Classic Pot Roast is comfort food at it’s best, made with slow roasted potatoes and carrots in the oven – ready in 3 hours!
If you love Classic Pot Roast, you won’t be disappointed with our other easy Dinner Recipes like Classic Beef Stew, the sumptuous Slow Cooker Beef Chili, and the delicious Ultimate Sloppy Joes.
One of the most popular recipes around here is the Ultimate Slow Cooker Pot Roast and for good reason. It is an amazingly easy recipe that thousands of readers have enjoyed for dinner. There has been a lot of requests asking asking for the recipe to be rewritten for the oven and for the instant pot. So that’s what we have done here!
As far as beef recipes go, this one is perfect if you have a busy day ahead of you and a lot to get done. The time involved in preparing the Classic Pot Roast recipe is minimal. You have to only sear your beef and assemble the ingredients before the oven does the rest of the work.
The upside? You will have plenty of leftovers for future meals, and pot roast is delicious in everything from tacos to soup. Cooking your vegetables with the roast lets them soak up the flavor of the meat, and gives you a side dish that you don’t have to spend any more time or effort preparing.
We like to use Yukon Gold potatoes, but you can also use red potatoes in a pinch. On that note, you can use either baby carrots or large carrots as well, but large carrots are preferred because we like to cut the vegetables to similar sizes.
How to Make Classic Pot Roast
- Step One: Start by seasoning the meat with salt, pepper and thyme. For this recipe, we used fresh thyme because of much additional flavor it adds, but if you only have dried thyme it would of course work just fine. If using fresh thyme, remember to either strip the sprigs or to remove the sprigs when you have finished cooking.
- Step Two: In a large dutch oven, heat up your vegetable oil. Once it’s hot, sauté the roast in it until it is deeply browned on both sides. Searing your pot roast before slow cooking helps to add more texture to your meal, adding a crispy edge to the meat. Since we are braising this roast, we look for texture anywhere we can get it.
- Step Three: Peel and cut up your potatoes, carrots and garlic cloves and put them into your dutch oven or large pot around the sides of the roast, but make sure to leave room for the roast itself.
- Step Four: Pour in the beef broth, put on the lid, and set it to cook on medium-high heat with a cooking time of three hours. You’ll have a delicious dinner waiting for you, and the whole house will smell wonderful.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Pot Roast isn’t just one kind of meat. Traditionally, people use tougher cuts because of how fork tender braising makes it. What makes the best Pot Roast is a matter of taste, but we prefer to use a boneless chuck roast.
Beef chuck: this is the shoulder, and it makes for a good roast because of how hearty and flavorful it is.
Brisket: this is a notoriously tough cut of meat, and slow cooking it breaks it down in it, releasing its natural flavor and making it fall-apart tender.
Round: round is slightly softer than the other cuts we’ve mentioned, and it’s very lean. You have to be a little careful with round roasts, because they can easily dry out.
Rump roast: juicy and flavorful, rump roasts can be used with dry rubs or marinated before slow cooking.
Pot roast as we know it is actually a take on an old French dish called bœuf à la mode, which is beef marinated in red wine and browned before slow-roasting. Pot roast served with veggies, also called “Yankee pot roast,” is the version of this dish that most Americans are familiar with.
If you’d like the pot roast gravy to be a little thicker, remove roast and vegetables, mix 1 tablespoon cornstarch or all purpose flour with 2 tablespoons of water and whisk it into the liquid in the pot. Bring to a boil on your stovetop and whisk until it starts to thicken to a gravy consistency. Spoon off the excess fat before creating a gravy if you prefer.
There is debate over how to serve pot roast, do you shred the meat before serving or do you serve it in chunks and allow people to eat it like short ribs because the meat is fork tender. We serve it in chunks, but it you’d prefer to shred your meat, you take two fork and simply pull the beef apart into pieces as you would Pulled Pork or Pulled Chicken recipes.
To be cooked through and ready to eat, your roast should have an internal temperature of 145 degrees F (62.8 degrees C). Make sure to test your roast at the thickest part with a probe thermometer before you eat it just to be sure.
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Key Ingredients in Classic Pot Roast
- Meat: We are using a 5 lb boneless beef chuck roast here. But you can use whatever is available. See the FAQ section above for more info on cuts of meat.
- Seasoning: If you can find sprigs fresh rosemary, that will really add some depth of flavor to your meal. But dried rosemary is great too!
- Vegetables: Keep it simple with potatoes and carrots. Any potato will do, however we highly recommend the Yukon gold since they pair really well and are buttery soft once cooked. Russet potatoes and red potatoes are great! Onions are not included here, but you could add a chopped yellow onion for a greater depth of flavor.
Variations on Making Classic Pot Roast
- Slow Cooker (Crock Pot): Start by seasoning the chuck roast with salt, pepper and thyme. Peel and cut up your potatoes, carrots and garlic cloves and put them into your slow cooker. In a cast-iron skillet, heat up your vegetable oil. Once it’s hot, sauté the roast in it until it is deeply brown on both sides, and then put it into the slow cooker. Pour in the beef broth, put on the lid, and set it to cook on low heat for eight hours. Please refer to Slow Cooker Pot Roast for full instructions.
- Pressure Cooker (Instant Pot): Start by prepping the chuck roast. Season with salt, pepper and thyme. Peel and cut up your potatoes, carrots and garlic cloves and put them into your slow cooker. Set your pressure cooker to sauté and heat up your vegetable oil. Once it’s hot, sauté the roast in it until it is deeply brown on both sides, and then add in your vegetables Pour in the beef broth, put on the lid, and set it to cook on high pressure for 60-80 minutes (60 for 3 pound roast, 80 for 5 pound roast). Release pressure naturally for ten minutes then remove lid and serve.
What to serve with Pot Roast
Pot roast is an easy recipe, but it is flavorful and rich so finding other dishes to compliment it can be a little tricky. Here are some salads, sides and desserts that go nicely with this slow cooker pot roast.
- Salad: For a garden-fresh side salad, you can choose between an Easy Fruit Salad, a robust Greek Salad, or the juicy Cucumber Tomato Salad.
- Side: There’s a bunch of things you can do as a side, but for this meal we highly recommend your own homemade Baked Mac and Cheese, and/or the delicious Roasted Green Beans, and/or the winter favorite Roasted Turnips and Parsnips.
- Dessert: A big meal like this should be finished off with something flavorful, but not heavy, like Yellow Cake, fancy Red Velvet Cake, or Easy Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream. The choice is up to you!
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How to Store Pot Roast
- Serve: You shouldn’t leave your beef roast at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
Store: If you seal leftover Pot Roast in a freezer bag or other airtight container, your roast will stay good for up to 3 days in the fridge.
Freeze: Roasts are great for freezing when they’re uncooked and can last from 6 to 12 months. If you’ve already cooked it, you can freeze your pot roast for 2-3 months.
- 4-5 pound chuck roast
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 pound carrots , peeled and cut into 2 inch chunks (about 5 medium carrots)
- 2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes , peeled and cut into large chunks (8-10 Yukon gold potatoes)
- 2 cloves garlic , minced
- 2 cups beef broth
- Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.
- Season the chuck roast with the kosher salt, pepper, and thyme.
- Add the vegetable oil to a pan and heat. When it ripples and is hot, add in the roast and brown deeply for 4-5 minutes on each side (or if you can, brown in your slow cooker).
- Add carrots, potatoes, garlic, and beef broth and cook for 3 – 3 ½ hours.
Photos used in a previous version of this post:
I only have an aluminum roast pan. Should I cover with foil or no?
I made this for my family and it was delicious. Such an easy recipe but so flavorful at the same time. I used fresh thyme, that’s what I had in hand and it was amazing.
Me and my family loved this roast.. I put potatoes, onions, fresh mushrooms and green beans.. The roast was so tender..
Would it work if I substitute with russet potatoes? I’m trying to use some I have leftover.
do u cook a 3lb chuck roast for 3hrs or shorter time
Yes I’d do three hours because of the time to break down the meat to being as soft as you’d expect. Good marbling helps too, if the beef isn’t marbled well it will be tough.
Instant pot in pressure cook or slow cool?
We have recipes on the site for both instant pot and slow cooker too! Here is the slow cooker one, it’s a fan favorite! https://dinnerthendessert.com/ultimate-slow-cooker-pot-roast/
I’m skeptical about putting in the potatoes and carrots at the beginning and cooking them for 3+ hours. Do they come out very soft?
Yes, they will be soft by the end. If you’d rather leave them crispier, you can instead add the vegetables with about an hour left in the cook time.
I always cook my roast about 2 hours and add my vegetables for the last hour. I baste the vegetables with the meat juices when I initially add them to the roaster.
Can you make this on stovetop instead of putting in oven? If so, are there any special instructions and about how long would you recommend cooking? Thanks!
The roast and veggies were perfect! This will definitely become a family favorite!
get rid of the adds that obstruct the recipe!!!
This is my all-time favourite roast recipe. Tonight will be the 10th… maybe even 15th time I’ve made it! It never fails. Thank you!
Why the oven pre-heat?
FYI: Step 2 under the Pressure Cooker instructions is in error. The instructions for the vegetables are correctly in Step 4.
Sandy Louderback HI Sabrina, my mother always made the best roasts and her potatoes and carrots were always browned . I can’t remember how she did that. If you don’t cover it with a lid in the oven, will they brown? I always covered it!
You need it covered for that long cooking time. They brown if you don’t have them completely submerged in liquid. The issue may be as simple as the pan is too crowded. If you have a larger one I would try that.
Just to confirm, after browning in the meat in the dutch oven and putting in the oven to cook for 3-4 hours, should be lid be on or off? I saw two different answers in the comments.
Lid on, I’m so sorry.
Whether you put the lid on the pot roast in the oven or not?
Do you still use the same amount of ingredients for a 3lb chunk roast?
I probably would but you can always adjust the serving size using the slider tool (it’ll pop up if you hover over the serving size) down to 3 pounds and it’ll give you exact measurements. Hope this helps!
I make this recipe all the time. My family loves it. And now that I have an instant pot will be trying that method next.
Glad to know it’s a family favorite, Mary.
Great will definitely good again. I added quartered mushroom toward the end.
How about a serving for four……and we are only two!!!!
The Recipe looks GREAT but far too large for just two …..dn
Simple ingredients. Delicious. Just need to be patient while it’s in the oven.
Can I use just a regular foil pan and cover it with foil? Or will it come out to dry?
I am so sorry, I am just seeing this tonight. I am sure the recipe has long been cooked/or not but I still want to try to help.
Heat/steam will escape from the foil, a good heavy lid would be preferable here.
Thank you so much for including directions for slow cooker, instant pot and stove top. I wish all recipes had that extra bit. Delicious!
You’re welcome, Paula.
Is it ok if not covered in liquid in oven?
Yes, the meat will cook down and release liquid as well. Enjoy!
How long should i cook in slow cooker on low if I only have 2.5 lbs of chuck roast?
Love all your recipes I have made so far.
Cook for low 6-8 hours or high 3-4.
Hi I’m trying this recipe for the first time I’m using The crockpot version in hopes that everything turned out great if it does I’ll definitely leave another comment wish me luck lol
I’m going to cook a 2lb chuck roast, would I cook it an hour less?
I’d say between an hour and 15 min to an hour and a half. Enjoy!
Delicious! I am a big fan of bold flavours so I tripled the garlic and doubled the thyme. Also added a little big of garlic powder and it was INCREDIBLE!
Thanks for coming back to let me know how much you enjoyed it, Ritz.
That was the best pit roast ever?????
I just put it in the oven. I used the largest cast iron dutch oven I had, but I still had to put everything on top of the roast, there wasn’t any extra room in the pot. Do you think it will still work? Do I need to adjust the cooking time? It smells so good already.
You should still be ok but it may need a little longer.
I don’t usually leave comments, but this is so tender and delicious that I just had to say something! Thanks, Sabrina!
Yay!! I’m happy you enjoyed it enough to want to leave a comment. Thanks for the 5 stars, Kim.
I looked this recipe up on Pinterest and it was under the crock pot cooking section. This isn’t a crock pot recipe so I’m going to have to figure out how long to slow cook it.
There are instructions for using a slow cooker in the post. Enjoy!
She has it broken down by oven, instant, or crockpot! Cook on low for 8 hrs in slow cooker 🙂
I just put this in the oven, my house smells amazing. Now we all have to be patient while it cooks. Can’t wait! Thanks for sharing ?
I love that you have an option to cook your roast several different ways. I’m trying to convert all my crockpot recipes into instant pot ones : )
I was wondering what times or other modifications you would do for a 4.5 lb bottom round roast? You mentioned that this type of meat would easily dry out and I’d like to avoid that.
Thanks in advance!
You should be ok but I would check it around 3 hours. Enjoy!
I made this today and my husband said it was the best pot roast I’d ever made! My daughters also really liked it. I didn’t add quite enough salt so I’ll add more next time, and I always add a splash of Worcestire to my roast. It was great.
I’m so glad you all enjoyed it, Rebecca.
I’m using a ceramic Dutch oven. Lid on or off? Instructions say on but comments say no lid.
Lid on 🙂
I am anxious to try your recipe. I like mushrooms in my pot roast. When during the cooking process would you add them?
I would just toss them in with everything else in the beginning. Enjoy!
I DO NOT recommend cooking a roast in an Instant Pot, it comes out too dry.
Totally! We tried this tonight in the instant pot and can barely chew it. Not a fan of
It in the IP.
Do you need to cover it in oven?
Yes, put the lid on. Sorry for the confusion.
Thank you for such an easy roast recipe. The flavor was amazing considering how simple the recipe is. This is my all time favorite roast recipe!
I’m so glad you love it so much. Thanks for the 5 stars.
Easy and yummy
I made this today & it was delicious. You have to use Yukon Gold Potatoes in order to get the wonderful flavor. I did add some onions. My husband loves them.
I used a large case iron skillet. Everything was very delicious. I normally use a slow cooker, but never had the flavor so good.
What is the best way to cook 29 lbs of roast for a party of 50 with the potatoes and carrots? Will a slow toaster do the trick?
29 pounds will not fit in your slow cooker. I would say you could probably use a few large electric roasters? Use similar temperature and timing to ovens. A slow cooker shouldn’t be used for more than 6 pounds of meat (unless you have a giant one, in which case the timing listed in these recipes is for 6 pounds).
Would like to know if you would follow the same directions with a Boston Butt Pork Roast? If not, do you have a recipe for that with an Instant Pot?
Yes, this will work.
Use apple juice with the pork roast. It’s delicious!
I’ve made pot roast so many times in my crock pot, but I have never has it taste as good as this. It was amazing and I can’t wait to make it again. So few ingredients with such great flavor. Thank you for sharing.
You’re welcome, Carla.
Would this work in the crock-pot on high heat for half the time?
If you want to use a crock-pot, follow this recipe.
Which do you recommend, Dutch oven or slow cooker.
It depends on how much time you have before dinner. I love both equally.
You say nothing about covering your Dutch oven when cooking.
No need to cover it.
I wanted to know how can I make gravy/sauce a little thicker.
You can make a slurry by combining cornstarch with equal parts cold water. Whisk it until there are no lumps and add to the gravy continuing to whisk until it’s incorporated. Simmer the gravy on the stovetop to allow it to thicken. Good luck!
If cooked in an instapot, how long will I cook it for after searing?
Cook on high pressure for 60-80 minutes.
Very good, baked in oven after searing meat in cast iron skillet. Don’t care for thyme or tarragon so I did not use them. Did add white onion.
Made this last Monday and it was gone Wed. night. Just my son and myself. We really liked the thyme. I had never used seasonings other than salt & pepper and a little garlic powder. This will be made again and again. Thanks for something a little different for us.
So glad you decided to give it a try, Terri. Thanks for the 5 stars.
I tried the roast with carrots & potatoes in my instapot. I added onions & eliminated the thyme because I didn’t have any.
I can’t imagine this could taste any better. It was soooo good. We ate it all. My boyfriend said the veg were so much better in the instapot.
So glad you were able to adapt to the instant pot. Thanks for the 5 stars, Mary.
Weren’t the veggies way overcooked? Usually takes 3 minutes for potatoes
just to verify for a pressure cooker – once you dice carrots/potatoes/garlic, you should set to the side (not in slow cooker) right? i’m so sorry i am wanting to make this for my mother-in-law this weekend and am just so nervous i’m going to mess up!
If you’re making this with a Pressure cooker, the meat gets sauteed first then the veggies go on top of the meat. Hopefully, this clears up any confusion.
Still confused. Putting the veges in with the roast for 60-80 in the IP Pressure cooker ( not sauté, not slow cooker, not crock pot) seems like an awfully long time to pressure cook potatoes and carrots. Are you sure they won’t turn to mush? Shouldn’t they be put in for the last 5-10 mins?
You can add them in towards the end if you want them to have more bite. Enjoy!
In the recipe, step one says to preheat the oven… I don’t see any instructions where we would put the roast in the oven? Do we continue to cook the roast on the stove or move to the oven for 3 hours? Thanks!
Sorry for the confusion, you should put it in the oven after browning and cook 3-3 1/2 hours.
Hello, What kind of pan do you need to brown the meat in? will any do? and if this step is skipped will it still come out ok?
I use a dutch oven or a cast iron if I’m putting it into another baking dish. I wouldn’t skip browning the meat, even in a regular skillet will add a lot of flavor.
Thank you. So I can sear it in any pan? Can I cook it in oven in a regular roasting pan?
If you sear the roast on the stove in a Dutch oven do you just add the carrots and potatoes to that Dutch oven and put it in the oven?
What a wonderful mouth-watering recipe. It is my first time to use chuck roast but I do not know what the ideal thickness of the cut. Can you advise pls? Also, should cover the pot with aluminium sheet while it is in oven.
I’m so glad you’re going to give it a try. I would suggest looking for one that is about 3-4 inches thick. No need to cover the pot roast while cooking. Enjoy!
This is the perfect comfort meal! I love pot roast and vegetables. I make mine just like this recipe of using the Beef broth, it gives it such a great flavor. But I also add a pkt of brown gravy mix mixed into the beef broth along with 1/2 can of Tomato Paste and a few splashes of worcestershire sauce. It takes it to a whole new level! Love your recipes!!
Thanks for the suggestions, Jan. So glad you love it.
I made this last week and my husband loved it. The meat was so tender and juicy. I made it just like the recipe but my roast was just under 3 lbs. There is only the 2 of us. Our kids are married with their own families. We still had enough for sandwiches for a couple ofdays.We loved it. Thank you for the recipe.
Fantastic! Thanks so much for the 5 stars.
This is fabulous! So tasty and so easy! My whole family loved it!
Thanks so much for coming back to let me know, Kim.
Can’t ever go wrong with this delicious recipe! So savory and robust; this has quickly become a family favorite dinner!
Carrots, when slow roasted, give a wonderful flavor that you can’t get from anything else. I can’t wait to try this pot roast – I am sure it is very good.
I hope you enjoy it!
This is the ultimate comfort food. I still don’t own an IP, but using my slow cooker, this comes out perfect!
Definitely! Thanks so much for the 5 stars.
Pot roast is one of my all-time favorite comfort meals. There’s just something so wonderful and classic about it. This recipe looks great!
It’s a family favorite!
This was the birthday dinner ever year when I was growing up! I love it and can’t wait to make it for myself soon!
Love when meals have a nostalgic touch.