This is the best recipe for Fool-Proof Prime Rib roast that you’ll ever find. Making tender and juicy perfect prime rib in the oven is completely easy and doable.
Just follow my step-by-step directions below….you do not need to be afraid! You can conquer and I’m here to show you how.
We love making prime rib (served with au jus and horseradish cream sauce, of course) for Christmas dinners at home, as well as many other holidays.
Please Note: This recipe was updated Nov. 2020. For this method of cooking prime rib to successful, the prime rib roast must not be ice-cold when beginning the cooking process. Please refer to the specific recipe directions below to learn more.
Howdy. Chef Alli here. Let’s Get You Cookin’ Some Prime Rib….Shall We? 🙂
If the words PRIME RIB AT HOME speak FEAR in your heart, you’ve come to the right place. I am here to tell you that you can absolutely conquer it!
I sure remember the first time I used this method to cook a prime rib, I was really apprehensive about it.
After all, a prime rib is a quite expensive hunk 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 Keep-That-Oven Door-Closed 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 Method for Cooking Prime Rib Really Works?
Yep, it sure does! I know it sounds weird, but it really works like a charm.
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.
Roasting and resting are both very important steps for producing medium-rare, tender and juicy, perfectly-cooked slabs of prime rib.
And 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 Onion, Freshly Ground Black Pepper
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 (recipe included in the recipe card)
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.
Common Questions (and Answers!) When 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 (prime rib), then letting it continue to rest for exactly two hours, inside that closed 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, going straight in from the side where the meat is the thickest. Coming in from the side helps ensure you don’t touch any bones or the bottom of the roasting pan, which can give a false temperature 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 130-135 degrees F. when it’s finished roasting and resting. (Some people say 135-140 degrees F. is better, but it’s a toss up.)
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.k
- 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.
A smaller prime rib 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 prime rib roast with the bones is going to give it lots and lots of additional flavor due to the marrow within the bones.
You want the bones! The prime rib roast itself is resting on top of the bones. Asking the butcher to cut them off means you’ll now have two pieces of prime rib – the roast and the rack of bones.
- Once the rack of bones is cut from the prime rib roast, the butcher can tie them back onto the roast which allows for you (the master chef) to be able to do something magical!
Once the prime rib roast is ready to slice, you can snip those strings and lift the roast right off the rack of bones and onto your cutting board.
Without the those bones hanging around, you can now very very easily slice that prime rib roast into wonderful slabs of heaven.
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:
- 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 the oven down to its lowest temperature (usually 170 degrees F.) 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.
Here’s the formula for cooking 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 to it’s lowest temperature (usually 170 degrees F.) 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.
**Please Note: I don’t typically recommend that prime rib should be cooked to medium as an internal temperature. Once you’ve over-cooked a piece of meat, there’s no going back.
However, if you’ve cooked that piece of meat to a more rare state, you can always cook it longer to raise the internal temperature to what you prefer.
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 browning we long for.
Letting the roast sit naked in the fridge overnight also helps ensure the prime rib roast 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-door 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 that 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. Still overcooked, but it’s just what they want….and everybody’s happy!!
Do I need fancy tools to successfully cook prime rib? Nope! Not at all. Just the basics.
- 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.
It might sound like I’m kidding here, but these are the tools you’ll need to MAKE SURE everybody knows you mean business: no opening of the oven door during the cooking process! And trust me, you’ll be tempted!
- 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.)
- Don’t for to have 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 rack of bones 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. Everyone loves a little peek into 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’ll be dying to see what your prime rib looks like at this point.
- Next, turn your oven to it’s lowest temperature setting (usually 170 degrees F. for most ovens), then set your timer FOR TWO HOURS following the initial roasting process at 500 degrees F.This is where the duct tape and signage is essential. You don’t want anybody opening the door, including yourself.
- Yep, it’s a test in self control. Put that rib eye roast into the oven for the duration, completely committed to NOT opening that door until everything is said and done. DO NOT open that oven door for ANY reason!
When making prime rib for the first time, is it okay if I go ahead and purchase a boneless rib roast instead of one that has the bones attached to the roast as you recommend above?
- I know lots of people who have done this very thing so they can get their legs under them when starting out with making prime rib.
Not having to deal with the prime rib bones your first time does make the entire process seem much less daunting and intimidating. I totally get it.
Boneless prime rib cooks more quickly than a bone-in prime rib, plus they are much easier to slice, as well.
- No matter what we are cooking, its very important to feel successful so that we want to continue. If you feel that your first prime rib should be a boneless one in order to be successful right out of the gate, that is totally fine!
Is it true that you shouldn’t cook prime rib while it’s still cold from being in refrigeration? Why?
- YES! YES! YES! This is called BEAUTY REST for your beef and it is so very essential. Cooking any meat (and most especially an expensive prime rib) without letting it rest at room temperature is suicidal, in my humble opion.
When a hunk of meat has been chilling in refrigeration, all the juices and fats are coagulated at the very center, and that thing is shivering like crazy.
Beauty rest at room temperature allows those juices and fats to move themselves from the center of the prime rib roast to the outer areas of the roast, right where they need to be.
And, during the beauty rest period, the roast and all of it’s protein fibers can relax in preparation for the cooking process…something else that’s important.
Adequate beauty rest ensures that your prime rib roast can cook much more evenly and consistently, providing a far better eating experience later. Just what we long for!!
Don’t be afraid to remove your prime rib roast from refrigeration at least 4-5 hours before you being the cooking process.
- Yep, you heard me right – remove it from the fridge 4-5 hours ahead time for beauty rest on the counter, completely unwrapped. Don’t be scared!
At this point, your roast will still be somewhat chilled, but it will not be ICE COLD when you begin the roasting process – this is EXACTLY WHAT YOU WANT.
Again, Beauty Rest is a very important part of pre-game prep for a successful prime rib cooking experience – don’t skip this step!
And does the prime rib need beauty rest AFTER it’s finished cooking as well?
- YES!!! And this recipe makes it super easy – you won’t even have a chance to do otherwise!
By using this recipe (below), the prime rib roast gets it’s beauty rest during the time that you turn the oven down from 500 degrees F. to the lowest temperature setting available, typically 170 degrees F. for most ovens.
During this time at 170 degrees F., your prime rib roast will automatically be resting and relaxing over the remaining 2 hour period. No worry, no hurry….just don’t open that oven door and you’ll be golden.
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 will miss au jus too much.
- And yes, many people substitute plain beef broth in place of a homemade au jus – it’s totally acceptable.
- Just remember that keeping a simmering pan of broth or au just on the stove is going to give you the option of cooking that slice of prime for somebody in your group who wants it more done. There’s always THAT ONE, as we discussed above.
- 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 very large prime rib roast or two smaller 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.
- When using this specific cooking method (the closed-oven method), I’ve found that two smaller rib roasts work best.
Also, remember that the closed-oven method of cooking prime rib doesn’t work especially well with prime rib roasts that are smaller than 2 ribs each since they are very easy to over cook.
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, cut the strings that hold the bones to the roast while it’s still in the roasting pan.
- Next, lift the roast up and off the bone rack that it’s resting on, placing the prime rib onto a large cutting board where you have ample 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:
- Creamy Mashed Potatoes Supreme with French Fried Onions and Bacon
- Sweet Potato Crumble or Sweet Potato Balls with Crispy Cornflakes
- Cheesy Pull-Apart Pesto Bread
- Saucy Beans with Beef and Bacon
- Delta Cornbread Salad
Printable Fool-Proof Prime Rib Recipe
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. 8-10 lbs., room temperature
- 1 Tbs. granulated garlic
- 1 Tbs. granulated onion
- 1 Tbs. freshly ground black pepper may add some peppercorns to the mix, as well, if desired
- 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
- 4-5 hours prior to cooking the prime rib roast, remove it from refrigeration; unwrap the roast from all packaging. Combine the granulated garlic, granulated onion, and black pepper with the seasoned salt in a small bowl. Using your fingertips, rub spice blend over every area of the roast.Let the rib roast rest on the counter to remove the chill from the roast. PLEASE DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP - IT IS ESSENTIAL FOR THE SUCCESS OF THE CLOSED-OVEN METHOD FOR COOKING PRIME RIB IN THIS RECIPE.
- When you are ready to cook the prime rib roast, pre-heat the oven to 500 degrees F., placing your oven rack into the lower third of the oven.
- Place the seasoned roast, fat side up, onto a roasting rack in your roasting pan. *Note - I usually make an roasting rack by placing whole ribs of celery and whole carrots side-by-side across the bottom of the roast pan - this works just great. If you don't own a roasting pan, you can also use a very large cast iron skillet, depending on the size of your roast. Or, you can even turn a rimmed baking sheet into a roasting pan, if needed.
- Place the prepared rib roast into the preheated 500 degree F oven, uncovered, and cook for 6 minutes per pound for medium rare. (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 turn your oven temperature down to the lowest setting, which for most ovens is 170 degrees F. 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 the 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 a few more degrees to the desired temperature.
- Snip the strings that are holding the bone rack to the prime rib roast. Using big forks, lift the prime rib roast from the rib rack and the roasting pan, placing it onto a large 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.
More Delicious Meat Recipes to Enjoy –
- How to Make Tender and Juicy Smoked Beef Tri-Tip….That Slices into Slabs of Steak!
- Instant Pot Beef Barbacoa with Fresh Corn Salsa
- Maple Pecan Glazed Ham
- Country-Fried Steak Fingers with Cream Gravy
- Instant Pot Hot Beef Sandwiches with Brown Gravy….Just Like Grandma Made
- Instant Pot Easy Swiss Steak
- How to Cook Eye of Round Roast Beef
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