Pot roast has long been considered a classic American Sunday meal. It is perfect because you can do all of the work to prepare it, then walk away and come back a few hours later to your meal complete and ready to serve!
Pot roast isn't just for Sundays. It is wonderful for any time you want a comforting meal that is easy to make. Taking a bite of perfectly cooked, melt in your mouth tender pot roast makes me feel all warm inside!
We have pot roast on a monthly meal rotation throughout the winter months. Before I learned the tricks of this dish, my results were hit and miss. Sometimes it was the best meal ever, and other times it was dry and flavorless. I have compiled all of my tips here so that you can have perfect pot roast every time, without fail!
The Best Meat for Pot Roast
Chuck roast is king! Hands down the most important element of perfect pot roast is the meat that you buy. All roast is not created equal. Look for a well-marbled chuck roast. The marbling is what has all of the flavors, and it is also what will melt away during cooking, leaving you with the most tender meat. Chuck roast and round roast are NOT the same! Don't make the mistake I have made too many times to count. Only. Get. Chuck. Roast. Got it?
Sear your roast to lock in flavor. You may be tempted to just throw your meat into the pan and start cooking, but wait, you are missing an important step. Searing your meat quickly, at a high temperature, caramelizes the meat and creates a robust flavor that elevates this dish.
Leave the fat. Looking at your well-marbled chuck roast may leave you wanting to trim off some fat. Save yourself the trouble. You want this fat! It will create the best flavor for your meat! Most of this fat will melt as you cook the beef. Any excess can be cut away after your meat is cooked.
Packing Flavor Into Your Pot Roast
1. Caramelize Your Onions! Searing your meat isn't the only way to add great flavor to your roast! You also want to caramelize your onions. They just need a minute or two in the pan to produce sweetness and richness that makes your roast delicious!
2. Deglaze the pan! Another important step is to deglaze the pan. This recipe calls for the use of wine, but you can also deglaze with beef broth, if you prefer. As the liquid boils in the pan, scrape the bottom to loosen the dark bits that were left behind when you cooked your onions and roast. These bits hold amazing flavor!
3. Use fresh herbs! Fresh rosemary and thyme add so much! They are also really easy to use. Just rinse them off and throw them on top of your roast. No chopping required! If you are unable to get fresh herbs, you can substitute a teaspoon of dried rosemary and a teaspoon of dried thyme.
Add Vegetables for a One Pot Meal
Whether or not to add vegetables to your pot roast is apparently a matter of great debate! I always cook my vegetables in with the pot roast because it is so easy! I love having my whole meal ready to go at once.
So how do you make these vegetables delicious, and not a mushy mess? Let the meat cook for a little bit without the veggies. Meat requires a longer cooking time, so put it in the oven while you prepare your vegetables. As the meat is cooking, peel your potatoes and carrots, and wash your mushrooms. Then simply add them to the top of your roast once they are ready! This can be anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour into the roast's cook time.
Frequently Asked Questions
Test your pot roast with a fork. When you pull on the meat it should easily release a piece. This is a great excuse to sneak a taste before dinner is served! If the meat does not pull away easily, put the meat back in the oven to continue cooking.
Many people cook their roast in a slow cooker. It is especially nice if you need a longer cook time. You can put your roast in the crock pot before you leave for work, and have a delicious meal when you arrive home! I still recommend following the first 2 steps of the regular instructions, searing the meat and onions, and deglazing the pan. This will produce the best flavor! Instead of step 3, cook the pot roast for 6-8 hours on low, or 4-6 hours on high.
I love to chop up the meat and vegetables, add a little more broth, and turn the pot roast into a stew! To thicken the soup, mix together 2 tablespoons of melted butter with 2 tablespoons of flour to form a paste. Cook the paste over medium heat for a couple of minutes, then add in the rest of the ingredients and simmering until ready to serve.
Leftovers can be frozen for 3 months, or kept in the refrigerator for 3 days.
This was the main dish for our Kansas state dinner. Check out our adventures exploring the iconic dishes from across the states!
Oven Pot Roast
- 3-5 pound well-marbled chuck roast
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 large onion
- 1 cup red wine
- 2 cups beef broth
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 6 medium carrots, peeled
- 2 pounds Yukon potatoes, peeled
- 1 pint mushrooms, optional
- Preheat oven to 275 degrees.Generously season chuck roast with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Sear meat on all sides, until it is browned all over This usually takes about 2 minutes for each side. Set meat aside.
- With the burner still on medium-high heat, add onions and cook for 1-2 minutes, until golden brown. Add wine to pan and scrape the bottom to deglaze and incorporate the flavor into the liquid.
- Add roast back into the Dutch oven and add beef broth and Worcestershire.
- Place garlic and fresh herbs on top of the roast. Put the lid on the roast and place in oven.
- While the roast begins to cook, peel carrots and potatoes, and wash the mushrooms (if using). Once your vegetables are fully prepped, remove your pot from the oven and place the vegetables on top of the beef. Put the lid back on and return to oven.
- Cook until the roast is fall-apart tender. This is usually 3-4 hours, dpeending on the size of your meat.