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medium rare classic prime rib reverse sear sliced on cutting board f
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4.7 from 39 votes

Classic Prime Rib (Reverse Sear)

This classic prime rib recipe uses the reverse-sear method to create mouth watering, medium-rare meat throughout the entire roast. It doesn't get better than that.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time2 hrs 10 mins
Total Time2 hrs 15 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings (change as needed): 4
Author: Cheryl


  • 3 pounds (1.36 kg) prime rib of beef, well marbled, Note 1 (2 ribs or bones)
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced into thin slivers
  • Optional: 2 tsp Dijon mustard and fresh or dry thyme
  • kosher salt and black pepper


  • Preheat oven to 250F/121C.
  • PREPARE ROAST: Pat roast dry with paper towel. Insert garlic slivers into roast all over between meat and fat (separate with fingers and slip in garlic). Leave the fat cap on the top of the meat for great flavor. If using Dijon, smear it all over roast. Season roast liberally with kosher salt and black pepper. Sprinkle on thyme if using. Place roast, bone side down, in shallow pan lined with foil (for easier clean up). If you have a temperature probe, insert it in the center of the roast. If not use an instant-read thermometer.
  • START ROASTING AT LOW TEMP: Roast in oven, fat side up, at 250F/121C for about 2 to 2 1/4 hours or until internal temperature reaches 120F/49C for medium rare on instant thermometer (you'll be cooking it longer later on). Or 130F/54.4C for medium. Remove roast, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let it rest for at least 30 minutes and up to 90 minutes.
  • FINISH ROASTING AT HIGH TEMP: While roast is resting, increase oven temperature to 500F/260C. 10 minutes before you're ready to serve, place roast in hot oven. Roast for 6-10 minutes (or a bit longer if roast is bigger) until exterior browns nicely. Insert meat thermometer to check temperature of meat - it should rise to 130F/54.4C for medium rare. Or 140F/60C for medium measured with an instant-read thermometer. Note 2 for internal temperatures.
  • SLICE AND SERVE: On cutting board, turn roast on side and slice off bones. Then turn meat, cut side down, on board and slice. Remove garlic slivers. Serve immediately with gravy or au jus.


  1. What is a prime rib cut:  Look for USDA Prime on the package. Other markings (in Canada, for example) are  AAA and Certified Angus Beef. USDA Choice is not as high end as Prime, but it's still good.
  2. Doneness (internal temperature). Here's how What's Cooking America measures doneness using an instant-read thermometer: 
    • Rare – 120 to 125 degrees F (49-51.7C) – center is bright red, pinkish toward the exterior portion
    • Medium Rare – 130 to 135 degrees F (54-57C). – center is very pink, slightly brown toward the exterior portion
    • Medium – 140 to 145 degrees F (60-63C) – center is light pink, outer portion is brown
    • Medium Well – 150 to 155 degrees F (65.6-68C) – not pink
    • Well Done – 160 degrees F (71C) and above
  3. Pre-seasoning option: To add even more flavor and a crustier darker exterior, there's an optional step you can try.  A day or two ahead, pat the roast dry with a paper towel, salt it, then place it in the fridge on a rack, uncovered, to dry out and allow the flavor of the meat to develop. Bring the roast to room temperature (1-2 hours) before roasting. I often skip this extra step since I always serve my prime rib with gravy which also adds to the flavor. Alternatively, you can also dry the roast in the fridge without the salt.  This won't add flavor, but it will give you the crustier exterior.
  4. Make Ahead: The reverse sear method allows you to make the roast 30-90 minutes ahead. The final high-heat roasting should be completed 6-15 minutes before serving, depending on the size of the roast.
Nutrition values are estimates for very generous portions for 4 people. They would reduce if serving 5. 
Serving: 0g | Calories: 1017kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 46g | Fat: 90g | Saturated Fat: 38g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 39g | Cholesterol: 206mg | Sodium: 152mg | Potassium: 758mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 1IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 28mg | Iron: 5mg