This Slow Cooker Crockpot Beef Roast is an easy classic recipe. This hearty dish promises tender, melt-in-your-mouth chuck pot roast, slow-cooked to perfection in savory herbs, spices, and hearty vegetables drizzled in homemade gravy. Set it in the morning and return home to the irresistible aroma of a home-cooked meal ready to be enjoyed.
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Why You Will Love This Recipe
- Comfort Food: Its hearty and wholesome nature makes it the epitome of comfort food.
- Flavorful and Tender: When prepared well, pot roast offers succulent, fork-tender meat.
- Ease of Preparation: It’s a relatively simple dish to prepare. Once assembled, it requires minimal hands-on attention, making it perfect for busy days or when you want a hassle-free meal.
- Versatility: You can tailor it to your preferences by adding different vegetables, herbs, or spices.
- Feeds a Crowd: Depending on the size of your roast, this dish often yields generous portions, making it great for family gatherings, potlucks, or meal prepping for the week.
The Best Type of Roast to Use
One of the most popular and commonly recommended cuts for pot roast is the chuck roast. A chuck roast is a cut of beef that comes from the shoulder area of the cow. It’s taken from the primal cut known as the chuck, which is a heavily exercised muscle group.
Here’s what makes it great in this dish:
- Marbling: Chuck roast has a good amount of marbling (intramuscular fat), which helps keep the meat moist and adds flavor during the slow cooking process.
- Tenderness: It’s a tougher cut of meat with connective tissues and collagen, but when cooked slowly at lower temperatures, these break down, resulting in a tender and juicy roast.
- Flavor: It has an excellent beefy flavor, which intensifies as it cooks, infusing the surrounding vegetables and broth with a delicious taste.
- Availability: It is commonly found in most grocery stores and is relatively affordable compared to some other cuts.
Here are more options to choose from:
- Round Roast: This cut comes from the rear leg of the cow and is leaner compared to chuck. Slow cooking helps tenderize it, but it might not be as flavorful as chuck.
- Bottom Round Roast: Another cut from the rear leg, it’s similar to round roast but slightly tougher.
- Shoulder Roast: Also known as the arm roast or blade roast, this cut comes from the shoulder area. It’s flavorful and benefits from slow cooking, making it suitable for pot roast.
- Rump Roast: It’s a lean cut from the backside of the cow and can be used for pot roast. While leaner, it can still yield a flavorful and tender dish when cooked slowly.
Do You Have to Sear the Roast First?
Searing the roast before adding it to the slow cooker is not strictly necessary, but it will significantly enhance the flavor and texture. Here’s why I do it:
- Flavor: Searing it creates a flavorful crust on the meat’s surface which results in a deeper, richer taste. This is also the best way to get the spices and seasoning to adhere to the meat. With Crockpot cooking, when you add seasoned meat to the slow cooker with broth, a lot of spices can get lost.
- Texture: Searing can enhance the texture by creating a caramelized surface, which can add complexity to the dish.
If you wish you can skip the searing step and still achieve a tasty pot roast. The slow cooking process in the Crockpot will still tenderize the meat and infuse it with flavors from the cooking liquid and vegetables. I promise, searing just makes it next level better!
A great way to make this a no-fuss, one-pot meal is to add vegetables. Here are some options:
- Root Vegetables: Carrots, potatoes (red and baby Yukon gold work best), parsnips, and turnips are excellent choices. They hold up well during the slow cooking process and become infused with the flavors of the meat and broth.
- Onions: Whole pearl onions or large chunks of regular onions add a savory sweetness to the dish as they cook down. The onions are a great addition if you plan to make homemade gravy.
- Celery: Stalks of celery can be added for an aromatic flavor and a bit of texture.
- Garlic: Whole cloves or chopped garlic cloves contribute to the overall savory depth of the dish.
- Mushrooms: These can be added for a richer, earthy flavor.
- Herbs: Fresh or dried herbs like thyme, rosemary, or bay leaves can infuse the dish with aromatic flavors.
Because this is a dish that cooks for an extended period, it’s important to add the vegetables to the pot last and on top of the roast, except onions and garlic. If you allow potatoes and carrots to cook in the broth of the dish, they may become mushy over time.
Placing the veggies on top allows the steam from the slow cooker to cook and soften the vegetables.
Cutting the Vegetables
Cut the vegetables into larger chunks or pieces, typically over 2 inches in size. This helps them hold up during the long cooking time, preventing them from turning mushy. I don’t recommend baby carrots for this reason. Sometimes these may turn out just fine, but if you don’t want to risk mushy veggies, I would buy large carrots.
I like to use baby potatoes and keep them intact when adding them to the slow cooker. This will help keep them from getting mushy. Russet potatoes will become super soft and might break down a bit when slow-cooked for a long duration. If you prefer firm potatoes, opt for baby Yukon/gold.
How to Make Slow Cooker Crockpot Beef Roast
Detailed measurements and full instructions can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- Season all sides of the roast with the spices.
- Place a skillet on medium-high heat on the stove and add olive oil. Add the roast to the pan and sear both sides of the roast.
- Add the onions, garlic, broth, and Worcestershire sauce to the bottom of the slow cooker
- Next, add the seasoned roast.
- Top with the carrots and potatoes.
- Place the lid on the pot and slow cook.
Cook Time/How Long to Cook
The cooking time will vary based on several factors, including the size of the roast, bone-in vs boneless, the specific slow cooker model, and the desired level of tenderness.
For small roasts (less than 3 pounds): Cook on Low for about 7-8 hours or on High for about 4-5 hours.
For a 3-4 pound roast: Cook on Low for about 8-10 hours or on High for about 5-7 hours.
Roasts any larger may require additional time.
Keep in mind boneless roasts will cook faster than bone-in. Bones can act as insulators, slowing down the transfer of heat to the center of the meat. Without bones, the heat can penetrate more evenly throughout the entire roast, aiding in faster cooking.
The goal is to cook the meat until it’s fork-tender and easily pulls apart. Throughout the cooking process, avoid opening the slow cooker too often because this will slow down the cooking time and release heat, potentially increasing the overall cooking time.
How to Tell When It’s Done
Use a fork to gently pierce the meat. If it easily pulls apart or shreds with little resistance, it’s likely done. Look for visual signs like the meat shrinking away from the bone (if bone-in) or the edges of the roast becoming visibly tender and starting to fall apart.
How to Keep it Moist and From Drying Out
All of the instructions and ingredients used in this recipe will prevent dry meat. Using the best cut of meat (chuck roast), searing it before adding it to the slow cooker, adding moisture (broth), and cooking the meat low and slow will yield the best results.
Adding gravy is also a game changer for flavor and texture.
I love to use the method from my Turkey Gravy With Drippings recipe. You can use the flavorful liquid from the cooked roast along with a few additional ingredients like butter, flour, and broth. Adding gravy is my favorite part of enjoying this dish.
How to Store Leftovers
I like to store leftovers with the leftover cooked broth from the pot. This will help keep the meat from drying out and will keep it juicy when you reheat it. Since this is a cut of meat with fat, you will notice congealed fat at the top or throughout the leftovers once refrigerated.
Feel free to remove this if you wish. If you reheat the dish with the fat it will melt and add flavor/juicy texture to the meat. It’s just a matter of preference.
It can be stored in the fridge tightly covered and sealed for 3-4 days.
How to Reheat
To reheat, you can use the microwave, stovetop, or oven (at 250 degrees until warm). Add a bit of moisture (broth or water) to prevent the meat from drying out during reheating.
Store in airtight containers or freezer bags for up to 2-3 months. Thaw frozen leftovers in the refrigerator before reheating.
Pair With These Recipes
The veggies won’t have a ton of flavor once you remove them from the Crockpot. I like to add salt and pepper once they are cooked, along with some of my Homemade Ranch Seasoning.
Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes
Soul Food Green Beans with Bacon
Slow Cooker Crockpot Collard Greens
Slow Cooker Crockpot Candied Sweet Potatoes
Smoked Fish Dip
More Slow Cooker Crockpot Recipes
Slow Cooker Crockpot Beef Roast
- 2-4 pounds chuck roast (or round, bottom, shoulder, or rump) Mine was 2 1/2 pounds.
- 1 teaspoon brown sweetener or sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup diced or sliced onions I used white onions.
- 2-3 garlic cloves Minced
- 1 cup beef broth Any broth or water will work.
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce See notes.
- 1 pound baby potatoes Whole.
- 1 pound carrots Shaved and sliced into 3-4 inch pieces.
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 – 2 cups beef broth Any broth will work.
- 1/2 cup cooked beef drippings from the slow cooker
- Season all sides of the roast with the spices.
- Place a skillet on medium-high heat on the stove and add the olive oil. Add the roast to the pan and sear both sides of the roast. Let it sear without moving it for a few minutes until a golden-brown crust forms. Use tongs to turn the roast and sear all sides evenly.
- Add the onions, garlic, broth, and Worcestershire sauce to the bottom of the slow cooker (Mine is 7 quart).
- Next, add the seasoned roast.
- Top with the carrots and potatoes. Ensure the vegetables are placed over the roast instead of in the broth. This will ensure they don't overcook and become mushy.
- Place the lid on the pot and slow cook.For small roasts (less than 3 pounds): Cook on Low for about 7-8 hours or on High for about 4-5 hours.For a 3-4 pound roast: Cook on Low for about 8-10 hours or on High for about 5-7 hours.Roasts any larger may require additional time.The goal is to cook the meat until it’s fork-tender and easily pulls apart. Throughout the cooking process, avoid opening the slow cooker too often because this will slow down the cooking time and release heat, potentially increasing the overall cooking time.
- Once cooked, remove the lid and allow the meat to cool and rest before serving. The veggies won’t have a ton of flavor once you remove them from the Crockpot. I like to add salt and pepper once they are cooked.
- Heat a skillet on medium heat. Add the butter.
- When melted, add in the flour. Add it in stages and stir continuously to avoid clumping. This will create a roux, which will thicken the gravy.
- Add 1 cup of broth and 1/2 cup of the beef drippings from the pot. Stir until the gravy begins to thicken. If the gravy is too thick, add additional broth. Stir (and continue to add broth) until the gravy reaches your desired consistency.
- Taste repeatedly and add salt and pepper to taste as needed.