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4.84 from 6 votes

Slow Cooker Dr Pepper Ribs

These Slow Cooker Dr. Pepper Ribs are absolutely foolproof and come out falling apart every time. The sweetness of the Dr. Pepper and acidity of the apple cider vinegar pairs perfectly with the pork. The ribs are broiled at the end for some delicious caramelization.
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time8 hours
Total Time8 hours 5 minutes
Course: Main
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 541kcal
Author: Brianna May


  • 2 Tablespoons smoked paprika*
  • 2 Tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 3-4 pounds of boneless country style ribs see note if using baby back*
  • 1 can Dr. Pepper separated*
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • cup barbecue sauce


  • Review all recipe notes and instructions before beginning.
  • In a small bowl, combine the paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Rub the spices all over the surface of the ribs.
  • Pour 1 ¼ cup of the Dr. Pepper and the apple cider vinegar in the slow cooker. Place the ribs on top of the soda.
  • Cook on low for 7-8 hours or until the meat is falling apart. The meat should register 190-200 degrees.
  • While the ribs are cooking, combine the rest of the soda and the barbecue sauce in a small bowl. Refrigerate until the ribs are done.
  • Once the ribs are done, line a baking sheet with foil and grease lightly with cooking spray or use a wire rack. Gently place the ribs on the baking sheet without removing the dry rub. Brush generously with the barbecue sauce mixture.
  • Broil for 2-3 minutes or until the sauce is bubbling and begins to darken.


Smoked Paprika: Do not substitute regular paprika. It does not have the same flavor.
Ribs: You can substitute the country ribs for baby back. Be sure to remove the silverskin and cut the rack into about 4 pieces so it will fit in the slow cooker.  I have not tested this recipe with beef ribs. 
Dr. Pepper: Try substituting Dr. Pepper for coke or root beer.
Refrigerator: Store leftover ribs in the fridge for 3-4 days in an airtight container.
Reheating: You can reheat leftover ribs in the microwave or the oven. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Place the ribs in a casserole dish with extra sauce, butter, or water. Cover tightly with foil. Bake for 25-35 minutes or until the ribs are heated through.
The ribs are not spicy. Even though there are 2 Tablespoons chili powder in the spice rub, it does not add much heat. It adds savoriness more than spice.
Don’t skip the spice rubs or vinegar. I know other recipes just call for the bbq sauce and Dr. Pepper. While these provide sweetness, the ribs need some acid and smokiness as well. This is why the recipe calls for chili powder, smoked paprika, and apple cider vinegar. 
Cook the ribs on low in the crock pot. I do not recommend cooking the ribs on high. Ribs are best cooked low and slow. This ensures the pork ribs come out extremely tender. 
Broil. This step makes all the difference. Trust me I have tried this Dr. Pepper bbq rib recipe without broiling the ribs and it is just not the same. The high heat caramelizes the sugar in the barbecue sauce and soda.


Calories: 541kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 57g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 186mg | Sodium: 2539mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 27g