Foolproof Prime Rib….Perfect Everytime!

The “Star” of a Special Holiday Dinner

Don’t ask me what got into me….but a few years ago I decided it would be a “good thing” to make a huge prime rib roast for my whole extended family for Christmas Eve dinner! Nothing like heaping a HUGE amount of pressure on yourself at one of the most stressful, pressure-filled times of the year! :-)

I had received a $100.00 gift certificate to a grocery store as some sort of bonus…and it occurred to me that it would be enough to purchase a VERY NICE prime rib roast…that would feed a LARGE group. So I had a nice discussion with the butcher and we decided how much I would need (the rule of thumb by the way is 1/2 pound per person) and I purchased this GINORMOUS piece of meat! I think it was just under $100! But keep in mind…that was going to feed a small army. :-) If I remember correctly…the last time I did this there were about 35 people to feed.

After the initial excitement of planning this special dinner started to pale…I was left with the thought….WHAT DO I DO NOW!?!? I had NEVER cooked a Prime Rib Roast before….even a SMALL one…now there was $100 worth of meat riding on me NOT SCREWING THIS UP! lol. No pressure!!!

So I turned to my friend Google and spent literally HOURS researching how to cook the perfect medium-rare prime rib roast! After contrasting and comparing dozens of methods I figured out that at the heart of a perfect prime rib is cooking it at an INTENSE temperature for a short time (usually 25 to 30 minutes)…followed by low and slow. There were lots of variations on this theme, but I decided on this particular recipe because it had all the essentials and because the guy who wrote it was funny! When in doubt….go for the person with the sense of humor. Either I got REALLY lucky…or this theory holds true. :-)

So without further yakking on my part….here is a FOOLPROOF way to make the PERFECT PRIME RIB. Courtesy of Nebraska Football Fan.

perfect prime rib

Easy Prime Rib

1. Get a prime rib roast at your supermarket. It’s usually labeled bone-in ribeye roast.
2. Mix up equal parts of onion salt, seasoned salt, and garlic powder. Approx 1/4 cup total.
3. Pat the salt mixture on both ends and the fat side of the roast. The salt may not stick as well on the fat side. Don’t worry about it.
4. Pre-heat oven as high as it will go. Usually 500 degrees, but NOT broil.
5. Stick the roast in a dutch oven preferably on a small rack that will lift it off the bottom. Bone side down (fat side up). Get a meat thermometer and stick it in the middle of the roast.
6. Cook the roast in the oven for 5-6 minutes per pound and then shut the oven off.
7. After two hours take it out and check the temp. If its 140 degrees it’s perfect. If it’s cooler, put it back in the oven at 375 degrees until it hits 140 degrees.
8. This procedure will yield a PERFECT MEDIUM RARE PRIME RIB. (Don’t ask me how to do medium or well done because cooking prime rib roast past medium rare is a felony.)
9. Get a package of Au Jus mix in the spice section of your supermarket and make following directions.

Funny huh? ;-)  I thought so…and decided to put my full faith into his instructions and followed them to the T!!!! I even printed out a sign that said “DO NOT OPEN OVEN DOOR UNDER PENALTY OF DEATH” and taped it to the oven door…essentially taping it shut. My family, as usual, thought Mom had “lost it”…but I’m used to it by now. Besides, I definitely had the last laugh on this one. :-)

The ONLY thing I did different was I took the suggestion of several other recipes I read and, using a small knife, cut slits in the fat side of the meat and stuck in slivers of fresh garlic before roasting.  mmmm mmmm mmmm. I do love garlic…and this method allows it to just MELT into the fat and the meat while it cooks.

perfect prime rib

I have now made this the last 3 Christmas dinners in a row and every year have received RAVE reviews. Even my Uncle SY, who is a self-proclaimed prime rib connoisseur, LOVED it! This is from a man who has traveled all over the world and had prime rib at some of the most expensive restaurants. I kid you not.

In our family we like to serve the prime rib room temperature with au jus and Creamy Horseradish Sauce. Well, I personally am not a fan of the horseradish…but everyone else seems to LOVE it.

creamy horseradish

Creamy Horseradish Sauce


1 cup heavy cream
1 pinch white pepper, or to taste
1 dash hot pepper sauce (such as Tabasco) (optional)
3 tablespoons prepared horseradish


Whisk the cream in a mixing bowl until stiff peaks form. Lift your beater or whisk straight up: the cream should form a sharp peak that holds its shape. Season with the white pepper, hot sauce, and horseradish. Stir to combine.
Note: This sauce doesn’t keep very well. Just plan to use it the same day you make it.


Supporting Roles!

Baked Potatoes in the Crockpot (since the oven will be busy!)

baked potatoes

Not really a “recipe”…more of an idea than anything. A GOOD idea when the oven is already occupied. Wash potatoes….wrap in foil…pierce with small knife in several places…set in Crockpot….cover…cook. Depending on how much time you have….LOW for 6 to 8 hours….or HIGH for 3 to 4 hours.  Great thing about this is if you’re off on your timing a little (or even a lot!)…the potatoes will wait their patiently until you are ready.

Personally I just can’t imagine having a wonderful steak or piece of prime rib without a salad to accompany it!  The balance of the meat, the potatoes and a salad are just perfect according to my tastebuds. My absolute FAVORITE salad is my sister-in-laws recipe for Spinach Salad…which we creatively call…Marianne’s Spinach Salad. :-)  It’s a BIT involved….so if you’re in charge of the prime rib…I say delegate this dish to someone else. If you can’t do that….a lovely green salad with homemade ranch dressing would be WONDERFUL too!  This salad is good ANY time of year….so save it for another special occasion if you need to.

spinach salad

Marianne’s Spinach Salad


  • 2 bunches of spinach
  • 1 head of lettuce (I use green leaf)
  • 3 c. grated swiss cheese
  • 1 container cottage cheese
  • 1 lb. bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 3/4 c. sliced mushrooms (fresh)
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced thinly


  • 1/2 to 1 c. oil (I use canola oil)  The original recipe called for 1 1/2 c. oil…I’ve just always found that to be too much!
  • 3/4 c. red wine vinegar
  • 3/4 t. dry mustard
  • 1 1/2 T. poppy seeds
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 1 1/2 t. salt

Wash & dry spinach and lettuce. Take stems off spinach, cut up lettuce. Place in large enough bowl to toss in. (This is a BIG salad!) Add swiss cheese, cottage cheese, bacon, mushrooms & red onion.   Toss with dressing. Serve immediately!  (Don’t toss with cottage cheese and dressing until just before serving or it will get soggy.)

I personally am good with this menu the way it is…but some A LOT of people think a meal isn’t complete without bread. So I usually pick up a couple of sour dough baguettes at the bakery to appease the starch-hounds in my family. ;-)

Here’s a bonus tip for you I learned from a chef acquaintance.  The best way to reheat a baguette is to run it quickly under the tap with the water running and then put it directly into a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes, until it’s crisp on the outside and warm on the inside. I’ve done it this way many times…and it works! 

sourdough baguette



Last, but of course not least…..DESSERT!  We don’t ALWAYS have trifle for dessert with this special holiday dinner….but it’s what I remember having as a little girl.  My Aunt Betty would always make the most BEAUTIFUL and TASTY trifle in her big, beautiful trifle bowl. Sadly, I don’t have the recipe and she passed several years ago. I’m hoping one of my cousins will correct me on this….but I BELIEVE the following Basic Trifle Recipe is pretty close to what my Aunt Betty would treat us to!

trifle dessert

Basic Trifle Recipe


  • 1 pre-made cake (I like to use angel food cake)
  • 2 boxes of instant vanilla pudding or custard mix
  • 2 (1 lb) bags frozen fruit or 2 lbs. fresh fruit (I use strawberries and/or raspberries, blueberries and bananas)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup whipped cream
  • additional fresh fruit ( to garnish)
  • 1/3 cup sherry wine or 1/3 cup juice or 1/3 cup water


Prepare pudding or custard according to directions and let cool.
Mix the fruit with the sherry.
Cut the cake into 1″ chunks and place 1/2 of the chunks in the bottom of a trifle bowl.
Layer 1/2 of the fruit on top of the cake layer and top with 1/2 the pudding.
Repeat layering.
Top with whipped cream and garnish with fresh fruit.
Chill well before serving.

Whew! This could be my longest post EVER! But I didn’t want to leave anything out! This Special Holiday Dinner deserves to be kept in a matched set. :-)

Happy Holiday Feasting everyone!

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  1. Gina says

    Hi, so my dad is extremely picky when it comes to his meat being medium rare and believes no one can cook it right anymore. Lately my mom has even screwed up and it has just ruin the entire day and meal. This Christmas my dad asked for Prime Rib which scared everyone in our family since it has not been coming out to his expectations and we certainly did not need our holiday ruined with a bad meal. So I was in the food category of Pinterest and found your post. I read it to your mom and we both agreed it was worth a shot. No offense we were very nervous and unsure. Well let me tell you we were WRONG… our prime rib came out PERFECT absolutely perfect. I can not thank you enough for posting this. The au jus sauce is amazing…. It was so good my dad asked to make it for his bday which is tonight so thank you we will continue using this way to cook prime rib for a very long time… if you are hesitant dont be its totally worth it.

  2. Lisa says

    This is a great recipe. Makes the best crust on the roast. Just one thing I would suggest is to make sure your oven is very clean. It will tend to smoke with the high heat during that first cooking.

  3. Jaci Burns says

    I did the same thing as you 2 years ago, spent a lot of time googling for the perfect prime rib and I also did mine this way, so many that cook it all day long didn’t believe you could do it like this. The only thing I do different is I make a rub of butter and add rosemary and thyme and rub all over my meat and age it a week uncovered in the fridge. LOVE THIS

    • Jessica says

      What are the measurements for your rub? I have an 8lb roast I’m going to age tonight! Thanks!

  4. Jerry B says

    Just a little variation
    Use the following for the seasonings
    onion powder
    seasoned salt
    garlic powder
    1 tablespoon tyme
    1/4 cup Olive Oil

    Mix it all up into a paste and coat the prime rib. This will make the perfect “crust” when cooked and is a little lower in sodium for those with concerns about how much salt in their diet.

  5. Denise says

    I agree – prime rib should be medium rare – but for those that need a little less color – run your slices through your hot Au Jus and it will be perfect for all…

  6. Tara says

    This looks amazing! I found you via Pinterest last week and decided to try making the prime rib for my mom’s birthday dinner tomorrow. I just have a quick question. Do I cover the dutch oven or leave it open? Thanks a ton!

  7. says

    I can’t believe how bright your food posts are. Even in the winter time.
    I love the taco seasoning post. gonna try that soon!

  8. Demaroge says

    Johnny's Au Jus is da' BOMB!

    Here is a link so you know what I am talkin' 'bout! (I live in the south now and I can't find Johnny's anything around here! My Mom would seriously bring it to me before we had the great supernatural powers of the internet!)