How Much Does Prime Rib Cost per Pound?

Last Updated on December 29, 2023
Written by CPA Alec Pow | Content Reviewed by Certified CFA CFA Alexander Popinker

The priciest cut on the meat market, prime rib is well worth every penny you spend. Not only does it taste amazing but unlike other cuts, this one stays juicy and tender all throughout cooking times from roasting to grilling or steak-making.

How much does prime rib cost per pound?

Prime rib is the king of all beef cuts, and for good reason. That tender meat will melt in your mouth like butter on a hot day while it provides protein that makes you feel full for a longer time – or at least until seconds later when you need more. But how much does prime rib cost?

The cost of prime rib varies from store to store but can range anywhere from $8-$30+ per pound depending on where you buy it from (a big city like Los Angeles will have higher prices as opposed to smaller towns). During major holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas, these numbers usually go down by half.

In the table below you will find different prices for Prime-grade ribs:

Cut Cost per lb Example Cost
Whole Bone-In $17.79/lb $444.75 (25 lbs)
Prime Standing Rib Roast $24.99/lb $274.89 (11 lb)
Prime Ribeye Roast Whole $17.89/lb $161.01 (9 lbs)
Prime Rib-Eye Boneless Roast $25.99/lb $311.88 (12 lbs)
Choice Whole Rib Roast $12.89/lb $128.9 (10 lbs)
Choice Standing Rib Roast $12.99/lb $194.85 (15 lbs)
Seasoned Choice Standing Rib Roast $13.99/lb $167.88 (12 lbs)
Choice Boneless Rib Roast $12.99/lb $220.83(17 lbs)

For example, Sam’s Club is selling a seven-pound, bone-in prime rib for about $130. That’s only 18 dollars per pound.

At Whole Foods, you can buy a pound of prime rib for a price of around $30, with the bone-in roast being slightly more expensive.

You might also like our articles about the cost of rib eye steak, beef short ribs, or pork belly.

The difference in price between prime rib with the bone-in and seasoned USDA Choice ribs is significant. Costco Insider reports that while prime rib with the bone retails for $17.99 per pound, it’s usually better to buy a less expensive cut like USDA Choice which only costs about $12.69 per pound, or you can even go for different, cheaper cuts like ground beef.

On the other hand, the cooked prime rib may cost $30 to $35 per pound, or more when coming from an Angus cow. These types of meals generally come already pre-prepared and ready for grilling or baking.

The five-pound prime rib at Kansas City Steaks is the perfect piece of beef for a family gathering. This restaurant offers a flavorful, traditional rubbed prime rib with the trademark signature smoke flavor that everyone craves, for the price of $170.

Prime rib details

Prime Rib CostThe prime rib roast is not just one cut of meat but a variety; it can be found in Prime, Choice, and Select grades. Just because one has been labeled “prime”, does not guarantee that it is considered to have reached top quality – some may turn out to be way better than others. To receive the prime grade, a cut must be well-marbled because this provides superior flavor.

The name Prime rib comes from one of eight primal cuts which are taken from ribs and get the namesake “prime.” As a general rule, Prime will have the highest quality, followed by Choice and then Select. If you’re not sure what grade of beef you’re buying, look at the label on the package and make sure it matches USDA’s grading system.

Prime rib is often divided into two categories: bone-in or boneless. The first type, the one with a bone in it, is called either a standing rib roast or just plain old “prime rib.” If there are no bones inside of it then it may be referred to as beef tenderloin, and typically this type of meat will have been trimmed and cut properly to be prepared for cooking.

A bone-in prime rib made of two ribs will usually feed around five people, while the bigger, three rib cut will be enough for up to seven people.

Is The Prime Rib Worth the Premium Price?

The term “Prime” rib is really confusing for most people. It was first used to describe the best parts of the rib area. It became really confusing when the USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) started to use this exact term as a classification for beef grading and added it on labels. These grades don’t just classify the meat by price, but also by its age and fat marbling. Beef is graded as Prime, Choice, or Select, Prime being the best out of the three.

As already stated before, the price of Choice-grade prime ribs is considerably lower than that of Prime-grade rib roasts, the difference being about $4 per pound. There is also what some butchers call dry-aged prime rib, which basically translates into Prime-grade cuts that have been aged for up to a month. This process tenderizes the piece and adds to its flavor. If you want to try the dry-aged meat, you should know that it will usually cost around $2 to $3 more per pound than normal meat.

We couldn’t just give you basic information without actually testing things for ourselves, so we actually tested the different types of meat and this is how it went: we bought and cooked Dry-aged, Prime-grade, and Choice-grade roasts worth about $1,000, with very limited seasoning and just a pinch of salt, to make sure we have a clear image of the taste of each piece. Although none of the meats was noticeably worse than the others, this experiment did give us a clear winner in terms of taste.

On one hand, the difference between Choice-grade and Prime-grade meat is obvious, the latter being considerably better in terms of marbling, flavor, and texture. On the other hand, the dry-aged ribs were kind of a disappointment, seeing that you lose most of its additional flavor when you grill it. Even so, if you can’t afford or don’t find any Prime-grade ribs in stores, a Choice rib roast will be almost just as good so don’t stress too much about it.

How Much Would an Individual Eat?

We suggest you prepare to cook around one pound of Standing Rib Roast per person when expecting guests. This is also the recommended amount from big stores like Costco. Of course, this portion will be enough for most people, while children, people on a diet, or light eaters should have even less than that.

When cooking for guests this is the price to be ready for per person and in total when shopping from Costco:

Number of People Prime ($24.99/lb) Choice ($12.99/lb)
14 people $349.86 $181.86
13 people $324.87 $168.98
12 people $299.88 $155.88
11 people $274.89 $142.89
10 people $249.90 $129.90
9 people $224.91 $116.91
8 people $199.92 $103.92
7 people $174.93 $90.93

Important things to remember

On average, a two rib prime rib can feed up to five people. If you’re cooking for a group of six or more a three-rib prime rib would be better suited.

If you plan a meal for a bigger number of people and you’re not really sure how this meat should be cooked, instead of ruining a great prime rib, you should mess with and risk messing up either a flank steak, a pork tenderloin, a chuck steak, or even some burgers because prime ribs are pretty hard to cook and with little experience, you are bound to mess something up.

If you are shopping for ribs, don’t forget to ask the butcher if they can give you the first cut of beef.  The first cuts will be closer to the rib and leaner than on the other ends. If your butcher is able to di, this piece may cost more per pound but it will make a big difference in taste.

If you’re in the mood for prime rib, it’s always a good idea to call ahead and reserve your cut of meat. Although the demand for beef has increased in time and beef production is at an all-time high, the stores may be out of stock during busy times like summer or Christmas due to increased demand. If they are available at grocery stores near you, make sure not to forget about them while shopping.

How can I save money?

Prime ribs are on sale during the holidays, but you’ll find that some of the best deals come at other times. Of course, these sales will be few and far inbetween so keep an eye out for them. A great place to start is by checking grocery ads before Thanksgiving starts or before Christmas day.

2 replies
  1. Tonya Hastings
    Tonya Hastings says:

    Thank you so much for the time you spent researching and pulling this all together. You explained and taught it well.


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