Perfect Prime Rib Recipe

5 from 27 votes
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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!

Looking for more simple yet delicious main dishes? Try this Easy Roast Turkey, Simple Roast Chicken, Baked Ham, Baked Salmon with Parmesan Crust, or Lasagna!

Juicy slice of prime rib surrounded by a colorful salad on white tray placed on a stone counter.

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.

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!

Pepper crusted standing rib roast ready to be cooked.

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. 

Ingredients

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.

Step-by-Step Instructions

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

Skillet Ribeye Steaks,

Beef Tenderloin

Classic Pot Roast

Beef Bourguignon

Swedish Meatballs

Here’s my Perfect Prime Rib recipe. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Perfect Prime Rib Recipe

5 from 27 votes
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!
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 2 hours
Resting Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours
Servings: 6 adults

Ingredients 

  • 1 (3 – 4 bone) bone-in prime rib
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper

Instructions 

  • 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 rare
    125º F – 130º F for medium rare
    135º F – 140º F for medium
    145º F – 150º F for medium well
  • Place on a carving board for slicing and serve.

Notes

Storage Instructions for Leftover Prime Rib

If 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

Serving: 3ounces | Calories: 340kcal | Protein: 19g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 72mg | Sodium: 55mg | Potassium: 258mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Enjoy!
Robyn xo

Perfect Prime Rib Recipe - This prime rib recipe results in the perfect prime rib every time. Perfect for the holidays or special occasions. With step by step tips! // addapinch.com

From the Add a Pinch recipe archives. Originally published 2014.

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About Robyn

Robyn Stone is a cookbook author, wife, mom, and passionate home cook. Her tested and trusted recipes give readers the confidence to cook recipes the whole family will love. Robyn has been featured on Food Network, People, Southern Living, and more.

5 from 27 votes (3 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Review




107 Comments

  1. laura says:

    Is it possible to cook one prime rib? I am alone and haven’t made it since my husband passed away Every Christmas, I keep saying I’m going to make it but I also don’t want to ruin a good piece of meat, so I wind up making chicken cutlets. If anyone has made a single prime rib I would love to hear from you.

    1. Robyn Stone says:

      Laura, you can cook a single bone of prime rib. Just follow the same recipe and cook until the internal temperature reaches the doneness level you desire. I hope you enjoy your prime rib dinner.

  2. Renette says:

    I forgot about a roasting pan 😩😩, can I still cook this perfectly with a baking sheet????

    1. Robyn Stone says:

      Renette, you can cook the prime rib on a baking sheet. Just follow the same instructions in the recipe for the roasting pan. Hope you enjoy!

  3. Anne Mc Govern says:

    What shelf position in oven please. Middle?

    1. Robyn Stone says:

      I would place the prime rib on the lowest rack in your oven, Anne. I hope you enjoy!

  4. Melinda Osman says:

    Yep, that helps, thanks!!

    1. Anand Patel says:

      How much salt for a 5 lbs prime rib roast? What kind of salt?

    2. Robyn Stone says:

      I use kosher salt, Anand. I would start with 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and add more, if needed, to coat the meat.

  5. Melinda Osman says:

    Hi Robyn, I am thawing my roast today and will salt as soon as it’s thawed. Do I just salt the top and bottom? I saw where not to salt the sides. Thanks, looking forward to cooking with your suggestions. I’m going with the garlic herb seasoning. Happy Holidays!

    1. Robyn Stone says:

      Melinda, it may not be as easy to tell from the photos, but I rub the salt all over the prime rib except for the cut ends. I hope that helps! xo

  6. Josh Ficorilli says:

    I am traveling about an hour over the holiday break and I am in charge of bringing the prime rib. What is the best way to prepare it (partially cooked, fully cooked, etc.) to get it there without ruining it? I know, ideally, it would be to just make it AT the location of the gathering, but that isn’t an option this time.

    HELP, PLEASE!!!

    1. Robyn Stone says:

      I would have it fully cooked before traveling, Josh. Hope you enjoy!

    2. Brandon says:

      Did you put the lid on the roasting pan or no? After the high heat portion of cooking?

    3. Robyn Stone says:

      I don’t put a lid on the roasting pan, Brandon. Hope you enjoy!

  7. Katherine says:

    This turned out spectacular! I always fear cooking the Christmas prime rib, but this recipe is my new love. The meat was very tender and flavorful. My fear of overdone, underdone and/or tough meat is a thing of the past. Robin, this recipe is perfect. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Robyn Stone says:

      Thank you, Katherine. Don’t you love how easy it is?

  8. Keri says:

    The timing in the recipe doesn’t sound right, if you have a 10 lb roast at apx. 12 min per lb, it would be closer to two hours. I have an 18.65 lb standing rib roast and calculated apx. 4 hrs (which includes the 15 min. @ 475). This seems excessive if your 10 lb rib roast only requires 1 hr and 10 min. Please advise.

    1. Robyn Stone says:

      Keri,
      I’m sorry, my recipe should have stated 1 hour 50 minutes instead of 1 hour 10 minutes calculating time for 11 minutes per pound. Your calculations for your 18.65 pound rib roast is accurate. Thank you for letting me know.