How Do You Defrost Prime Rib Quickly? [Step-By-Step Guide]

Prime rib is one of the most popular and delicious cuts of beef. But if you are hosting dinner and your prime rib is frozen, don't worry! Here are a few ways you can defrost your prime rib quickly and safely.

Here are ways to thaw a prime rib from quickest to slowest:

  • Cook frozen
  • Microwave
  • Cold water
  • Room temperature to fridge
  • Refrigerator

It's important to understand each of these methods due to the result each will have on the meat. In this article, we will walk you through each defrosting method step by step so you can decide which is best for you and your prime rib. In addition, we will answer other frequently asked questions about prime rib, so let's get cooking!

frozen beef ribs, Frozen beef meat, How Do You Defrost Prime Rib Quickly? [Step-By-Step Guide]

Can You Quick Thaw A Prime Rib?

Prime rib is a roast that is typically cut from the beef rib primal. It is a very popular, large, and impressive cut of meat that can be roasted whole or cut into smaller steaks. The roast is usually marinated or rubbed with spices and then slow-roasted until it is tender and juicy.

Meat eaters love it due to its rich flavor and tender texture. But because it is such a large cut of meat, the prime rib can be expensive. For many, holiday dinner is not complete without a prime rib roast.

So, if you grabbed a frozen prime rib roast on sale or forgot to thaw it in time for your holiday dinner, don't worry! There are several ways you can quickly and safely thaw your prime rib.

Let's walk through each defrosting method for prime rib step by step. We will go from the quickest to the slowest method.

Raw cut of meat put on a wooden board and table. Wood texture

Cook Frozen

The quickest way to thaw your prime rib is to cook it while it is still frozen. This may seem counterintuitive, but you might find that cooking your prime rib from frozen actually results in a tastier, more evenly cooked roast.

Here's how to cook your frozen prime rib:

  1. First, preheat your oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Leaving your frozen prime rib in its vacuum-sealed packaging, fully submerge the prime rib in lukewarm water for 2-5 minutes.
  3. Using a cast iron pan, heat it on the highest setting and add a high-smoke point oil of your choice.
  4. Once the pan is hot, sear each side of the prime rib for 90 seconds or until it has a nice brown crust. Also, sear the sides of the prime rib using tongs for a few seconds.
  5. Once seared, using an oven mitt, place the prime rib and cast iron skillet into the oven.
  6. Set the timer for 10-12 minutes.
  7. When the timer goes off, take the prime rib out, and let it rest for 5-10 minutes.
  8. This method will give you a perfectly cooked medium-rare prime rib.


Woman's Hands Closing Microwave Oven Door And Preparing Food At Home

The next quickest method is popping your prime rib into the microwave. All microwaves are different and have different power levels, so you will have to do a little trial and error to find the perfect timing for your roast.

Here's how to thaw your prime rib in the microwave:

  1. Remove your frozen prime rib from its packaging and place it on a microwave-safe plate.
  2. Place the plate into the microwave and set it to defrost mode or meat defrost if your microwave has one.
  3. Usually, after 5-7 minutes, you can flip your prime rib. However, a lot of microwaves have a chime or beep to let you know when it is time to flip the meat.
  4. After you have flipped the prime rib, reset your microwave for another 5-7 minutes or until the roast has fully defrosted.
  5. Be careful not to cook your meat in the microwave, as it will start to cook unevenly.

Cold Water

You can use cold water if you have a little more time but still want to thaw your prime rib quickly.

Here's how to safely thaw your prime rib using cold water:

  1. Fill your sink or a large pot with cold water.
  2. Next, fully submerge your frozen prime rib roast in cold water, making sure it is completely covered.
  3. Allow your meat to thaw for 30 minutes, and then check the water to see if it needs to be changed.
  4. If the water becomes warm, replace it with colder water.
  5. Continue checking your roast every 30 minutes until it is fully thawed.

It's important not to use warm water, as it can increase the chances of bacteria growth.

Room Temperature To Fridge

The last method is thawing your prime rib at room temperature and then transferring it to the fridge.

  1. While in its package, place your frozen prime rib on the counter at room temperature for 3-4 hours.
  2. Once it has reached room temperature, transfer your roast to the fridge and allow it to finish defrosting overnight.
  3. Thawing your prime using this method should only be done if you plan to cook it within 24 hours.

It's important to note that meat shouldn't sit at temperatures over 33 degrees Fahrenheit for longer than 4 hours. At the 4-hour mark, be sure to cook your roast or transfer it to the fridge.


The slowest method, but still a safe method, is to thaw your prime rib roast in the fridge. All you need to do is place your frozen prime rib in the fridge and allow it to thaw slowly overnight or for 24 hours.

Depending on how big your roast is, it can take a while for your prime rib to thaw using this method. On average, you can expect a 3-pound prime rib to take 16 hours or more to thaw in the fridge.

Prime Rib medium rare cooked with delicious and seducing meat for taste

What Happens If You Leave Prime Rib Out Overnight To Thaw?

We get it, you want your prime rib to thaw fast so you can enjoy a delicious steak dinner. However, it's important to note that there are some risks associated with thawing your meat too quickly.

While it is perfectly safe to thaw your prime rib using the methods we've mentioned, leaving your roast out overnight to thaw is not safe.

Leaving your meat out at room temperature for too long gives bacteria a chance to grow and multiply. Since prime rib isn't a cheap cut of meat, it's important to take the necessary precautions to prevent any foodborne illnesses.

When in doubt, always err on the side of caution and thaw your meat using one of the slower methods. Your prime rib will thank you for it!

How Long Does It Take To Cook Prime Rib?

When it comes to prime rib, slow and steady wins the race. Typically, you can expect 35-45 minutes per pound. However, it depends on how you like your steak cooked and the temperature of your oven.

To help you out, prime rib's internal temperature at the thickest part is 130 degrees Fahrenheit for medium rare (after resting). If you want it done more, shoot for 135-140 degrees Fahrenheit for medium.

It's vital to know that your prime rib will rise in temperature by about 10 degrees Fahrenheit after you take it out of the oven, so don't overcook it!

a large Prime rib roast being sliced for dinner service

Should You Cover Prime Rib When Cooking?

You shouldn't cover prime rib while it's cooking. The goal is to get a nice brown crust on the outside of your roast while keeping the inside juicy and pink.

If you cover prime rib while it cooks, the steam will prevent the outside from getting crispy. Instead, cover your prime rib during the resting period to trap in the heat and juices.

This will also allow the roast to hit the desired internal temperature without overcooking it.

Do You Cook Prime Rib Fat Up Or Down?

If you have never cooked prime rib before, you might be wondering whether you should cook it fat up or down.

The general consensus is that you should cook your prime rib fat side up. This allows the fat to render down and baste the meat as it cooks.

As a result, you'll be left with a juicy and flavorful roast. If you do it the other way, you will end up with a drier roast.

Final Thoughts

frozen beef ribs, Frozen beef meat

If you like a good cut of beef, then you'll love prime rib. This succulent and juicy steak is perfect for any special occasion.

Now that you know how to cook prime rib, it's time to get in the kitchen and start cooking! Be sure to follow the tips we've mentioned to ensure a perfectly cooked roast every time.

Made it to the end? Here are other articles you might find helpful:

How Long Can Raw Steak Stay Out Of The Fridge?

Should You Rinse Salt Off Steak Before Cooking?

How Hot Should A Grill Be For Steak?

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