You can truly set it and forget it when you cook a chuck roast in the slow cooker. A quick assembly of a few simple ingredients allows you to enjoy a delicious, hearty dinner on a cold night. This easy recipe will have you hooked on fork tender, beef chuck roast with flavorful juices to serve as a rich gravy on the side.
Serve the roast the first night with boiled red potatoes or mashed russet potatoes and a Spinach Salad or Garlic Green Beans. The next day, tuck the leftover meat into Homemade Sub Rolls for easy roast beef sandwiches the entire family will love.
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A pot roast is classic comfort food. Imagine coming home to a hearty meal of tender roast beef with so much flavor that you’re sad when the meal is over. That’s what you’ll get with this slow cooker roast beef: succulent beef that makes a delicious meal for Sunday dinner but is also great for any night of the week. Make a big roast to ensure you have leftovers!
If you’ve had trouble turning a tough cut of beef into a delicious roast, this crock pot chuck roast recipe is the answer!
Why Make This
It’s super versatile. This is the best crock pot roast recipe, easily adaptable to whatever you have on hand. You can mix and match different flavors, based on the aromatics, spices, and liquids you choose, resulting in innumerable flavor combinations for your pot roasts.
It’s easy. Cooking a chuck roast in the slow cooker is quick and simple. Dinner will practically cook itself, making for a perfect pot roast and an easy dinner you can enjoy at the end of a long day –without the hassle.
It’s delicious. Say goodbye to tough, dry roasts. This is a dinner of ultimate comfort food. Seriously, as one of my family’s favorite meals, it’s the best pot roast recipe!
This crockpot pot roast recipe is simple and versatile. You can mix and match different ingredients with your slow cooker chuck roast to create different flavor profiles.
Here’s what you’ll need:
chuck roast – Some cuts of meat are meant for braising, others are for dry roasting. If you use the wrong cut in the slow cooker, the texture will be off. I prefer the boneless chuck roast because it is easy to carve and fairly economical. It’s the best beef roast to use for slow cooking, though a rump roast or round roast can work in a pinch.
fat – You’ll want a little bit of fat to brown your roast before adding it the slow cooker. Options include olive oil, butter, bacon drippings, or another oil. You don’t need much, just enough to help you sear the outside of the roast and sauté the aromatics.
aromatics – These are the items that add flavor and texture to your slow cooker pot roast recipe. Consider using any combination of the following: chopped or sliced brown or yellow onion, crushed or minced garlic, chopped or sliced shallots, chopped or sliced leeks, chopped or sliced carrots, chopped turnips, chopped or sliced mushrooms, and other hearty vegetables.
seasonings – Consider how you want to season roast beef, based on what you have in the spice cupboard. This can be as simple as a bit of garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper, or more complex with onion soup mix, ranch dressing mix, or salad dressing packets.
braising liquid – Braising is cooking a delicious pot roast in liquid at a low temperature for a long time. The braising liquid can add flavor to the meat as well as to the juices. You can use water, beef broth or beef stock, chicken broth, fruit juice, tomato sauce, red wine, beer, or ale – or any combination. Some folks even use soda, like Coke or Dr Pepper, or add Worcestershire sauce or coffee for a little extra flavor!
optional: cornstarch or flour and butter – If the juices are very thin, you can thicken them by stirring in a cornstarch slurry or prepare a beurre manie of flour and butter.
Want to stay away from grains? I use tomato sauce in my Favorite Pot Roast which results in the best gravy without a technical “thickener”.
Variations of Pot Roast
There are so many different ways to prep a pot roast. Here are some popular variations:
- Mississippi Pot Roast – this contains Ranch seasoning, pepperoncini peppers, butter and au jus gravy mix
- Yankee Pot Roast – cooked and served with root vegetables, such as potatoes and carrots
- Italian Pot Roast – contains a soffritto (combination of chopped onion, celery, and carrot) as well as red wine and tomatoes. Some add roasted red peppers as well.
- Dr Pepper Pot Roast – versions include Dr Pepper as well as molasses and Maraschino cherries
This is primarily a slow cooker recipe, making for an easy preparation and hands-free cooking, but scroll down to the notes for tips on a dutch oven method as well as pressure cooker option.
1. Brown the meat first.
Browning your roast in a bit of fat prior to placing it in the slow cooker is important as it creates the Maillard reaction, a process that increases the flavor components in the finished dish.
Salt and pepper the roast well or use a seasoning blend and then brown it on all sides in a little hot oil or butter in a large skillet or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat.
Remove the roast at that point and place it in the crock of the slow cooker.
2. Add the aromatics.
Saute the aromatics in the drippings left in the skillet. Cook your aromatics on low heat until the onions are clear and the vegetables start to brown lightly.
By varying your aromatics, liquids, and spices, you can create a number of different flavor combinations for pot roast in the slow cooker.
3. Add a braising liquid.
Once the onions are tender and browned, stir in some liquid to deglaze the pan, the process of scraping any browned bits at the bottom of the pan.
As you add the liquid, stir it well with the aromatics and scrape up any bits. You can also add tomato paste, fresh herbs, and more spices at this point.
4. Cook the pot roast in the slow cooker.
Finally, add this vegetable/liquid mixture to the roast in the slow cooker. Cover. Turn the heat on the low setting for 6 to 8 hours.
The meat should be meltingly tender at the end of the cook time. Remove it from the cooker and while it rests, you can create a gravy or a pan sauce with the remaining liquid.
If the juices are very thin, you can thicken them by stirring in a slurry of cornstarch and water. Combine 2 tablespoons cornstarch with 2 tablespoons water in a small bowl and add this to the juices in the crock. This will thicken the hot juices. Stir, adjust the seasonings to taste, and serve.
To make this in a Dutch oven or to bake in the oven: prep the recipe in a Dutch oven or oven-safe pan with a lid. Place in a 325 degree oven for 2 ½ hours, until the meat is fork tender or about 160 degrees F internally.
To make this in an Instant Pot: prep the recipe in the pot insert, cutting the roast into large chunks and adding just 1 cup of liquid. Close the lid and the pressure valve and cook for 25 minutes per pound.
What to Do with Leftovers
Leftover pot roast is fantastic reheated with leftover veg for a complete meal, but you can also chop or slice the leftovers to include in wraps, sandwiches, soups, and salads. The great thing about this recipe is that it allows you to cook once and eat three times.
Never leave food at room temperature for longer than two hours. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Freeze for longer storage. The best way to do that is to package it in meal-size portions in tiptop freezer bags. Be sure to label them with the date and contents.
Braising is when food is browned in fat, then cooked, tightly covered, in a small amount of liquid for an extended period of time, exactly like the slow cooker.
The best cheap cut of meat for braising is the chuck roast. I like to use boneless chuck roasts so that I’m not paying for the bone. However, using a bone-in cut may be cheaper per pound, and the bone may contribute a bit more flavor.
My experience is that just tossing a hunk of meat into the slow cooker is not going to result in the depth of flavor or tender texture that you will get if you brown the meat first. Yes, it’s an extra step, but it totally pays off in the end. It is worth the ten minutes and a dirty pan.
(And yes, those dump freezer crockpot recipes that tell you otherwise are nonsense.)
You don’t need a lot of liquid to cook a roast in the slow cooker. In fact, I often cook very fatty pork roasts without any liquid at all.
However, the liquid adds flavor and keeps a lean roast from getting dry.
At minimum, you only need about ¼ cup, though you can add more (up to 12 ounces) if you are relying on the drippings to create a gravy later.
Knowing how much it costs you to prepare a recipe can help you decide if it’s the type of recipe to make regularly or one you might want to save for special occasions. Let’s crunch some numbers and see how this recipe pencils out.
- olive oil – $0.25
- chuck roast – $7.98
- onion – $0.50
- shallot – $0.50
- mushrooms – $0.50
- liquid – $0.50
At a mid-range grocery store with non-sale prices, you can expect to pay about $10.23 to prepare this slow cooker chuck roast to feed 8. That works out to be $1.28/serving, a great deal for a hearty, home-cooked meal.
Save even more when you stock up on roasts when they are on sale. I’ve seen them at ALDI for $2.49/pound while the regular grocery store sale price is about $3.99/pound.
What to Serve with Pot Roast
These are great recipes to serve with the main dish of a crockpot roast.
Chuck Roast Crock Pot Recipe
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 lb boneless, beef chuck roast
- black pepper
- 1 onion sliced
- 8 oz mushrooms sliced
- 1 shallot sliced
- 12 oz ale can also use beef broth
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- In a large skillet heat the oil until shimmering. Season the chuck roast to taste with the salt and pepper or a seasoning mix. Sear the meat in the hot oil, turning it to brown all sides. Transfer the roast to the crock of a slow cooker.2 tablespoon olive oil, 3 lb boneless, beef chuck roast, salt, black pepper
- Add the onion, mushrooms, and shallot to the drippings. Cook, stirring until the onions are clear and the mushrooms are lightly browned. Add the ale and the tomato paste to the pan. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer this mixture to the slow cooker.1 onion, 8 oz mushrooms, 1 shallot, 12 oz ale, 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- Cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours or on high for 4 to 6 hours. The meat should be fall-apart tender.
- Serve the roast with the drippings.
This post was originally published on November 30, 2011. It has been updated for content and clarity.