This simple recipe for perfect pot roast in the slow cooker is my go-to recipe for Sunday dinners. And that gravy! Oh my, it is a game-changer.

Perfect Pot Roast {Slow Cooker}

Ok, so technically I probably shouldn’t be calling this “pot roast” since it’s a no-fuss slow cooker recipe, but old habits are hard to break, especially since I’ve been calling slow cooker roast dinner “pot roast” for almost four decades now.

I grew up eating pot roast, mashed potatoes, and gravy almost every Sunday. The only exceptions were when my dad was out of town and we’d eat caramel popcorn instead, and that one time when my mom decided to change things up and make pork chops. We all freaked out (spoiled kids that we were) and declared that pork chops were not allowed on pot roast Sundays.

Now that I’m a real, live grown-up with a family of my own, we don’t eat pot roast every Sunday like I did growing up. It’s not for a lack of good feelings. We love it! But I simply have too many recipes to make before I die, and I can’t dedicate 52 of my yearly meals to the same thing.

Perfect Pot Roast {Slow Cooker}

Last year, after raising our own meat for the first time and experiencing the flavorful, deliciousness, I fell in love with pot roast all over again. We’ve been eating it more frequently (it’s definitely in my kids’ top 10 requested meals, although I’m good at redirecting those recipe requests thanks to the aforementioned recipe conundrum I face every day of my life), and after taking a few notes from my mom’s tried-and-true recipe along with a few changes of my own, I can definitely say this is our go-to pot roast.

It’s simple thanks to the almighty slow cooker; the only way I make it, in fact! I’ve made it once or twice in my cast iron Dutch oven and it was dry and not great, so I stick with the slow cooker for pot roast. Always and forever.

Perfect Pot Roast {Slow Cooker}

I know many of you (myself included at times) do a little eye rolling at having to brown meat before it heads to the slow cooker, but I highly encourage you to just grin and bear it for this recipe. That quick step adds tons of flavor – both to the meat and to the juices that follow the roast into the crockpot.

Can I confess that as much as I love the tender, fall-apart pieces of beef – hands-down, my favorite part of a good pot roast is the carrots. I can’t get enough of them! In fact, my family fights over them. The flavor is out-of-this-world delicious. The only recipe that’s ever come close is the roasted carrots recipe I included in my eCookbook. But still, you can’t beat pot roast carrots.

And that gravy, oh the gravy, it gives the carrots a run for their money. Honest to goodness, that ridiculously silky and flavorful gravy might be the best gravy in the history of ever thanks to the low and slow simmer action and the quick and simple way it’s made once the roast is done cooking. I’ve made pot roast gravy a lot of different ways, but nothing beats this gravy. Nothing.

Perfect Pot Roast {Slow Cooker}

A quick note about type of meat: I’ve made this slow cooker pot roast with many different types of roast, and chuck roast wins every time. Rump roast can work in a pinch, but try for chuck roast if you can (bonus: it’s usually one of the cheaper types of beef).

And there you go! Perfect pot roast. If anything, make it to experience the deliciousness of the carrots and gravy (and really, the meat is pretty spectacular, too).

Of course, what’s pot roast without mashed potatoes? If you need a stellar mashed potato recipe, here you go: my favorite Roasted Garlic and Parmesan Mashed Potatoes (just omit the parm if you aren’t feeling it with the pot roast – of course, I am always feeling the love for Parmesan).

What To Serve
Lion House Dinner Rolls or French Bread Rolls
Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes
My Favorite Spinach Salad

One Year Ago: Video Tip: How to Make Perfect Pie Crust
Two Years Ago: Easy 10-Minute Caramel Sauce
Three Years Ago: Green Lentil Soup with Curried Brown Butter

Perfect Pot Roast and Gravy

Yield: Serves 8-ish

Perfect Pot Roast and Gravy

I know the allspice might seem a little strange here, but it is one of the keys to absolute deliciousness. It's not overpowering - just a perfect addition to balance the flavors.

As I mentioned in the post, chuck roast is the best cut of meat for pot roast; rump roast would be a close second.

I mention this in the recipe, but take care with the salt and pepper if you are using regular beef broth and not low-sodium. All brands differ in salt content; it's better to salt later than have it too salty from the beginning.


  • 3 to 5 pound chuck roast, trimmed of extra fat
  • Coarse, kosher salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 to 2 large yellow onions, sliced in thick rings
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 8 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 3 cups low-sodium beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon coarse, kosher salt
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 to 7 large carrots, peeled and cut into 2- or 3-inch pieces
  • Gravy:
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 to 4 cups juices/drippings from roast


  1. Season the roast on all sides with a few pinches of salt and pepper.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until hot and rippling. Add the roast, and brown on all sides, about 1-2 minutes per side.
  3. Place the onions in the bottom of a 7-or 8-quart slow cooker, toss the smashed garlic on top, and transfer the roast to sit on top of the onions and garlic.
  4. In the same skillet, reduce the heat to medium and add the tomato sauce, scraping up the yummy browned bits from the bottom of the skillet. Add the beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, allspice, thyme, salt and pepper (use less salt and pepper if you used regular beef broth and not low-sodium). Add the bay leaf.
  5. Pour the mixture over the roast. All slow cooker sizes are different but it helps if the meat is mostly covered with liquid (or at least the liquid comes up nearly to the top of the meat).
  6. Nestle the carrots around the roast.
  7. Cover and cook on low 8-9 hours until the meat is very tender.
  8. Transfer the meat, carrots, and onions to a platter and tent with foil.
  9. Remove the bay leaf and pour the drippings/juice from the slow cooker into a large measuring cup (or into a fat separator if you want to pour off excess fat).
  10. For the gravy, melt the butter in a medium pot until sizzling. Stir in the flour and cook for 30 seconds or so. Whisking vigorously and constantly (no lumps in our gravy!), gradually add 3 to 4 cups of the pot roast juices, until the desired consistency of gravy is reached.
  11. Continue stirring quickly while the gravy comes to a simmer. Let it cook for 1-2 minutes. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper, if needed.
  12. Serve immediately with the pot roast and vegetables (and mashed potatoes, of course!).

Recipe Source: from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe (thanks to my friend Amy W. for long ago giving me the tip about allspice – yum!)

45 Responses to Perfect Pot Roast and Gravy

  1. Kelly Finger says:

    Have you tried this in a pressure cooker? Thanks to you, I received an Instant Pot last month for my birthday and the fam requests meals from it every day now because everything is so so so tender.

    • Mel says:

      I haven’t Kelly since we love it in the slow cooker so much but I bet it would be amazing if you could figure out just the right timing.

      • trish says:

        Yes, if anyone can figure out a pressure cooker way I would love to hear it too!

        • Amy W. says:

          I have not been having great results with the pressure cooker- (Instant Pot)- I can’t get the timing down just right. It must be me- I love the machine, and the first time I used it, I had fall-apart pork roast on my hands- first time ever! (My slow cooker has never been a slow cooker. I have only ever had dry, hard, boiled meat out of it in 10 years… So, needless to say, I have never really had the “slow cooker experience.” I haven’t been able to replicate fall apart meat in the IP, either- somehow, I’ve managed to overcook everything. Do you have any suggestions for me, please??? 🙂
          Thank you!!

        • Mel says:

          Hey Amy – the cooking time charts at have helped me SO much with the Instant Pot! The key is not to over cook, like you mentioned, so knowing how fast certain meats cook is key. And yes, the Instant Pot can also slow cook!

        • Liz says:

          I use the hippressurecooking chart as well and often do a quick search to see if others have suggestions, but I’ve never had an issue with hippressurecooking times.

          I’ve also not had an issue with cooking all kinds of meat from boneless chicken breasts (1 cup water and Mel’s 8 min per pound guideline for whole chicken) to round steak with tomatoes and mushrooms to pot roast (almost same technique as Mel’s above except 40 min quick release then carrots in for 5-10 minutes quick release.

          I’m wondering if those who had bad results are not using enough liquid? For the beef I make sure the liquid is mostly covering the meat.

          Hippressurecooking has some great videos as well.

  2. Laurel says:

    I am the biggest whiner about searing before slow cooking. Heh Thanks my insta pot I can sear it and then switch to slow cook. Oh yeah baby!! I cannot wait to make this. I’m notorious for dry chewy ruined pot roast so this is going to be redemption! Thank you, thank you!

    • Amy W. says:

      Does the Instant Pot slow cook??? How, oh, how did I miss this???

      • Sara says:

        Yes! I love that it does both. I have cooked a roast both ways – about 45 minutes on pressure, or 6-8 hours on slow cook. At least with my Instant Pot, the low setting on the slow cooker is TOO LOW. I always have to pressure cook afterwards! Now I just use normal and it’s fine.

  3. Kim S. says:

    I’d like to add that arm roast rivals the chuck roast for pot roast! I believe they tie for the best. I use the rump for shredded beef sandwiches. I’ve tried browning the roasts and not browning the roasts before putting them in the crock pot, and we notice no difference. Although, I do covet the All Clad slow cooker with built in searing capabilities. 🙂

  4. Helen says:

    I love this post !! I grew up in a family where roast and mashed potatoes and gravy were Sunday absolutes!! And I quite honestly have done almost the exact same thing with my family !! Now that I am an avid reader of your blog I have changed up Sunday dinner on more occasions than I used to … And I have met with some opposition from some very ‘spoiled’ children who really believe that roast and mashed potatoes (and hot rolls and corn and salad ) are the only acceptable Sunday dinners… My recipe is super similar and I can’t wait to try the Allspice !! Maybe even today….. because I served chicken cordon bleu casserole yesterday … And this just looks so good right now for a fall Monday night dinner !! I’m off to fire up my frying pan and my crock pot !! Thanks Mel !! I think we mayneed some lemon bars too …. And just so you know I have a freezer full of pumpkin chocolate chip cookies thanks to my 14 year old son. I made a batch on Friday afternoon and they were gone by Saturday. So Saturday night he made a double batch because he wanted more. We love you Mel !!!

    • Mel says:

      I love YOU, Helen! 🙂

      • Helen says:

        Thanks Mel!! So we had this tonight and it was as good as I thought it would be … and more!! The gravy was amazing!! The allspice addition is definitely a keeper and we all loved the big chunks of onion… I usually cut them small… I will be doing it this way from now on!! Never thought my pot roast could be improved upon…. but I should have known if anyone could give me a way to make it better it would be you !! 🙂

  5. Melanie says:

    I grew up in a Pot-Roast-and-potatoes-for-dinner-after-church-on-Sunday family as well, and as a kid I actually despised this meal. Now that I am a big girl, I love it. My husband, however, does not. This is the man who will eat almost anything on the planet. WEIRD. I am so excited to try your version!! It is making my stomach growl. I am super excited about your allspice trick. I am determined to make a convert out of him! I might have to change up my menu plan for the week. Thanks Mel!

  6. Kimwithaktoo says:

    This looks perfect! I think the extra flavor in the meal outweighs the inconvenience of browning!. I’m looking forward to another terrific meal thanks to you!

  7. Jen T says:

    Oh divine! Carrots with pot roast are one of my family’s favorites too. Yum! This is definitely going on our Sunday menu this week. Thanks Mel!

  8. Wendy says:

    When do you put it in the crockpot if you want it for Sunday lunch? Do you put it in all night, or just get up “extra” early?

    • Mel says:

      We don’t eat until 5:30 or so on Sundays so I start cooking it in the morning. You could try cooking it on high for less hours; that may work.

  9. Lafayette says:

    What kind of crock-pot do you use, Mel?

    • Mel says:

      I use my Instant Pot when I need a 6-quart slow cooker but if I need bigger, like for this recipe, I have the Hamilton Beach 8-quart (oval).

  10. Laura says:

    My son is allergic to tomatoes. Would it be ok to eliminate the tomato paste or would I need to replace it with something? Thanks!!

  11. Kimber says:

    Ooh can’t wait to try this with a pinch of allspice! In the past few months I’ve looked at your site for the perfect Sunday roast recipe and I’m so happy it’s here! I love putting my cut up potatoes in tin foil on top of the meat so when we get home from church they’re perfectly cooked and we mash them up real quick to have on the side!

  12. Linda Turco says:

    Mel, it’s been forever! Thanks for all the great recipes I don’t have a slow cooker. I know, I know :)- Anyway, will this work with my Le Creuset ? The recipe looks delicious and I can’t wait to try it !

    Thanks !

    • Mel says:

      It probably would but I haven’t had good luck (think: dry roast) baking in a pot. Try googling a traditional pot roast recipe to get a good idea for time/temp.

    • Liz says:

      Low and slow (275 for 4 hours) and liquid covering the roast.

      Follow Mel’s instructions through starting the slow cooker.

  13. Rebecca says:

    I can’t wait to try this. And I completely agree with you…the carrots are the best part of pot roast!

  14. Hilary says:

    In the slow cooker as we speak and it smells divine!! If it tastes as good as it smells, we are all in for a delicious treat!!

    • Hilary says:

      Just to report back…last nights supper was delicious!!!!! The allspice trick added a ton of flavor..I’m already looking forward to the leftovers!!

  15. Leslie says:

    Thank you, thank you for the countless recipes I have used from your site! I have never commented, but was feeling ungrateful today as I saved yet two more recipes from your collection without you knowing. You are amazing!

  16. Amber Petersen says:

    I never comment, but this converted my husband to roast! I made it thinking he would have something else for dinner but he tried it, ate it all and said he would eat that every week. Amazed!! It is all about that gravy. Best gravy ever. So thank you for putting roast back on my menu after 8 years away.

  17. Sarah says:

    Our family recently moved to England and will be living in a hotel for a little while until we find a home here. We’re grateful our hotel has a full kitchen and as soon as I saw this post I knew it would be just what we needed for dinner – a little taste of home in a new place. I immediately went out to search for and buy a slow cooker and pick up the ingredients for this meal. It was our dinner tonight and it was a hit with everyone! There’s nothing like the smell of something delicious in the slow cooker when you come home after a long day looking for a home. The gravy is amazing, life-changing stuff and I know this meal will become a permanent part of our dinner rotation. Thanks for the great recipe!

    • Mel says:

      Well, you are amazing for cooking meals like this in a hotel! I’ve done the hotel living thing and know how tough it can be; good luck on your move!

  18. Carine says:

    Hi Mel,
    For years, I made pot roast with my grandma’s recipe. I thought it was the best recipe of the world. No, I was wrong, your recipe is highly better (sorry grandma !). My husband agree with me and my 3 little girls too.
    Thank you very much.

  19. Laura H. says:

    Has anyone tried this without the bay leaf?

    I made Mel’s beef stew recipe once and I believe it was the bay leaf that we hated in the stew. Was going to leave it out unless anyone had disastrous results omitting it….

  20. MICHELLE says:

    Oh my gosh – for the first time ever my gravy turned out perfect!! Thanks Mel!

  21. marci says:

    Hey Mel! Your Sunday roast was our Wednesday dinner this week! My husband and I have been married for 12 years and I’ve literally only made a pot roast twice in that time. I got so burned out on them growing up! So it is a HUGE compliment to you that I immediately put this recipe on the menu. We recently moved, and I haven’t a clue where my slow cooker is and because I use my electric pressure cookers so often, I haven’t bothered looking for it! So for those who were wondering about cooking it in the pressure cooker, here’s how I did it. Seared it, set the roast on a plate, deglazed the pot with broth and tomato sauce, and then just dumped the rest of the ingredients inside with the roast. I cooked it at high pressure for 90 minutes with a full natural release. It was amazing! Maybe I had a lot of bad roasts growing up, but this was so tender and juicy, and my daughter went crazy over the gravy. Thanks Mel! There will now be more pot roasts in my future! (My husband thanks you and also says this was the best roast he’s ever had)

  22. Nathan says:

    Pot roast and mashed potatoes bring back such great memories of grandma’s house from when I was little! Though I’m not the biggest fan of the slow cooker, I must admit it takes a lot of extra work and time out of the equation. Thanks for the tip about the allspice. I can’t wait to try it out!

  23. Aubrey says:

    Hi Mel! Should I adjust the cooking time if I only have a 2 lb roast? Thank you!!

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