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
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!
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 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.
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?
I have an oven method shared HERE.
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.
More Delicious Slow Cooker Recipes You’ll Love:
Slow Cooker Pot Roast
- 1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
- 1 (3 lb) chuck roast*
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 medium yellow onion, peeled, halved and cut into thick slices
- 5 garlic cloves, minced (1 1/2 Tbsp)
- 1 1/4 cups cup beef broth
- 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 Tbsp minced fresh thyme
- 1 Tbsp minced fresh rosemary
- 2.5 lbs small yukon gold potatoes, left whole
- 5 medium carrots (about 1 lb), peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces*
- 2 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch mixed with 3 Tbsp beef broth, optional, for thickening gravy
- 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
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.
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.
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. Remove from heat.
Layer potatoes and carrots over onion layer in slow cooker, pour beef broth evenly over top then season with salt and pepper.
Cover slow cooker and cook on low heat until roast and vegetables are tender, about 8 - 9 hours.
Remove roast and vegetables, shred roast (discard fat) and cut potatoes if desired.
If you'd like to thicken the broth and make a gravy, pour broth from slow cooker through a fine mesh strainer into a small saucepan**. Heat over medium-high heat. 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.
*Thicker carrots will work better here. They won't get too soft.
**I like to measure first to to see if I have the correct amount so I know if it will thicken properly, there should be 2 cups liquid, if you need more just stir in a little more beef broth to reach the correct amount. I also like to skim the extra fat from the top of the liquid. If you don't care to measure first you can always thin with a little broth if needed or thicken with a little extra cornstarch/broth mixture.