Sticky Chinese Spare Ribs

When I think of comfort food, it’s hard to get past a big plate of these slow-cooked, sticky Chinese Spare Ribs.  They are a family favourite and I hope you’ll enjoy them too.  This is the simplest of recipes (three ingredients) and although it will take you three, yes THREE, hours to make them, your “hands-on” time is less than 10 minutes.

To start, get a big pile of pork ribs – if you are cooking for a crowd, allow at least four per person, and a bottle of Chinese Hoisin sauce.  Any supermarket worth its salt should provide you with both.  These are the only ingredients you need although you will see from the pictures I garnish the dish with finely sliced spring onions.

Step 1 – Marinade the ribs in the Hoisin sauce for one hour, place them into a baking tray and seal tightly with foil.

Step 2 – Preheat your oven to 160°C (fan oven), 180°C (conventional oven) and put the ribs in for one hour.

Step 3 – After one hour, take the ribs out, remove the foil and turn the ribs over in the sauce.


Step 4 – Return the ribs uncovered to the oven for a further 30 minutes, then take them out and turn them again in the sauce.  You will notice the change in colour and this is a good guide as to how you are getting on.


Step 5 – Cook for a final 30 minutes and then remove from the oven.  Your ribs should look nice and dark with a slight caramelisation on the edges.  If the ribs are not quite this dark, return to the oven for a further 10 minutes or so.


Step 6  – Pile the ribs onto a serving plate, pour over the cooking sauce, sprinkle with finely sliced spring onions and serve.  Try not to get knocked over in the stampede as your guests rush for these ribs.


  1.  Try to avoid piling too many ribs into your baking tray otherwise they will begin to boil in the fat and sauce and consequently toughen up a little.  Use two trays if you are cooking for more than four people (and two bottles of Hoisin Sauce).
  2. I have found that the Supermarkets’ own brands of Hoisin sauce to produce the best results.  Some of the Chinese Brands can be a bit stronger – but it really is a matter of personal taste.
  3. If you do have any left over, these ribs reheat very well – 90 seconds in a microwave will do the trick.

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