep things simple, we recommend using only two different sauces.
  • One should be a dry rub (such as this homemade barbecue seasoning) and the second should be a wet marinade (like this sweet and tangy pineapple).
  • The latter will give you a nice balance between savory and sweet flavors.
  • For extra moisture, add raw shredded potatoes to your cooking liquid.
  • Just mix them together before adding them to your pan.
  • When making a glaze, the key is to add enough hot water to create a thick consistency.
  • If you want to thicken it further without getting clumpy, stir in cornstarch.
  • Once your rib tips come out of the oven, let them cool slightly and pull off any excess fat before wrapping them tightly in aluminum foil.
  • Then, place them back into the oven for another 15 minutes or so to finish cooking.
  • This is a great option if you’ve already made your favorite sides and salads beforehand.
  • Simply reheat everything in a slow cooker along with your ribs.
  • A quick alternative to putting leftover ribs in a crockpot is to wrap them in aluminum foil and bake them on high heat in the oven for about 45 minutes.
  • Once you remove them from the oven, leave them alone for 10 minutes before unwrapping them.
leftover ribs recipe

How Can I Make My Leftover Ribs More Moist?

The first thing we recommend doing when making our favorite type of meat is making sure it doesn’t dry out.

There are many ways to ensure this happens, including cooking it longer than necessary so that there is plenty of moisture present in the dish.

Another option is using barbecue sauce as part of the marinade process.

You could also use other sauces and spices to create the perfect flavor profile.

However, remember not to overload the ribs too much because the extra flavors will overpower the natural flavors of the meat itself.

When dealing with leftovers, you need to consider whether or not you want to cook them further.

If the main reason why you made the ribs in the first place was to get rid of them, there is no point in continuing to cook them beyond their original state.

However, if they weren’t meant to be served immediately after cooking, then you might choose to continue to heat them up until they reach your desired temperature.

For instance, if you cooked a large batch of ribs and only had two servings remaining, you could reheat the rest of the beef before serving.

Just keep in mind that there is a fine line between overcooking and undercooking leftovers.

The best way to find out what works best for you is to experiment!

What Can I Do With My Leftover Ribs?

There are several ways to use leftover pork spareribs after their initial cooking has been completed, including freezing them for later consumption, making sandwiches out of them, baking them in bread pans, sautéing them, and even using them to make a soup.

But before we go any further, let’s first talk about how to cook ribs so that you don’t end up with dry, overcooked meat when you get around to reheating them.

  • Seasoning Your Ribs Before Cooking
  • Cooking Spareribs
  • When You Cook Them Too Long, Don’t Be Afraid To Throw ‘Em In The Fridge! (Or Freeze!)
  • Leftover Pork Rib Recipes
  • Make A Sandwich With Leftover Ribs And Cheese
  • Baking With Leftover Ribs Is Easy & Delicious
  • Soup With Leftover Ribs
  • Roasted Garlic Soup With Leftover Ribs
  • Spaghetti Squash With Roast Beef And Leftover Rib Crumbles
  • Crispy French Bread Pizza With Smoked Ham, Prosciutto, And Feta Cheese And Leftover Rib Sauce
  • Easy Homemade Pulled Chicken Sandwiches With Crispy Apple Rings And A Drizzle Of Barbecue Sauce On Top
  • Smoky Bacon Wrapped Scallops With Creamy Polenta And Crunchy Cornbread Crumbs For Garnish
  • Chili Lime Shrimp Tacos With Pickled Red Onion, Jalapeno Poppers, Avocado Crema, Cilantro Pesto, And Baked Sweet Potato Chips
  • Pork Tenderloin Stuffed Peppers With Chipotle Ranch Dipping Sauce And Grilled Pineapple Salsa

How Long Do Leftover Ribs Last?

Ribs are great because of how versatile they are.

They take well to most cooking methods, so even after you’ve cooked them until they fall apart, you can use them in other dishes.

You could grill the meat off of them, toss them in soup, make sandwiches out of them, or even cook them up into chili.

Because of this versatility, you don’t need to worry about keeping them around forever.

If you want to keep them longer than two days, though, you will probably want to freeze some before doing anything else.

Most grocery stores sell packages of frozen boneless spareribs (sometimes called country style ribs), which can help extend their shelf life.

These should be defrosted overnight in the refrigerator first.

As far as storing raw beef goes, it depends on the temperature.

Raw beef stored in a fridge tends to stay good for about three weeks, depending on its size.

However, when stored outside the fridge, beef stays fresh for much longer, usually up to six months.

Freezing leftover ribs

To freeze leftover ribs, place them between layers of plastic wrap and roll tightly.

Place in freezer bags, leaving room for air circulation, and put in the freezer for about 24 hours or until solidified.

leftover ribs recipe

How Should I Store Leftover Ribs?

Ribs are generally good for about two days after cooking, so you can safely put them away to use later.

You will find that the flavor of the meat begins to deteriorate quickly once they are cold, though, so make sure to keep the cooked meat refrigerated until needed.

The only other thing you need to consider when storing leftover ribs is how to prevent any bacteria growth.

If you don’t want to risk getting sick with food poisoning, then follow this simple method from Epicurious to ensure that nothing goes wrong.

  • Cover each rack of ribs completely with aluminum foil.
  • Place the wrapped racks in a plastic container (preferably airtight).
  • Make sure that all of the containers fit tightly together.
  • Store the container(s) in the refrigerator.
  • Remove the rib racks from the container(s) before using them within three days.

How to cook leftover ribs

When it comes time to serve your leftover ribs, you don’t necessarily have to start off by pan frying them.

There are plenty of ways to prepare them without having to heat up your kitchen first.

Roasted leftover ribs

This method requires very little work on your part.

All you need to do is toss some sliced onions in a bowl, add a small amount of olive oil, and mix well.

Then place your onion mixture inside a baking dish along with your ribs, cover with tin foil, and roast in the oven until heated through.

A few minutes under the broiler will help crisp up the outside of the meat a bit better than roasting in the oven would.

The result will be tender, juicy ribs that won’t dry out during storage.

Stuffed leftover ribs

To stuff your leftover ribs, simply take a fork and pull apart the meat, removing large chunks of fatty pork.

Once divided, combine the pork with diced green chilies, cilantro, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and chili powder.

Mix everything thoroughly and spoon the filling back onto the bone portion of the ribs.

Wrap the bones tightly around the filling and secure with toothpicks.

BBQ flavored rice

For a quick side dish that doesn’t require much effort, try preparing a batch of Rice Krispie Treats.

Take a box of regular Rice Krispie treats and cut them open.

Remove the marshmallow pieces from their wrappers and set aside until ready to use.

Next, melt butter in a skillet.

When melted, stir in a cup of barbecue sauce, followed by sugar and cinnamon.

Add the marshmallows once the sugars have dissolved completely.

Cook the mixture over medium heat until slightly thickened, stirring constantly.

Let cool completely before serving.

What Is The Best Way To Reheat Leftover Ribs?

When you do decide to make use of your leftovers, it can be easy to let things go bad quickly.

Once the meat has gone cold, it becomes tough and chewy.

And even though it might not seem so, this texture doesn’t change much when it gets hot.

The secret to keeping your leftovers juicy and tender lies in their temperature.

The hotter the food, the more likely it will retain its moisture content.

So keep your leftovers warm until you’ve had a chance to get back together with friends and family.

This won’t necessarily mean waiting around all evening for everyone to show up, however.

You could simply put them in a microwave oven on high power for about three minutes per pound (a pound equals roughly 455 grams).

Alternatively, you could stick them in a pot on the stovetop and heat them slowly.

Either method works well, but we recommend using a slow cooker because it allows you to control the amount of time the food spends heating without overcooking it.

Here are our top picks for the best slow cookers for cooking ribs.

  • Instant Pot DUO60 Electric Pressure Cooker – $59.99
  • OXO Good Grips Big Mouth Ribs Slow Cooker – $29.95 | $34.90 w/free shipping
  • Hamilton Beach 6 Qt Smart Power Pot – $39.98
  • Crockpot Classic 5qt – $17.89

Other ways to reheat leftover ribs

There are plenty of other options for storing and reheating your leftovers besides microwaving and boiling.

For instance, you can bake them in foil packets, which prevents the food from drying out too much.

If you want to take advantage of the grill, you could also throw them onto a sheet pan and pop them directly on the gas burner.

These methods work particularly well with boneless pork chops and chicken breasts.

Once you’ve decided how you plan on serving your leftovers, here are a few helpful pointers for making sure they come out delicious:

What Are Some Tips For Making Good Leftover Ribs?

There are plenty of ways to use leftover meat.

If you don’t want to cook another batch of ribs, you could try these ideas:

  • Reheat in foil packets with barbecue sauce and onions (this will add flavor without adding extra calories)
  • Turn it into chili by adding beans and spices
  • Make burgers out of it (see our burger guide).
  • You could also do this with chicken breasts
  • Add it to tacos (try using corn tortillas) or nachos
  • Mix it with pasta, rice, potatoes, or polenta
  • Use it in sandwiches
  • Serve it as a salad topping
  • Shred it and mix it into salads or soups
  • Try frying it up with eggs

We’ll talk about how to reheat leftover ribs later, so let’s move onto other recipes first.

How Can I Make My Leftover Ribs More Flavorful?

The secret to making any meat last longer is to cook it thoroughly.

To do this, you need to add moisture back into the food so that its cells don’t dry out too much during storage.

When you prepare meat for consumption, you should always season it with salt before cooking, because the salt will draw water out of the muscle fibers.

If you don’t season the meat (for example, if you didn’t use butter on top of the ribs), then the fat content in the meat won’t help keep the meat moist either.

However, once you’ve finished cooking your food, it’s important to let it cool down completely before storing it away.

This way, the protein structure inside of the meat stays intact until the next time you plan to consume it.

To store cooked meats safely, wrap them tightly in plastic wrap, place them in a container, and refrigerate them right away.

Tips for reheating leftover ribs

Once you’ve prepared your leftover ribs, it’s easy to throw them together into another dish.

For instance, if you want to make a quick sandwich, all you need to do is heat up some bread, spread some barbecue sauce on it, lay your leftover ribs on top, and bake it in the oven until everything is heated through.

Here are several ways to quickly warm up leftover ribs without overcooking them further:

  • Bake the ribs in a baking sheet covered in aluminum foil at 350°F/180°C for about 30 minutes, turning halfway through.
  • Use a microwave to defrost your leftover ribs.
  • Just put them directly onto a plate and cover them with paper towels.
  • Microwave the ribs on high power for 5 to 10 minutes per pound of weight.
  • Heat the leftovers using a skillet.
  • Take a medium pan, bring 2 cups of water to boil, and drop the leftover ribs into the boiling water and simmer for half an hour.
  • Put the leftover ribs in a pot filled with cold water and bring it to a low temperature.
  • Cook the ribs for 20 to 25 minutes.
  • Place the leftover ribs in a slow cooker and fill it with hot water.
  • Cover the pot and cook it for 1 hour on high.
  • Then remove the lid and cook it for another 3 hours on low.
  • Take the leftover ribs and toss them into a pot filled with broth or chicken stock.
  • Bring it to a rolling boil and simmer for 15 minutes.

What Are Some Common Mistakes People Make When Cooking Leftover Ribs?

When we say “cooking ribs,” we mean to cook them until tender enough so that you can pull off pieces of meat without tearing them apart (and yes, this applies even to beef ribs).

As with most meats, don’t overcook them.

Otherwise, you risk drying out the surface layer of the protein.

This will prevent juices from seeping through during the reheating process, which means that you won’t get any flavor transfer between the meat and the liquid.

Most recipes call for letting cooked ribs rest after cooking, but resting isn’t necessarily necessary unless you want to serve them cold later.

If you do plan on serving them warm, try using a panade in lieu of resting them.

Panades are made up of bread and milk products used to help tenderize tough cuts of meat.

They work well because they allow moisture to escape from the rib cage, making them easier to slice cleanly.

But if you’d rather not use either technique, you can always toss the ribs back on the grill once their initial heat has dissipated.

You should also avoid heating leftover ribs too long before putting them back on the plate, since doing so will dry out the meat further and decrease its overall succulence.

Another way to save leftover ribs is to freeze them.

Ribs tend to lose a lot of water during cooking, so freezing them beforehand helps keep them moist and tender once thawed.

Once frozen, place them in a freezer bag, label them clearly, and store them in the freezer for future meals.

leftover ribs recipe

BBQ Rib Hash

Leftover pork rib meat is sautéed with crisp potatoes, onions, and peppers before being served alongside buttered toast and fried eggs!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Keyword: BBQ Rib Hash
Servings: 4
Calories: 465kcal


  • Large skillet



  • 1 pork ribs leftover, cooked


  • 2 russet potatoes scrubbed, chopped and lined o a wire rack to dry for 20 minutes
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • ½ red pepper diced
  • ½ green pepper diced
  • ¼ onion diced


  • 8 eggs
  • 8 slices toast


  • Wrap the pork ribs in foil and reheat in the oven or on the grill until heated through.
  • Remove half of the rack’s meat from the bones and set aside until cool enough to touch.
  • If you’re feeling brave, slice the remainder at each bone to toss onto the plates; otherwise, chop all of the meat.
  • Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until it coats the pan.
  • Season with salt and pepper and toss in the potatoes.
  • Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften and crisp.
  • Sauté the red and green peppers, as well as the onion, for another 10 to 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are golden and crispy all over.
  • Toss in the chopped rib meat to combine.
  • Meanwhile, fry a couple of eggs in a separate greased pan to pile high on top as desired.
  • Toss everything together on a platter and serve with a tender rib.
  • Season with salt and pepper, if desired, and serve with buttered toast.



Calories: 465kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 344mg | Sodium: 408mg | Potassium: 739mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 997IU | Vitamin C: 38mg | Calcium: 123mg | Iron: 4mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Follow me