Classic Pot Roast Recipe


This is my mom’s classic pot roast recipe and it’s the ultimate comfort meal for me. Whenever it’s rainy or cold, or just cloudy and dreary it’s the first thing I think of to make for dinner. It’s just a really warming, cozy and nourishing meal to have when it’s chilly outside.

The other thing I love about pot roast is that it always stretches into three meals at least, because you can make it into beef stew and have that for leftovers for a few days, or even hot beef sandwiches.

What do you need to make pot roast?

Meat – There are a few options of cuts you can use to make a pot roast, but I always go with a chuck roast. It has a pretty good amount of fat typically which yields a really flavorful roast. Pick one that looks nice and red and has good marbling. I try to avoid one that has a huge chunk of fat in the middle, or lots of tendons.

Veg – To go in with the pot roast we always add carrots and onions, then potatoes later. I do sometimes add celery if I have it on hand just to lend even more flavor to the meat and gravy.

Spices/herbs – I add a good amount of garlic, usually three cloves, as well as fresh thyme, bay leaves, worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, sometimes rosemary, and a rather unconventional ingredient, Italian seasoning. It’s the secret to a great pot roast, I’m convinced!

Stock – For a pot roast I go with beef stock or bone broth. I also add a cup of red wine. This can be any red wine you have on hand, but it’s necessary for that really rich, deep flavor.

Dutch oven – You can totally adapt this recipe to the InstantPot or slow cooker, but by far my favorite method of cooking a pot roast is in my heavy enameled dutch oven. It takes a long time in the oven, but I always feel the flavor ends up being better this way.

How to make pot roast

Prep your ingredients – The first thing I always do is get out all the vegetables, seasonings, herbs, equipment, etc. Then I preheat the oven to 325. Heat up the dutch oven on the stovetop to medium/high heat, and while that’s heating I start chopping the vegetables up. I just do a rough chop on the carrots, garlic, and onion and set them aside. Then I get out my herbs, tomato paste, Worcestershire, red wine, and beef stock so it’s ready when I need it.

Ingredients for pot roast
Ingredients for pot roast

Sear the meat – One key to a really flavorful pot roast is a nice brown sear on the meat. I liberally season each side with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, then add olive oil to the pot and sear it for about 4 minutes on each side. This makes a really great crust on the meat and adds so much flavor to the dish.

Sauté the veggies – After the meat is done searing, I remove it from the pot and turn the heat down to medium. Then add in the carrots, onions, garlic, fresh thyme, and bay leaf. I cook it for about five minutes until the onions start to turn translucent and they become fragrant. After that I add in the tomato paste and continue cooking the mixture for one more minute.

Add everything else in and throw it in the oven! – After I finish sautéing the tomato paste in with the veggies and herbs all that’s left is to pour in the wine and stock, add the Worcestershire, Italian seasoning, and pot roast with all its juices, bring the whole thing to a boil and put it into the oven with the lid on. I cook it at 325 for 2.5 hours. Meanwhile, I chop up the potatoes into bite sized pieces. After 2.5 hours I take it out, add in the potatoes and put it back in for 30 minutes. I do usually try to push the potatoes down into the cooking liquid so they take on some flavor.

Pot roast in a dutch oven

Serve – To serve, I remove the meat and veggies from the dutch oven and set them aside in a 9×13 dish for serving. Then I return the pot to the stovetop to make the drippings into gravy. I add about 2 tablespoons of flour to a small dish with an equal amount of cold water, and whisk it until there are no lumps. Then whisk this slowly into the simmering drippings until thickened. We also love to serve pot roast with a crusty loaf of bread, and this super simple recipe is my favorite.

Pot roast, potatoes, and carrots on a plate.

Let me know in the comments if you made this recipe, or what your favorite comfort food is! Hope you enjoy, and see below for a recipe card.

Recipe card for pot roast recipe

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