Seriously, this recipe instantly became our test kitchen’s favorite party trick.
mr-Slow-Cooker Prime Rib Image
Credit: Ali Ramee

I realize prime rib in the slow cooker is going to be a hard sell for some of you. I don’t blame you. I was on your side. Until I tried this recipe.

It's not like prime rib is some budget cut of beef. So you go and drop some serious dough on this meat, likely for some sort of special occasion meal, and now MyRecipes is telling you to drop that puppy in the crock pot??

Yep. That’s entirely correct.

For context, I first went to the test kitchen with a humble request for a slow cooker prime rib recipe because apparently, there are a lot of people searching the internet for that very thing. We derive a good bit of inspiration from what types of recipes folks are clearly looking for—because while yes, we love nothing more than to make new, highly creative recipes, it’s also important to meet people’s more straightforward cooking needs. When I approached the recipe developer assigned to the task, honestly, he was horrified. Robby Melvin is one of the great masters of meat in our test kitchen and to say the man knows his way around a prime rib is an understatement.

But hey, we all gotta do what we gotta do sometimes, and so Roby proceeded to season his prime rib roast and let it rest uncovered in the fridge overnight (this helps to draw and dry excess moisture from the surface of the beef, allowing it to brown nicely when seared). He then seared the prime rib on all sides to develop a delicious brown crust on the outside of the roast before dropping it into the slow cooker with a slathering of herb butter. What happened next, neither one of us had anticipated.

After a few hours simmering in a slow cooker beef broth bath, we sliced in, and I am here to tell you this was the most succulent, flavorful, perfectly medium-rare prime rib either one of us had ever eaten.

Bystanders were amazed. Word of the slow cooker beef miracle traveled fast throughout the test kitchen. The leftovers were quickly claimed. I am not kidding you when I say that this recipe became a rapid legend among the test kitchen chefs and food editors in our office.

There were editors who have already made the slow cooker prime rib for Thanksgiving this year. I plan to make it for Christmas dinner. And Meat Master Robby Melvin walked away from that experience claiming the slow cooker as his new go-to method for perfect prime rib.

I’m sure some may still scoff at the idea of putting top-shelf beef in the slow cooker, but here’s the thing—once you create that lovely, caramelized crust on the beef’s exterior with a quick pan-sear, the slow cooker (set to low) provides a gentle, moisture-locked cooking environment for your mouthwateringly marbled beef to cook. It’s actually kind of perfect, when you think about it.

Beyond yielding flawlessly cooked results, it’s exceptionally easy to take the beef’s temperature to determine doneness when it’s right on your countertop. (Side note: For medium, you’ll want to cook the prime rib closer to 4 hours; it should register 145°F on an instant read thermometer.) Plus, this method is almost entirely hands off and keeps your oven free and clear for other things. Things like French Onion Mashed Potatoes.

So yes, even though the slow cooker has a well earned reputation for handling humble favorites like pot roast and other not-so-tender cuts of meat with grace, that doesn’t mean it’s an appliance to sleep on during the holidays. I know that after all this, I’ll be thinking twice before I ever turn my nose up at the mighty slow cooker again.

By Darcy Lenz and Darcy Lenz