This deliciously juicy and tender Herb-Crusted Prime Rib Roast with a Horseradish Red Wine Gravy is actually surprisingly easy to prepare, making it the perfect roast beef centerpiece for special occasions and holiday celebrations. Featuring garlic and plenty of fresh herbs, this foolproof recipe for prime rib roast with gravy is sure to impress even the pickiest eaters at your table!
Featured comment: Made this New Year’s Day. The absolute BEST prime rib. Stunning. Delicious. Fantastic.” – Pauline
Update: This prime rib recipe was originally published in December 2014. I made edits to the post below, including adding more information about roasting a standing prime rib at home.
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About this recipe for prime rib roast
When it comes to the holidays, I prefer to switch things up between Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. It’s not that I don’t love a delicious turkey dinner — I do! — it’s just that I like plenty of variety. Plus, since we only get the whole family together a few times a year, I want to show them a tasty good time every time, not just a repeat performance of our last hang.
Serving a stunning standing rib roast for Christmas has become one of my favorite holiday traditions. Yes, it’s spendy. But just look at that big ol’ juicy hunka-hunka-beefy love! If you’re looking to impress company with a stellar meal, this prime rib with gravy is your ticket to unending praise.
Why you’ll love this herb crusted prime rib
Aside from being a real show-stopper, this best prime rib recipe is:
- Easy Enough For A Kitchen Novice. Yes, you have to start a day ahead. Yes, the whole recipe takes several hours start-to-finish. But even so, the amount of active time you’ll spend on your centerpiece is less than an hour. For a tried and tested holiday main dish that’s sure to come out perfectly? That’s about as ideal as it gets.
- Requires Just 15 Basic Ingredients (Even With The Gravy!) – Fresh herbs, some pantry staples, plenty of butter & cream (it’s a CELEBRATION after all!), and a big, beautiful piece of meaty prime rib is all you need to make pure holiday magic.
- Perfect For Holidays & Celebrations – The sheer size of this herb crusted prime rib (not to mention the rather exorbitant cost of the cut) clearly indicates that this isn’t an oven recipe for your typical weeknight. But when it’s time to carouse with loved ones by the fire? Standing beef rib roast simply can’t be beat.
Ingredients for prime rib roast with gravy
As promised, the ingredients you’ll need to make this stunning oven-roasted beef and prime rib gravy are easy to find at most well-stocked grocery stores. Here’s your shopping list to recreate this beautiful Christmas dinner (or any holiday dinner!):
For the beef standing rib roast
- Standing Beef Rib Roast – Word to the wise, you’ll probably need to pre-order this part. Read on below for more tips on how to order properly.
- Olive Oil – Just your regular cooking oil will do!
- Fresh Italian Parsley, Thyme, & Rosemary – Using fresh herbs really makes the flavor of this juicy roast beef pop.
- Substitution: In a pinch, swap in about ⅓ as much dried herbs instead. But if you’re spending the money on the beef, why not go all out with the herbs, too?!?
- Garlic – You definitely want to use fresh garlic for the best flavor.
- Substitution: If you absolutely must, you can swap in about ¼ – ½ teaspoon of garlic powder for each clove or use jarred minced garlic instead. But try to use the real stuff, mm-kay?
- Kosher Salt & Freshly Ground Pepper – For seasoning.
- Butter – Butter makes everything better. Especially gravy.
- Substitution: If dairy is a no-no, you can swap in your favorite plant-based butter instead.
- Shallots – For allium flavor without being overpowering.
- Substitution: If you can’t find shallots at the store, feel free to swap in sweet yellow onions instead.
- Dried Thyme – For a potent hit of herbaceous goodness.
- Substitution: You can also use 3x the amount of fresh thyme if you prefer. Just be sure to strip the leaves from the stems first.
For prime rib gravy
- Dry Red Wine – Don’t go busting out that bottle of cab you’ve been holding onto for a decade. I’ll let you in on a little secret here: boxed wine (like Bota Box) is perfectly good enough for cooking and is perfect for storing in the pantry for long periods. I always keep a box of each red and white on hand (at room temperature) for all my cooking needs.
- Substitution: The closest substitute would be dry white wine. You can also use pure pomegranate juice or pure cranberry juice if your house is booze-free.
- Bay Leaf – For a certain je ne sais quois in your gravy. If you’re fresh out, go ahead and omit it.
- Demi-Glace – This deeply flavorful classic French mother sauce is made by reducing stock (traditionally veal, but beef, chicken, or even veggie will work) with herbs, roux, and a splash of sherry vinegar. You should be able to find it at well-provisioned stores (e.g. Whole Foods) or online. You can also feel free to make your own using a combination of beef broth, butter, cornstarch and vinegar.
- Heavy Cream – Full-fat dairy can’t be beat in terms of flavor or mouthfeel.
- Substitutions: You can use slightly lighter whipping cream (which has 30-36% milkfat compared to a minimum of 36% in heavy cream), or swap in your favorite unflavored, unsweetened plant-based creamer if needed.
- Dijon Mustard – For a touch of piquancy.
- Substitutions: You can also use yellow mustard, mustard powder, beer mustard, or spicy mustard in a pinch.
- Prepared Horseradish – Note, this is NOT the same as creamy horseradish sauce. It should only have a few ingredients on the label: grated horseradish, vinegar, salt, and maybe sugar.
Prime rib with gravy variations
Making gravy for prime rib is a must, in my opinion. That said, there are some simple tweaks you can make to ensure this recipe will work for you and your family’s needs and preferences. Here are a few variations to consider:
- Herb Crust: If you aren’t a fan of flat leaf parsley, thyme, or rosemary, swap one or more out for a different variety of fresh herb using this fresh herb list. (You can learn all about properly storing fresh herbs too.)
- Dairy-Free Prime Rib Gravy – Swap in your favorite plant-based butter and unsweetened, unflavored vegan creamer to make this gravy suitable for the lac-tards in your crew.
- Alcohol-Free Prime Rib Sauce – While it’s true that *most* of the alcohol will burn off during cooking, not all of it will. If you don’t want to chance it with your children or don’t like to keep booze in the house, try swapping in 100% cranberry or pomegranate juice instead.
Tips for ordering a standing prime rib
Follow the simple tips below when ordering your beef standing rib roast at the butcher counter.
- Recommended ordering method: Ask your butcher for the first cut (loin side) of the standing rib roast. One “bone” will feed 2 people, so a 3 bone roast will feed about 6.
- For easier carving, have your butcher remove the bones from the roast and truss them back to roast.
- Even if you do NOT have the butcher remove bones from roast, you still need to truss the roast to ensure even cooking.
- You do not need a blow torch for this reverse sear method (from the culinary genius over at Serious Eats). If you have one, this is a great recipe to use it! If you don’t, no worries just follow the recipe as written.
How to make herb crusted prime rib
This delicious oven recipe for rib roast may look lengthy, but none of the steps are particularly difficult. That said, please take my advice: Read this recipe ALL the way through before cooking!!
One Day In Advance
Step 1: Make Herb Crust Rub. Mix the olive oil, parsley, thyme, rosemary, garlic, salt and pepper together in a small bowl until well combined.
Step 2: Apply Herb Crust. Generously apply the rub onto the meat and all over the roast. Place roast, fat cap up, on a wire rack insert on a sheet pan. Place in the refrigerator, UNCOVERED, overnight.
The Day Of
- Bring Roast To Room Temp. Remove the roast from the refrigerator and place on a rack insert in a roasting pan with the fat cap still facing up. Allow to sit at room temperature for 1 hour before roasting.
- Prep Oven. Arrange the oven rack to the lowest possible position and preheat to 200 degrees F.
- Roast the prime rib in the oven for about 3-4 hours, or until desired doneness (see chart below).
- Rest The Meat. Reserve the juices in the roasting pan (if any) and transfer the roast to a clean cutting board, or work surface, and tent loosely with foil. Allow the roast to rest for at least 20 minutes, up to 45 minutes.
- For crusty prime rib – Broil. Move the oven rack to the middle position and increase the oven temperature to the highest possible setting (mine was 550 degrees F). Remove the foil from the roast and return the standing rib roast to the rack insert in roasting pan. Roast until exterior is crisped and browned, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven.
- Optional – Present and Humble Brag. Place whole rib roast with the ribs facing upwards on a serving platter for presentation at table.
- Carve. Transfer to a clean cutting board to carve into ½’’ thick slices. Arrange slices of roast elegantly on the serving platter with the gravy on the side. (Note: the garlic crusted prime rib does NOT need to rest again after broiling and before carving.)
Make the prime rib gravy
Please note, depending on your cooking style, you can make start making this tasty sauce for your prime rib with herb crust the day before (up to Step 3), or you can make it while the roast is in the oven.
- Sauté Aromatics. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallots and saute until translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Add the dried thyme and garlic. Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Reduce Red Wine. Add the bottle of red wine, the rosemary sprigs and bay leaf. Increase heat to medium high and bring to a boil. Cook until mixture is reduced to 1 cup, about 15-18 minutes.
- Add Demi Glace and continue to boil until reduced to 3 cups, about 25-30 minutes. Set aside until the roast is cooked and resting.
- Scrape The Fond. Place the roasting pan, with juices, across two burners over medium heat. Add the set aside gravy mixture and bring to a boil. Cook for 2 minutes, while scraping up the brown bits stuck to the bottom of the roasting pan (which are known in the cooking world as “fond”).
- Strain & Reduce. Remove roasting pan from heat and transfer to a fine mesh strainer set over a saucepan (use the same pot you used before to cut down on dishes). Place saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Cook until reduced and thickened, about 7 minutes. Taste and adjust for seasoning.
- Add Cream & Tang. Whisk the heavy cream, mustard, and horseradish in a small bowl. Remove the saucepan from heat and whisk in the cream mixture. Taste again and adjust seasoning before serving.
Tips for the best roasted prime rib
- Recommended prime rib ordering method: Ask for the first cut (loin side) of the standing rib roast. One “bone” will feed 2 people, so a 3 bone roast will feed about 6.
- For easier carving: Have your butcher remove the bones from the roast and truss them back to roast. Even if you do NOT have the butcher remove bones from roast, you still need to truss the roast to ensure even cooking.
- The gravy recipe yields 4 1/2 cups, which is admittedly A LOT. What can I say? We’re gravy-loving folks! If you’re more judicious with your gravy usage, feel free to cut the recipe in half. Or, keep the big batch and use leftovers to make poutine for breakfast tomorrow.
- If you own a blow torch, feel free to use it to brown your roast instead of high-temperature broiling it before serving. This will free up your oven space so you can pop in your casseroles, sides, or pies!
- Use an oven thermometer AND an instant-read thermometer. The oven thermometer will make sure you’re roasting at the right temp, and the instant-read thermometer will make sure you don’t overcook your beautiful roast.
Prime rib degrees of doneness
For the best texture, flavor and taste, I recommend roasting your prime rib to a doneness between rare and medium. Roasting your beef to anything over medium (or when the internal temperature reaches 145-degrees) will cause the meat to be very tough.
- 120-125°F: Rare – Center of the beef roast is bright red with a slightly pink exterior. The prime rib is just warm throughout and the beef will feel soft to the touch. (Remove from oven when it’s 115-118 degrees.)
- 130-135°F: Medium-Rare – The center is very pink and fades to slightly brown towards the edges. The roast of prime rib is slightly hot throughout and the beef will yield ever-so-slightly to the touch. (Remove from oven when it’s 125-128 degrees.)
- 140-145°F: Medium – Prime rib roast is hot throughout with a light pink center and brown outer portion. The beef will yield slightly to the touch. (Remove from oven when it’s 135-138 degrees.)
- 150-155°F: Medium-Well – The roast of prime rib is hot and mostly grayish brown throughout with the slightest hint of pink in the center. Beef will feel firm to the touch. (Remove from oven when it’s 145-148 degrees.)
- 160-165°F: Well Done – Roast is uniformly brownish gray throughout with little to no pink. Beef will feel very firm to the touch. (Cooking a standing prime rib to well done is sacrilege, and quite frankly, it’s a waste of your money.)
FAQs: prime rib recipe
How do I get a good “bark” on my prime rib roast?
The first part of the equation is roasting it low and slow. Make sure your oven doesn’t get above 225F! Second, make sure to either broil the herbed crust or use a blowtorch to get that gorgeously brown exterior you crave.
How long does it take to cook a prime rib roast?
That will depend on its size, what temperature you cook it at, what temp you’re looking for on the meat, and how it is butchered. At the low end of the spectrum you’re looking at 3.5-4 hours; on the high end, it may take as long as 5.5-6.
Should I salt the prime rib the day before I cook it?
Yes! I include salt in my herb-crust rub for just this purpose.
What is the difference between prime rib roast vs. ribeye?
As it turns out prime rib and ribeye steak comes from the same part of the cow. The only difference is that a prime rib roast is made bone-in, while ribeye roasts are usually boneless. Other fun names include: standing rib roast (bone-in), boneless rib roast, or boneless prime rib.
Beef rib roast serving suggestions
You can serve a standing rib roast with anything your heart desires. Any type of holiday side would pair wonderfully with this beef roast. Below are some ideas to serve as inspiration!
- Holiday Appetizers – Start your dinner off right with easy, elegant appetizers like, Candied Walnuts, Roasted Mixed Nuts, Cured Gravlax Salmon, Fillo Pastry Cups Appetizer, Baked Camembert Recipe, Baked Brie with Puff Pastry and Jam, and/or Smoked Salmon Rolls.
- Oven Roasted Mushrooms and Onions– Shown in the photos here.
- Any type of potato – Roasted potatoes, mashed potatoes, potato cakes, potato galette… Carbs are the name of holiday game, my friends. Or try mash squash instead!
- Roasted vegetables – Roast on roast! Roasting your favorite seasonal veggie it’s the best (and easiest) way to get a nutritious side dish on your table. I love this rib roast with brussels sprouts and green beans.
- Stuffing or dressing – Ditto 👆🏻👆🏻👆🏻
- Fluffy dinner rolls – I wasn’t joking 👆🏻
- Cheesy gratins or vegetable casseroles – Cheese is almost as important as carbs in our house.
- Holiday salads – So you can feel a little virtuous. 😂 My vote is this butternut squash salad or recipe for warm kale salad.
- Holiday soups – If you want something virtuous and hearty, try this recipe for apple soup, butternut squash soup, or soup with sweet potatoes.
Storing standing rib roast
Any leftover prime rib can be left on the bone or sliced to put away. It will keep in a clean, airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. You can also vacuum seal it (or do your best with a zip-top bag and a bowl of water) and freeze it for up to 3 months.
Any leftover gravy can be kept in a clean, airtight container in the fridge for up to 5-7 days. Due to the high dairy content, I don’t advise that you freeze it.
Alright, my friends! When the holidays are at steak, it’s time to go all-out with your preparations. I hope this Herb-Crusted Prime Rib recipe meats all your expectations and more! Until next time, sorry for all the silly food puns. I yam who I yam, ya know? Cheers!
More holiday recipes!
Looking for more elegant recipes for the holidays? The following pair perfectly with this recipe for prime rib roast:
How to make the best holiday standing rib roast👇
Beef Prime Rib Roast with Gravy
- 1 Roasting Pan with Rack
- 1 Kitchen Twine
- 1 Instant Read Digital Thermometer
- 1 Sharp Carving Knife
For The Rib Roast:
- ONE DAY IN ADVANCE - Prep the rib roast:Make the rub: Mix the olive oil, parsley, thyme, rosemary, garlic, salt and pepper together in a small bowl until well combined.Apply the rub: Generously apply the rub onto the beef, rubbing it all over the roast. Place roast, fat cap up, on a wire rack insert on a sheet pan. Place in the refrigerator, UNCOVERED, overnight.
- THE DAY OF SERVING - ROAST: Remove chill from beef: Remove the roast from the refrigerator and place, with the fat cap still facing up, on a rack insert in a roasting pan. Allow to sit at room temperature for 1 hour before roasting.Prepare oven: Arrange oven rack to the lowest possible position and preheat to 200 degrees F.
- Roast in the oven for about 3-4 hours, or until desired temperature is achieved. (Degrees of doneness: 125-degrees for medium rare; 135-degrees for medium; 145-degrees for medium well. Please see post for more detailed information on beef doneness.)
- Rest: Reserve the juices in the roasting pan (if any) and transfer the roast to a clean cutting board, or work surface, and tent loosely with foil. Allow the roast to rest for at least 20 minutes, up to 45 minutes.
- Meanwhile, Make the Gravy Base: Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallots and saute until translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Add the dried thyme and garlic. Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the bottle of red wine, the rosemary sprigs and bay leaf. Increase heat to medium high and bring to a boil. Cook until mixture is reduced to 1 cup, about 15-18 minutes. Add Demi Glace and continue to boil until reduced to 3 cups, about 25-30 minutes. Set the aside. You'll need it once the roast is cooked and resting.
- Deglaze roasting pan with gravy base: Place the roasting pan, with juices, across two burners over medium heat. Add the set aside gravy mixture (from the step above) and bring to a boil. Cook for 2 minutes, while scraping up the brown bits stuck to the bottom of the roasting pan.
- Strain gravy and cook until thick: Remove roasting pan from heat and transfer to a fine mesh strainer set over a saucepan (same pot you used before). Place saucepan over medium high heat and bring to a boil. . Cook until reduced and thickened, about 7 minutes. Taste and adjust for seasoning.
- Meanwhile, make flavorful cream for the gravy: In a small bowl, whisk together the heavy cream, mustard, and horseradish. Remove the saucepan from heat and whisk in the cream mixture.
- Optional - for a golden brown crust on your prime rib: Rearrange oven: Move the oven rack to the middle position and increase the oven temperature to the highest possible setting (mine was 550 degrees F).Roast: Remove the foil from the roast and discard. Return the standing rib roast to the rack on the roasting pan. Roast until exterior is crisped and browned, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven.(Note: The roast does NOT need to rest again before carving!!)
- Optional before carving - for a restaurant presentation: Place the rib roast, standing upwards with the ribs facing up onto a serving tray or cutting board. Set on table for guests to see as they sit themselves. Carve: Transfer the roasted prime rib to a clean cutting board. Use a sharp slicing knife to carve the prime rib into thick ½-inch-wide slices.
- Serve: Arrange the slices of prime rib roast slices elegantly on a serving platter. Pour the gravy into a boat and serve on the side.
- Read this recipe ALL the way through before cooking!!
- Recommended ordering method: Ask for the first cut (loin side) of the standing rib roast. One “bone” will feed 2 people, so a 3 bone roast will feed about six people.
- For easier carving, have your butcher remove the bones from the roast and truss them back to roast. Even if you do NOT have the butcher remove bones from roast, you still need to truss the roast to ensure even cooking.
- The gravy yields 4 1/2 cups, which is A LOT. My household likes a lot of gravy. If yours does not, simply divide the gravy ingredients in half.
- If you own a blow torch, you can torch the outside, instead of high temperature roasting it before serving.
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