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Sticky Caramel Ribs Recipe

The sticky caramel ribs recipe is an explosion of savory and sweet flavors, combining the richness of baby back ribs with a deliciously sticky caramel sauce. This recipe uses some unique ingredients to create a rich, authentic flavor. The slow-cooked ribs are then broiled with a caramel sauce, resulting in tender, juicy, and slightly crispy ribs that will impress at any dinner table.

Sticky Caramel Ribs Recipe
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Photos of Sticky Caramel Ribs Recipe

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The key ingredients in this recipe include baby back ribs, ginger, shallots, McCormick all-purpose seasoning, brown sugar, and Thai Kitchen fish sauce. These ingredients are typically found in most supermarkets, although ginger and Thai Kitchen fish sauce may be located in the international foods aisle. McCormick all-purpose seasoning is a versatile blend of pink Himalayan salt, black pepper, and garlic, adding a depth of flavor to the ribs. If you cannot find it, you can substitute with separate seasonings.

Sticky Caramel Ribs Ingredients

ginger: Adds a spicy, slightly sweet flavor that complements the richness of the ribs.

shallots: Provides a mild, sweet onion flavor.

baby back ribs: Tender and juicy, they are the star of this dish.

McCormick all-purpose seasoning: Enhances the natural flavors of the ribs.

brown sugar: Creates a sweet, sticky caramel sauce.

water: Used to dissolve the sugar for the caramel sauce.

lime juice: Adds tanginess to balance the sweetness of the caramel sauce.

Thai Kitchen fish sauce: Provides a salty, umami depth to the sauce.

cold butter: Adds richness and silkiness to the caramel sauce.

cilantro: Used for garnish, it adds freshness to the dish.

lime wedge: For squeezing over the finished ribs for added tanginess.

scallion: Adds a crunchy texture and oniony flavor as a garnish.

One reader, Adara Magana says:

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The sticky caramel ribs recipe is a game-changer! The ribs were fall-off-the-bone tender, and the caramel sauce was the perfect balance of sweet and savory. The flavors were out of this world, and my family couldn't get enough. It's definitely a new favorite in our household!

Adara Magana

Techniques Required for Making Sticky Caramel Ribs

How to prepare the ribs: This involves removing the membranes from the racks of baby back ribs and seasoning them with the all-purpose seasoning and ginger-shallot mixture before cooking them in the oven.

How to make the caramel sauce: This involves combining brown sugar, water, lime juice, and fish sauce in a pot, simmering until the caramel thickens, and then melting in cold butter before brushing it onto the cooked ribs.

How to broil the ribs: After brushing the ribs with the caramel sauce, they are broiled for 1-2 minutes, then brushed with another layer of caramel sauce and broiled again for 1-2 minutes until they are caramelized.

How to garnish and serve: The ribs are served with a heavy garnish of cilantro and scallions, with lime wedges on the side for an added burst of flavor.

How To Make Sticky Caramel Ribs

There’s three way to describe this ribs recipe – sticky, sweet and savory. Be generous with the brown sugar to get that sweet caramel flavor on your ribs.

Preparation: 20 minutes
Cooking: 3 hours
Total: 3 hours 20 minutes



  • 1gingerpeeled and cut into large chunks
  • 2shallotspeeled and cut in half
  • 2racksbaby back ribsmembranes removed
  • 2tbspMcCormick All Purpose Seasoning Himalayan Pink Salt with Black Pepper and Garlic
  • 2cupsbrown sugar
  • ½cupwater
  • ½cuplime juice
  • 5tbspThai Kitchen Fish Saucedivided
  • 4tbspcold butter
  • fresh cilantrochopped, for garnish
  • lime wedgefor garnish
  • scallionchopped, for garnish


  1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees F.

  2. Place ginger in a small food processor. Process until fully broken down into small pieces. Add shallots and pulse until shallots are in small pieces. Set mixture aside.

  3. Place ribs on sheet trays covered with aluminum foil. Generously season both sides of the racks with McCormick All Purpose Seasoning Himalayan Pink Salt with Black Pepper and Garlic. Spread ginger-shallot mixture over the top of each rib rack.

  4. Cover ribs tightly with foil. and cook ribs in oven for 2½ to 3 hours, until tender. Remove from oven.

  5. Preheat broiler.

  6. Combine brown sugar, water, lime juice, and 3 tablespoons Thai Kitchen Fish Sauce in a small pot over medium heat. =

  7. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally to dissolve sugar. Let simmer until caramel thickens and coats the back of a spoon, about 7 to10 minutes.

  8. Melt in cold butter and immediately turn off heat. Stir in the extra 2 teaspoons of fish sauce.

  9. Unwrap ribs and brush evenly with caramel sauce.

  10. Broil ribs for 1 to 2 minutes.

  11. Remove from oven and brush with another layer of caramel sauce. Broil a second time for 1 to 2 minutes.

  12. Slice ribs and serve with a heavy garnish of cilantro and scallions, with lime wedges on the side.

  13. Enjoy!


  • Calories: 547.07kcal
  • Fat: 33.08g
  • Saturated Fat: 12.77g
  • Trans Fat: 0.41g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 13.26g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 4.94g
  • Carbohydrates: 28.82g
  • Fiber: 0.79g
  • Sugar: 24.93g
  • Protein: 35.07g
  • Cholesterol: 133.34mg
  • Sodium: 755.44mg
  • Calcium: 92.97mg
  • Potassium: 588.97mg
  • Iron: 1.87mg
  • Vitamin A: 54.29µg
  • Vitamin C: 7.68mg

Technique Tip for Achieving Perfect Sticky Caramel Ribs

When preparing the caramel sauce, it's crucial to keep a close eye on it as it simmers. Caramel can easily burn if left unattended, which would give it a bitter taste. Stir it occasionally to ensure even heating and prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Also, when broiling the ribs with the caramel sauce, monitor them closely. The high heat of the broiler can quickly burn the sugar in the caramel, leading to a charred and unpleasant flavor. It's better to broil in short intervals and check frequently to achieve a perfect sticky, caramelized finish without burning.

Time-Saving Tips for Preparing Sticky Caramel Ribs

Prep ahead: Prepare the ginger-shallot mixture and caramel sauce in advance to save time on the day of cooking.

Use a pressure cooker: Cook the ribs in a pressure cooker for a faster cooking time without compromising tenderness.

Batch cooking: Make a larger quantity of caramel sauce and freeze the extra for future use to save time on prep for future recipes.

Invest in quality tools: Quality kitchen tools such as sharp knives and efficient food processors can significantly reduce prep time.

Organize your workspace: Keep all ingredients and tools within reach to streamline the cooking process and minimize time spent searching for items.

Opt for pre-trimmed ribs: Purchase pre-trimmed ribs to eliminate the need for removing the membrane, saving valuable prep time.

Multi-task: While the ribs are cooking, use the time to prepare side dishes or clean up to make the overall cooking process more efficient.

Substitute Ingredients For Sticky Caramel Ribs Recipe

  • ginger - Substitute with galangal: Galangal has a similar flavor to ginger but with a more citrusy and earthy note, making it a suitable substitute in this recipe.

  • shallots - Substitute with onions: Onions can be used as a substitute for shallots, providing a similar mild and sweet flavor to the dish.

  • baby back ribs - Substitute with pork spare ribs: Pork spare ribs can be used as a substitute for baby back ribs, offering a meaty and flavorful alternative for the recipe.

  • mccormick all purpose seasoning himalayan pink salt with black pepper and garlic - Substitute with homemade all-purpose seasoning mix: A homemade all-purpose seasoning mix can be created using salt, black pepper, and garlic powder to replace the commercial seasoning.

  • brown sugar - Substitute with coconut sugar: Coconut sugar can be used as a substitute for brown sugar, providing a similar sweetness and caramel flavor to the dish.

  • lime juice - Substitute with lemon juice: Lemon juice can be used as a substitute for lime juice, offering a tangy and citrusy flavor to the recipe.

  • thai kitchen fish sauce - Substitute with soy sauce: Soy sauce can be used as a substitute for fish sauce, providing a savory and umami flavor to the dish.

  • cold butter - Substitute with ghee: Ghee can be used as a substitute for butter, offering a rich and nutty flavor to the recipe.

  • fresh cilantro - Substitute with fresh parsley: Fresh parsley can be used as a substitute for cilantro, providing a similar fresh and herbaceous flavor to the dish.

  • lime wedge - Substitute with lemon wedge: Lemon wedge can be used as a substitute for lime wedge, offering a citrusy garnish for the dish.

  • scallion - Substitute with green onion: Green onion can be used as a substitute for scallion, providing a mild and onion-like flavor to the recipe.

Presentation Tips for Sticky Caramel Ribs

  1. Elevate the plating: Arrange the caramel ribs in a visually appealing manner on the plate, ensuring that each element is showcased beautifully.
  2. Incorporate vibrant colors: Add a pop of color to the dish by garnishing with fresh cilantro and chopped scallions, creating a visually stunning presentation.
  3. Balance the flavors: Ensure that the caramel sauce is evenly distributed, providing a perfect balance of sweet and savory flavors in every bite.
  4. Highlight the tenderness: Showcase the tender texture of the ribs by slicing them carefully and arranging them in an elegant manner on the plate.
  5. Create a harmonious composition: Pay attention to the placement of each element on the plate, creating a visually harmonious and balanced presentation that reflects the dish's exquisite flavors.

Essential Tools for Making Sticky Caramel Ribs

  • Food processor: A food processor is a versatile kitchen appliance used for chopping, slicing, shredding, and pureeing ingredients. It can be used to finely process the ginger and shallots for this recipe.
  • Sheet trays: Sheet trays, also known as baking sheets, are flat, rectangular metal pans used for baking and cooking food in the oven. They are essential for roasting the ribs in this recipe.
  • Aluminum foil: Aluminum foil is a thin, pliable sheet of metal that is used to cover and wrap food for cooking and storage. It helps in sealing the ribs while they cook in the oven.
  • Small pot: A small pot, typically with a capacity of 1-2 quarts, is used for simmering and preparing the caramel sauce in this recipe.
  • Brush: A kitchen brush, often made of silicone or natural bristles, is used for applying the caramel sauce onto the ribs before broiling.
  • Oven: An oven is a kitchen appliance used for baking, roasting, and heating food. It is essential for cooking the ribs to tender perfection and for broiling to caramelize the sauce.
  • Broiler: The broiler in an oven is a high-heat cooking element used to quickly cook and brown the top of dishes. It is used to caramelize the sauce on the ribs in this recipe.
  • Knife: A sharp chef's knife is essential for trimming the ribs and slicing them before serving.
  • Mixing bowl: A mixing bowl is used for combining and mixing the ingredients for the caramel sauce.
  • Lime squeezer: A lime squeezer or juicer is used to extract fresh lime juice for the caramel sauce.
  • Food processor: A food processor is a versatile kitchen appliance used for chopping, slicing, shredding, and pureeing ingredients. It can be used to finely process the ginger and shallots for this recipe.
  • Pot: A pot is used for simmering and reducing the caramel sauce.

How To Store and Freeze Sticky Caramel Ribs

  • Let the ribs cool completely before storing them in an airtight container or wrapping them tightly with plastic wrap. They can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  • To freeze the ribs, wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil. Place them in a freezer-safe container or freezer bag, removing as much air as possible. Label the container with the date and freeze for up to 3 months.
  • When ready to reheat, thaw the ribs in the refrigerator overnight. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C) and place the ribs on a baking sheet. Cover with foil and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until heated through.
  • If you have leftover caramel sauce, store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Reheat the sauce in the microwave or on the stovetop over low heat, stirring occasionally, until warm and smooth.
  • To maintain the best quality and flavor, avoid freezing the ribs multiple times. Thaw and reheat them only once for optimal results.

How To Reheat Leftover Sticky Caramel Ribs

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Place the leftover ribs on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Cover the ribs with another sheet of foil to prevent them from drying out. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until heated through.

  • For a quicker option, use the microwave. Place the ribs on a microwave-safe plate and cover them with a damp paper towel. This will help maintain moisture. Microwave on high for 1-2 minutes, or until heated through. Be careful not to overheat, as this can cause the meat to become tough.

  • If you have a bit more time, consider reheating the ribs on the grill. Preheat your grill to medium heat. Brush the ribs with some extra caramel sauce to keep them moist and flavorful. Wrap the ribs in aluminum foil and place them on the grill. Heat for 10-15 minutes, or until warmed through. For the last few minutes, remove the foil and let the ribs char slightly for added flavor.

  • For a stovetop method, place the ribs in a large skillet or Dutch oven. Add a splash of water, broth, or apple juice to the pan to create steam and prevent the ribs from drying out. Cover the pan with a lid and heat over medium-low heat for 10-15 minutes, or until the ribs are heated through.

  • Regardless of the reheating method you choose, be sure to baste the ribs with any leftover caramel sauce to keep them sticky and delicious. If the sauce has thickened too much, you can thin it out with a bit of warm water or lime juice before applying it to the ribs.

Random Fact About Sticky Caramel Ribs

The sticky caramel ribs recipe is a popular dish in many cultures, and it's often enjoyed during festive occasions and gatherings. The combination of sweet and savory flavors in this dish creates a unique and delicious taste that appeals to a wide range of palates. Additionally, the slow cooking process allows the flavors to meld together, resulting in tender, succulent ribs that are sure to impress your guests. Whether you're hosting a barbecue or simply craving a hearty meal, these sticky caramel ribs are a fantastic choice for any occasion.

Is Making Sticky Caramel Ribs at Home Economical?

This sticky caramel ribs recipe is moderately cost-effective for a household. The use of baby back ribs and a variety of seasonings may increase the overall cost. However, the dish's rich flavors and the ability to feed a family of four make it a worthwhile investment. The approximate cost for a household of four people is around $30-$40. The overall verdict rating for this recipe is 8/10, considering the balance of cost and flavor.

Are Sticky Caramel Ribs Healthy or Unhealthy?

The sticky caramel ribs recipe, while undeniably delicious, is not particularly healthy. The main concerns are:

  • High sugar content from the brown sugar and caramel sauce
  • Significant amount of saturated fat from the butter
  • Sodium content from the seasoning and fish sauce
  • Lack of vegetables or fiber in the dish

However, the recipe does use some healthier ingredients like ginger, shallots, and lime juice, which offer some nutritional benefits.

To make this recipe healthier, consider the following modifications:

  • Reduce the amount of brown sugar in the caramel sauce and replace some of it with a natural sweetener like honey or maple syrup
  • Use a smaller amount of butter or replace it with a healthier fat like coconut oil
  • Opt for a low-sodium seasoning blend and reduce the amount of fish sauce used
  • Serve the ribs with a side of steamed or roasted vegetables to increase the fiber and nutrient content of the meal
  • Use leaner cuts of pork or even substitute with a leaner protein like chicken or turkey

By making these adjustments, you can still enjoy the flavors of the sticky caramel ribs while reducing the overall calorie, sugar, and fat content of the dish. Remember, moderation is key, and it's perfectly fine to indulge in a less healthy meal occasionally as part of a balanced diet.

Editor's Thoughts on This Delectable Rib Recipe

The sticky caramel ribs recipe is a delightful fusion of flavors and textures. The use of ginger and shallots adds a depth of aromatic essence, while the caramel sauce provides a perfect balance of sweetness and tanginess. The slow cooking method ensures the ribs are tender and succulent, while the broiling at the end adds a delightful caramelized crust. The garnish of cilantro and scallions adds a fresh, herbaceous note, complementing the richness of the ribs. Overall, this recipe promises a mouthwatering and memorable dining experience.

Enhance Your Sticky Caramel Ribs Recipe with These Unique Side Dishes:

Garlic Mashed Potatoes: Creamy mashed potatoes with a hint of garlic and butter, perfect for balancing out the sticky caramel ribs.
Grilled Asparagus: Tender asparagus spears grilled to perfection, adding a touch of freshness to complement the rich flavors of the ribs.
Fruit Salad: A refreshing mix of seasonal fruits, such as juicy watermelon, tangy pineapple, and sweet strawberries, to cleanse the palate after indulging in the sticky caramel ribs.

Alternative Recipes Similar to Sticky Caramel Ribs

Spicy Korean BBQ Beef Tacos: Marinate the beef in a spicy Korean BBQ sauce for a flavorful twist on traditional tacos. Serve with kimchi and a sriracha mayo for an extra kick.
Mango Coconut Chicken Curry: Create a rich and creamy curry with tender chicken and sweet mango, simmered in a coconut milk base. Serve over steamed jasmine rice for a satisfying meal.
Roasted Vegetable Quinoa Salad: Toss roasted vegetables with fluffy quinoa and a zesty vinaigrette for a healthy and filling salad. Top with crumbled feta cheese for a burst of flavor.

Suggested Appetizers and Desserts to Complement Sticky Caramel Ribs

Savory Stuffed Mushrooms: Impress your guests with these savory stuffed mushrooms filled with a flavorful mixture of herbs, cheese, and breadcrumbs. They make the perfect bite-sized appetizer for any occasion.
Crispy Coconut Shrimp: Transport your taste buds to the tropics with these crispy coconut shrimp. The crunchy coating and sweet coconut flavor make these a crowd-pleasing appetizer that will have everyone coming back for more.
Chocolate Mousse: Indulge in a rich and creamy chocolate mousse, topped with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cocoa powder for an elegant and decadent dessert experience.
Berry Parfait: Layer vibrant and juicy mixed berries with creamy yogurt and crunchy granola for a refreshing and satisfying parfait that is perfect for a light and healthy dessert option.

Why trust this Sticky Caramel Ribs Recipe:

This sticky caramel ribs recipe is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser, featuring succulent baby back ribs coated in a luscious caramel glaze. The combination of brown sugar, lime juice, and Thai fish sauce creates a harmonious blend of sweet, tangy, and savory flavors. The meticulous cooking process ensures tender, fall-off-the-bone ribs, while the use of ginger and shallots infuses the meat with aromatic depth. With a meticulous balance of flavors and foolproof cooking techniques, this recipe promises to elevate your dining experience to new heights.

Want to share your recipe for Sticky Caramel Ribs or discuss cooking techniques? Head over to the Recipe Sharing forum and join the conversation!
Can I use a different type of ribs for this recipe?
Yes, you can use spare ribs or St. Louis-style ribs if you prefer. The cooking time may vary slightly, so keep an eye on them to ensure they reach the desired tenderness.
Can I make the caramel sauce ahead of time?
Absolutely! You can prepare the caramel sauce in advance and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. When you're ready to use it, gently reheat it on the stovetop until it reaches a pourable consistency.
Is there a substitute for fish sauce if I don't have any on hand?
If you don't have fish sauce, you can use soy sauce as a substitute. It will provide a similar depth of flavor, although the taste may be slightly different from the original recipe.
Can I grill the ribs instead of using the oven?
Yes, you can definitely grill the ribs instead of using the oven. Simply prepare the ribs as instructed, then grill them over medium heat, basting with the caramel sauce and turning frequently until they are tender and caramelized.
How can I tell when the ribs are tender and ready to be glazed with the caramel sauce?
The ribs are ready when the meat is tender and easily pulls away from the bone. You can test this by gently inserting a fork between the ribs and twisting it slightly. If the meat starts to separate from the bone, they are ready to be glazed with the caramel sauce.

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