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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 to 4 cups juices/drippings from roast
- Season the roast on all sides with a few pinches of salt and pepper.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- Nestle the carrots around the roast.
- Cover and cook on low 8-9 hours until the meat is very tender.
- Transfer the meat, carrots, and onions to a platter and tent with foil.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!)