5 from 2 votes

The Ultimate Easy Prime Rib

 December 1, 2023

If your holiday isn’t complete without prime rib, then you’re not alone. This thick, hearty cut of meat is a staple in so many households this holiday season. And while it’s often thought of as complicated to make, it’s actually simpler than you think. This is The Ultimate Easy Prime Rib, and is the simplest, easiest way to enjoy the comfort of this holiday recipe, right from your own home.

A close-up image of the ultimate easy prime rib, sitting on a plate on a countertop. A small bowl of mashed potatoes can be seen behind the plate.

Nothing screams “the holidays” quite like a perfect prime rib. This tender, hearty dish is often served with mashed potatoes, and is warm and comforting in every bite. But, let’s be honest: it’s not exactly the easiest cut of meat to cook. In fact, prime rib can be hard to get just right!

After years of perfecting my technique, I am so excited to share the Ultimate Easy Prime Rib with you. This is the simples, easiest, no-frills ways to prepare prime rib, and ensures that it turns out perfect, every single time. With food prices on the rise this holiday season, prime rib isn’t a dish that you want to mess up. As long as you follow this recipe to a t, you won’t mess it up. Promise!

My husband and I used to love going to House of Prime Rib in San Francisco during the holidays. It’s a restaurant known for their decadent and perfect prime rib! They never get it wrong. But dare I say… my prime rib is even better. Give it a shot, and you’ll be making prime rib from home, every holiday season!

What You Need to Make This Simple Prime Rib + Marinade

  • Prime Rib: Of course, prime rib is essential for making this recipe! This recipe calls for a 5 pound prime rib, which serves approximately 8-10 people. You can definitely make this recipe with a smaller prime rib, if desired, or simply have leftovers!
  • Kosher Salt: Kosher salt is a key ingredient, both when it comes to preparing the prime rib itself and preparing the marinade.
  • Olive Oil: A high-quality oil like olive oil gives this prime rib a rich flavor. You can also use avocado oil, if you prefer.
  • Garlic: Fresh garlic is absolutely essential to this recipe and gives it the best flavor. Don’t skip this!
  • Fresh Herbs: In addition to fresh garlic, fresh herbs like rosemary and thyme really give this prime rib its perfect flavor.
  • Onion Powder: A dash of onion powder is simple, easy, and really kicks this prime rib up a notch.
  • Ground Black Pepper: Finishing this prime rib off with some ground black pepper gives it the best flavor.
The prime rib, sitting on a plate on a cutting board, with the marinade actively being brushed over the top of it
Allow the prime rib to come to room temperature for two hours before cooking. Once you’re ready to cook it, rub the prime rib with kosher salt, then brush the marinade across the top of it.

A Guide to Prime Rib Cooking Temperature

The hardest part about making prime rib is ensuring that it reaches your desired cook. I can’t tell you how many times I struggled to get that perfect medium rare cook on my prime rib!

And because prime rib is an expensive cut of meat, there’s no room to mess it up. Which is why I want to ensure that you are able to get the perfect prime rib, every time. My key to making sure that the prime rib turns out perfect is to use a meat thermometer. You can absolutely use a traditional meat thermometer (and pay attention to the temperatures listed below), but I love my Yummly Smart Thermometer. This thermometer connects to your phone via bluetooth, and allows you to pre-set your desired cook on the meat. The thermometer will send a notification to your phone once the meat reaches its optimal temperature, which means you can relax and trust that the meat is cooking perfectly!

If you don’t have a meat thermometer, a general rule of thumb is to first cook the prime rib at 500 F for 20 minutes, then cooking it at a reduced heat of 325 F at 20 minutes per pound of meat – for the 5 pound Prime Rib that this recipe calls for, at a medium rare cook, that would be 1 hour of cook time. If you desire a different cook on the meat, you can try the following cook times and temperatures.

  • Rare: 10-12 minutes per pound / 115-120 F
  • Medium: 13-14 minutes per pound / 135-140 F
  • Medium Well: 20-22 minutes per pound / 145-150 F

How to Make This Perfect Holiday Prime Rib

To make this perfect prime rib, start by preparing the meat. Bring the meat to room temperature approximately two hours before you plan to cook it. This is extremely important!

Once you’re ready to cook the meat, preheat your oven to 500 F. Next, prepare the meat by rubbing sea salt all over the prime rib. Then, set it aside while you prepare the marinade. Make the marinade by mixing together the olive oil, mashed garlic, chopped rosemary, chopped thyme, onion powder, black pepper and another generous pinch of salt in a small bowl.

Mix the marinade together, then rub it all over the prime rib. Place the prime rib into a cast iron skillet (note: you do NOT need to preheat the skillet beforehand!) and place it in the oven to cook for 20 minutes. Once the 20 minutes are up, remove the prime rib from the oven, and reduce the oven temperature to 325 F.

Then, insert a meat thermometer, placing the pointy tip of the thermometer into the top of the prime rib, pushing it down into the center of the prime rib. If you aren’t using a meat thermometer, see my notes below for the optimal cook time! For a medium rare cook, allow the meat to cook until it reaches an internal temperature of 135 F – this took approximately 1.5 hours.

Once it’s done, remove it from the oven and use tin foil to create a tent around the prime rib while it cools. The prime rib should take approximately 40 minutes to cool. Finally, once it’s done, slice it and enjoy!

If you make this recipe, please be sure to leave a review and rating below! To see more recipes and behind the scenes, follow along on InstagramTikTok, and Youtube! I’m also now on Pinterest, so stop by and take a look at what’s new.

** Photography by Tanya Pilgrim
A close-up image of the ultimate easy prime rib, sitting on a plate on a countertop. A small bowl of mashed potatoes can be seen behind the plate.
Dairy Free/gluten-free/Grain Free/Nut Free/Paleo/Refined Sugar Free

The Ultimate Easy Prime Rib

5 from 2 votes
Nicole Modic
Prep Time 2 hours 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 50 minutes
Total Time 4 hours 15 minutes
SERVES 10 Servings
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If your holiday isn't complete without prime rib, then you're not alone. This thick, hearty cut of meat is a staple in so many households this holiday season. And while it's often thought of as complicated to make, it's actually simpler than you think. This is The Ultimate Easy Prime Rib, and is the simplest, easiest way to enjoy the comfort of this holiday recipe, right from your own home.

Ingredients

  • 5 Pounds Prime Rib bone-in
  • 3 Tablespoons Kosher Salt
  • ½ Cup Olive Oil
  • 8 Cloves Garlic mashed
  • 3 Tablespoons Fresh Rosemary finely chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons Fresh Thyme finely chopped
  • 2 Teaspoons Onion Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper

Instructions

  • To make this perfect prime rib, start by preparing the meat. Bring the meat to room temperature approximately two hours before you plan to cook it. This is extremely important!
  • Once you're ready to cook the meat, preheat your oven to 500 F.
  • Next, prepare the meat by rubbing sea salt all over the prime rib. Then, set it aside while you prepare the marinade.
  • Make the marinade by mixing together the olive oil, mashed garlic, chopped rosemary, chopped thyme, onion powder, black pepper and another generous pinch of salt in a small bowl.
  • Mix the marinade together, then rub it all over the prime rib.
  • Place the prime rib into a cast iron skillet (note: you do NOT need to preheat the skillet beforehand!) and place it in the oven to cook for 20 minutes.
  • Once the 20 minutes are up, remove the prime rib from the oven, and reduce the oven temperature to 325 F.
  • Then, insert a meat thermometer, placing the pointy tip of the thermometer into the top of the prime rib, pushing it down into the center of the prime rib. If you aren't using a meat thermometer, see my notes below for the optimal cook time!
  • For a medium rare cook, allow the meat to cook until it reaches an internal temperature of 135 F – this took approximately 1.5 hours.
  • Once it's done, remove it from the oven and use tin foil to create a tent around the prime rib while it cools. The prime rib should take approximately 40 minutes to cool.
  • Finally, once it's done, slice it and enjoy!

Notes

To ensure that your prime rib cooks properly, I highly recommend using a meat thermometer. My favorite is the Yummly Smart Thermometer – it connects to your phone via the Yummly app, and sends you a notification once the meat has reached your desired internal temperature and cook.
If you don’t have a meat thermometer, a general rule of thumb is to first cook the prime rib at 500 F for 20 minutes, then cooking it at a reduced heat of 325 F at 20 minutes per pound of meat – for the 5 pound Prime Rib that this recipe calls for, at a medium rare cook, that would be 1 hour of cook time. If you desire a different cook on the meat, you can try the following cook times and temperatures.
  • Rare: 10-12 minutes per pound / 115-120 F
  • Medium: 13-14 minutes per pound / 135-140 F
  • Medium Well: 20-22 minutes per pound / 145-150 F

Did you make this recipe?

I’d love to see what you made – tag @kalejunkie
in your posts and I’ll re-share!

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5 from 2 votes (2 ratings without comment)

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  1. Excited to make this on Xmas! Two quest:
    – since it continues to cook while resting, do you remove it from the oven before it reaches desired temp? If so, how much below? We want btwn medium-rare and medium
    – what do you do when 2 people want well-done and the rest want btwn medium-rare and medium. We have a 7 lb prime rib
    THANK YOU!

  2. Unbelievably perfect Prime Rib. Early Christmas dinner with part of our family tonight and tried this recipe for our Prime Rib, it was perfection. Everyone raved. Thank you Nicole for such an easy and impressive Prime Rib recipe.

    • I’m so happy you enjoyed it, Linda! Thank you so much for making this recipe and for leaving such a kind review!

    • Hi! I will add my Instagram video to this blog post so you can see exactly where to insert it, but you insert it on the top, pointing down into the center of the meat. And if you don’t have a meat thermometer, follow instructions in the notes.