How Long To Cook Ribs In Oven At 400?

Are you craving fall-off-the-bone ribs but short on time? Look no further! Baking them at 400°F offers a quicker alternative to traditional methods, but nailing the perfect cooking time can be tricky.

Don’t worry! This guide will demystify how long to cook ribs in oven at 400, ensuring you achieve tender, juicy results every single time. Whether you’re a seasoned grill master or a kitchen newbie, we’ll unveil the secrets to unlocking oven-baked rib perfection.

So let’s start now!

How Long To Cook Ribs In Oven At 400?

Baking ribs at 400°F should take about an hour in total.

You start with 20 minutes uncovered, letting them get a nice crust.

Then, they cook covered for 40 minutes, getting tender from the steam.

In the last part, give them 10-15 minutes with barbecue sauce to make the outside tasty and sticky.

Let them rest before you cut into them to keep them juicy.

Discovering Various Types Of Ribs

Do you know how many types of ribs are there? You do not need to know about this but if you do, then good for you.

I found out that there are a total of 6 types of them. Let’s read this section to get more insights!

1. Beef Ribs

Beef ribs come in two main types: back ribs and short ribs. From the cow’s rib section, back ribs are meatier and often sold as “BBQ ribs.”

Short ribs, on the other hand, are thicker and more marbled, coming from the lower rib area. These robust-flavored ribs are ideal for slower cooking methods, and when baked at 400°F, they transform into tender, flavorful delights that easily pull away from the bone.

2. Pork Ribs

Pork ribs are beloved for their succulent meat and come primarily in two varieties: baby back ribs and spare ribs. Baby backs are cut from where the rib meets the spine after the loin is removed, tender and lean.

Spare ribs are larger, cut from the belly side, containing more bone and fat, which equates to a richer flavor. Cooked at 400°F, either type can yield deliciously caramelized, mouth-watering results.

3. Lamb Ribs

Lamb ribs are smaller and less common than beef or pork ribs but offer a distinct, rich flavor. Typically, these ribs come from the breast or belly of the lamb.

When cooked at 400°F, lamb ribs develop a beautiful crust on the outside while remaining juicy and tender inside. Ideal for special occasions or a change of pace, they’re a gourmet addition to any cookout.

4. Back Ribs

Back ribs, often named for their origin like baby back for pork, are cut from near the animal’s spine, prized for their meatiness. They’re leaner than other rib types and cook up tenderly at high heat.

When roasted at 400°F, back ribs become juicy and appetizing, making them a favorite for BBQ lovers who enjoy a good, meaty bite without an excess of fat.

5. Spare Ribs

Spare ribs are hearty and flavorful, hailing from the belly portion of the pig. They are larger and have more fat than baby backs, which makes them juicier.

When cooked at 400°F in the oven, the fat renders down, and you get ribs that are succulent with a crispy exterior. Perfect for those who crave a richer, meatier taste.

6. Country-Style Ribs

Country-style ribs are the meatiest pork ribs, cut from the loin area of the pig. Unlike other ribs, they’re more like pork chops — hefty and bone-in or boneless.

These ribs don’t come from the rib area, but the flavor and texture are similar. At 400°F, they bake to a tender, juicy state in less time, ideal for a hearty meal without the wait.

What Should You Think About When Baking Ribs At 400 In Oven?

Before knowing how long to cook ribs in oven at 400, let together consider several things when baking them. I recommend 3 things here: choosing the good ribs, preparing them, and setting up the oven. Let’s break them down.

1. Choosing The Right Ribs

Baby back ribs are a popular choice as they are tender and cook relatively quickly compared to other types. If you prefer meatier ribs, spare ribs might be your go-to, but remember, they may require additional cooking time due to their size and fat content.

For the best outcome, select ribs that have a uniform thickness to ensure even cooking. Avoid those with too much surface fat, as excess fat can cause the meat to be overly greasy. Instead, look for ribs with good marbling, as the fat within the meat will melt during cooking, adding flavor and juiciness.

When you go shopping, aim to buy ribs with a fresh, healthy color with no discoloration, and they should feel firm to the touch. Also, check the packaging is intact to maintain the quality of the ribs until they’re ready to be cooked.

2. Preparing The Ribs

Begin by removing the membrane on the back of the ribs; this thin layer can be tough when cooked. Gently slide a knife under the membrane, lift it, and pull it away.

Next, pat the ribs dry with paper towels to ensure your seasonings stick. Season generously with salt and pepper, but feel free to get creative with a dry rub of your liking to add complexity to the flavor.

If you have time, let the ribs sit with the seasoning for an hour or even overnight in the fridge. The longer the seasonings meld, the deeper the flavor will be. Before they go in the oven, let the ribs come to room temperature, which provides more even cooking throughout.

3. Setting Up The Oven

Preheat your oven to 400°F (205°C) before you start preparing the ribs. This step is crucial for ensuring the oven is at the right temperature from the moment you put the ribs in, leading to more accurate cooking times.

Place the oven rack in the middle position to allow for even heat circulation around the ribs. If you’re using a baking sheet or roasting pan, cover it with aluminum foil for easier cleanup.

Please do not cover the ribs yet, as they will first need to develop a nice crust. Checking the oven’s temperature with an external oven thermometer can also be handy, as some ovens may not be calibrated correctly and could run hotter or cooler than the display indicates.

How To Cook Ribs In Oven At 400?

After considering some things to cook ribs in the oven, let’s unveil the suggested ingredients, tools, and instructions.


  • Ribs: 2-3 lbs baby back or spare ribs
  • Dry Rub: 2 tablespoons of salt, 1 tablespoon of black pepper, 1 tablespoon of paprika, 1 tablespoon of garlic powder
  • Barbecue Sauce: 1 cup, your choice of brand
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: 1/4 cup, for moisture and tenderness


  • Baking sheet or roasting pan
  • Aluminum foil
  • Meat thermometer
  • Basting brush
  • Cutting board
  • Sharp knife


  • Step 1: Lay the seasoned ribs on a baking sheet or roasting pan lined with aluminum foil, bone side down.
  • Step 2: Bake in the preheated 400°F (205°C) oven for the first 20 minutes to form a crust.
  • Step 3: After the initial 20 minutes, lightly drizzle apple cider vinegar over the ribs for moisture and flavor.
  • Step 4: Cover the ribs with another piece of aluminum foil, sealing the edges tightly to keep the steam inside.
  • Step 5: Continue to bake for an additional 40 minutes. This trapped steam helps tenderize the ribs.
  • Step 6: Carefully remove the foil cover, and brush your favorite barbecue sauce over the ribs.
  • Step 7: Return the ribs to the oven, uncovered, for another 10-15 minutes, or until the sauce is caramelized and sticky.
  • Step 8: Check doneness with a meat thermometer – the internal temperature should reach at least 145°F (63°C).
  • Step 9: Remove ribs from the oven and let them rest for about 10 minutes, allowing the juices to redistribute.
  • Step 10: Slice between the bones and serve your succulent, oven-baked ribs with extra barbecue sauce on the side.

Are Oven-Baked Ribs A Healthier Option Than Grilling?

While oven-baked ribs might seem like the less traditional route compared to grilling, they offer several health advantages.

Baking allows for better control over cooking temperature, which can result in less charring; this is significant, as charring can create potentially harmful compounds. Also, baking may lead to less fat consumption, as excess fat drips away from the ribs and isn’t as likely to be consumed like on a grill.

Additionally, by using your oven, you can employ tighter portion control, because you’re typically preparing a set amount for the meal ahead, reducing the temptation to overindulge that might come with the continuous access to food on a grill.

Do You Need To Wrap The Ribs With Aluminum Foil?

Yes, wrapping ribs in aluminum foil when baking is a good practice known as the ‘Texas crutch’. This method helps trap moisture, ensuring the ribs stay moist and tender throughout the cooking process.

It also speeds up cooking and helps the meat absorb flavors from the seasoning or smoke if you’re adding a smoky element to the oven.

After about 40 minutes of tightly wrapping and baking, uncover the ribs to let the outside crisp up. This step is essential for that perfect bite – tender inside and beautifully caramelized on the outside.

How Can I Tell If The Ribs Are Done Cooking In The Oven?

Checking the doneness of the ribs is very important. There exist some useful ways.

First, look for the meat pulling away from the bones slightly. This visual cue is a good indicator that they are close to done. If you tug on a bone and it starts to detach easily, that’s a sign you’re almost at the finish line.

Using a meat thermometer is the most reliable method. Thrust it into the thickest part of the rib meat without touching any bones because bones conduct heat differently and might give you a false reading. What you want is an internal temperature of at least 145°F (63°C) to ensure safety and tenderness.

Lastly, bend testing is another technique. Carefully pick up the rack of ribs with tongs; if they bend easily and start to crack on the surface, that usually means they’re done.

Be sure to let the ribs rest for 10 minutes post-baking. This step is key for the juices to redistribute, making your ribs moist and flavorful when it’s time to serve.

What Tips Ensure Ribs Don’t Burn On The Outer Edges?

This section will briefly point out some tips to keep your ribs from burning on the edges. Follow these simple tips:

  • Lower the Rack: Place the ribs on a lower oven rack to prevent the top edges from cooking too quickly.
  • Use Foil: Wrap rib edges with foil to protect them from direct heat.
  • Monitor Temperature: Keep an eye on the oven temperature with a thermometer to avoid hot spots.
  • Baste Frequently: Basting with a sauce or marinade can keep the ribs moist and prevent burning.
  • Rotate the Pan: Halfway through cooking, rotate the pan to ensure even exposure to heat.

Hope you find this helpful!

What To Serve With Cooked Ribs Perfectly?

Selecting the perfect accompaniments for your tender, juicy ribs can elevate your meal significantly. Classic sides like creamy coleslaw and buttery corn on the cob not only add different textures but also help to balance the rich flavor of the meat.

Opt for baked beans—whether homemade or from your favorite brand—for a hearty choice that complements the smokiness of the ribs.

If you’re looking to add some green to your plate, a crisp garden salad or sauteed green beans provide a fresh contrast. Don’t forget garlic bread or cornbread, which are excellent for sopping up any extra barbecue sauce and rounding off the feast.

Lastly, for those looking for a tangy twist, pickled vegetables like dill pickles or jalapeños can add a zesty pop of flavor.


In conclusion, the process of cooking ribs in the oven may be different from the traditional grilling method, but it delivers tender and flavorful meat that’s hard to resist. How long to cook ribs in oven at 400 degrees plays a crucial role in achieving that perfect texture.

Remember, it’s about an hour of cook time – starting with a quick 20-minute sear, followed by 40 minutes wrapped snugly in foil, finished by a short but impactful 10-15 minutes of caramelizing your choice of sauce. With these steps, you’ll get ribs that are bound to impress at your next dinner gathering.

Chef Chip Roman is one of the most exciting and talented chefs in Philadelphia. He has his own catering business, Charles Roman Catering, as well as Roman Restaurant Group which includes Blackfish, Mica, and Ela. He graduated from Drexel University in 2002 with a degree in business and culinary arts. Chip Roman is a classically trained chef who has worked in some of the most prestigious kitchens and chefs in Philadelphia, including Le Bec Fin’s George Perrier and Marc Vetri’s Vetri.

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