Nothing says family Sunday dinner like a melt-in-your-mouth, fork tender Classic Family Pot Roast. Cooked low and slow with beef broth, red wine, savory seasonings, aromatics and plenty of dinner vegetables, this classic comfort food recipe has been gathering friends and families around the dinner table for more years than we can count!
Nothing beats walking into a house flush with the comforting, rich aromas of a roast cooking in oven. For years, this was my Sunday “after church” memory. Mom would put it together before service, and it would cook, bubbling and simmering in all it’s braising juices and seasonings while we were gone. The thought of the welcoming smell alone would nudge and niggle each of us while we were away.
Oddly enough, it had the same mouthwatering effect any night of the week my mom decided that we should all sit down to a dinner of potatoes and carrots and juicy slices of roast. Talk about comfort food. After a long day at school, when the weather was cold, when you just needed that extra something. I don’t know if there is anything quite as reassuring as the “welcome home” aromas of a pot roast made just right.
What is Pot Roast
Pot Roast is a traditional family dish consisting of beef roast and dinner vegetables cooked all in one pot. It’s actually more of a cooking method rather than a specific cut of meat. There are 3 types of beef roast that are commonly used for pot roast. Choosing the right cut of meat will help to make sure that your roast turns out like you expect and lines up with your family likes.
- Chuck Roast- less expensive option, shreds easily when cooked for the right amount of time.
- Round Roast- leaner meat than the other two options, cooks up fork tender, but still good for slicing (look for Eye Round or Bottom Round)
- Brisket- fattier cut of meat, gets very tender when cooked slow, can be sliced or chopped
We ate Eye Round roast growing up because my dad likes roast sandwiches. The slices were perfect for that! Out of habit, I usually cook a round roast for my family too. But these instructions will work for any of the three roasts listed above. Easily shreddable chuck roast is great if you’re thinking of turning your leftovers into a stew.
What You Need To Make The Best Family Pot Roast
- 3lb beef roast (see types of roast above)
- baby red potatoes
- sweet onion
- beef broth
- red wine
- Worcestershire sauce
- minced garlic & onion flakes
- bay leaf
- dried thyme
- salt & pepper
- olive oil
How to Make A Classic Family Pot Roast
- Sear- Brown the roast in a hot skillet with olive oil. About 2 minutes on each side seals in the natural juices of the roast and creates a great base for your braising liquids.
- Liquids for Pot Roast- Use beef broth and red wine to get all the tasty “cooked on” bits from the bottom of your browning skillet. This adds layers of flavor to your sauce which will only make your roast better! Whisk in seasonings and aromatics.
- Cover & Cook- Add roast and chopped potatoes, carrots and onions to a large dutch oven or large casserole dish. Pour braising liquid over veggies and roast. Tuck in a bay leaf, cover and cook for 3-3.5 hours in an oven or 8-10 hours on low in a slow cooker, or crock pot. (See oven temps below.)
- Rest- Let your roast rest for 10- 15 minutes before shredding or slicing. After shredding or slicing, return it to the liquid to keep it moist and tender.
Tips for making a Tender & Juicy Pot Roast Every Time
- Always keep extra broth on hand while your roast cooks. If you need to add a little while the roast cooks, you can. This is a better option than adding water, which doesn’t do much for flavor. Why add something that doesn’t add any flavor? Keep your liquids rich so that they infuse loads of flavor into the beef.
- Cook it low and slow. Make sure that you allow for plenty of time. The first couple of hours cook the meat, while the next few make it falling apart good. If your roast seems tough, it needs to cook longer. Make sure it has plenty of liquids, cover it back up and let it cook for another hour or two.
- Use fresh vegetables. Fresh veggies hold up to the cooking times better and have more flavor to impart than frozen ones. Baby red potatoes require no peeling and hold together better than Russets. Large pieces of carrots also cook up better than small pieces or slices of carrots which tend to get too mushy. Lastly, if you want to add more veggies and layers of flavor, consider adding pieces of celery and/or mushrooms to your pot roast.
Other Main Dish Recipes You’ll Love
- Crock Pot BBQ Beef Pot Roast
- Ultimate Mexican Pot Roast
- Perfect Peppered Pork Loin
- Cherry Cola BBQ Pulled Pork
- Creole Roasted Turkey Breast
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Classic Family Pot Roast
- 2 Tbsp olive oil (+ extra salt & pepper)
- 3 lb round roast
- 4 large carrots, cut in 2" pieces
- 1 lb baby red potatoes, halved
- 1 large sweet onion, cut into chunks
- 3 C beef broth
- 1/2 C red wine
- 1/4 C Worcestershire sauce
- 1 Tbsp onion flakes
- 2.5 tsp minced garlic
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- Preheat oven to 325° Fahrenheit.
- heat olive oil in large skillet over medium high heat on stove top. Salt and pepper both sides of the roast. When skillet is very hot. Sear each side of roast for 2 minutes. Remove roast from skillet and set aside.
- Turn heat down to medium. Add broth and wine to skillet and stir to remove all of the "cooked on" bits from the bottom of the skillet. Whisk in Worcestershire sauce, onion flakes, minced garlic, salt & pepper and thyme. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Add seared roast and chopped vegetables to large dutch oven or casserole dish with lid. Pour broth mixture over roast and vegetables. Tuck in bay leaf. Cover and bake for 3.5 hours. Check around hour 2. If extra broth is needed, add 1 extra C of beef broth.
- When roast in fork tender, remove it from oven. Let rest for 10-15 minutes. Shred or slice. Return to liquid and veggies to serve.