Sous vide is the best way to prepare a rib roast, bone-in or boneless. You’re guaranteed a perfect medium-rare roast from edge to edge with no babysitting or guesswork!
Prime rib is a holiday classic, especially when it comes to Christmas. And for good reason! This roast is so decadent and delicious and will undoubtedly be a crowd pleaser. The tricky part? Nailing that perfect, edge to edge medium-rare everyone hopes for when they prepare this cut. Enter: sous vide!
With sous vide cooking, you’re never at risk of overcooking your food. You’ll use an immersion circulator to heat a large water bath. The water bath that you’re cooking in is set to the precise temperature you want the meat to be cooked to, so you literally can’t overcook it! Unlike an oven that’s typically several hundred degrees warmer than you want the inside of your food.
With this method, you aren’t closely monitoring the temperature, setting timer after timer, or frantically worrying if the rib roast is under done or overdone. It honestly feels like magic.
Choosing a Rib Roast
When it comes to bone-in or boneless, I recommend bone-in. You’re going to get so much flavor this way and generally, they’re higher quality roasts. However, this method will still work if you’ve purchased a boneless roast.
With a bone-in roast, you should estimate about 1 lb per person when selecting a roast. Typically, this will also guarantee you leftovers.
You should be looking for something called a “rib roast”.
The one downside of prime rib: the cost. This roast will run you a pretty penny. Here are a few tips for saving money when making this purchase:
- Purchase from a restaurant supply store, like Cash and Carry. They’ve got the best deals!
- Instead of a “prime” rib roast, opt for choice. It will still be a great roast and help with cost.
- Consider doing a Sous Vide Chuck Roast instead. Sure, it’s not quite the same as prime rib, but it’s pretty dang close and a fraction of the cost.
Time and Temperature for Prime Rib
A cut this large takes some time to cook, which is going to limit your options a bit. If we’re ever cooking longer than 3 hours, than the temperature we cook at needs to be 130 degrees F or higher for food safety. My go-to time and temp for prime rib is 131 degrees F for 8-10 hours.
You can see the results of this time and temp in the photo above. If you want a result that’s closer to medium, raise the temperature to 135 degrees F.
Seasoning the Prime Rib
A rib roast is a really big cut of meat, which means it can be difficult to make sure that it has a lot of flavor. To really help the salt penetrate, I recommend doing a dry brine. What does this mean? Thoroughly coat the roast in kosher salt (I like Diamond Crystal) and black pepper, preferably freshly cracked. Place a wire rack over a plate, and place the seasoned roast on the rack. Pop this into your fridge, uncovered, for at least 1 hour, up to 24 hours (the longer the better).
After dry brining, you can vacuum seal and sous vide, no need to rinse or anything.
Once the rib roast is done in the water bath, you’ll give it a quick dunk in an ice bath to help the herby compound butter adhere. Rub it aaaall over with the herby compound butter and pop in a hot oven to get it nice and brown on the outside for just about 10 minutes.
Prime Rib Side Dishes
Looking for ideas for what to serve along side your prime rib? When it comes to sauces, Creamy Horseradish Sauce is the traditional favorite, and for good reason. However, if you want to go a little untraditional, I love a Chimichurri with prime rib.
Mashed potatoes are a classic side dish but I also love Scalloped Potatoes, especially for the holidays. To make sure some vegetables are present on the table, try creamy brussels sprouts or a warm brussels sprouts caesar salad for a crowd pleaser.
In my experience, the temperature on a grill is more inconsistent and more difficult to keep hot than an oven, which puts you at risk of needing to keep it on longer to brown the outside and potentially overcooking the roast. If you’re confident in your grill, go for it, but if not, stick with an oven.
Absolutely! After sous viding, keep the roast in the vacuum seal bag, let it cool on the counter for about 30 minutes, and then refrigerate until you’re ready to serve.
If you opt to cook the rib roast in advance and have refrigerated it, sous vide at 131 degrees F for 1 hour before finishing to warm through.
My favorite thing to make with leftovers: prime rib sandwiches! A crusty roll slathered with Dijon mustard and horseradish sauce, then topped with plenty of prime rib sliced thin and a slice of swiss cheese. Broil until the cheese is melted and you have an amazing sando.
You can also view this recipe as a step-by-step web story here.
Get the Recipe:
Medium-Rare Sous Vide Prime Rib (Foolproof)
- 6-8 lb rib roast, bone-in
- kosher salt
- freshly cracked black pepper
- 1/4 cup butter, softened
- 1 tbsp dried rosemary
- 2 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp dried sage
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
- Liberally season the rib roast with kosher salt and black pepper. You'll want a thin, even layer of salt all over the roast and a sprinkling of pepper evenly coating it.
- Place a small wire rack over a plate or rimmed baking sheet and place the roast on the rack. Refrigerate, uncovered, for 1-24 hours. The longer you can leave it, the deeper the salt will penetrate into the roast.
- Preheat a large water bath using immersion circulator to 130 degrees F.
- Vacuum seal the roast. You may need to use a roll to cut a custom sized bag large enough to accommodate the roast.
- Add the vacuum sealed roast to the preheated water bath and make sure it's fully submerged. It's heavy enough that you shouldn't need to worry about it floating. Cook for 8-12 hours.
- When roast is nearly done sous viding, preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
- Remove the roast from the sous vide water bath and dunk into an ice bath (still vacuum sealed).
- While the roast is in the ice bath, prepare the herb compound butter. In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients for the butter and mix until completely combined.
- Place a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet (tip: line the baking sheet with foil for easy cleanup).
- Remove the roast from the ice bath and from the bag and discard. Place the roast on top of the baking sheet, fat cap side up, and rub the butter all over the roast. Be generous!
- Place the roast in the preheated oven and cook for 10-15 minutes, until outside is golden brown.
- Transfer the roast to a cutting board and slice into 1/2-3/4 inch slices depending on your preference.
- Serve with Creamy Horseradish Sauce.
If I want to do a larger roast, 5 bone- 11.5 lb, do I need to cook it longer?
Perfect! So delicious. Cooked to 131 and sliced off a couple pieces for family members that needed it a little closer to med and seared those pieces a few min.