How Long To Cook Ribs In Oven At 400°F?

How Long To Cook Ribs In Oven At 400°F? Ribs are an absolute favorite for many of us, and while there are various methods for cooking ribs, such as grilling or slow cooking, baking them in the oven is the most popular.

It’s also one of the easiest for cooking ribs, and with just a few simple steps, you can enjoy perfectly fall off the bone BBQ goodness in no time! But before getting started, it’s important to know how long to cook ribs in an oven at 400°F.

The good news is you’re in the right place! As this blog post has all the information you need for cooking delicious ribs every single time. Lets get started…

Cooking Ribs At 400°F (Timeframe)

Baking ribs at a higher temperature of 400°F allows for a faster cooking process while still maintaining tenderness and flavor. Depending on the type of ribs you’re cooking, the required baking time may vary. 

Here’s a general guideline for cooking ribs in the oven at 400°F:

  • Baby back ribs: Approximately 40-45 minutes
  • Spare ribs: Approximately 50-60 minutes

These cooking times assume that the ribs have been prepped and seasoned according to your preferred recipe.

Why Cook Ribs In The Oven At 400°F?

Cooking ribs at 400°F offers several benefits, making it an attractive option for many home cooks. Here are some reasons why you might choose to cook ribs at this higher temperature:

  • Faster cooking time: A higher temperature of 400°F speeds up the cooking process, allowing you to enjoy your delicious ribs sooner compared to lower-temperature methods, which can take hours. This is particularly helpful when you’re short on time or don’t want to spend all day cooking.
  • Caramelization and browning: Cooking ribs at 400°F promotes better caramelization of any sauces or dry rubs used on the ribs. This results in a more complex and richer flavor profile, as well as a visually appealing, browned exterior.
  • Crispier exterior: The higher temperature can help achieve a slightly crispier exterior while still maintaining tender and juicy meat inside. This contrast in textures can be very satisfying and appealing to many people.
  • Convenience: Baking ribs in the oven at 400°F is a convenient method that doesn’t require constant attention or monitoring like grilling or slow cooking might. You can simply set the oven to the desired temperature, prepare your ribs, and let them cook while you attend to other tasks.

One thing you need to remember is that cooking ribs at 400°F may not have the same level of tenderness as slower cooking methods. However, if you’re looking for a faster, and convenient way to cook ribs, 400°F is a great option to consider.

Should You Cook The Ribs With Or Without Foil At 400°F?

When cooking ribs at 400°F, it is generally recommended to use foil for at least part of the cooking process. There are a few reasons why using foil can be beneficial:

  • Moisture retention: Wrapping the ribs in foil helps to trap moisture, creating a steamy environment that keeps the meat tender and juicy during the high-temperature cooking process.
  • Even cooking: Foil-wrapped ribs tend to cook more evenly, as the heat is distributed across the entire surface of the meat, reducing the risk of overcooking or drying out certain areas.
  • Easier cleanup: Cooking ribs in foil minimizes mess and makes for easier cleanup, as any juices or sauces are contained within the foil packet.

However, you may choose to cook the ribs without foil for part of the cooking time to achieve specific results:

  • Caramelization and browning: To develop a caramelized crust and enhance the flavors of your ribs, you can remove the foil during the last 10-15 minutes of cooking, allowing the ribs to cook uncovered. This helps to caramelize any sauce or rub applied to the ribs and create a slightly crispy exterior.
  • Grilling or broiling finish: If you want to finish your ribs on the grill or under the broiler for a smoky flavor or charred appearance, you can remove the foil before transferring the ribs to the grill or broiler.

So, cooking ribs at 400°F usually involves using foil for at least part of the cooking time to ensure tender, juicy meat. However, you can also cook without foil or remove it toward the end of the cooking process to achieve specific textures and flavors.

Step By Step Guide For Cooking Ribs In The Oven At 400°F

  • Prepare the ribs: Remove the silver skin or membrane from the back of the ribs, as it can be tough and chewy once cooked. Simply slide a butter knife under the membrane, then grab it with a paper towel and pull it off.
  • Season the ribs: Apply a dry rub or marinade to the ribs, coating them evenly on both sides. You can use your favorite rib seasoning or create your own mix of spices and herbs.
  • Preheat the oven: Preheat your oven to 400°F.
  • Wrap the ribs in foil: Place the seasoned ribs on a large piece of aluminum foil, meaty side up. Fold the foil over the ribs, sealing it tightly to create a packet. This helps to keep the moisture in and ensures tender, juicy ribs.
  • Bake the ribs: Place the foil-wrapped ribs on a baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for the suggested cooking times mentioned above, depending on the type of ribs you’re using.
  • Optional – Add barbecue sauce: If you prefer saucy ribs, carefully open the foil packet during the last 10-15 minutes of cooking, brush your favorite barbecue sauce onto the ribs, and continue baking uncovered to caramelize the sauce.
  • Rest and serve: Once the ribs have finished cooking, remove them from the oven and let them rest, still wrapped in foil, for about 10 minutes. This allows the juices to redistribute, ensuring tender and flavorful ribs. After resting, slice the ribs between the bones and serve.

Tips For Perfectly Cooked Ribs

  • To check if the ribs are perfectly cooked, insert a fork or knife into the meat between the bones. If the meat easily pulls apart with little resistance then they done.
  • For extra tenderness, you can cook the ribs at a lower temperature (such as 300°F) for a longer period (2-3 hours), then increase the temperature to 400°F for the last 30 minutes to caramelize any sauce or dry rub.
  • Experiment with different seasonings, marinades, and sauces to find your perfect flavor combination.

Choosing The Right Ribs

When choosing the right ribs to cook in your oven, remember a few things. First, you’ll want to pick pork or beef ribs, depending on what type of meal you plan on making. 

Pork ribs are more tender and flavorful than beef ribs, making them a great choice if you’re looking for that classic barbecue flavor.

When selecting the ribs, you’ll also want to ensure they have an excellent marbling of fat. This will help to keep them juicy and flavorful as they cook in the oven. 

Additionally, if you can find ribs with some extra surface fat, it will give them extra flavor and help them remain tender.

Can You Reheat Ribs In The Oven At 400°F?

If you have leftovers from a previous meal, you can quickly reheat your ribs in the oven at 400F for 10 to 15 minutes until the ribs are heated. However, it’s essential to wrap them in foil with a small amount of liquid to create steam to prevent them from drying out.

By following this method, you can enjoy tender and moist ribs even after reheating. Just remember to monitor the ribs during the reheating process to avoid overcooking or drying them out.

Common Mistakes To Avoid When Cooking At 400°F?

When cooking at 400°F, there are several common mistakes to avoid in order to achieve the best results:

  • Not preheating the oven: It’s important to let your oven reach the desired temperature before placing your food inside. Cooking in a cold or improperly preheated oven can lead to uneven cooking and longer cooking times.
  • Overcrowding the pan: Placing too much food on a baking sheet or in a baking dish can cause uneven cooking and prevent proper heat circulation. Give your food enough space to cook evenly and ensure better browning and crisping.
  • Opening the oven door too frequently: Constantly opening the oven door can cause heat loss, leading to longer cooking times and uneven results. Try to minimize opening the oven door and use the oven light to check on your food instead.
  • Ignoring carryover cooking: Once you remove food from the oven, it will continue to cook due to residual heat. Consider removing your food slightly before it reaches the desired level of doneness to account for carryover cooking and avoid overcooking.
  • Not allowing food to rest: For meats, allowing them to rest after cooking helps redistribute juices and maintain tenderness. Skipping the resting period can result in dry, less flavorful meat.

By being mindful of these common mistakes and taking appropriate precautions, you can achieve better results when cooking at 400°F and enjoy a delicious, well-prepared meal.


So, hopefully at this point, you know how long to cook ribs in oven at 400°F. If you’re trying this for the first time, it’s really trail, and error to start with. You also need to consider the type of ribs you have, as some may take longer to cook than others.

In the end as long as you follow the tips in this article you should be able to cook your ribs without any problems! And don’t forget to add some liquid if you think the ribs are getting dry.

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