This classic pot roast recipe is a family favorite that generations are sure to remember and fall in love with. Learning how to make the perfect pot roast is not as hard as you may think!
Why you’ll love it: It’s an old-fashioned Sunday dinner favorite that never goes out of style.
How long it takes: about 3½ hours (mostly hands off)
Equipment you’ll need: Dutch oven
To me, this pot roast recipe is synonymous with Sunday dinner.
Sunday dinner is a time for families to gather around, sharing stories and laughs, before the chaos of the week starts. While I was growing up, we always went to my grandparents’ house after church and often pot roast was on the menu.
Grandma would put it in the oven before church and it smelled so good when we walked in the door. She called it “beef roast” though, never “pot roast.” To this day I have fond memories of the aromas wafting through the house as the pot roast was cooking.
Sunday dinner may sound like a lofty goal, but it’s doable when you start with this easy pot roast recipe. Meat, potatoes, and vegetables, all slow cooked in one pan—it couldn’t be easier.
Reasons to Love This Pot Roast Recipe
- Tried and true. While there are many pot roast recipes out there, this is the one I always come back to. It’s super simple, naturally flavored by the beef and vegetables cooking together, and accentuated by fresh herbs. (This classic meatloaf recipe is another family favorite!)
- Budget-friendly. Chuck roast is a relatively inexpensive cut of beef, and the other ingredients in this recipe are also easy on the budget.
- The tastiest leftovers. If you’re making this for a family of 4, you’re likely to have some leftovers for work lunches and tucking into sandwiches. This is one recipe that you will be excited to revisit the next day!
- Everyone will love it. As an adult, you’ll appreciate the comfort food coziness of this old-fashioned pot roast recipe. Kids will love it for its straightforward, uncomplicated flavors—especially if you pair it with Instant Pot mac and cheese on the side!
- Easier than you think. While there is quite a bit of time involved (luckily it’s mostly hands-off!), there’s nothing fussy or difficult about making pot roast.
- Chuck Roast: Although the correct term for this cut is chuck roast, some butchers and grocery stores will label it pot roast.
- Seasoning Mixture: Kosher salt, coarse ground black pepper, garlic powder, and paprika, along with flour to help form a nice crust.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil: You’ll need some to brown the roast and some to make sure the vegetables don’t stick. Another mild tasting oil can be substituted if you prefer.
- Yellow Onion: Shallots can be swapped in if you like.
- Carrots: If you scrub them well, there’s no need to peel them. (This goes for all recipes with carrots, not just this pot roast recipe!)
- Garlic: Push the cloves through a garlic press if you have one, or just finely mince them with a knife.
- Red Wine: Optional, but adds a lot of depth to the flavor. Use a dry red wine like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, or Pinot Noir.
- Unsalted Beef Stock or Broth: Using unsalted stock or broth gives you control over the flavor of the recipe. Most stock is unsalted by default, but if you’re using store-bought, be sure to check the label.
- Baby Potatoes: Baby potatoes are convenient because they don’t need to be cut, but you can use another variety and cut them into large chunks if necessary.
- Herbs: I like to use fresh rosemary and thyme, but dried will work too. You’ll also need a dried bay leaf.
If you opt to omit the red wine, you’ll need to replace it with extra beef broth or stock.
How to make Classic Pot Roast
Preheat your oven to 300ºF and use paper towels to pat the roast dry.
In a small bowl, mix together the flour, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon pepper, garlic powder, and paprika. Use your hands to pat the seasoning onto the roast. (There might be extra seasoning mixture; save it for later in the recipe!)
Set a large oven-safe Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil and once it’s shimmering, add the seasoned roast. Brown each side for 2 to 3 minutes, then remove the browned roast from the Dutch oven and let it rest on a plate.
If necessary, add another tablespoon of oil to the Dutch oven. Add the onion and carrots to the pan and sprinkle with the remaining ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon black pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are mostly translucent.
Stir in the garlic and any leftover flour mixture, and cook for another minute.
Pour in the wine and scrape any brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Push the carrots and onions to the sides and set the browned roast into the Dutch oven.
Add 2 cups of beef stock, along with the potatoes, thyme, rosemary, and bay leaf. Nestle everything into the stock so it’s at least partially submerged.
Cover the Dutch oven and bake the pot roast for 3 hours or until the meat is very tender.
Remove the herb stems and bay leaf before serving.
A pot roast is browned first and then cooked in liquid, such as broth, water, wine, etc. This process is called “braising.” It’s perfect for cheaper cuts of meat that may be tougher, like chuck roast, rump roast, short ribs, etc.
An oven roast can be called “roast beef” and is roasted dry. Good cuts for an oven roast are prime rib, sirloin tip, tenderloin or rib-eye.
It could be undercooked, overcooked, or the wrong cut of beef. You want a roast with quite a lot of fat and connective tissue, which will melt away as it roasts. Always brown it first and use plenty of liquid to braise the meat.
This is somewhat a matter of how you like the vegetables. If you put them under the roast, they will absorb all the juices from the roast and become very flavorful, but quite soft. If you put them alongside the roast, they will brown nicely and be a little firmer.
Tips and tricks for the perfect pot roast
- Always remove the ‘silver skin‘ or fat film that may be on the roast. Start at one end and gently pull up the skin or fat that needs to be removed. If necessary, nudge a knife towards the opposite end of the roast to remove it.
- Brown your roast: Always brown your roast before adding the other ingredients. It adds so much flavor and a nice brown crust.
- Always use tongs or a spatula to flip your meat while browning because puncturing it with a fork causes meat juices to run out. You want the juice to stay in!
- Be patient. The perfect pot roast needs three hours in the oven, slowly roasting to perfection. If you’re looking for a quicker method to prepare pot roast, try Instant Pot pot roast. Looking for an all day (8 to 10 hours) recipe? Try this fantastic slow cooker Italian Pot Roast.
Make Ahead Ideas
You can cut the carrots, onion, and garlic a day or two in advance to get a head start on this pot roast recipe.
Storage & Reheating Tips
Refrigerate/Freeze: Lucky you if you have any roast left over! It can be stored in the fridge for up to five days. The roast can be frozen, too, although I would advise against freezing the potatoes. They tend to get mushy.
Reheat: While the roast is good served cold, you can reheat the roast easily too. Gently microwave one serving at a time. It can also be reheated in the oven at 325°F for 10 minutes or until heated through. If it seems dry, sprinkle a little extra broth over it.
There’s nothing like a roast beef sandwich with grainy mustard! If you have meat left over but you’ve eaten the vegetables, whip up a batch of smashed potatoes with garlic butter and Parmesan or Instant Pot polenta to serve with the pot roast.
Did you make this? Be sure to leave a review below and tag me @rachelcooksblog on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest!
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Learning how to make the perfect pot roast is not as hard as you may think. This easy pot roast recipe is a family favorite!
Preheat oven to 300º F. Pat roast dry with paper towels.
In a small bowl, mix flour, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon pepper, garlic powder, and paprika. Using your hands, pat the seasoning on both sides of the roast. Reserve any excess flour mixture.
Heat a large (oven safe) Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add seasoned roast to Dutch oven and brown on each side, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove browned roast from the Dutch oven and let it rest on a plate.
If necessary, add another tablespoon of oil to the Dutch oven. Add onion and carrots to pan. Sprinkle with remaining ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon black pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until onions are mostly translucent. Add garlic and any leftover flour mixture, and cook, stirring, for another minute.
Add wine and scrape any brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Push the carrots and onions to the sides of the pan and place the browned roast into the pan.
Pour 2 cups beef stock into the pan. Add potatoes, thyme, rosemary, and bay leaf and nestle them into the stock. Cover the pan; bake the pot roast for 3 hours or until meat is very tender.
Remove herb stems and bay leaf before serving.
- If you’d like to omit the red wine, use 1 cup additional beef stock instead.
- If you use unsalted beef broth, you’ll likely need to add more salt.
- Larger potatoes, cut into 2 inch pieces, can be substituted for the baby potatoes.
Calories: 607kcal, Carbohydrates: 28g, Protein: 48g, Fat: 31g, Saturated Fat: 12g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 17g, Trans Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 156mg, Sodium: 981mg, Potassium: 1563mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 6g, Vitamin A: 12115IU, Vitamin C: 23mg, Calcium: 95mg, Iron: 6mg
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.