Prime Rib Roast: The Closed-Oven Method

Closed oven prime rib recipe

The Spruce / Cara Cormack

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 2 hrs 40 mins
Overnight rest: 8 hrs
Total: 10 hrs 45 mins
Servings: 4 to 8 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
1548 Calories
123g Fat
0g Carbs
102g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 8
Amount per serving
Calories 1548
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 123g 158%
Saturated Fat 50g 248%
Cholesterol 376mg 125%
Sodium 325mg 14%
Total Carbohydrate 0g 0%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 102g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 60mg 5%
Iron 11mg 61%
Potassium 1474mg 31%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This technique produces a perfectly medium-rare prime rib roast with a gorgeous brown crust on the outside. It works best for smaller prime ribs, from 4 to 8 pounds. The key to this method is knowing the exact weight of your prime rib. Just copy it off the label, write it on a sticky note, and put it on your fridge before you throw away the butcher paper.

A bonus for this recipe: You don't actually need a meat thermometer with this technique (although you can certainly use one anyway). You'll also notice that there's no resting time, which might come as a surprise if you're used to resting your meat after roasting it. Resting isn't necessary with this recipe because the meat is basically resting as it sits in the oven.

Serve with some delicious sides, a simple au jus sauce made with the pan juices, or try a creamy horseradish sauce.

Ovens With Cooling Fans

Some oven models have cooling fans that reduce oven temperature quickly to protect electronic controls. Because this method needs the residual heat from the oven after it's turned off to cook the rib roast, ovens with these cooling fans may not be suitable to cook in this manner. If your oven does have this feature, we recommend you not use this closed-oven method and, instead, use the traditional method.

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"Knowing how easy it is to cook a foolproof roast minimizes the anxiety over cooking an expensive piece of meat. What's fantastic is the meat rests as the oven cools over time, which means it's ready to slice and serve as soon as two hours is over." —Jess Kapadia

Closed Oven Prime Rib Roast Method Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester

Ingredients

  • 1 (4- to 8-pound) beef rib roast, boneless or bone-in, trimmed, and tied

  • Kosher salt, to taste

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Prime rib on a plate with salt and pepper on the side
    The Spruce / Cara Cormack
  2. The night before cooking the prime rib, unwrap the roast and let it sit uncovered in the refrigerator. This will dry out the surface, making it easier to get a nice brown color on the roast.

    Prime rib on a plate in fridge
    The Spruce / Cara Cormack
  3. Three hours before you want to begin cooking, take the roast out of the fridge and place it on a sheet pan at room temperature.

    Prime rib on tray
    The Spruce / Cara Cormack
  4. Half an hour before you start roasting, preheat your oven to 500 F and season the meat generously with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.

    Seasoned prime rib roast on a baking sheet
    The Spruce / Cara Cormack
  5. Now it's time to do your calculation. Simply multiply the weight of your roast (in pounds) by 5. That's your total roasting time in minutes. For instance, if you have a 4-pound roast, 4 × 5 = 20 minutes. An 8-pound roast? 8 × 5 = 40 minutes. Remember that number.

    Calculator showing roasting time
    The Spruce / Cara Cormack
  6. When you're ready to cook, set the roast in a roasting pan with a rack, fat-side up. If you're nervous about the cooking time, you can insert a meat thermometer or a digital probe thermometer into the deepest part of the meat, being careful not to hit bone.

    Prime rib roast on a rack in a roasting pan
    The Spruce / Cara Cormack
  7. Put the meat in the preheated oven and roast it for however many minutes you calculated above. When the time's up, turn off the oven, and walk away. Do not open the oven door for any reason for the next 2 hours.

    Cooked prime rib roast in roasting pan
    The Spruce / Cara Cormack
  8. In 2 hours, take the prime rib out of the oven, carve, and serve right away. If you used a thermometer, you'll see that the internal temperature of the meat has reached 130 F, perfect medium-rare.

    Sliced prime rib on a platter with sides
    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

Tips

  • For a bone-in prime rib, figure two servings per rib, while a boneless roast will yield two servings per pound.
  • When trying to figure out how much time you need to roast your prime rib, use this simple calculation: weight of the prime rib (in pounds) x 5 = total roasting time in minutes. For example, if you have a 3-pound roast, 3 x 5 = 15 minutes. A 6-pound roast? 6 x 5 = 30 minutes. If using another scale for weight, such as kilogram, convert to pounds before calculating the cooking time.

How Long Can You Leave Prime Rib Out Before Cooking?

For the best results, leave your prime rib roast out on the counter to come up to room temperature for two to three hours before cooking. It's not advisable to leave it much longer than three hours to help prevent the development of bacteria.

Do You Cover Prime Rib When You Cook It in the Oven?

Leaving prime rib roast uncovered while roasting allows the meat to develop a nice brown crust. You should only cover the roast with aluminum foil if it is becoming too brown. Overbrowning is not likely when using a cooking technique like the closed-oven method.