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Holiday Prime Rib Roast

Prep of a prime rib roast
Casey Barber / TODAY
Cook Time:
2 hrs
Prep Time:
15 mins

Chef notes

Cooking a large rib roast can be intimidating, especially when you're making one for a lot of guests at a Sunday or holiday dinner. This prime rib recipe will impress without the stress! Just make this easy recipe for prime rib for the holidays that will have guests coming back for seconds, thirds and even next-day leftovers. It's the perfect holiday centerpiece for the holidays and Christmas.

While prime rib can be sold bone-in or boneless, a bone-in roast is the best bet for guaranteed juicy succulence. Estimate that your guests will eat about 1/2 pound per person when the roast is part of a holiday buffet, or 3/4 pound per person if it's the main course to a smaller holiday dinner. Our recipe calls for an eight- to nine-pound rib roast, which should feed at least 10 people.

If you ask for your roast trimmed and tied, your butcher will also be happy to prep the roast so you won't have to: They will cut the bones away from the roast, french them (i.e., trim off the meat around the edges to make that classic "handle" shape) and remove excess fat before tying the bones back to the roast. 

Get Ingredients: If you don’t have everything you need on hand, you can easily purchase all of the ingredients (just click the orange button below that says ‘Get Ingredients’). You can pick and choose exactly what ingredients you need based on what’s in your pantry and they’ll be on your doorstep before you know it. 


  • 1 (8- to 9-pound) 4-rib prime rib roast
  • 2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary
  • tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
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Season the prime rib at least 2 hours prior to cooking: Whisk the pepper, salt, garlic and rosemary together in a bowl. Rub the prime rib on all sides with the oil, then generously sprinkle the herb and spice rub on all sides, pressing it into the meat with your hands.


If prepping the prime rib the night before you plan to roast it, place it in a casserole dish or other large rimmed pan and loosely cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.


Let the prime rib come to room temperature for 2 hours before you put it in the oven.


Preheat the oven to 450 F for at least 30 minutes while the prime rib comes to room temperature.


Place the prime rib bone-side down in a high-sided roasting pan, using the bones as a natural roasting rack for the meat.


Cook the roast for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 325 F. Continue to cook the roast uncovered until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the roast reads 120 F for a finished medium-rare prime rib or 130 F for a finished medium prime rib. Estimate about 15 minutes of cooking time per pound of prime rib.


Once the thermometer hits its target temperature, remove it from the oven and let it rest for 20 minutes.


The roast will continue to cook as the juices inside settle, raising the internal temperature to 130 F to be served medium-rare or to 140 F to be served medium.


If the rib bones are still attached to the roast, use a carving fork to stabilize the roast while guiding your knife along the curve of the bones. If you removed the bones first, then retied them to the roast, simply snip the twine holding the bones onto the roast and remove.


Slice the roast as thickly or thinly as you like, and serve.