When you’re looking for the best beef for a crock pot roast, it can be hard to find. With so many cuts of meat available in the local butcher’s shop or at the grocery store, it can get confusing. Are you looking for a healthy pot roast recipe that combines comfort, good taste and health benefits? My slow cooker pot roast recipe is sure to become your family’s favorite.
I’m here today to cut through the confusion and give you some information on what makes good crock pot roast beef, how to make a slow cooker pot roast recipe and as bonuses, how to thicken pot roast gravy in crock pot with health benefits of eating beef.
Healthy Pot Roast Recipe
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 deglaze* 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!
Best Beef For Crock Pot Roast
The best beef for pot roast is Beef Chuck Roast. It’s an economical cut of beef that’s marbled with fat that needs to be slow cooked to breakdown the tough connective tissues so it becomes ultra tender to eat.
Chuck roast can be purchased in large pieces that are or aren’t rolled. You want to use rolled chuck roast for this recipe, otherwise the beef ends up all warped. Supermarkets and butchers should carry chuck roast that’s already rolled, otherwise, you can roll it yourself and tie with kitchen string or ask the butcher to do it for you.
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.
Slow Cooker Pot Roast Recipe
Slow Cooker Pot Roast is the ultimate comfort food! It’s a super hearty, deliciously flavorful meal in one that’s sure to satisfy even the pickiest of eaters.
This is just classic, homestyle, stick to your ribs good food made with basic, real ingredients. Plus it’s the best thing to come home to, cooked in the crock pot and ready to eat after a long day!
I’ve been making slow cooker pot roast as long as I can remember. But in the beginning I was doing it all wrong.
We’ve all had the super easy, lazy slow cooker roast that skips the browning, but once you try it browned you’ll never look back!
Slow Cooker Pot Roast is the ultimate comfort food! It’s a super hearty, deliciously flavorful meal in one that’s sure to satisfy even the pickiest of eaters. This is just classic, homestyle, stick to your ribs good food made with basic, real ingredients. Plus it’s the best thing to come home to, cooked in the crock pot and ready to eat after a long day!
Another mistake was using onion powder and garlic powder in place of the real thing. Those have their place but not here. The fresh onion and garlic and so much flavor.
And have you ever tried crock pot roast with fresh herbs? It’s so much better than dried so it’s worth the splurge. You can often even find them bundled together in a blended package.
Then last but not least the vegetables. I was always adding potatoes in cubes and using Russet potatoes. How does that turn out in the end? Potato soup! Instead use a waxier a potato (Yukons) and keep the potatoes whole. Then cut them up at the end if you’d like, or just serve them whole no one will care.
Everyone will be too busy savoring each bite to care about the potato size details. This is the ultimate pot roast recipe! Simple ingredients yet layers of rich, satisfying flavor.
Ingredients for Crock Pot Roast
- Chuck roast – I like to use a wider shorter roast here, then the bed of vegetables can just lay atop.
- Olive oil – for searing the roast and sautéing the aromatics.
- Salt and pepper – season roast with a fair amount of salt, otherwise it can taste a little flat.
- Yellow onion – I prefer to saute the onions before adding to slow cooker remove the raw bite. Then I like to take the onion slices out after cooking since they do get mushy but leave them if you like.
- Garlic – be sure to use fresh garlic for best flavor here. Use a garlic crusher if you hate mincing.
- Beef broth – I know they say not to use canned beef broth but chicken broth just doesn’t seem right here. I personally like the flavor just fine.
- Worcestershire sauce – if you don’t have this you can skip it. It just adds a little hint of depth.
- Fresh thyme, rosemary and parsley – fresh herbs do taste best here but if you don’t want to pay the higher price use 1/3 the amount listed of dried herbs.
- Yukon gold potatoes (AKA yellow potatoes) – red potatoes will work great here as well. I just prefer the appetizing color of the yellow.
- Carrots – thicker carrots work better here as they won’t get mushy with this lengthy cook time.
- Cornstarch – this is optional but preferred for best results. It’s turns a broth with an almost water-like consistency into a perfectly thickened gravy that clings to the meat and vegetables.
How to Make the Best Pot Roast in the Crock Pot
- Brown roast, add to slow cooker: Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.
- Dab roast dry with paper towels, season all over with salt and pepper.
- Sear roast in pot until browned on both sides, about 4 – 5 minutes per side. Transfer roast to slow cooker.
- Saute aromatics, layer them over roast: Add remaining 1/2 Tbsp olive oil to pot. Add onion and saute 2 minutes, add garlic and saute 30 seconds longer.
- Pour onion mixture over roast in slow cooker.
- Make the most of those browned bits: Return pot to heat, pour in beef broth, Worcestershire, thyme and rosemary and cook about 15 seconds, just long enough to scrape up browned bits from the bottom of the pot, this will add lots of flavor to the broth. Remove pot from heat.
- Layer vegetables into slow cooker: Layer potatoes and carrots over onion layer in slow cooker, pour beef broth evenly over top then season with salt and pepper.
- Cook low and slow: Cover slow cooker and cook on low heat until roast and vegetables are tender, about 8 – 9 hours.
- Remove roast and vegetables, shred roast, cut up potatoes if desired.
How To Thicken Pot Roast Gravy in Crock Pot
I don’t always thicken the broth if I don’t have time but I really do prefer the thicker gravy. I’ve tried several different methods for thickening and I prefer the cornstarch route since you don’t have to add extra fat (butter for flour) and I prefer to thicken after cooking best.
If you try to thicken with flour or cornstarch from the beginning it doesn’t thicken properly and can leave a floury or cornstarch flavor behind. It’s . Here’s how you’ll thicken the gravy:
- Whisk cornstarch with 3 Tbsp beef broth then pour into saucepan. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly, let simmer 30 – 60 seconds.
- Plate roast and vegetables, pour gravy over the top and sprinkle with parsley.
Can I use a Different Cut of Meat?
For best results stick with the chuck roast for this recipe. Other roasts won’t be as tender.
Can I Use Baby Carrots?
I have also made this using a bag of baby carrots but only go for a bag of the thick baby carrots. You know what I mean. We’ve all seen those pencil thin worthless bags of baby carrots. Use the hearty thick ones (check the organic section, they aren’t much more expensive and they taste better).
Can I Add Wine?
If you’d like you can also add 1/2 cup red wine to this recipe along with the beef broth.
Can I Cook on High Heat?
I only recommend low heat cooking for the most tender results. I’ve tested with high heat cooking and it’s just not the same.
Can I Cook it in the Oven?
What Should I Serve with Crock Pot Roast?
Really you don’t need anything else to go with this it’s such a hearty dish on it’s own, but if you’d like to serve it with a side salad, some steamed asparagus for a nice green color, or some buttered homemade bread.
Health Benefits of Eating Beef
1. Rich in B Vitamins
Red meat is a rich source of B vitamins which are essential for many of our body’s functions. Vitamin B12 is vital for proper functioning in nearly every system in our body, and being deficient in this nutrient has shown to play a role in ageing, cancer, neurological disorders and cardiovascular disease.
Vegetarians, vegans (or any diet excluding meat), pregnant women and breastfeeding women are at high risk of being deficient in B12, and may want to consider tracking this in their diets.
* A great source of B vitamins is any of our beef products – try our hand-prepared steaks, lean steak mince and any of our beef roasting joints.
2. It’s a complete protein source
Both red and white meat contain all the essential amino acids (proteins which are the building blocks of life), making meat a complete protein source! As humans are unable to produce these essential amino acids naturally, we must consume them through our diets. We need protein for growth, maintenance and repair of our bodies, and meat it a great source of this.
*Here’s a few of our protein packed products & their protein content per 100g:
Chicken breast 32g
Beef steak 29.2g
Pork steak 31.6g
Lamb chop 31g
3. Healthy fats & cardiovascular health
Fat is a vital macronutrient and essential for maintaining optimal health. However, for many years, fat was made the enemy. Misguided information from public health institutions led to people avoiding fat (particularly saturated fat) due to concerns about cholesterol and the link with heart disease. However, current research has now shown this is not the case and here’s a few reasons why:
Saturated fat is not the enemy!
Research has shown that cholesterol particles derived from fat do NOT increase risk of heart disease. In fact, studies have shown that natural saturated fats found in beef can actually reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering LDL cholesterol (bad) and improving the ratio of HDL (good) cholesterol.
Refined sugar & the so-called Western diet
Numerous studies have linked the Western diet to an increased risk of heart disease. Although the western diet is high in saturated fat, it’s also extremely high in refined sugar and carbohydrates (such as bread, biscuits and sweets) which studies have shown to be detrimental to your health. Furthermore, some of the latest research has shown that reducing saturated fat and increasing refined carbohydrates can promote heart disease, obesity and diabetes.
Source of CLA
Beef is a great source of CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) fatty acid. Studies have shown CLA can assist with fat loss by improving insulin sensitivity and help prevent many conditions including heart disease, cancer and type 2 diabetes. So, grab a steak and enjoy this nutrient dense food.
4. Vitamin D, iron & zinc
Red meat isn’t just rich in vital B vitamins, it’s packed full of other micronutrients required for our health and wellbeing.
For people who don’t have much time in the sun, red meat can significantly contribute to overall vitamin D intake and prevent degenerative bone disease such as rickets.
Iron is a vital nutrient and one we often don’t get enough of. It plays a role in immune function, haemoglobin production, eliminating fatigue, and is particularly important for pregnant women as iron is crucial for foetal brain development. The type of iron found in beef is heme iron, and studies have shown this is more easily absorbed compared to iron found in plant foods.
Zinc is another important mineral found in red meat and involved with many of our body’s functions such as regulating gene expression and the structure of certain proteins and enzymes. As with iron, zinc found in beef is more easily absorbed, and even a small amount of beef can prevent deficiency.
5. Weight loss
Meat in general is one of the most satiating foods you can eat. Why’s this important? It means you’ll be feeling fuller for longer in comparison to eating high-glycaemic carbohydrates such as rice, pasta, bread or anything sugary. Specifically, eating foods high in protein has shown reduce the hunger hormone ghrelin, and increase the satiety hormone leptin, which can lead to a reduction in calories.