How to Cook Prime Rib Roast

How to cook prime rib roast from start to finish! This is a foolproof method that guarantees a great prime rib roast! 

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Nothing is better than a perfectly cooked prime rib roast. That buttery perfection that just melts in your mouth,  slices with the barest pressure of a knife, dipped in au jus or covered in brown gravy, with a side of mashed potatoes and greens of some sort…culinary heaven.

sliced prime rib roast on a wooden cutting board

How to Cook Prime Rib Roast from Start to Finish!

This foolproof method will guarantee you the juiciest, best prime rib roast you’ve ever had! Since I became emboldened by the fact that I own a meat thermometer, and prime rib roasts are affordable this time of year (not so many tears when I screw it up) I have roasted about 5 over the past year, and just did another one for Thanksgiving lunch this Saturday. Yes, a lunch. I worked all weekend evenings this long weekend, so my parents were kind enough to make a turkey feast for the kids and Mike, while I had hospital cafeteria food. So I think a prime rib lunch before one of my shifts was entirely deserved 😉

Ingredients Needed for Cooking Prime Rib

  • prime rib roast
  • butter OR Prime Rib Roast Rub
roasted prime rib roast with herbs on top

How to Cook a Prime Rib Roast – Instructions

  • Remove your roast from all its packaging and  let it sit out for an hour until it’s about room temperature. Never, ever, cook a roast from frozen. The outside will be overdone and the inside will be raw. Absolutely a mess.
  • Take the butter and cover not only the ends, but if you don’t have a layer of fat on the top, cover that as well. When choosing prime rib, you actually want a layer of fat on the top. This helps make the roast oh-so tender. This roast didn’t have a layer, it was butchered too close,  so I put a layer of butter on top.
  • Preheat your oven to 450 degrees at this point.
  • Once it’s covered, place on a wire rack in a pan deep enough to catch the drippings.
  • Now we want to sear the roast. Place it in the 450 degree oven for about 20 minutes.
  • It should be nicely browned (seared) on the outside now. This in theory seals in all the juices, and to be honest, when I do it this way I hardly have any drippings for gravy. So it really must do something to hold in the juices. Now you can turn the oven down to 325 degrees and roast.
  • You cannot cook prime rib without a meat thermometer. You can’t. This masterpiece depends on a precise temperature, with it being pulled out of the oven at the exact right moment. This can’t be achieved without a thermometer. And to be honest, if you spend $50 on a roast, why on earth wouldn’t you pick up a $15 digital thermometer?
  • I measure on the outside where on the thermometer it will hit and put my fingers there.
  • Then keeping my fingers on the same spot, I put the thermometer in the middle of the roast until it reaches to where I measured. Make sense? Probably not. I usually just pretend I know what I am talking about.
  • Now place in the 325 degree oven for baking. Below are guidelines for roasting a prime rib roast.  You want to pull the roast out a minimum of 10 degrees BEFORE you hit these temperatures. Once the roast is out, tent it with foil, and let it sit for about 20 minutes. The temperature will rise at least another 10 degrees if you cover it in foil. It also lets the juices set and flow back to the meat. Be sure that you always cook your food to their safe temperature.

Prime Rib Roasting Internal Temperatures

  • Blue in the middle– 110 degrees Fahrenheit  – when the middle of the roast still “quivers”
  • Rare- 120-125 degrees Fahrenheit in the middle
  • Medium-rare– 125- 135 degrees Fahrenheit in the middle
  • Medium – 135- 140 degrees Fahrenheit in the middle. You usually don’t want it cooked this much as you lose the tenderness that prime rib is known for.
  • Medium Well-140- 150 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Well-done– 155 + degrees Fahrenheit

So, you have pulled it out 10 degrees Fahrenheit before it’s ready and tented it in foil for 20 minutes, right? Now it’s time to remove the bones. You want to slice along the curve of the bones.

inside of a prime rib roast

How long do you cook a prime rib roast per pound?

I would allow 15 minutes per pound for cooking time on your prime rib, but always give yourself some wiggle room when it comes to time and serving your holiday meal.

Now, this post on how to cook a prime rib roast sure brought out the well done lovers in the crowd. Listen : I’m just passing on what all the experts say is the best for this cut of beef. And yes, they are experts. Trained for years at culinary school, taught how to work with meat and how to cook it best.

You can definitely cook this until it’s well done, but don’t think that I’m going to take the fall for you possibly ruining a $100 roast! This method works incredibly well with prime rib roasts and it’s how I do it every year. However I can’t take responsibility for when you change a recipe!

slicing a prime rib roast with an electric knife

Try my Leftover Prime Rib Hash Skillet with your leftovers, it’s amazing!  If you need another roast recipe there is also my How To Cook a Sirloin Roast.

IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR A FLAVOURED PRIME RIB ROAST TRY MY HERB AND GARLIC PRIME RIB ROAST RECIPE!.That is a super flavourful roast and is shown in the video below! Happy cooking everyone, I hope your prime ribs turn out amazing!


How to Cook Prime Rib Roast

How to cook prime rib roast from start to finish! This is a foolproof method that guarantees a great prime rib roast! 
4.95 from 58 votes
Prep Time
10 minutes
Cook Time
3 hours 45 minutes
Total Time
5 hours 10 minutes
Main Course
Karlynn Johnston


  • one prime rib roast of choice
  • 1/2 cup butter if there isn’t enough fat
  • 1 batch prime rib rub


  • Remove your roast from all its packaging and let it sit out for an hour until it's about room temperature.
  • If desired, prepare the prime rib rub recipe and mix with the butter. If not, just use plain butter.
  • Take the butter and cover the top of the roast and the ends.
  • Preheat your oven to 450°F.
  • Once it's covered, place on a wire rack in a pan deep enough to catch the drippings.
  • Now we want to sear the roast. Place it in the 450 degree oven for about 20 minutes.
  • Turn down the oven to 325 degree and cook some more. Below are guidelines for roasting a prime rib roast .You want to pull the roast out a minimum of 10 degrees BEFORE you hit these temperatures.
  • Once the roast is out, tent it with foil, and let it sit for about 20 minutes. The temperature will rise at least another 10 degrees if you cover it in foil. It also lets the juices set and flow back to the meat.
  •  Now it's time to remove the bones. You want to slice along the curve of the bones and remove the meat. Slice it off, then slice as you would normally slice a roast. If you have a boned and rolled roast, simply remove the strings and lift the meat off the bones and onto a cutting board.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Prime Rib Roasting Internal Temperatures

  • Blue in the middle- 110 degrees – when the middle of the roast still “quivers”
  • Rare- 120-125 degrees in the middle
  • Medium-rare- 125- 135 degrees in the middle
  • Medium – 135- 140 degrees in the middle. You don’t want it cooked this much.
  • Medium Well-140- 150
  • Well-done- 155 +

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

  • Cook to the temperature you desire. See post for instructions.
  • The time on this is for a 15 pound prime rib roast, adjust your cooking time appropriately.
  • NUTRITIONAL VALUES WILL VARY ROAST TO ROAST, do not use these as accurate values. 

Nutrition Information

Calories: 1352kcal, Protein: 61g, Fat: 120g, Saturated Fat: 50g, Cholesterol: 274mg, Sodium: 201mg, Potassium: 1002mg, Calcium: 34mg, Iron: 6.5mg

All calories and info are based on a third party calculator and are only an estimate. Actual nutritional info will vary with brands used, your measuring methods, portion sizes and more.

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How to cook prime rib roast - Find the process used to make the best roast for you and your family #roastbeef #recipe #primerib

Karlynn Johnston

I’m a busy mom of two, wife & cookbook author who loves creating fast, fresh meals for my little family on the Canadian prairies. Karlynn Facts: I'm allergic to broccoli. I've never met a cocktail that I didn't like. I would rather burn down my house than clean it. Most of all, I love helping YOU get dinner ready because there's nothing more important than connecting with our loved ones around the dinner table!

Learn more about me

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  1. Juana K says

    I had a 21# prime rib roast. According to the cooking time calculations, at 15 minutes per pound, it should have taken 5 1/4 hours for medium rare. Thank goodness I used a thermometer and set it for 125 internal degrees. It reached the target temperature 2 hours quicker. Luckily our company arrived early and we ended up having an earlier Xmas dinner. The roast came out wonderful. If I had relied only on the calculated time it would have been over done.4 stars

  2. Chris says

    I’ve been using this method for a few years now, and it never fails. The secret is cooking to temperature. I use my wifi thermometer with an alarm at 120⁰. Best way to cook one outside of a smoker.5 stars

  3. Maureen says

    Hi, I found your instructions confusing. Do you sear the meat first then take it out and put the temperature gauge in or do you do that at the very beginning? Instructions on putting the temperature probe in could be explained better. After reading them about 5x’s I think I got what you were saying. Anyway, Hail Mary!3 stars

  4. Mike says

    Friendly heads up. Whenever a “chef” talks about “sealing in the juices” from high heat, run away. It’s well known that cooking it at the high temperature results in more juices lost, but the trade-off is the beautiful, tasty crust. So if you ever hear the infomercial guy “sealing in the juices”, change the channel.

    • Karlynn says

      Hey Mike, I mention that when it’s seared you end up with barely any pan juice. Perhaps it would be better put that the fat doesn’t melt as.much once you crisp the outside of it, which I haven’t seen any tests on. I’ve seen the moisture/weight testing but not how much the fat layer disappears. I’m convinced that by keeping the fat layer more intact by searing the outside of it you get a juicier(because of fat, not moisture) roast. It makes cooking sense, that’s why a crispy fat cap on brisket is SO important, the fat trickles into the meat. So if it is proven to work for brisket it would make sense it works for prime rib. The water content in the meat muscle may be lost, (like brisket with the slow cooking) but it’s the fat trickling in there really makes it tasty. 5 stars

  5. Rene says

    This looks delicious but I’m finding this recipe confusing. You say to put the roast on a rack in the pan but in the video you laid it right onto the foil. Also in the video you showed the herbs you added to the butter but they’re not in the recipe either? You mentioned with the searing method that you rarely get any drippings but in the video when the roast was tented, there were enough drippings to make an au jus… Also not included was the amount of beef broth and corn starch. Am I missing where all the amounts are listed?

    • Mr. Kitchen Magpie says

      Fair question. The video you see embedded is for this recipe which is just showing what you can do. If you are looking purely for how to cook a prime rib roast, then you follow the recipe we’ve included here. If, however, you want to try our herb garlic stuffed prime rib roast, follow the directions within the recipe I’ve linked above. I get how it can be confusing however so I’ll see what I can do to adjust that or make it more clear. Thanks for commenting.

  6. Ruth Ann says

    I thank you for all of your wonderful recipes! I have a question regarding the prime rib, however. How do I know when it’s 10 minutes before the roast reaches the proper temperature?5 stars

    • Karlynn says

      Hi Ruth Ann, it’s ten degrees before the desired temperature doneness, not ten minutes. Time would be too hard so we go by degrees!5 stars

  7. May Place Mama says

    I’m cooking a small prime rib (3pounds). At 15 minutes to the pound for medium rare that’s around 45 minutes total (120 degrees on the thermometer) The 20 minute searing is included in the total time, right? That would leave about 25 minutes at 325.
    Just checking…

    • Karlynn says

      When the roast is that small, anything could really happen because it’s not as thick as a normal roast. I would start with the 45 minutes and then check with a thermometer after that. Cooking time is generally based on larger roasts, when you get the oven going there’s a lot more meat for the heat to permeate.5 stars

  8. Andrea Dodd says

    I can’t stand restaurant prime rib. I like mine well done. I don’t need a knife to cut it. It falls apart and 100% more flavor. Much better gravy and crispy fat.

    • Lola says

      Because my oven is small, I am using a roaster which cooks meat faster. And I have to transport the prime rib Any suggestito q home 29 minutes away. Any suggestions?

  9. VegasDude says

    Great instructions for the oven method… I do mine Sous Vide now … because I love ALL Beef between rare and med rare…
    My mom would only eat meat Well Done.. and it always made me cringe…. I could just slice if off the cow, use my chefs torch, and I’d be happy…. :0)5 stars

  10. Barbalicious says

    PERFECT directions thank you! The roast was a hit!5 stars

  11. Rose Staley says

    Stacy I am ordering a prime rib about 4 lbs, making it for the first time. It comes in a pre-seasoned bag. I too prefer my meat well done. Any tips on how long I should leave it in and at what temperature I should cook it? Thanks

    • Best Cook Around says

      I’m trying so hard to type so please excuse me, well done is ok but prime rib needs the not so cooked much to be best. So if you want well done chose a cheaper cut Ok?

  12. wellsmichelle31 says

    Stacy what is your cooking time please? I would like to cook one as well, but don’t like rare either. Thank you 🙂

    • Ryan Davidson says

      What kind of oven do you use for this recipe, I followed the recipe properly with a 5lb prime rib bone in, 15 min/lb. My roast came out very rare pretty well blue, I’m thinking maybe the type of oven you use compared to my regular household oven.

      • Karlynn Johnston says

        It will absolutely make a difference. My mom’s older oven takes longer, while my new GE Cafe oven is faster. Same temperature, but they have different sealing, heat elements, and glass on the doors, so many factors!5 stars

  13. TerryMurphy2 says

    If you tent it does it take away the crisp of the ends 

  14. Teri K says

    We made this for Christmas dinner, it was GREAT! Today is New Years Day and I am making Prime Rib again to celebrate my New Years Baby’s 21st birthday!

    I must say that your directions are the clearest, easiest to understand and follow, and fool proof! Thank you for making this website Karlynn.

    Teri in Montana, (Where summer is the best 20 minutes of the year.)

    5 stars

    • thekitchenmagpie says

      @Teri K Awesome!! That’s exactly how I intended this, clear and concise because there is nothing worse than ruining an expensive prime rib roast! Thanks for letting me know and a happy birthday to your 21 year old!  (and I laughed over your summer is the best 20 minutes of the year. I’m stealing that for when I talk about Edmonton now lol!)

      5 stars

  15. thekitchenmagpie says

    @Stacy w Merry Christmas to you as well, good job spreading the joy during this holiday season! ( sarcasm fully intended, in case you don’t understand it, which you seem to have a hard time doing.)

    5 stars

  16. lovetoeatandcook says

    Prime rib is such a special meat usually prepared at a special time or at a fine dining restaurant . . . With that being said let me also state that beef just taste better when it is not cooked to the consistency of shoe leather.  Don’t get me wrong I have plenty of family members that think that if a piece of beef isn’t cooked for the whole day (kidding, but not by much) it isn’t good to eat.  Oh, how many times has mother said that I was going to get sick eating raw meat.  I say to her when she gives me that horror stricken look that I’m no wild animal, what makes you think that I would eat ‘raw’ meat???!  She shakes her head in dissatisfaction at how I could have been reared in her home and come out so backward:-)  But, I have been married to a Certified Chef De’Cusine for over 26 years and there is no, No, NO Way he would EVER allow beef and Prime Rib at that to be cooked higher than med-rare OUR FAVORITE!!! Sorry Beef Destroyers I’m going to have to agree with the poster on her take on Prime Rib!  It’s my Bday and it’s What’s for Dinner!!!  

    5 stars

  17. Aaronmc says

    Thanks shae517, looks like you are an expert. Your comment comes from some place high above. Look at you comment. just because you feel that does not make it the truth. Others like well done and infact notice a difference with a good cut. Maybe the problem is you dont know how to cook a roast well done and have it turn out juicy and nice!

    • shae517 says

      @Aaronmc why on earth would I want to cook such a fine piece of meat well done, juicy or otherwise, when I can have it medium/medium rare, juicy and delicious?

      I am not an expert, but those who are, cook meat to this temperature. There is a reason why it is the standard temperature for serving great meat in restaurants and especially fine steakhouses, not well done.

      5 stars

    • AustinBigge says

      @Aaronmc he is right, well done is often specifically not guaranteed in good steak houses.  The taste and full flavor that comes from red meat is in the blood.  When you cook a roast till the blood is brown, the flavor and the texture is gone.  A prime rib roast can be made just as tender as a tenderloin, but not if you cook it well done.  Ask your meatcutter or butcher, they eat it rare, they work with meat every day, and they are the experts.

      BTW im a meat cutter and when people tell me they are going to cook it well done, i tell them my store will not be able to refund their meat.  I get people coming in every other week telling me our meat is the toughest meat they every got, and i follow up with the question “What rarity did you cook it?”

      The answer is always well done.  If you want well done go get some usda select chuck roast, any thing else is a waste of good money.

      5 stars

  18. Mr Black says

    going to try my first one this weekend. (they had a big sale this week)

    hope it turns out well, but i think i’ll be okay.

  19. Christina says

    Beef snobs really pizz me off. Listen, if I want my meat well done, then that’s how it will be. And if your recipe can’t make meat taste good the way I want it, then the problem is with the recipe.

    • thekitchenmagpie says

      @Christina It’s not about being a “beef snob” it’s about being smart enough to know which cuts of meat should and shouldn’t be cooked to well done. By all means, cook yours to well done, but DON’T blame the recipe if it’s horrible because well, I literally told you so ;) 

      5 stars

      • TerryMurphy2 says

        thekitchenmagpie To each his own but i cook beef well and it tastes better and juicier then anyone i know who cooks it rare its up to the individual and how they like it . My first job i was a butcher trainee from there i was a cook just a cook not a chef and still better then trained chefs who were friends . I cooked in Canada’s largest kitchen cooking for 500 people 2 x a day but i cooked it rare only because that’s the way most people like it i,m cooking for others not myself , i cook it at 500 not 450 for 30 min shut it off completely for 2 hrs or until thermometer is 10 degrees from proper time because the heat will rise as it sits . I just dont like blood my dad was opposite he tell the waiter to slap its ass and put it on his plate 😉

        • wellsmichelle31 says

          Terry what would you recommend temp and time for a medium WELL roast please?

    • Highlander2 says

      @Christina  Believe me when they say rare are and nothing more, if you go beyond you’ll mess it up, they haven’t tried my medium well or well done.  You can actually have a juicy well done stake, pork chops or yes Prime Rib.  And if you achieve this, you’ll realize how the hell did I miss this.  I’ll be attempting the impossible soon. A Prime rib on a fire pit.  Wish you were here to taste it, but Oh Well! it’s OK,  you like it rare anyway more power to you. The best Prime Rib I ever tasted was a well done Prime Rib, in the oven (it ruined the oven), reason why I’ll be attempting  the same on a fire pit.

      • shae517 says

        Highlander2 I can’t imagine why anyone would spend good money on a steak or prime rib roast only to cook it well done.

        Sure, it might still have some juice in it, but jesus christ, might as well buy a poorer cut of meat if you’re going to obliterate it that way.

        5 stars

      • Cleaner2 says

        I agree Highlander2! I have, over the years cooked hundreds of roasts and steaks of all kinds. I have never cooked a dry roast or steak and I only cook beef well done! I see no point in cooking a $100 roast or expensive steaks if I couldn’t eat it because it was raw or close to it! I have eaten in hundreds of restaurants that have successfully cooked steaks and prime rib perfectly for me! Cooking well done meat, so that it is juicy and tender, is an art, so I’ve been told by several chefs!

      • Jillian says

        What does a juicy well done STAKE taste like? I’ve never had one. I’ve seen a couple here and there around my neighborhood. They hold up plastic markers for construction companies what not. I will have to grab a couple of them and try to see how juicy I can get them. If you have any suggestions on how to prepare the STAKE before it hits the heat? Let me know, I’m always up to try new cultural foods.

    • Annette says

      Amen Christina, If I spend the money to buy a Prime ribeye Roast, I want it WELL DONE!!! I cannot and WILL NOT eat any meat if it is the least bit pink!! That is cannabilistic!! EWWW!! Some want theirs half raw, well, I will put it in a dogs bowl and put it on the floor. They can it eat it there but not on my table in front of me and ruin my meal, looking at blood run -ning all over their plate~~~~EWWWWWW

      • Jillian says

        I know this is from 3 years ago, but I can’t get over your “cannibalistic” comment. Come on Annette. Your smarter than that. Sure if we were cows bickering over how well done our meat should be before we eat it, then yes Cannibalism. People eating cow meat, since we are not of the same species … not even a little bit cannibalistic. In any sense of the word it has to be about humans eating humans, but nice try.5 stars

  20. Meatlover says

    I enjoyed your recipe…..I think I love you…don’t tell my wife! 😉

    5 stars

    • thekitchenmagpie says

      @Meatlover Ha ha! Glad that you liked the recipe!! 😉

  21. Wistiu says

    I have tried A lot of recipes for prime rib, even science of cooking labs recipes. And This one is still my favorite …Prime rib should be kept simple. Follow the Basics. And definitely the Thermometer. And no heavy salting . Great recipe.

    5 stars

    • thekitchenmagpie says

      Wistiu  Thanks! Yes, no salt. You can flavor afterwards if you want, but a nice gravy does the trick! 

  22. Barbara Maring says

    Hi i wanted to share my way of preparing a  roast……i brush on mustard along with other spices & it came out amazing !   you should try it !!



    5 stars

    • thekitchenmagpie says

      Barbara Maring  That sounds really divine!!

  23. Felix says

    Thank you for the very detailed instructions. I am cooking a 9 lb. roast for my family this Easter. With your help I’m sure it will be great.

      • Danniell W. says

        Any ideas on how to cook one yet; with an instant pot?

  24. Cori says

    ok, I have one in my freezer and will use this guide. After I buy a new thermometer, since mine met with an untimely demise in a sink.

    5 stars

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