A browned, crunchy exterior with a soft pink inside, this is the perfect Prime Rib to cook this holiday season. Taking minimal time to prep, and a mostly set-it and forget-it recipe, your guests will marvel at the extravagance. We can keep the simplicity our little secret.
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What is more traditional at the holiday season than Prime Rib? Okay, now granted for my family Spiral Ham has always been the Christmas tradition but I know there are some classy (or just curious) folks out there going for the prime rib this year. It’s been a rough few years and this year people are finally feeling safe enough to get together in big ways. So why not go all out with a decadent piece of beef? I tried this recipe in a few ways (yes I spent the money) so I could be sure to give you the easiest and most delicious option out there. This cut of meat isn’t cheap, so let’s make sure it comes out perfect! No need to call for Chinese take-out this year!
How to Cook Prime Rib
There are multiple ways and versions for cooking prime rib, which can be a bit daunting. It’s an expensive cut of meat and certainly one you do not want to mess up. So I’ve taken to the webs for you, to research and compile the best way to cook prime rib. And here is the process I’ve landed on in the most basic of explanation (more detail below).
- Purchase a Standing Rib Roast as Choice or Prime, boneless but tied back on with twine.
- Bring Prime Rib to room temperature for at least 6 hours.
- Pat dry with towel and cover with butter, herbs, salt, and pepper.
- Bake in an 8 quart Dutch oven at 500F for 5 minutes per pound.
- Turn off oven and allow to rest for 2 hours in the oven.
- Slice, serve, and prepare a hot au jus or horseradish sauce.
Tips for the Perfect Prime Rib Roast
Preheat the oven to 500F. Season the room temperature meat really well. Place the roast fat side up, in the Dutch oven, leaving the twine on. Place on the center rack, uncovered according to the time based on the size of prime rib. See notes below. Set the timer, adding an extra minute for your oven to get back up to temperature. Let it cook.
At the end of the timer, DO NOT open the oven for any reason, but turn off the oven! Allow it to rest in the oven and it will continue to cook for 2 hours. Remove from the oven and set on a cutting board. Cut the twine, remove the ribs, and cut into portions to serve. Note that you do not need to let it rest again before cutting. It’s already been resting and redistributing the juices for two hours. The prime rib will be nice and warm. For best results during serving, serve on warm plates with a hot au jus.
Benefits to cooking with this method is getting both the high heat and the low and slow cooking method in one. The high heat on the initial will render the fat and create a crispy outside texture. While allowing to cook for a continued 2 hours “low and slow” will give you the tender, juicy, fall apart texture we want on the inside.
Room Temperature Meat
If you do nothing else, do yourself this favor – leave the meat out a long time to get to room temperature. The minimum is 6 hours, but you can wait longer. This ensures that the center of the meat isn’t cold. Cold meat vs. room temperature meat is going to cook differently and at different rates of time. You want a rare to medium-rare middle on this roast, not raw. And no, room temperature is not the same as refrigerated. Placing a cold piece of prime rib into a hot oven will bring down the temperature of the oven resulting in an uneven cooking process as well as mess with your time. Also, make sure to dry your prime rib with a paper towel on all sides to help it dry and cook evenly.
Prime Rib Seasoning
You want to over season your prime rib, but not in the way you would expect. Being such an expensive and delicate cut of meat, you really don’t need to go crazy with the type of spices. Butter, salt, pepper, and some herbs if you would like. But you could use just salt and pepper. Either way, as the saying goes, you want to season your prime rib with twice as much seasoning as you think it needs. Remember that the seasoning will only be on the outside, it does not pernitrate the meat. So even “over seasoning” the meat, each person will only get a fraction of what you put on since it’s just on the outside and much of it ends up in the drippings below.
Pro Tip: Use a coarse sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Both of these seasonings are the best of their kind. Again, when working with an expensive cut of meat, use the best you have in both taste and quality.
Buy Bone-in Prime Rib
Buying bone-in prime rib is not as scary as you would think, and I have a great hack for you. Prime rib cooked with the bone produces a more tender and better insulated cut of meat than that without the bone. You will also get the added benefits of collagen from the bones. You can remove the bones after cooking, broil, and serve the same way as a rack of ribs, or throw into a pot and make beef stock. I opt for the later and then can the beef stock.
Buying from the Butcher Tip
Tell the butcher you would like to buy bone-in prime rib, but would like the bones trimmed and twined back onto the roast. This gives you all the added benefits of the bone-in prime rib, while making it super easy to remove once the roast has been cooked.
What is the difference between Prime and Choice?
All prime or choice rib is technically a standing rib roast. Our grocery store only had choice, not prime. So that’s what I needed to go for. The price tag surely still hit like a prime cut of meat though. Some will say, if given the option to choose between the two, to get prime. Since you’re already spending the money anyhow, go big or go home. I’m of the school of thought that you get the best you can with what you have. This will take a bit of math. Figure out how much you need for your crowd and if you’re wanting leftovers. If purchasing choice will extend the amount of meat you get based on your needs, then go choice. If you’re looking for the ultimate in intimate dining for just two, then splurging on the prime cut will certainly be an act of love.
How long to cook prime rib?
If using the method I’ve listed above, it will be 5 minutes for every pound. Use a calculator to do this as you want to be exact. Then, round up to the nearest minute. For example, my roast was 8.95 pounds. Multiply that by 5 minutes per pound and you get 44.75. So the cook time is going to be 45 minutes. Regardless of the cook time, you want the rest time in the oven to be 2 hours. The finished prime rib internal temperature should be between 120-140F. You do not want to overcook this meat. Rare to Medium-Rare is the way it’s meant to be served.
How much prime rib per person?
You will want a pound per person, if going boneless, or figure 1 bone per 2 people for bone-in.
How to carve prime rib?
Once the prime rib is cooked, you’ll cut the twine and remove the ribs that your butcher pre-sliced for you. If you skipped this step, take a sharp knife, lay the meat on its side and cut in-between the bones and the meat, cutting the bones off in one large chunk. Flip the roast back over to fat side up and cut into thick slices of 1/2 to 1 inch in thickness. Otherwise it will just fall apart like a pulled pork.
What to serve with prime rib?
We have plenty of side dish ideas listed for you below. But an absolute must for any Prime Rib is a sauce. Traditionally this would be an au jus sauce or a horseradish cream. Both are delectable. Serve both quickly and easily to give your guests a choice. See the recipe card for instructions.
The Easiest & Best Prime Rib Recipe
- 8 quart dutch oven
- mixing bowl
- Cutting board
- meat thermometer
- 9 pound prime rib or choice
- 1 cup butter
- 1/2 cup sea salt
- 1/4 cup freshly ground pepper
- 3 Tablespoons pan drippings
- 2 Tablespoons flour
- 1 cup red wine
- 2 cups beef broth
- Allow the prime rib roast to come to room temperature, about 6 hours. Dry with paper towels as needed. Preheat the oven to 500F.
- In a mixing bowl, cream room temperature butter. Slather all over the prime rib, including the bottom. Dust on all sides with salt and pepper.
- Place into a Dutch oven. Bake at 500F for 5 minutes per pound, plus 2 minutes.*
- Turn off the oven but do not open the door. Allow to stand for 2 hours undisturbed.
- Remove from oven to cutting board or carving station. Remove the twine, rack of ribs, and carve into about 1/4-1/2 inch thick slices. Reserve 3 Tablespoons of the drippings from the Dutch oven to prepare an au jus.
Pan Dripping Au Jus
- To the Dutch oven add the reserved pan drippings, red wine, flour, and beef broth. Whisk together about 5 minutes. Serve hot with prime rib.
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