This is the best recipe for Fool-Proof Prime Rib that you’ll ever find. As in…..You won’t ever make it any other way! Making prime rib is pretty scary and overwhelming until you get a few of them under your belt. Rest assured, this recipe is the one you want to begin with, AND the one you’ll use every time following.
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Howdy. Chef Alli here. Let’s Get You Cookin’ Some Prime Rib….Shall We? 🙂
Do the Words PRIME RIB Strike Fear in Your Heart??
I sure remember the first time I used this method to cook a prime rib, I was really apprehensive about it. A rib roast (prime rib) is definitely NOT an inexpensive piece of meat, so I was super worried that I’d ruin the dang thing, wasting my hard-earned money AND my precious time.
Finally, I took the plunge and tried this recipe, following the instructions to the letter. It works perfectly! I’ve never looked back.
Why is This No-Peek Closed-Oven Method the Best Prime Recipe in the World?
Whenever you’re in a position to feed a group of people, whether that’s Christmas dinner or a special Sunday family gathering, this prime rib recipe will become your go-to method.
It has made us the perfect prime rib every single, time that we’ve made it, helping us create a holiday tradition that makes special memories for our family and guests.
So This No-Peek Closed-Oven-Door Method for Cooking Prime Rib Really Works? It Sounds a bit Weird.
Yep, it sure does. When you’re cooking prime rib, this method is ultra-easy and pretty much fool proof; I love how it allows for roasting and resting of the beef at the same time within this one cooking method… both of which are very important for producing medium-rare, tender and juicy, perfectly-cooked slabs of prime rib.
What’s so Great About Prime Rib, Anyway?
Well, because who wants to stand around grilling steaks (even the most beautiful filet!) when you’ve got special guests to tend to? Prime rib is not only special and delicious, it’s great to be able to do the entire roast in the oven, all in one fell swoop.
And don’t for a minute think that prime rib is a cop-out, or a less-impressive piece of meat because it’s a roast. Prime rib is a huge RIB-EYE roast, the same cut that rib eye steaks are cut from, and it’s magnificent.
What Ingredients Will I Need to Make Perfect Prime Rib?
Prime Rib Roast
There are a few things to consider when purchasing your rib roast to make prime – what to purchase, how much to purchase, how you’ll be cooking it, how to slice and serve it, and what side dishes you’ll need. I’ve addressed all of these in this Prime Rib post – see below!
Know going into the purchase of a prime rib that there many names for it; you’ll see rib roast, ribeye roast, standing roast, eye of rib roast, etc.
Seasoned Salt, Granulated Garlic, Granulated Onions
These are the ingredients that you’ll season the exterior of your standing rib roast with. This is what makes the exterior nice and flavorful as you roast it in the oven, then enjoy for dinner.
Creamy Horseradish Sauce
Prime rib just isn’t prime rib if there’s no horseradish sauce to accompany it. The main ingredient in horseradish sauce is sour cream, but the most important ingredient is the horseradish, hands down.
You’ll need what’s called prepared horseradish, which is freshly grated horseradish root. Don’t make the mistake of getting cream-style horseradish that’s located in the condiment aisle of the grocery store.
The remaining ingredients needed for making horseradish sauce are things you’ll likely already have on hand – whipping cream, spicy brown mustard, Worcestershire sauce, white wine vinegar, crushed garlic, salt and pepper.
You can make the horseradish sauce ahead of time, storing it in the fridge until you are ready to serve and enjoy the prime rib.
Au jus (pronounced ah-zhoo) refers to thickened juices from a roast or other meat. The term translates literally to “with the juice.” Traditional prime roast has always been served with an au jus that is typically drizzled over an individual slab of prime rib, accompanied with a dollop of horseradish sauce on the side.
Many people use a basic simmering beef broth as their au jus to keep it simple.
Easy Recipe Tips for Making Prime Rib
Should I seek out a butcher shop when I want to purchase my standing rib roast to make prime rib? And what questions should I ask the butcher?
- If you’re investing in this “prime” cut of beef, then you want to make sure you’re using the best grade of rib eye roast! A good butcher shop will have a butcher (or two) that will be knowledgeable, answering any questions you may have about pricing, how much you need per person, cooking, etc.
- Always remember this – a good butcher is one who really wants you to be successful in your cooking endeavors, since they want you to return as a customer again and again.
- Also, tell your butcher the full story so he gets the big picture. Let him know what you’re trying to accomplish, how many people you’re serving, and that you’re nervous about the whole prime-rib process, if that’s the case.
- A butcher can’t help if they don’t have all the details! And, butchers are very accustomed to their customers feeling apprehensive when it comes to purchasing and cooking their first standing rib roast, aka prime rib.
If there’s not a butcher shop in my area, is it okay to purchase the prime rib that is available from the meat case at my local grocery store?
- Great question. The primary difference in a PRIME prime rib (what you would typically purchase from a good butcher shop) and a CHOICE prime rib (what you’ll typically find at your local grocer) is basically this: the amount of marbling within the roast.
- Why does this amount of marbling matter? Marbling really contributes to the level of flavor and juicy-ness in the eating experience of the prime rib.
- However, because prime rib is a very fatty cut of beef, many people feel that cooking a CHOICE prime rib is quite delicious! I have always opted to use prime rib purchased from a butcher since I typically only cook it ONCE a year, so I want it to provide the best eating experience available to me and my family. I want that rich, buttery flavor and texture plus lots of juicy-ness, too.
If I purchase a CHOICE prime rib roast from the grocery store instead of a PRIME prime rib roast from a butcher shop, do I need to cook it differently?
- Glad you asked this question. If you go the route of choice prime rib from the grocery store, it will most likely be boneless, though not always. If you’re cooking a choice prime rib that’s boneless, know going into it that it will cook much more quickly than a bone-in prime rib. And, since the choice cut of prime rib has less marbling, this will also contribute to how quickly the roast cooks, as well.
- When cooking choice prime rib, opt to under cook it since there is less of the marbling in the meat. You can always cook a prime rib more (longer) but once it’s overcooked, you cant’ go back!
Why are there so many names for prime rib? It’s pretty confusing. Holy cow!
- I know, I know. It can be very confusing when purchasing a prime rib roast for the first time due to all the different names for the same cut of beef: rib roast, rib eye roast, standing rib roast, eye of rib roast, prime rib roast…….good grief! Your butcher can help you understand this situation more fully, but just know they are all one and the same roast.
- If you opt to purchase choice prime rib from a grocery store, most of the time it will have prominent prime rib labeling to help customers easily identify what they are looking for.
Is it true that prime rib is best when served medium rare?
- Trust me. Most folks definitely feel that prime rib is should be served medium rare for the best dining experience.
- After roasting the rib eye roast at 500 degrees, then letting the prime rib continue to cook and rest for exactly two hours, in that closed (and locked) oven, you will have the most succulent, juicy, amazing prime rib…..perfectly medium-rare and perfectly cooked, all ready to serve and enjoy!
What is the ideal internal temperature for a prime rib that is considered medium-rare?
- The internal temperature for a medium-rare prime rib is 130-135 degrees F. at the center of the roast. You will need an instant-read meat thermometer to determine the internal temperature of the prime rib once you remove it from the oven.
How should I insert an instant-read meat thermometer into the prime rib for taking a correct internal temperature?
- Great question! Insert the thermometer into the center of the roast, coming straight in from the side where the meat is the thickest, Coming in fron the side helps ensure you don’t touch any bones or the bottom of the roasting pan, which can give a false reading.
- Once you insert the instant-read meat thermometer into the prime rib, watch the dial. Once the temperature stops rising (this will just take a 30-60 seconds, usually) that is the internal temperature of the roast.
- For a perfect prime rib that’s medium rare, the internal temperature should be 135- 140 degrees when it’s all said and done.
How MUCH prime rib should I purchase for my gathering?
- Most butchers recommend that you purchase one pound of boneless rib eye roast for each person at the meal, as a general rule of thumb. If you are going the route of an in-bone rib eye roast, you should purchase 1 rib for every 2 people, which will still provide at least 1 pound of prime beef per person.
- Prime rib roasts are sold two ways: bone-in or boneless. Boneless rib eye roasts are typically cheaper and easier to manage your first time, but a bone-in rib eye roast tends to provide more flavor and a juicer, richer eating experience.
- Each rib of a bone-in rib eye roast typically boasts up to 2 lbs. of meat, sometimes even a bit more. Therefore, if you are serving prime rib to a group of 8 people, you’d need a 4-rib roast.
- When going the route of a bone-in rib eye roast for prime rib, it’s also recommended that you never buy a roast with less than 3 ribs since a smaller roast can often cook too quickly, providing you with prime rib that’s over cooked…..ewwwww. (There’s nothing worse than over cooked prime rib!)
Wait. So when I’m purchasing a bone-in prime rib, I’m supposed to ask the butcher to cut off the bones? How come?
- Yes! I know it may sound weird, but hear me out. Cooking a rib roast with the bones is going to give it lots and lots of additional flavor due to the marrow within the bones.
- Soooo, I purchase a bone-in rib roast, asking my butcher to cut the bones off, then tie them back on to the roast. After my rib roast cooks, I can simply and easily cut the strings that are holding the roast to the bones.
- Next the roast is lifted up off the bones and onto a large cutting board. Not having the bones on the bottom of the prime rib makes it super easy to slice it into rich, thick slabs of heaven.
What should I do with the left-over bones from my prime rib?
You can use the bones to make a delicious beef broth or if that’s not something you feel like taking on, give the bones to your dogs – they will absolutely go crazy for these!
How long should I cook my prime rib when using the method you recommend in this post?
Here’s the formula for cooking medium-rare prime rib:
- When you need to figure out how much roasting time your standing rib roast needs as the first part of the process (at 500 degrees F.) here is a simple calculation to obtain MEDIUM-RARE prime rib:
- Take the weight of your prime rib roast and multiply it x 6 minutes. As an example, a 6 lb. rib eye roast multiplied x 6 minutes = 36 minutes in the oven at 500 degrees F.
- Once you’ve done this part, you’ll turn off the oven and let the prime rib remain in the oven to cook and rest for two hours, NEVER OPENING THE DOOR until it’s time to remove the prime rib – this is KEY!!!
Here’s the formula for cooking medium prime rib:
- When you need to figure out how much roasting time your standing rib roast needs as the first part of the process (at 500 degrees F.) here is a simple calculation to obtain MEDIUM prime rib:
- Take the weight of your prime rib and multiply it x 7 minutes. As an example, a 6 lb. roast multiplied x 7 minutes = 42 minutes in the oven at 500 degrees F. Once you’ve done this part, you’ll turn off the oven and let the prime rib remain in the oven to cook and rest for two hours, NEVER OPENING THE DOOR until it’s time to remove the prime rib – this is KEY!!!
**Please Note: I don’t typically recommend that prime rib should be cooked to medium as an internal temperature, mind you – we definitely prefer the medium-rare experience. However some people absolutely want their prime rib cooked to medium or even medium-well and that’s totally fine. To each their own. 🙂
Is there a special technique for cooking a prime rib that has a really crusty and nicely charred exterior?
- Uncover your rib eye roast the night before and let it sit naked in the fridge. This will really help with that beautiful exterior browning we want on our prime rib as it cooks, and it helps ensure we can get that good exterior crust, too.
Why is it important to know exactly how much your prime rib weighs when you are ready to cook it?
- The KEY to making sure this no-peek closed-oven method works is to know the exact weight of your prime rib roast so you can cook it according to the formula list above.
- That said, when you open up that parcel of prime rib, be sure you keep the butcher label from the package that has the weight on it!
- Stick this somewhere safe because you are definitely going to need to refer to it when you get ready to prepare your prime rib since you’ll be cooking it a certain amount of time per pound. (Again, see above for the exact cooking formula needed.)
There’s always THAT ONE in every crowd, folks, so just be prepared and ready.
- Just accept the fact that you ARE going to have THAT ONE guest who will insist that “they only eat their prime rib WELL DONE”. (Ewwww….but whatever, right??)
- If you have guests (I refer to them as “Problem Children”) who think their medium-rare prime rib slice isn’t cooked enough, here’s a hack that will keep the well-done-weirdos in hand: Keep a skillet of simmering beef broth on your stove top!
- Simply slide their slice of prime rib slice into the simmering broth and let it cook for a few seconds. The prime rib slice will cook very quickly and you can then remove it from the broth to their plate. Still moist. Still delicious. And serve up just how they want it – everybody’s happy!!
Do I need fancy tools to successfully cook prime rib? Nope! Not at all.
- The tools needed to make prime rib are minimal, truly. You’ll need a large roasting pan, a roasting rack, a KEEP OUT sign for your oven door (see the picture below to learn what I’m talking about), and some duct tape to MAKE SURE everybody knows you mean business: no opening of the oven door!
- Also, it’s a good idea to have a couple of instant-read meat thermometers on hand, for checking the internal temperature at the end of the cooking/resting time. (I like having two on hand so that I’ve got a second one as a back-up for temping my roast.)
- A large cutting board with a channel around the edge (for meat juices to gather in), heavy-duty meat or grilling forks for lifting the prime rib from the pan to the cutting board, a sharp carving knife, and a platter for serving.
Remember. Absolutely NO PEEKING if You Want Perfect Prime Rib!
- Like I mentioned above, at first I was apprehensive about this no-peek closed-oven method for cooking prime rib. I like to feel that I’m in control over what I’m cooking, and I don’t always trust my appliances to behave. Plus, everyone loves a little peek in the oven to see how things are going, right??
- However, for this recipe, there is one VERY VERY important rule that you MUST follow: Once the prime rib is finished roasting at 500 degrees F., DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN DOOR, even though you’re dying to see what your prime rib looks like at this point.
- Next, set your timer FOR TWO HOURS following the initial roasting process at 500 degrees F. This is where the duct tape and signage is really, really helpful if you’re tempted to peek or maybe just have the habit of opening the oven door as you cook!
- Yep, it’s a test in self control. Put that rib eye roast in the oven then duct tape the door shut and go make some dessert, have a bonbon, smoke a cigar, drink a glass of wine…whatever. The point is this: DO NOT open that oven door for ANY reason.
When making prime rib for the firs time is it good to purchase a boneless rib roast instead of one that has the bones attached to the roast?
- I know lots of people who have done this very thing so they can get their legs under them when starting out with prime rib. Not having to deal with the prime rib bones does make the entire process seem much less intimidating. Boneless prime rib cooks more quickly than a bone-in prime rib, plus they are much easier to slice, as well.
- It’s important to feel fairly successful in cooking your first prime rib so that it’s something you’ll want to continue to cook, so a boneless prime rib is really a good idea when you’re just starting out.
Is it true that you shouldn’t cook prime rib while it’s still cold from being in refrigeration? Why?
- Absolutely! Remove your rib eye roast from refrigeration and unwrap it. Let it rest for at least 4-5 hours before you begin the roasting process. (Yes, I said 4-5 hours. The roast will still be chilled somewhat when you begin the cooking process, but it won’t be ice cold.)
- This is the BEAUTY REST your prime rib needs BEFORE you roast it so that all the chilled juices and fats that coagulate at the center of the roast can spread to the outer edges.
- Removing the chill from the roast before roasting it, ensures that the prime rib cooks much more evenly. Beauty Rest is a very important part of a successful prime rib cooking experience – don’t skip this step!
And does the prime rib need beauty rest after it’s finished cooking?
- Yep, and in this recipe, the roast gets it’s beauty rest during the time that you’ve turned off the oven (that was previously set at 500 degrees F.), letting the roast stay inside the oven for the remaining 2 hour period.
- This is when the prime rib still cooks from residual heat, resting at the same time so that the protein fibers can relax. Make sure you don’t let anyone (including yourself, out of habit) open that oven door during this beauty rest period since that will ruin the cooking process of this recipe!
- I always put a sign AND place duct tape around my oven door so that nobody can pull it open….including me!
Do I have to serve the prime rib with the au jus or can I skip that?
- Actually, you can skip the au jus, if preferred. Especially if your prime rib is served medium-rare, it will be super-juicy and tender, so nobody is going to miss the au just too much.
- And yes, many people substitute beef broth in place of a homemade au jus – it’s totally acceptable. You will need one or the other simmering on the stove so you have the option of cooking that slice of prime for somebody in your group wants to be cooked to medium-well done. (There’s always that one, remember??)
- But, please don’t ever skip the creamy horseradish sauce – this is just essential to prime rib.
When cooking prime rib to serve several people, is it better to cook one large prime rib roast or two small rib roasts instead?
- I’m so glad you asked – this is a great question! Let’s say you’re feeding 10 people. Instead of getting one large 5-bone prime rib roast, (that’s one bone for every two people, remember?) opt for two 3-bone rib roasts, instead.
- For this cooking method, I’ve found that two smaller rib roasts work best. Also, remember that this method of cooking prime rib doesn’t work well with rib roasts that are smaller than 3 ribs each since it’s easy to over cook them, producing over-cooked prime rib.
What is the best way to slice and serve my prime rib roast?
- If you’ve asked your butcher for a standing rib roast that’s had the bones removed and then tied back on, this is the time to place the roast onto a large cutting board and cut the strings that hold the bones to the roast.
- Lift the roast off of the bones that it’s resting on, placing the prime rib onto another section of the cutting board where you have room for slicing. Cut the prime rib in thick slices and place it onto dinner plates.
- Pour a bit of the warm au jus over each slice, then add a dollop of the creamy horseradish on the side. Ta-dah!!!
What are good side dishes to serve along side prime rib at my dinner?
Everybody has a preference for their favorite side dishes since they are often traditional and what your family expects for a holiday meal.
Here are a few of my family’s favorite side dishes:
Printable Directions for Making for Fool-Proof Medium-Rare Oven Prime Rib
Fool-Proof Medium-Rare Prime Rib
For the Prime Rib
- 1 bone-in 4-rib standing rib roast bones cut off and tied back on by the butcher, approx. 10 lbs., room temperature
- 1 Tbs. granulated garlic
- 1 Tbs. black pepper
- 1 Tbs. seasoned salt
For the Creamy Horseradish Sauce
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup whipping cream or heavy cream
- 1-2 dashes hot pepper sauce as desired
- 1 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
- 2-3 Tbs. (or more!) prepared horseradish Note: this is the refrigerated fresh-grated horseradish, not the creamy-style found in the condiment section of the grocer
- 1 Tbs. spicy brown mustard
- 1 Tbs. white wine vinegar
- 1-2 cloves garlic, crushed if desired
For the Au Jus
- 3 cups water
- 5 tsp. Better Than Bouillon Concentrate, Beef Flavor (or use beef bouillon cubes)
- 1 Tbs. soy sauce
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 3-4 hours prior to cooking the prime rib roast, remove it from refrigeration; unwrap the roast from all packaging. Let the rib roast rest on the counter to remove the majority of the chill from the exterior of the roast. (This helps the roast to cook much more evenly and is a very important step for the success of this recipe.)
- Pre-heat the oven to 500 degrees F., placing your oven rack into the lower third of the oven space.
- Meanwhile, combine the spices with the seasoned salt in a small bowl. Using your fingertips, rub spice blend over every area of the roast.
- Place the seasoned roast, fat side up, onto a roasting rack (even you simply place ribs of celery and carrots side-by-side across the bottom of the roaster as your roasting rack - this works just great). If you don't have a roasting pan, you can also use a large cast iron skillet, or even a rimmed baking sheet, depending on the size of your standing rib roast.
- Place the roast into the preheated 500 degree F oven, uncovered, and cook for 6 minutes per pound. (As an example, a prime rib roast that weighs 10 lbs. would cook for 60 minutes at 500 degrees F.) If your goal is a finished prime rib that's cooked to medium instead of medium rare, cook the rib roast for 7 minutes per pound.
- When the timer sounds, immediately shut the oven off completely. NO MATTER WHAT, DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN DOOR! Set your timer for 2 hours at this point.
- Now is the time to break out your duct tape and signage to lock down your oven door. Tape it shut with as much duct tape as needed, adding a DO NOT OPEN sign as well. Do whatever is needed to make certain that oven doors stays absolutely shut for the next two hours!!
- When the timer sounds at the full 2 hour mark, open the oven door, using an instant-read meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the meat. For medium rare prime rib, you'll want the internal temperature to be 130-135 degrees F.
- **If your roast temps a bit cooler than 130-135 degrees F, simply preheat your oven to 375 degrees F., returning the roast to the oven until the internal temp reaches 130-135 degrees, checking the internal temperature every so often until the prime rib raises to the desired temperature.
- Remove the prime rib roast from the roasting pan and place it onto a large cutting board. Cut the strings that are holding the roast to the bones. Lift the roast from the rack of bones to the cutting board.
- Slice the prime rib into thick slices, placing them onto dinner plates. Pour a bit of the warm au jus over the prime rib, then add a dollop of horseradish sauce alongside. Serve at once.
Creamy Horseradish Sauce
- Combine all the sauce ingredients in a small bowl until smooth; store in the fridge until ready to serve.
- Place the water into a skillet and bring to a boil; reduce the heat to low, then add the bouillon concentrate, as well as the soy sauce, and garlic, whisking until well blended. Season to taste with salt and pepper; keep warm.
Other Meat Recipes to Enjoy –
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