Best Beef For Crock Pot Roast


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. I’m here today to cut through the confusion and give you some information on what makes good Crock Pot Roast Beef.

Pot Roast

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!

Slow Cooker Pot Roast in a slow cooker, ready to be eaten

Pot Roast

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 vegetablesit 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!

Close up of fall apart beef - Crockpot Pot Roast

How to make Pot Roast

  1. Season beef well with salt and pepper
  2. Sear beef aggressively – this is KEY for flavour in the broth and the beef!
  3. Sauté onion and garlic, then deglaze* the skillet or pot with red wine (or water or broth);
  4. Tip everything into a slow cooker, instant pot / pressure cooker or casserole pot for oven along with beef broth, carrots and celery;
  5. 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;
  6. 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!

How to make a great Slow Cooker Beef Pot Roast

Best cut of beef for pot roast is chuck 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.

Slow Cooker Pot Roast in a casserole dish, ready to be served

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!

Close up of Beef Pot Roast in a bowl, ready to be eaten

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

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!

Slow Cooker Pot Roast with potatoes and carrots on a white oval serving platter set over marble.

Slow Cooker Pot Roast

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 Video

Slow Cooker Pot Roast

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.
Showing how to make crockpot pot roast, placing seared chuck roast in a slow cooker.

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 Gravy for Pot Roast

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.
Slow cooker pot roast in a white crockpot

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?

Shredded slow cooker pot roast with potatoes and carrots on a white serving platter garnished with parsley.

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 serve it with a side salad, some steamed asparagus for a nice green color, or some buttered homemade bread.

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