Slow Cooker Pot Roast Recipe

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Close up of tender crock pot roast made in a slow cooker with gracy, cooked carrots and potatoes with a fork and knife.


Knowing dinner is basically done before I even go to work makes me feel like a superhero. No matter what the day brings, I know we’ll walk into a house smelling of roast long simmered in herbs, wine, and garlic. Now, that’s not a bad way to end a workday.

VIDEO! How to Make Slow Cooker Pot Roast

WHAT’S THE BEST CUT OF MEAT FOR POT ROAST?

Leaner cuts of beef are best for the slow cooker or Crockpot. The long, slow cooking method helps the connective tissue and fat breakdown slowly over many hours, which yields fork-tender bites of beef.

TIP: If you’ve ever made a tough roast it’s usually because it was either cooked at too high heat, for not enough time, or both. Cooking tough cuts all day in the slow cooker takes care of both problems.

I prefer one of two cuts for the slow cooker:

  • Chuck roast, also called arm roast, is lean and comes from the shoulder of the cow.
  • Rump roast, also called a bottom round roast, is even leaner than a chuck roast and is cut from the cow’s hindquarter.

A grey platter with slow cooker pot roast and gravy and carrots and potatoes in front of a red slow cooker.

CAN I PUT A FROZEN ROAST INTO A SLOW COOKER?

It’s best not to. The USDA recommends always thawing meat before adding it to the slow cooker or Crockpot. It also says the best way to thaw meat is in the refrigerator, in cold water, or in the microwave.

  • Thaw in the fridge: You will need 24 hours to thaw a 3lb roast in the refrigerator.
  • Thaw in water: 2 to 3 hours, while changing the water every 30 minutes to thaw a 3-pound roast using the water method.
  • Thaw in the microwave: All microwaves have different wattages and power levels. How long it takes to thaw a roast in the microwave depends on your microwave. However, the USDA recommends cooking the roast immediately upon thawing it using this method.

DO YOU HAVE TO SEAR IT?

No, no you don’t. You can totally skip the searing step and dump everything into the slow cooker or Crockpot, then be on your way and save yourself 10 minutes in the morning. But if you have the extra time, searing adds an extra layer of flavor.

Side view of tender pot roast made in a slow cooker with gracy, cooked carrots and potatoes.

WHAT CAN BE DONE AHEAD OF TIME?

I often prep elements for the next day’s dinner before I clean up tonight’s dinner. I figure the kitchen is already messy, so I might as well cut a few more vegetables and measure a few more spices.

If you know you aren’t a morning person, then, by all means, prepare 90 percent of this slow cooker pot roast the night before: make the spice rub, and peel and cut the vegetables. You can even sear the roast, and deglaze the skillet. Just make sure you save the deglazing liquid. Keep it all in the fridge overnight. In the morning all you have to do is put it in the slow cooker.

HOW LONG TO COOK POT ROAST In the Slow Cooker?

If you are making this roast on the weekend, when you’re likely to be around, feel free to cook it on high for about four to five hours. If you need it to cook all day while you’re at work, set your slow cooker or Crockpot to low, and let it braise until you get home – about eight to 10 hours.

Ladling gravy over a platter full of pot roast, potatoes and carrots.

HOW TO MAKE POT ROAST GRAVY

I LOOOVVVVVEEEEEEE gravy. I mean I LOVE it! I think it needs to be on everything all the time.

When I first wrote this recipe, I wanted the gravy to be thick, and made perfectly in the slow cooker without any extra work, but as lovely as that idea was, my gravy didn’t get as thick as I wanted it to.

In the end, I decided transferring some already-hot slow cooker liquid into a saucepan on the stove, bringing it to a boil, and adding cornstarch to make a proper gravy wasn’t too much to ask.

I wouldn’t skip this step. It takes less than five minutes, and thick flavorful gravy makes this dinner even more delicious!

WHAT TO DO WITH LEFTOVERS?

Pot roast leftovers are almost (almost) unheard of in this house. BUT, when I do have leftovers, I love sautéing some onions and celery in a pot, giving the leftovers a rough chop so they are spoonful-size pieces, adding it to the pot (including any cooking liquid and gravy), then thinning it if necessary. Voila! You have beef stew.

If you’ve eaten all the vegetables and you only have some roast remaining, you can also cook extra potatoes and onions in buttermilk, puree them, so they are the consistency of soup, shred leftover pot roast and add it the pureed potato soup. Top with freshly cut chives.

Finally, there’s nothing wrong with a grilled roast beef sandwich. Add some marinated peppers and bit of cheese. Butter that bread and slap it on a griddle. You just won lunch.

MORE GREAT ROAST RECIPES!

Updated October 12, 2020 : We spiffed up this post with a new video! Enjoy!



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