The Absolute Best Prime Rib Recipe [+ Video]

Every year I promise to share The Absolute Best Prime Rib Recipe and every year I forget to take pictures. This year I’m making prime rib AND sharing the recipe!!

 

garlic prime rib on a platter

 

Not only am I the worst at promising to share The Absolute Best Prime Rib Recipe with you all, but I’m also the worst at remembering to do it well in advance so you can be ready for the holidays. I promised myself to get it done early this year and this is good enough, right?

And because I’m super fantastic, I’m also going over a lot of tips, tricks and things to avoid so that it turns out absolutely perfect for you!!!

YOU. ARE. WELCOME.

I don’t know what it is about prime rib, but you throw that out there and people seriously come running. I was actually talking to my mom on the phone while I was shooting this recipe and sure enough, “Oh, what I wouldn’t give to be there!!!!” Part of it is that the meat is so incredibly tender, juicy, and dare I even say buttery that you just can’t help but love the heck out of it.

Oh, but for me that’s not even the best part. I’m all about the outside. It’s all caramelized and packed full of flavor. I’m telling you, it’s like the burnt ends on a brisket. It’s so, so good!!!!

Generally speaking, prime rib is served rare to medium rare, but I’ll be honest, I like mine more like medium. It’s entirely up to you and I’ll put all of the different prime rib temperatures and times below.

I’ve messed up enough Prime Rib recipes to know exactly what you should and shouldn’t do. So let’s jump right in there and get cookin’.

 

garlic prime rib on a platter

 

What is Prime Rib?

Standing Rib Roast and Prime Rib Roast are the same exact same thing. It’s just that different people call them different things. A prime rib is a cut of beef from the primal rib, one of the nine cuts of beef. While the entire rib section comprises ribs six through twelve, a standing rib roast may contain anywhere from two to seven ribs, just depending on what you buy as there are options!

What’s the Difference Between Prime Rib vs Ribeye?

The “Prime Rib” is basically just a marketing term. It refers to a standing rib roast from that section or cut. The Ribeye Roast is a rib roast that has been carved off of the bone. It is the same piece of meat as a standing rib roast.

How to Buy Prime Rib

Most stores don’t sell very high quality Prime Rib cuts. The first thing you should do is head to a butcher that you trust. Look for a prime rib roast with an untrimmed fat cap (ideally ½ inch thick). We prefer the flavor and texture of prime-grade beef, but choice grade will work as well, just ask the butcher which he has.

If possible, buy a prime rib roast that has the bones attached. This isn’t always the case and you’ll be fine if they aren’t, but tying the ribs to the meat will give you a more even, juicy roast versus boneless.

Why is Prime Rib so Expensive?

Oh, I’m so with you, why is prime rib roast so expensive?! The more marbling, the more flavorful it will be. A full prime rib is cut from the 6th through 12th ribs of the cow, so seven ribs in total, meaning you are getting quite a lot of meat and bones. It’s one of those cuts that ends up being extra work for a butcher and extra juicy for you, also making it more expensive. 

How Much Prime Rib Per Person?

It’s so hard to know how much meat people are going to eat. I like to use the rule for prime rib of about 1 pound per adult.

  • How much prime rib for 8 adults? A 4-bone prime rib will feed 8 to 10 people.
  • How much prime rib for 20 adults? An 8 to 10 bone prime rib is better for 20 people.

 

best prime rib recipe

 

How to Cook Prime Rib

I’ve shared very detailed instructions on the best way to cook prime rib in the recipe card below. But the basic steps to making the best prime rib EVER are as follows: 

  1. Carefully slice the meat off the bones and rub kosher salt all over the prime rib. Refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 24 hours. 
  2. Let the prime rib come to room temperature before searing it in an oiled skillet. 
  3. Once cool enough to handle, tie the meat back onto the  bones. 
  4. Transfer roast to a wire rack set on top of a rimmed baking sheet. Season with pepper, then rub with garlic butter. 
  5. Roast at 200ºF until the meat registers your desired internal temperature (see our notes below). 
  6. Remove roast from oven and tent loosely with aluminum foil. Let rest for at least 30 minutes before returning to oven to broil the very top. 
  7. Cut twine from meat, slice, and serve! 

Is this the best prime rib roast recipe ever?? I think it might just be! 

How Long to Cook Prime Rib

Depending on how done you want the prime rib to be, your roast will be in the oven for anywhere from 3 ½ to 4 ½ hours. 

How to Remove the Bones from a Prime Rib Roast

To remove the bones from the roast, use a very sharp knife, we prefer to only use Wusthof,  and run it down the length of the bones, following the contours of the roast as closely as possible until the meat is separated from the bones.

Prime Rib Temperatures to Remember

  • Medium Rare Prime Rib — Medium rare means the meat is mostly pink with a deeper, nearly red center. The temperature should be 130ºF. 
  • Medium to Medium Well Prime Rib — The temperature should be 135 to 140°F.
  • Well Done Prime Rib — The temperature should be 140 to 145°F.

 

how to cook prime rib

 

Tips for Making the Best Prime Rib Ever

Salt the Prime Rib Overnight

First and foremost, overnight salting is the most important step for prime rib. Others may try to fool you into thinking it’s the resting stage, which is up there for sure, but it’s not number 1.

Rub a good quality kosher salt all over the meat the day before you want to cook it. Now, place it in the refrigerator overnight, UNCOVERED in order to enhance the beefy flavor while dissolving some of the proteins, which yields a buttery-tender, juicy roast.

Keep the Oven Door Shut

Take it from me, a prime rib is stressful the first time you make it. Well, if you haven’t been given any tips or tricks, that is. 

I was super worried about undercooking the prime rib roast so I checked it too often. This was lengthening the cooking process and ended up cooking it over medium temperature. Monitoring the roast with a meat-probe thermometer is best.

If you use an instant-read thermometer like this Thermopro Instant Read, open the oven door as little as possible. Also, remove the roast from the oven while taking its temperature, so you aren’t letting out extra heat.

My Prime Rib is Still Not Done!  

If your roast has not reached the temperature you wanted in the time range specified, heat the oven to 200 degrees, wait for 5 minutes, then shut it off, and continue to cook the roast until it reaches the desired temperature.

Let the Prime Rib Rest

Another crucial step when making a prime rib recipe in the oven is to give it time to rest. This is after you remove it from the oven and before serving it to your guests.

Heat drives juices toward the center of the meat. Think of when you cut into a steak that hasn’t rested and the juices all run out and it’s chewy versus at a restaurant where you notice that the juices are perfectly distributed. A rest gives juices the chance to redistribute themselves.

You’ll want to loosely tent the meat with foil and let it rest for 20- 30 minutes before carving.

More Holiday Recipes:

Looking for more HOLIDAY recipes? Here’s an entire list:  

Or if you want a different beef recipe, try this Corned Beef Brisket!

More Decadent MAIN DISHES You Must Try:

garlic prime rib on a platter
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The Absolute Best Prime Rib Recipe

Every year I promise to share The Absolute Best Prime Rib Recipe and every year I forget to take pictures. This year I'm making prime rib AND sharing the recipe!!
Prep Time1 d 3 hrs
Cook Time4 hrs
Total Time1 d 7 hrs
Course: 100 + BEST Easy Beef Recipes for Dinner
Keyword: beef, christmas, holidays, prime rib, steak
Servings: 6 -8
Calories: 2192kcal
Author: Sweet Basil

Ingredients

  • 7 Pound Standing Rib Roast Prime Rib
  • 2 Heaping Tablespoons of Kosher Salt
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons Black Pepper
  • 4-6 Cloves of Garlic minced
  • 4 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter

Instructions

  • Using a very sharp knife, cut slits in the outer surface layer of fat, spaced 1 inch apart, in cross pattern, much like crossing on a baked ham. Do not cut into the meat.
  • Gently slice down through the meat, following the bones to remove them from the meat. Do not discard.
  • Rub 2 heaping tablespoons of Kosher salt over entire roast and especially rub it into the slits.
  • Place the meat back on bones and onto a plate.
  • Refrigerate the meat, uncovered, at least 24 hours and up to 96 hours.
  • Place the meat on the counter to rest for 2-3 hours so it takes the chill off.
  • Adjust the oven rack to a middle position and heat the oven to 200 degrees.
  • Heat oil in 12-inch skillet or dutch oven over high heat until smoking.
  • Sear sides, top and avoid the bottom of the roast where you removed the bones (reserving bone on the plate). Place meat back on rib bones, so bones fit where they were cut, and let cool for 10 minutes so you can touch it; tie meat to bones with 2 pieces of twine between the ribs.
  • Transfer the roast, fat side up, to a wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet and season with pepper.
  • Mix the butter and garlic in a bowl, and rub it all over the meat.
  • Roast until meat registers 120 degrees, 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 hours.
  • Turn off the oven; leave the roast in oven, opening door as little as possible, until meat registers about 120 degrees for rare or about 125 degrees for medium-rare, 135-140° for medium, and 140-145°F for well done, 30 to 75 minutes longer.
  • Remove roast from oven (leave roast on baking sheet), tent loosely with aluminum foil, and let rest for at least 30 minutes and up to 75 minutes.
  • Adjust the oven rack about 8 inches from broiler element and heat broiler. Remove foil from the roast. Broil until top of roast is well browned and crisp, 2 to 8 minutes.
  • Transfer roast to carving board; cut twine and remove roast from ribs.
  • Slice meat into 3/4-inch-thick slices. Season with coarse salt to taste along with any drippings turned to gravy, and serve.

Video

Nutrition

Serving: 2slices | Calories: 2192kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 120g | Fat: 186g | Saturated Fat: 79g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 87g | Cholesterol: 470mg | Sodium: 2466mg | Fiber: 1g
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garlic prime rib on a platter

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Carrian Cheney

Lover of all things beautiful, good and delicious. Wife, mother, friend, foodie.

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28 comments on “The Absolute Best Prime Rib Recipe [+ Video]”

  1. Pingback: The Best Wine to Pair with Prime Rib (& a Delicious Recipe!) - Vino Del Vida

  2. Wow… ya I agree with Jeff. The similarities to Cook’s Illustrated is too close to be coincidence. There’s plagiarism going on here and that’s very much not alright. Credit should have been given and it most definitely was due. This is as bad as or worse than papers I’ve looked over coming from young students.

    In the blogosphere… credibility is one of the most important factors in determining success. Your credibility is now in jeopardy due to a silly recipe that could have easily been adapted as your own, but most importantly, properly sourced. Worse so, I notice you have a published book on Amazon… I sure hope there’s no instances like this in that. Shame on you.

    • Hi C,

      Thank you for your concern. I can understand that if you feel strongly about something you might want to stand up, say something and make sure you’re heard as clearly it’s something important to you. However, I assure you it’s not plagiarism. It’s the same recipe with the addition of garlic and fresh herbs that I learned in college, again in a later cooking class taken at a local high end grocery store and the same recipe found allllll over pinterest. Unfortunately prime rib is just one of those recipes that really can’t be cooked too many different ways. I’ve researched, taken courses, sat through classes and studied up on prime rib and aged beef (even a good steak is salted and left to sit in the fridge) and this is always the way it is done. However, if it makes you uncomfortable I can recommend other recipes to try. I didn’t love how they turned out as the meat wasn’t flavored well, but they were less of a hassle, which this is. Anyway, I hope you don’t mind me taking the time to respond, but integrity happens to be the one thing I’m really, really big on. Sadly food often has similar recipes, I’ll take the time to look their’s up and i assure you I’ll give it a try so I can understand where you’re coming from. Again, sorry if any offense was caused. Thanks.

  3. This is a great recipe. You should site your sources. The recipe/directions, sans the garlic butter, are word for word from a Cook’s Illustrated recipe from November 2011.

    • Hi, thanks for writing your concerns. This isn’t a cooks illustrated recipe. We do have an America’s text kitchen cookbook but I’ll have to look it up to see if there’s a similar recipe. This is the same way I was taught to do prime rib when working with a beef brand years ago but I add garlic. I assure you there’s no stealing but we are happy to look it up and try their recipe sometime.

      • This is a great recipe, and I don’t blame you for wanting to share it. I am even trying the garlic butter you have in your recipe. Detailed below is the CI recipe I have been using since 2o11.  Aside from the ingredients, instructions, temperatures and times, being identical in each recipe, sans the garlic butter, there are just too many comparable and reworded sentences in the instructions to be a coincidence. Maybe this is the recipe the beef brand you used to work for used or maybe CI used it as a basis for their recipe. Either way, it is a great recipe and I am glad it is being shared.

        Best Prime Rib
        November 1, 2011.   From Cook’s Illustrated

        Serves 6 to 8
        WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS: The perfect prime rib should have a deep-colored, substantial crust encasing a tender, juicy rosy-pink center. To achieve this perfect roast, we started by salting the roast overnight. The salt enhanced the beefy flavor while dissolving some of the proteins, yielding a buttery-tender roast. To further enhance tenderness, we cooked the roast at a very low temperature, which allowed the meat’s enzymes to act as natural tenderizers, breaking down its tough connective tissue. A brief stint under the broiler before serving ensured a crisp, flavorful crust.

        Notes:
        * Look for a roast with an untrimmed fat cap (ideally ½ inch thick). We prefer the flavor and texture of prime-grade beef, but choice grade will work as well.
        * To remove the bones from the roast, use a sharp knife and run it down the length of the bones, following the contours as closely as possible until the meat is separated.
        * Monitoring the roast with a meat-probe thermometer is best. If you use an instant-read thermometer, open the oven door as little as possible and remove the roast from the oven while taking its temperature.
        * If the roast has not reached the correct temperature in the time range specified in step 3, heat the oven to 200 degrees, wait for 5 minutes, then shut it off, and continue to cook the roast until it reaches the desired temperature.

        Ingredients:
        * (7-pound) first-cut beef standing rib roast (3 bones), meat removed from bones, bones reserved
        * Kosher salt and ground black pepper
        * 2 teaspoons vegetable oil

        Instructions:
            1. Using sharp knife, cut slits in surface layer of fat, spaced 1 inch apart, in crosshatch pattern, being careful to cut down to, but not into, meat. Rub 2 tablespoons salt over entire roast and into slits. Place meat back on bones (to save space in refrigerator), transfer to large plate, and refrigerate, uncovered, at least 24 hours and up to 96 hours.
            2. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 200 degrees. Heat oil in 12-inch skillet over high heat until just smoking. Sear sides and top of roast (reserving bone) until browned, 6 to 8 minutes total (do not sear side where roast was cut from bone). Place meat back on ribs, so bones fit where they were cut, and let cool for 10 minutes; tie meat to bones with 2 lengths of twine between ribs. Transfer roast, fat side up, to wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet and season with pepper. Roast until meat registers 110 degrees, 3 to 4 hours.
            3. Turn off oven; leave roast in oven, opening door as little as possible, until meat registers about 120 degrees for rare or about 125 degrees for medium-rare, 30 to 75 minutes longer.
            4. Remove roast from oven (leave roast on baking sheet), tent loosely with aluminum foil, and let rest for at least 30 minutes and up to 75 minutes.
            5. Adjust oven rack about 8 inches from broiler element and heat broiler. Remove foil from roast, form into 3-inch ball, and place under ribs to elevate fat cap. Broil until top of roast is well browned and crisp, 2 to 8 minutes.
            6. Transfer roast to carving board; cut twine and remove roast from ribs. Slice meat into 3/4-inch-thick slices. Season with coarse salt to taste, and serve.

        Technique – Steakhouse Prime Rib at Home :
        High-end-restaurant chefs turn out prime rib that’s crisp on the outside and gorgeously rosy from center to edge. For similar results, we used nothing more than a hot skillet, a regular home oven—and a few tricks.
         
        SUPER-CHEF APPROACH
        BLOWTORCH THE MEAT  Blasting the roast with the intense heat of a blowtorch jump-starts its exterior without subjecting the interior to any heat.

        OUR WAY
        SALT AND SEAR  Salting the roast and then refrigerating it uncovered for at least a day (and up to four) not only seasons the meat thoroughly but also dries out its exterior for better browning. Searing the super-dry roast in a blazing-hot skillet develops a nice thick crust. 

        SUPER-CHEF APPROACH
        ROAST AT 120°  Using a specialized ultra-low-temperature oven—and leaving the roast in it for 18 hours—produces rosy-pink, ultra-tender results.  

        OUR WAY
        ROAST AT 200°  Roasting the meat as low as a conventional oven can go and then shutting off the heat and letting it finish in a turned-off oven produces incredibly tender and ever.

      • I’m in the process of making this for the first time tonight. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

  4. I cook my roast this way, however, instead of broiling the meat after the rest, try cranking the oven to 500 degrees, or the highest it will go, while the meat is resting, put the meat back in the oven for 8-12 minutes and you’ll get a beautiful all over crust. The broiler can produce a lot of spattering and a mess in the oven. You also get a more even browning doing it this way. Works beautifully every time.

  5. This looks so delicious, I can’t wait to make it!

  6. Pingback: 50+ Surprising Things YOU can Do with YOUR Instant Pot + RECIPES! | Sidetracked Sarah

  7. So delicious! Even my dad said it was the best prime rib he’s ever had and he’s had A LOT of prime rib in his life. Was a little intimidated at first but it turned out absolutely delicious. Thank you for the recipe!

  8. What temp do you roast the prime rib for? I read through this a few times and didnt see it anywhere. Should maybe add that to your post.

  9. Sweet Basil:
    This recipe leaves a few guestions! Step 2: cut through meat to remove bones – from fat side (top) or bone side (bottom)? Step 3: rub salt into slits – fat area & where bones were removed? So this meat is cooked at 200°F? Step 11: so you rub the butter & garlic mix after the bones are tied on, not onto the meat under the bones? Step 15: set oven to broil – what temperature set point – 200°F?
    Please have someone (friend, neighbor – that is inexperienced in cooking to attempt each step without your interference until absolutely necessary & then no advance guidance for each next step! You are too close to what you have written & not seeing objectively. You can more than likely do this without looking at the printed recipe, try looking at my question points. I may seem to be too thorough, but hey, like you stated – it is an expensive cut of meat you want done right.
    Sincerely
    Bob

    • Hi Bob! I apologize for the confusion!
      1. The rib bones remain but you’ll remove the bones from the underside if the butcher left those intact.
      2. Rub the salt all over the meat where you cut those slits in the fat pad
      3. Nope, not under where the bones are
      4. The meat cooks at 200 degrees Fahrenheit. After it has cooked 3.5-4.5 hours and has rested at least a half hour, stick the roast into the oven set on broil to get the top crispy. The broil feature on most ovens is either low or high. We go with High, but watch it closely.

  10. This recipe would be so much more helpful with video or pictures. The descriptions of cutting meat off the bone and putting it back on? And slicing this way that way and What? Yikes!

  11. It looks so amazing!! 😮 Thank you for sharing the recipe!

  12. Once you learn about sous-vide, you’ll never have a bi-colored roast that isn’t done to the desired temperature.