Try this Simple Oven Baked Pot Roast Recipe - fork tender beef with a delicious finger licking, velvety sauce. Transform a bargain chuck roast into something EPIC!
Few foods deliver a bang-for-the-buck as the humble pot roast. Its an absolutely scrumptious meal. Its cheap and easy and the only thing you need is time, most of which is unattended. Presented on a platter, pot roast makes an impressive main course for large gatherings. The gravy developed over hours of simmering over low heat is always a crowd pleaser and easily beats anything out of a can.
Leftovers, if you have any, are the best part. Cold pot roast makes outstanding sandwiches with just a dab of mayonnaise and mustard. It can also be used as a base for a multitude of delicious dinner and lunch options from tasty tacos to gourmet pot roast stroganoff.
What is Pot Roast?
Pot Roast as the name suggests, is a large, tough cut of beef which is first browned in a pot, then slow cooked until fork tender, in a broth with vegetables and herbs, Tough cuts like chuck roast and round roast, which are filled with connective tissue, are ideal for cooking this dish.
A large pot with a lid like a dutch oven is recommended for this Oven Baked Pot Roast Recipe. If you do not have a lid or are using a deep roasting pan, you can seal the pot or pan with foil during the roasting process.
A splatter guard is an optional but highly recommended tool to use during the browning process. If you do not have one, a pot lid or plate will also do the trick.
Chuck roast, salt and pepper
- Chuck roast can be purchased from your local butcher, larger grocery stores and supermarkets. In addition to chuck roast, butchers will often carry other cuts which are suitable for pot roasts.
- Salt and pepper is used to brine and season the meat.
- Carrots, celery and onions are sautéed in olive oil over low heat to help provide a fragrant flavor base for the pot roast.
Mirepoix is a French culinary term that refers to the aromatic flavor base produced by lightly sautéing carrots, onions and celery in butter, without browning them. Typically used as a flavor base for stews, soups and sauces mirepoix is a staple of French cooking.
- Red wine is used to deglaze the pan. It also adds a richness that helps really deepen the flavor of the pot roast. During the deglazing process, the wine is simmered until it reaches a syrupy consistency so all the alcohol evaporates. If you prefer not to use red wine, substitute the 2 cups of wine with 1 cup of balsamic vinegar and 1 cup of beef or chicken stock.
- Chicken stock is better than water as it adds flavor. Beef stock can also be used instead of chicken stock - I have used both and have never noticed a difference in flavor.
- I like using garlic powder because it is more potent that using fresh garlic cloves in pot roast. However, fresh garlic can be used as well.
- Tomato paste and flour are browned in this recipe to add more explosive meaty flavor to the gravy.
- Mustard adds a tangy, acidic flavor that brings out the umami flavor in this recipe.
- Sugar helps brightens the overall flavors.
Vegetables and herbs
- Potatoes and Carrots - these are standard root vegetables used in pot roast. That being said, pot roast would also go very well with other vegetables like parsnip, turnip and leek. You can use red potatoes, Yukon potatoes or even Idaho potatoes in this recipe as long as you cut them into smaller pieces. Compared to baby carrots, large carrots tend to do better in pot roast because they keep their shape. Baby carrots tend to quickly disintegrate into the sauce during the cooking process.
- Mushrooms add some visual interest and texture to the dish.
- Fresh thyme and rosemary - these herbs are added right at the end for added brightness to this classic pot roast recipe.
How to make this Flavorful Pot Roast Recipe
Dry brine the roast. Use paper towels to pat the roast dry. If needed, remove any thick layers of fat on the outside or in the middle - there is usually a large clumps of fat in the middle of a chuck roast. Roll and tie the roast with kitchen twine if it has already not been prepared this way, by the butcher - tying the pot roast helps it stay in one piece. Rub the roast liberally, with salt and pepper. Refrigerate the brined roast for a full 24 hours. This step makes the roast more tender and better seasoning.
Preheat oven to 350°F. The secret to a good pot roast is cooking at low heat for as long as possible. This allows the meat's enzymes to act as natural tenderizers, breaking down the tough connective tissue.
Brown the roast. Heat the olive oil in a dutch oven on medium heat until hot. Brown the roast on all sides evenly - about 3-4 minutes on each side for about 10-15 minutes, taking care not to burn the fond (brown bits that develop at the bottom of the pan). Tip: The roast is ready to turn when it releases easily from the pan and does not stick. I find that using a splatter guard during this stage is enormously helpful. Transfer the roast to a cutting board or plate.
Sauté the mirepoix. Lightly sauté the onions, carrot and celery in the pan juices until fragrant and transparent.
Brown the tomato paste. Add the flour and tomato paste. Sauté until the tomato paste is browned - browned tomato paste adds incredible meaty flavor to the sauce.
Deglaze the pan. Add the red wine and deglaze the pan by stirring the pan, scraping across the bottom of the pot to pick up all the browned bits. Simmer until at least a third of the liquid has evaporated. The sauce should look syrupy and lightly coat a spoon.
Transfer the roast and any released juices into the dutch oven. Add the remaining broth ingredients and bring to a simmer.
First Roast. Cover the pot with a lid and transfer to the middle rack of the preheated oven. Roast for 2 ½ hours.
Second Roast with Vegetables. Add the vegetables to the pot. If the liquid has been mostly absorbed, add another cup of broth. Use a spoon to ensure all the vegetables are submerged to the extent possible in the broth. Roast for another hour or until the meat is fork tender and the vegetables are cooked through.
Add the herbs. Remove the rosemary and thyme leaves from the stems. Chop into small pieces. Add to the pot and stir. Taste and adjust for seasoning - add another teaspoon salt if need. Cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes.
Let the roast rest for at least 15-20 minutes before serving. This is a critical step to ensure that the meat has a chance to reabsorb some of the juices. To serve, cut the roast into thick slices or break apart with a fork. Serve with the vegetables and gravy.
What is the best cut of beef for a tender pot roast?
When picking your pot roast, choose a tough cut which has a lot of spiderweb-like marbling.
The best and most affordable cut of beef for pot roast is boneless chuck roast due to its abundant marbling and tough connective tissue. Slow cooking at a low temperature over a long period of time transforms boneless chuck roast into juicy, fork tender beef.
Chuck roast can be purchased as either a large roast or a flat piece. If you purchase a flat piece, roll the meat into a roast and tie with kitchen string. Your butchers will also roll and tie the chuck roast for you.
Beef brisket is also an excellent choice for pot roast but is not usually used for pot roast as it less affordable than boneless chuck roast.
Tips for making the best Pot Roast
- Select the best cut of meat - Boneless chuck roast is the best pick because it has abundant marbling and connective tissue in addition to being affordable. Brisket is more expensive but also makes outstanding pot roast. Bottom or Top Round roasts tend to be leaner, with less marbling so are not as tender.
- Season the meat for 24 hours - The secret to very tender, thoroughly seasoned pot roast is to rub the roast with salt and black pepper. During the brining process, the salt is absorbed into the meat, resulting in exceptionally well seasoned, tender meat.
- Trim excess fat - trim any large ribbons of visible fat (not marbling) because it will just make the sauce oily.
- Remove excess oil after braising - depending on the amount of fat in the meat there could be a lot of fat. If you have more than a quarter cup of fat in the pan, remove it.
- Don't forget to brown the beef to develop the flavor - its tempting to skip browning the beef because it might not matter after the long cooking process. However, browning the roast amplifies the beefy flavor of the pot roast while also creating the "browned bits" which enhances the flavor of the gravy later.
- Brown the tomato paste to help develop a "meatier" taste.
- Thoroughly scrape the browned bits - When deglazing the pan scrape along the entire bottom of the pan to release all the delicious brown bits created by the browning process.
- Put the vegetables in later - Cook the pot roast for at least 1 ½-2 hours before adding the vegetables otherwise they may just dissolve.
- Allow the pot roast to rest for at least 15-20 minutes - This makes a noticeable difference to the taste and flavor of the pot roast. If you cut the meat immediately after cooking, the juices will simply pool onto the plate, leaving very dry meat. Allowing the roast to rest, allows the protein molecules to relax, increasing their ability to retain moisture resulting in juicy and flavorful meat.
After cooling, store the pot roast, vegetables and gravy in separate air tight containers. This ensures that the delicious gravy is not simply absorbed into the vegetables and meat. It also helps prevent the vegetables from turning brown.
Pot Roast is a perishable food which should be put in the refrigerator within two hours of cooking. In hotter weather (e.g., 90°F+), it is best to store it within an hour of cooking.
When stored in an airtight conditioner (after cooling to room temperature), pot roast will keep fresh in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
When stored in the freezer, a pot roast can last for about two months before the taste and texture begins to change.
Each serving of this Oven Baked Pot Roast Recipe has about 623 calories, 43.8g of protein, 39.1g of fat and 15g of carbohydrates.
This recipe yields approximately 12 servings. The nutrition information has been calculated using an online recipe nutrition calculator and is intended for informational purposes only. Please use it as a general guideline. If the nutrition information is important to you, you should independently verify it using your preferred tool.
What to do with leftover pot roast
The best part about this Simple Oven Baked Pot Roast Recipe are the leftovers! Pot Roast is a superb base ingredient for a multitude of easy dinner dishes including pot roast stroganoff, stew, soup, sandwiches, pasta and tacos.
Pot Roast FAQs
Pot roast is cooked at a low temperature for a long time in a braising liquid. The braising liquid is used to keep the pot roast juicy and moist. The most common liquids used are water, red wine and broth or stock. Other liquids used include beer, tomato sauce, fruit juice or ale.
Any large piece of meat will get more tender the longer it cooks. Heat cause the melting of collagen which is the connective tissue protein in meat. When collagen melts it turns into a rich liquid (gelatin) that has a lot of flavor and very silky texture.
Pump up the flavor in pot roast by
* liberally seasoning the meat, then refrigerating for 24 hours before cooking
* browning the meat in oil before cooking - the browned bits or "fond" add further flavor to the sauce
* pumpimg up the umami flavor by adding other flavorings like browned tomato paste, garlic powder, ketchup, soy sauce, anchovies and Worcestershire sauce
* adding flavor seasonings like Lipton onion soup mix, Maggi, bouillon, mushroon soy soup mix, steak seasoning mix
* cooking in an oven not a slow cooker
* adding a little balsamic vinegar to add an acid kick
* using a good quality red wine
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Finally, if you make this Oven Baked Pot Roast Recipe
I'd love to hear how it went - please leave a comment and rate this recipe. Above all, I love hearing from all of you and will do my best to answer each and every comment!
Simple Oven Baked Pot Roast Recipe
- large heavy pot e.g., large dutch oven
- 4 pound boneless chuck roast trimmed of excess fat
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper freshly ground
- 2 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 carrot peeled and chopped
- 1 onion large, sliced
- 1 celery stalk cut into 1 inch pieces
- 1 Tablespoon flour
- 2 Tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 cup red wine
- 3 cups beef or chicken stock low sodium
- 1 Tablespoon garlic powder
- 2 Tablespoon mustard
- 1 Tablespoon sugar
- 2 bouillon cubes
- 1 pound baby potatoes halved, , like klondlike fingerling potatoes
- 1 pound carrots large, cut into 2 inch pieces
- 8 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- Dry brine the roast. Pat the roast dry with a paper towel. Rub the roast liberally, with salt and pepper. Cover the roast with plasticwrap and refrigerate for a full 24 hours.
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Brown the roast. Heat oil in a dutch oven on medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Brown the roast all over evenly -about 3-4 minutes on each side for about 10-15 minutes.
- Sauté the mirepoix. Transfer the roast to a plate. Saute onions, carrot and celery in the dutch oven until fragrant and transparent.
- Brown the tomato paste. Add the flour and tomato paste. Sauté until the tomato paste is browned - browned tomato paste adds incredible flavor to the sauce.
- Deglaze the pan. Add the red wine and deglaze the pan. Stir the pan, scraping across the bottom on the pan to pick up all the browned bits.Transfer the roast to the dutch oven. Add the remaining broth ingredients and bring to a simmer.
- First Roast. Cover the pot with a lid and transfer to the middle rack of the oven. Roast for 2 ½ hours.
- Second Roast with Vegetables. Add the vegetables to the pot. If the liquid has been mostly absorbed, add another cup of broth. Roast for another hour or until the meat is fork tender and the vegetables are cooked through.
- Add the herbs. Remove the rosemary and thyme leaves from the stems. Chop into small pieces. Add to the pot and stir. Taste and adjust for seasoning. Break up the larger pieces of pot roast with a fork. Simmer for about 5 minutes.
- Let the roast rest for at least 15-20 minutes before serving. To serve, cut the roast into thick slices or break apart with a fork. Serve with the vegetables.