Our delicious Prime Rib recipe is simple to make with step-by-step instructions to roast it to perfection! Use simple ingredients and tips for the best prime rib you’ll love to serve for special events and holidays!
Prime rib is one of those dishes that always takes center stage when you serve it. This salt and pepper-crusted prime rib is so easy to make and always tender, juicy, delicious, and full of amazing flavor. It’s a special treat to serve my slow-roasted prime rib throughout the holidays or when I am having a celebratory meal, especially at Christmas. It is a dish that my whole family and guests always love.
Prime rib, a large standing rib roast, is a more costly cut of meat. However, it is more cost-effective to serve it at home than to eat it in a restaurant. But there’s no need to be intimidated about making prime rib at home. Just follow my recipe, time-tested tips, and step-by-step instructions.
Table of Contents
- Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- What Cut of Meat is Prime Rib?
- How to Buy Prime Rib
- Why Marbling Impacts the Taste and Grade of Prime Rib
- How to Roast the Perfect Prime Rib
- Step-by-Step Instructions
- Storage Tips for Leftover Prime Rib
- What to Serve with Prime Rib
- More Seasoning Options for Prime Rib
- More Favorite Beef Main Dishes
- Perfect Prime Rib Recipe
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
Easy recipe. This recipe involves more helpful tips and a temperature chart to make it simple for everyone to make. Even though prime rib is expensive, there’s no intimidation with this easy recipe.
Simple ingredients. The beef is the star here, and a few simple ingredients and preparation allow it to shine!
Tender beef with Incredible flavor. A bit of preparation, along with this simple recipe, allows this special cut of beef to taste absolutely incredible!
What Cut of Meat is Prime Rib?
Prime rib roast, also known as standing rib roast, is the cut of beef from the back of the upper ribs portion of the cow. This cut comes from the same primal rib section of the cow that a rib-eye steak does. To be considered a rib-eye steak, the meat must be cut before the rib roast is cooked. Prime rib is a larger cut of meat that typically includes the bone.
The full-cut prime rib is made up of seven ribs, will generally weigh from 16 to 18 pounds, and feeds about fourteen guests.
How to Buy Prime Rib
When buying prime rib from the grocery store, you’ll want to ask the butcher for a standing rib roast and let them know how many people you will be serving. A quick way to determine the size you need to purchase is generally two servings per bone, depending on the thickness you plan to serve. If serving as the main entree, generally, a thicker cut is desired. If as part of a buffet, thinly carved pieces are usually fine.
I prefer to buy a bone-in prime rib or standing rib roast, as the bones serve as a natural rack for the meat when baking, insulate the meat while cooking, and make for a juicier, more tender prime rib when cooked.
Ask the butcher to prep the meat for you by cutting away the bones from the bottom of the meat. But do ask them to go ahead and tie the bones back onto the meat for you. This way, you have the benefit of cooking the beef with the bones for a tender prime rib while still being able to cut away the tied bones easily to make carving for serving easier.
Why Marbling Impacts the Taste and Grade of Prime Rib
Marbling, or intramuscular fat, lends flavor and tenderness to beef. The more marbling, the more tender the cut of beef.
Marbling also affects the grade of the beef. The grade of most prime rib available at grocers is USDA Choice Grade. This is the second-best grade with a large degree of marbling. USDA Prime Grade is the beef with the heaviest marbling. However, the prime grade is not common to find, many times requiring a special order, and is substantially more expensive.
How to Roast the Perfect Prime Rib
Preparation, a few simple ingredients, and attention to these tips and instructions will result in a prime rib roast that is perfectly cooked. And all of this is incredibly easy with this recipe! Here’s how to make it.
Bone-In Prime Rib – Ask the butcher for a standing rib roast.
Kosher Salt – Salt is important to prepare the beef to be its most tender.
Pepper – You’ll use this for a beautiful pepper-crusted finish.
Prep for the Most Tender Prime Rib
- Salt. Besides the bones making for a juicy prime rib, using salt on the standing rib roast makes for the most tender meat. You’ll want to salt it about four to five days before you cook it. The salt, when left on the meat for an extended period (from about an hour to days), seeps into the meat and provides for better seasoned, juicy meat. This is a dry brining method.
If, for some reason, you can’t salt it that far in advance, do so at least an hour before roasting. Anything shorter than an hour will work against you and result in a tougher exterior to your meat.
- Wrap and Refrigerate. Once you’ve salted the roast, wrap it tightly with plastic wrap and store it in the refrigerator until an hour before cooking.
- Place on Roasting Pan. Remove your beef from the fridge an hour before cooking, then unwrap and place, bone side down, on a roasting pan fitted with a roasting rack and allow to reach room temperature.
- Season. At this point, add any additional seasonings you want to use. I like to serve it pepper-encrusted for extra flair, but you can use a blend of herbs in garlic butter for another amazing option. These optional seasonings are included below so that you can use them based on your preference.
Roast the Length of Time for Desired Doneness
The amount of time that you cook the beef depends on how well done you prefer your roast.
- Preheat. Preheat your oven to 475º F for about 15 minutes.
- Roast. Then roast for 15 minutes and then reduce to 325º until it reaches the desired internal temperature, usually about 11 – 12 minutes per pound for rare prime rib, 12 – 13 minutes for medium-rare prime rib, and 14 – 15 minutes for medium well prime rib.
Note: You’ll need to probe with an internal meat thermometer to ensure it’s cooked to the desired temperature. You will also want to allow for any carryover cooking, meaning you’ll want to remove from the oven about 2-4 degrees less than the temperature you desire.
Allow Prime Rib to Roast until Internal Temperature Reaches Desired Doneness
You will want to roast your prime rib until the meat thermometer registers the following:
- 115º F – 120º F for rare
- 125º F – 130º F for medium rare
- 135º F – 140º F for medium
- 145º F – 150º F for medium well
To roast your prime rib for medium rare, you will want to remove it from the oven when the temperature reaches 125º F and let it rest for about 20 to 30 minutes before slicing.
Note: Allow beef to rest for about 20 minutes. This allows for the most tender, juicy prime rib! Then, move to the carving board for slicing and serving.
Tip: Be sure to use a meat thermometer to make certain that the roast has reached the desired temperature. You will want to check various areas of the meat with the meat thermometer to be certain that you have cooked it perfectly. The worst thing is overcooking.
Serve at the Perfect Temperature
For guests who prefer a more well-done slice of beef, I normally have a rimmed roasting pan standing by to place the beef on and return to the oven for a few minutes to cook it to their desired temperature. That way, everyone can have their prime rib as they prefer it!
Storage Tips for Leftover Prime Rib
If you have any leftover prime rib (and that’s a major if!), you can easily save it for later serving.
To refrigerate: Wrap well and store in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.
To freeze: Wrap well and store in an airtight freezer container for up to 6 months.
To reheat: Allow frozen prime rib to thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Leftover prime rib is delicious cold, but if you desire to reheat it, do so carefully at a low oven temperature of 250 degrees with a bit of broth or au jus in the dish to preserve the tenderness.
It is amazing with easy buttermilk biscuits and a honey mustard sauce as an appetizer! You’ll be glad that you sliced your roast as you served it so that the meat is easier to reheat without losing any of the tenderness and juiciness you took such care to get!
What to Serve with Prime Rib
We love to serve our prime with a bit of Horseradish Sauce on the side. The sauce is creamy and a bit spicy and goes perfectly with the beef! As side dishes, I love to serve baked potatoes or twice-baked potatoes. You can’t go wrong with either of those! And for a salad, we always love my Apple Pear Salad with Pomegranate Dressing. If you are serving your standing rib roast throughout the holidays, you absolutely need to make Bart’s Cinnamon Rolls. They are perfection!
These recipes, along with others, are all included in my Make-Ahead Christmas Dinner Menu, which I think you’ll also love!
More Seasoning Options for Prime Rib
Herb and Garlic Prime Rib Recipe
Mix 4 tablespoons softened butter, 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary, 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, and 4 large minced garlic cloves. Spread generously on the outside of the standing rib roast before cooking for an herb-flavored crust. Spoon the pan juices over the roast before serving.
Pepper Encrusted Prime Rib Recipe
Press 3 tablespoons of crushed black pepper onto the outside of the roast before cooking.
Coffee Encrusted Prime Rib Recipe
Mix 2 tablespoons ground coffee, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, and ¼ teaspoon cayenne. Spread generously on the outside of the standing rib roast before cooking for a deliciously impressive crust. Spoon the pan juices over the roast before serving.
More Favorite Beef Main Dishes
Here’s my Perfect Prime Rib recipe. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!
Perfect Prime Rib Recipe
- 1 (3 – 4 bone) bone-in prime rib
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
- Salt prime rib from one hour to up to five days prior to cooking and serving your prime rib. Once salted, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until an hour prior to cooking.
- An hour prior to cooking, remove prime rib from refrigerator, unwrap and place, bone side down, on a roasting pan and allow to reach room temperature. If cooking a boneless roast, place onto a roasting rack inside the roasting pan. At this point add pepper or other seasonings, if using.
- Preheat oven to 475º F. Then, roast your prime rib for 15 minutes and reduce to 325º F until your prime rib reaches the desired internal temperature, usually 11 – 12 minutes per pound, about 1 hour and 50 minutes. Using an internal meat thermometer, remove your prime rib from the oven about 2 – 4 degrees less than the desired serving final temperature you desire. The temperature of the prime rib will continue to rise due to carryover cooking. Tent prime rib with foil and allow to rest for 20 minutes.Note: Here are the temperatures you'll allow to reach depending on the doneness desired:115º F – 120º F for rare125º F – 130º F for medium rare135º F – 140º F for medium145º F – 150º F for medium well
- Place on a carving board for slicing and serve.
Storage Instructions for Leftover Prime RibIf you have any leftover prime rib, you can easily save it for later serving. To refrigerate: Wrap well and store in the refrigerator for up to 7 days. To freeze: Wrap well and store in an airtight freezer container for up to 6 months. To reheat: Allow the frozen prime rib to thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Leftover prime rib is delicious cold, but if you desire to reheat it, do so carefully at a low oven temperature of 250 degrees with a bit of broth or au jus in the dish as well to preserve the tenderness.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
From the Add a Pinch recipe archives. Originally published 2014.