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Not sure how to cook prime rib? This roasted prime rib recipe is a delicious and special treat that makes the perfect Christmas dinner — or just a fancy dinner for a special event. While cooking prime rib roast may seem like a daunting task, it’s actually quite simple. The key is selecting the perfect cut of meat, seasoning it to perfection, and nailing the cook time (much like boneless leg of lamb).
The garlic butter seasoning makes this the best prime rib roast recipe ever in my book. It’s a type of compound butter that locks in moisture (read: juicy and tender result!) and creates a savory, garlicky flavor. You can also double or triple the compound butter and save it for serving with reverse sear steak or grilled sirloin steak, or use it in recipes like baked chicken thighs and spatchcock chicken.
What Is Prime Rib?
Prime rib is a standing roast beef made from the primal cut of the beef rib. It is well-marbled, meaning it has a higher fat content than other cuts of beef, which makes it juicy and flavorful. Slices of prime rib make ribeye steaks.
The “prime” in prime rib is a grade that is given to meat. The USDA inspectors give grades (prime, choice, select) based on the amount of fat (marbling) and the age of the cow.
Why You’ll Love This Prime Rib Recipe
- Slow roasting makes a perfectly tender and juicy every time
- Starting at high heat creates a golden brown crust
- Savory, garlicky flavor
- Simple ingredients
- Easy 5-minute prep
- Perfect for special occasions
Ingredients & Substitutions
This section explains how to choose the best ingredients for roasted prime rib, what each one does in the recipe, and substitution options. For measurements, see the recipe card below.
Selecting The Prime Rib Roast:
Whenever possible, a bone-in rib roast (sometimes called a standing rib roast) is preferred over a boneless one. Unlike some other cuts of meat, the bones are very easy to remove and result in a much tastier, juicier prime rib recipe for the following reasons:
- The prime rib roast is less likely to dry out. The fat and connective tissue around the bones will break down as the roast cooks, locking in moisture.
- Additional flavor from the bone marrow. Some of the flavor from the bones can actually transfer to the meat as it cooks.
- Bones allow the meat to cook more evenly. Large cuts of meat, such as rib roast, are prone to cooking unevenly since the outside will reach a given temperature sooner than the inside. Bones slow down this process, resulting in more even cooking.
Prime Rib Seasoning:
- Sea Salt – Salt helps to break down the lean muscle proteins in the meat to make it juicier and more tender… and of course adds flavor, too. I always use sea salt in my recipes, but kosher salt will work as well.
- Black Pepper – Use high quality black pepper for the best flavor.
- Unsalted Butter – I like to use unsalted butter so that I can control the amount of salt, but you could also use salted and reduce the salt added separately by 1/4 teaspoon. Melt the butter in the microwave or on the stovetop right before using.
- Italian Seasoning – I used my homemade Italian seasoning mix, but store-bought mixes work as well. You could use dried herbs on their own, like thyme and rosemary, if you prefer. If you opt for fresh herbs instead of dried, triple the amount. Or, try my homemade Texas brisket seasoning instead.
- Garlic – I prefer fresh minced garlic for the best flavor, but you could use jarred minced garlic for convenience. If you choose jarred, use 5-6 teaspoons.
How To Cook A Prime Rib Roast
This section shows how to cook prime rib roast in the oven, with step-by-step photos and details about the technique, to help you visualize it. For full instructions, including amounts and temperatures, see the recipe card below.
- Tie. If your roast is not already tied, tie it tightly with kitchen twine. Your butcher can often do this for you if you ask. If you need to learn how to do it yourself, check my beef tenderloin recipe for a visual. The process is very similar, except there is no tucking involved.
- Dry. Pat the roast dry with paper towels.
- Season. Place the prime rib roast, fatty side up, onto a roasting pan fitted with a roasting rack. Season liberally with sea salt and black pepper. Let it come to room temperature.
- Preheat. Before continuing with the prime rib roast recipe, preheat the oven.
- Stir. In a small bowl, stir together the melted butter, Italian seasoning, and minced garlic.
- Brush. Pour the mixture over the prime rib and use a basting brush to spread evenly.
- Roast. Cook prime rib in the oven, until the garlic on top is dark golden brown, but not burnt. Tent the top of the prime rib with foil. Reduce oven temperature and continue roasting until the prime rib reaches your desired internal temperature with a meat thermometer. (See the chart below for recommended times.)
- Rest. Remove the prime rib from the oven. Rest for 20 minutes before carving.
What Is The Right Prime Rib Temperature?
The ideal prime rib internal temperature is medium rare (135 degrees F), though some people prefer rare (125 degrees F) or medium (145 degrees F). However, because the temperature continues to rise when the meat rests after removing from the oven, stop cooking when the prime rib roast is 10 degrees below the doneness you want. Remove from the oven when it reaches 115 degrees F for rare, 125 degrees F for medium rare prime rib, or 135 degrees F for medium.
I don’t recommend cooking prime rib any further than medium, but if you like yours more medium-well, go ahead and cook it to suit your preference.
To achieve get a perfect brown crust but avoid burning, we use two different oven temperatures to cook this prime rib recipe:
- We start cooking prime rib at 450 degrees F, for about 20-30 minutes.
- Once the garlic is golden brown and the meat has browned, lower the temperature to 350 degrees F for the remaining cooking time.
How Long To Cook Prime Rib Roast?
When cooking prime rib, the time will vary depending on the size of the roast. To cook an 8-pound roast to medium rare, you will need to cook it for 20-30 minutes at 450 degrees, followed by 60-70 minutes at 350 degrees.
Even though cooking time for a perfect prime rib will depend on the weight and size of the prime rib roast, as well as how done you want your meat, I have some estimates here for you:
|Prime Rib Temperature||Minutes At 450°F (Step 1)||Then Minutes At 350°F (Step 2)|
|Rare||20-30 minutes||55-65 minutes|
|Medium Rare||20-30 minutes||60-70 minutes|
|Medium||20-30 minutes||65-80 minutes|
Important: The above meat temperatures are not final temperatures, just the temperature to reach in the oven. Internal temperature will rise another 20 degrees while the meat rests!
If your roast is a different size, it’s easy to adjust the prime rib cook time. To do this, multiply the actual weight by 15 (minutes per pound) and divide that number by 60 to get your approximate cooking time. Then, subtract the 20-30 minutes cooking time at 450 degrees F to get the remaining cook time. (If you don’t want to do math, just use a probe thermometer and it will beep when the right internal temperature is reached!)
Tips For The Best Prime Rib Recipe
Baking perfect prime rib is easy! When cooking bone-in prime rib, you want to pay attention to a few things:
- Tie the roast. This will ensure that your roast doesn’t spread, so it looks beautiful, but also the texture will be better.
- Don’t let your garlic burn. After the garlic is golden brown, it’s time to tent the prime rib. This is the best way to cook prime rib as it allows the meat to get nice and browned, but not burnt.
- Use a thermometer. When cooking prime rib roast in the oven, use a probe meat thermometer to track the internal temperature of the meat. This will vary based on oven temps and roast size, so it’s important to use a meat thermometer.
- Resting the meat is crucial (NOT optional!). Not only does resting the meat make it juicy, but it also allows the internal temperature to rise sufficiently.
How To Carve Prime Rib
I’ll admit, carving this bone-in prime rib recipe was a bit intimidating… but it’s actually not that difficult!
- Remove ribs. Stand the roast upright and cut between the bones and the meat.
- Slice. Slice the meat into thin, even slices. Try not to saw back and forth, so that the meat isn’t torn. Admittedly, I am not an expert at thinly slicing prime rib (much better at cooking it than slicing it, ha!), so let me know in the comments if you have a better way.
TIP: Only carve what you will eat right away.
If you have leftovers, keep the roast intact to keep the meat from drying out.
- Store: Wrap meat tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Use leftovers in a spicy Thai beef salad or make a delicious prime rib sandwich with keto 90 second bread.
- Freeze: Cover tightly in freezer-safe wrap and store in the freezer for up to 6 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.
How To Reheat Prime Rib
The best way to reheat prime rib is low and slow, so that you don’t dry out the meat. Place it in a roasting pan with saved juices from the pan (or beef broth) at the bottom, and cover with foil — this will keep the meat juicy. For slices of prime rib, reheat at 250 degrees F. For the whole roast, reheat at 350 degrees F. Check on it every 10 minutes and remove once it’s warm.
What To Serve With Prime Rib Recipes
Now that you know how to make slow-roasted prime rib recipe, it’s time to make some sides. Here are a few of my favorite side dishes:
- Vegetables – Since prime rib is such a classy entree, it pairs well with other elegant vegetable sides like roasted asparagus, creamed spinach, or crispy smashed brussels sprouts.
- Potatoes – Oven roasted potatoes or roasted sweet potatoes would make a nice complement. For lighter options, try mashed cauliflower or roasted rutabaga.
- Mushrooms – Mushrooms and prime rib recipes make the best duo! Make oven roasted mushrooms or garlic sauteed mushrooms.
- Salads – For a quick and easy side, you can’t go wrong with a spring mix salad, wedge salad, or 7 layer salad.
- Sauces – Au jus from the pan or horseradish sauce are popular options.
More Special Occasion Recipes
It’s always nice to have a few special occasion recipes, like this roasted prime rib, up your sleeve. They’re the ones you can pull out when you want to make something extra-special for a birthday, anniversary, or holiday dinner. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Roasting Pan & Rack – This set will fit a garlic prime rib perfectly. You could even use if for Thanksgiving turkey! Get one like mine on Amazon or at Target.
- Thermometer – The best way to make sure prime rib is perfectly cooked is to check the internal temperature. Get the best meat thermometer at Amazon or at Target.
- Probe Thermometer – Skip the fuss of checking on your roast… this thermometer will beep when it’s done!
Roasted Prime Rib Recipe
Prime Rib Roast Recipe (With Garlic Butter!)
Learn how to cook roasted prime rib perfectly every time! This prime rib roast recipe is melt-in-your-mouth tender, with just 10-minute prep.
Tap underlined ingredients to see where to get them. Please turn Safari reader mode OFF to view ingredients.
Tap on the times in the instructions below to start a kitchen timer while you cook.
If your roast is not already tied (the butcher can usually do this for you), tie it tightly with kitchen twine. (This will prevent the meat from spreading as it cooks.)
Pat the roast dry with paper towels.
Place the prime rib, fatty side up, onto a roasting pan fitted with a roasting rack. Season liberally with sea salt and black pepper. Let it rest come to room temperature for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F (232 degrees C).
In a small bowl, stir together the butter, Italian seasoning, and minced garlic. Pour the mixture over the prime rib and use a basting brush to spread evenly.
Roast the prime rib in the oven, uncovered, for 20 to 30 minutes, until the garlic on top is dark golden brown, but not burnt. Tent the top of the prime rib with foil. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F (176 degrees C) and continue roasting until the prime rib reaches your desired internal temperature:
* 110 F (43 C) for rare – approximately 55 to 65 minutes
* 115 F (46 C) for medium rare – approximately 60 to 70 minutes
* 125 F (51 C) for medium – approximately 65 to 80 minutes
For medium rare, it will take approximately an additional 8 to 9 minutes per pound of meat, at 350 degrees F (176 degrees C), after the initial high-temp roast at 450 degrees F (232 degrees C). The above meat temperatures are not final temperatures, just the temperature to reach in the oven. Internal temperature will rise another 10 degrees in the next step.
Remove the prime rib from the oven. Let it rest for an additional 20 minutes before carving, to come up to the right temperature and finish cooking.
Last Step: Leave A Rating!
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Serving size: ~6.5 ounces, or approximately 1/20 of entire roast
Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy. Have questions about calculations or why you got a different result? Please see our nutrition policy.
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All I had on hand was salted butter, but it still turned out perfectly. Love the flavor of the garlic!
Such a fabulous recipe- it comes out perfect every time. Thank you so much!
Journa Liz Ramirez0
This prime rib roast makes an excellent dinner! It is a hit, my family loves it. We’ll surely have this on repeat. Thanks Maya for this wonderful recipe!
Easy and delicious!
OMG, this prime rib was excellent for our Christmas dinner, and my family just love it! Only concern that I had was that it took longer than I had expected, but it came out a beautiful medium rare! Will definitely do it again when I can fine an excellent price like I did.
Oh my! This dish came out amazing! So juicy and tender. Loved it so much! I’ll do this again when my parents come over. Recommended!
This roast turned out so delicious and juicy. My family loved it and we’ll definitely be making it again!
Easy to make and very delicious!
What temperature will the prime rib be if you want well done?
Wholesome Yum D0
Hi Barbara, Well done would be around 145-150 degrees.
Do you have a cooking chart for a smaller or larger Prime Rib?
I am going to do a practice run with an almost 6lb roast (with bone) and want to know how to adjust the cooking time and temperatures. Or do you have a chart?
Super excited to try your recipe.
Thanks so much! ❤️
Wholesome Yum D0
Hi Diana, For medium rare, it will take approximately an additional 8 to 9 minutes per pound of meat, at 350 degrees F after the initial high-temp roast at 450 degrees F.
I love Prime Rib for Christmas. So Easy to put this dinner together. I used the closed oven method to cook mine. Perfection everytime.
When roasting the prime rib, do we turn the heat from 450 to 350 and let the temperature come down over several minutes. Or, is it preferable to preheat a separate oven (if we have one) to 350 so that we can transfer it immediately?
Wholesome Yum D0
Hi Lance, There is no need to use a second oven for this recipe.
Great recipe..easy to follow instructions. My garlic n butter prime rib turned out fantastic!
Cynthia L. Whittingslow0
Excellent–was told by my Son, Jim in CT of recipe. He uses it all the time and this is my 2nd time to use it and we love it here in TX. Many thanks.
KENNETH FRINO JR0
Can you substitute a prime rib without the bone in?
Wholesome Yum M0
Hi Kenneth, Yes you can! The cook times will be significantly less, so be sure to use a thermometer and check often.
is it ok to do the butter rub the day before, i did the kosher salt and now i’m wondering if it’s best to do the garlic butter on top then put in frig today as this is our turkey,LOL!
Wholesome Yum M0
Hi Michele, Yes that’s fine.
Where is your cooking time per pound chart
Wholesome Yum M0
Hi Cindy, The chart is roughly halfway down the page. Times are based off of an 8lb prime rib roast.
I don’t remember ever having prime rib! I’d love to try it.
This is really amazing!! Really impressive for the holidays!
This garlic butter prime rib looks AMAZING! This would make a wonderful holiday dinner.
Wow that is one gorgeous perfectly cooked roast. Someone in your home was very lucky the day you made this delicious meal!
If you want to really impress your holiday guests then make this prime rib. It will have people talking for months.
I swear, my husband was drooling over my shoulder when I read the recipe instructions, lol! He’s a huge fan of this garlic butter prime rib!
This looks sooo good and full of flavor. I love garlic butter and can’t wait to make this for the holidays!
That is the most gorgeous prime rib I’ve ever seen! With your tips and expert instructions, I am confident enough to try this for the holidays! It looks amazing!