This fall-apart tender Pot Roast Recipe is a nourishing, flavorful meal that’s a breeze to pull together! Rich, hearty gravy, tender beef, and nutritious veggies make this dish a time-tested favorite.
The Best Slow Cooked Pot Roast with Potatoes, Carrots, and Parsnips
Pot roast is one of my go-to recipes for a hearty Sunday dinner, especially when the cold weather hits. There’s nothing easier than throwing some stewing meat into the oven, along with a few easy seasonings and veggies, and letting it go. The oven does all the work, and makes it so easy to get things done in the meantime!
The result? A wholesome, nourishing meal that everyone gets to enjoy. It feeds a crowd, too, which is totally OKAY with me! If you find that you have leftovers, you’re in luck, because pot roast and gravy are even better the next day.
What Is the Difference Between Pot Roast and Roast Beef?
Pot roast is a classic, but you might be wondering what the difference is between a pot roast and regular roast beef. The key is in the tenderness of the beef, and the cooking style. Regular roast beef is usually made with a somewhat lean, tender cut of beef, like top or bottom round.
In order to keep the meat tender and juicy, roast beef is usually cooked medium, medium rare, or possibly medium well. From there, it’s thinly sliced and served hot or cold.
Pot roast is made with a tougher cut like rump roast or chuck roast. To tenderize these cuts, they have to be cooked low and slow until they are fall-apart tender (and definitely well done). Pot roast is always served hot, usually with plenty of the juices or gravy that the meat was cooked in.
To make this pot roast recipe, you’ll need a large rump roast, some seasonings, and a mix of potatoes, carrots, and parsnips. Here’s the list of ingredients (be sure to scroll down to the recipe card at the bottom of the post for the nutrition facts, ingredient amounts, and more).
- Rump Roast: I used a 4-pound roast. You can also use chuck roast in this recipe.
- Seasonings: Salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning give the recipe all the flavor you could want, with no hassle.
- Olive Oil: Or another neutral cooking oil, such as avocado.
- Onion: Thinly slice the onion. I use yellow onion, but any kind will do.
- Garlic: Lots of garlic! About six cloves is great. You can add more if you like.
- Tomato Paste: A couple of tablespoons of tomato paste (be sure to use paste, not sauce) is a great way to add depth of flavor to beef soups, stews, and roasts.
- Brown Sugar: For a touch of sweetness.
- Beef Broth: Or chicken broth, vegetable broth, or even water, if you’re out of broth.
- Red Wine: A light red wine such as pinot noir is my go-to. More robust wines will work as well – think merlot or zinfandel.
- Vegetables: Yukon Gold potatoes, carrots, and parsnips round out this one-pot meal.
- Fresh Herbs: Rosemary and thyme for the pot roast, and fresh parsley for an optional garnish.
- Cornstarch Slurry: If you want to make gravy from the cooking liquid, you’ll need a slurry of cornstarch and water.
Let’s Make Pot Roast!
Okay, so what are the steps to make a killer slow cooker pot roast? It all starts with browning the meat. From there, you’ll deglaze the pan and create your sauce, and then let the roast slowly cook in the oven.
- Prep the Oven and the Rump Roast. To get started, preheat the oven to 350°F. Take out your roast, and pat the beef dry with paper towels. Sprinkle it generously on all sides with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning.
- Brown the Roast. Add a swirl of olive oil to a large Dutch oven set over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, place the roast in the hot oil, and let it brown on all sides. This should take 3 to 4 minutes per side. Once the meat is browned, place it on a clean plate.
- Make the Sauce. Next, cook your sliced onion and garlic in the same pot as the meat. If it starts to brown too quickly, add a splash of broth to the pot. Cook these ingredients for 3 – 5 minutes, and then add the tomato paste and brown sugar. Stir this for a minute to bring out the flavors, and then pour in your broth, wine, and herbs. Stir to combine.
- Roast the Beef. Add the browned roast back to the Dutch oven. Let it cook for about 5 minutes, until the sauce reduces a bit, and then cover it with the lid. Place it in the preheated oven, and let it cook for around 3 ½ hours.
- Add the Veggies and Finish Roasting. Carefully take the pot roast out of the oven, and take off the lid. Arrange the carrots, potatoes, and parsnips all around the roast. Cover, and return the roast to the oven for about one more hour. By that point, the meat and veggies should be very tender.
- Thicken the Gravy (Optional). Place the meat and vegetables on a serving platter, and thicken the gravy. Mix 2 tablespoons of cornstarch and 2 tablespoons of water, stirring so that there are no lumps. Combine this with 2 cups of the sauce from the pot roast, and whisk over medium-high heat. When the gravy thickens, take it off of the heat and serve.
How Long Do You Cook a Pot Roast?
That depends on the size of the roast and your oven – every roast and every oven is a little different. But, as a general rule of thumb, a 3 to 4 pound pot roast will take 3.5 to 4.5 hours to cook.
To make sure your pot roast is as juicy, tender, and flavorful as possible, be sure to read over these helpful recipe hints. Each one is a winner!
- Marbling: Look for a roast that is evenly marbled with fat. This will melt during the cooking process, resulting in a very tender, very tasty dish.
- Potatoes: Choose waxy potatoes, like fingerling or red, so that the potatoes won’t fall apart during the cooking process.
- Herbs: You can substitute your favorite herbs in this recipe, and keep in mind that dried herbs will work if you don’t have fresh.
Tasty Side Dishes
This pot roast recipe is a true one-pot meal, but if you would like to add a side dish or two, go for it! Here are some easy side dish ideas that go perfectly with pot roast:
- Salad: Any crisp, crunchy side salad would be perfect for adding a nice contrast to this meal, but this Garlic Parmesan Cauliflower Salad is especially good. You’ll love the tender crunch of marinated cauliflower florets in my favorite garlic Parmesan dressing.
- Broccolini: Add a punch of green and some fresh, lemony goodness to your table with this easy Sautéed Garlic Broccolini. It’s a simple, healthy side you will want to make again and again.
- Artichokes: Roasted Artichokes are a bold, memorable dish that work beautifully as an appetizer or a special side dish. Served with a drizzle of lemon-garlic sauce, they’re totally irresistible.
Refrigerating, Freezing, and Reheating
- To store leftover pot roast, you will need to cool the dish down (but do not leave it sitting out for more than a couple of hours, for food safety). Then cover it tightly or transfer to airtight containers. Refrigerate for 3 to 4 days.
- Reheat your leftovers covered, on the stove or in a 350°F oven. You can also microwave your leftovers. Whichever method you choose, heat the food until it’s piping hot all the way through, but do not overcook or the meat may dry out.
- To freeze, place the cooled beef and veggies in a freezer container, or in freezer bags, along with the gravy. Press out as much air as possible, and seal. Freeze for up to 3 months, and thaw in your refrigerator before reheating.
Perfect Pot Roast Recipe
For the Pot Roast and Vegetables
- 4 pound rump roast
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 6 cloves garlic, smashed
- 2½ tablespoons tomato paste
- ½ tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 cups beef broth
- ½ cup red wine
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, halved
- 8 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
- 2 medium parsnips, peeled and chopped
- fresh parsley, for garnish
For the Gravy
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon water
- 2 cups cooking liquid
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Pat the beef dry with paper towels and sprinkle well on all sides with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning.
- Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the meat and sear until browned on both sides, about 3 to 4 minutes per side.
- Transfer the browned beef to a plate.
- Place the sliced onion and garlic cloves in the same pot, and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, or until tender. If veggies starts to brown, add a splash of beef broth.
- Add the tomato paste and brown sugar, stirring, for 1 minute. Pour in beef broth, red wine, rosemary, and thyme.
- Return the meat to the pot and cook on medium for 5 minutes, or until the liquid reduces slightly. Cover the pot and transfer it to the oven.
- Cook the roast for about 3½ hours.
- Remove the pot from the oven and arrange the chopped carrots, potatoes and parsnips around the meat in the pot. Continue roasting for 1 more hour, or until meat is fall-apart tender and veggies are cooked through.
- To make the gravy, mix 2 tablespoons of cornstarch and 2 tablespoons of water, stirring so that there are no lumps. Whisk this mixture with 2 cups of the pot roast cooking liquid, in a saucepan set over medium-high heat. Once the mixture thickens, remove it from the heat and serve with the pot roast.
- Serve meat and vegetables on a large platter garnished with fresh parsley.