What to Make with Leftover Ribs

Do you like ribs? Who doesn’t? In fact, there’s not a whole lot of meat that tastes better than a well-prepared rack of ribs. But what about when you have leftover ribs from your last cookout? What should you do with them to make sure they don’t dry out and go bad so quickly? There are plenty of uses for leftover rib meat! Here are a few ideas of what to make with leftover ribs.

what to make with leftover ribs

How To Store, Thaw, & Reheat Leftover Ribs

It’s important to store leftover ribs properly in order to keep them from getting dry. Put the leftover ribs in a resealable bag or wrap it in aluminum foil, then put in the refrigerator.

If you should have leftover ribs that are frozen, put them in the refrigerator to defrost first.

Meat should be stored at temperatures between 32 °F and 40 °F. Be sure to cook the meat within 2 days of purchase. Cooked meat must stay above 140 °F or it can cause foodborne illness if consumed.

Leftover ribs can be stored in the refrigerator for one to two days. If you have leftover ribs with sauce, store them separately so that they don’t become soggy. Store the ribs and sauce covered in either a resealable bag or aluminum foil with one layer of paper towel on top to absorb excess moisture.

Leftover ribs should always be cooked before eating.

There are plenty of options for you to use your leftover ribs. Here are a few of our favorite options:

Mac and Cheese with Leftover Ribs

3 cups cooked macaroni noodles

1 cup chopped cooked bacon

4 cups cubed leftover ribs, cooked until tender

4 slices American cheese, diced

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup Milk

Salt and Pepper to taste

2 tablespoons Flour          

1 tablespoon Mustard

Cook and drain noodles, set aside.

Melt butter in a high sided pan. Add flour and mustard until combined. Slowly add milk while whisking to avoid lumps. Continue stirring for about 3-5 minutes until the sauce starts to thicken.

Add cheese and stir until melted through. Add bacon and ribs, mix well with noodles.

Serve and Enjoy!

Leftover Ribs Stew

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 ½ pounds leftover ribs, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces

2 medium onions, chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

¼ cup tomato paste or ketchup

1 ¾ cups water or beef broth (or a combination of both)

1 can (15 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained

3 medium potatoes, cut into 1 ½-inch cubes

2 cups baby carrots or frozen carrots


In a large pot, heat oil over medium-high heat until hot. Add beef and cook until browned on all sides. Remove from pan. In same pan, cook onions and garlic until tender, about 5 minutes. Return beef to pan; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Stir in tomato paste or ketchup, water or broth (or a combination of both), undrained tomatoes, potatoes, and carrots. Bring to boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 1 hour or until meat is very tender.

Leftover Rib Hash


– 1 can of cream corn

– 1/2 lb. leftover cooked ribs, chopped

– 3 cups cooked white rice, chilled

– 1 tsp. salt

– 1 tsp. pepper

– 1/2 tsp. garlic powder

– 2 eggs, beaten

– cooking spray

– 1 cup breadcrumbs or crushed crackers (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat a 9 x 13 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cream corn, chopped ribs, rice, salt, pepper and garlic powder until well-blended; then fold in the beaten eggs.
  3. Transfer the mixture into the baking dish and bake for about 40 minutes or until golden brown on top. Serve hot with crusty bread if desired (optional).

The next time you have leftover ribs from your cookout, don’t toss them. There are plenty of things you can do with those leftovers. Just make sure you store your ribs properly so they don’t dry out and you can use them in one of these recipes.


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