These Salt and Pepper Ribs are fall-apart-tender with a light, crispy coating. Topped with a mouth-tingling salt and pepper topping with chillies and spring onions, they’re totally moreish!

Overhead image of salt and pepper pork ribs on a black plate. The ribs are topped with chopped chillies and spring onions. The plate is on a dark background. There is a blue napkin and a red and green chilli pepper in the top of the frame.
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These ribs undergo a two-stage cooking process. First they’re cooked slowly in stock with some aromatics – this to to make the meat tender, almost to that fall-apart stage.

Then we coat the ribs and fry them up in a crispy coating with Chinese five spice (the essential component for any Chinese-style salt-and-pepper recipe).

This results in crisp, yet meltingly tender spare ribs that make an impressive dinner.

📋 Ingredients?

Ingredients for salt and pepper ribs on a wooden board.

👩‍🍳PRO TIP I like to slow-cook these ribs on the stovetop, as it’s quicker, but you can do this first part of the recipe in a slow cooker. See the notes sections of the recipe card for information.

This is how they look straight after being fried – a lovely crisp and flavourful coating, that just gets better when we add the toppings too!

Wide image of crispy pork ribs on a dark plate next to a beige napkin.

🍽️ What to serve it with

Serve as a main course with rice, or as part of a Chinese banquet. How about:

So tender and tasty – I love the vibrant colour of the chillies and spring onions (scallions) on top.

Salt and pepper pork ribs on a black plate. The ribs are topped with chopped chillies and spring onions. The plate is on a dark background. There is a red chilli pepper at the top of the frame.

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5 from 6 votes

Salt and Pepper Ribs Recipe

These Salt and Pepper Ribs are fall-apart-tender with a light, crispy coating. Topped with a mouth-tingling salt and pepper topping with chillies and spring onions, they're totally moreish!
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 5 hours
Servings: 8 ribs
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Asian


Slow cooked ribs:

  • 8 meaty pork ribs (sliced into individual ribs) – this is about 1.5kg or 3.3lbs
  • 1 litre (4 cups) hot chicken stock
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic peeled and chopped in half
  • 1 tbsp rice wine
  • 1 tbsp caster or granulated sugar


  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • 1 ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 3 heaped tbsp cornflour (cornstarch in USA)
  • 2 tsp chinese five spice
  • 2 tbsp cold water
  • 240 ml (1 cup) oil for frying

Spicy topping:

  • small bunch spring onions sliced on the diagonal
  • 1 green chilli chopped finely
  • 1 red chilli chopped finely
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 cloves garlic peeled and minced
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  • Add all of the slow-cooked rib ingredients to a heavy-based large pan. Bring to the boil, then place a lid on, and cook on a low heat for 4 to 4 1/2 hours. Check a couple of times during the last hour of cooking, and top up with a little more water if required.
    8 meaty pork ribs, 1 litre (4 cups) hot chicken stock, 1 tsp minced ginger, 3 cloves garlic, 1 tbsp rice wine, 1 tbsp caster or granulated sugar
  • Turn off the heat and drain the pork. The cooking liquor is no longer needed, and can be discarded (or used as a great stock for soup). Leave the ribs to cool for a few minutes, so they're cool enough to handle.
  • Make the rub by mixing the salt, pepper, cornflour, and Chinese five spice together in a large bowl. Add in the ribs and dust them in the rub.
    1 1/2 tsp salt, 1 1/2 tsp ground black pepper, 3 heaped tbsp cornflour, 2 tsp chinese five spice
  • Remove the ribs from the bowl and lay out on a tray or board.
  • There should still be a little of the powder left at the bottom of the bowl. To this add the cold water and stir together to form a liquid.
    2 tbsp cold water
  • Brush this liquid on the ribs (this will give a lighter crispier coating to the ribs).
  • Heat the oil in a large frying pan and add the ribs. Cook on medium-high for 8-10 minutes, carefully turning every 2-3 minutes until the ribs are golden and crisp.
    240 ml (1 cup) oil
  • Remove the ribs from the pan and place on a large serving plate.
  • Add 1 tbsp of the oil from the ribs to a small frying pan and heat over a medium heat.
  • Add the spring onions, chillies, salt, and garlic into the hot pan. Cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring often, until fragrant, then sprinkle over the ribs and serve.
    small bunch spring onions, 1 green chilli, 1 red chilli, 1/2 tsp salt, 2 cloves garlic



Do the first stage in slow cooker
Add all the slow cooked rib ingredients to the slow-cooker/crockpot and cook for 4-5 hours on medium or 6-7 hours on low. Then drain the ribs and continue with the recipe.
Make ahead:
You can make this recipe ahead up to the end of step 2 (where the pork ribs are slow cooked and then drained). Then quickly cool, cover and refrigerate (for up to two days) or freeze.
Defrost in the refrigerator overnight before continuing on with the frying stage of the recipe.
The Ribs:
Look for meaty pork ribs. Ideally you want them to be ready-sliced, so they’ll fit in the pan nicely.
You can usually buy ready-cut ribs, or ask your butcher to do it for you.
Nutritional Information is approximate, per rib, assuming each ribs absorbs 1 teaspoon of oil during the frying process.


Calories: 288kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 63mg | Sodium: 906mg | Potassium: 265mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 149IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 33mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

This recipe was first published in September 2015. Updated July 2023 with new photos, a couple of recipe tweaks and some housekeeping.

Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links – which means if you buy the product I get a small commission (at no extra cost to you). If you do buy, then thank you! That’s what helps us to keep Kitchen Sanctuary running. The nutritional information provided is approximate and can vary depending on several factors. For more information please see our Terms & Conditions.

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Hi, I'm Nicky and I love to cook! I want to share with you my favourite, delicious family friendly recipes. I want to inspire you to create fantastic food for your family every day.

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  1. Euan says:

    Thanks for this recipe, Nicky.
    Followed your instructions to a tee and they were delicious and will make them again. Your recipe also had the virtue of using a relatively small number of ingredients – some of those I found online have lists as long as your arm and include oddities such as custard powder and the dreaded MSG.
    Next time though, I’ll go easier on the salt (half a teaspoon plenty) and try frying the ribs for a much shorter time: having already been cooked for over 4 hours, the 8 to 10 minutes recommended seemed a bit heroic and made them too dry for our liking. Don’t know whether it will affect the flavour or not but will also use white pepper next time as that seems a bit more authentically Chinese to me.

  2. Milena says:

    5 stars
    I love it. Ribs are crispy, juicy and taste better than from most Chinese restaurant. Can’t wait for make them for my family and friends.

  3. trev treasure says:

    5 stars
    My friend followed this recipe and served me some of these ribs and they were absolutely delicious.

    I decided to try doing myself and in my enthusiasm I prepped way too many. How long will the chilli & honey drizzle keep for? Also, If I slow cook the ribs, can I then put in the fridge and fry following day or day after?



  4. Damian Norton says:

    Your videos are the reason I have now tried so many different dishes.
    You make it easy to follow and my family now think I’m great.
    At some point I may give you the credit 😂😂😂

  5. Rick says:

    Hi planning on making theses tomorrow, as tried a few of your recipes and they have all been delicious. Just a quick question, could only get ribs pre cut. Should I reduce the cooking time?

  6. Chelsey says:

    5 stars
    Made these last night OMG soooo delicious! In fact so good I’m making them again tonight 🙂 thankyou!

  7. Lorraine Harding says:

    This is by far the best ribs recipe. I made this for my husband and I we thought they were fab so I made them for a group of
    friends who were blown away with them.
    Lots of lovely comments… Resturant quality… best ever… these are delicious.
    So thank you for a great recipe which I will be using again and again.

    1. Chris Corbishley says:

      Thanks Lorraine,

      So happy to hear that everyone loved the ribs 🙂


      Chris & Nicky

  8. Jon Dauncey says:

    5 stars
    These are SO delicious!!

    I’m a massive foodie and LOVE Chinese food. These are by far the nicest ribs I have ever had. They are better than many I’ve had in china town as well.

    I haven’t even tried the honey drizzle. Ive slipped that the last few times and added a few extra chillis at the end.

    I’m so thankful to have read this recipe.

    1. Chris Corbishley says:

      Thanks Jon, That’s high praise indeed. Really glad you enjoyed the ribs 🙂

      Chris & Nicky

  9. Mark says:

    5 stars
    Great recipe .best 1 yet

  10. Tom says:

    5 stars
    I love your Asian recipes, these are so delicious, I could probably eat the whole lot to myself.