Instant Pot Pot Roast is truly the BEST recipe for pot roast! The beef is so tender, it falls apart as you spoon it out of the most delicious gravy. Cook the vegetables right in the gravy with or without the beef and infuse it with the same mouthwatering flavors as the beef.
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What Is Pot Roast?
Pot roast is more of a name for the cooking method rather than the meat itself. It refers to a tough cut of meat that is cooked by braising with or without vegetables. Braising is a cooking technique where you start by searing meat on high heat and then slowly cook it in liquid at low temperature.
Using a pressure cooker for this dish will help you achieve the same tender meat in a fraction of the time. In a slow cooker, pot roast takes about 8 hours to cook but in a pressure cooker, it takes less than 2 hours.
Cooking it in an Instant Pot results in the most tender beef and it’s the fastest cooking method. But, you can always use your trustee slow cooker and I have instruction for that below!
Beef Chuck Roast – You can cook 3 to 5 lb beef chunk in a 6 quart Instant Pot since meat is cooked first without vegetables. You will need to cut larger size beef into 3 (or more) pieces and sear them separately.
Red Wine – As a rule of thumb, always cook with wine that you would actually drink so you know you’ll like the taste.
Beef Stock – I like to use Homemade Beef Stock whenever I can.
Garlic – Use fresh garlic cloves for the very best flavor and aroma. To really maximize the flavor, smash the garlic cloves to release all of the natural oils.
Herbs – Thyme and bay leaves help create a nicely classic herbaceous note.
Celery – Always give your celery a little rinse before chopping.
Onion – Yellow onions work best because they have a natural sweetness to them. In a pinch, a white onion will also get the job done.
Baby Gold Potatoes- These have the best tender texture! Also, because the skin is so delicate on young potatoes, there’s no need to peel them.
See the recipe card below for the full list of ingredients and instructions.
What Beef to Use for Pot Roast
The most commonly used cut of beef for the pot roast is beef chuck. It’s best to use tougher meats that are lean and have a lot of connective tissue because the cooking method transforms this tough cut into delicious, tender, meat that fall apart as you touch it.
Beef chuck roast: Chuck is a large cut of beef that comes from the shoulder, neck, and some rib area. This cut is very lean and has a lot of connective tissue and muscle that gets exercised a lot. It’s a tough cut but very flavorful and perfect for braising. (You can use it in many recipes for soups and stews like Borscht.)
Bottom round or rump roast: This cut comes from the rear area, towards the bottom. Bottom round is generally divided into rump roast and bottom round roast cuts. These two cuts are tougher than the top round and better to use in stews and slower cooking. Bottom round is quite flavorful though and would be my second choice for pot roast.
Brisket: This cut comes from chest area and is another lean and tough cut. It’s essentially two muscles that overlap and you can buy a whole brisket or just the flat. Either way, slow cooking is the way to go with this meat. If using a brisket for pot roast, make sure to NOT pull cooked meat but slice against the grain instead.
How to Make Instant Pot Pot Roast
Let the beef warm up. Take the beef out of the refrigerator and out of the package. Lay it out on a rimmed baking sheet or a large cutting board and let it rest for about 30 minutes to warm up. Cut it in half or in thirds, depending on the size.
Season the meat. Combine seasoning in a small mixing bowl. Season the beef chunks generously on all the sides and leave the remaining of the seasoning for the broth mixture. Depending on the side of meat, you will probably use 1/2 to 3/4 of the seasoning.
Sear the beef. Preheat Instant Pot on “sauté” setting and drizzle oil over the bottom and some up the sides. Sear the beef halves until golden-brown on all the sides. (1)
Make the broth mixture. Combine all the ingredients for the broth mix in a mixing bowl and whisk together until smooth.
Add the broth to the pot. Take the beef out of the Instant Pot. Pour the broth mixture into the pot slowly while scraping the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon. (2)
Add the beef. Let the broth mixture heat through and return beef to the pot. (3)
Pressure cook the beef. Close the lid of the Instant Pot and make sure it is latched. Turn the valve to “seal” and set the pot to cook on high pressure for 70-75 minutes. Make sure to consult your pressure cooker manual for exact control specifications of your appliance.
Release the pressure. Let it naturally release for 10 minutes and then carefully quick release the pressure. (4)
Cook the vegetables. Add vegetables into the pot, close the lid and make sure it’s latched and valve is turned to “seal.” Set to cook on high pressure for 6-8 minutes, depending on the size of baby potatoes. Discard bay leaves before serving. (5, 6)
Prepare beef the same way by letting it rest and then season it generously on all sides. Use a large cooking pan to sear the meat on all the sides.
Combine ingredients for the broth mixture in a bowl and whisk until smooth. Bring this mixture to simmer in a sauce pot and take off heat.
Spread vegetables in the bottom of the slow cooker and place seared beef on top. Pour in hot broth mixture, cover and cook on HIGH for about 6 hours or on LOW for 8-10 hours.
Discard bay leaves before serving.
Yes! If you want to thicken the broth and make gravy, simply take the cooked meat and vegetables out of the pot right away. Turn on the “sauté” setting and stir cornstarch mixture together with hot broth in the Instant Pot until it thickens.
You don’t want any of that delicious sauce going to waste! Serve this pot roast with a hearty side like Buttermilk Biscuits, Cheesy Dinner Rolls or Buttermilk Cornbread to help soak up all of that sauce.
You can also balance your hearty pot roast with a lighter side salad. A few of my favorites include Apple Salad, Brussels Sprouts Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette and Pomegranate Goat Cheese Salad.
No, since we cut the beef chuck into smaller chunks before cooking, you do not need to increase the amount of cooking time. Cooking time depends not on the size of the meat, but the amount. If you are cooking one large piece, then the time would change, but not if you cut it.
Storing and Freezing
Storing: Make sure to cool the pot roast completely to room temperature before storing. Store it in an air-tight food storage container, in the refrigerator. Properly stored, it will last 3-4 days. Always use a clean ladle to scoop out individual portions to extend the shelf life.
Freezing: To freeze the pot roast, cool it completely to room temperature. Transfer the pot roast with gravy and veggies into an air-tight freezer storage container or portion it into individual portions. Get as much air out as you can, label, and freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw slowly, in the refrigerator overnight, for up to 24 hours.
Tips for the Best Instant Pot Pot Roast
- Let it rest: Take the meat out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes before cooking. Cold meat will seize when it hits high heat suddenly so for the best results, remember to let it warm up.
- Season the meat generously: Before searing the meat, season it generously with salt/pepper/garlic powder/onion powder mix. This will give the meat much more flavor and not just in the juices.
- Sear, sear, sear: Don’t skip this step! Searing the meat first adds even more flavor to the beef and it’s an important step in the braising process, which starts with introducing blast of high heat to the meat.
- Add wine: I highly recommend adding wine to pot roast. It doesn’t just add a whole new level of flavor, it also adds acidity, which helps to break down the connective tissue in touch meats. Other acidic additions include balsamic vinegar and tomato sauce/paste. So unless you have prohibitive reasons for not using wine, I recommend that you add some.
- What vegetables to use: Classic vegetables include onion, celery, carrots, and potatoes. You can also add some leek, mushrooms, green beans, butternut squash, and other types of dense winter squash.
- Cooking vegetables: There are two ways you can cook vegetables and that is with meat or without meat. In an Instant Pot, vegetables should be cooked at the end, after the meat is done, because they only take a few minutes. If cooking a large piece of meat, vegetables may not fit. So take the cooked beef out but leave all the broth in the pot. Cook vegetables in the broth as instructed. For a smaller piece of meat, you can add vegetables to the meat and cook together.
- Using leftover broth/gravy: You’ve heard the saying that there is never too much gravy in the pot roast. That is because you can always find more uses for leftover broth/gravy! Use it to dip sandwiches, or mix with some pasta as a sauce. You can also use it on mashed potatoes with another meal.
More Instant Pot Dinner Recipes
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Instant Pot Pot Roast Recipe
- 3-5 lb beef chuck roast*
- 1 tbsp kosher salt
- 1 tbsp fresh cracked black pepper
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp onion powder
- 1 cup red wine
- 3 cups beef stock
- 6 oz tomato paste
- 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 6 cloves of garlic pressed
- 3-4 sprigs of thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 long ribs of celery
- 1 lb carrots
- 1 yellow onion
- 1.5 lb baby gold potatoes
- 2 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
- 2 tbsp cold beef stock
- Take the beef out of the refrigerator and out of the package. Lay it out on a rimmed baking sheet or a large cutting board and let it rest for about 30 minutes to warm up. Cut it in half or in thirds, depending on the size.
- Combine seasoning in a small mixing bowl. Season the beef chunks generously on all the sides and leave the remaining of the seasoning for the broth mixture. (Depending on the side of meat, you will probably use 1/2 to 3/4 of the seasoning.)
- Preheat Instant Pot on "saute" setting and drizzle oil over the bottom and some up the sides. Sear the beef halves until golden-brown on all the sides.
Cooking Pot Roast:
- Combine all the ingredients for the broth mix in a mixing bowl and whisk together until smooth.
- Take the beef out of the Instant Pot.
- Pour the broth mixture into the pot slowly while scraping the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon.
- Let the broth mixture heat through and return beef to the pot.
- Close the lid of the Instant Pot and make sure it is latched. Turn the valve to "seal" and set the pot to cook on high pressure for 70-75 minutes. (Make sure to consult your pressure cooker manual for exact control specifications of your appliance.)
- Let it naturally release for 10 minutes and then carefully quick release the pressure.
- **Add vegetables into the pot, close the lid and make sure it's latched and valve is turned to "seal." Set to cook on high pressure for 6-8 minutes, depending on the size of baby potatoes.
- Discard bay leaves before serving.
- If you want to thicken the broth and make gravy: take cooked meat and vegetables out of the pot right away. Turn on "saute" setting and stir cornstarch mixture together with hot broth in the Instant Pot until it thickens.
Originally published on Will Cook For Smiles in January, 2020.