Favorite Slow Cooker Pot Roast

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A slow cooker pot roast is a welcome sight on a cold and busy evening. The slow braise allows the flavors to develop, making this one of my favorite recipes.

Favorite Slow Cooker Pot Roast | Good Cheap Eats

When I was a newlywed, slow cookers did not have a great reputation. They were as outdated as the avocado-colored refrigerators they were designed to match. I still went out and bought one. I was hip before hip was cool, ya know?

Seriously, though, I knew that the slow cooker could do things that would make meal prep so much easier for me. Like make stew like Mom used to make.

I’m on my second and third generation slow cookers now; they continue to serve me well for soups, sauces, chilis, and all kinds of braises, including my new favorite pot roast recipe.

Slow cooker pot roast is one of my favorite dishes. It takes me about fifteen minutes to prep it for the crock and then I walk away. I can do school, run errands, watch a movie, read a book, all while knowing that dinner is cooking itself. Jane Jetson, the future is here!

Beef prices haven’t been too favorable to allowing us slow cooker pot roast or otherwise these days, but recently I found chuck roasts for $3.77/pound. I had several $3/$15 meat purchase coupons from Ralphs, so you can guess that I STOCKED UP. ($3.57/pound is about as cheap a beef cut I can ask for.)

I need to slow myself down from going through the stash too quickly, but we did enjoy a few rounds of it so I could run this slow cooker pot roast recipe through its paces.

Favorite Slow Cooker Pot Roast | Good Cheap Eats

One thing that I’ve done differently in this version is that I’ve made sure it would produce a gluten-free gravy at the end. I think gravy is one of the beautiful fringe benefits of a slow cooker pot roast. I wanted one that was 1. EASY and 2. good for folks eating gluten-free/Whole 30 and all that jazz.

The secret thickener is tomato sauce. Yay! It works like a charm. Not only does the tomato sauce add a nice flavor to the jus, but it also thickens it just enough for it to serve as a decent gravy. The jus also makes a marvelous mix-in for soup when you have just a few bites of meat and sauce left. We’ve, ahem, enjoyed this a lot lately.

Another new twist is a spice blend I’m working on. I wanted a really simple spice blend to use quickly in dishes. I’m currently calling it the oh-so-creative name of Basic Spice Blend, but it works. It’s basic, but it’s packed with flavor. I’ll write a full post on it when I have run it through its paces in other dishes. It is great in this slow cooker pot roast. So, be sure to jot down the ingredients once you print the recipe below.

Basic Spice Blend

Combine these five ingredients in a small jar. Mix well, cover, and store in an airtight container: 2 tablespoons smoked paprika, 1 tablespoon garlic powder, 1 tablespoon kosher salt, 1 tablespoon black pepper, 1 tablespoon dried thyme.

This slow cooker pot roast is perfect for these cooler days, nights when you need a little comfort food, and whenever you find a good deal on chuck roast! It’s perfect with mashed potatoes, but feel free to add your favorite vegetables. You could even just add carrots and potatoes to the pot and call it good.

Tools I use for this recipe:

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Whole 30 Fall Recipes (gluten free and dairy free) | Good Cheap Eats
Favorite Slow Cooker Pot Roast
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
6 hrs
Total Time
6 hrs 15 mins
A slow cooker pot roast is a welcome sight on a cold and busy evening. The slow braise allows the flavors to develop, making this one of my favorite recipes.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Pot roast, slow cooker, Slow Cooker Pot Roast
Servings: 8
Calories: 252 kcal
Author: Jessica Fisher
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon Basic Spice Blend
  • 2 to 3 pound boneless beef chuck roast
  • 1 onion sliced
  • 8 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup water
  1. In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil until shimmering. Meanwhile, rub 1 tablespoon Basic Spice Blend over all sides of the chuck roast. When the oil is hot, place the roast in the pan to brown each side quickly. Remove to the crock of a slow cooker.
  2. Add the onion slices to the drippings in the pan and cook, stirring, until tender and clear, about 7 minutes. Move to the crock.
  3. Whisk together the tomato sauce and the water in the skillet, scraping up any brown bits. Add the remaining teaspoon of Basic Spice Blend and mix well. Transfer this mixture to the crock.
  4. Cover and cook on LOW 6 to 8 hours or on HIGH for 4 to 6 hours. The meat will be fall-apart tender. Serve the meat with the jus over mashed potatoes or your favorite vegetables.
Recipe Notes

Nutritional values are approximate and are based on 1/8 of the recipe and using a 2 pound boneless beef chuck roast. Refrigerate leftovers promptly and use within 4 days.

Nutrition Facts
Favorite Slow Cooker Pot Roast
Amount Per Serving
Calories 252 Calories from Fat 153
% Daily Value*
Fat 17g26%
Saturated Fat 6g38%
Cholesterol 78mg26%
Sodium 243mg11%
Potassium 514mg15%
Carbohydrates 4g1%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 2g2%
Protein 22g44%
Vitamin A 169IU3%
Vitamin C 3mg4%
Calcium 56mg6%
Iron 3mg17%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


About Jessica Fisher

I believe anyone can prepare delicious meals—no matter their budget.

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  1. Sally says

    Oh my goodness that looks good!

  2. Cheri A says

    I made pot roast in the slow cooker yesterday with celery and carrots cooked in it! I’ve never thought to add tomato sauce. I may have to try it. I usually just add 3/4 cup of water to the cooker and then make a little slurry of cornstarch or tapioca starch at the end to thicken the gravy up. As an aside, my daughter also requested your easy garlic green beans on the side, which I happily made! <3

    • I was so happy to know someone else uses tapioca for the gravy. Tapioca seems to smooth flavors (whatever that means); somehow the celery, carrots and onions are much tastier when tapioca is added.
      I just think the veggies ruin the roast flavor, and the veggies themselves never taste very good – so I add the tapioca.
      I store the leftover box of tapioca in the fridge dehydrator – it lasts forever.

  3. Sally says

    I made this last week and it was delicious. I didn’t make it in the slow cooker, I made it in the oven. Since I’m a single I had some leftover. One day I just reheated the leftovers “as is.” I also made hash and used some of the meat to fill tacos. I may use what’s left in soup or stew.

  4. Julie says

    Have you added carrots and potatoes to the crock pot as well? I’d love to have all of dinner done but I’m not sure if that would change the liquid to solid ratio too much.

    • Yes, you absolutely can. I just have picky kids; some of whom don’t like the texture of crockpot carrots and potatoes. Plus, I like serving this on mashed potatoes. Don’t worry about changing the liquid. Just throw those in the pot!

  5. Jared Larson says

    Would this mix taste ok with chicken? I am not fond of pork or beef, I know weird!

    • I have never made this with chicken, so I can’t really say. I wouldn’t make it in the slow cooker, but possibly roast it in the oven.

  6. Jennifer says

    Would you add in the potatoes, careots, and green been at the very beginning or at some point later?

    • You could add potatoes and carrots at the beginning. I’d add green beans later until you want them really, really soft.

  7. ali says

    please explain for people who dont usually cook how to prep the slow cooker for the meat. do you add broth? water? how much? think i might have messd up this easy recipe for the lack of steps thank youm

    • All the steps are included in the recipe, Ali. It lists specifically which liquids to add and when.

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