Prime Rib Roast

For the holidays, we almost always serve a Prime Rib Roast. Since Thanksgiving is reserved for turkey, and my family has never been huge on ham, the prime rib has always been the go-to for special occasions.

If you’ve never had a truly delicious prime rib roast before, we’d love to invite you into our home this year and show you how to make one for the holidays (or any other special occasion).

Trading Up To Prime Rib

You should start by finding a high-quality prime rib roast at your local supermarket or butcher. Talk to the butcher at your destination to find out what cuts will give you the most bang for your buck.

The butcher recommended a USDA Choice roast with five bones toward the rib’s end, and that’s what we got. The prime rib may not be at its best when carved from the center, but the name sure sounds good!

Prepare Prime Rib For How Many?

If you follow the rule of thumb that 2 people can eat off of 1 rib bone, then our 12-pound roast with 5 ribs would feed 10 people.

How many additional dishes and sides you plan to serve will also affect the size of your roast.

As a rule, we keep things straightforward, accompanying the roast with roasted cauliflower, greens, baked potatoes, and fresh bread.

I’m confident that on a good eating day like Christmas, I could finish an entire 18-ounce prime rib by myself. Festive overindulgence? Sure thing.

Let’s begin!


  • Bone-in prime rib roast
  • 3 medium onions; thickly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon of minced garlic (per pound)
  • 1 teaspoon of fresh rosemary (per pound)
  • 1 teaspoon of fresh thyme (per pound)
  • 1 teaspoon of Kosher salt (per pound of roast)
  • ½ teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper (per pound)
  • ½ teaspoon of olive oil per (per pound)


  1. There is no need for extra trimming because the butcher has already determined how much fat to leave on the roast. Having a layer of fat on top of your prime rib roast will allow it to self-baste. A prime rib roast should be rinsed under cold water and patted dry with paper towels before being marinated.
  2. Spread the onions out on a flat roasting rack set in a pan big enough to hold the roast. If you don’t have a roasting rack, you may just set the roast on top of the onions instead. Put the roast in a pan.
  3. Salt, pepper, garlic, herbs, and olive oil should all be mixed together in a bowl. Distribute the marinade mixture evenly over the roast by rubbing it into the meat with your hands.
  4. Put the roast in a plastic bag, seal it, and marinate it in the fridge for 8 hours or overnight.
  5. Remove roast from fridge 2 hours before baking. If you have a bone-in roast, it is best to pull it out in the morning and let it sit at room temperature for 6 to 8 hours. Put the roast on a lower oven rack and preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
  6. Roasts with bones in them may benefit from being cooked at a lower temperature for the first hour. If you put the roast too high up in the oven, it will burn before it has a chance to brown.
  7. Once the first 30 minutes have passed, add a half cup of water to the bottom of the roasting pan. The trick is to brown and caramelize the onions during roasting without letting them burn and smoke in the fat.
  8. Add additional 30 minutes to the roasting time if you want it browned. Turn the roast 180 degrees if your oven heats in spots. If your prime rib roast has more fat on one side that has not been browned yet, turn it so that it is roasting in the oven’s interior. Try to make up your own mind about this.
  9. Reduce heat to 350 degrees F once the prime rib roast has browned on the outside, which should take about an hour if your oven is hot enough and the roast is large enough.
  10. Add another 90–120 minutes to the roasting time for the prime rib. If preferred, baste the roast every 30 minutes and if the pan dries out, add 1/2 cup of boiling water at a time.
  11. If the roast’s top begins to brown, tent it loosely with foil while leaving the sides uncovered. If necessary, rotate the roast by 180 degrees to ensure uniform cooking.
  12. My rule of thumb for estimating roasting time is 15 minutes for each pound, so I’d give this 12-pound roast 180 minutes to roast. That calls for a 60-minute roasting period at 450 degrees Fahrenheit, followed by a 120-minute roasting period at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. However, remember that they are just ballpark estimates and that a meat thermometer is an absolute must. Don’t let it become too dry! Since we want our prime rib roasts medium rare, we’ll need to roast it for around 90 minutes, or until its internal temperature hits 125 degrees F. As a result, you’ll have two more well-done Prime Rib end cuts and a handful of medium pieces in addition to the medium rare slices. If you prefer your roasts rare, reduce the roasting time and remove them from the oven when the internal temperature reaches 120 degrees F. If you want your meat really rare, you could enjoy it at 115 degrees Fahrenheit. Use the thermometer as your guide.
  13. When done, place the prime rib on a cutting board or serving tray and tent it with foil for 15 to 20 minutes before serving.
  14. Pour the pan juices through a fine mesh sieve into a fat separator while the prime rib rests. To compensate for lack of liquid, add a half cup of water to the hot pan and give it a quick swirl. The fluids from the fat separator should be poured into a small saucepan or saute pan. Au jus, warmed and served with prime rib, is a classic accompaniment. If it’s too salty, add some hot water and adjust the seasoning to your liking. You can also include horseradish on the side if you like.
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