Beef, Instant Pot, Intermediate, Slow Cooker

Pot Roast Recipe Three Ways

Pot roast is the ultimate comfort food. Learn how to make this delicious pot roast recipe in an electric pressure cooker, in a slow cooker, or in the oven.

two hands laying a white platter with roast and veggieson a table

A good old-fashioned pot roast is one of my favorite comfort foods. On the days I have pot roast planned for dinner that night, I find that I look forward to it all day. Because the cut of beef used for a pot roast is suited to low and slow cooking, pot roast used to be reserved for a day when you had hours to let it cook in the oven. I remember as a kid, overhearing ladies in church on Sunday morning commenting on the pot roast they had left cooking in the oven before they left for services.

Today, slow cookers and electric pressure cookers such as Instant Pots have taken a lot of the work out of cooking the perfect pot roast. It’s no big deal to plan on serving pot roast for dinner on a random Tuesday night. However, you don’t have to have a fancy piece of equipment to serve the prefect pot roast. Here are three ways to achieve mouthwatering results.

What is the difference between pot roast and roast beef?

These two words actually describe the cooking method used to cook traditionally tough cuts of beef. Pot roasts are cooked in liquid until fork tender and usually shredded before serving. Roast beef is cooked using dry heat and served in slices cut across the grain.

What is the best cut of beef for pot roast?

Most roasts come from two primary locations on the cow, the shoulder and the hind quarters. Shoulder cuts have more fat throughout, called marbling, which adds great flavor and prevents the roast from drying out. Chuck roast, which is a pretty economical cut of meat, is the most common roast used for pot roast. It’s what I usually use. You might also see these roasts labeled simply as shoulder roast.

Roasts that are cut from the hind quarters contain less fat. Therefore, these cuts are suited to wet cooking methods such as slow cooker or pressure cooker. Roasts labeled as bottom round, rump roast and eye of round roast come from this area.

Cow butcher diagram.

My secret ingredient for tender roast

Acid breaks down meat fibers, which is another way to help tenderize meat. I always add a little bit of brown soda to my cooking liquid before cooking. Don’t worry, I’ve never noticed an overly sweet flavor to the meat afterwards.

What is the difference between horseradish sauce and prepared horseradish sauce?

Prepared horseradish and horseradish sauce are not the same thing. Prepared horseradish is grated horseradish pickled in vinegar. Horseradish sauce is made with prepared horseradish and mixed with sour cream or mayonnaise. The flavor of horseradish sauce is not as strong as prepared horseradish. Just make sure the label on the bottle says prepared.

prepared horseradish

Instant Pot Pot Roast

Instant Pots are everywhere now. While I don’t usually like to jump on bandwagons, I can honestly say this little appliance is a life saver. I rarely use my slow cooker anymore since getting my Instant Pot.

roast browning in an Instant Pot

Regardless of cooking method, the first thing I like to do it brown the outside of my meat. It gives the meat a more appealing color, but you don’t HAVE to do this. Start by seasoning both sides of the roast generously with salt and pepper. Then turn on the SAUTE function on the Instant Pot. Add one tablespoon of cooking oil. Once the Instant Pot reads HOT, add the roast and brown the roast on all sides. Remove the roast from the pot and set aside.

Add the soda. It will sizzle up and soften any bits that stuck to the pan during the browning process. This is called deglazing. Scrape up these bits with wooden spoon. Turn off the SAUTE function.

roast covered with prepared horseradish

Rub the outside of the roast with one eight-ounce jar of prepared horseradish sauce. Return the roast to the Instant Pot. Seal the lid and set the FUNCTION to manual and the timer to 70 minutes.

In the meantime, season the potatoes and carrots with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Once the timer has gone off, release the pressure manually. Add the potatoes, carrots, garlic and frozen peas to the pot. Replace the lid, set the function to MANUAL and set the timer for 20 minutes.

roasted vegetables in an Instant Pot

Release the pressure, either manually or by natural release. Remove the meat from the pot and shred. Keep warm. Remove the vegetables from the pot and keep warm.

In a small bowl, mix ½ cup of the juice from the bottom of the pot with three tablespoons of cornstarch to make a slurry. Pour the mixture into the pot. Set the function to SAUTE and keep the temperature to medium. Once the mixture comes to a boil, whisk until it begins to thicken.

Serve the shredded roast alongside the vegetables, drizzled with the gravy.

Slow Cooker Pot Roast

While the Instant Pot is my preferred method for preparing a pot roast, not so long ago I made it exclusively in my slow cooker. I strongly recommend looking for these plastic slow cooker liners at your grocery store. It makes clean up such a breeze! No gunk stuck to the bottom of the crock. Simply remove the plastic liner to reveal a clean crock underneath.

I always start by browning the outside of me meat. Cooking in a slow cooker gives pot roast an unappealing gray color. However, if you are short on time, you don’t HAVE to do this. To brown, heat 1-2 tablespoons of oil in a large pan. Season the outside of the roast generously with salt and pepper. Then add the roast to the pan and cook for a few minutes on each side until the roast has a nice brown hue to it. Remove the roast from the pan and set aside.

If you have some bits of food stuck to the bottom of the pan, add a little of the soda, broth or even water to remove it. But don’t throw it away! There is a lot of flavor there. Add the liquid and what you’ve scraped up to the crock of your slow cooker.

slicing carrots on a cutting board

Season the potatoes and carrots with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Arrange them, along with the minced garlic and frozen peas, in the bottom of the slow cooker.

Rub the outside of the roast with one eight-ounce jar of prepared horseradish sauce. Place the roast on top of the vegetables. Cover the top of your slow cooker with the lid. Cook on high for 4 hours or on low for six hours.

Before serving, remove the roast from the slow cooker. Shred and set aside to keep warm. Remove the vegetables from the slow cooker and set aside to keep warm. Pour two cups of the cooking liquid from the bottom of the slow cooker into a small saucepan and bring to a boil.

Combine three tablespoons of cornstarch with about a ¼ cup of water. You don’t want to add the cornstarch directly to the hot liquid or it will form lumps. Once the cooking liquid begins to boil, add the cornstarch slurry. Continue to boil over medium heat until the gravy starts to thicken. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve the shredded roast alongside the vegetables, drizzled with the gravy.

Pot Roast in the Oven

You don’t have to have any special equipment to prepare a pot roast. My grandma and mama made pot roast in the oven for years. It’s nice to have some sort of large, oven proof covered pan such as a Dutch oven or covered roasting pan. But, a large 9 x 13 casserole dish tented with aluminum foil also works (it’s what I used to use).

First, preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

I always start by browning the outside of my meat to make it look more appealing. But, if you are short on time, you can skip this step. Heat a couple tablespoons of cooking oil in a large pan. Season the outside of the roast generously with salt and ground black pepper. Add the roast to the pan and cook for a few minutes on each side until the roast has a nice brown hue to it. Remove the roast from the pan and set aside.

If you have some bits of food stuck to the bottom of the pan, add some liquid such as a little of the soda, broth or even water to remove it. Add the liquid and what you’ve scraped up to the bottom of your roasting pan.

Season the potatoes and carrots with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Arrange them, along with the minced garlic and frozen peas, in the bottom of the roasting.

Rub the outside of the roast with one eight-ounce jar of prepared horseradish sauce. Place the roast on top of the vegetables. Cover the top of your roasting pan with the lid or tent with aluminum foil. Cook for four hours until tender.

Before serving, remove the roast from the pan. Shred and set aside to keep warm. Remove the vegetables from the pan and set aside to keep warm. Pour two cups of the cooking liquid from the bottom of the roasting pan into a small saucepan and bring to a boil.

Combine three tablespoons of cornstarch with about a ¼ cup of water. You don’t want to add the cornstarch directly to the hot liquid or it will form lumps. Once the cooking liquid begins to boil, add the cornstarch slurry. Continue to boil over medium heat until the gravy starts to thicken. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve the shredded roast alongside the vegetables, drizzled with the gravy.

How long will pot roast keep in the fridge?

Pot roast should be refrigerated within two hours. Wrap leftovers in foil or in a plastic container with a lid. Leftover pot roast should be eaten within four days.

The leftover meat can be frozen for up to six months. Place it in a freezer safe container with a lid. I personally like to use my vaccum sealer for this job. I do not recommend freezing any leftover vegetables. The process of freezing and thawing will destroy the texture and you will be left with mush.

Ideas for leftover pot roast

My favorite way to use leftover pot roast with all the trimmings to make vegetable beef soup! It only requires a few low cost additional ingredients, it’s a great way to stretch a grocery budget and it’s so tasty on a cold day.

More comfort food recipe ideas:

pouring gravy over the roast before serving

two hands laying a white platter with roast and veggieson a table
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Pot Roast Recipe Three Ways

Pot roast is the ultimate comfort food. Learn how to make this delicious pot roast recipe in an electric pressure cooker, in a slow cooker, or in the oven.
Course Main Courses
Cuisine American
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Calories 200kcal

Ingredients

  • 4- pounds chuck roast
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1 cup brown soda
  • 1 jar 8 ounces prepared horseradish
  • 8 small red potatoes quartered
  • 5 medium carrots cut into three-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 10 ounce bag of frozen peas
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

Instant Pot Method:

  • Season both sides of the roast with salt and pepper.
  • Turn on the SAUTE function on the Instant Pot. Add the cooking oil. Once the oil is hot, brown the roast on all sides. Remove the roast from the pot and set aside.
  • Deglaze the pan with the soda. Turn off the SAUTE function.
  • Cover the outside of the roast with the horseradish sauce. Place the roast into the pot. Seal the lid and set the FUNCTION to manual and the timer to 60 minutes.
  • In the meantime, season the potatoes and carrots with the olive oil, salt and pepper.
  • Once the timer has gone off, release the pressure manually. Add the potatoes, carrots, garlic and frozen peas to the pot. Replace the lid, set the function to MANUAL and set the timer for 20 minutes.
  • Release the pressure, either manually or by natural release. Remove the meat from the pot and shred. Keep warm.
  • Remove the vegetables from the pot and keep warm.
  • In a small bowl, mix ½ cup of the remaining gravy in the pot with three tablespoons of cornstarch to make a slurry. Pour the mixture into the pot. Set the function to SAUTE and keep the temperature to medium. Once the mixture comes to a boil, whisk until it begins to thicken.
  • Serve the shredded roast alongside the vegetables, drizzled with the gravy.

Slow Cooker Method:

  • Season both sides of the roast with salt and pepper.
  • Heat the cooking oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the roast to the pan and brown for a few minutes on each side until brown. Remove the roast from the pan and set aside.
  • Deglaze the pan with the soda. Add the liquid and what you’ve scraped up to the crock of your slow cooker.
  • Season the potatoes and carrots with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Arrange them, along with the minced garlic and frozen peas, in the bottom of the slow cooker.
  • Rub the outside of the roast with the prepared horseradish sauce. Place the roast on top of the vegetables. Cover the top of your slow cooker with the lid. Cook on high for 4 hours or on low for six hours.
  • Before serving, remove the roast from the slow cooker. Shred and set aside to keep warm. Remove the vegetables from the slow cooker and set aside to keep warm. Pour two cups of the cooking liquid from the bottom of the slow cooker into a small saucepan and bring to a boil.
  • Combine cornstarch with about a ¼ cup of water. Once the cooking liquid begins to boil, add the cornstarch slurry. Continue to boil over medium heat until the gravy starts to thicken. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve the shredded roast alongside the vegetables, drizzled with the gravy.

Oven Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Season both sides of the roast with salt and pepper.
  • Heat the cooking oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the roast to the pan and brown for a few minutes on each side until brown. Remove the roast from the pan and set aside.
  • Deglaze the pan with the soda. Add the liquid and what you’ve scraped up to the bottom of a roasting pan.
  • Season the potatoes and carrots with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Arrange them, along with the minced garlic and frozen peas, in the bottom of the roasting pan.
  • Rub the outside of the roast with the prepared horseradish sauce. Place the roast on top of the vegetables. Cover the top of your roasting pan with the lid or tent with aluminum foil. Cook for four hours until tender.
  • Before serving, remove the roast from the pan. Shred and set aside to keep warm. Remove the vegetables from the pan and set aside to keep warm. Pour two cups of the cooking liquid from the bottom of the roasting pan into a small saucepan and bring to a boil.
  • Combine the cornstarch with about a ¼ cup of water. Continue to boil over medium heat until the gravy starts to thicken. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve the shredded roast alongside the vegetables, drizzled with the gravy.

Notes

Nutrition data for pot roast only.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 200kcal | Carbohydrates: 2.7g | Protein: 30.7g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 93.3mg | Sodium: 600mg | Potassium: 613.3mg | Sugar: 0.7g | Iron: 26.7mg

2 Comments

  1. Sounds like a great recipe; but what is brown soda? I grew up in the South, but have never heard of brown soda.

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