Prime rib makes a magnificent presentation and is a treasured holiday favorite to share with family and friends. This Boneless Prime Rib Recipe does not disappoint, and you can expect your prime rib to turn out exactly as you’d hoped this year — with a tender, juicy inside and a beautifully browned, crispy crust. But, how exactly do you get from start to finish?
In addition to a foolproof cooking method, we’re talking all the prime rib essentials, and any questions you may have? Well, they’ve already been answered. You’ll find out:
- What exactly prime rib is
- Tips for purchasing and what to ask your butcher for
- How much prime rib to buy
- Tips for getting even more flavor out of your roast
- The best way to season a prime rib
- Why a thermometer is a must
- A simple time hack for cooking it to the desired temperature
Making a prime rib roast for a crowd may at first seem intimidating, but the good news is, it’s really quite simple. The preparation is easy, the seasoning requires minimal effort, and the rest is really up to the thermometer! With these quick and easy tips, you can rest assured knowing you’ll have a perfectly cooked, prime rib on this year’s holiday table.
PRIME RIB: WHAT IS IT, EXACTLY?
Imagine a stack of ribeye steaks piled high, one on top of the other — this is essentially what a boneless prime rib roast is, only rather than individual steaks, you’re looking at one giant hunk of glorious beef. I doubt you’ll be surprised to learn where it comes from, but if you guessed the primal rib section of the cow, you guessed right.
HOW TO BUY PRIME RIB
You’ll find three grades of beef at the grocery store: prime, select, and choice. Prime rib should be prime beef.
THE MARBLING MATTERS
Prime beef has more marbling, which is fancy beef slang for the fat running throughout a cut of meat, and while many may see fat as a bad thing this day-and-age when it comes to ribeye beef, marbling is everything. These streaks of fat running throughout the roast help to keep it moist throughout the cooking process and add a great deal of flavor. Note, for good marbling, look for thin streams of fat running across the face of the roast.
ASK YOUR BUTCHER FOR…
When you go to purchase your prime rib from the butcher counter, don’t expect them to hand over their most prized hunk of meat because you’re paying top dollar for it. Make sure you specifically request prime grade beef as it will be much more tender and flavorful than either select or choice beef. Also, if you want to cook it without the bones, make sure you ask them to remove them for you.
When it comes to prime rib, there are two ways to go: first cut or second cut. Ask for first cut (a.k.a. the loin end or small end). This cut consists of ribs 10-12 and will be more tender than a second cut prime rib.
HOW MUCH PRIME RIB TO BUY
You can expect to feed two people per pound with a boneless prime rib roast. Multiply the pounds of your prime rib by two and that’s approximately how many servings you have. When in doubt, lean on the heavier side of servings. It’s better to have more than enough than the other way around. Plus, leftover prime rib makes for one heck of a sandwich the next day.
HOW TO COOK A BONELESS PRIME RIB ROAST
In this section, we’ll discuss all the cooking basics: How to cook the prime rib using the traditional method and why it yields the best results, how to prepare your roast, what to season it with, what you should cook it on and why, and of course, prime rib cook time and temperature.
BONELESS PRIME RIB RECIPE OVERVIEW
- Pat roast dry and lightly score the fat cap.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Roast for 15 minutes at 450°.
- Reduce oven temperature to 300° and roast for until internal temperature reaches 120° for medium-rare.
- Allow roast to rest for 15-20 minutes before carving.
- Slice into 3/4″ thick portions and serve.
THE BEST WAY TO COOK BONELESS PRIME RIB
The best way to cook a boneless prime rib is by using the traditional method: Begin roasting at a high temperature for a short period of time, then reduce the heat to a lower temperature setting and continue at this setting for the remainder of the cook time.
Beginning the roast at a high temperature will help to develop a gorgeous crust, and reducing the temperature for the remainder of the cook time will give you more control over the final internal temperature of your roast.
It is important to note that the roast should be on a rack, not making any contact with the bottom of the pan. You can use a roasting rack fitted in a roasting pan or any oven-safe rack securely fitted on (or over) a sturdy, rimmed baking sheet.
PREPARING YOUR ROAST
To begin, pat the roast dry with paper towels and score the fat cap. Scoring your roast will allow the fat to easily drip off the top of your boneless prime rib roast and also enable the seasoning to better enhance the flavor. For tips on how to score a roast, see The Spruce Eats Techniques to Score a Roast. Don’t worry — it’s easy.
Once this is done, it is time to oil and season your roast.
DRY AGE FOR BETTER CRUST
If you have time, consider buying your roast a couple of days in advance so that you can maximize flavor. All beef you purchase from the grocery store has been dry-aged to some extent, but by seasoning your beef a day or two in advance and placing it in the refrigerator (uncovered), you will decrease the moisture content on the outside of the roast, without losing any moisture on the inside.
This process not only intensifies the beefy flavor quality of the prime rib as a whole, but it will also enable you to develop a perfect crispy crust on your boneless prime rib roast.
HOW TO SEASON PRIME RIB ROAST
Don’t waste your time overcomplicating prime rib seasoning. Prime rib has great beefy flavor, with gorgeous marbling and you should let it shine. All you need for a spectacular prime rib seasoning is Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Seriously. That’s it.
BONELESS PRIME RIB: COOK TIME, TEMPERATURE, AND DONENESS
The last thing you want to do is serve an overcooked prime rib at your holiday dinner. Do not begin roasting a prime rib without a thermometer by your side. This cannot be emphasized enough.
There is no cook time chart that can guarantee a perfectly cooked prime rib — only your thermometer can do that. The internal temperature of your roast and cook time varies depending on a number of different factors. Just to name a few: The temperature of your roast when it goes into the oven, the exact size/thickness of your particular roast, altitude…and, the list goes on.
USE A THERMOMETER…NOT A CHART
Invest in an instant-read thermometer. Instant read thermometers are digital, making them a breeze to read and giving you immediate results. They’re inexpensive and can be found at just about any grocery store. If you have a thermometer that can stay in the roast while cooking in the oven — double bonus. You can actually set these thermometers to alert you once your roast has reached the desired temperature, giving you peace of mind and ensuring a perfectly cooked prime rib roast.
For best results, when taking the temperature of a boneless prime rib, insert the thermometer in the center of the thickest portion of the roast.
REMEMBER: INTERNAL TEMPERATURE RISES AFTER COOKING
Also note, large roasts will continue to climb in temperature even after they come out of the oven, anywhere from 10-15°. This is why I suggest pulling your roast at 120° rather than 130-135°, which is a true medium-rare. Pull at 130° for medium doneness.
For medium-rare, you need to pull your boneless prime rib from the oven at 120°, but the questions remains, when do you pull it?
HOW LONG TO COOK PRIME RIB ROAST
Many recipes and time charts will tell you to multiply the weight of your roast by 15 and this is your cook time (in minutes). However, as we discussed, there are multiple factors that will affect your cook time. So, to ensure you do not overcook your precious roast, I suggest we get a little more specific than that and take its temperature after just 1 hour and 45 minutes at 300°.
This time frame keeps you out of the “over-cooking” danger zone. Then, if you have not reached your desired temperature, subtract the current temperature from the desired temperature and multiply that number by 1.5. While roasting at 300°, your prime rib will rise approximately 1° every 1 1/2 minutes — this is where the “1.5” comes in.
Desired Temp. – Current Temp. = A
A x 1.5 = B
“B” is the number of minutes you will return your roast to the oven before checking its temperature once more.
Keep in mind that the ends of your prime rib are going to be more cooked than the center. So, if you have guests who prefer their prime rib with a little less red, you can always serve them the portions from the ends.
LET IT REST
Remember, your prime rib is not finished cooking the moment you take it out of the oven. It will continue to rise in temperature as it rests. Resting the beef is important as it allows for the juice to redistribute throughout the roast instead of spilling out all over your carving board.
For a large roast like a prime rib, you should allow it to rest at least 15-20 minutes before carving.
With this boneless prime rib recipe, you can rest assured you’ll be carving into a beautifully cooked, flavorful prime rib roast. Tender and juicy, this roast is perfect for a traditional Christmas dinner or an elegant dinner party. Please, enjoy.
5 MORE ROAST RECIPES YOU’LL LOVE
- Beef Tenderloin roasted in the oven with a gorgeous black pepper crust is truly a sight to behold! Learn to easily cook it to a perfect medium-rare.
- Pork Tenderloin with mustard and rosemary is always juicy and succulent thanks to this one simple hack!
- Whole-Roasted Chicken slathered with a simple compound butter is flavorful and perfect for both entertaining and weeknight dinners!
- Pork Loin Roast is a flavorful, budget-friendly option for feeding a crowd and is beyond easy to make.
- Crispy, Baked Chicken Leg Quarters with lemon and fresh rosemary is another budget-friendly option that makes for a seriously impressive presentation!
A simple, traditional boneless prime rib recipe that ensures a tender and juicy roast with a gorgeous, crispy crust.
- 8 pound boneless prime rib (preferably prime grade and first cut)
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 2 tablespoons Kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon black pepper, preferably freshly ground
Pat the prime rib dry with a paper towel. Lightly score the fat cap of the roast by making a cross-hatch pattern with a sharp knife. Do not cut too deep.
Drizzle canola oil over the roast and rub to adhere. Sprinkle with Kosher salt and black pepper, and rub all over once more.
If you have time, intensify the flavor of the beef by transferring the roast to a rimmed pan and placing it in the refrigerator (taking care to avoid any cross-contamination) overnight or up to 3 days, uncovered. If you do not have time, proceed directly to step 4.
Preheat the oven to 450° and have ready a rack fitted in a roasting pan or over a sturdy rimmed baking sheet.
Remove the roast from the refrigerator to sit at room temperature 1 hour prior to roasting to remove the chill. Then, transfer to prepared rack and pan.
Roast for 15 minutes at 450°. Decrease the temperature to 300° and roast until the internal temperature reaches 120°, about 1 hour and 45 minutes to 2 hours more.
Remove from the oven and allow to rest at least 15-20 minutes before carving. Slice the roast in 3/4" slices, serve and enjoy.
Once the roast has reached 100°, it is safe to assume it will rise in temperature 2° every 3 minutes.
Cook’s Illustrated Meat Book, Bishop et all., (2014).
Williams-Sonoma: Essentials of Roasting, Melanie Barnard, (2004).