Rib Steak vs Ribeye: The Subtle Differences To Know

Two classic fresh rib eye steaks on a wooden Board

Rib Steak vs Ribeye: The Subtle Differences To Know

Steak is a popular protein that many people enjoy cooking or ordering at a restaurant. It is also a protein that comes in various forms. The type and cut of a steak depend on where the beef is cut from the cow. Depending on where the steak is cut from determines the size, tenderness, flavor, and more. Ribeye steaks are a popular cut of meat served in high-end restaurants and sold at the grocery store and butcher counter. Both ribeye steaks and rib steaks are popular choices in steak but have their differences.

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Two fresh raw rib-eye steak on wooden Board on wooden background with salt, pepper and rosmary in a rustic style
Ribeye steaks can come boneless and vary in size.

©Andrei Iakhniuk/Shutterstock.com

What Is a Ribeye Steak

A ribeye steak is a very popular and known cut of steak that comes from the rib section of a cow. The rib section is one of the primal cuts of the cow, making the ribeye steak a prime portion of meat. A ribeye steak is boneless. It is known for being extremely tender, as well as having distinctive marbling. Both these characteristics of a ribeye steak give off a rich, beefy flavor.

The marbling of the ribeye steak showcases white streaks throughout the steak itself. This leads to the fat content of a steak. The more marbling on a steak, the higher the fat content usually. Ribeye steaks tend to be a bit fatty, although many describe them as tender rather than fatty.

History of the Ribeye Steak

Ribeye steaks have been around since people began eating beef from a cow. For centuries, people have been enjoying beef. Over time, as butchers and chefs began to understand the anatomy of a cow better, cutting away at specific parts of the cow, specific cuts became more popular, as well.

In the 19th century, meat in the United States became wildly popular and a high-class dinner option. As more restaurants began to sell aged beef cuts, ribeyes became popular amongst the aged steak group. People call the ribeye by its name because it is located in the eye of the cow's rib. Today, many people enjoy ribeye steaks as a delicacy in a steakhouse or by cooking at home.

Prime Black Angus Ribeye steak. Medium Rare degree of steak doneness.
Ribeye steaks can be either grilled or pan-seared.

©Davidchuk Alexey/Shutterstock.com

Difference Between a Rib Steak and a Ribeye Steak

The main difference between a rib steak and a ribeye steak is simple: the bone. A rib steak has a bone in the steak. These steaks have a bone embedded within the beef, and while cooking, this bone helps to enhance the flavor of the meat. Rib steaks are bigger than ribeye steaks also due to the bone inside. They appear to be more meat, but in reality, they are almost the same in terms of beef content, the bone just adds weight and depth.

Ribeye steaks, on the other hand, are boneless. They have a more extended beef flavor and are very tender. Some believe that ribeye steaks are “buttery.” They typically tend to cost much more than rib steaks due to this.

Nutritional Value of Ribeye Steak

Ribeye steaks that weigh 4-6 ounces typically are 220-248 calories. They hold 20 mg of protein and 46 mg of sodium, depending on how you season and cook the steak. There are no carbs in a ribeye steak, seeing as it's pure protein. There are typically several 8 grams of saturated fat and 3 grams of trans fat in a ribeye steak. Red meat is a staple of many people's diets due to protein and iron. However, many limit the intake of red meat for a plethora of health reasons.

Striploin and Ribeye grilled beef steaks served on wooden boards with glass of wine, bottle of wine, herbs and spices. Top view
Ribeye steaks are best served with salt, pepper, and light herbs.


Ribeye Steak Cooking Guidelines

When cooking a ribeye steak, you want to be sure that you are cooking it the right way in order to obtain the right cook. Timing is important when cooking steak in general because you want to be sure you aren't over or under-cooking it.

When pan-searing a ribeye steak, you want to get it to a medium temperature, so cook the steak on medium-high heat for around 10 minutes before checking the internal temperature. The goal is to get the steak to 145°F. When grilling a steak, you want to set the heat to 450°. The steak should be grilled for around 10-15 minutes but checked midway through before you take it off the grill. If you choose to sous vide the steak, cook the steak at 130°F and leave the steak in for a minimum of 2 hours.

Sliced medium rare grilled Steak Ribeye with french fries on serving board block on wooden background
Slicing ribeye steak is a good way to check the cook of the meat.

©Natalia Lisovskaya/Shutterstock.com

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The Bottom Line

Comparison of rib steak and ribeye steak with the main difference being the rib steak has a bone.
The main difference between the rib steak and the ribeye steak is the rib steak has a bone.

Ribeye steaks are a delicacy in many places, specifically in the United States. Many steakhouses serve ribeye steaks as a staple on the menu. The main difference between a ribeye steak and a rib steak is the bone. Both are cut from the rib section of the cow, however, the rib steak maintains the bone, while a ribeye steak is boneless.

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Grilled Ribeye Steak on bones on wooden board, prime cowboy steak on dark background

Firecracker Ribeye Steak

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  • Author: MomsWhoThink.com


Units Scale
  • 2/3 cup virgin olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 1/8 cup lemon juice
  • 1/8 cup cup lime juice
  • 2 Tablespoons green chilies, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 lbs. ribeye steak


  1. Mix together the oil, lemon/lime juice, chilies and garlic in a roasting pan.
  2. Add steaks and marinate for several hours or overnight in the refrigerator.
  3. When grill is hot, add steaks and grill for 5 minutes on each side for medium, or longer for well-done steaks. Serve with salsa.
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