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Prime Rib vs Ribeye – What is the Difference?

You’ve heard the names of prime rib and rib eye plenty of times. Why do people keep confusing the two so often? Is there any difference between them?

From the technical point of view, both come from the rib area of an animal, therefore they’re the same cut of a steak.

But what are the major differences between prime rib vs ribeye ? Most consumers know that prime rib are definitely more expensive. Let’s take a closer look at the differences worth remembering.

Remember that rib steaks have a bone, while rib eyes don’t have a bone. It is often mistaken by restaurants or stores.

Prime Rib Vs Ribeye: What’s the Difference?

Steaks have different names and types, it is because they come from different part of animal body. You will see the main difference in meat when you’re eating it.

Prime Rib Steak

It is very tasty, contains a bone and costs a lot. A rib is definitely one of the best pieces of meat you could buy.

Of course it comes from the same part of an animal ( ribs ) as ribeye. Does it mean that ribe eye and prime rib are the same ?

Not exactly, they both come from the same cut, but ribeye is cut out of ribs before they get cooked. 

On the other hand, prime rib is cut out of whole ribs after cooking.

prime rib steak

Are prime Rib and rib eye the same? No, but they are cut out of the same part of an animal, which is the ribs. Prime Rib is bigger than ribeye because the contain ribeye plus bone.

What is a Ribey steak ?

They call it different names, they say rib eye, ribeye steak or ribey – there are several names but they all refer to the same cut. It comes from the rib part of an animal. The cut comes from prime rib roast, which contains bone.

To become ribeye, bone is usually removed before cooking. At this moment all that is left is the aromatic part to eat.

Where did the ribeye name come from ?

Take a look at prime rib, the bone can be seen along the lower part of the cut.

Now, when we cut out that bone, an eye-shaped space is left, hence the name after cutting out the bone ribeye steak.


Ribeye is not prime rib steak, but prime rib contains rib eye.

Remember than when you’re at a store and see Prime Rib, it doesn’t indicate the quality of the meat, don’t confuse it with USDA Prime cut of meat. Most of meats that you can but at a supermarket is labeled with the "select" or "choice" quality. The prime cuts are usually reserved for the good restaurants or very good stores.

Cooking and grilling

Butchers unanimously say that Ribeyes and Rib steaks cook fast. They are more delicate than other types of beef, while also being naturally fatty. For most people they taste best in the rare and medium-rare level of frying.

Remember that before cooking a defrosted steak, it has to be taken out of the fridge and left for 20 minutes in order to bring it to the room temperature. It doesn’t have to be marinated, salting is enough and you can grill it on a well-heated barbecue.

In conclusion

There are fundamental differences between ribeye steak and prime rib steak. They are based on the way it’s cut. They come from the same part of a cow, but the cuts are a little different as well as the preparation.

Ribeye it’s the smaller part that contains the best stuff. Meanwhile, prime rib is the bigger cut that also contains ribeye.