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A big prime rib roast is resting on a cutting board. One slice has been cut off and sits face down ready to serve.
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3.65 from 20 votes

How to Make a Perfect & Easy Prime Rib Roast

This is a fail proof and wonderfully simple way to make incredible prime rib roast! In this recipe I'm using the reverse sear with a simple salt and pepper rub. The roast gets cooked low and slow and then rested before a high heat sear at the end to crisp up the outside! Please DO read all the directions before you begin. I've included a roasting schedule at the beginning of the recipe to help you plan ahead and have your roast done at just the right time. The nutrition facts are based on using a 4 pound roast to serve four people and assume that you are eating all the fat instead of trimming some of it.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time4 hrs
Resting Time30 mins
Total Time4 hrs 45 mins
Course: dinner
Cuisine: American
Keyword: prime rib roast, cooking prime rib, reverse sear prime rib
Servings: 4
Calories: 1604kcal
Author: Mirlandra Neuneker


  • 1 prime rib roast bone in or boneless (at least 4 pounds) see note
  • 1 Tablespoon good quality sea salt
  • 1 Tablespoon black pepper course grind


The Roasting Schedule To Plan For

  • Here is what to expect for a time table when roasting - please remember that this is a ROUGH GUIDE to help you plan.
    1-4 Days in advance do a rub and leave the roast in the refrigerator for the salt to absorb. Time: 15 minutes active + 1-4 days inactive
    Day of roasting leave the roast at room temperature for about 2 hours so it can come up to room temperature.
    Roast the meat low and slow for 4-5 hours.
    Rest the meat at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. (Up to 90 if convenient.)
    Sear the roast in a high heat oven for 10 minutes then carve and serve immediately.

Tips and Tricks

  • Start 1-4 days in Advance. Read all the directions before you begin so you can plan ahead for the time required. When buying a roast, plan on about 1 pound of bone-in prime rib per person. You must have a roasting pan with a rack. You must have a thermometer, digital or traditional to read the internal temperature. Prime Rib has the optimal flavor at 130F. If you need a few slices of more well done meat simmer them in a pan of Au Jus until the desired doneness is reached. (More information in the post above the recipe on all of these topics!)

To Prepare The Meat:

  • Begin with a salt rub 1-4 days before you want to cook the prime rib.
  • Rib Bones: If you have bones in the roast they can be left on for cooking or removed in advance and tied on for cooking. Cooking the roast with the ribs attached or cut off and tied back on will produce the same results. The reason to remove the ribs ahead of time is to make for easier carving when serving.
  • Many roasts come with the ribs already removed and tied back on. If the ribs are still attached to the roast you can choose to make a cut between the ribs and roast to separate them. Use cotton cooking twine to tie the ribs back in place before you prepare your meat.
  • Salt and Pepper Rub: Generously rub salt and pepper into the roast. Use at least a Tablespoon of each. The salt will work its way inside the meat while the roast is sitting in the fridge prior to cooking. A roast is a lot of meat – don’t be afraid to use the salt!
  • Place the seasoned roast on a rack over a rimmed baking sheet to catch drips and refrigerate uncovered at least one day and up to four days.

To Roast the Prime Rib:

  • Several hours before you plan to start the meat cooking, set the roast out at room temperature to come to room temperature.
  • Preheat the oven to 200F and roast the meat until it is 130 F at the center. On average this will take 4-5 hours. (My 8 pound roast with bones on took 5 hours.)

The Reverse Sear!

  • Remove the roast from the oven and tent with foil. Let it rest for 30-90 minutes depending on when you want to serve the meat. 30 minutes is the most that is required for the roast to relax. The additional 60 minutes is simply to make the timing convenient if you wish.
  • Preheat your oven on to its highest temperature – about 500F. Remove the tin foil and place the roast back in the oven until it is well-browned and crisp, about 10 minutes. Carve and serve the meat immediately, no additional resting required.
  • Serve with au jus, horseradish and mashed potatoes (of course!)


Note: While I enjoy cooking and serving a big impressive roast with the bones (and my husband enjoys going caveman on the bones) it is more expensive and less practical. If you don’t enjoy the bones then buy a prime rib that still has the fat cap but does not have the bones.
When it doubt, ask the butcher at the meat counter to point you in the right direction. Generally you will save a up to a few dollars / pound by buying one without bones plus you are not having to pay for the weight of the bones which helps keep the cost down a lot. I have used this cooking method for bone in and bone off, all with great success!


Calories: 1604kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 20mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 8IU | Calcium: 7mg | Iron: 1mg