Guide to the Perfect Prime Rib (Standing Rib Roast)

Preparing the Perfect Prime Rib is EASY!  Also called Standing Rib Roast, this impressive cut of beef is melt in your mouth tender and juicy. The prime rib is slow-cooked to a perfect medium rare and the roasted herb crust is nothing short of amazing.

A piece of medium rare prime rib on a white plate with roasted baby potatoes and steamed broccoli.

Prime Rib — tender, succulent, juicy and easy to prepare. You read that right! With just a few simple tips, your prime rib dinner will be absolutely fool-proof.

There’s a lot of misconceptions about the difficulty level of a cooking a prime rib. Since a Prime Rib is usually a large cut of meat it tends to scare many people. The truth of the matter is, this cut of beef is not difficult to prepare and with a few simple tools, tips & tricks, you will be cooking them perfectly each and every time.

My first absolute must-have for the perfect prime rib is a good digital kitchen thermometer. I have two types: The first is a remote digital thermometer with a cord that goes directly into the meat and into the oven. For me, this is the best thermometer for this application. This style has Bluetooth-type capability and can communicate with a remote receiver up to 300 feet away. For prime rib, it keeps me from taking the roast in and out of the oven to check the temperature of the meat. It’s an awesome kitchen gadget.

Of course, you can use a traditional meat thermometer but this type is not as accurate as the new digital thermometers. For a costly prime rib, where I definitely do not want to overcook the meat, I always go for my remote digital thermometer.

A whole raw prime rib with the ribs trimmed and tied

The second thing I recommend is just talking to the butcher at your local market. I often find only a small selection of Prime Rib (standing rib) roasts on display at the market – and this is most often generally only during the holidays. If you need a larger (or smaller) cut, the butcher can cut one to size or special order one to fit your needs. My butcher pre-cuts the ribs off the meat for me, either fully or partially, and then ties the ribs and the roast back together with butcher’s twine.

Butcher’s Twine is completely safe for the oven and won’t burn. Leave it in place. You just snip the strings when the roast is done and the ribs remove easily off the roast. We set these aside for later. They are great for making beef bone broth.

I always buy my prime rib with the bone attached. The butcher at our local grocery store then prepares the roast leaving the rack partially attached to the roast. This makes it easier to carve the meat and the bone creates a rack for the prime rib to cook on.

A whole slow-roasted prime rib on a platter ready to be carved for serving.

the Secret to Preparing a Perfect Prime Rib

To have a perfectly cooked roast, allow to let the meat come to room temperature for at least 2 to 3 hours prior to heating the oven. This means, just take it from the refrigerator and allow it to sit, covered, on the counter.

This allows the meat to all be the same temperature and assures even cooking throughout. Otherwise, the roast will be largely overcooked around the outside with only a small ring of perfectly cooked meat in the very center.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best cut for prime rib

A prime rib roast, or standing rib roast, is cut from the back of the upper rib section of a steer. A whole prime rib has a total of seven ribs. To make a perfect slow roasted Prime Rib, you’ll need at least a three-bone rib roast. You can calculate the size you’ll need using the formula below.

How Do I know what size Prime Rib to Buy?

To determine how large a roast you need for your guests, calculate 0.75 to 1-pound per person for a bone-in roast. This weight will also depend on the number of sides being served, the number of courses being served, and if you are serving two main dishes (like Turkey and Prime Rib). For 8 people, I bought an 8-pound bone-in roast for our main course. We will serve this with loaded baked potatoes, au jus, creamy horseradish sauce, creamed spinach, and oven roasted broccoli and cauliflower.

How do I calculate the cooking time?

Cooking times will vary depending on the size of the roast, temperature of the meat before it goes into the oven, and variances in oven temperature.

Calculate the actual weight by 15 (minutes per pound) and then divide that number by 60 to get your approximate time. For example: A 7.89 pound roast x 15 mins per pound = 118.35 minutes / 60 minutes per hour = 1.97 hours (2 hours).

According to our formula, an 8-pound roast will take about 2 hours to cook.

Do NOT rely solely on smell or this cooking formula to roast your Prime rib to absolute perfection. Instead, invest in a digital kitchen thermometer [paid link] and roast based on temperature. This is the only way to ensure the Perfect Prime Rib each and every time.

To What Temperature Should I Cook Prime Rib?

Keeping in mind that the roast continues to cook while it rests, you will pull the roast out of the oven prior to reaching your ideal temperature.

Roasts should be removed from heat when the thermometer is 7-10°F lower than your desired doneness to prevent overcooking. For example, if you want a perfect medium rare, remove the meat from the oven when the internal temperature of the meat reaches 118 – 120ºF.

The meat will continue to cook while it rests reaching its final temperature.

  • RARE – cool red center with a final resting temp of 125ºF, remove between 115 – 118ºF.
  • MEDIUM RARE – warm red center with a final resting temp of 135ºF, remove between 125 – 128ºF.
  • MEDIUM – Warm Pink Center with a final resting temp of 145ºF, remove between 135 – 138ºF.
  • MEDIUM WELL – slight pink center with a final resting temp of 150ºF, remove between 140 – 143ºF.
  • WELL DONE -little to no pink with a final resting temp of 160ºF, remove between 150 – 153ºF.
A perfectly medium rare prime rib sliced for serving.

How long do I let a prime rib rest?

Letting the roast rest is key to Perfect Prime Rib. This allows the juices to redistribute and believe it or not, the roast will continue to cook for the next 15 to 20 minutes while it’s out of the oven and resting. Many a Perfect Prime Rib is lost during those last few minutes. The resting time is crucial. So be patient; let it rest!

sliced prime rib on a plate with roasted potatoes and steamed broccoli.

What’s a Cheaper Alternative to Prime Rib or Standing Rib Roast?

While Prime rib is tender, succulent and undeniably delicious, the price point is sometimes more than we can spend on a Holiday or Sunday Supper. One good substitute for Prime Rib which is the often overlooked is the Eye of Round Roast. Eye of round is best when cooked to medium-rare and sliced thin against the grain. This perfectly tender eye of round roast takes just over 30-minutes in the oven for a perfect medium-rare. Perfect for Sunday supper or even a holiday dinner.

What to Serve with Prime Rib?

We enjoy our prime rib with either a creamy horseradish sauce or a traditional Beef Au Jus. To go alongside the beef, we suggest steak-house-style creamed spinach, Harvard beets, and scalloped potatoes

Prime Rib Roasted plated 3 quarter shot with horseradish sauce

Perfect Prime Rib

Ronda Eagle | Kitchen Dreaming
Prime rib sounds impressive, and it is. But in this case, impressive doesn’t mean complicated or difficult!
4.78 from 9 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 2 hrs
Resting Time 20 mins
Total Time 2 hrs 15 mins
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Servings 8 servings
Calories 894 kcal

Ingredients
 
 

  • 5 lb Prime Rib , also called Standing Rib Roast
  • 2 tbsp olive oil , or melted butter, or cooking spray

For the Rub:

  • 2 Tbsp Ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 Tbsp Onion Powder
  • 2 Tbsp Herbes de Provence
  • 1 Tbsp Dry mustard
  • 1/4 cup Kosher salt , large crystals not fine

Optional Serving Suggestions:

  • Au jus beef stock sauce
  • creamy horseradish sauce

Instructions
 

Bring the Roast to Room Temperature

  • Remove prime rib from the refrigerator and allow it to come to temperature on the counter for 2 to 3 hours before cooking. This allows the roast to warm and allows for even cooking of the meat. Skipping this step results in a large portion of overdone meat on the outside of the roast and a very small medium red center.

Calculate Cooking Time

  • Cooking times will vary depending on the size of the roast you select. As a rule of thumb, figure on 15 minutes per pound to calculate the average cooking time for your roast. However, when it comes time to cook the roast, don’t just follow your nose or rely on time alone to judge when the meat is cooked properly. Use a remote digital thermometer inserted into the center of the roast for optimal results.

Prepare the Dry Rub

  • In a small bowl, mix all the ingredients for the rub. Prepare the roast with a small amount of oil, cooking spray, or butter. Sprinkle all sides with dry rub. Shake off any excess rub.

Cooking the Roast

  • Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F for at least 30 minutes while the prime rib finishes coming to room temperature.
  • Place the roast in a roasting pan bone-side down. The bones create its own roasting rack for the meat. If you prefer, you may also place the roast up on a roasting rack.
  • Cook the roast uncovered for 15 minutes at 450 degrees F, then reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F.
  • Roasts should be removed from heat when the thermometer is 7-10°F lower than your desired doneness to prevent overcooking.
    For example, if you want a perfect medium rare, remove the meat from the oven when the internal temperature of the meat reaches 125 – 128ºF. The meat will continue to cook while it rests reaching its final temperature.
    RARE – cool red center with a final resting temp of 125ºF, remove from oven between 115 – 118ºF.
    MEDIUM RARE – warm red center with a final resting temp of 135ºF, remove from oven between 125 – 128ºF.
    MEDIUM – warm pink center with a final resting temp of 145ºF, remove from oven between 135 – 138ºF.
    MEDIUM WELL – slightly pink center with a final resting temp of 150ºF, remove from oven between 140 – 143ºF.
    WELL DONE – little to no pink with a final resting temp of 160ºF, remove from oven between 150 – 153ºF.

Let the Roast Rest

  • Letting the roast rest is key to Perfect Prime Rib. This allows the juices to redistribute. The roast will continue to cook for the next 15 to 20 minutes while it’s out of the oven and resting. Many a Perfect Prime Rib is lost during those last few minutes. The resting time is crucial. So be patient; let it rest!
  • Once the meat has rested fully, snip the butcher’s string and remove the bones from the roast bottom. Transfer to a platter and then slice and serve.

Notes

What is the best cut for prime rib
A prime rib roast, or standing rib roast, is cut from the back of the upper rib section of a steer. A whole prime rib has a total of seven ribs. To make a perfect slow roasted Prime Rib, you’ll need at least a three-bone rib roast. You can calculate the size you’ll need using the formula below.
How Do I know what size Prime Rib to Buy?
To determine how large a roast you need for your guests, calculate 0.75 to 1-pound per person for a bone-in roast. This weight will also depend on the number of sides being served, the number of courses being served, and if you are serving two main dishes (like Turkey and Prime Rib). For 8 people, I bought an 8-pound bone-in roast for our main course. We will serve this with loaded baked potatoes, au jus, creamy horseradish sauce, creamed spinach, and oven roasted broccoli and cauliflower.
How do I calculate cooking time?
Cooking times will vary depending on the size of the roast, temperature of the meat before it goes into the oven, and variances in oven temperature.
Calculate the actual weight by 15 (minutes per pound) and then divide that number by 60 to get your approximate time. For example: A 7.89 pound roast x 15 mins per pound = 118.35 minutes / 60 minutes per hour = 1.97 hours (2 hours).
According to our formula, an 8-pound roast will take about 2 hours to cook.
Do NOT rely solely on smell or this cooking formula to roast your Prime rib to absolute perfection. Instead, invest in a digital kitchen thermometer and roast based on temperature. This is the only way to ensure the Perfect Prime Rib each and every time.

Nutrition

Serving: 6ouncesCalories: 894kcalCarbohydrates: 3gProtein: 39gFat: 79gSaturated Fat: 32gCholesterol: 171mgSodium: 3665mgPotassium: 683mgFiber: 1gSugar: 0gVitamin A: 45IUVitamin C: 0.7mgCalcium: 55mgIron: 5.6mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

15 thoughts on “Guide to the Perfect Prime Rib (Standing Rib Roast)”

  1. Absolutely out of this world👍🏻 I followed your directions to the letter and the roast was PERFECT😄. Thank you so much and happy Valentines Day❤️

    Reply
  2. I always cooked my rib immediately I removed it from the refrigerator. No wonder it didn’t turn out as juicy as i wanted.

    Thanks for the secret of letting it be at room temperature. I will try it out and let you know how it turned out.

    Reply
  3. I didn’t have a thermometer you suggested but calculated based on the weight of our roast and it was perfectly medium rare! It was so easy!

    Reply

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