A Cozy Holiday: Herb-Crusted Prime Rib, And Savoring The Flavor Of A Holiday Splurge

Prime Rib

There is very little more appealing to partake in, very little more sumptuous a thing to put on the tongue, than a delectable morsel that is only eaten on a special occasion—at least in my mind. Somehow, that morsel just seems to hold within it the wonderful flavor of desire, that fragrant essence of anticipation, because it’s been very consciously and specifically chosen and prepared for an occasion meant to hold some gravity, and meant to be memorable and unique. See, that’s the marvelous thing about a culinary “splurge”; because it is a rarity, and that makes it that much more appealing and unforgettable when deliciously prepared. From the purchase of it, to the preparation of it, to finally sitting down at the table to deliberately enjoy it, there’s much forethought that goes into the process; and all of that equals that much more depth of pleasure, that much more richness of flavor and complexity of character, than if it was just “another” meal. The realization is there that, most likely, it’ll be quite a while until this treat is experienced once again, perhaps another year even; so each bite becomes a consciously and deliberately taken one, allowed to melt away in the mouth with joy in the heart. My, oh my! What a brilliant ingredient that longing can be! And what a flavor enhancer a rarity, a splurge, can become—especially during the cozy and festive holidays!

Prime Rib

When it comes to food, nothing says “special occasion” or “holiday”, like a perfectly seasoned, herb-crusted and garlic-stuffed prime rib roast. Savory, succulent, tender and juicy, prime rib roast is the perfect pick when there is a desire to share something truly divine with loved ones. True, it is a choice a bit more on the pricey side; but as it’s something that in our house we eat only once a year, on Christmas Eve, it’s well worth it. As a prime rib roast sears, sizzles, browns and roasts in the oven, the aroma permeates the entire house—first wafting around the kitchen, and then making its way into the dining room, followed by the living room and the rest of the home; it offers a little fragrant preview of what awaits us in just a couple of hours time, and creates a toasty warmth as the set-up of the dinner table begins. And because of the uniqueness of a prime rib roast, there’s a joy and feeling of gratitude that accompanies our whole dinner experience when it is a part of our special holiday menu.

Prime Rib

Prime Rib

The flavor of a holiday splurge should never be taken for granted; rather, it should be fully luxuriated in, fully enjoyed and fully acknowledged for the gift that it is. If a prime rib roast was something that was eaten on a regular basis, it most definitely wouldn’t have that magical “specialness” that it indeed has for my family; it would be like any other tasty meal. But no, our once-a-year little festive dinner, our special, celebratory holiday meal—complete with candles, some good wine, stimulating conversation, reflection and hopes for the upcoming year—becomes a very conscious and meaningful splurge; one that we won’t taste again until next year, God willing, and that’s perfectly fine with us.

Taste what’s good and pass it on.


Prime Rib

Herb Crusted, Garlic-Stuffed Prime Rib Roast with Creamy Dijon-Horseradish Sauce and Au Jus
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(Serves about 8-10)


1 (3-bone) Beef Prime Rib Roast*, about 5-6 lbs.
4 cloves of garlic, peeled, divided use
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 tablespoon freshly cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
½ cup olive oil
• Creamy Dijon-Horseradish Sauce (recipe below)
• Au jus (recipe below)

*I had the butcher cut the bones off of my rib roast, and reserve them for me; I seasoned my roast and placed it back on top of the detached ribs, and roasted them together. This makes for easier slicing of the meat once it’s roasted, and the ribs act as a natural and flavorful “rack” for the roast itself to sit on.

(For extra bold flavor, I allowed my rib roast to sit, seasoned and stuffed with garlic, in the fridge for 48 hours before I planned to roast it; I simply placed the seasoned roast with it’s bones onto a platter and into a jumbo-sized ziplock bag, and removed it from the fridge an hour before roasting.)


-Preheat the oven to 425 degrees; line a baking sheet with foil.

-Make 8 small slits into the rib roast (4 on top and 4 on the bottom) about ½” – 1” deep; take two of the cloves of garlic, and quarter them creating 8 smaller pieces; stuff the pieces of garlic into the slits.

-Next, take the remaining 2 cloves of garlic, press them through a garlic press and add them into a small bowl; to the pressed garlic, add the chopped, fresh rosemary leaves and the remainder of the ingredients through the olive oil; with a fork, mix the ingredients until well combined, and rub this entire fragrant mixture all over the rib roast, covering it completely (at this point, if you had the butcher remove and reserve the ribs for you, you can now place the seasoned roast on top of the ribs); place the roast with it’s fat-side up and ribs down onto the baking sheet, and place the roast into the oven; cook for 45 minutes at 425, then reduce the heat to 375, and continue to cook for another 30 minutes at which point you will cover the roast lightly with foil, and allow it to continue to cook for an additional 30 minutes or so, or until a thermometer inserted into the center of the roast registers 135 for medium rare, or 145 medium; remove the roast from the oven, lightly tent with foil, and allow it to rest for about 20 minutes before carving the roast into roughly ½” thick pieces. Serve with the Creamy Dijon-Horseradish Sauce and Au jus on the side.

(**If you are looking for the results featured in the photos, here are my exact specifications for your frame of reference: my roast was a 5.28 lb roast, and cooked for exactly 1 hour 45 minutes, total, using the method described above; I placed an oven-safe thermometer into the thickest part of the meat, into the center, before placing it into the oven; this way, I could observe the temperature as the meat roasted, and pulled it out at exactly 135 degrees.)

Creamy Dijon-Horseradish Sauce ingredients:

4 ounces prepared horseradish
¼ cup sour cream
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
• Pinch sea salt/ black pepper


-In a small bowl, combine all of the ingredients, and whisk together until smooth and well-combined; cover with plastic wrap and store in fridge if making ahead of time, or serve immediately.

Au Jus ingredients:

(makes about 1 cup of Au Jus)

• Pan drippings from roast, most of the fat skimmed off (you may or may not have that much)
2 cups beef stock or broth
½ cup red wine
• Pinch salt/black pepper, if necessary


-Add the pan drippings into a small heavy-bottom sauce pan, and add the beef stock/broth into the drippings along with the red wine, and turn the heat to medium; bring this to a simmer, and allow it to reduce by roughly half, for about 20 minutes; finish with a pinch of salt and pepper, if necessary. Serve the Au Jus, hot, on the side with the meat. (This will be a thin, natural-style sauce for the meat.)

{ 35 comments… add one }

  • Courtney @Neighborfood December 17, 2012, 6:13 am

    Beautiful and so well said as always. It looks absolutely divine. And I couldn’t agree with you more…anticipation is the ingredient that takes a normal dish to an outstanding dish.

  • delia December 17, 2012, 5:00 pm

    This recipe is a keeper.

    All of your photos are just beautiful.


  • paul December 18, 2012, 7:21 pm

    thank you for sharing
    this is my holiday splurge as well!
    very well written and it resonated with me and my feelings for prime rib!

  • The Cozy Apron December 18, 2012, 8:39 pm

    Hi Paul, thank YOU for sharing that; I hope you have a wonderful holiday season, and that you indeed enjoy every bite of your tasty splurge just as much as we do!

  • David M December 23, 2012, 4:00 pm

    Thanks for the wonderful imagery…it was your talented descriptions that drew me further into the website. Thanks so much. I will be putting this to task on Christmas day and look forward to following your advice.

    • The Cozy Apron December 23, 2012, 5:18 pm

      Hi David, I truly appreciate your kind words – thank you! I’m excited that you will be trying out the recipe, and hope you enjoy preparing this as much as I did! Bon appetite, and Merry Christmas to you and yours!

  • Joanne December 24, 2012, 12:06 pm

    Yum! This is in the oven right now. It smells fantastic. I can’t wait to have this for our Christmas Eve dinner. Thanks for the beautiful photos. They inspire me! Happy holidays!

    • The Cozy Apron December 24, 2012, 1:04 pm

      Hi Joanne! My deepest hope is that this turns out wonderful for you and your family – please enjoy, and have a very Merry Christmas!

  • Aaron December 24, 2012, 1:11 pm

    Got a rib roast in the oven now. The aroma has made its way through the house. The roast is looking amazing with the rapidly crisping garlic and seasonings all over it. I’m sure it will be great. Thanks for the write up. Merry Christmas!

    • The Cozy Apron December 24, 2012, 4:32 pm

      It sounds like things are cooking up perfectly! Thanks for coming by to comment Aaron, and have a Merry Christmas as well!

  • Heather December 7, 2013, 6:48 pm

    I’ll be doing this for my family this coming Christmas and am very excited about making it. Your sides pictured look very good with the prime rib. Do you have those recipes as well?

  • Donna December 12, 2013, 4:55 pm

    Can this be cooked in an electric roaster

    • The Cozy Apron December 15, 2013, 5:56 pm

      Hi Donna! You know, I don’t have experience with an electric roaster, so in all honesty, I hesitate just a little to tell you one way or another since this cut of meat is pretty pricy to have it not turn out. I would say that if you’ve had success roasting in it previously, and if it can reach the required temperature needed for the recipe, then it’s certainly worth trying. Hope you enjoy!

  • Boa December 17, 2013, 3:58 pm

    Are there any other cuts of meat that can be used in place of Prime Rib?

    • The Cozy Apron December 18, 2013, 6:05 am

      Hi Boa, you can certainly roast other cuts of meat; but this recipe and the instructions are specific to prime rib roast, so substituting another cut of meat for this one would yield different results. Hope you give this one a try, though!

  • Sheri December 25, 2013, 5:08 pm

    I cook a prime rib roast every year for Christmas. I’ve tried all of the various methods…roast for 1 hr., turn oven off, let roast sit..etc…
    This was abso-freaking delicious. I made it just as directed, let the roast marinate in the garlic and herbs for 2 days, cooked as directed with one exception, I had a 2 rib, 5lb roast and cooked it 15 minutes less than directed. Absolute perfection. My husband and father in law were making purring sounds.
    I’m an excellent cook, I don’t have a blog but cooking is “my thing” and I give this recipe 5 stars…it was really delicious. Thanks for the recipe…glad I chose this one this year…the search for the perfect prime rib has ended.

    • The Cozy Apron December 25, 2013, 10:04 pm

      Sherry, I’m so thrilled to read that your search for the perfect prime rib has ended – thanks so very much for taking the time, on Christmas, to come and share your experience preparing this recipe! I was very tickled to read that your father-in-law and husband thoroughly enjoyed this so much, too. :-) Thank you for the 5 star review – I appreciate it!

  • Raven @ True Blue Baking December 26, 2013, 9:57 am

    Ingrid I must tell you that I made this prime rib for Christmas yesterday and it was a GIANT HIT!!! Thank you so, so much for this wonderful recipe. I have never made prime rib before but it came out perfect, was the hit of the dinner and I was told by my step father, who always makes the meat course, that I am in charge of making prime rib in our house from now on. Thank you so much for making my Christmas dinner night perfect!!

    Raven J.

    • The Cozy Apron December 26, 2013, 3:45 pm

      Raven, forgive me for sounding totally corny, but you’ve made my heart leap with your comment! I’m so happy that you had a great experience with prime rib on your first time attempt – yeay! And what better a thing than to be told be your step father that you’re officially now in charge of this dish from now on. Thank you for letting me know that this turned out so well for you – I always hope that folks will enjoy something in their home that my family and I enjoy in ours!

  • Charlene December 27, 2013, 11:36 am

    Made this for Christmas dinner and it was a hit. Husband suggested that this be our new tradition. Thank you so much.

    • The Cozy Apron December 27, 2013, 6:17 pm

      And thank YOU, Charlene, for sharing that. So glad to be a little part of a new tradition! :-)

  • Chantelle November 26, 2014, 9:29 pm

    Made this for my husband tonight. Did it EXACTLY like you suggested (except I didn’t use 1/2 cup of oil in the rub and ended up with very little drippings for the Au Jus…hmmm/but still tasted good!) * The beef turned out AMAZING. Thank you!!!

    • The Cozy Apron November 26, 2014, 10:37 pm

      HI Chantelle, I’m so excited to read that you and your hubby enjoyed this! It’s a bit of a pricey cut of meat, but when prepared right, there’s nothing like it. Thanks so much for coming back to share your experience with the recipe with me!

  • Andrea December 4, 2014, 6:02 pm

    I plan on making only a 4lb roast. How would you adjust the cooking time to get exactly how you show above? Thanks so much!

    • The Cozy Apron December 4, 2014, 6:54 pm

      Hi Andrea! I like to give time frames as a general guideline for how long something takes to cook, but in this case, I would absolutely use a (digital) meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat to ensure a perfectly cooked roast. You can cook as directed, but you’ll obviously not go quite as long. If you use the thermometer, you don’t have to worry about time so much; you’ll just pull the roast out when it reads 135° for medium rare.

  • Inna December 7, 2014, 11:57 pm

    I’ve been seeing Rib Roast on a lot of people’s Christmas menus. I’m seriously considering this as the star of the table. The picture and simplicity of this recipe just sold me on making a Rib Roast this Christmas. I certainly hope it comes out as beautiful and perfect as yours. You are truly an expert.

    • The Cozy Apron December 8, 2014, 4:20 pm

      Inna, that is so kind of you to say! I’m certain that it will, just follow my recipe and be sure to pay most attention to the inner temperature of the roast for the perfect medium-rare (135°), more so than the length of time. (The internal temp is the only true way to know how the roast will look on the inside!) Best wishes to you on this recipe, and I hope you all enjoy!!

  • Erica December 8, 2014, 2:32 pm

    Made this last night for a dinner party. Mine was 7 pounds and took a little shy of 3 hours to cook and it turned out perfect. Everyone loved it. I made the horseradish sauce too with extra hot horseradish and the 3 of us that love hot food ate it up! Thanks so much!

    • The Cozy Apron December 8, 2014, 4:22 pm

      What a big, beautiful roast you made, Erica! So glad you enjoyed the horseradish, too! Thanks so much for sharing your experience with me.

  • Rhea December 25, 2014, 3:42 pm

    I made this for the first time for Christmas dinner and everyone loved it! I only made a 4 lb one and used rosemary olive oil instead because my local grocery store ran out of the fresh kind and it still turned out great. I’ve never made this cut of meat before and I’m new to cooking and everyone seemed impressed. Thanks for a great recipe! It has definitely helped me build up my reputation as a new cook in the family.

    • The Cozy Apron December 25, 2014, 6:25 pm

      Rhea, nothing makes me happier than to read that a “newer” cook has a great experience with a recipe of mine! So thrilled that this turned out so well for you, and that you and your family enjoyed it. Thank you so much for sharing that with me!

  • Andrea January 11, 2015, 7:04 pm

    We cooked a prime rib roast, following your recipe closely, and it turned out BEAUTIFULLY!! This recipe is a keeper – thank you! Scored rave reviews from all our dinner guests.

    • The Cozy Apron January 11, 2015, 7:11 pm

      Andrea, that is really wonderful! So glad you shared your experience with me, and that you all enjoyed this! Thank you for your comments.

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