Pot Roast – fall apart beef, tender flavour infused vegetables and potatoes smothered in a rich gravy. It’s mouthwateringly good, yet simple to make, especially if you use a slow cooker. However, this beef pot roast recipe can be made in an instant pot, oven OR crockpot – pick which method works best for you!
Confession: I wasn’t a fan of pot roast for most of my life. I just didn’t get it – the beef and vegetables were fine, but typically they are braised in just liquids that aren’t thickened in any way so the end result is like a watery broth.
Plenty of flavour in it, but when you pour it over the beef and vegetables, it doesn’t cling to it at all because it’s watery.
So I decided to change it and thicken the sauce using a touch of flour. So it’s more like a gravy. Now THAT’s a pot roast worthy of company, in my humble opinion!!!
If you love meltingly tender, slow cooked roast beef and deeply flavoured gravy, this pot roast recipe is for you!
How to make Pot Roast
- Season beef well with salt and pepper
- Sear beef aggressively – this is KEY for flavour in the broth and the beef!
- Sauté onion and garlic, then delgaze* the skillet or pot with red wine (or water or broth);
- Tip everything into a slow cooker, instant pot / pressure cooker or casserole pot for oven along with beef broth, carrots and celery;
- Sprinkle with dried rosemary and thyme then slow cook 8 hrs low, 55 min pressure cook on high, or oven 4 hours at 300°F/150°C;
- Add the potatoes partway through cooking and by the time the potatoes are cooked, the beef will be meltingly tender!
* Means simmering liquid and scraping bottom of pan to release the flavour stuck on the bottom of the pan from searing. It adds a ton of flavour into the cooking broth!
It’s essentially a slow cooked Roast Beef!
The key point of difference with this pot roast recipe is that the braising liquid is thickened so it comes out like a deeply flavoured gravy rather than a watery broth which is how most pot roasts are made.
So it’s essentially a slow cooked Roast Beef that’s fall apart tender that comes with a gravy and tender flavour infused vegetables. Complete meal in one pot!
Because the beef needs to be mostly submerged in liquid while it slow cooks, you end up with lots and lots of liquid in the finished dish.
Which means, in my Pot Roast, you end up with lots and lots of very tasty gravy.
This is a sensational “problem” to have. Keep leftovers, drown your potatoes with them, toss through pasta (oh yes!!), serve it as a sauce for tomorrow night’s dinner. – Nagi x
Watch how to make it
Note: My slow cooker looks like a pressure cooker because it’s a multi function slow cooker (but no, it’s not an Instant Pot!).
This pot roast recipe was originally published January 2018. Updated for housekeeping matters. No change to recipe – I wouldn’t dare! 🙂
Recipe VIDEO above. The ultimate one-pot family meal! Meltingly tender slow cooker beef and vegetables smothered in a gravy like sauce – because it’s so much tastier than just a watery broth! I like to make this in my slow cooker but I’ve also added directions for pressure cooker, stove and oven.
- 2 kg / 4 lb beef chuck roast , rolled ((Note 1))
- 1 tsp each salt and pepper
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion ((large), cut into large dice)
- 5 garlic cloves (, peeled and smashed (Note 2a))
- 5 carrots (, peeled and cut into 2.5cm/1″ pieces)
- 3 celery stalks (, cut into 4 cm / 1.5″ pieces)
- 1 cup (250ml) dry red wine ((sub with beef broth))
- 3 cups (750ml) beef broth (, salt reduced)
- 1/3 cup (50g) flour ((plain / all purpose) (GF – Note 2b))
- 1 tsp dried rosemary
- 1 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 750g / 1.5 lb potatoes (, peeled and cut into 2.5 cm / 1″ pieces)
- Pat beef dry with paper towels. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper all over.
- Heat oil in a skillet over high heat. Brown aggressively all over – a deep dark brown crust is essential for flavour base! Should take about 7 minutes.
- Transfer beef to slow cooker.
- In the same skillet, add onion and garlic. Cook for 2 minutes until onion is browned.
- Add wine, reduce by half. Transfer to slow cooker.
- Mix together flour and about 1 cup of the broth. Lumps is fine. Pour into slow cooker.
- Add remaining broth, carrots, celery, rosemary and thyme into slow cooker.
Cover and slow cook on LOW for 5 hours. (45 min pressure cook on HIGH, Note 3a for Oven and Stove)
Add potato, slow cook on LOW for 3 hours. (10 min pressure cooker on HIGH, Note 3b)
- Remove beef. Rest for 5 minutes, then slice thickly.
Adjust salt and pepper of Sauce to taste.
1. Beef chuck is a slow cooking cut of beef. It sometimes comes rolled and tied with string (like pictured in mine). But it also comes much thicker, shaped like a normal roast cut, and this cut isn’t required to be rolled and tied like mine. Both work great.
Recipe as written suited to beef 1 – 2kg / 2 – 4 lb. Works for wide range of weight as you need a certain amount of liquid to partially submerge the beef. Yet the cook time remains the same because it’s driven by beef thickness, rather than weight. Feel free to reduce / increase vegetables to your beef size, and also add other vegetables.
OTHER BEEF CUTS: Works great with brisket too. Blade Roast will also work but note that the beef is very lean so while it will be tender like chuck, it’s not as juicy inside (which you can disguise by smothering with sauce).
2a. Smashed Garlic – just use the side of your knife and smash it using the palm of your hand. The garlic will burst open but remain mostly in one piece.
2b. Cornflour / cornstarch gluten free alternative: Mix 1 tbsp cornstarch / cornflour with a splash of broth, mix then pour in per recipe, in place of flour. Once beef is cooked and removed, check liquid thickness. If you want it thicker, mix 1 tsp cornflour with splash of water and add, heat liquid (residual heat may be sufficient) and it will thicken, repeat if you want thicker.
3a. OVEN: Lid on dutch oven or similar, 300F/150C for about 2 hrs (1 – 1.5kg / 2 – 3 lb) or 3 hours (2kg / 4 lb), then add potatoes then a further 1 hour until meat is tender.
STOVE: Add 2 more cups of water, simmer covered 2 – 2.5 hrs until meat is starting to be tender, turning meat once or twice. Add potatoes then cook another 30 minutes until meat is super tender and potatoes are soft. Keep an eye on water level.
3b. I add potatoes later otherwise I find they are so soft, they basically disintegrate. If you prefer to add potatoes in at the beginning so you don’t have to worry about adding them later, use red potatoes because they hold up better to the long cook time.
4. The carrots and celery are VERY soft by the end, softer than ideal. It’s unfortunate, but a necessary sacrifice because having them in the broth for the whole cook time adds great flavour to the sauce.
5. Servings: I allow for 200 – 250g / 6.5 – 8oz uncooked beef per serving which shrinks with the long cook time. The beef pictured was a 2 kg / 4 lb rolled chuck.
6. Nutrition per serving (480g/1lb per serving), assuming all sauce consumed.
More slow cooked beef recipes
Because nothing beats the flavour of beef cooked long and slow until it’s meltingly tender….
Life of Dozer
When the homeless man at the dog park isn’t at his car (usually off tending to the park grounds – best groundskeeper EVER!), I tie food to the boot of his van. Pot Roast, in this case!
And this is Dozer, trying to figure out if he can reach the bag. #SHAMELESS