Make Chinese takeout at home. Sticky, sweet, and tender Crock Pot Boneless Ribs will become your favorite easy home Chinese dish with just common pantry ingredients and your slow cooker.
Let's make some great Chinese food with things in the pantry—no searching for that special sauce just for one dish. Based on a Food.com recipe but simplified and cut down to a more reasonable amount. The original was for 5 pounds, but I'm cooking for two.
This dish could be called by many names: Chinese Boneless Pork Ribs, Chinese Boneless Spare Ribs, Chinese Spare Ribs, Chinese BBQ Ribs, Chinese Ribs, Sticky Ribs, and many more variations of those names. Chinese restaurants vary in both naming and ingredients.
Give it a try today. You get excellent taste for very little work. Top with some sesame seeds and slices of green onion, then serve with rice, then wait for the compliments.
👨🍳How to make this recipe
- Trim off the fat pad off the country-style boneless pork ribs and cut into a rib shape. Alternatively, cut boneless pork chops into strips. Pork loin can be trimmed into "ribs," but be sure to cut across the grain of the loin. No marinade is needed since it is slow-cooked.
- Mix the sauce. Double all the sauce ingredients if you want more sauce for the rice.
- This recipe fits in a smaller crock pot—as small as 2-quarts should work. However, a single recipe in a full-size crock pot may cook faster. A double recipe needs a 4-quart or larger slow cooker.
- Cook on low for 4 hours. The internal temperature of the pork should be 145° minimum. On high, it will take 2-3 hours to cook. If you are using a large crock pot for a small recipe, it may cook faster.
Some versions of Chinese Ribs will be bone-in and use St. Louis spare ribs. They will have lots of bones and little meat. Boneless is more popular and easier to eat, but the "spare rib" term seems to stay.
Commonly to make Chinese boneless spare ribs, boneless pork shoulder is cut into thin strips to make the boneless "ribs."
Pork loin cuts are commonly used, and country-style boneless pork ribs are perfect. If you don't have country-style boneless ribs, just cut pork loin or pork chops into "ribs."
What Are Country-Style Boneless Pork Ribs?
Country-style boneless pork ribs are the tail end of a pork loin cut in half lengthways and scored into little "ribs."
These are not the same as bone-in country-style ribs. If you don't find the boneless variety, strips of pork chops or pork loin cut across the grain will work fine.
Most of the flavors come from soy sauce and ketchup. We are not big ginger lovers in this house, so some may find it a little low on ginger, so increase if you love ginger. It is about half of the original recipe.
Vinegar is overdone in many Chinese recipes. The vinegar is decreased to about ⅓ of the original recipe and is just right now. Add more if that is your taste.
There is a lot of salt in various ingredients, so additional salt is unnecessary during cooking. You can add a bit later if needed.
This sauce uses no special sauces. It uses common pantry ingredients to get some of the same tastes. Special ingredients like Hoisin sauce, five-spice powder, star anise, oyster sauce, or hoisin sauce are unnecessary.
That intense red you see in Chinese restaurants comes from food coloring. While you can do this at home, I suggest skipping it.
Yes, I have included an option for red pepper flakes. Adjust that up or down for the heat level you want.
Yes. Near the end of cooking, mix 1 tablespoon of cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of water in a small bowl—then whisk until smooth. Pour into the crock pot and mix in well. Finish cooking until thickened and cooking is complete.
❄️Serving and Storage
Serve Chinese boneless pork ribs with a garnish of toasted sesame seeds and sliced green onion.
Serve with rice. If using white rice, use the leftover sauce to add flavor. You can also use fried rice.
To store leftover Chinese boneless ribs, seal them airtight, and they are good refrigerated for 3-4 days and frozen for 3-4 months.
This recipe is listed in these categories. See them for more similar recipes.
Step-by-Step Photo Instructions
Start with everyday ingredients. No special sauces are needed.
Trim one slab of country-style boneless pork ribs. Remove the fat cap and cut it into pieces following the cuts. You can use pork chops or pork loin—you need about 1 ½ pounds of meat.
Mix in a smaller crock pot (2-quart minimum) the brown sugar, soy sauce, ketchup, honey, vinegar, one clove of garlic minced, ground ginger, crushed red pepper (optional), and ½ small onion diced.
Mix in the pieces of pork. Cook on low for 4 hours. Remove meat and reserve the liquid for "gravy" over the meat and rice. The minimum internal temperature for pork is 145°.
Serve topped with toasted Sesame seed and sliced green onion.
Crock Pot Chinese Boneless Ribs
- 1 slab boneless country style pork ribs - about 1 ½ pounds
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup soy sauce - low sodium
- ¼ cup ketchup
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 teaspoon vinegar - Apple cider or white
- 1 clove garlic - minced
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper - optional
- ½ onion - small diced
- toasted sesame seeds
- green onions-sliced
- Trim one slab of country-style boneless pork ribs. Remove the fat cap and cut it into pieces following the cuts. You can use pork chops or pork loin—you need about 1 ½ pounds of meat.
- Mix in a smaller crock pot (2-quart minimum) the brown sugar, soy sauce, ketchup, honey, vinegar, one clove garlic minced, ground ginger, crushed red pepper (optional), and ½ small onion diced.
- Mix in the pieces of pork. Cook on low for 4 hours. Remove meat and reserve the liquid for "gravy" over the meat and rice. The minimum internal temperature for pork is 145°.
- Serve topped with toasted Sesame seed and sliced green onion.
Your Own Private Notes
- This is a smaller crock pot recipe. 2-quart is the minimum size. A double recipe needs 3 ½ quart size and a triple recipe needs larger than 5 quarts.
- Cooking a small recipe in a large crock pot may cook faster, so watch the endpoint.
- I suggest doubling the sauce to flavor the rice.
- If you don't have boneless pork ribs, strips of pork chop or pork loin would be fine.
- I cut down the ginger and vinegar for our taste. Adjust if you wish.
- Serve on rice or noodles.
- The crushed red pepper only adds a little heat. Adjust up or down for your taste.
- The salt level can easily get out of hand on a recipe like this. I suggested lower-sodium soy sauce and did not add any more salt unless you are sure you need it near the end of cooking.
- I like roasted sesame seeds and some slices of green onion.
- Good refrigerated 3-4 days. Good frozen for 3-4 months.
To adjust the recipe size:
You may adjust the number of servings in this recipe card under servings. This does the math for the ingredients for you. BUT it does NOT adjust the text of the instructions. So you need to do that yourself.
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Editor's Note: Originally Published February 16, 2014. Updated with expanded options, refreshed photos, and a table of contents to help navigation.