Prime Rib vs Ribeye: Comparison The Differences?

If you’re passionate about beef, chances are that two cuts have probably caught your eye: prime rib vs ribeye. Both cuts of steak come from the same part of the cow (the rib section) but present different qualities and flavors when cooked. So which one should you choose if all else is equal?

Trying to choose the best cut of steak can be hard, especially if you don’t know anyone who’s a real-life master griller.

But lucky for you, with this blog post we’ve broken down all the details of these two savory cuts of beef for you and examined their flavor profiles, crucial differences in marbling and tenderness, what sets them apart from each other—even preparation methods that will make your mouth water. Get ready to choose a side in this comparison of Prime Rib vs. Ribeye. So that when it comes time to buy – whether at the grocery store or at your favorite restaurant – you will have all the tools necessary to get exactly what you’re looking for.

What Is a Ribeye?

Ribeye is the most popular steak cut, largely due to its tenderness and delicious flavor. The expensive cut of beef that comes from the longissimus dorsi muscle on a cow’s ribs, between ribs six and twelve.

This area doesn’t do a lot of work during the cow’s life, which means this cut remains tender and well-marbled. It’s also sometimes referred to as the Delmonico steak, cowboy cut, or Spencer steak. Ribeyes are usually served boneless, but you can find them with the bone still in.

What makes it so popular? The ribeye is juicy and flavorful, plus filling and satisfying. What’s more, it can be adapted to dry heat cooking without losing any flavor. Whether you’re looking for a standing rib roast or boneless ribeye steak, you can always count on the goodness of an expertly produced ribeye!

What Is Prime Rib?

Prime rib is a cut of beef taken from the rib primal section and is also known as standing rib roast. It’s a large cut of meat that includes several ribs (usually six) and offers a juicy, tender bite even when cooked rare or medium-rare. Prime rib is typically served with its bones still in, and can be sliced into individual steaks for cooking or served whole as a roast.

What sets prime rib apart from the rest is that it typically gets cooked with the ribs stacked vertically, allowing the flavor from its fat cap to filter down and infuse throughout the entire joint when cooking.

Maybe one of the most confusing elements about prime rib is that it doesn’t usually mean USDA Prime-grade steak either—the term ‘prime rib’ refers to any steak taken from specific ribs before reaching the loin part (the best part).

What really matters when getting quality cuts of meat is looking out for small intramuskular seams of fat found in muscle itself; this ensures that your pricey steak will be extra tender and flavorful when grilled.

Typically prime rib is slowly roasted at around 130°F and 14, creating a nice edge-to-edge pink color in goodness!

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Differences Between Prime Rib vs Ribeye

Prime Rib vs Ribeye

1-The Location – Where Does it Come From?

Both come from the location on the cow known as the rib section. The prime rib is a large joint that includes sections of bone, while the ribeye is a smaller cut that is served without bone. Not only are both cuts incredibly savory and juicy, but they also have their own distinct flavors. If you’re in a restaurant setting, chances are you’ll be served a prime rib. But don’t limit yourself to restaurants alone—you can find both cuts at your local butcher, so make sure to give both a try!

The main difference between prime rib and ribeye is their location in the cow. The ribeye steak comes from the sixth to twelfth ribs, while the prime rib is taken from the fifth to ninth ribs.


Prime Rib typically has more fat marbling than ribeye, making it a fattier cut of meat. This means that when cooked properly, prime rib will be tender and juicy; however, it can also have an off-putting fatty taste depending on how much fat you prefer. On the other hand, Ribeye has less fat marbling which makes it leaner and better for those who don’t like extra fat in their steak.

3-The Flavor:

Flavor is a huge factor when choosing between the prime rib and eye portions. Prime ribs contain bone and fat, allowing it to have more flavor than the eye.

Bone-in ribeye also has good flavor but it isn’t as far off from prime rib. To really bring out the unique flavors, how you decide to cook each piece of meat can be drastically different.

Prime ribs typically require a more experimental cooking approach such as broil or sous vide with natural juices for added flavoring, while many enjoy cooking eye steak simply with salt, pepper, oil and reverse sear method for intense flavoring.

4-The Taste & Texture:

Prime rib has a savory, juicy and tender taste when cooked properly. Since it retains more fats, the texture of prime rib can be soft and pillowy if you opt for cooking it medium-rare or rare.

Meanwhile, ribeye is leaner with less fat marbling which makes its texture firm and slightly chewy; this cut of meat also has an intense flavor that often gets described as “beefy”, making it perfect for those who enjoy a strong beef flavor.

The main difference in texture is due to how they are cooked – Prime rib is generally slow-roasted while ribeye is pan-seared or grilled.

The exception to this rule is when the prime rib is reverse seared, a cooking method that involves cooking the steak at a lower temperature for an extended period of time followed by a quick sear at a higher temperature. This results in a steak that is both tender and juicy with a complex flavor profile.

5-The Cooking:

When considering cooking beef, it is important to understand the difference between ribeye and prime rib. While both are cuts of beef, they require different cooking methods.

Prime rib is best roasted at a low temperature for an extended period of time, which allows the fat to slowly melt and tenderize the meat. This method helps lock in juices and create that classic prime rib texture.

If your guests prefer the flavor of a slow roasted dish, then a prime rib roast would be the perfect choice.

Ribeye steak is typically pan seared or grilled, where it should be cooked hot and fast to achieve an optimal crust on the outside while maintaining a juicy center. The higher heat used to cook ribeye steak quickly seals in natural moisture of the beef and adds great flavor to this cut of meat.

When cooking a ribeye steak, the cooking time is shorter than cooking a prime rib. If you are looking for a meal that cooks fairly quickly, then a ribeye may be ideal.

Keep in mind that internal temperature is key when preparing any type of steak; if you overcook either cut, you will end up with tough, dry meat rather than juicy and tender goodness.

6-The Cost – Which is more expensive – prime rib or ribeye?

When it comes to cost, ribeyes and prime rib offer opposite experiences.

The cost of a boneless ribeye is generally more expensive per pound than a bone-in option, due to the extra time and precision needed to cut the meat from the bone.

On the other hand, ordering prime rib at a restaurant will cost more since it’s an entire roast, instead of just one single steak.

Despite this cost, the rich beefy flavor and smooth texture make the cost per-pound worth it!

7-The Serving:

When it comes to serving, prime rib and ribeye can both be served in a variety of ways. Prime rib is usually served as a whole roast, sliced into thick portions for guests.

Ribeyes can also be served as an individual steak or cut into smaller portions that are perfect for burgers or sandwiches.

Prime Rib vs Ribeye: Comparison Table

Factor Prime Rib Ribeye
Location on the cow Fifth to ninth ribs Sixth to twelfth ribs
Marbling More fat marbling Less fat marbling
Flavor More flavor due to bone and fat Intense beefy flavor
Taste and Texture Savory, juicy, and tender with soft, pillowy texture Firm and slightly chewy with a lean texture
Cooking Method Slow-roasting at low temperature Pan-searing or grilling at high temperature
Cooking Time Longer cooking time Shorter cooking time
Cost More expensive for a whole roast at restaurants More expensive per pound for boneless cuts
Serving Served as a whole roast sliced into thick portions Served as individual steak or cut into smaller pieces


Note: Both cuts are savory and juicy with distinct flavors, and can be found at your local butcher shop. The cooking method and time vary for each cut, and it’s important to cook them to the proper internal temperature to avoid tough, dry meat. Whether you prefer prime rib or ribeye depends on personal preference, and both cuts offer different experiences when it comes to marbling, flavor, taste, texture, cooking method, cost, and serving options.



Which is Better: Prime Rib or Ribeye?

At the end of the day, it really comes down to preference: both cuts are delicious and offer something unique. Prime rib is a great choice if you’re looking for a juicy, savory cut with flavor-filled fat marbling throughout. Ribeye is an excellent option if you like your steak cooked hot and fast, with a flavorful crust on the outside and juiciness on the inside.

Both prime rib and ribeye pair well with various sides such as roasted potatoes or grilled vegetables; depending on your preferences enjoy whichever one makes your meal more enjoyable! 

Prime Rib vs Ribeye

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FAQs About Prime Rib vs Ribeye

Are Prime Rib and Ribeye the Same?

No, although both are cuts of beef from the same area of the cow, prime rib and ribeye have different qualities in terms of texture, flavor, and cooking methods.

Which is More Expensive – Prime Rib or Ribeye?

The cost per pound for a boneless ribeye will typically be more expensive than a bone-in option. The cost for prime rib is higher since it’s an entire roast instead of just one single steak.

Why is Prime Rib Cheaper Than Ribeye?

Prime rib is typically cheaper than ribeye because it is a larger cut of meat and requires less preparation. Prime rib also has more fat marbling throughout, which gives it more flavor and tenderness.

Is ribeye the same cut as prime rib?

No, ribeye and prime rib are two different cuts of beef. Prime rib is a cut from the back ribs that includes seven ribs, while ribeye is a single steak from the same area, but it’s a much smaller portion. Prime rib tends to be more tender because it has a larger fat content than ribeye steaks do. Ribeye steaks are usually boneless and have a more intense flavor. Prime rib is typically roasted, while ribeyes are often grilled or pan-fried.

What is Better: Ribeye or Prime Rib?

This depends on personal preference and how you plan to cook the meat. If you want a tender and juicy steak, then ribeye is the way to go; however, if you’re looking for something with more flavor, prime rib might be your best bet. Ultimately, it comes down to what you prefer in terms of texture, flavor, and cooking method.

Which is More Expensive: Prime Rib or Ribeye?

Typically, prime rib is more expensive than ribeye because of its larger size and higher fat content. However, this price difference can vary depending on where you are purchasing the meat and what type of quality you are buying. Generally speaking, prime rib will cost more than ribeye.

Can You Substitute Prime Rib for Ribeye?

Yes, you can substitute prime rib for ribeye in some recipes. However, it is important to note that the cooking time will be different since prime rib is a larger cut of beef and therefore takes longer to cook. Additionally, the flavor of the dish could be affected since prime rib has more fat content than ribeye.

Which is More Tender and Flavorful: Prime Rib or Ribeye?

Prime rib is generally more tender and flavorful than ribeye due to its higher fat content. Prime rib also has a richer flavor that can really shine when roasted or slowly cooked in liquid. Ribeye, on the other hand, tends to be leaner with a more intense flavor that works best with quick-cooking methods like grilling or pan-frying.

Which Is Healthier: Prime Rib or Ribeye?

Generally speaking, ribeye is considered healthier than prime rib because it has a lower fat content and more protein per serving. Additionally, ribeye is usually boneless while prime rib can still have bones attached. However, both cuts of beef are good sources of protein, iron and zinc, so it really depends on personal preference.

Which Has More Fat: Prime Rib or Ribeye?

Prime rib usually has more fat than ribeye because it is cut from a larger portion of the cow. The added fat content makes prime rib more tender and flavorful, but also higher in calories per serving. Ribeye typically has less fat and therefore fewer calories, making it the healthier option.

Which Is Cheaper: Prime Rib or Ribeye?

In most cases, ribeye is cheaper than prime rib because it is a smaller cut of beef. Although the price difference can vary depending on the quality and where you purchase the meat, generally speaking, ribeye will cost less than prime rib.


In summary, prime rib vs ribeye are two delicious cuts of steak. Prime rib comes from the lower part of a cow’s ribcage, while a ribeye is cut from the upper part of the animal’s ribs near its neck. Prime rib has more fat and connective tissue than the leaner ribeye, making it juicier but also more expensive. Despite their differences in flavor and tenderness, both cuts provide a hearty portion of protein along with other essential nutrients like iron.

Ultimately, choosing between prime rib or a ribeye is all about personal preference – those who enjoy rich flavours may prefer prime rib while those who are watching their fat intake will likely opt for the leaner version in the form of a ribeye. No matter which option you choose, there’s no wrong answer when it comes to selecting Prime Rib vs Ribeye for your next meal!

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