Buoyed by Espanyol holding Barca to a goalless draw 24 hours earlier, Madrid dominated the first half and should have led by more than Higuain's 25th-minute strike.
Manuel Pellegrini's side then had to withstand some nervy moments during the second half before Ronaldo doubled their lead in the 78th minute, sealing Madrid's 14th win in their last 15 league outings.
"The team has maintained a similar level throughout the season. In the Bernabeu we played 16 games and we have won 15. We have always raised our performance after the difficult moments. After losing in the Champions League, after the match against Barcelona, we have shown spirit and I am very proud of the collective effort and all the players individually," said Pellegrini.
"I do not care what Barcelona do. We have already played against them. I watch five or six matches and this time it was Valencia. I don't have time to watch Barcelona. The only thing that interests me was that the team would not fail after the defeat against them [Barcelona] but we've shown great spirit both in the Almeria game and in this game.
"Real Madrid always has the obligation and hope of winning, since the first game of the season. The team has always maintained that, we have been adjusting to our abilities and we are playing a type of football that creates plenty of chances but this is the one of the best teams at adapting to the players we have."