Ingredient Intelligence

Prime Rib and Ribeye Are Delicious Cuts of Beef — Here’s How to Tell the Difference Between Them

published Nov 29, 2022
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Graphic showing a raw prime rib roast and ribeye steak
Credit: Getty Images, Shutterstock

There are some dishes that are just showstoppers. You prepare these dishes with care, attending to every detail, knowing that when your guests finally sit at the table they’re going to be blown away by what you’ve made.

Roasts usually fall into the showstopper category, and prime rib is at the top of that list. With its perfectly seared, well-seasoned fat cap and that marbled, juicy pink meat, prime rib is a thing of beauty. But there’s some confusion about this cut — specifically, how it differs from a ribeye steak. Let’s take a look at the differences.

What Is Prime Rib?

Prime rib comes from the 6th to the 12th rib section of the rib primal of a beef cow. It is a roast, rather than a steak, meaning you can serve more people from it. The term prime rib refers to the cut of the meat, not the grading. Prime rib can either be “prime,” “choice,” or “select.” This roast can be sold either bone-in or boneless, and you may have your butcher trim the fat and cut away the ribs, which makes for a more beautiful presentation and easier serving. Standing rib roast is another name for prime rib. 

Credit: Kristina Vanni

What Is a Ribeye?

Ribeye refers to one steak cut from the rib primal, either with or without the bone. Depending on the exact location the steak comes from and whether or not it’s served bone-in, a ribeye steak may go by various names including Delmonico, Saratoga, and Cowboy Steak.

Are Prime Rib and Ribeye Cooked Differently? 

Whereas prime rib is seared and then baked slowly to create a supple texture, a ribeye steak is typically charred and cooked quickly, giving a meatier texture. Both cuts of beef may be dry-aged, which will lend a more earthy, meaty flavor in the final product.

Prime Rib and Ribeye Recipes

Now that you know the difference between prime rib and ribeye steaks, here are a few of our favorite recipes.