These Korean pork ribs are immersed in a soy sauce marinade, then air fried for the ultimate crisp. They have all the flavor you’ve been searching for!
Hot tip: For this recipe, head over to your grocery store or local butcher and buy a rack of pork ribs. Have the butcher cut the ribs into baby-sized pieces across the bones (instead of between the bones).
What Are Korean Short Ribs?
Korean short ribs, commonly known as kalbi or la galbi, are bone-in pieces of pork marinated in an Asian-inspired marinade. These ribs are not cut between the bones (like classic pork ribs), but rather across the bones (flanken style). As a result, the ribs soak up more of the marinade and cook quickly. Korean short ribs are most often cooked on the grill — but in this recipe, we add a fun and crispy twist by using the air fryer!
In this recipe, the sesame-soy sauce marinade tenderizes the meat and gives the ribs a delicious Asian flare. Then, when cooked in the air fryer, the ribs develop an awesomely crispy outer crust without drying out the tender inside.
Love these ribs? You’re guaranteed to love these grilled beef galbi — Korean beef short ribs cooked on the grill!
How To Cook Short Ribs in the Air Fryer
Do you love Asian flavor and easy recipes? Good news — you can have both! These air fryer Korean short ribs are foolproof and flavorful. Plus, the prep time and cooking time are minimal — the longest (but most important) part is simply waiting for the ribs to marinate overnight.
- Prep the ingredients: Prepare all the ingredients, including cutting the ribs into small pieces.
- Make the marinade: Place the ribs into a ziplock bag, then add the brown sugar, pressed garlic, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Seal the bag and shake the marinade around to evenly coat the ribs.
- Marinate overnight: Allow the ribs to marinate for at least eight hours or overnight.
- Cook the ribs: Preheat the air fryer to 400°F. Arrange the pork ribs in a single layer and air fry for 18-20 minutes. Halfway through, open the air fryer basket and toss the ribs to ensure all sides get crispy. Check the ribs with a meat thermometer to ensure the internal temperature reaches 170°F for peak tenderness.
- Serve: Serve the pork ribs hot or cold with your choice of sides.
Craving a classic Korean BBQ-style flavor? Emulate that fresh-off-the-grill flavor with liquid smoke. Slather on your favorite BBQ sauce and add a couple drops of liquid smoke.
Tips for Making Air Fryer Korean Short Ribs
Are you an air fryer newbie or a connoisseur? No need to answer — we’ve got seven tips to guarantee this air fryer ribs recipe gives you the most delicious ribs no matter what your experience level is.
- Use low sodium soy sauce: Soy sauce is known for its saltiness, so opt for low-sodium soy sauce to avoid overly-salted ribs. If using regular soy sauce, consider cutting down on the marinating time to keep the salt levels perfect. Liquid aminos are a suitable option as well.
- Add more spices: If you want more variety of flavors in the marinade, add in black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, ginger powder, or cayenne pepper.
- Pat the ribs dry: Before adding the marinade, pat the ribs dry with a paper towel. This ensures they absorb the marinade much better!
- Bring ribs to room temperature: Take the ribs out of the fridge and allow them to reach room temperature before placing into the air fryer. Introducing fresh out-of-the-fridge ribs into the high heat of the air fryer shocks the meat and may result in uneven cooking.
- Avoid overlapping: To ensure the ribs cook evenly, avoid overlapping them. Instead, lay them flat in the air fryer or stand them up to fit a few more pieces in.
- Brush on extra flavor: For more flavor, take a basting brush and slather the drippings at the bottom of the fryer onto the freshly cooked ribs.
- Make them extra crispy: Are you a fan of extra crispy ribs? Slather on some extra marinade to the ribs and let them cook for 3-5 minutes longer top-side up.
Hot tip: Swap the pork ribs with beef ribs — it’s the same great taste, but with a different protein!
Don’t know what to serve with your short ribs? We’ve got you covered. Garnish the ribs with green onions and toasted sesame seeds. Then, balance out the savory protein with a side of creamy mashed potatoes or basmati rice. If you’re on an Asian-food kick, make gyoza as an appetizer and veggie lo mein as a side dish. To keep it low-carb, don’t put the air fryer away just yet — use it to make air fryer asparagus or air fryer broccoli.
There’s no need to fret if you’ve got leftover air fryer ribs. Leftover ribs taste just as good as when they’re fresh!
- Refrigerator: To store for up to four days, place the cooled ribs into an airtight container in the fridge.
- Freezer: Store cooked ribs for up to three months in the freezer in an airtight container or freezer safe bag. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
- Reheating: Reheat air fryer short ribs in the air fryer for about five minutes at 325°F or until heated through. For a large batch, place them in a baking dish in the oven at 350°F until heated through. Or, for a quicker reheat, use the microwave or a pan on the stovetop.
Can I cook frozen short ribs in the air fryer?
No, it is best to avoid cooking frozen short ribs as it may affect the texture and doneness of the meat.
How do I make my air fryer korean short ribs more tender?
To make the most tender short ribs, make sure to marinate them adequately and cook until their internal temperature is 170°F. If they are still tough, wrap the ribs tightly in foil and put them in the oven at 300°F for about an hour.
More Air Fryer Recipes
- Perfect Air Fryer Salmon — Super simple salmon flavored with butter, lemon, and garlic
- Air Fryer Stuffed Mushrooms — With a cream cheese & bacon filling
- Air Fryer Scallops – Seasoned scallops finished off with a drizzle of garlic butter.
- Easy Air Fryer Chicken Wings — Crunchy wings perfect for gameday
- Air Fryer Steak Bites — Air fryer beef and mushrooms
- Prepare ingredients for the recipe. Cut ribs into small pieces if not already pre-cut by your butcher.
- Place pork ribs into a ziplock bag. Add brown sugar, garlic, low sodium soy sauce, and sesame oil and seal the bag. Massage the ingredients together to distribute the marinade.
- Allow the pork ribs to marinate for at least 8 hours, overnight if possible.
- Place one layer of pork ribs into an air fryer basket. Air fry them at 400°F for 18-20 minutes, depending on the size. Halfway through, open the basket and toss them to make sure all the sides are crispy.
- Serve the ribs hot or cold. You can always reheat leftovers in an air fryer for 2-3 minutes.