Chinese Honey Garlic Ribs

Chinese Honey Garlic Ribs
Honey Garlic Ribs Header

Chinese Honey Garlic Ribs coated in a Honey Garlic Sauce just like the ones at a Chinese Restaurant. Plus you can make the Honey Garlic Sauce as thick or thin as you want for Honey Garlic Dry Ribs or coated in that Honey Garlic Sauce as a glaze or a thickened Honey Garlic Sauce.

This recipe prepares the Ribs just the same as a Chinese restaurant. You’ll need a hefty cutting board and a Butcher Knife. Because you will be chopping each individual Rib in half right through the bone to create the Short Ribs.

Chinese Restaurant Honey Garlic Spareribs

I was the one responsible for preparing the Ribs before they all got simmered in water, emptied into a bucket and in the walkin cooler for the night at the Chinese Restaurant I use to work at.

The next day the Fat would be skimmed off the top and the Ribs back into a pot with the Honey Garlic Sauce that wasn’t thickened yet. It would sit there all day simmering away on low heat. When an order came up some of the Honey Garlic Sauce was added to the Wok and thickened with a Slurry (Water & Starch) and then the Ribs went in to coat.

We would go through Boxes of these once a week. I got pretty good at chopping the Ribs to separate them with a single chop right in between the Bones. This recipe just throws everything into the pot to simmer. But I have included how we made them at the restaurant too.


Pick up a Full Rack of Pork Ribs with the Sternum, Rib Tips and Flap. The Membrane/Fell wasn’t removed when these were prepared in the Restaurants.

Whole Pork Side Rib

Whole Rib Rack

How to prepare Short Ribs

All parts of the Rib are used. But first the Ribs need to be squared off. You will need a heavy duty butcher knife and chopping board. Since you will have to chop through bone.

Slice off the Sternum and Rib Tip section and chop into bite size. Chop the Flap off and chop into bite size pieces. This piece can also be saved to dice and include in Pork Fried Rice. I also save the Sternum and Rib Tips section whenever making BBQ Ribs to use just for Honey Garlic Ribs or Riblets. I believe the restaurant used the Flap in the Pork Egg Rolls too.

Now that you have your Ribs squared off, Chop in between the bone to separate the Ribs. Then Chop each Rib in half. Right through the bone and with some good force behind the Butcher knife. Don’t hold the Rib with your other hand. Just have the rib resting and come at it with some force. If you cut a bit of center it’s all good.

Ribs with Sternum Rib Tips and Flap removed

Squaring the Ribs

Chop off the Rib Tips and Sternum as well as the Flap to square out the Ribs. Optionally Trim the Skirt. Both the Flap and Skirt can be saved for Pork Fried Rice or Pork Egg Rolls.

Chopping the Rib Tips into bite size pieces

Rib Tips

Chop in between the soft Cartilage to create bite size pieces. These are also known as Riblets.

Chopping individual Ribs

Single Ribs

Place the Ribs meat side down so it is easier to see where the bones run. Chop in between the Ribs to get individual Ribs.

Ribs chopped in half to make short ribs

Short Ribs

Chop each individual Rib through the bone in half. You’ll need some good force behind the Knife and keep your hands away. Don’t hold the Rib with your other hand.

Pot of Short Ribs and chopped Rib Tips

Simmered Ribs

Throw all of the Ribs into a Pot and fill with water about 2 inches above the Ribs if you plan on preparing these the same way as the restaurant or place them into a bowl for now to add to the Honey Garlic Sauce to simmer.

Chinese Restaurant version

There are two version of making Honey Garlic Ribs, The Chinese Restaurant version and the Homemade version.

The restaurant version needs to be made the day before and focuses on submerging the Ribs in the weak pork broth overnight. While at the same time rendering Fat that can be scooped off and used in other recipes. This technique softens the meat as well as getting rid of any scum that rises to the surface resulting in a cleaner tasting Meat, Broth and rendered Fat.

Simmering Short Ribs

Simmering Short Ribs

Fill the pot up with water to cover the Ribs by about 2 inches. Bring it to a hard boil over max heat.

Scum collecting on the top

Scoop the Scum

As the Ribs come to a boil, scum will start to settle at the top. Scoop this off for a cleaner broth and Fat that will be scooped off the next day.

Scum scooped off


Once all of the Scum is scooped off, reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 1 hour.

Pot of Simmered Ribs cooling down in the sink with cold water

Cool down & Refrigerate

Place the Pot in the sink and fill with Cold Water up to the same level that is in the pot. Leave it there for a few minutes to cool down before refrigerating the whole pot with the Ribs overnight.

Fat solidified at the top

Rendered Fat

The next day scoop the rendered Fat from the top and save this for Fried Rice or other recipes.

The fat can be simmered in a pot to get rid of any excess water before being strained, cooled down and refrigerated.

Previously simmered Ribs sitting in Pork Broth

Pork Broth

Scoop out the Ribs and save 3 Cups of Pork Broth. The excess broth drained off can be saved as well and reduced until it has a stronger flavor and saved for recipes requiring Pork Broth or discarded.

Previously Simmered Short Ribs

Strained Ribs

All of the Ingredients for the Honey Garlic Sauce goes into a Pot along with the strained Ribs. They will develop their color when simmering in the sauce.

Homemade Chinese Honey Garlic Ribs

The Homemade version just combines everything except the slurry and simmers the raw Ribs for 1 hour on low heat or longer until the meat is tender. Which in effect creates the Pork Broth and softens the meat. While bringing this to a boil, scum will rise to the surface. Scoop this off and discard.

The restaurant version needs to be made a day before. But you do get a cleaner end product and rendered fat to use in various recipes. The Homemade version is much more convenient where everything is done at one time in a pot. You do lose out on the rendered fat though.

Chinese Honey Garlic Sauce

The Honey Garlic Sauce is a very thin sauce that is used to simmer the Ribs. Place all of the Honey Garlic Sauce ingredients into a pot and bring to a boil.

For the Sugar, either White or Brown Sugar can be used for a deeper taste. You can also combine 1 C White Sugar and 1 Cup Brown Sugar. The Sugar can also be reduced and/or a bit of Honey included. Keep in mind that Honey is sweeter than Sugar.

The Seasoning you can adjust to your taste, I find the below most ideal. However the Rice Vinegar can be reduced to 1 – 2 tsp. The Dry Mustard & Ginger can be increased as well as the White pepper if you want a bit of heat.

Whether you prepare the Ribs the day before or making the Homemade version where the Ribs will just go into the Sauce. Add everything for the Honey Garlic Sauce into a Pot big enough to hold the Sauce and Ribs with ample space.

Honey Garlic Sauce without Pork Broth

Honey Garlic Sauce

  • 3 Cups of Water
    • Or use 3 Cups of the Broth the Ribs sat in overnight for the restaurant version
  • 2 C Sugar 
  • 1/2 C Soy Sauce
  • 1/4 C Molasses
  • 2 Heads Garlic Cloves
  • 1 Tbl Rice Vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp Dry Mustard, Onion & Garlic Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Ginger
  • 1/8 tsp White Pepper

How to make Chinese Honey Garlic Ribs

The Restaurant version where a weak pork broth and lard is made the day before is the long version of preparing the Ribs that is used in Chinese restaurants. At home this can be skipped by including the prepared Raw Ribs in the Chinese Honey Garlic Sauce and simmering it for 1 hour or more until very tender.

Simmering Honey Garlic Spare Ribs


Add the raw or precooked Ribs to the Honey Garlic Sauce. Bring to a boil scooping any scum off and reduce the heat to low. Simmer while covered for 1 hour.

Simmering Honey Garlic Spareribs Garlic removed

Remove the Garlic

Remove the Whole Cloves of Garlic with a pair of tongs or leave them in. Entirely up to you.

The Ribs can be served just like this for Dry Ribs or the Honey Garlic Sauce thickened.

How to thicken Honey Garlic Sauce

In Chinese restaurants where numerous people are being served. The Sauce is ladled into the Wok and thickened with a Starch Slurry. Then the Ribs are added and tossed before being plated. They are ready in less than 5 minutes.

It’s actually quite clever because technically these are Honey Garlic Dry Ribs. Some people do like it Dry and other with the Honey Garlic Sauce coating the Ribs. When a bit of the Sauce is thickened with the Slurry, you now get Honey Garlic Ribs with a Sauce. This allows the restaurant to serve up both Dry Honey Garlic Spareribs & your standard Chinese Honey Garlic Ribs.

At Home we thicken the entire pot of Honey Garlic Spare Ribs. How thick or thin you want it is entirely up to you and is based on how much Slurry you add. These can be served up with no thickening at all. With 2 Tbl each of Starch & Cold water for a Thin Sauce or 1/4 C each for a slightly Thick Sauce. Even more Slurry for a Thicker Sauce. Just keep slowly adding in more Slurry while mixing to thicken the Honey Garlic Sauce to the desired thickness.

Potato Starch Slurry

Starch Slurry

Create a Slurry of 1/4 C of Cold Water & Cornstarch each. Potato Starch can also be used. Add it to the simmering Ribs while mixing until thickened.

You can pour this in slowly until thickened to the desired consistency or pour it all in for your standard Honey and Garlic Ribs.

Thickened Honey Garlic Spareribs

Thickening the Sauce

After 1 hour or once the meat is tender, stir in the Slurry and mix until the Sauce is thickened. Remove from the heat and let rest before serving.

Chinese Honey Garlic Sauce slightly thick

Slightly Thickened Sauce

Made with 2 Tbl each of Cornstarch & Cold Water for a slightly thinner Honey Garlic Sauce.

Chinese Honey Garlic Riblets

The term Riblets are often used interchangeably with small pieces of Pork or Ribs that have been chopped in half, also known as Short Ribs. But Riblets do refer to a specific cut.

Riblets are the Rib Tips towards the end of the Ribs. These usually contain a lot of Cartilage & Fat with some Meat and are trimmed off when making St Louis-style Ribs. If you have a full rack of Ribs and trimming the Rib Tips off, place them into a ziploc bag and freeze. Once you have a few you can make Chinese Honey Garlic Riblets.

With Chinese Honey Garlic Ribs the Riblets or Rib Tips are also chopped and included.

Chinese Honey Garlic Pork Bites

You don’t have to use Ribs either! There have been plenty of times where I just couldn’t find a good deal on Ribs. But I was really craving the Honey Garlic Ribs. So I use a Fatty cut of Pork and chop them up into bite size pieces. Treated the same way as Ribs. It really does the trick when craving this dish.

Use a Fatty cut of Pork Chops with good marbling of Fat. Bone in or Boneless doesn’t matter. Although if Using Bone In, chop the meat away and include the bones during the 1 hour simmer to assist in creating that Pork Broth. These are also good to munch on with the little bit of meat that is left one them.

Fatty Pork Chopped for Honey Garlic Pork Bites

Bite Size Pork

Use 1-2 lbs of diced Fatty Pieces of Pork. Cuts from a Pork Loin are too lean and will cook up dry and tough.

Honey Garlic Bites

Honey Garlic Pork Bites

Serve the Pork Bites as is or with the Sauce thickened with a Slurry to the desired thickness.

Chinese Honey Garlic Ribs Pin

Chinese Honey Garlic Ribs

Prepared the same way as a Chinese restaurant. These Short Ribs are simmered in a thin Honey Garlic Sauce until tender. Serve it up as is with no thickening for Honey Garlic Dry Ribs, or Thicken the Sauce with a Slurry for some Saucy Honey Garlic Ribs.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time1 hour
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: Asian, Chinese
Keyword: Chinese Honey Garlic Ribs, Honey Garlic Pork Bites, Honey Garlic Rib Recipe, Honey Garlic Riblets, Honey Garlic Ribs, Honey Garlic Short Ribs, Honey Garlic Spare Ribs
Servings: 4 portions
Author: JAH


  • 1 Stockpot
  • 1 Butcher Knife
  • 1 Wooden Cutting Board
  • 1 Spider
  • 1 Pair of Tongs


  • 1 Rack Pork Ribs

Honey Garlic Sauce

  • 3 C Water
  • 2 C White Sugar - Brown for a deeper taste or equal parts
  • 1/2 C Soy Sauce
  • 1/4 C Molasses
  • 2 Heads Garlic - whole cloves
  • 1 Tbl Rice Vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp Dry Mustard, Onion Powder & Garlic Powder - each
  • 1/4 tsp Ginger Powder
  • 1/8 tsp White Pepper

Starch Slurry

  • 1/4 C Cornstarch & Cold Water - added last – see notes


  • Add all the ingredients for the Honey Garlic Sauce into a Pot. Mix well and set this over medium heat while you prepare the Ribs.
  • Remove the Rib Tips/Cartilage with the Sternum and chop in between the soft bone/cartilage in bite size pieces and throw into the Pot with the Honey Garlic Sauce.
    Trim off the Flap and either chop into bite size pieces to include or freeze to use for Pork Fried Rice.
  • Slice in between each Rib to get individual Ribs.
    Then, with some force, chop the Ribs in half right through the bone and add to the Pot. Don't hold the Rib with your other hand. Just set the rib down and aim for the center with some good force to chop through the bone.
    With all the Ribs in the Honey Garlic Sauce, turn the heat to max.
  • As it comes to a boil, scoop off the scum that rises to the surface and discard. Once clean, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 1 hour covered.
  • Combine 1/4 C of Cornstarch & Cold Water, or 2-3 Tbl of each for a thinner Sauce. Mix well and pour into the Honey Garlic Ribs while mixing.
    Remove from the heat once thickened and let rest 10 minutes before serving.
    You can also skip the thickening of the Sauce and serve these up as Dry Ribs.


Starch Slurry

How much you use is entirely up to you and the desired consistency desired. These Ribs can be served up with no thickening at all (Dry Ribs) or the use of a Starch Slurry to thicken the Sauce. 2 Tbl each of Starch & Cold water will create a thin sauce, 4 Tbl each will create a slightly thicker sauce and even more can be added for an even thicker sauce.  Just pour the Slurry in while mixing until thickened. Repeat for however thick you want the sauce to be. 

Honey Garlic Pork Bites

Instead of Ribs, use a Fatty cut of Pork with good marbling of Fat and Dice about 1 – 2 lbs worth. Don’t use Lean Pork Chops like Pork Loin. This will cook up dry and tough. 
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