Dutch oven pot roast with carrots and potatoes gets juicy and fork tender right from the oven. If you have time to skip the slow cooker, it’s worth it for a melt in your mouth meal you’ll be happy to serve again and again.Jump to Recipe
If you’ve been around here any length of time, you know that I’m not a slow cooker person. I won’t rant–but just know that it doesn’t produce the kind of food we enjoy.
And it seems like the #1 food people want to make in a slow cooker is a pot roast. And a lot of pull it off. I’ve tried it but my meat comes out so dry at the end. Yes, it’s tender on some occasions but what’s the trade off? The meat has just been cooked to death.
Why choose a dutch oven over a slow cooker for pot roast
Dutch ovens are made from cast iron and retain and distribute heat really evenly. Plus the tight fitting lid allows moisture to stay inside for the most part and with a few tricks, makes the juiciest pot roast you’ve ever had.
Plan ahead for this dutch oven pot roast
This recipe probably won’t be something you make on a week night if you’re terribly busy–but save it for a weekend, or if you happen to have a snow day at home and you’ll be so glad you put it together.
This roast takes 3 or so hours to cook in your oven.
Add those carrots and potatoes in the last hour of cooking and they are so soft when you’re ready to eat that they beg for a light mash with a little butter and salt.
What cut of beef is best for pot roast?
I almost always choose a chuck roast. Its marbling means the fat slowly melts during cooking and helps ensure the meat stays tender.
Other cuts that can work include a rump or round roast. They just don’t have the same marbling and are a bit tougher than chuck roasts so they may need a slightly longer cook time. Just cook it until a fork inserted in the meat will twist easily.
What’s the difference between pot roast and roast beef?
The pot roast method is different from that used to cook more tender cuts of beef such as “roast beef” (often top round or top sirloin) or prime rib.
Although both methods involve cooking relatively large pieces of meat until tender, there is a distinction in how it’s done.
Pot roast is cooked covered for hours at a low temperature until the meat softens, not until it reaches a specific temperature.
Roast beef, on the other hand, is cooked uncovered until a meat thermometer inserted into the beef reads a specific temperature.
In other words, roast beef requires you to cook to a specific doneness while pot roast requires you to cook to a certain level of tenderness. Make sense?
Should pot roast be submerged in liquid?
When making a pot roast, the meat does not need to be completely submerged but you do want the cooking liquid to come at least ¾ of the way up the roast. Some choose to use beef broth while some choose to use water.
Either will do. Note that, if you do decide to use water, you will want to season a bit more heavily.
Regardless of your choice, you will end up with a delicious, rich beef broth at the end. I love saving mine and using it for soup and stews.
Tips for a top-notch dutch oven pot roast
- Use a heavy cast iron dutch oven with a lid. This one is my favorite, or a good quality oven-safe pot with a tight lid. Just covering your meat in aluminum foil won’t work.
- Sear your meat first over high heat to start the browning process. Browning meat equals flavor and we need that.
- Add carrots and potatoes to the pot during the last 45 minutes to an hour of cook time so they absorb the broth and get good and soft.
When adding beef broth, know this
You can just use water on your roast if you want to. It will make its own wonderful beef broth as it simmers, but beef broth can be used too.
Choose a broth without additives, MSG or flavorings and never, ever use bouillon cubes or powders. They are so salty you could ruin your roast with them.
>>This is not a rare roast beef recipe. Please take note.<<
I’ve gotten a bit of hate mail from some confused home cooks who make this and then yell that their roast is overcooked at the halfway point.
This is not oven roasted rare roast beef and at no point should you be taking its temperature.
This is a pot roast that’s braised–a technique that uses moisture and long cook times to break down tough cuts of meat like a chuck roast until it falls apart. If you want a rare roast beef, you want a recipe like this one.
Ingredients you can add for a pot roast flavor boost
A pot roast can handle a variety of different flavors. Try these options:
- Swap part of the beef broth for red wine. Never use cooking wines.
- Add herbs like thyme or rosemary. If you want to use these, put them in during the last hour of cooking or the heat destroys the essential oils and their flavor.
- Toss in whole garlic cloves for a hint of flavor.
- Baby or pearl onions are a simple addition. Buy a bag of the frozen ones and add them with the carrots and potatoes.
- Swap the root vegetables for parsnips, turnips or sweet potatoes.
How to store leftover pot roast
If you find yourself with leftovers, allow the pot roast to cool completely before sealing it in an airtight container and storing it in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
When you are ready to enjoy, reheat the desired portion on the stovetop over medium heat or in the oven, covered, at 300 degrees F until heated through.
I recommend adding a dash of beef broth, in either case, to help keep things moist.
You can also freeze leftover pot roast. After the meat has cooled completely, separate it from the veggies, shred it, transfer it to a ziplock bag or an airtight container, and store it in the freezer for up to 3 months.
I do not recommend freezing the veggies as they will not reheat well.
When you are ready to enjoy the pot roast, reheat it as you would from refrigerated. Just tack on a bit of extra time.
What to serve with pot roast made in a dutch oven
Rolls are a staple with this recipe. Try one of these versions:
- Classic 100 year old yeast rolls
- Small batch yeast rolls
- No yeast dinner rolls
- One hour rosemary hot mix rolls
We love a horseradish cream sauce with our roasts. This one is a favorite though sometimes my recipe is as simple as some mayonnaise and ground horseradish. 😉
Dutch Oven Pot Roast with Carrots and Potatoes
- Preheat the oven to 375.
- Put your dutch oven on the stove and heat it over high heat about 5 minutes to sear the meat. (Please watch your pot and monitor the heat. Your pot may only need 3 minutes or 4. Y'all stop trying to burn your houses down because I said 5 minutes) Add the oil and season the meat with salt and pepper on both sides. Add it to the pan. It should sizzle immediately.
- Reduce the heat to medium high, and let the meat sear on one side 5 minutes, then flip. Add the onions and cook 5 minutes more.
- Add the beef broth to the pot--it should come about halfway up the side of the meat.
- Cover and bake an hour and a half, then check the liquid in the pot. Add a cup or so of extra water if needed.
- Reduce the heat to 350 and bake an additional hour, and then add the carrots and potatoes. Bake covered 45 minutes longer or until the meat is tender and the potatoes and carrots are soft.