Every prime rib meal is special. It’s delicious, healthy, and packed with protein. We’re talking about a nicely seasoned, dark brown crust with a lot of herbs and spices in the compound butter. Then, as you cut it open, you see a whirlwind of drippings and fat in addition to a delicious pink core.

But what is a prime rib exactly?

A prime rib roast is a delicious, tender, and typically pricy piece of beef. It is a common centerpiece for a holiday table and other festive occasions. 

A tender beef cut from the prime rib cut is what makes up the prime rib roast.

How long should a prime rib be cooked?

Raw Grass Fed Prime Rib Meat with Herbs and Spices

As a traditional dish, prime rib or standing rib of beef is often roasted with the bone intact. To cook meat properly, you need the right temperature and type. It is best prepared in an oven at low heat.  

The oven is then preheated to 500°F in preparation for cooking a prime rib. The delicious meat is cooked for 15 minutes at 500°F, then for another 10-15 minutes at a reduced oven temperature of 325°F.

Depending on the desired level of doneness, it can be cooked at a lower temperature.  Under the lower temperature, it takes 10–12 minutes per pound for a rare prime rib to achieve a cool red center, 13–14 minutes for a red, warm center, and 14–15 minutes per pound for a medium–well prime rib to achieve a pink core.

Delicious prime rib roast recipe

Boneless beef roast on a serving platter sliced for a holiday dinner

Compound butter recipe

What you need:

  • 8 tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature (1 stick or ½ cup)
  • 5 pounds of prime rib
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 tsp mild chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp chopped thyme
  • 1 tbsp chopped rosemary
  • 1 tsp salt or to taste
  • 1 tsp pepper or to taste

What to do:

  1. Take your roast out of its packaging and let it sit for 1-2 hours at room temperature. A roast should not be cooked from frozen, so make sure it has thoroughly thawed. Completely pat the roast dry with paper towels.
  2. While the prime rib gets to room temperature, preheat the oven to 450°F for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Mix the butter, chili powder, cumin, thyme, rosemary, garlic, salt, and pepper in a bowl.
  4. Spread the compound butter mixture over the roast using a spatula or fingertips.
  5. Place the roast in a big pan with the onions, garlic, thyme, and rosemary. Use a roasting pan if you don’t have a large enough skillet.
  6. Over the onions in the skillet, place the roast.
  7. The roast should be cooked for 15 minutes at 450°F; then, the oven should be set to 325°F. The roast should continue to cook until your meat thermometer registers 120°F. Per pound of prime rib, plan on cooking it for around 15 minutes.
  8. Remove the roast from the oven and place it on a chopping board after the thermometer reaches 120°F. Allow it to rest for 20 minutes while it is covered with aluminum foil. As the internal fluids settle, the roast will continue to cook, reaching the ideal internal temperature of 130 degrees for a medium-rare prime rib.
  9. Slice and serve over mashed potatoes with gravy.
  10. Enjoy!

Gravy recipe

Roasted Prime Rib steak served with Au Jus Sauce

What you need:

  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 1 cup low-sodium beef broth
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp water

What to do:

  1. Place the pan with the onions, garlic, and herbs over medium-high heat while the roast rests.
  2. Bring the beef broth and red wine to a boil after adding them. Simmer for roughly five minutes on low heat. The sauce ought to thicken slightly.
  3. Add 1 tablespoon of cornstarch and 2 tablespoons of water to the skillet. Cook it for a few more minutes after whisking.  The sauce ought to get thicker. To make your gravy thicker, use extra cornstarch.
  4. Pour the gravy into a bowl.

Internal prime rib temperature per doneness

When preparing prime rib, timing is a very arbitrary rule. Every oven is unique. Only a thermometer can ensure that your prime rib is cooked just how you like it. To guide you, check out the table below.

Rare120°F (48.9 °C)
Medium rare130°F (54.5°C)
Medium140°F (60°C)
Medium to Well done150°F (65.5°C)
Well done160°F (71.1°C)

Check out our best meat thermometer you can buy.

Final thoughts

It’s crucial to pick the proper technique while cooking a prime rib. Dry direct heat (such as roasting, grilling, and searing) and wet indirect heat (such as steaming, boiling, and braising) are the two fundamental techniques. 

If the meat is hard when raw, then dry direct heat will make it tender and tasty. If the meat is stiff when it is raw, then wet and direct heat will help tenderize it. Good luck!