The standing prime rib roast is a classic Christmas favorite and makes a striking centerpiece on the holiday table. We roast our potatoes right in the pan juices—for flavorful, golden goodness!
On Christmas, we try to have a meal that we wouldn’t have other days of the year. A prime rib roast is indeed something special on a very special day.
A “standing” rib roast just means that it’s “bone-in” so each diner gets a rib or two (or three) on the plate. Bone-in meat makes the meat around the bones extra-tender and juicy. When you order the roast from your butcher, ask for a “standing rib roast, larded on top.” You want to keep the outside fat which keeps the meat underneath tender. Also, ask for the bones to be tied back onto the roast with kitchen string so that you can stand the roast up while cooking; this will make it easier to carve, too.
If you don’t have a bone-in roast, the directions below are largely the same. Cook fat side up on a rack in a shallow roasting pan.
For a roast, it’s very important to use a meat thermometer to ensure that you don’t overcook the meat. If you don’t have one, pick up a “remote” thermometer so you don’t even need to open the door. As long as you use a meat thermometer, you can’t mess this up.
This dish is especially delicious when served with Yorkshire Pudding.
Christmas roast with Yorkshire pudding.Lesya Dolyuk/Shutterstock
If you have time, salt your prime rib the night before. Pre-salting helps the roast release some moisture. Using a sharp knife, cut 1-inch crosshatch pattern across the top. Massage kosher salt all over the meat and into the crosshatch. Put in the fridge uncovered overnight (up to 96 hours).
- Remove the roast from the refrigerator 2 or 3 hours before cooking.
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Make room for the roast in the oven by adjusting the oven rack to lower-middle position if needed.
- Extra Tip: Rub butter on the cut ends of the roast.
- Rub the meat with olive oil.
- Then coat the oil with pepper. Or, we love a pepper/herb mixture with rosmary and herb. Press the herbs into the meat to adhere.
- Boil potatoes in a large pot of salted water until fork tender, about 10 minutes. Drain. Peel, and halve each potato crosswise.
- Place the roast with rib bones down into a roasting pan into the oven. Insert an oven-safe meat thermometer into the center of the roast, not touching any bone.
- Brown the roast at a 450°F temperature in the oven for 20 minutes, or until the roast is nicely darkened.
- Lower heat to 350 degrees and continue to roast, basting every 15 minutes with pan juices, for 1 hour more.
- After an hour, add the potatoes. Toss to coat.
- Continue roasting about 45 minutes more, until the thickest part of roast registers 130 degrees on an instant-read thermometer (avoiding the bone) for medium-rare. Or, 140 degrees for medium.
(The total cooking time should be about 2 hours.)
- Transfer roast to a cutting board (keep fat and pan juices in roasting pan for Yorkshire pudding) and let rest for 15 to 20 minutes. By giving the roast time to rest, the meat will be juicier and tastier.
- To carve, cut between each rib, then cut each slice into desired portions. Serve with horseradish cream if desired.