How to Cook Prime Rib: Tips, Recipes and More

How to Cook Prime Rib: Tips, Recipes and More

Publish Date October 17, 2023 8 Minute Read

How to Cook Prime Rib

Whether impressing your date or hosting a holiday dinner, prime rib makes a striking centerpiece at any table. Cut from the back of the upper ribs of the cow and beautifully marbled with fat, this spectacular cut of meat is rich, juicy and tender. Though many wait until they’re at their favorite steakhouse to order it, prime rib is surprisingly easy to make at home! We’ve put together some tips that’ll help you learn how to cook prime rib, plus a few beef and prime rib recipes to get you started.

How to Cook Prime Rib

Learn how to cook our Prime Rib Roast recipe and impress your guests this Holiday season.

How Many Pounds of Prime Rib Do You Need?

A full rack of prime ribs includes seven ribs, which easily serves 14 to 16 people, though you’re not obligated to buy that much every time. How much prime rib you’ll need per person depends on what other food is being served, but you can estimate that you’ll need one rib for every two people. If there are a lot of sides or other foods being served, three people per rib is probably fine.

Prime Rib Seasoning Ideas

To give your meat extra flavor, generously sprinkle it with a seasoning blend at least 2 hours prior to cooking. Here are a few simple combinations that we love to use:

  • Salt and Pepper: ¼ cup salt + ¼ cup black pepper
  • Sweet and Spicy: 2 tablespoons salt + 2 tablespoons black pepper + 1 tablespoon dried oregano + 1 teaspoon paprika + 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • Herb-Crusted: 2 tablespoons salt + 2 tablespoons black pepper + 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • + 2 tablespoons herbes de Provence
  • Zesty: 2 tablespoons salt + 2 tablespoons black pepper + 1 tablespoon dry mustard + 1 tablespoon dried thyme + zest of 2 lemons

How to Cook Prime Rib

How long to cook a prime rib depends on how rare or well-done you want the meat. Follow this simple prime rib temperature chart for measuring doneness:

  • Rare: cook until internal temperature reaches 120-125°F (about 10-12 minutes per pound)
  • Medium-rare: cook until internal temperature reaches 130-135°F (about 13-14 minutes per pound)
  • Medium: cook until internal temperature reaches 135-140°F (about 14-15 minutes per pound)
  • Medium-well: cook until internal temperature reaches 145°F (about 15-16 minutes per pound)

The meat will continue to cook once it’s removed from the oven, so take the prime rib out when it’s 5-10 degrees below its desired final temperature. Use a meat thermometer to ensure optimal doneness.

Prime Rib Recipes

Is your stomach growling yet? Learn how to cook a prime rib roast with these delicious yet simple recipes.

For more meal inspiration, visit our blog, The Fresh Lane.

Tips For a Boast-worthy Roast

Whether you’ve finally found the best prime rib recipe, or you’re figuring things out as you go, some of the most important steps to achieving a delicious prime rib roast are taken before the oven’s even hot. Marinating and searing your prime rib, also called a whole standing rib roast, are essential steps to cooking a restaurant-worthy roast.

Make a Marinade

Choose 1 of the spice mixes listed above or create your own. Generously apply it all over the prime rib, then refrigerate your roast for up to 24 hours. The salt in the spice mixes will infuse your dish with flavor while helping to tenderize it. The longer it’s left on, the more flavorful and tender your prime rib will be.

Get the Perfect Sear

For a perfect sear, you’ll want to have a hot skillet ready for your chilled prime rib. Remove your prime rib from the refrigerator and immediately place it in the hot pan. This will help you sear just the surface of the meat, locking in flavor and moisture, without cooking it through. Sear for around 2 minutes on each side and on the ends, until a dark brown crust forms.

Be Mindful of Timing and Temperature

Prime rib is known for its soft, tender texture. Preserving this quality through the roasting process requires attention to detail, but your reward will be a juicy roast that wows your guests. Here are a few tips for a perfect roast:

Use a Meat Thermometer

The best way to get a perfect result every time is to use a meat thermometer. Because every oven is different, the cook time and temperature required to achieve the perfect prime rib roast will vary from kitchen to kitchen. Using a meat thermometer is the most precise way to determine the doneness of your dish.

Let it Rest

Because meat continues to cook even after you’ve removed it from the heat source, you should plan to take it out before it’s reached the desired internal temperature. When the meat thermometer shows that the internal temperature is about 5-10° less than your ideal internal temperature, depending on your preferences, remove the roast from the heat. Continue to monitor its temperature while it rests. Keep in mind, the minimum internal temperature for a safe roast is 120°F.

Let it Rest Some More

Yes, it rested for a bit while it came up to temperature, but let it rest longer. To preserve the juiciness of your prime rib, you’ll want to give it time before cutting into it. This will allow moisture to be reabsorbed by the roast, rather than being lost to your carving board. After about 15-20 minutes of rest time, it’ll be ready to carve.

Choose the Right Knife

The right kind of knife makes slicing the meat an easy process. A carving knife is the best choice for not only prime rib, but turkeys, ham and many other large cuts of meat. Be sure that your knife is sharp before making the first cut.

Get to Carving

For the most tender slices, you’ll want to cut against the grain. To find the grain, look for the lines that run along the cut of meat, then slice in the opposite direction.

Prime rib is an elegant option for any occasion, and when cooked with care, it’s always sure to impress your guests. With a little know-how, you can boast about your roast every time.

Sides to Pair with Roast