Classic Pot Roast is an easy comfort food that is an absolute favorite. A one pot meal made easy in the oven, slow cooker or Instant Pot!
My family loves a great roast. It makes a regular appearance at our supper table and as much as I love to make balsamic roast beef and Dr. Pepper roast beef, sometimes, we still like a more traditional pot roast with the trimmings.
What is Pot Roast?
Rather than being a specific cut of meat, pot roast is a method of cooking a large, tougher piece of beef, browning it if possible, covering it with stock (or wine) and cooking it until it is absolutely falling apart! And friends, you can easily accomplish all of that in your oven, your slow cooker or even in your Instant Pot!
Best Cuts of Meat for Pot Roast
Remember, I said that pot roast isn’t a specific cut of meat and is more the method of how you cook that meat. Well, there are a few cuts of meat that I think are the best cuts for a pot roast. The most popular choices include brisket, chuck roast, and round roast. There are reasons to choose one type of beef over another, depending on your personal preferences.
Brisket – Brisket is a cut of beef from the breast or the lower chest. It is a very tender and is used a great deal for barbecue. You can easily use two forks to pull it for serving your pot roast or carefully slice it for serving tender slices.
Chuck Roast – Located from the front shoulder area of the cow, chuck roast is the most classic cut of beef used for pot roast. You’ll also find this under the names of chuck roast, chuck eye roast, chuck steak, shoulder roast, shoulder steak, and even labeled as pot roast. You can easily serve sliced or cut into larger pieces.
Round Roast – Located from the back area of the cow, you can also find this labeled as rump roast and bottom round. This is an economical and very lean cut of meat that is best served sliced against the grain.
Do You Have to Sear the Beef for Your Roast?
In a quick answer, no. Many times, if I am in a hurry, I do not. But if you want the absolute BEST pot roast, I definitely encourage you to sear your roast before cooking it too perfect. Searing the roast caramelizes the outside of the beef and locks in so much flavor.
• Stovetop – Add olive oil to a skillet or Dutch oven set over medium heat. Then, place your roast into the heated skillet and sear each side and the ends of the roast, carefully turning with tongs, until the outside of the roast has been browned.
• Slow Cooker – Some slow cookers have ceramic or even metal inserts that allow you to place them on the stovetop to sear or brown your meat before adding it back to the slow cooker for finishing. Some others include an in-pot browning setting. If your slow cooker does not include either of those functions in your user manual, then use the stovetop method and then carefully transfer your seared roast to your slow cooker to finish.
• Instant Pot – Use the saute function of your Instant Pot for in-pot searing of your roast.
Once you have your roast seared, deglaze the pan with your favorite braising liquid. You can use either beef broth or wine. Then, you’ll add any other seasonings, vegetables and herbs that you may be using.
Favorite Pot Roast Vegetables and Herbs
We recommend using the classic blend of vegetables and herbs for your pot roast. We love carrots that have been cut into 1 1/2-inch slices, celery cut to about the same size, onions cut into wedges, and potatoes that have been cut into large bite-sized pieces. For the potatoes, we recommend using either red potatoes as pictured or Yukon Gold. For the herbs, we prefer to use fresh thyme or in a pinch you can use dried. Another favorite herb that we enjoy is fresh rosemary.
How to Cook Pot Roast in the Oven
To cook in the oven, preheat oven to 350º F. Then, sear your beef in the Dutch oven set over medium heat on the stovetop. Then, deglaze your pot with beef broth or red wine. Add your Worcestershire sauce, seasonings, vegetables and herbs, along with the remainder of your stock and/ or wine. Cover and place into your preheated oven. Cook for 3 hours until the beef reaches 202º F when checked with an internal thermometer. Remove from the oven and serve.
How to Cook Roast in a Slow Cooker
To cook in a slow cooker, sear your beef on all sides and then add to your slow cooker (if yours doesn’t include an in-pot browning option). Then, deglaze your skillet with beef broth or red wine and pour into your slow cooker. Add your Worcestershire sauce, seasonings, vegetables and herbs, along with the remainder of your stock and/ or wine. Set your slow cooker to the low setting for 6-8 hours, depending on your slow cooker. Remove from the slow cooker and serve.
How to Cook Roast in an Instant Pot
To cook in an Instant Pot pressure cooker, sear the beef on all sides using the Saute function of your Instant Pot. Then, deglaze the insert with beef broth or red wine. Add your Worcestershire sauce, seasonings, vegetables and herbs, along with the remainder of your beef broth and/ or wine. Set your Instant Pot to High pressure and cook for 60 minutes. Allow the pressure to naturally release for 20 minutes, then use the quick release to release any remaining pressure. Carefully remove the lid and serve.
How to Freeze Pot Roast
Once cooked, cool completely and then portion into freezer-safe container(s). Freeze up to 3 months.
To serve, thaw in the refrigerator overnight, reheat and serve.
Here’s our favorite Classic Pot Roast Recipe. I hope you love it as much as we do!
Pot Roast Recipe
- olive oil
- 1 (3-5) pound boneless roast beef (chuck or round roast) brisket, chuck, or round
- 3 cups beef stock or broth divided
- 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce or coconut aminos
- 2 teaspoons Stone House Seasoning
- 1 pound red potatoes cut into bite-sized pieces
- 2 medium onions cut into wedges
- 1 pound carrots cut into 1 1/2 inch slices
- 4 stalks celery cut into 1 1/2 inch slices
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary
- Preheat oven to 350º F.
- Sear roast. Drizzle olive oil into the bottom of a heavy Dutch oven over medium heat. Add roast and sear on all sides, about 3 minutes per side. Carefully remove the pot roast from the Dutch oven using tongs and place onto a large platter or a rimmed baking sheet.
- Deglaze the pan by pouring 1 cup of beef broth or red wine into the Dutch oven. Using a wooden spoon, scrape up all of the cooked bits on the bottom of the pan. Add the beef, and any juices, back into the Dutch oven. Add the remainder of the beef broth and/ or red wine to the pot. Add in the Worcestershire sauce, Stone House Seasoning, the vegetables, and herbs.
- Cover and place in oven for 3 hours, until the roast is fork tender and reaches 202º F when checked with an internal thermometer.
Slow Cooker Classic Pot Roast
- If the slow cooker doesn't have an in-pot browning method (see your slow cooker's instructions), follow instructions above for searing the roast. Then, transfer the seared pot roast to the insert of a slow cooker. Deglaze the pan as instructed above and pour into the slow cooker along with the remaining beef broth and/ or red wine, Worcestershire sauce, Stone House Seasoning, the vegetables and the herbs. Cook on the low setting for 6-8 hours, depending on your slow cooker.
Instant Pot Classic Pot Roast
- Set your Instant Pot to the Saute function. Drizzle olive oil into the Instant Pot insert pot. Add your roast and sear on all sides until browned, about 3 minutes per side. Carefully remove the roast from the Instant Pot using tongs and place onto a large platter or a rimmed baking sheet.
- Deglaze the pot by pouring 1 cup of beef broth or red wine into the pot. Using a wooden spoon, scrape up all of the cooked bits on the bottom of the pan. Add the beef, and any juices, back into the pot. Add the remainder of the beef broth and/ or red wine to the pot. Add in the Worcestershire sauce, Stone House Seasoning, the vegetables, and herbs.
- Seal the Instant Pot and cook on High pressure for 60 minutes. Then, allow the pressure to release naturally for 20 minutes. Carefully release any additional pressure using the quick release method. Remove the lid and serve.