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Prime rib roast on cutting board

How to Cook a Small Prime Rib Roast (Closed Oven Method)

This closed oven method will give you a beautifully crusted prime rib roast that’s cooked to a perfect medium rare. This technique is ideal for smaller, 4 to 6 pound boneless rib roasts.
5 from 19 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 2 hrs 20 mins
Setting out to room temperature 3 hrs
Total Time 5 hrs 35 mins
Course dinner, Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4 people
Calories 1353 kcal



  • 4 pound Boneless rib roast
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Ground pepper, to taste


  • Set the roast out at room temperature 3 hours prior to roasting.
  • 30 minutes prior to roasting, Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.
  • To determine the “active” roasting time (how long to roast the meat at 500 degrees Fahrenheit) multiply the weight (in pounds) of your roast by 5 minutes. 
    Example: If your roast is 4 pounds, then 4 X 5 = 20 minutes of “active” roasting time. If roast is 4.5 pounds, then 4.5 x 5 = 22.5 minutes roasting time (I would round up to 23 minutes). 
  • Tie the roast with twine, making sure it’s a uniform circumference.
  • Generously season all sides of the roast with kosher salt and pepper.
  • Place the roast on the roasting pan with a rack, fat side up. After 30 minutes of preheating the oven, place the pan on the middle rack. Shut the door and set your time for the active roasting time. Set a timer!
  • When the timer goes off, turn off the oven. Set your timer for 2 hours and walk away! Do NOT open the oven door!
  • Once the 2 hours is up, cut and serve right away.


*Nutritional facts are only an estimate. Accuracy for nutritional information on any recipes on this site is not guaranteed. Does not include salt and pepper calculation for the recipe.
  • This closed oven method is recommended for:
    • Small boneless rib roasts between 4 to 6 pounds. 
    • Ovens with NO cooling fans - this is very important. If your oven has an internal cooling fan, it will quickly reduce the temperature inside the oven, decreasing the active roasting period. 
    • For medium rare roasts
  • Make sure your roast is at room temperature prior to cooking. A cold roast will cook unevenly and result in rare meat.
  • Tying the roast helps make it a nice round roast. One end of the roast may be smaller than the other, so ensure you tie it to make the circumference as uniform as possible. This helps to cook the roast more evenly.
  • There’s no need to rest the meat. The resting period occurs when the oven is cooling off. 
  • If it’s your first time using this technique, and you’re nervous, then insert a meat thermometer into the deepest part of the meat. For medium rare the temperature should read 125 - 130 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • This recipe will not yield any pan drippings. 


Serving: 4peopleCalories: 1353kcalProtein: 62gFat: 121gSaturated Fat: 50gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gMonounsaturated Fat: 52gCholesterol: 274mgSodium: 202mgPotassium: 1002mgCalcium: 34mgIron: 6mg
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