Cola ribs the Chinese way – a simple recipe

Cooking with cola is not that unusual – Nigella, for example, offers a ham in Coca-Cola recipe. The popular drink has also made its way into Chinese home cooking, and instead of using the oven, the ribs are all cooked in a pan. Coca-Cola’s flavourings include vanilla and coriander, which are both enhanced in this recipe.

The prep time is around 5 minutes, but you do have to leave the meat marinading for some time, ideally overnight, so it’s a dish you can prepare in advance. We’ll need to let the ribs simmer on the hob for around 45 minutes as well.


1 rack of ribs
1 tbsp of light soy sauce
1 tbsp of dark soy sauce
1 tbsp of Chinese Shaoxing rice wine
1 tbsp of corn flour
A pinch of ground vanilla (optional)
250ml of Coca-Cola
A handful of coriander


Step 1: chop the rack of ribs into individual ribs.


Step 2: mix the soy sauce (dark and light), rice wine, corn flour and ground vanilla.


Step 3: place the ribs into a food bag and pour the mixed sauce into the bag. Squeeze any air out gently and seal the bag, then leave to marinade for at least 2 hours – ideally for a whole day in the fridge.

Step 4: place a little oil into a frying pan, and after heating the oil for 30s, place the marinated ribs into the pan. Cook until the outside starts to brown.

Step 5: pour in the cola and wait for this to boil. Once it does, turn onto low heat and cover the pan. Simmer for a further 45 minutes.

Step 6: throw the coriander onto the ribs and stir for 30s. It is now ready to serve!


The ribs will be slightly crunchy on the outside, giving them a bit of bite. If you’ve tried cooking with cola before, did you enjoy the subtle flavours that it leaves behind?


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