Can I Cook Frozen Pork Ribs in the Oven

One of the easiest mistakes people make when making ribs is making too many. But this is actually only a mistake if you throw the excess ribs away. You should always keep and freeze your leftover ribs, because you can actually cook frozen pork ribs in the oven.

The process is quite simple. All you need is everything that you used to make the pork ribs in the first place. Namely: Foil, a nonstick pan, and of course your oven.

How to Cook Frozen Ribs

To start with, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit if you want them juicy. If you want them crispy, then preheat the oven to 400 degrees instead. The general rule when cooking frozen meat is to cook it low and slow. That means either cook them at 350 or thaw them first. 

Thawing your ribs can be done in one of two ways: Either use cold water to thaw them throughout the day or use the refrigerator to thaw them throughout the night. Do not use warm water. The goal of thawing meat is to unfreeze it without raising its temperature much.

The reason for this is that the closer you get to room temperature the more likely it is that bacteria will grow in your meat that you cannot cook out. Luckily, if you keep the temperature low enough then it will be easy to cook out anything undesirable in the meat.

Once you have your meat thawed you can cook it. Separate the meat into smaller pieces (though they do not have to be too small) so that they heat up faster. Wrap them in foil, then place them on the center rack of your oven. The pan is technically optional.

Believe it or not, this process is going to take about two hours, possibly slightly more. Ribs freeze really thoroughly, and you need to be sure to heat them all the way through. Use a thermometer to check their internal temperature to make sure they are safe to eat.

The ribs have to have an internal temperature of 145 degrees or more to be safe to eat. That is internal temperature, not surface temperature. Though to be honest, you can cook them up to 190 degrees Fahrenheit and they will probably taste better.

Around 190 degrees is when the fat inside the ribs, where most of the flavor is held, really starts to expand. That does not mean hotter is better, it just means that you can leave them in the oven for about half an hour longer than you normally would and still get pretty good results. 

Can You Season Frozen Ribs?

Seasoning frozen ribs is not just possible, it is downright critical to getting them to have the best flavor. Most people enjoy the way unseasoned ribs taste, but there is a reason barbeque sauce and mustard exist. So, consider these seasoning methods for your frozen ribs after they are thawed.


Glaze with mustard and then brown sugar before cooking


Mix beef broth with milk and curry powder, apply before cooking


Either make as a glaze with butter, or a dip plain


Can Ribs be Defrosted on the Kitchen Counter?

Defrosting ribs on the kitchen counter is not recommended. The reason why ribs freeze so thoroughly is related to why they taste so good - because they contain a lot of fat. As they defrost, many of the fatty juices will be released and make a mess all over your counter. For this reason, it is better to thaw them in a bowl of cold water as the water helps the meat to retain its flavorful juices.

The second and more critical issue with thawing on the kitchen counter is that it means the meat will be thawing at room temperature. Room temperature is exactly the temperature when bacteria start to grow in raw meat. Thawing it to a lower temperature will be much safer. 

Can Frozen Ribs be Cooked on the Stovetop?

There are ways to cook frozen ribs on the stovetop such as using a huge pot or a nonstick pan, to heat the meat at a low temperature over many hours. Crockpots are also an option for cooking frozen ribs. In all cases, the issue is that you will be spending more than five hours heating the frozen ribs to be hot enough to safely eat.

This is not a huge problem if you have the time. The real problem with this method of heating the meat is that it is not very energy efficient, which is expensive! Also, if you are using a gas stove, it is dangerous to keep it on for more than an hour, as it pollutes the air with toxic carbon monoxide gas. 

Final Thoughts

You can make some truly delicious ribs by heating them up from frozen. The process is really not that different from making ribs normally. You just have to thaw them safely, season them to your taste, and be sure to cook them thoroughly. It will take a while, but it will be well worth it. 

Shop now Ibérico Pork Box

Ibérico Pork Box Ibérico Pork Box
Rated 4.9 out of 5
Based on 190 reviews

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published