Chinese Spare Ribs

Chinese Spare Ribs are one of the Chinese Restaurant Take Out favorites. Armed with a couple of ingredients from the Asian section of your local grocery store you won’t have to go to the restaurant for these anymore.

chinese spare ribs - cooked pork ribs

Chinese Spare Ribs is a classic Chinese take-out dish we all love to eat, but few people attempt to cook by themselves. It can seem a bit too intimidating for those without experience cooking Asian food.

The good news is besides using a few unfamiliar ingredients, Chinese Spare Ribs are just Chinese BBQ ribs. They’re as easy-to-make at home as any other rib dishes.

This straight-forward recipe teaches you how to make Chinese Spare Ribs, and give you the confidence you need to try out this delicious dish at home!

Getting the Right Ingredients

Like any other recipe, getting great results depends on using the best ingredients you can find. Let’s take a closer look at some of the more exotic ingredients in this dish to help you understand what they are and where you can buy them:

  • Hoisin is an Asian sauce that is popular for marinating the meat in many pork and duck dishes. It contains mostly fermented soybean paste seasoned with chili peppers, garlic, honey, sesame oil, and five-spice powder (see below). You can find hoisin sauce at most grocery stores in the Asian or imported section. People who do not eat soy or gluten products can buy no-soy and gluten-free hoisin sauces but may need to order online.
  • Toasted Sesame Oil comes from sesame seeds and has a distinctively nutty taste. There are several different types of sesame oil available, so make sure that you use toasted sesame oil for this recipe. Toasted sesame oil has a low smoke point, meaning that it will begin to burn at a much lower temperature than other oils. Don’t use toasted sesame oil for frying to avoid excessive smoke and a possible fire. Toasted sesame oil is widely available.
  • Mirin is a sweet rice wine from Japan people use mainly for cooking. In this recipe, mirin replaces the traditional Chinese Shaoxing rice wine that can be very difficult to find in the US. Outside of areas with large Asian populations, even mirin may be hard to buy. In this case, dry sherry is an acceptable substitution. Avoid using any product with “aji-mirin” on the label. This is a mirin-flavored seasoning only.
  • Five Spice Powder is a blend of spices Chinese cooks often use as a dry rub. The name comes from the five different tastes in Chinese philosophy. These are sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and pungent, often referred to with the Japanese term “umami.” There are many different five-spice powder blends, but many include star anise, Chinese cinnamon, cloves, Sichuan peppercorns, and fennel seeds. You can also feel free to make your own.

You will also need these common ingredients:

  • Soy sauce
  • Fresh garlic
  • Honey
  • Ketchup
  • Pork spare ribs
pork ribs and spices for cooking chinese spare ribs

Choosing and Preparing Chinese Spare Ribs

The cut of ribs you use in this recipe is critical. Traditional spare ribs come from the lowest part of the ribcage near the belly. This cut has a much higher ratio of fat-to-meat than other ribs and guarantees juicy meat and a luscious mouthfeel.

You can also use St. Louis cut ribs which come from the same area of the ribcage as spare ribs, but are trimmed square.

As with any other rib dish, you want to allow the flavor of your marinade to soak thoroughly into the meat. It is best to allow eight or more hours for marinating. Although, you can do a quick marinate of at least an hour if you are in a rush.

Remember to cut the rack of ribs into individual pieces before marinating to get the most flavorful results.

How to Make Chinese Spare Ribs

  1. In a medium-sized bowl, combine Hoisin sauce, sesame oil, soy sauce, rice cooking wine, five spice powder, chopped garlic, honey, and ketchup.
  2. Pour over pork spare ribs and marinate for at least 1 hour.
  3. Bake at 375 for about 40 to 50 minutes.
chinese pork spare ribs cooked in the oven

More Chinese Take Out Recipes

One of the best things about going to a Chinese restaurant is sharing dishes. Why not create other Chinese favorites for a more authentic experience? Try these favorite Chinese classics:

Popular Ribs Recipes

Be sure to check out more of my easy Chinese Food recipes and the best pork recipes.

chinese spare ribs - cooked pork ribs

Chinese Spare Ribs

Love those Chinese spare ribs you get in a restaurant?  Well, you can make them at home. 
5 from 4 votes
Print Pin Rate Add to Collection
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: Keto, Low Carb, Pork Recipes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 341kcal


  • 1 tablespoon Hoisin sauce
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons mirin or dry sherry
  • 1/2 teaspoon five spice powder
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 pounds pork spare ribs


  • In a medium sized bowl combine Hoisin sauce, sesame oil, soy sauce, rice cooking wine, five spice powder, chopped garlic, honey, and ketchup. Stir until the sauce if fully blended. Pour over pork spare ribs and marinate for at least 1 hour. These taste better if you can allow them to marinate a little longer. Bake at 375 for about 40 to 50 minutes.


Calories: 341kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 111mg | Sodium: 562mg | Potassium: 519mg | Fiber: 0g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 40IU | Vitamin C: 1.1mg | Calcium: 40mg | Iron: 1.6mg

About Stephanie Manley

I recreate your favorite restaurant recipes, so you can prepare these dishes at home. I help you cook dinner, and serve up dishes you know your family will love. You can find most of the ingredients for all of the recipes in your local grocery store.

Stephanie is the author of's Dining Out in the Home, and's Dining Out in the Home 2.

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Reader Interactions


  1. Jonathan

    Can you clarify what brand of hoisin sauce you use? Ive tried two different brands for other things ive made and they can taste exceedingly different, like they are entirely different sauces that have the same name for some reason. similar to how “teriyaki” sauces never taste the same from brand to brand.

  2. Janet


    I would like to have a recipe for Chinese chicken wings and the duck sauce.
    I can’t seem to find them on any websites that takes like the ones you get at a Chinese restaurant.
    Hope to hear from you soon.

  3. Italian Foodie

    This makes about 1/4 cup of extremely good marinade. I quadruple it, which makes it easier to marinate the ribs, and either boil the rest to serve with the ribs or brush on them as they bake. I also cook at 300 degrees sealed in foil until they are fall-off-the-bone tender,

  4. Paul Singer

    5 stars
    My favorite bbq ribs are done by Christine Lees in Miami I would like to know how to make that read sauce she uses . What does she and other chinese restaurant use to make ribs red. possibly adding honey to hers for more flavor

  5. cynthia

    Hi Stephanie,
    I am so happy I found your site and am looking forward to trying some of your recipes! I will be preparing Baked Steakhouse Potatoes to go with steak dinner this evening. Then these delicious ribs!!
    Keep up the good work!

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