How to Cook a Prime Rib Steak in the Oven

How to Cook a Prime Rib Steak in the Oven

What, exactly, is prime rib steak and why is it so popular? Seared on both sides, seasoned, and then grilled or broiled and finished with a compound butter on top, this expensive meat is a top choice for special occasions and gatherings and will impress any guest you serve it to.

It goes with any side and is often paired with potatoes, brussels sprouts, risotto, or creamed spinach for a more gourmet flair.

A prime rib steak is a popular cut of meat because it normally has excellent marbling and is incredibly flavorful when prepared properly. In this post, we’re going to all the basics and more so that you can confidently make it at home or your upcoming event.

You’ll learn the difference between prime rib and ribeye, how to cook prime rib steak and how to serve this special meal to your family. Before long, you’ll be cooking prime rib steak like the pros!

How to Cook a Prime Rib Steak in the Oven

Prime Rib vs. Ribeye: What’s the Difference?

First, what is prime rib? Prime rib is a USDA-graded beef, a rib primal cut, from beef cattle that are generally between 9 and 24 months of age, sometimes as old as 30 months of age.

To be considered “prime” inspectors look for certain characteristics of the meat, specifically the amount of marbling within the cut of the meat.

The more marbling there is, the higher the value that the cut of meat will be. All these factors determine how tender and flavorful the cut will be when cooked.

Knowing the prime rib vs ribeye prime rib roast difference is as simple as knowing how each is cooked. Different cuts of prime rib are cooked in various ways.

For example, prime rib steaks are mostly seared and then roasted slowly under low heat, making them more tender.

Ribeyes are grilled quickly over high heat, making them more charred. When a ribeye is boneless, it is called a prime rib roast.

Rolled roasts are slow-roasted for several hours to tenderize perfection.

Standing rib roasts are like a beef version of a rack of lamb.

Choosing which cut is entirely up to your own personal preference. It can also be helpful to consider how many guests will be served.

Roasts are popular for gatherings because they are easier to slice and serve to multiple guests, and steaks are usually popular for smaller celebrations when serving one to three people.

All are usually cooked only to medium-rare to medium doneness. Anything more than this will usually compromise the flavor and dry the meat out. 

If you’re ready to discover this special cut of beef, read on for all the ins and outs of preparing and cooking prime rib!

How to Cook a Prime Rib Steak in the Oven

Ingredients for rib steak?

Prime rib recipes vary according to personal preference but the main ingredients you need are prime rib, seasonings, and butter. Don’t skip the butter, it adds amazing flavor!

The juices from the cooking process are often saved from cooking to prepare an Au Jus Sauce to serve with it. In its simplest form, the sauce is just the pan drippings from the roasted meat but cooks often thicken it with either flour or cornstarch to serve as a type of gravy with the meat. 

Seasonings that go well with prime rib are thyme, oregano, garlic, basil, rosemary and pepper.

There are also pre-mixed blends that are available at your local market in the seasoning aisle for every taste and preference. Likewise, you can marinate the meat ahead of time before cooking it in your favorite blend. 

How to cook prime rib steak in the oven?

Learning how to cook prime rib steaks in the oven isn’t hard. First, you must begin with a quality ribeye steak that is labeled “prime” or “choice” at your local meat market or grocer.

You can find rib steaks with the bone in or without the bone, but some say that the bone-in option adds more flavor during the cooking process. Boneless cuts tend to be more expensive.

Look for good marbling on the meat and throughout. This is important as it will produce a more flavorful and tender steak. You also want a fresh piece of meat which will be bright red in color.

Decide ahead of time which seasonings or marinades you will use and have those on hand at the time of cooking. If you are marinating the meat, you will want to begin marinating it in the fridge the night before cooking.

Decide on your cooking method. Will you be pan searing the meat then finishing in the oven, grilling or roasting?

Pan searing and oven cooking is simply searing the prepared meat on both sides before finishing the cooking process in the oven. (this is the process we will detail below)

Grilling is cooking the meat on an open grill.

Roasting involves preparing and slowly cooking the meat for several hours until tender. (This method is best for rolled roasts)


The next step in making a prime rib steak oven recipe is to prepare the meat. If you bought your steak frozen, it is important to let it completely thaw in the refrigerator overnight.

Before cooking the prime steak, allow it to come to room temperature before putting it in the oven. This will take around 30 minutes or so, be patient, it will be worth it!

After it is at room temperature, use a paper towel to dab off the moisture from the surface of the meat. The reason you want to do this is so the temperature of the skillet won’t be affected by the cool moisture when you go to sear the meat.


Seasonings for prime rib can be as simple or complex as you prefer.

Some prefer only to use salt and pepper, others add herbs like thyme, garlic, and more. At your local grocery store, there should be several pre-blended spice rubs made specifically for steaks. You can also marinate the meat overnight in the refrigerator for more depth of flavor.

Once you have your seasonings chosen and ready, sprinkle them onto the steak and let them rest for up to an hour. After that, sprinkle the steak again with another layer of seasoning.


Before we cover how to cook prime rib steak in the oven, it’s important to sear the meat in a skillet on your stovetop. When you sear the meat on medium-high heat, it creates a nice crust and seals in the juices.

After you’ve seasoned the prime rib, you’re ready to sear it. Make sure that your skillet is hot before putting the meat in.

Sear each side of the prime rib for two minutes on medium-high heat and then transfer to your oven that has been preheated to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. If you use a cast-iron skillet to sear, you can simply put the pan right into the oven.

If not, have your baking dish already in the oven so that it is hot and ready for the meat. This is how to cook a single prime rib steak, as well as several at a time, just make sure that your oven is preheated, as well as your baking dishes or skillets.

Let the steak cook in the oven for another 2 to 5 minutes, and then turn your oven off, but do not remove the steak from the oven yet. It needs to rest.

A general rule of thumb for cooking times for prime rib is as follows:

  • Medium-rare: 15 to 20 minutes per pound
  • Medium: 20 to 25 minutes per pound
  • Medium-well: 25 to 30 minutes per pound


Resting the steak inside the oven is a very important step in the cooking process. The prime rib will continue to cook from the residual heat in the oven. Recommended times for this are between approximately 6 to 8 minutes.

The best way to tell if it is time to pull the steak out of the oven is to use a meat thermometer to check for internal doneness. You want an internal temperature of 120 degrees to 125 degrees Fahrenheit before pulling the steaks out of the oven.

If you are concerned that leaving the prime rib in the oven for that long will raise the temp higher than 125 degrees, you can check the internal temperature of the steak while the oven is on until it hits 115 degrees.

Then, turn the oven off and pull the steak out to rest at room temperature on the counter for about five minutes. The steak will continue to rise in temperature by about five degrees as it sits and the juices will redistribute within the meat to tenderize it.

Cooking tips

  • Make sure to season the prime rib TWICE. The first layer will settle into the meat fibers while the second layer helps form the crust,
  • Use the leftover juices to make au jus sauce or a simple sauce to drizzle over the freshly-sliced meat, it makes all the difference!
  • Sliced the meat ACROSS THE GRAIN. This is how you get those beautiful thin slices to enjoy!
  • Use a meat thermometer. While it may seem tedious, reaching the proper internal temps is the key to the perfect doneness and to ensuring that the meat is safe to consume.

Frequently Asked Questions

Check also:

How to Cook a Prime Rib Steak in the Oven

What is a prime rib steak?

It can be confusing to know what cut of meat prime rib is because there are a few different names for it.

Prime rib is a beef rib primal cut. You may be wondering, “Is prime rib the same as ribeye?” Yes and no.

Prime roast gives you a larger cut and includes the ribeye area as well. Ribeye gives you the best part of the cut, but in a smaller portion.

What is so special about the prime rib?

The reason why prime rib is such a special cut of meat is due to the marbling it has throughout its tissue.

Because of the higher fat content, the taste and tenderness of the meat when cooked properly is unparalleled.

Why is prime rib so expensive?

Prime rib is so expensive because it is considered a better cut of meat. Rib-eye roast is the center, most tender and flavorful part of the prime rib that is cut off the bone and is usually the most expensive cut of all.

Which is better: ribeye or prime rib?

When deciding ribeye roast vs prime rib, whether or not one is better than the other, is simply a matter of preference.

Ribeye roast is considered the most tender and flavorful and is usually a more expensive cut. Some people say that bone-in prime rib steak tastes better while others claim a boneless ribeye roast can’t be beaten!

Another way to compare rib eye roast to prime rib is to consider the purpose for which you need it.

Are you making dinner for yourself and a significant other? Prime rib steaks are perfect for your special occasion! If you are hosting multiple guests for a gathering, then you may want a prime rib roast that is easy to slice and serve.

Is prime rib steak a good cut?

Yes, the prime rib steak is good quality meat with excellent marbling and flavor. This particular cut of meat has more marbling than most cuts which results in a more flavorful, tender cooked meat when finished.

When you purchase prime rib at the market, be sure to look at the grade of beef or ask the butcher what the USDA grade is. You want the label to be “Prime” or “Choice”.

How long should I cook my prime rib?

The actual cooking time for prime rib depends on its size, whether or not it has the bone and more. On average, an 8-round roast will take 35-45 minutes while a steak will take less time. Refer to your recipe and internal temp guides for the best results.

How to Cook a Prime Rib Steak in the Oven

How to Cook a Prime Rib Steak in the Oven

Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes


  • 1 bone-in beef rib roast (4 to 5 pounds)
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons dried rosemary, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons wasabi powder
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon herbes de Provence


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°.
  2. Place the roast, fat side up, on a rack in a foil-lined roasting pan.
  3. Mix salt, garlic powder, rosemary, wasabi powder, butter, pepper, and herbes de Provence in a small bowl until fully combined.
  4. Pat the seasoning mix onto all sides of the roast.
  5. Roast for 2 to 2-1/2 hours or until meat reaches desired doneness.
    ● For medium-rare, a thermometer should read 135°
    ● For medium 140°
    ● For medium-well 145°
  6. Remove roast from oven and tent it with foil.
  7. Let stand 15 minutes before carving
  8. Carve the meat across the grain; serve with juices.

Did you make this recipe?

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Prime rib is a special, expensive cut of meat that is usually reserved for special occasions and holidays, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy it!

Whether or not you choose, bone-in steak, boneless roast, ribeye, rolled roast or standing rib roast, we are sure that you and your guests will love this main dish at your next celebration.

Remember to choose a good cut of meat with marbling throughout the tissue, follow the guidelines above and you’ll make it just like a professional chef every time.

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