Perfectly Cooked Roast Beef Recipe

Here’s the simple, easy-to-remember formula to cook a beef roast, the result is perfectly cooked roast, whether you want it cooked rare or medium rare or medium or well done. The choice is yours, the formula takes all the guesswork out of how long to cook roast beef. Better still? The hands-on time is five minutes. Still better? There’s no added fat, really letting good meat take center stage.

Perfectly Cooked Roast Beef ♥, a simple easy-to-remember formula to perfectly cook a beef roast, whether rare to medium rare, medium to well done.

Real Food, Fresh & Family-Tested. Perfect for Sunday Dinners & Holiday Meals. Low Carb. Low Fat. High Protein. Weight Watchers Friendly. Naturally Gluten Free. Whole30 Friendly.

Short & Sweet But It Works.

A terse recipe caught my eye about five years ago. The technique was dead simple.

The original recipe read: "Cook the roast for 5 minutes per pound at 500 degrees. Then turn off the oven and let the meat finish cooking for two hours."

Trust me. Two hours is way too long unless you like meat beyond well-done. Still, the basic process works. You just have to trust it – and your meat thermometer!

So here's how the corrected recipe goes: "Cook the roast for 5 minutes per pound at 500 degrees. Then turn off the oven and let the meat finish cooking until the internal temperature reaches the desired temperature for rare, medium rare, medium, medium well or well, however you like your beef cooked."

Cooking with My Mom

Does this happen to others? All week long, I've been "cooking" with my mother. She's been gone for more than ten years now and I've never before felt her "sense" in the room.

But perhaps it's because this recipe for Perfectly Cooked Roast Beef kicks off an entire menu, the one Mom so often chose for our Christmas dinner when my sister and I were growing up.

It was her idea of a traditional English Christmas dinner, a tribute to her own English-born father. It would make for an easy festive New Years Eve menu, too!

My Mom's Traditional English Christmas Dinner Menu

The Soup Course

Oyster Stew

The Main Course

~ Roast Beef ~
(recipe below)
~ Horseradish Whipped Cream for Beef ~
~ Perfect Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes (Party Potatoes) ~
~ Gravy ~
~ Yorkshire Pudding (Popovers) ~

Sides & Salads

~ Whole Cauliflower with Homemade Cheese Sauce ~
~ Bodacious Brussels Sprouts ~

Pudding (Dessert)

~ Christmas Trifle ~
Perfectly Cooked Roast Beef coated with meat rub ♥, a simple easy-to-remember formula to perfectly cook a beef roast, whether rare to medium rare, medium to well done.

How to Cook a Beef Roast

The detailed recipe is written in traditional recipe form below but here are the highlights. You can do this!

PICK THE RIGHT CUT This roast is going to roast for a relatively short time, that means you want a more tender piece of beef. That means a sirloin tip (our favorite), eye of round roast, ribeye roast. Me, I find meat cuts so confusing, all those different names. But butchers are friendly folks, just ask, they'll help! This piece from the Beef Board is also helpful.

Avoid the the tenderloin. It's a tender cut but is just too precious to oven roast.

Avoid these cuts, the brisket, a chuck roast, a bottom round roast. These are good cuts, they just need slow cooking. If you already have one of these cuts, consider these great recipes. For brisket, try Real-Food Brisket. For a chuck roast, try Slow-Cooked or Slow Cooker Pot Roast.

MAKE SURE IT'S FULLY THAWED If you keep meat in the freezer, the biggest challenge is getting it out to thaw soon enough. Allow two or three days for a roast to thaw safely in the refrigerator; just be sure to put it in a ziplock bag because meat packaging always leaks, what a mess it can make. If you're short of time, immerse the roast (still in its packaging, assuming it's sealed in airtight plastic) in a large bowl of cold (yes, cold) water for several hours, even early in the day of cooking. Once it's thawed, refrigerate the roast until it's time to start prepping and/or cooking.

WEIGH THE ROAST This is the crucial step for it determines how long the roast will cook at high heat. You do have a kitchen scale (affiliate link), right? I use mine #EverySingleDay.

Now do a little math. Multiply the weight of the roast in pounds by 5, for example a 4 pound roast x 5 = 20. This means that the roast will be start off in the hot oven for 20 minutes.

PREP THE ROASTING PAN No special pan is required, just one that has sides to hold in juices and is big enough to hold the roast with room to spare so the oven's hot air can circulate freely around the meat. I usually use a half sheet pan (affiliate link). For easy clean-up later, line the pan with foil. A cast iron skillet would work too, no need to line it.

PREP THE ROAST Pat the roast dry with paper towels, just taking off the wetness from the outer surface. This lets the meat rub adhere to the roast better. Now use your hands to pat the whole roast, top to bottom, side to side, with a meat rub. Which meat rub? Check your spice cupboard, you probably have one. Even if it's labeled for chicken or pork, go ahead, use it. Do look at the ingredient list. If salt is the first ingredient, the beef juices you might want to use for making gravy will be very salty. I try to use a salt-free meat rub, then add my own much small amount of salt to the rub before rubbing it onto the meat.

INSERT A MEAT THERMOMETER Insert the probe of an oven-safe meat thermometer deep into the roast. This is the digital thermometer I use for meat, breads, even custard.

LET THE ROAST WARM UP A BIT, OPTIONAL The roast is now ready for the oven but if you like, let it rest at room temperature for a couple of hours. It's always interesting to note how the internal temperature only comes up a degree or two. In my experience, letting the roast warm up a bit doesn't shorten total the roasting time.

ROAST at 500F for 5 MINUTES PER POUND. Heat the oven to 500F, that's an unusually hot oven but don't worry, the technique really works. Then put the roasting pan into the oven on the middle rack, carefully situating the timer so that you can see the temperature changing as the roast cooks.

Set the timer for five minutes for every pound. In the example we're working with, a four pound roast would roast at 500F for 20 minutes.

TURN OFF THE OVEN. LEAVE THE MEAT INSIDE. DON'T OPEN THE OVEN DOOR! The oven will remain hot for a long while, letting the meat finish cooking to its safe internal temperature without being blasted by heat. This means the meat will cook more evenly, outside to inside.

How long will it take for the roast to finish? That depends. Cooking to a "rare" temperature will take less time than to a "well done" temperature. Estimate about 45 minutes for rare meat, about 60 minutes for medium rare meat. But do use a thermometer, that removes the uncertainty.

ONCE DONE, REMOVE FROM THE OVEN Remove the roasting pan from the oven and place a piece of foil around the roast to keep the outer surfaces hot. Let the meat rest at least 5 minutes before slicing. But the real value here is that the meat will hold and stay hot for a good 30-45 minutes. That's valuable time for sorting out the rest of the meal!

SLICE & SERVE This roast is especially wonderful when sliced thin. If you have an electric knife tucked away somewhere, dig it out.

Perfectly Cooked Roast Beef ♥, a simple easy-to-remember formula to perfectly cook a beef roast, whether rare to medium rare, medium to well done.

For Example, a Large Roast.

With my last roast, I kept track of the specifics, just to provide a guideline.

This roast weighed 4-1/2 pounds. So I cooked it at 500F for 22 minutes (five minutes per pound), then turned off the oven until the internal temperature temperature reached the desired doneness. I was shooting for 135F, medium rare, but lost track of the cooking progress and the temperature got up to 144F. Into the details? Here you go.

  • CUT – Boneless top sirloin
  • WEIGHT – 4-1/2 pounds
  • TIME AT 500F – 22 minutes, that's 4.5 pounds x 5 minutes per pound
  • ADDITIONAL TIME TO REACH 144F – 60 minutes (I was aiming for 135F but didn't watch carefully enough, gauge from the photos how "pink" the meat is at 144F)
  • TEMP AFTER 30-MINUTE REST – 140F, covered with foil in 70F kitchen

For Example, a Smaller Roast.

And for comparison, here's what happens with a smaller roast.

This roast weighed 2.7 pounds. So I cooked it at 500F for 14 minutes (five minutes per pound, rounded up), then turned off the oven until the internal temperature temperature reached the desired doneness. I was shooting for 140F.

  • CUT – Boneless top sirloin
  • WEIGHT – 2.7 pounds pounds
  • INTERNAL TEMP GOING INTO THE OVEN – 48F (after resting on the counter for about 90 minutes)
  • TIME AT 500F – 14 minutes, that's 2.7 pounds x 5 minutes per pound and rounded up
  • ADDITIONAL TIME TO REACH 140F – 60 minutes
  • TEMP AFTER 30-MINUTE REST – 140F, covered with foil in 70F kitchen

What Makes This Recipe Special

  • Removes all the guesswork from cooking a roast
  • Employs a simple technique that really brings out beef's flavor and a roast's tenderness
  • Requires no special equipment except a digital meat thermometer
  • Cooks the meat perfectly, no matter the size of the roast
  • Cooks the meat to any level of desired doneness, rare, medium-rare, medium, well, etc.
  • Creates a dark, crusty exterior with light red, pink, gray interior, whatever you want
  • Cheaper than sliced beef from the deli counter, great for meal prep for sandwiches
  • For game lovers, the technique works with venison roasts too

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Perfectly Cooked Roast Beef ♥, a simple easy-to-remember formula to perfectly cook a beef roast, whether rare to medium rare, medium to well done.


Hands-on time: 5 minutes up front plus carving
Time to table: About 90 minutes for smaller roasts (under 3 pounds) and larger roasts (more than 4 pounds)
Allow four servings per pound for light eaters, two or three for bigger appetites
  • 1 boneless beef roast, any size or a standing rib roast
  • Meat rub of choice (don’t skip)

Heat oven to 500F.

Weigh the roast and make note of its weight, that will determine how long the meat will cook at 500F. Then place it in a large roasting pan lined with foil for easy clean-up. Pat the meat dry, then pat with the meat rub, covering the entire roast. Insert a digital thermometer deep into the thickest part of the roast.

Roast at 500F for 5 minutes per pound.

Now turn the oven off, yes, you read that right – turn the oven OFF – no opening the oven door either. It’s hard but you can do it.

Let the roast sit in the oven until the meat reaches the desired temperature, 115F-120F for extra rare, 125F-130F for rare, 130F-140F for medium rare, 140F-150F for medium, 150F-155F for medium well, 160F-212F for well done.

Remove the roast from the oven and cover with foil for 5 – 30 minutes before slicing. It will drop a degree or two in temperature but won’t get cold. This lets you use the oven for side dishes, popovers, etc.

Slice, serve and enjoy!

RECIPE in METRIC Roast at 260C for 5 minutes per 454 grams. Let the roast sit in the oven until the meat reaches the desired temperature, 46C-49C for extra rare, 52C-55C for rare, 55C-60C for medium rare, 60C-65C for medium, 65C-69C for medium well, 71C-100C for well done.

ALANNA’s TIPS Don’t skip the meat rub, both for the sake of appearance (a thin crust, almost like having seared the meat in fat) and of flavor (seasoning). But if you want to make gravy with the meat juices, choose a rub that has minimal salt. After the oven’s been turned off for 30 minutes, either set the temperature alarm on the thermometer or check it every five minutes. The cooking process moves faster than you think and you really don’t want to overcook good meat. Your oven will be tied up so plan the rest of the meal accordingly.

FOR MORE INFO If you "skipped straight to the recipe," please scroll back to the top of this page for ingredient information, ingredient substitutions, tips and more. If you print this recipe, you'll want to check the recipe online for even more tips and extra information about ingredient substitutions, best results and more. See .
Per 4 ounces uncooked/3 ounces cooked: 148 Calories; 4g Tot Fat; 2g Sat Fat; 47mg Cholesterol; 63mg Sodium; 0g Carb; 0g Fiber; 0g Sugar; 25g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS Old Points 3 & PointsPlus 3 & SmartPoints 3 & Freestyle 3 & myWW green 3 & blue 3 & purple 3 & future WW points
Adapted from a church-style cookbook from Oklahoma, one returned to my friend Linda. Sorry, no more detail than that!

More Traditional Recipes for the Holidays

~ Christmas recipes ~
~ New Year's recipes ~
Christmas Recipes, another seasonal recipe collection ♥, special recipes for holiday baking, food gifts, Christmas Eve, Christmas morning, Christmas dinner and more.
Lazy Man's Ciopinno ♥, a simple but celebration-worthy stew packed with fresh fish and fresh shrimp in a light tomato-y broth. Low Carb. High Protein. Very Weight Watchers Friendly.

Finnish Meatballs ♥, light and tender meatballs, draped in a cream sauce.

Twice-Smoked Ham ♥, how and why to smoke a smoked ham a second time for Easter, Christmas and holiday hams.
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  • DON'T FORGET Spicy Raisin Sauce for Ham My grandmother's recipe, always-always served with the Easter ham, the Christmas ham, the Sunday ham.

Shop Your Pantry First

(helping home cooks save money on groceries)

~ beef recipes ~

~ All Recipes, By Ingredient ~
~ How to Save Money on Groceries ~

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail, you'll find my current address in the FAQs. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, for more scratch cooking recipes using whole, healthful ingredients, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. If you make this recipe, I'd love to know your results! Just leave a comment below.

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Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. Alanna I remember reading this someplace as well although I've never tried it. I do something similar with cheesecake and it comes out perfect. Your roast looks perfect. I will have to try this method.

    This time of year I always feel the presence of my dad and grandmother around. I like to think I'm cooking for my dad and with my grandmother - it's comforting. As much as I love the holidays I tend to feel blu and melancholy especially when I hear all the holiday songs. Sometimes I just have to turn them off.

    What a nice tribute to your mom. I'm sure she will be right there with you at the table.

    Happy Holidays!

  2. Thanks for the this great method!!! I was considering doing a prime rib for Christmas and this seems gfoof proof! How long did your roast take to come up to temp after shutting off the oven? Trying to estimate how long with a 8+ lbs roast.

  3. Hi Rita, That information was in the column but kinda buried in "ALANNA's TIPS" so I've pulled it out to make it more obvious. I think this is a perfect way to cook prime rib, in fact, it's on the list for New Years Eve, here! Merry Christmas!


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna