Easy Prime Rib Roast with Horseradish Cream

It doesn’t get any better (or easier) than this Salt and Pepper Crusted Prime Rib Roast recipe. Save this one for the holidays or anytime you want a celebration worthy dinner!

Prime Rib Roast on a wooden platter

If you read my son Gus’s birth story, you might remember this standing prime rib roast. It was purchased while I was in labor (though I didn’t realize it yet), with grand plans of making and photographing it the following day. Instead, I had a baby. 

Luckily, I made a phone call from the hospital, and my parents were able to save this precious cut of beef by popping it into our deep freezer. Weeks passed, and in the bleary eyed days of newborn care, I mostly forgot about the roast. It wasn’t until I was rummaging around for a quick freezer meal that I rediscovered the roast, carefully wrapped in butcher paper, tucked safely away next to the frozen peas.

Last week we finally got around to baking this prime rib roast, and let me tell you, it was worth the wait. Juicy, tender, and oh-so-savory, this is a gorgeous, delicious roast that has special occasion written all over it. Best of all, the recipe is so easy, even a new momma of a 6 week old and 3 year old can make it!

Today, I’m sharing all my best tips for buying, making, and eating the very best prime rib roast. This roast is so stunning, you won’t even need a centerpiece at your holiday table.

Standing prime rib roast with horseradish sauce

This post is sponsored by Ohio Beef. As always, all opinions are my own. 

How to buy a standing prime rib roast:

First things first. You’ve got to buy your prime rib! I recommend calling around to a few local grocery stores and local butchers. Many of them keep prime rib roasts on hand, but some might require a few days notice to get you the roast. Most grocery stores will refer to this particular cut as a “Beef Bone-in Rib Roast.” 

Once you’ve decided where you’ll source your roast, consider how many people you’d like it to serve. Generally, you can figure 2 people per bone. My 3-bone roast weighed 5.5 lbs. and fed six people with enough leftover for sandwiches the next day. 

Finally, when ordering your roast, ask your butcher to remove the meat from the bones then use a string to tie them back on. This will give you all the great flavor of the bones, but make carving the roast much easier. 

Prime Rib Roast with holiday decorations

What is the best way to cook a standing prime rib roast?

My favorite way to cook prime rib roast is a tad untraditional, but I find it’s the absolute best and easiest way to make a gorgeous medium rare prime rib roast every time. 

This method goes by several names, including the closed oven method, the no peek method, or simply the foolproof prime rib roast method. This method is mostly hands-off, and works best for small to medium (4-8 lb) roasts. Whatever you call it, the process couldn’t be easier. With just a little bit of planning, I promise anyone can have success with this method!

Medium rare prime rib roast with horseradish sauce

Here’s how to make Foolproof Prime Rib Roast with the Closed Oven Method:

  1. The night before you plan to cook the roast, remove it from the packaging. Make a note of how many pounds the roast is before throwing away the package. You’ll need that later! Set the roast on a plate and allow it to rest uncovered in the fridge over night. This helps dry out the exterior so you can get a gorgeous, crispy brown crust. 
  2. Remove the roast from the fridge and allow it to rest at room temperature for two hours. This will ensure the roast cooks evenly so you don’t end up with well done ends and rare centers. I also season the roast when I remove it from the fridge, so the seasonings have time to penetrate through the meat.
  3. About 30 minutes before you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Grab the note that lists the weight of your roast. Take the number of pounds and multiply it by 5. This is how long you’ll cook your roast. For example, if you have a 5 lb. roast, you’ll multiply 5 x 5, and bake your roast for 25 minutes. Starting the roast at a super high temperature helps seal in moisture and create the killer crust prime rib is known for.
  4. Place your seasoned roast in a roasting pan, fat side up. You can use a roasting rack, but it’s not absolutely necessary as the ribs act as their own roasting rack.  Place the roast in the preheated oven uncovered. Bake for whatever amount of time the weight determines.
  5. Then comes the most important part: Turn the oven off, set the timer for two hours, and WALK AWAY.  Seriously, that’s it. The hardest part is simply not opening the oven door for the entire two hours. Tape it shut if you have to–just don’t open that door! 
  6. Allow your roast to continue cooking for the next two hours. After two hours, you can open the oven door to check the temperature of the meat. 120-125 in the center will be rare. 130-135 is medium rare, which is my preferred temp for prime rib roast. If it’s reached 130 degrees, go ahead and take it out of the oven! If it’s not quite to temp yet, you can turn the oven back on to 375 and continue to cook until it reaches the desired temp.  
Prime Rib Roast with salt and pepper rub

How to Season Prime Rib Roast:

There are as many ways to season prime rib roast as there are recipes for chocolate chip cookies, but I find with this premium cut of beef, simpler is better. I’ve made a boneless Garlic Rosemary Prime Rib Roast in the past, but for this standing rib roast I keep things even simpler. All that’s required to bring out the flavors of this cut is a generous rub of coarse Kosher salt, black pepper, and a hint of garlic powder. This simple rub allows the flavor of the meat to really shine, and makes the most flavorful crust around. If you’re anything like me, you’ll find your inner carnivore keeps calling you back to the cutting board to pick at the crispy bits around the bones. 

Sliced prime rib roast with horseradish sauce

What to Serve with Prime Rib Roast:

A savory au jus made from the pan drippings is always a great choice. I like this au jus recipe

However, my absolute favorite accompaniment for prime rib is a velvety, tangy horseradish cream sauce. I make my sauce with a little sour cream, mayo, horseradish, and a sprinkling of fresh chives. The creamy sauce stands up to the salty, fatty meat, and gives the meal a surprising punch of extra flavor. Leftover sauce makes a great dip for fresh cut veggies or a killer sandwich spread. 

I prefer to keep side dishes for a prime rib roast traditional. Classic creamy mashed potatoes, baked mushrooms, honey green beans, and warm roasted carrots would all be lovely options.  

Roasting and Toasting with Ohio Beef

This month we’re roasting and toasting the holiday season with Ohio Beef. Nothing says celebration quite like a stunning standing rib roast paired with the perfect glass of wine. You absolutely can’t go wrong pairing beef with a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon, but if you’re looking to mix things up, try a a Merlot, Cabernet Franc, or Zinfandel. 

This year thousands of Ohio families with celebrate the holidays with beef, a high quality protein choice that also happens to be a delicious choice for special occasions. The 17,000 beef farming families here in Ohio work year round, seven days a week, in rain, snow, sleet and shine. I’ve had the privilege of meeting a few of these families,  and their commitment to taking excellent care of their animals, supporting the environment, and providing safe, quality beef to consumers is inspirational. To meet an Ohio farmer, learn more about beef farming practices, or discover new beef recipes, visit OhioBeef.org.

I hope you all have a lovely, safe, sweet, and savory Christmas!

Medium rare prime rib roast with horseradish sauce

Easy Prime Rib Roast

Yield: 6
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 3 seconds
Additional Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 25 minutes 3 seconds

This gorgeous prime rib roast uses the closed door method to produce a perfectly medium rare prime rib with a crisp, golden brown exterior.

Ingredients

For the roast:

  • 4-8 lb. beef bone in rib roast
  • 2 Tablespoons coarse Kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper

For the horseradish cream:

  • 3/4 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 4 Tablespoons prepared horseradish*
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1/4 cup chopped chives

Instructions

  1. The night before you plan to cook the roast, remove it from the packaging. Make a note of how many pounds the roast is before throwing away the package. You'll need that later! Set the roast on a plate and allow it to rest uncovered in the fridge overnight.
  2. Two hours before you're ready to cook the meat, remove it from the fridge. Mix together the salt, garlic powder, and black pepper, and rub it all over the roast. It's okay if it doesn't stick to the fatty bits very well. Allow the roast to rest at room temperature for two hours.
  3. About 30 minutes before you're ready to bake, preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Grab the note that lists the weight of your roast. Take the number of pounds and multiply it by 5. This is how long you'll cook your roast. For example, if you have a 5 lb. roast, you'll multiply 5 x 5, and bake your roast for 25 minutes.
  4. Place your seasoned roast in a roasting pan, fat side up. You can use a roasting rack, or let the ribs act as their own natural rack. Place the roast in the preheated oven uncovered. Bake for whatever amount of time the weight determines.
  5. After the allotted time, turn the oven off, set the timer for two hours, and WALK AWAY. Seriously, that's it. The hardest part is simply not opening the oven door for the entire two hours. Tape it shut if you have to--just don't open that door! 
  6. Allow your roast to continue cooking for the next two hours. After two hours, you can open the oven door to check the temperature of the meat. 120-125 in the center is rare. 130-135 is medium rare, which is my preferred temp for prime rib roast. If the roast has reached 130 degrees, go ahead and take it out of the oven. If it's not quite to temp yet, you can turn the oven back on to 375 and continue to cook until it reaches the desired temp.  
  7. Remove the roast from the oven, tent with foil, and allow it to rest for 15 minutes before carving and serving.
  8. While the roast cooks, you can prepare the horseradish sauce. Combine the heavy cream, mayonnaise, sour cream, horseradish and chives. Season to taste with salt. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Notes

I use a store bought horseradish puree, which usually also has some oil and vinegar added to it. Grated horseradish root should be the first ingredient.

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71 Comments

  1. Hi Courtney, Sylvia from Houston,Tx. I made this prime rib for Easter to share with family. I was a bit reluctant, but have to say it can out so flavorful and got so many compliments. This is a keeper thank you so much for sharing! Happy Easter 🐰🐣

  2. I tried this method for the first time last night. It came out pretty good. I rubbed the roast all over with softened butter before applying the seasonings. I had a 5 lb roast on the bone and cooked it at 500 for 25 minutes before shutting off the oven. Waited 2 hours and called it done! It was pretty rare near the bone, but it was just me and my husband so there was plenty of meat to choose from. I will definitely use this method again in the future!

  3. We had this for Christmas dinner and I can say it was the BEST standing rib roast I have ever prepared. It turned out perfect. Thank you for this recipe. It was so easy to follow and wonderful to eat! It was a perfect medium rare.

  4. I’ve seen this method before but I was hesitant. Tried it last night and it was the best prime rib I’ve ever cooked. Absolutely perfect. Takes some planning for your sides so you don’t have to open the oven door but so worth it. Thank you!

  5. Will this method work with the bones left in? My store bought roast has the bones in still and I’m not sure I want to tackle removing them. Do times need to be adjusted?

    Thanks and Merry Christmas!

  6. I’m planning this for Christmas Day. I picked up roast today and realized it is 12 lbs… that would be 60 min at 500 before turning off. Will that overcook it ? Any thoughts? Will this work or should I cut roast in 1/2 and cook as 2 roasts?

  7. I have a 16 lb roast. Should I cook it while or cut into two separate pieces. If so do I them multiply the 5 minutes by 8? Help!

    1. I would cut it into two pieces, as I’m not sure this method will work with such a large cut. And yes, if you cut it in half, multiply 5 x 8, not 5 x 16.

  8. So this is really a boneless prime rib roast? You’re just using the bones as a setting rack. Correct? Just making sure this will work for me as both of my Prime Rib portions are boneless.

  9. My Mom always bought the best rib roast at a small grocer in Columbus. She used this method always, but would brown her roast in her well used iron skillet. She coated it with Kitchen Boquet (a browning sauce) and coarse ground pepper and salt. No one was allowed in the kitchen at all!

  10. I’ve never made rib roast before – I followed the directions exactly on the roast. It turned out perfect. There’s nothing I would change. I didn’t have prepared horseradish, just horseradish sauce so I just omitted the Mayo, used apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper. I did this for Christmas and it’s now my go to for any time I want people to rave on my food skills but not kill myself in the kitchen. Thank you!

  11. I really want to try this recipe. In the beginning you said have butcher remove bones, then later you said let the bones act as a rack . So do you get the bones from the butcher and just lay your roast on them in pan in oven?

    1. Ask the butcher to remove the bones, then tie them back onto the roast. It gives you all the flavor and the built-in-roasting rack, but makes it much easier to cut and serve.

    1. I’m really not sure as I’m not familiar with how an electric roaster retains heat. This recipe works because the oven will retain warmth for quite some time as long as it isn’t opened. I’m not sure if an electric roaster works the same way. Sorry I couldn’t be more help!

    1. The prime rib will naturally be a little more well done on the ends and more rare in the centers. However, it still won’t be well done. I would suggest slicing off some pieces for your husband and finishing them in a skillet on the stove top with some of the pan juices until it’s cooked to his liking. Hope you enjoy!

    1. We’ve ordered from Weilands and Blues Creek Farm in PC. Around the holidays you can get them at Kroger and Meijer–I just always recommend calling ahead.

  12. Followed your instructions to the T but it was overcooked. Still good flavor and not too tough but I love Med rare and it was definitely medium. Temp 160+. I know all oven are different. Next time should I cut initial cook time or the over off time ?

  13. I decided to make a prime rib for Christmas dinner this year. I ordered my meat for a local meat market. When I saw the $125 price tags for 6 pounds of me I was a bit nervous. What if I mess up the expensive piece of meat??
    I followed the directions exactly and Oh. My. Gosh. It turned out perfect!!! I don’t know how often I’ll make prime rib but this will be the recipe I’ll be using.

    Thank you for sharing!

  14. Out. Friggin. Standing!!!
    Followed cooking directions for roast and Au Jus. I just added a little rosemary to the rub. Perfect Perfect Perfect!!!

    1. Woohoo! Thanks so much for taking the time to come back and let me know. I’m so glad you enjoyed the prime rib!

  15. Hi Courtney, quick question please.. Is it 1) two hours with the oven door closed for 2 hours, then, 2) check temperature, then 3) an additional 2 hours..total: 4 hours in the oven? The directions are not clear.

    1. So sorry for the confusion Gregg! Once you’ve turned the oven off, it’s just 2 hours total with the oven door closed. At that point, it should be close to finished. If it’s not to your desired temperature you can turn the oven back to 375 and heat until cooked through (usually only another 20-30 minutes). I hope that makes sense!

  16. Did it this way today, Christmas Day, it came out perfect. One thing, for a 5lb. Roast, take it out 5hrs. before, we did and it still was 56 degrees in the middle.

    This is the only way to cook a prime rib, I have done it other ways before but it never came out like this, it was a perfect medium (we took it out at 135).

  17. Hi Courtney, quick question please.. we have a 11lb rib roast and I’m visiting my son. He’s afraid his stove won’t cook well because his electric and isn’t of great quality, concerned oven may not hold onto the heat well. What are your thoughts?

    1. So sorry for the delay! If you’re not sure if the oven will hold heat, you could just cook low and slow the whole time. 250 degrees for 3-4 hours then sear at 500 degrees for 15 minutes.

  18. We are odd balls and prefer well done. How much time do you recommend after turning off the oven?.I believe well done is 160 degrees so just wait till the thermometer reaches that? Would the meat even reach that temp?

    1. That’s a good question! I’m not sure if it would reach that temp or not. I would add 15-20 minutes of extra time at the high heat at the beginning.

  19. What are your thought on seasoning the roast before it sits in the fridge over night? This is how I usually prepare most of my meats and it really adds a depth of flavor.

    1. That should work great! I haven’t done it with this recipe, but I do this often with other cuts and it works well!

  20. Hi Courtney. I’ve made this method twice. I have a older gas stove, and both times after I shut the oven off, the detector goes nuts hard to get it to stop. Could I try at a lower temperature? 450 for how long?

    1. I think you probably could give that a try. Instead of multiplying the number of pounds, I’d multiply by 7, which should increase the time at that temperature by 8-12 minutes.

  21. Two questions that I was t sure about…do I leave on or remove the rope before coming, and what level rack do you recommend (middle)?

    1. You can leave the rope on, and you’ll need either a middle or lower rack to fit the roast. Good luck and enjoy!

  22. Hi! We have a 20 lb prime rib roast. You mention that this method is better for a smaller roast. What would be the best method for a larger roast at 20lbs? And we also have a smoker option. Would you recommend using the smoker or traditional oven?

  23. My oven will only go up to 450F. I am going to leave it in a little longer whiled monitoring the temperature constantly. Fingers crossed!

  24. Thanks for sharing. So many are afraid to cook large, expensive cuts of meat… I’ve used this method for years. If you follow instructions & let the beef come to room temp before cooking, it works perfectly EVERY time. Also cook inexpensive bottom round roast this way.

  25. I had a 5 pound roast did exactly like you said but it was raw! It smelled so good we were so excited to eat! We had to put it back in over at 375 for 45 minutes before it reached temperature! It’s getting late so We will get to eat it tomorrow!

  26. Do you ever use olive oil on the roast before seasoning? That’s what I did and all I could hear from my living room was crackling! It made me nervous and my oven is a mess – I was just wondering how much of a difference the oil makes In regard to the taste of the meat?

    1. Hi Dewi, I don’t use olive oil on this prime rib roast. Olive oil has a lower smoking point, so it will definitely spatter when its in the oven at such a high temperature. If you’d like to use an oil, you could try vegetable or canola instead, but it’s really not needed!

  27. You’ve got 5 minutes per pound but yet say to leave it for 2 hours…if my calculations are right a 20 lb would work but most of us only need 30-60 minutes unless I’m missing something.

  28. I have been using this recipe for years! When I received the recipe, it was labeled “The White House” recipe for Prime Rib. (i think it dates back to the Kennedy era) Anything you want to call it, it truly is the most outstanding way to cook this precious piece of deliciousness. Since I like my prime rib just a little more pink instead of rare, I cook mine for 6 minutes per pound. I always look for the specials in my Food Market circulars around the holidays and pick it up for $4.99/lb and keep it in the freezer until I need that “Special Occasion” flair!

    1. That’s an incredible deal! I definitely need to be on the lookout for next year. I’m so glad you enjoyed the prime rib!

  29. Trying tomorrow going to really watch that digital thermometer.Serving with au gratin potatoes and fresh green beans,a chopped salad with tangerine dressing, fresh baked rolls. Brownie and ice cream for dessert.

  30. Used this method on Christmas and it worked great. Best prime rib ever!😋
    Only down side-my oven is a mess. ☹️

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