Here’s a no-fuss, easy, ultimate slow cooker pot roast recipe with fall-apart tender meat and vegetables in a hearty au jus gravy. Set, forget and come back later to enjoy this deliciously flavorful and comforting one-pot meal.
Today we’ll be making my version of the ultimate slow cooker pot roast. I’ve included your standard aromatics of onions and garlic with potatoes, carrots and celery to pair with the star of the show: a hearty slab of chuck roast. Cooked low and slow, the pot roast will give you meltingly fork-tender meat.
It’s a great way to make full use of the slow cooker towards the end of the year for a relatively hands-off, easy but filling warm meal that can feed a family. Leftovers taste even better the next day! Let’s get started.
How To Make The Best Slow Cooker Pot Roast
‣ 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. It is highly recommended! Sear the roast for about 5 minutes per side until nicely browned.
‣ Saute aromatics – Another way to make a better pot roast is to sear your aromatics beforehand. Saute the onions and garlic in some oil until fragrant before adding them to the slow cooker.
‣ Browned bits – Once you’ve done all these steps, you should have some leftover stuck-on bits in the pan. Use some wine or beef broth to deglaze the pan and scrape off these yummy browned bits into the broth. These browned bits, also known as fond, will add a ton of flavor to your roast.
ULTIMATE SLOW COOKER POT ROAST RECIPE TIPS
‣ Cut of meat – The best cut of meat for a slow cooker pot roast is a chuck roast. I’ve also tried round roast with good results and was able to cut it into thick slices like your typical oven-baked pot roast. You can find more detailed information here on the best cuts.
‣ Searing – Searing is optional but highly recommended to lock in the juices. See recipe notes above for more tips on how to make the best slow cooker pot roast.
‣ Slow cooker – For big roasts like these, you need at least a 6 qt. slow cooker to fit everything.
‣ Layering – 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.
‣ Onions and garlic – Can onions and garlic be substituted with onion and garlic powder? Yes, I would use maybe 1 teaspoon each and mix it in with the broth. But I would advocate using fresh onions and garlic for the best flavor and results.
‣ Potatoes – The best potatoes to use for a slow cooker pot roast are Yukon gold, gold, or yellow potatoes. For this recipe, I used baby Dutch yellow potatoes.
‣ Vegetables – 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 make them less likely to fall apart in the slow cooker than if they were cut.
‣ Tomato paste – I use Cento tomato paste that comes in a tube as it keeps and stores better than the ones in the can.
‣ Thyme – You can use dried or fresh thyme.
‣ Wine – Use some red wine to add some flavor or skip it if you prefer. You do not need to add additional liquid to make up for the wine.
‣ Gravy – The flour should help thicken the gravy a little but if you want it even thicker, you can cook it down over the stovetop or use 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.
And that’s about it. You can serve the pot roast with sides but since this is a one-pot meal, all you really need is some warm, crusty bread to dip into the au jus. Enjoy!