Prime Rib Vs Ribeye – What is the difference?

Prime Rib Vs Ribeye – What is the difference?

Who doesn’t love a juicy piece of meat? Cut and grilled to perfection. The taste of the meat in your mouth is amazing but did you know the kind of meat you take is different, can be prepared different and tastes different? Prime rib and rib eye are two of the most common types of meat cuts that are a griller’s favorite. They might have names that sound similar but they are not the same. One thing however that they do have in common is they are beef cuts from an area near the ribs of that animal. So, what do you need to know about prime rib vs ribeye?

Ribeye and prime rib look, feel and taste different but when it comes to cooking, there are significant similarities on how it should be prepared and served. If you wonder what is the difference between these two fantastic cuts, keep on reading this article. We will break down what the differences between these two are and explain them in details.

First of all, it is hard to keep up with the names and types of meat cuts because they are so many and intimidating. Knowing all the names and types however doesn’t guarantee you that you know the best one for grilling since all these cuts taste different.

Prime rib and ribeye are both beef cuts and they both come from the primal rib of a cow. They are both cut from back ribs adding to the confusion of why they are different and how.

Let’s take a look at what these two are:

What Is Prime Rib?

Prime rib is steak cut from a Rib Roast after cooking the roast. The roast can be bone-in or boneless but the bone in is most preferred by grillers because it has an added flavor. Prime rib comes after the Rib Roast is sliced cooked and served. The standard prime rib is mostly found as restaurants carving stations.

Bone-in prime rib can be served as steak while the bone is still attached to it. The bone is on one side of the cut all the way making it easy to cut around or even remove.

Why Is It Called Prime Rib?

Why prime? The name Prime Rib doesn’t mean the cut is a prime cut. Confusing right?

Prime is the USDA grading style or method and it is the name given to the best of the best of meat cuts. This means a prime rib doesn’t have the prime rating. To know the quality of prime rib, you still have to check the USDA grading. Did you know you can get prime rib from rib primal?

What Is Ribeye?

Ribeye is beef cut that comes from the rib area but is not the same as prime rib. Rib eye is usually cut from rib roast before its cooked. Prime rib and rib eye or rib steak are both cut from the same part of the rib but the difference is that the rib eye is cut before cooking the rib roast.

Prime rib vs ribeye; Where Do They Come from?

These two come from the same part of the cow and that’s the rib but they are of different size and cut differently. The prime cut rib is usually bigger in size as it contains the rib eye and the bone while the rib eye is pure steak.

The rib eye is cut from a cylindrical muscle of the cow near the rib and it mostly doesn’t have fat like the prime rib. What makes ribeye cut from the same cut as the prime rib is it doesn’t have enough muscle and fat too.

Prime Rib Vs Ribeye

Let’s take a deeper look at some of the differences between the ribeye and the prime rib:

Quality of Meat

Prime rib is considered to be of higher quality as compared to the ribeye. This is one reason it is more expensive and is mostly served in high end restaurants. Here, it is sliced from a prime rib roast and cooked to perfection.

You should remember that prime rib isn’t always considered to be of prime quality. Check the USDA grading for more information.


Prime rib is usually known to be bigger that the ribeye steak which is average in size. With its large size, you can grill it for some time without becoming dry. The result is a tender and juicier cut. Prime roast is also sold in roast form. Roast is a large cut of meat with 4 or 5 bones and meat.


For the people who have experienced the real grilling from professional chefs and cooks, steak doesn’t taste the same. There is a major difference in the taste between high quality meat and low quality meat. Prime rib has a buttery flavor and its one reason it is served with herbs and garlic to help create an amazing taste in your mouth.

The ribeye is also tasty but it can’t match the flavor of the prime rib as it doesn’t have a strong flavor. This makes the ribeye an interesting piece to cook. You can pair it with various spices or add salt and toss on the grill creating a delicious meal.

Cooking Techniques

The cooking technique is what determines the tenderness, juiciness and flavor of the two beef cuts. The ribeye is thinner and doesn’t require the same amount of time to cook as the prime cut. They are good for outdoor grilling as they respond better to dry heat which brings out good marbling and amazing flavor.

With the prime rib, low and slow is the best way to cook. It requires patience as the size of the meat is bigger and when paired with herbs and garlic, the taste and buttery flavor of the meat is just amazing.

Cost and Availability

The cost of prime rib is higher as compared to that of the rib eye. The prime rib is bigger in size and it also contains more marbling and a great flavor as compared to the ribeye.

The availability of the prime rib is also a factor in its price. Most of the stores offer precut rib eyes instead of the large prime rib. You have to visit a specific or specialty stores that sell the large prime cut ribs to get a nice prime rib.

If you plan on eating the prime rib in a restaurant, it is generally cheaper because it is cheaper for a restaurant to cook the large pieces of meat as compared to individual portions like the rib eye.


These two beef cuts; prime rib vs ribeye are some of the best for grilling. It doesn’t matter if you are a beginner at grilling but the flavor of these cuts is different and on a much higher level that other cuts.

As seen above, the major difference between the two meat cuts is that one is a roast with more fat and muscle as compared to the other which is steak made of small portions of roast. The ribeye is cut from rib roast before cooking while the prime rib comes from the same roast after cooking.

You now understand all there is to know about the prime rib and the rib eye. Go ahead and apply what you know in your grilling endeavors.

Leave a Comment