How to make the perfect roast beef (and Yorkshire puddings)

The ultimate Sunday roast: roast beef and yorkies.
The ultimate Sunday roast: roast beef and yorkies. Photo: William Meppem

The Sunday roast is a classic for a good reason. Buy beautiful beef and pile Yorkshire puddings by its side to soak up the juices.


  • 3-bone standing rib of beef, about 2kg
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 sprigs rosemary, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp cracked black pepper

Yorkshire puddings

  • 3 large eggs
  • 125g plain flour
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 150ml milk
  • vegetable oil


  1. Remove the beef from the fridge 2 hours before roasting – this will help it cook through evenly. Rub all over with olive oil, rosemary, sea salt and pepper.
  2. Heat the oven to 220C fan-forced (240C conventional). Heat a heavy frypan and briefly sear all sides of the beef. Place rib-side down in a roasting pan lined with baking paper and roast for 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to 150C fan-forced (170C conventional) and bake for a further 30 minutes per kilo for medium-rare meat, or 40 minutes per kilo for medium.
  3. To make the Yorkshire puddings, whisk the eggs in a bowl, then sift in the flour and salt and whisk until smooth. Gradually whisk in the milk, until smooth. Strain into a jug and refrigerate until needed.
  4. Remove the beef and rest on a warm platter for up to 30 minutes under a loose sheet of foil.
  5. Heat the oven to 210C fan-forced (230C conventional) and place a 12-hole muffin tin in the oven for 3 minutes, or until very hot, then remove.
  6. Add half a teaspoonful of vegetable oil to each hole, pour in the batter up to one-third full and return to the oven quick-smart. Bake, being sure not to open the oven door, for 15-20 minutes or until puffed and golden.
  7. To serve, return the meat to the oven for a few minutes to warm through. Remove, cut the meat away from the bone into thick slices and serve with the Yorkshire puddings.

Serves 4

Need to know

  • There's a world of difference between the deep savoury flavour of dry-aged beef – dark and marbled, with a covering of fat – and the lightness of young, lean, pink meat. Roast beef isn't a meal, it's an event. Go for the best.
  • Grass-fed beef has a more natural flavour and chew; grain-fed is more marbled with fat with a richer mouthfeel.
  • Work out the size you need by the number of ribs. A two-bone rib feeds 2 or 3, a 3-bone rib feeds 4, a 4-bone rib feeds 6.
  • If you are using a temperature probe, cook the beef to 55C internal for rare, and 62C for medium, but remove from the oven when it reaches 5 degrees below those readings, as it will keep cooking as it rests.
  • Don't open the oven door in the middle of baking the Yorkshire puddings. They will deflate, never to rise again.
  • Serve with mustard or horseradish cream, gravy, winter greens and roast potatoes. No room in the oven? Do mash instead.
  • Leftovers? Make the best-ever roast beef sandwich with mustard and pickles, serve as a Thai beef salad, or stir-fry with rice noodles, soy and chilli.

Each month, food writer and cook Jill guides us through the making of a classic dish.