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Prime Rib with Roasted Garlic and Horseradish Cream Sauce

December 8, 2023

Rich, juicy and oh-so-decadent, prime rib is a classic for a reason—a little extravagant, a lot delicious, it is possibly the ultimate way to treat your dinner guests like royalty.


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homemade prime rib seasoned with  salt, pepper, garlic powder, mustard powder, thyme, au jus seasoning, garlic and olive oil
Photography by Gayle McLeod

Whether It’s Christmas Day or Tuesday, Prime Rib Is Always a Cause for Celebration

The heavens opened up the afternoon that we finalized this prime rib recipe, because we’ve just never, ever tasted anything so good. A perfectly-cooked slab of juicy prime rib, slathered with creamy, cool, lightly-spicy horseradish sauce and speared with sweet-savory cloves of roasted garlic?! Forgive the hyperbole, but make this prime rib for yourself and get back to us—we think you’ll be waxing pretty poetic yourselves. We’ll walk you through a few simple tricks and tips for making sure you pull a show-stopping prime rib out of the oven, every time. The first thing to know about making prime rib is that—especially if you have a meat thermometer handy—it is, conveniently, quite easy to master.

ingredients to make prime rib with roasted garlic and horseradish cream sauce in bowls on the counter

Prime Rib 101: What Cut of Meat is a Prime Rib?

This is a really common question, and a great one, too! There’s no way around it, prime rib is a splurge. Go to a local butcher that you trust, and let them help you kick things off on the right foot with a great cut of meat. Here’s what to ask for:

  • A three bone rib roast is what we call for in our prime rib recipe. But if you’re serving more than six people, a good rule of thumb is that one rib serves two people.

  • Ask your butcher to debone the prime rib, if you’d like to do a little less work when it’s time to carve your prime rib roast. Just be sure to ask for the bones, so you can use them in the recipe (they rest under the prime rib roast as it cooks).

  • Have your butcher truss the prime rib roast for you. You’re spending a decent amount of money, it’s the least they can do!

raw prime ribbed in a parchment lined baking dish seasoned all over with salt
pepper, garlic powder, mustard powder, thyme and  Au Jus powder in a bowl to use for seasoning a prime rib
garlic heads with the tops trimmed off and drizzled with olive oil being wrapped in foil
a seasoned prime rib in a cast iron skillet with heads of garlic wrapped in foil

This is the Best Prime Rib Recipe in the World Because:

  • We dry-brine the meat! In exchange for a little bit of planning ahead, you get a super-moist, flavorful prime rib roast—trust us, it’s worth it.

  • It’s easy, and takes almost no time to make. Seriously. Rub a few spices on it, and leave it alone in a hot oven while you go do something else. What more could you wish for?

  • Slabs of prime rib make very good horseradish cream saucedelivery vehicles. It’s just not a party until we’re slathering something in rich, savory, lightly spicy cream sauce—and a rib roast is prime (ha!) for slathering. If horseradish isn’t your thing try serving it with our Mint Sauce instead.

  • Did we mention roasted garlic? We could have just stopped with the prime rib and horseradish sauce, but we think that if you’re going over the top—and if you’re serving prime rib, you’re going over the top—why not go just a bit further and roast some garlic. It roasts alongside the prime rib, turning sweet and spreadable with almost no effort.

  • It makes everyone around your table feel really, really special. Prime rib is a little expensive, and it’s not an everyday thing—people know that. It’s a great, simple way to go the extra mile for those you love the most.

a seasoned prime rib in a cast iron skillet with heads of garlic wrapped in foil
prime rib drippings, water and au jus powder being whisked together in a skillet to make a sauce for prime rib

How to Cook a Prime Rib

  1. Dry brine your rib roast. One day before you plan to cook and serve your prime rib, coat the outside of the prime rib roast with a sprinkle of coarse sea salt.

  2. Apply the dry rub. No need to rinse off the salt that remains from the dry brine—just go ahead and rub your spices right on top of that lovely salty layer.

  3. Bring your meat to room temperature. After you’ve applied the dry rub, allow your meat to come to room temperature (this should take an hour or two).

  4. Cook your prime rib roast! Finally! Into the oven it goes, bone side down.

  5. Use a meat thermometer to test for doneness. We can’t stress this enough! How many holidays have you spent bent over a prime rib roast, poking it and saying “do you think it’s done?”, “I don’t know, it looks done, but I’m not sure.” We all know, once you cut into that baby there is no turning back. Get yourself a meat thermometer and take guesswork out of the equation.

  6. Serve. Bask in the glow of adoration, and the knowledge that you have made a lot of people (well, at least six) very, very happy.

horseradish sauce in a bowl with a spoon made with heavy whipping cream, sour cream, mayo, horseradish, chives and salt
homemade prime rib sliced on a serving plate being served with roasted garlic and horseradish cream sauce

A Note on Our Secret (Actually Not-So-Secret) Ingredient.

Yes, we are calling for a retro-but-so-good packet of Johnny’s Au Jus. We know what you're thinking. You’re using a prepackaged mixture to season your roast?! You better believe it. And here's why:

  1. It’s how our moms made it, and Mom knows best.

  2. It makes the best drippings (which makes the best gravy).

  3. It's just really dang good.

homemade prime rib seasoned with  salt, pepper, garlic powder, mustard powder, thyme, au jus seasoning, garlic and olive oil

What To Serve With A Perfect Prime Rib

Man cannot live on prime rib alone—as much as some of us wish we could. When dinner is as showstopping as this one, though, we like to keep sides simple. Our Hasselback Potatoes with Garlic and Herb Butter elevate your festive meal into a true blue classic, or lighten things up with a generous platter of Roasted Cauliflower. A nice butter lettuce salad would also be a wonderfully refreshing contrast to the richness of prime rib.

homemade prime rib sliced on a serving plate being served with roasted garlic and horseradish cream sauce

Tools You’ll Need:

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Prime Rib with Roasted Garlic and Horseradish Cream Sauce

  • Serves: 8
  • Prep Time:  15 min
  • Cook Time:  1 hr 30 min
  • Calories: 772


For the Prime Rib

  • 5-6 pounds bone-in rib roast
  • 4 tablespoons coarse sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
  • 1 (1.1 ounce) Pack Johnny's French Dip Au Jus seasoning
  • 2 heads garlic
  • 2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

For the Horseradish Sauce

  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream, chilled
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 3-6 tablespoons horseradish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons minced chives
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt


  1. Make the prime rib. Line a baking dish with paper towels 24 hours before roasting, place the rib roast in the prepared baking dish. Rub the rib roast all over with the salt. Chill in the refrigerator, uncovered, for 24 hours.

  2. Make the horseradish sauce. In a small bowl, whisk the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Carefully fold in the sour cream, mayonnaise, horseradish sauce, chives and salt. Cover and place in the refrigerator until ready to use. Store refrigerated in an airtight container for up to one week.

  3. Prepare the rib roast (2 hours before roasting). In a small bowl, combine the pepper, garlic powder, mustard powder, thyme, and ½ of the Au Jus powder. Rub the roast all over with the spice mixture. Rest uncovered until the prime rib roast has come to room temperature, about 2 hours.

  4. Preheat the oven to 450°F.

  5. Place the roast, with bones on the bottom, in a roasting pan or large ovenproof skillet. Trim the tops off the garlic heads just enough to expose the cloves. Place each head on a separate piece of aluminum foil. Pour the olive oil over the exposed cloves. Wrap the foil around each head of garlic and place them in the roasting pan with the prime rib roast. Roast for 20 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 325°F and roast until desired doneness is achieved on an instant read thermometer, 60-70 minutes (see Note). Remove the roast and the garlic from the oven and rest for 20 minutes.

  6. Transfer the roast to a carving board, place the roasting pan on the stove top and bring the dripping to a boil over high heat, add the remaining au jus seasoning powder and 1 cup of water, whisking vigorously until reduced by half, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a serving vessel.

  7. Using a sharp knife, thinly slice the meat and serve. Serve with horseradish cream, roasted garlic (squeezed from their skins), and au jus sauce alongside.

Note: The most precise way to measure the doneness of prime rib is with an instant-read thermometer. For rare cook until the internal doneness is 125°F; medium-rare 135°F; medium 145°F; medium- well 150°F; and well 160°F. Roast to your preference, but prime rib is traditionally served rare!

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories772
  • Protein35 g
  • Carbohydrates10 g
  • Total Fat67 g
  • Dietary Fiber1 g
  • Cholesterol140 mg
  • sodium5164 mg
  • Total Sugars1 g

Prime Rib with Roasted Garlic and Horseradish Cream Sauce

Questions & Reviews

Join the discussion below.

  • Stephanie

    What's the max time I can leave my salted rib roast uncovered in the fridge? How will it affect the cook or taste if the 24hrs is exceeded?

    We would not exceed 2 days.

  • Jennifer

    Can this recipe be used with bonless roast? Would you do anything differently?

    It will cook a little faster about 12 minutes per pound. Hope you enjoy!

  • Haley

    This is my FAVOURITE way to do prime rib! We have it every Christmas! I'm wondering about how long per pound of meat you recommend? We've got a four rib, bone in roast, and it's about 12.5 pounds--and we have a meat thermometer of course! Thanks so much for this recipe and your help!

    Medium-rare: 15 to 20 minutes per pound. Medium: 20 to 25 minutes per pound. Medium-well: 25 to 30 minutes per pound. Merry christmas!

  • Andree

    Can you suggest any substitutes for the Johnny’s that might be gluten free? Would it be missing “something” if it was left out?

    Thanks so much!

    Lawry's Seasoning Salt would be a good sub that is gluten free. Hope you enjoy Andree!

  • Jenn

    Made this for an early Christmas celebration and it was fabulous!

    Thanks Jenn, so happy you loved it!

  • Rebecca

    Made this recipe instead of heading to the steak house for a family birthday dinner. It was absolutely delicious. My family raved about the horseradish sauce and the gravy. I used 6T horseradish as we like it hot. I wasn't sure what to do with the garlic but it sure smelled good. I highly recommend a meat thermometer that allows you to leave the probe in the meat while the temp gauge sits on the counter. Set it to the temp you want the meat to stop cooking and the alarm will go off when it reaches the temp. No more guessing and opening the oven 20 times to check.