Slow Cooker Pot Roast

March 28, 2019

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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

 

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 needed for crockpot pot roast including chuck roast, yellow potatoes, carrots, onion, garlic, herbs, Worcestershire, beef broth, garlic, and cornstarch.

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.

Adding sautéed onions and garlic over chuck roast in 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.

Adding potatoes and carrots over chuck roast and pouring over beef broth mixture.

  • 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?

I have an oven method shared HERE.

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.

More Delicious Slow Cooker Recipes You’ll Love:

 

 

Slow Cooker Pot Roast with potatoes and carrots on a white oval serving platter set over marble.
5 from 37 votes

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 and ready to eat, after a long day.
Servings: 6
Prep25 minutes
Cook8 hours
Ready in: 8 hours 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  • 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.

Notes

*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.
Nutrition Facts
Slow Cooker Pot Roast
Amount Per Serving
Calories 600 Calories from Fat 270
% Daily Value*
Fat 30g46%
Saturated Fat 12g75%
Cholesterol 156mg52%
Sodium 453mg20%
Potassium 1791mg51%
Carbohydrates 34g11%
Fiber 6g25%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 45g90%
Vitamin A 8685IU174%
Vitamin C 30.5mg37%
Calcium 133mg13%
Iron 11.6mg64%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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208 Comments

  • Fran

    Do you ever put potatoes and carrots underneath roast? Do many recipes suggest veges go in first.

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      I like to put over the roast so they don’t end up mushy and the roast ends up more tender.

  • Ed

    Trying this soon. It calls for small Yukon potatoes. Is that the same as baby yellow potatoes? I picked up small Yukon’s that are about 2” round. Are those ok without cutting them?

      • Katie

        I’m kind of on a time crunch as I had to go out and buy a new crockpot since mine decided to not work anymore… would you recommend I cook on high for a few hours then switch to low or keep it on low then towards the end switch to high?

        • Jaclyn

          Jaclyn Bell

          I’d start out on high for an hour to and hour and a half then switch to low.

          • Katie

            I accidentally poured the broth mixture over the onions before I layered the carrots and potato. I added a little extra of each ingredient since my roast is 3.18 lbs and mixed it all on top. Is that going to be okay?

          • Jaclyn

            Jaclyn Bell

            Yes it will be fine, the mixture will steam and moisten everything as it cooks. Hope you love it!

  • Lety

    Wow! This was REALLY good. We used beef stock instead of beef broth only because we like the flavor of the stock better, but that was our only substitution. Thickening the liquid to make gravy is a must! Great recipe, Jaclyn. This one is definitely a keeper!

  • Veronica

    Wow! This is mine and my daughter’s new favorite meal! I’ve never made a gravy from the leftover drippings before and it made such a big difference. I will be adding this to my regular rotation. Thank you for the delicious recipe!

  • S. R.

    Can I make this with a smaller piece of meat? How would I adjust the time & ingredients for that? For example, if the beef were half the size, would I cook it half as long?
    BTW, I made your oven pot roast. It was the best pot roast I ever had in my life! Perfect! Thank you!!!
    Now I want to try it in my new slow cooker.

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      You’ll will still need to cook quite a while for half the size, I’d cut back maybe 1 hour or 2 if you cut the potatoes in chunks. So glad you liked the other recipe!

        • Jaclyn

          Jaclyn Bell

          I recommend pouring into the pot first to help remove those tasty browned bits that get stuck to the pot.

  • Anthony

    For dinner party i am having this weekend i needed a larger chuck roast than what i could find so i have 2 roasts measuring to about 4.5 pounds. Given the size of the slow cooker i have do you forsee issues with 2 roasts laying upon each other? They won’t fit side by side.

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      I definitely recommend using two slow cookers, just borrowing one from someone if possible.

  • Leslie

    Have you tried this with an instant pot / pressure cooker of some type? I want this for dinner tonight and was hoping for a quicker cook time!

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      I haven’t made this recipe specifically in an instant pot but it should be doable. I’d cut beef into 6 chunks and sear in instant pot on saute. Then add remaining (up to carrots) and cook on manual at high pressure for about 40 minutes.