Standing rib roast, or prime rib, is the crown jewel of holiday feasts. Always tender, juicy, and flavorful, it’s also astonishingly easy to cook.
This method for cooking rib roast results in perfectly cooked beef with a delicious crust of garlic and herbs.
Are you intimidated by the idea of cooking big roasts for the holidays? Don’t be! At least in the case of this standing rib roast, it’s easy and always delicious.
Seriously, this gorgeous hunk of prime rib practically cooks itself. Your only job is to season it lightly and let it do its thing. And maybe make a lovely au jus to pass around at the table.
I’ve been making this beef roast for our Christmas dinner for 18 years running. So I come at this subject as something of an expert. And I am more than happy to pass my expertise on to you!
What is standing rib roast?
Yes, standing rib roast is the same thing as prime rib.
Most people are more familiar with prime rib, but these are two names for the very same cut of beef. It comes from between the 6th and 12th rib of the cow, and contains anywhere from 2 to 7 ribs.
The term “standing” refers to the fact that it’s often cooked with the ribs down on the roasting pan, so that the meat stays off the hot cooking surface.
It is also the same section from which ribeye steaks are cut, so you can see why it’s such a prized piece of beef.
Insider tip! When you order a rib roast, you can request the large end or the small end. I recommend the large end, as the meat has more marbling of fat throughout, resulting in a juicier roast.
Bone-in or boneless?
Rib roasts also come with the rib bones attached or removed. I always order bone-in, as they add flavor during the roasting process. They also help insulate the meat during cooking so the end result is juicier.
Some butchers cut off the bone and then tie it back on, making it easier to carve the meat when you’re ready to serve. This is a nice touch but not necessary, in my opinion.
When ordering a roast, plan on about ½ to ¾ pound of meat per adult. The bones add weight to the roast so you need to factor that in. A 5 pound roast serves about 4 to 6 adults.
How to cook a standing rib roast
I found my original recipe for standing rib roast in Bon Appetit magazine. Over the years, I have modified it in a number of ways and perfected my technique. Here are my best tips for getting it right:
- Let the roast come to room temperature before cooking. Taking the chill off before cooking allows the outside to brown better. And this same thing applies to many roasted meats and poultry.
- Cook fat-side up. While most rib roasts have plenty of marbling throughout, this allows the melting fat to moisten and flavor the meat as it cooks.
- High heat, then low heat. This is a trick I learned from my father-in-law, as well as from Bon Appetit. The high heat begins the browning process quickly, and the lower heat allows the gradually cook through to juicy perfection.
- Slather on the Dijon mixture! Standing rib roast is so good, you could get away with just salt and pepper. But the Dijon with herbs and garlic creates a beautiful crust all over the roast that tastes phenomenal. I find myself picking away at it as I am carving the meat.
- Take the meat out a bit early. The target temperature is between 125F and 135F for medium rare to medium. But a big roast like this continues to cook for 5 to 10 minutes AFTER it’s out of the oven. If you really like it pink, try taking it out when it hits 118F.
- Make an au jus. Some of the best flavor from a juicy roast ends up in the bottom of the roasting pan. Adding some broth and a bit of red wine and reducing it allows you to re-capture that glorious flavor.
What to serve with standing rib roast?
This roast is our standard Christmas dinner recipe. We like to shake up the sides every year, but here are a few ideas:
- Caramelized Brussels Sprouts
- Creamy Mashed Cauliflower
- Parmesan Roasted Delicata Squash
- Cauliflower Mushroom Risotto
- Keto Dinner Rolls
- Keto Green Bean Casserole
I also highly recommend serving the roast with a good low sugar red wine. Secco Wine Club has so many great options. Use code FOODDREAMER for free shipping on 3+ bottles.
Easy Standing Rib Roast Recipe
- Let the roast sit out 1 hour before cooking. Preheat the oven to 450F and set the roast, fat-side up on a rack in a large roasting pan. Season generously with salt and pepper.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the mustard, olive oil, rosemary, and garlic. Spread this all over the top and sides of the roast.
- Add 2 cups of the beef broth and the rosemary sprigs to the bottom of the pan. Roast the beef 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 325F and roast another 1 ½ to 2 hours, until a thermometer inserted into the center of the roast reaches 120F to 130F (keep in mind that the internal temperature will continue to rise for 10 minutes after the roast is removed from the oven).
- Transfer the roast to a cutting board. Set the roasting pan with any juices over two elements on the stove set on medium heat. Add ½ to 1 cup broth and scrape up any browned bits. Add wine and bring to a simmer. Simmer 5 to 10 minutes, then strain through a sieve to remove the solids.
- Thinly slice the beef against the grain and serve with sauce at the table.