This Classic Prime Rib Roast is a popular holiday dinner request. This prime rib roast recipe is foolproof and cooks perfectly every time!

My easy tried and true recipe results in a tender prime rib that will have your family or dinner guests swooning. Cooking Prime Rib is not difficult, so give it a try!!

Classic Prime Rib slices next to the roast on a white platter with rosemary and persimmon garnishes

Classic Prime Rib Roast Recipe

I typically serve a Christmas Roast for the holidays. It’s a perfect celebratory entree. The price tag is high, so it’s important not to accidentally overcook your beef!

Some years, I whip up Yorkshire puddings to accompany them, but simple mashed potatoes sufficed in 2014. My family loves their beef quite rare, so a meat thermometer is imperative for proper cooking.

Cooking prime rib requires a little advance prep—nothing challenging, but you need to have your roast defrosted at least 24 hours ahead of your serving time. The top layer of fat must be scored and the whole slab of meat rubbed with kosher salt and left to air age in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.

But most important is to buy a really good piece of beef. You cannot go wrong with a beautiful Prime Rib. Buy it from a reputable butcher, and look for nice marbling of the beef. Between having the top of the line brand of beef and a meat thermometer, you’ll be able to create a restaurant-worthy meal at home!

Overhead view of a Classic Prime Rib, partially sliced, garnished with fresh herbs and fruit

How to Cook a Prime Rib Roast

The low and slow method of cooking prime rib ensures a nice rare middle and very little grayish perimeter that comes from higher heat. A short broiling time at the end of the roasting time takes care of crisping and browning the top layer of fat.

  • PRO-Tip: For the best flavor, dry brine your roast 1-3 days ahead of when you plan to serve it.
  • Dry brining involves seasoning your roast with kosher salt, and leaving it open to the air in the refrigerator. The salt will penetrate and flavor the beef by osmosis while tenderizing by breaking down some of the proteins. A super easy process that takes only minutes to do!
  • If your fat cap is thick, consider scoring the fat, by cutting a shallow crosshatch pattern into the fat. Do not cut into the meat, but just the fat
  • Before roasting, sear the exterior in hot oil to bring some color to the exterior. No one wants a gray roast!
  • Start your roast at 200º and cook for 3-4 hours until a meat thermometer registers 110º.
  • After the roast reaches 11oº, turn off the oven and let the roast slowly come up to 120º for rare.
  • PRO-Tip: Use a meat thermometer to monitor the internal temperature.
  • Then remove the roast from the oven, cover with foil and let the juices redistribute for about 30 minutes.
  • Then turn on the broiler and give your roast some time, watching carefully, to brown.
  • Never leave the roast unattended under the broiler as you don’t want this classic prime rib to burn.

Once again, the family gave their seal of approval to this spectacular holiday entree. Try this Prime Rib Roast Recipe for your next special occasion!

Classic Prime Rib roast on a cutting board

What Is Prime Rib?

Prime rib or standing rib roast is where rib-eye steaks originate. The ribeye steak is cut, then cooked where a prime rib roast is cooked whole. They both come from the same primal cut of beef. 

How to Select a Prime Rib

When you purchase a prime rib, select the number of ribs you’d like depending on how many you need to serve. The size can range from 2 to 7 ribs. Generally, purchase 2 ribs per serving

Though the name of this cut suggests the beef is “prime” or the highest quality of beef, this isn’t so. If you want a prime cut of prime rib, it will be the top of the line. Note that it also will be very expensive, so you may need to reserve a prime prime rib for very special occasions, like Christmas.

A 3 rib prime rib cut from the loin end, also called the small end or first cut, is the best of the best. According to Cook’s Illustrated, this cut contains  the “large, single rib-eye muscle, which is uniform and tender.” This is from ribs 10-12.

How to Reheat Prime Rib

The last thing you should do is microwave your perfectly rare leftover prime rib. You’re certain to overcook it! Instead, preheat your oven to 250 degrees, place slices of prime rib in a baking pan along with a little broth, cover with foil and let the beef warm for about 10 minutes.

Slice of rare Classic Prime Rib on a white plate

More Holiday Roast Recipes:


Classic Prime Rib-Perfect roasting technique for rare prime rib

Classic Prime Rib

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 10 minutes
Yield 8

A simple yet, outstanding recipe for prime rib adapted from Cook's Illustrated


  • 6-pound Certified Angus Beef® Brand prime rib roast (ribs removed)
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Oil, to sear roast


  1. One to 3 days before serving, cut slits into fat on top of the roast in a crosshatch pattern. Rub salt all over the roast, and refrigerate uncovered.
  2. On serving day, preheat oven to 200º F. Sear roast in a roaster in a small amount of oil, a couple minutes on each side. Place rack into the roaster, and set beef on a rack. Place in oven and insert a meat thermometer into the center of the roast. Cook for 3-4 hours till meat thermometer registers 110º. Turn oven off and let rest for about 30 minutes without opening the oven door. Remove when internal temperature reaches about 120º for rare.
  3. Cover roast with foil and wait at least 10 and up to 30 minutes to let juices redistribute.
  4. Uncover, and place under broiler and broil till top is browned and crispy, watching carefully to prevent burning.
  5. To serve, cut meat into slices. Season with additional salt if necessary.


Feel free to cut some slits in the top of the roast and insert some slices of garlic before roasting. Or sprinkle with garlic powder.

Note that total time does not include dry brining time.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1074Total Fat: 74gSaturated Fat: 29gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 35gCholesterol: 318mgSodium: 1813mgCarbohydrates: 0gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 96g

Calories include all visible fat.


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