How Much Prime Rib Per Person? No Hungry Guest at Your Dinner Party

June 29, 2023
Written by Kristy J. Norton

From experience, I recommend serving one pound of boneless prime rib for each person at your dinner table. On the other hand, if you buy a bone-in cut, you can portion a bone - which weighs slightly over two pounds - for two guests. 

The serving size will also depend on what you serve. If you have stacks of mashed potatoes, vegetables, loaves of bread, a starter, and a dessert, you might get away with doing something a little less. However, a pound of prime rib per person is a good guide to follow when shopping.

I like serving prime rib roasts for fancy events and holiday meals. The standing rib roast dish is available either with the prime rib bone attached or as boneless prime rib roast. So, with my experience in cooking, planning, and serving perfect prime rib roast at parties and dinners, I'll help you calculate the quantity for each person so you can keep your guest full and happy.

How Much Prime Rib Per Person

How Much Prime Rib Per Person?

If you buy boneless prime rib roasts, one pound should be enough for each person. So, you would need ten pounds for ten people.

Although the quantity of meat per animal can vary, you can use the number of bones in a bone-in prime rib to estimate the serving size. A general rule of thumb is to allot the serving portion depending on the number of bones. Two persons per bone are my recommended ratio. Bear in mind that a three-bone rib roast weighs roughly 6 pounds. So, you’ll need a 3-bone prime rib cut to feed six people.  

Remember, if you're serving prime rib roasts as part of a buffet meal, you should buy plenty. It's a popular and hearty food, and many people won't be satisfied until they've had their fill. 

Before finalizing how much prime rib roast you'll need, make sure you are prepared for far more than your brain thinks.

How Much Prime Rib Do I Need for 8 Adults?

As I mentioned earlier, it is best to allot one-rib cuts of bone-in prime rib to two people. If you’re serving boneless rib roasts, calculate one pound of beef per guest. So, a four-bone roast, which weighs over 8 pounds, will feed eight adults. Eight pounds of boneless ribs will feed the same number of people.  

How Much Prime Rib Do I Need for 15 Adults?

For boneless rib cuts, you’ll need 15 pounds of meat for 15 adults. In comparison, you’ll need 8 bone-in cuts, weighing 16 pounds or more, for 15 guests.

Remember that at a typical holiday dinner, your guests should consume at least half a pound per person, which is roughly seven and a half pounds. However, as a main course, boneless cuts should weigh one pound for each person. You can also serve one rib cut per guest if you have famished guests at your table.

How Much Prime Rib Do I Need for 10 Adults?

Ten pounds of bone-in prime ribs, which is equivalent to four to five ribs, should serve ten adult guests. You’ll also need about ten pounds of a boneless rib to serve ten adults. 

Bone-in or Boneless Prime Ribs?

You can buy prime rib with or without bone. However, it is believed that if you buy prime rib with the bone, it usually results in a juicier and tastier cut of meat when cooked. On the other hand, boneless ribs typically have more flesh meat per pound compared to bone-in ribs. 

Homemade Grass Fed Prime Rib Roast

Meanwhile, if you want, butchers are often willing to cut prime rib as a boneless roast and tie it up. Again, I think it's better to buy prime rib with their bones. That's why it's called ribs. When cooked bone-in, it increases the flavor and juiciness. When cooked slowly and up to medium rare, the bones will come off easily, even before you start carving the beef.

Where to Buy Prime Ribs?

You can purchase it at the supermarket, from the local butchers, or online. You can also get your prime rib at big box supermarkets. If you're like me and want high-quality meat, you're better off going to someone you know and trust. 

Butchers are usually more expensive, but they are often more ethical, greener, and can be more accommodating.

… for how much?

The price of prime ribs will depend on where you buy them from and if they've had any sales. However, a prime rib roast is not cheap when you have plenty of mouths at the table. 

Prime rib usually goes for around $12 per pound. Since we're talking about around a pound for each diner, it's easy to get an idea of ​​how much your meal will cost. 

Supermarkets often provide good quality products at affordable prices. Butchers will give you what you want on your request and assist with your decisions. 

You can also buy prime rib cuts from online shops. Online shops generally provide more options to pick from, but they can be quite costly. They also require extra shipping costs. So, even though you can browse through rib cuts from the comfort of your home, supermarkets and butcher shops will give you similar cuts for less money.

Most groceries and supermarkets sell prime ribs of premium quality at between 11 and 12 dollars per pound. 

In addition, you can pay a lot more to buy ribs at your local butcher shop than at a supermarket. However, the meat may be of higher quality, and the service may be better. You can also get better deals if you buy from them regularly and there are convenience factors like home delivery. 

If you're going to serve up to ten people, the meat alone will cost more than 100 dollars, even if you buy it from a cheaper source. That is without accounting for side dishes, drinks, etc. However, if you know how to make it, a standing rib roast dinner is an excellent option to serve your guests an exquisite dish. It can be well worth it.

What Makes Prime Rib Special?

Prime rib cuts are known for being a savory and tender cut of meat. The prime rib can come as a bone-in roast or a boneless rib roast. Bone-in rib roasts have rib bones still attached. 

Since rib bones contain the fat-marbled muscle known as the longissimus dorsi or the rib eye muscle, they are less heavily exerted, unlike shoulder cuts. They have high fat and are tender and juicier

They are cut from the back of the upper section of the cow’s ribs and have a pocket of fat that cooks into a succulent piece of delicious meat. It’s no surprise that prime rib is a popular meal to serve in upscale restaurants. 

Is It Easy to Cook the Ribs?

Prime rib dishes aren't easy to cook. So, I suggest you research and practice your preparation techniques before cooking for many guests.

The rib is an excellent type of meat, but it doesn't have a lot of forgiveness if the technique you use for cooking prime rib is bad. For a perfectly cooked prime rib, I advise that you get a reliable meat thermometer to keep track of the internal temperature of the meat.

Why Is It Called “Prime Rib”?

Prime rib is a beef rib taken from the primal rib section. The term "prime" is just a legal designation used by the USDA to grade the quality of the beef. As I explained in another article, prime is the highest quality of US meat as graded by the USDA. 

A cut needs to meet USDA official criteria to qualify as prime rib. Part of this means the prime roast must be from young well-fed cattle. It usually has 8 to 13 percent fat.  Note, however, that local butchers and supermarkets now often use the term “prime” to appeal to consumers. 

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However, the meat cut is sometimes offered without complying with USDA standards. You might not be buying prime rib, but choice-grade prime rib cuts if you choose to get it at the supermarket. Sometimes, a ribeye steak is referred to as "prime rib." In fact, only 2 percent of beef has this grading. 

Keep in mind that a good standing rib roast looks bright and has milky white fat interspersing the meat. 

Conclusion 

Summarily, a pound of boneless and bone-in prime ribs should feed one guest on your table. Bone-in cuts typically weigh over two pounds per bone so the one-bone cut should feed two people. Remember, it is better to err on the side of caution: if you have more money to spend, you can buy extra pounds of ribs, so your guests are fully satisfied. If you have any leftovers, that’s even better; you can always munch on them the next day. 

Hopefully, you now know how much prime rib per person you need. The rib is a great option to surprise and delight your guests, and with careful cooking, it is one of the most delicious meat cuts around. It's not cheap, but the quality is the reason why you want it. Whether it's a large buffet or a sit-down meal, ribs will be a hit with your guests. It'll leave them impressed and satisfied.

By Kristy J. Norton
I'm Kristy – a chef and connoisseur of all things BBQ! You can find me either in my kitchen (or someone else's) or at a big outdoor barbecue surrounded by friends and family. In both my professional and personal life I’ve picked up more than a few tips and tricks for turning out delicious food. I consider it a privilege to share it with others!
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