Hawaiian Ribs Slow Cooker Recipe

Are you having a Hawaiian-themed party or backyard luau any time soon? You can skip the grill and make delicious ribs in the comfort of your own kitchen with your crockpot slow cooker! 

My kids are in LOVE with the Moana movie from Disney, and I'm pretty sure these ribs will be on the table for the next birthday party!

Hawaiian Ribs in the Slow Cooker -- sweet and delicious
I've been on a real rib kick lately. Our family has been taking mini roadtrip vacations during the weekends, and have been tasting ribs. 

I try really hard to order non kid-menu food for my kids when we travel, and also try to steer clear of chain restaurants (sometimes easier said than done). 

The two favorites of the summer are (both on the CA coast, I'm sorry!) Aptos Street Barbecue and McClintock's (we went to the one in Pismo Beach).

or you can make ribs at home. in the crockpot. 

Because the barbecue is scary, and my friend Georgia just needed to get a hair cut because she CAUGHT HER HAIR ON FIRE while testing the grill.


When she told me what happened, I asked: did you stop, drop and roll? 

she replied: No. I patted and screamed.


but not really.

The Ingredients.
serves 4
Hawaiian Ribs ingredients -- made in the crockpot slow cooker
2 pounds boneless beef short ribs, or about 4 pounds babyback ribs
1/3 cup gluten free soy sauce (LaChoy or Tamari Wheat Free)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon Chinese 5-Spice powder (I'll put a recipe to make your own down below)
6 cloves minced garlic

Chinese 5 Spice Powder recipe:
(mix spices well, and store in an air-tight container for up to 6 months)

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon crushed anise seed
1/4 teaspoon ground fennel
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

The Directions.

If you're using boneless ribs, they will probably fit nicely in a 4 quart slow cooker. If you've got bones, you'll most likely need a 6-quart.

Put the ribs into the cooker, and top with the sauce mixture. 

If you really want to, you can combine all the sauce stuff in a little bowl and then paint it onto the ribs, but that seems like a lot of work. 

They'll be fine if you just dump everything on top. They'll be fine if the meat is frozen solid, too. Mine was!

Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours, or on high for about 4 to 5. Flip the ribs over a few times before serving to cover evenly in the sauce. 

The longer and slower you cook the ribs, the more tender the meat.

The Verdict.

These ribs are fantastic. I served them in the backyard (far away from the bbq!) with corn on the cob (you can do corn in the crock, too!) and a big salad. 

They were sticky and sweet, and the normally tough meat fell apart nicely. The kids ate their ribs in the wading pool, making clean up super easy. :-)

more slow cooker rib recipes:
barbecue ribs
korean ribs
greek ribs
lemon pepper ribs
orange chipotle ribs
red ribs
use your slow cooker as a smoker!

Are you having a Hawaiian-themed party or backyard luau any time soon? You can skip the grill and make delicious ribs in the comfort of your own kitchen with your crockpot slow cooker!   My kids are in LOVE with the Moana movie from Disney, and I'm pretty sure these ribs will be on the table for the next birthday party!

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Posted by: Stephanie O'Dea | A Year of Slow Cooking at February 23, 2017

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What they say about this article

  1. These look delicious!! I'd choose the crockpot over the grill anyday!! I have an AWESOME new recipe in the crock pot right now that I don't THINK that you have. I'll let you know how it turns out!!

  2. OMG Stephanie!! These look soooooo good... my mouth is watering right now (and I'm not EVEN kidding).

    I can't wait to get to the store and buy some short ribs (and one of those small blue plastic pools for my 2 year old.... I'm just sayin') (:

  3. Wow...I ADORE ribs, and am always looking for new recipes, I will definitely have to try this one!


  4. Sounds good. I am not much on ribs or red meat, the seasonings sound like they would go great with chicken. Will have to try and let you know.

  5. Wow that's quite a challenge, ribs. I bet they were super yummy. I have to tell you though, fear not the grill! I grill almost every day because of this HCG diet I'm on and all the chicken and ground beef I have to cook every day (albeit today I cooked about four days' worth, cuz who wants to grill EVERY day?) but really, it's quick and there's hardly any clean up. Yay for ribs!

  6. Oh, how absolutely delicious, Steph! :-) I love that your kids ate them in the wading pool. ;-) I'm so glad that your friend is okay. Clearly, the slow cooker rules over the grill ...


  7. This one sounds like a winner!

  8. I love grilling, but you gotta respect the flames. Besides putting your hair back, never add lighter fluid to coals AFTER they've been lit... had a neighbor blow himself across the yard doing that. Good food should not be dangerous! I don't have access to good pork, but I'm thinking about chicken in the crockpot with this recipe tonight! Thanks.

  9. As a Cali girl living in TN, there are many things I miss. McClintock's is good, but now I'm craving AJ Spur's beans which I've always thought were better than McClintock's. Glad you enjoyed traveling in my home state.

    I too love my crockpots. I own three, and sometimes there are multiple in use. Such as when I want my french dip with my green beans with some potatoes and all three recipes are perfect when done in the crock pot!

  10. These ribs sound great..ive been thinking about investing in a crock pot but since im not too good at cooking i might send this recipe to my mom and go visit for the weekend :) lol

  11. Nice looking ribs, but I am wondering why they are on a Christmas plate.

    Well, not just a Christmas plate, but perhaps a very engagingly kitsch Christmas plate...

    Got here for a slow cooked rice tip, found it was remarkably similar to a stovetop rice tip, but definitely glad I happened here when that plate was in full view.

  12. because sometimes you need a little christmas, right this very minute...


  13. I am so excited to make these tomorrow! I grew up right up the hill from Aptos BBQ and have never eaten there! Will have to try it next time I am up there.

    We are huge fans of Corralitos market who make their own sausages, cure their own bacon, etc....

  14. I have been following you for a while now and my family has loved your recipes. I had no idea how to really use my crockpot before your blog. It was a wedding present in the back of my cabinets collecting dust. When I went back to work I had to find a way to still feed my family on my limited time and budget. THANK YOU SOOOOO MUCH!!!! You website is just awesome! And I just found your link to the Racheal Ray show, HOLY SMOKES!!! That is soooo cool. Keep up the great work, I love your blog!

  15. Oh my gosh! I love your blog and I can't believe you were right in my neighborhood. I live up the road from Aptos St BBQ (which used to be Cole's but is even better now). Just to note - all of their sauces are gluten free and they're trying to add gluten free beer to their very long beer list. Now I have to try out your rib recipe...

  16. These look really good! I'm enjoying your blog so much! I am a big fan of the Central CA coast, we stay in Shell Beach when we Vacation and love McClintocks!

  17. could you tell me how I can easily determine the size of my crockpots. I have two-- a round one and an oval one which seems larger. I just am not sure what size they are and want to use the right one for each recipe. I don't have a little one/dipper yet!


  18. I also fear the grill, but now that I can make ribs in the crock pot, who needs the grill.

    I am going to make these asap. All I need are ribs and chinese 5 spice powder.


  19. Hi Kim,

    Sure! The best way is the old fashioned way---pour in water! 4 cups = 1 quart. This would be a fun project for the kids!


  20. Stephanie, I have found that ribs in the crockpot can be greasy (mine just SAT in that grease..ick!) I don't have a insert for my large crock, so I found a glass lid (oven safe), placed it upside down. Then I made a layer of foil and poked some holes in it. The grease drained to the bottom and the ribs were dry and tasty. We love the short ribs the best, but here in AZ they are pricey! I keep my eye out for the marked down packages and freeze them for later. LOVE You book and blog...I suggest them to people all the time...

  21. Love ribs! Sounds like a great way to have them during the week.

  22. I just found your blog because I need to make rice in my crockpot for a party today and I love you because I bought a crockpot 4 months ago and haven't made anything in it. And today--ta dah! A whole blog devoted to crockpots. I was like..No way!
    So thank you. So much.


    p.s. I am a HORRIBLE cook. (My cooking blog posts are legendary.)

  23. I made these last week and they were FABULOUS! My mom and I loved them.

  24. Made these tonight with country style pork ribs. Fabulous! Thanks for the five spuce recipe too as that was the only thing I didn't have on hand. We served with steamed farm fresh corn but come winter I plan to make with rice.

  25. Thanks for some great recipes.

    I am probably going to be going to an off shift soon and the slow cooker is going to make a lot of sense for my wife and I.

    Great blog!

  26. We went to McClintock's during summer trips to San Luis / Pismo. I loved it! Did they do the whole pouring water on top of your head / letting kids pick treats from the saddle bags thing? I loved that part about the place! And great recipe!

    ps. I saw the 3 crock pot thing at Costco today and thought of you!

  27. I made this today. I used 2 lbs of spare ribs (with bone) and 2 lbs of boneless chicken breasts and doubled the rest of the ingredients.

    I want to tell you they were so darned good! Thank you so much for sharing these with us.

    I told my daughter's new boyfriend that he was the guinea pig tonight - even he thought they were good.

    This one is a keeper

  28. Fabulous, just fabulous! I used frozen pork short ribs, 4 lbs worth. I drained of all the liquid after the ribs were done in a saucepan. Put the ribs back in the crock pot to stay warm. Then I de-fatted the liquid. Boiled it down until it was thick. Poured the sauce back on the ribs and served. For kicks-and-grins we will be making it next time with chicken cause we think the sauce would taste good with chicken.

  29. I made these yesterday with pork baby back ribs, 4lbs, and a couple of boneless skinless chicken breasts. Cooked on low for 6 but they were done in 4! Then i took them out, put them on a cookie sheet and put some bbq sauce on them. In the oven on 200 for 20min and they were great! Really didnt need to add the bbq sauce as they were tasty without too! Thanks for another great pork recipe!

  30. Anonymous9/12/2010

    I saw your post and wanted to make this, but didn't have any ribs so I used a london broil instead and served with noodles. It was FABULOUS! Thank you so much for the recipe. Loved it, as did my whole family.


  31. Shannon9/28/2010

    wOw! This was so yummy, my house smelled so good all day! The whole family loved it: husband, 3 yr old and 6 yr old. You are one incredible woman-so glad I found your blog, am going to ask for your book for my 40th bday coming up! God Bless you and your family for sharing your gift:)

  32. beccaisadoula10/26/2010

    These ribs were fabulous! However, 2 pounds of short ribs worked out to be about 5 ribs. The ribs shrunk severely. This barely made 4 servings, and I wanted more! :(

  33. I am making them as I write this they are going on their 6th hour.

  34. Since I've been regularly using this recipe for almost a year...and it's one of my husband's & my favorite ways to slow cook ribs...I thought I should finally leave a comment...

    You Rock. :-) That is all.

    I reviewed this recipe on my blog on 6/28/11, with my own little twist.


  35. Lisa in CO3/25/2012

    Hi Steph,

    Hope you are doing well. wanted to tell you a story because I'm making these ribs today...kinda. See yesterday, i picked up some pork ribs on sale, so I'm scouring all your rib recipes. Decided on this one, except for some reason, the jalapeno peppers from the Korean Ribs recipe got stuck in my mind and as i was throwing everything in the crockpot this morning, 5 peppers went in, lol. I'll let you know if the mutant combination of recipes works. :-) Lisa

  36. Lauren7/16/2012

    Made these last night for my family - there were 11 of us - and everyone absolutely LOVED them! Definitely not what I was expecting flavor-wise per the picture, but they were super different and delicious! Thank you :)

  37. Made this tonight. I will definitely be making it again.

  38. I have to confess, I had my doubts... but this turned out PERFECTLY. I used pork rib with bones, not frozen... same cooking time and whatnot. Fantastic!