Do your taste buds love a rich cut of meat roasted to juicy perfection? Have you ordered prime rib at a restaurant before, but feel intimidated to make it on your own at home? Learning how to cook prime rib is far simpler than you might imagine. It merely requires time, the right ingredients, and some roasting prowess to prepare the cut to your heart’s delight. Don’t worry if roasting meat is not your forte. By the end of our step-by-step guide, we will have you preparing prime rib like a restaurant pro.

What Is Prime Rib?


beef sliced with potato and green vegetables in a white plate

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The first thing you need to know is that prime rib is one of the gold standards for meat. When cooked correctly, it is infinitely tender and carries a full spectrum of flavors, making it a family favorite for holiday dinners and other special gatherings. Prime rib is the meat taken from the rib area of a cow.The section of meat surrounding the ribs is ultra tender and surrounded by fat, which explains its juicy texture when cooked. The fat found throughout prime rib is known as marbling, and it bears a striped white appearance. When learning how to cook prime rib, it is important to know the meat itself bears so much flavor that it does not require any marinating before roasting.

Cut Matters

chef cutting the cooked prime ribs

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An essential element of learning how to cook prime rib is selecting the cut of meat you will enjoy. The best cut is the bone-in beef. This is because the bones regulate the temperature of the prime rib while it roasts, making sure it does not elevate too fast. If your meat becomes heated too quickly, this can reduce the juicy nature of the prime rib and leave it too dry.Choosing a bone-in cut will help ensure that the final result is full of an assortment of tasty juices that moisturize and flavor your meat. If you purchase a cut that has twine in it, leave the twine in during the cooking process. The twine serves as a way to keep the ribs connected to the body of the meat. You can easily cut the twine away after roasting your prime rib and before serving.

​Ingredients, Equipment, and Supplies

​Select Your Pan

​Our first step in learning how to cook prime rib is to select the pan you will roast it in. It is best to choose a large roasting pan, but if you have a 13×9″ baking dish, that will suffice as well. In this recipe, you will use an assortment of vegetables to roast on the bottom, including onions, celery, and carrots.If you select a 13×9″ dish, make sure you keep your vegetables on the bottom and place the prime rib to roast on the top. By cooking them below the meat, they will roast slowly and create a delightful sauce made from the prime rib drippings.

​Gather Your Ingredients

​Along those lines, it is time to gather your ingredients for how to cook prime rib. Start by selecting 1 large shallot, chopped into coarse pieces. You will also need to quarter 6 cloves of garlic and measure out 2 tablespoons of olive oil.Take out 1 bone-in prime rib roast that has been thawed to room temperature. A 4-pound roast is best. For that extra flavor and secret sauce we mentioned, chop up 1 onion, some carrots, and celery to your taste. Make sure you also have a food processor and a meat thermometer on hand.

​Grab Some Seasonings

For your seasonings, you will want to use them in abundance when learning how to cook prime rib. A piece of prime rib is very large, so you can add as much seasoning and spicy flavor as you like. For this recipe, we would advise that you have 3 tablespoons of fresh rosemary minced or 1 tablespoon of rosemary dried and 2 tablespoons of fresh oregano minced or 2 teaspoons of oregano dried.You will also need 2 tablespoons of fresh thyme minced or 2 teaspoons of thyme dried and 2 tablespoons of fresh sage minced or 2 teaspoons of rubbed sage. For some extra flavor, or if the spice profile above is not to your liking, grab 3 teaspoons of pepper and 1 teaspoon of salt.

​How to Cook Prime Rib

Cooking Time

A question that often arises when learning how to cook prime rib is what the cooking time is. In general, you should plan for a cooking time of around 15 to 20 minutes for every pound. Remember that your prime rib will still cook even after you take it out of the oven. For a roast of 4 to 5 pounds like the one you will cook today, it should be done after about 1 hour and 30 minutes or a little longer, depending on your oven.If you want to cook your meat to medium-rare, keep your oven at 135 degrees. Turn your oven to 140 degrees for medium-done meat. If you want your prime rib roasted to medium-well or well, keep your oven at a temperature of around 145 degrees.

​Cooking to Medium Rare

Most people prefer to enjoy prime rib at a medium rare level of doneness, to allow the full spectrum of flavors and juices to seep through. At medium rare, the meat will still have redness at the center warm with moisture.

​Season Away

The first step in learning how to cook prime rib is to season your meat. Have your oven preheated to 350 degrees while you season away. Start by putting your coarsely chopped shallot, garlic, and herbs in the food processor. Cover the machine and pulse those ingredients until they reach a fine consistency.Next, add your olive oil, salt, and pepper into the mix and pulse again until everything is well blended. The oil will create moisture for the seasonings, making them much easier to apply to your prime rib. Now, take your fragrant seasonings and apply them all over your standing prime rib. Allow the prime rib to absorb the seasonings at room temperature for around half an hour before you put it in the oven. This will make the meat brown better later on.

​Prepare Your Pan

For the next step in how to cook prime rib, you need to prepare your pan. Put your well-seasoned meat and vegetables into the pan with a rack. If you are using a 13×9″ baking dish, put your vegetables in first and place the meat on the top. Make sure the fatty side of the meat is facing up so the juices can spread and seep into the meat while it roasts.

​Keep It Roasting

For this step in how to cook prime rib, you need to let your meat roast away. As medium-rare to rare are the preferred roasted levels for prime rib, cook the meat to a point of 5 to 10 degrees below your preferred preparation. This can take anywhere from 1 hour and 30 minutes to 2 hours and 15 minutes, depending on your oven.

roasted prime ribs on a table

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​Allow It to Stand

Once your prime rib has roasted to glorious perfection, you need to take it out of the oven and allow it to stand for no less than 15 minutes. Part of learning how to cook prime rib is letting the meat rest and fully absorb all the juices before serving it. If you cooked a larger cut of meat, tack on an extra 5 minutes to the standing time.In the meantime, you can select the sauce you want to use to serve your delectable prime rib. For a no-stress sauce, take the drippings from the pan to use over your roast. If you want to get more creative, a tasty horseradish sauce will do the trick. All you need is a 1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream, 1/2 teaspoon of Dijon mustard, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 cup of horseradish root freshly grated.Beat the whipping cream in a small bowl until discernable peaks appear, then mix in the rest of the ingredients. Make sure you cover and refrigerate your sauce for about 15 minutes prior to serving it.

​Time to Carve and Eat

Finally, it is time to carve and eat your prime rib. If the bones are still in the meat, use a sharp knife to carve them out. All you need to do is put the roast on one end using the large bone like a handle and slide the knife into the curved side of the bone so it disconnects from the meat.Once the bones are removed, you can slice the meat according to your desired level of thickness. If you roasted your onions, carrots, and celery beneath, be sure to serve those up too with your dripping or horseradish sauce.

cut prime ribs

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cooked prime ribs on a pan

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​Learning how to cook prime rib is an exciting addition to your roasting repertoire. Prime rib is a delectable choice for any special meal and does not require an excessive amount of preparation or cooking time. Feel free to mix up your roasting process with a variation on vegetables and spices to create the special concoction your taste buds prefer.

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