Perfect Prime Rib (Standing Rib Roast)

Perfect Prime Rib (or Standing Rib Roast)
WOW! This is all you will hear when you serve a perfectly cooked Prime Rib or Standing Rib Roast. Best of all, this no-fuss, no-muss, no-stress keeps this elegant dinner RELAXED

Standing Rib Roast is considered by many to be the best roast beef in the world. I am, absolutely, one of them!  Standing rib roast, also known as prime rib, is a beef cut that’s incredibly succulent with exceptional taste. 

It is also one of the most expensive (but so worth it) cuts of beef. This is why I only serve it, at most, once every couple of years. – either Christmas or New Year’s Eve dinner. Okay, that’s not the real reason. It’s more that I wasn’t sure how to make it. I believed that prime rib was the domain of fancy restaurants. It wasn’t something that you attempted at home. 

I thought prime rib was the exclusive domain of fine dining restaurants, not something to be made at home. WRONG!!

I was so wrong on both counts!! First, while a standing rib roast is a pricey piece of meat, it is no more than expensive any other high-quality “holiday” protein. I’ve paid as much or more for fresh lobster, scallops, crown pork ribs, rack of lamb, and so on. Second, it’s easier to make than any of the aforementioned main course dishes. 

Because I don’t make it often, it’s taken me years to develop my own “secret recipe” to make prime rib that can rival any restaurant. This year, it all came together! After a decade of trying various roasting methods, temperatures, rubs, and sauces, I finally achieved perfection.  

Let’s start with choosing the right cut. While you can find differing opinions on the differences between a prime rib roast and a standing rib roast, it comes from the same part of the animal that the ribeye does: the primal rib section. I’m going to stress over the technicalities. For my cooking purposes, they’re interchangeable terms. The important thing is buying bone-in ribs. 

Prime rib roasts or standing rib roasts are often available at your favorite supermarket meat department.

I am most comfortable with a 6-7 lb roast with three ribs. It will feed 6-8 adults or, in my case, a couple of guests with lots of delicious leftovers.

Hack #1- Lose the chill

Now, here are my proven hacks and secrets to a perfect prime rib. First, the roast needs to come to room temperature before it goes into the oven. This means taking it out of the fridge at least two hours ahead of time. Consider this a game-changer! Taking off the chill produces a juicer and more evenly cooked roast. It really makes a difference.

Hack #2 – Make small slits

After the roast has ample time to lose its chill, use a sharp knife and make a series of half-inch deep slits around the top and sides. In full disclosure, I don’t know for a fact that this is really necessary. I have read conflicting opinions online. However, my roast turns out better when I do it. I can’t remember where or when I learned this hack, but I will continue to do it.

The “secret” ingredient

My “secret” ingredient for my rub is store-bought prepared horseradish, massaging about a quarter cup on the top and sides. I mix coarse pink Himalayan salt, pepper, onion, and garlic powder in a small bowl and pat it on; a 1/3 cup of seasoning builds a solid layer of flavor.  

spices and horseradish
Ingredients for a perfect rub

I have experimented with all sorts of herbs, spices, and rubs. I’m sticking with this one – it’s perfection. It melts in your mouth. I’ve used this same combo of seasoning with a butter rub. It works, but it’s not near as delicious as using horseradish. If you don’t have pink Himalayan salt, use coarse sea salt or kosher salt. If all you have is fine salt, don’t stress it. It will work.

seasoned roast
Massage in the horseradish and pat on the seasoning mix

Hack #3 – Roasting Temperature

Place the fully seasoned inside a shallow roasting pan bone-side down. If you have a roasting rack, that is preferable but not required. Now, for another hack. Place the pan in a 450˚F preheated oven and roast for 15 minutes, regardless of size. After 15 minutes, reduce the oven temperature to 325˚F and continue to cook.  

Hack #4 – Use a meat thermometer!

My last hack is using a meat thermometer. Don’t guess — it’s not worth ruining a $40+ roast! There are all sorts of nifty digital meat thermometers available, but I still like the old-fashioned variety that my Mom used. It doesn’t matter what you use as long as you can accurately gauge the internal temp.  

meat thermometer
I love my non-high tech meat thermometer!

Set a timer for 45 minutes. That’s your reminder to insert a meat thermometer in the deepest part of the meat, careful not to touch bone or fat. Check the thermometer every 15 minutes until the internal temp registers at 120˚F. Total roasting time (including the first 15 minutes) will range from 1½ – 2 hours for a 6 lb roast.

When the thermometer hits 120˚F, remove the pan from the oven and cover the roast with aluminum foil and allow to rest for at least 30 minutes before slicing. The foil will allow the internal temp to rise to 125˚F. – 130˚F, a perfect bright red center that grows slightly pinkish towards the exterior. Perfection!

roast covered with foil
Cover roast with foil and allow to rest for 30 minutes

I suggest serving the roast with a simple horseradish cream sauce made with a quarter cup horseradish, a half cup sour cream, and a tablespoon of lemon juice with salt to taste. While the roast is resting, I turn the oven heat back up and bake popovers, also called Yorkshire Pudding (if you want to sound fancy).  

This is too good to serve just once a year!! Enjoy.

Perfect Prime Rib
Perfect Prime Rib

Perfect Prime Rib (Standing Rib Roast)

Recipe by Jane BruceCourse: DinnerCuisine: HolidayDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Standing time


Roasting Time

1 1/2 -2

Resting Time



Making the juiciest, tastiest and melt-in-your-mouth tender Prime Rib (Standing Rib Roast) is easy! There are just a couple of ingredients, a few simple steps, and some proven hacks needed to serve up this impressive holiday meal.  Impress, not stress, with this proven recipe. Perfect for the inexperienced cook!


  • 6-7 lb standing rib roast (3 ribs)

  • ¼ cup prepared horseradish sauce

  • ¼ cup coarse pink Himalayan salt

  • 1 tablespoon ground pepper

  • 1 tablespoon onion powder

  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder


  • Prep: Remove roast from refrigerator two hours prior to cooking. Preheat oven to 450˚F. In a small bowl, mix the salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder.
  • Using a sharp knife, make a series of ½ inch deep slits on the top and sides of the roast. Rub the prepared horseradish all over the roast. Spread on the dry mix and gently pat-down. Cover the top and sides. Place the roast in a roasting pan (preferably on a rack) in the preheated oven.
  • Roast for 15 minutes at 450˚F. Lower the oven to 325˚F and continue to roast for 45 minutes and insert a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the meat without touching the fat or bone. Continue roasting in 15-minute increments until the internal temp registers at 120˚F. (Total roasting time ranges from 1½-2 hours).
  • Remove the roast from the oven and cover with aluminum foil and allow to sit for at least 30 minutes before slicing.


  • Pink Himalayan salt: substitute any coarse salt (sea salt or kosher salt).  In a pinch, table salt will work.
  • Horseradish sauce: If you don’t have horseradish sauce, use softened butter.
  • Waiting time: The foil will allow the internal temp to rise to 125˚F. – 130˚F, a perfect bright red center that grows slightly pinkish towards the exterior.

More holiday dinner ideas…

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