Beef/ Slow Cooker

Slow Cooker Three Packet Roast

This slow cooker three packet roast is one of the simplest roasts to throw together for delicious and tender, fall-apart meat. Serve with some carrots and potatoes for easy, comfort food.

A plate of shredded chuck roast with mashed potatoes and carrots topped with fresh parsley.

Today we’re making a slow cooker three packet roast that packs a whole lot of flavor for a humble six ingredients recipe. It’s a little bit easier than Mississippi pot roast and definitely easier than your more traditional slow cooker pot roast.

Why is it called three packet roast? Because three packet roast, also known as three envelope roast is basically just that, a cut of chuck roast seasoned with three envelopes or flavor packets. The secret is the variety of intense flavors packed into these packets: ranch dressing, Italian dressing and brown gravy. All the flavors that make each and every one of them shine individually combine into a deliciously tangy, savory, and deeply robust roast. So let’s start cooking!


I know the flavor combination may sound a little strange, it sure did to me. Ranch dressing in a beef roast? But it works! The very famous Mississippi pot roast proved it works.

Just make sure to get the packets mixes and not the sauces. They are about a dollar and some change each in grocery stores and easy enough to find. I’ve taken the liberty of adding in an onion for more flavor but that’s optional. Caramelized onions are pretty great though.

Two side by side photos of three packet roast in a slow cooker and a cutting board of shredded meat.

Three packets – For this recipe, I used a 0.7 oz. packet of Good Seasons Italian salad dressing and recipe mix, a 1 oz. packet of Hidden Valley seasoning and dry mix and a 0.87 oz. packet of McCormick brown gravy mix.

Season generously – Pat the beef dry with paper towels beforehand. Season your pot roast thoroughly on both sides with salt and pepper, making sure to pat the seasonings in so they adhere. I like using coarse sea salt because it’s more forgiving than your average table salt and you can be as generous as you like with it.

Sear the meat – Searing the meat before putting it in the slow cooker is one of the best ways you can get a juicy, flavorful pot roast. This step is optional but is highly recommended! Sear the roast for about 5 minutes per side until nicely browned.

Slow cooker – For big roasts like these, you need at least a 6 qt. slow cooker to fit everything. I particularly like this brand because I can sear my roasts in the insert itself and skip washing another pot.

A plate of shredded chuck roast with mashed potatoes and carrots topped with fresh parsley.

Adding veggies – You can also toss in a few veggies like carrots and potatoes. I like slicing them up big so they don’t fall apart from cooking too long in the slow cooker. The bigger the cut, the less they disintegrate and fall apart in the slow cooker, so I cut mine into 3″ pieces. You can also use baby potatoes, pearl onions and baby carrots as having them whole makes them less likely to fall apart in the slow cooker.

If you do add veggies, how you layer the meat and vegetables depends on personal preference. The veggies will be fully cooked either way. Layer the veggies under the meat if you want them to absorb the meat juices. This will make them more tender but a little mushy. They will also be slightly browned this way from the au jus. If you want them to retain their color, shape and have a little more firmness, layer them on top of the meat.

Gravy – You can cook it down the gravy over the stovetop or by using a cornstarch slurry. This is my preferred method of thickening things and I always have some cornstarch handy specifically for thickening soups, stews, gravy, or sauces. It’s the most efficient and easiest way to thicken things.

Beef broth – I have tried this with less-sodium beef broth and found it a little too salty once combined with all the sodium content in the flavor packets. I recommend sticking to water!

Four packet roast – Some folks have successfully added in onion gravy mix as a fourth packet.

A plate of shredded chuck roast with mashed potatoes and carrots topped with fresh parsley.

And that’s about it! There’s not much to talk about since this is a super simple and easy roast to throw together in the slow cooker. Have fun with your fall-apart, tender meat and enjoy!

This post was originally published on October, 22 2013 and updated on December, 14 2021.


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A plate of shredded chuck roast with mashed potatoes and carrots topped with fresh parsley.

Slow Cooker Three Packet Roast

  • Author: The Cooking Jar
  • Total Time: 8 hours 5 minutes
  • Yield: 8


This slow cooker three packet roast is one of the simplest roasts to throw together for delicious and tender, fall-apart meat.


Units Scale
  • 34 lb. chuck roast
  • 1 large yellow onion, cut into wedges
  • 1 packet Italian-style dressing mix
  • 1 packet ranch dressing mix
  • 1 packet brown gravy mix
  • 2 cups water
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Season the meat with salt and pepper on both sides and pat it in.
  2. [Optional step] Over medium-high heat, sear the meat on all sides in some oil until browned.
  3. Transfer to a 6 qt. slow cooker and add in the onion wedges.
  4. Stir the packet contents into the water until completely dissolved. Pour the gravy over the meat.
  5. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.
  6. Dish and serve hot.
  7. Enjoy!
  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 8 hours

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  • Reply
    April 16, 2019 at 10:52 PM

    What if i just had the italian and the brown gravy?

    • Reply
      The Cooking Jar
      April 17, 2019 at 4:11 PM

      It should be fine, it’ll just miss the notes of ranch to it. Good luck!

  • Reply
    Lee Turford
    August 7, 2017 at 10:16 PM

    I add a 4th envelope, Onion soup mix as well as fresh carrots & parsnips.

    • Reply
      The Cooking Jar
      September 2, 2017 at 4:13 PM

      Onion would work perfectly with the other flavors. Thanks for trying out an old recipe of mine, Lee. I completely forgot I had it lurking there 😉

  • Reply
    September 22, 2014 at 10:01 PM

    We loved this! I switched out the Italian seasoning for a salt free one (my husband has high blood pressure), and used a 1 lb of sliced mushrooms instead of the onion. He commented on the smell as soon as he walked into the house. The gravy was excellent & there was lots of it. We’ve enjoyed the beef in sandwiches today & tomorrow night we will be making Philly cheese steak sandwiches with the left overs. It looks like there will still be quite a bit of gravy left, but it will make a great soup base. Another hit! kel

    • Reply
      The Cooking Jar
      September 25, 2014 at 7:23 PM

      That’s great to hear, Kelly! Pairing it with mushrooms sounds so delicious. I love mushrooms! And you have such great ideas of what to do with leftovers. I need to try out that Philly cheese steak sandwich with this soon.

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