A Fantastic Prime Rib Dinner Menu for Holiday Entertaining

Here's a luxurious meal that's easy to cook thanks to expert advice and make-ahead tips.

Prime Rib and Oven-Roasted Potatoes with Bay Leaves and Sage
Photo: Gentl and Hyers

This holiday season, serve one of our most celebratory recipes: a prime rib roast. Celebratory doesn't have to mean hard—in fact, a luxurious prime rib roast is actually quite simple. Our test kitchen-approved recipe provides all the steps and tips to make it doable, while our dinner menu takes the guesswork out of planning appetizers and side dishes to complement the showpiece entrée. We also provide make-ahead tips to reduce last-minute stress, so you can enjoy cooking and hosting.

Whet guests appetites by starting with a festive cocktail and a build-your-own relish tray (our clever spin on the much beloved shrimp cocktail). At the table, present a herb-crusted prime rib roast along with crispy roasted potatoes, individual Yorkshire puddings, spinach gratin, and pan gravy. As the meal winds down, transition into a stunning, but easy dessert—a make-ahead cranberry trifle.

Our Best Prime Rib Holiday Dinner Menu

christmas mule cocktail
Emily Kate Roemer

Cocktail: Cranberry Mule

Get festive and make our Cranberry Mule the signature beverage for your prime rib feast. A spin on the classic Moscow mule, our version calls for a homemade simple syrup (which can be prepared up to a week in advance) that is made with frozen cranberries, sugar, and lime zest. For easy serving, we recommend scaling up the recipe so you have plenty ready in a pitcher when guests arrive. For an extra celebratory touch, let cranberries float in the glass for a beautiful bejeweled look.

Shrimp Tray
Alpha Smoot

Appetizer: Quick Shrimp Relish Tray

The genius of this Quick Shrimp Relish Tray is that it combines the crowd-pleasing aspects of shrimp cocktail with the ease of a relish tray. Simply put the platter together and set it out so guests can help themselves to their ideal bites. We serve the relish with garlic mayonnaise, shaved celery, crostini, and whole caper berries. The crostini also pair well with cheese, so set out a few bite-sized options like manchego or aged cheddar if you have seafood-adverse guests. To simplify this starter dish, we recommend buying pre-cooked shrimp.

Prime Rib and Oven-Roasted Potatoes with Bay Leaves and Sage
Gentl and Hyers

Entrée: Prime Rib and Oven-Roasted Potatoes

Our Prime Rib and Oven-Roasted Potatoes with Bay Leaves and Sage recipe is a real winner; it shows how simple it is to roast a juicy, tender prime rib. And the next best part of the recipe is that potatoes cook alongside the meat (that's one side taken care of!). Another bonus is that the drippings are used to make a quick, decadent gravy right in the roasting pan. Roasting the prime rib low and slow also leaves more room for temperature variation and ensures tender meat every time.

Plan for about 1 pound of prime rib per person. Order the roast ahead of time from a butcher and ask for prime-grade meat (quality matters!). To expedite the process day-of, season the roast the night before and leave it uncovered in the refrigerator to let the seasoning penetrate into the meat.

While it cooks, check the temperature between the bones in the center of the roast and remove once it reaches your ideal temperature of doneness. Let the meat rest to keep it juicy while making the gravy and popovers. Note: Save the pan drippings for the gravy and separate out the fat for the Yorkshire pudding in the next step.

yorkshire pudding

Side Dish: Yorkshire Pudding

A traditional British sidekick to prime rib, Yorkshire Pudding is similar to popovers, but even easier. We use muffin tins for our individual puddings. The reserved fat drippings from the prime rib add a super savory flavor to the delectable side dish. Whisk together the batter while the roast cooks and bake the Yorkshire puddings while the meat rests. Don't fret if you don't have enough fat or the fat accidentally gets thrown away—use vegetable oil instead.

creamed spinach gratin
Ngoc Minh Ngo

Side Dish: Creamed Spinach Gratin

Last but not least, our Creamed Spinach Gratin is a steakhouse-worthy side and a definite crowd pleaser. Combine cooked spinach with a creamy Gruyère sauce, top with crunchy panko for texture, and bake.

Pro-tip: The spinach mixture can be made ahead and spread into the gratin dish the night before. Refrigerate covered. Also, toast the panko a day early and store at room temperature in an airtight container. Top the gratin with panko right before baking.

cranberry trifle

Dessert: Cranberry Trifle

You've served a stunning entree—now, here's a dessert that will end the meal on an even higher note. This gorgeous Cranberry Trifle has good looks, delectable flavors, and it's easy to put together; layer sweet cranberry-ginger compote, whipped cream cheese filling, and buttery pound cake into a trifle dish. For the trifle base, make one of our homemade pound cake recipes or use store-bought cake. Another bonus? Trifle actually tastes best when made the night before so the flavors have time to meld—easier for you and tastier for your guests.

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