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Slow Cooker Pot Roast

This Slow Cooker Pot Roast recipe is the easiest one pot meal and is an instant win for family dinner! Easy to prepare for weeknight meals or special occasions alike, this easy pot roast recipe is always a crowd-pleaser!

Slow cooker with beef roast and vegetables, ready to serve.

When I’m asked for recommendations for a highly satisfying winter meal, I always endorse a good slow cooker pot roast.

There are just so many reasons why a good roast never fails to satisfy!

Perhaps most importantly, pot roast is incredibly easy to make, and surprisingly difficult to mess up. Ideal for those who assert they aren’t big on cooking.

Plus, a pot roast doesn’t require a huge amount of prep time, so crock pot meals like this are a blessing for busy weeknights. 

In addition, pot roast is relatively inexpensive to make and you end up with a lot of food. A surefire highlight for folks with big appetites like my husband and I or for busy families.

And finally, I don’t know about you but this was one of the few meals my siblings and I all enjoyed growing up because it has so much flavor.

You just can’t argue with melt in your mouth beef in all its beefy glory!

Let’s discuss the basic ingredients to make for slow cooker pot roast.

Ingredients for Slow Cooker Pot Roast:

Beef Chuck Roast: While you can use virtually any type of roast to make pot roast, I find that boneless chuck roast provides a tender result every time.

I like cooking the roast whole in the slow cooker, but some people prefer chopping it into smaller chunks prior to slow cooking. Either method works!

Round roast and rump roast is a great option too.

Avocado Oil: Used to sear the beef, we need a high temperature cooking oil. I like using avocado oil because it has a high smoke point and neutral flavor.

While olive oil will work, I don’t recommend it for cooking at high temperatures. 

Onion, Garlic, Potatoes, and Carrots: The fresh vegetables we use in pot roast! I use baby potatoes because I can toss them in without chopping them.

Regular Yukon gold potatoes, red potatoes, russet potatoes and fingerling potatoes all work.

Just be sure to chop any large potatoes into chunks. You can go off script here and add celery and mushrooms if you enjoy them with your pot roast.

Root vegetables like turnips, rutabagas, and parsnips pair well with a beef pot roast.

Beef Broth: The liquid used to braise the beef. I like using beef bone broth for the best beefy flavor, but you can use regular beef stock or chicken stock.

I recommend using a low-sodium option so that you can adjust the salt to your personal taste.

Balsamic Vinegar: A couple tablespoons of balsamic vinegar adds some complexity of flavor. Skip it if you don’t have it on hand. A splash of red wine is lovely here too.

Fresh Herbs: Pick your favorite fresh herbs or dried herbs. I like fresh rosemary and fresh oregano in pot roast, but fresh thyme and a little sage work too.

When all else fails, you can toss in 1 to 2 tablespoons of Italian seasoning to keep it simple.

Sea Salt and Pepper: Used to season the meat and the contents of the crock pot, we need some sea salt and black pepper.

The amount of salt needed is entirely up to your own preference, so base it on what tastes best to you. If the pot roast tastes at all bland to you, keep adding salt a little at a time until it begins tasting rich and beefy.

What Kind of Beef to Use For Pot Roast:

Wondering what cut of meat to use for a pot roast? There are many options here. The easy answer is that you can use any large cut of meat for pot roast. 

For the best results, I like using chuck roast because it has a good amount of intramuscular fat without being overly fatty. The end result is tender, flavorful meat every time that you don’t have to second guess. 

In addition to beef, you can also use pork roast or any type of wild game roast such as elk, deer, or antelope. 

When cooking wild game meat, budget for a full 12 hours on low heat.  Add the vegetables to the crock pot 6 hours in. This allows for plenty of time to break down the lean muscle fibers and connective tissue so that the otherwise lean meat becomes nice and tender.

Pot Roast with vegetables on a platter, ready to serve.

Recipe Adaptations:

  • If you like the flavor tomato paste brings to a roast like this, mix 2 to 3 tablespoons of tomato paste with the broth prior to pouring it in the crock pot.
  • Rather than using balsamic vinegar, you can add Worcestershire sauce or soy sauce for umami flavor. I still prefer the balsamic approach.
  • Use 1 tablespoon of garlic powder if you don’t have fresh garlic on hand.
  • To save time, you can use baby carrots rather than chopping whole carrots. 

Now that we’ve covered the simple ingredients for pot roast, let’s make it!

How to Make Slow Cooker Pot Roast:

Remove the beef roast from its packaging and lay it on a large plate or cutting board. If there is netting surrounding your round roast, you can either remove the netting or leave it on. Either option works. 

Sprinkle both sides of the meat with sea salt and black pepper.

Large chuck roast on a plate seasoned with salt and pepper

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add avocado oil (or high temperature cooking oil of choice). Allow the skillet to heat up for a few minutes, until it is sizzling hot.

Carefully place the seasoned roast on the hot surface of the skillet and sear for 6 minutes. Carefully flip and sear on the other side for an additional 3 to 6 minutes, or until both sides have a golden brown crust.

Seared chuck roast in a skillet.

While the beef is browning in the skillet, you can prepare the rest of the recipe.

Transfer the chopped onion, potatoes, carrots, and garlic to the bottom of the crock pot. Add in the beef broth, balsamic vinegar, and fresh herbs to the slow cooker and give everything a big stir.

Crock pot with vegetables, fresh herbs, and broth.

Note: if you want thick gravy, mix the beef broth with 2 tablespoons of gluten-free flour or regular all-purpose flour in a small bowl or measuring cup prior to adding it to the crock pot.

This will ensure you end up with a thicker gravy consistency once the roast is finished cooking. Sprinkle everything with sea salt and stir the contents around if it seems necessary prior to closing the lid.

Transfer the browned beef roast to the crock pot. If possible, maneuver around the veggies so that the beef is nestled in broth but it’s okay if it isn’t fully submerged.

Crock pot with meat and vegetables inside, ready to slow cook.

Secure the lid on the crock pot and cook for 5 to 6 hours on High heat (yes, you read that correctly), or 8-10 hours on Low heat.

The exact cooking time depends on the size of the roast. The goal is to cook it until it is fork tender. Larger roasts will require more time than small roasts, so you can adjust the time accordingly.

When you’re ready to serve dinner, cut the large roast into smaller chunks and serve with the cooked potatoes, carrots, and onions. Be sure to drizzle some of the juices over everything prior to serving.

You can serve pot roast with additional side dishes like steamed brown rice or white rice, or mashed potatoes. I’m a big advocate for my Caramelized Onion and Roasted Garlic Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes with Parmesan. My Gluten-Free Cornbread is also a magical pairing. 

Like so many slow cooked meals, pot roast tastes even better the next day and the 2-3 days following preparation. For this reason, it’s never a bad idea to prepare the recipe one full day before you intend to serve it.

Store leftover pot roast in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.

Crock pot full of pot roast and vegetables, ready to serve.

Let’s address some frequently asked questions.

Should I Flip My Roast In The Slow Cooker?:

There is no need to flip meat in a crock pot. In fact, I don’t recommend trying it because it will be more hassle than it’s worth. 

While it can be tempting to flip a roast in the name of even cooking, the crock pot takes care of that for you. The fact that the roast is surrounded by liquid and the heat gets trapped in ensures the muscle fibers soften at a similar rate. 

How Can I Make the Juices Thicker for Gravy?:

If you’re aiming for a rich gravy and less of a soupy consistency, be sure to add the optional flour as stated in the recipe. If after the roast has finished cooking the juices aren’t thick enough for your liking, you can make a cornstarch slurry. 

To do so, remove the entire roast from the crock pot and place it on a cutting board. Mix one tablespoon of cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of water until the cornstarch has dissolved, then add it to the crock pot. The broth should still be hot if you’re performing this step, as the heat will help the corn starch do its thickening magic.

How Long To Cook Pot Roast:

How long should you cook a pot roast, and should the temperature be low or high? 

On high heat, you will need a minimum of 4 hours, and up to 6 hours depending on how tender you like your beef and vegetables. While the beef will be fully cooked after 3 to 4 hours, it will need more time to tenderize.

When cooking pot roast on Low heat, you will need a minimum of 6 hours, but ideally closer to 8 hours. This gives the roast plenty of time to tenderize so that it is easy to cut or shred.

My personal preference for large roasts is to cook them on low heat for a long period of time. 

Another option is to start the crock pot on High heat to get the process moving forward and to finish it on low heat. This would look like 3 to 4 hours on high, and 3 to 4 hours on low. 

If you intend to cook your roast all day (upwards of 10 hours), consider adding the vegetables about 4 hours into cooking so that they maintain some structure and don’t get too mushy.

Do I Need To Chop The Beef For Pot Roast?:

Some people prefer chopping the beef roast into smaller chunks prior to searing them and adding them to the slow cooker.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with this approach! In fact, smaller pieces of meat are easier to serve once the meal has finished cooking so some work up front will benefit you in the long run.

Nevertheless, I typically take the lazy approach and allow the slow cooker to work its magic rather than spending the extra time chopping the beef.

Can I Make Pot Roast in the Instant Pot?

If you prefer cooking in the pressure cooker, follow my instructions for Instant Pot Pot Roast

Finished pot roast in a slow cooker, ready to serve.

So there you have it! The easiest recipe for how to cook melt in the mouth beef in slow cooker. This perfect pot roast is a lovely complete meal to look forward to after a long day. It is classic comfort food!

Enjoy this delicious meal on constant rotation for Sunday dinners or weeknight meals. It is the best pot roast recipe for those who love a homecooked meal but don’t want to expend a lot of time and energy cooking.

If you love cooking large hunks of meat in your crock pot, also try these easy crock pot recipes!

More Meaty Crock Pot Recipes:

Beef and vegetables for life!

Slow cooker with beef roast and vegetables, ready to serve.
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4.80 from 5 votes

Slow Cooker Pot Roast

Set your crock on low heat all day and come home to the best pot roast! This simple slow cooker recipe results in tender beef seeping with flavor.
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time10 hours
Course: Beef Main Dishes, Main Dishes
Cuisine: American
Servings: 8 Servings
Calories: 348kcal
Author: Julia

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 1 3 to 4-pound boneless beef chuck roast
  • 2 Tbsp avocado oil
  • Sea salt and pepper
  • 1.5 lbs baby potatoes
  • 3 large carrots chopped
  • 1 large yellow onion chopped
  • 5 large cloves garlic minced
  • 32 ounces beef broth or beef stock
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp gluten-free all-purpose flour or regular all-purpose flour optional
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 2 sprigs oregano

Instructions

  • Remove the beef roast from its packaging and lay it on a large plate or cutting board. If there is netting surrounding your round roast, you can either remove the netting or leave it on. Either option works.
  • Sprinkle both sides of the meat with sea salt and black pepper.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add avocado oil (or high temperature cooking oil of choice). Allow the skillet to heat up for a few minutes, until it is sizzling hot.
  • Carefully place the seasoned roast on the hot surface of the skillet and sear for 6 minutes. Carefully flip and sear on the other side for an additional 3 to 6 minutes, or until both sides have a golden brown crust.
  • While the beef is browning in the skillet, you can prepare the rest of the recipe.
  • Transfer the chopped onion, potatoes, carrots, and garlic to the bottom of the crock pot. Add in the beef broth, balsamic vinegar, and fresh herbs to the slow cooker, season everything with salt, and give everything a big stir. Note: if you want thick gravy, mix the beef broth with 2 to 3 tablespoons of gluten-free flour or regular all-purpose flour in a small bowl or measuring cup prior to adding it to the crock pot. This will ensure you end up with a thicker gravy consistency once the roast is finished cooking.
  • Transfer the seared beef roast to the slow cooker. If needed, maneuver the vegetables around so that the roast is sitting in liquid but don’t worry if it isn’t fully submerged.
  • Secure the lid on the crock pot and cook for 5 to 6 hours on High heat or 8-10 hours on Low heat. I recommend 10 hours on low heat. The exact cooking time depends on the size of the roast. The goal is to cook it until it is fork tender. Larger roasts will require more time than small roasts, so you can adjust the time accordingly.
  • When you’re ready to serve dinner, cut the large roast into smaller chunks and serve with the cooked potatoes, carrots, and onions. Be sure to drizzle some of the juices over everything prior to serving.

Notes

If you intend to cook the beef roast all day (upwards of 10 hours), add the vegetables 4 hours into cooking. This way the vegetables still maintain some structure but have enough time to soften up. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1Serving (of 8) | Calories: 348kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 47g | Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 131mg | Sodium: 542mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g

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Recipe Rating




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Sherri

Tuesday 23rd of January 2024

I am going to try this recipe Sunday. The only thing I was surprised about was that there is no instruction to deglaze the pan once you've browned the roast, scraping up all the browned bits, and then add the deglazing liquid to the crockpot. You could do this with a little of the beef broth, or even with a splash of red wine if you have it on hand. Also my husband won't eat potatoes, so I will serve this with egg noodles. Sounds DELICIOUS!

Julia

Tuesday 23rd of January 2024

Hi Sherri! The deglazing step definitely adds some deliciousness to the meal, thanks for sharing! For those who aren't familiar with this cooking technique, I don't think it is mandatory to have a delicious result :) xo

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