Old Fashioned Pot Roast Slow Cooker Recipe

This is how you'd imagine an "Old Fashioned" "just the way grandma made it" pot roast. No packets, no chemicals, just totally awesome deliciousness.

When I first started crockpotting, my potroasts were pretty one-note. I made them the same way each and every time, and my two "secret" ingredients were a packet of Lipton Onion Soup mix and a can of cream of something soup.

I'm not against these ingredients---there is MOST DEFINITELY a place in the world for these products, but now that I label-read for both health and entertainment (yes. you read that right. 

I read food labels for fun. please don't judge ;-0.), I choose not to use them except for on a very occasional basis (if you are gluten free, there are now products on the market that are safe to use, and a simple google search should uncover the manufacturers).

Man, that was a mouthful. And it was with words, not food. On to the food!

The Ingredients.
serves 6 to 8

thank you to Grandpa John for this beautiful roast!

4 pounds beef roast (chuck or rump)
2 tablespoons flour (I used a gluten free baking mix, because we happen to be GF))
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced in rings
2 large Russet potatoes, cut in 2-inch chunks
1 cup baby carrots (or peeled and cut regular carrots!)
1 cup sliced celery
3 tablespoons gluten free Worcestershire sauce 
1/2 cup beef broth (if you've got red wine open, you could use that. and save me some. I'm typing this Wed night 8pm, and I've been up since 2am... my shoulders are above my ears)

The Directions.

Use a 6-quart slow cooker. Okay, I browned this meat. I hate cooking before I cook, but my father-in-law brought over this GORGEOUS piece of meat and I felt the right thing to do was to pretend I knew what to do with a big gorgeous piece of meat so I browned it.

The browning provides a bit of texture and if you have a more sophisticated palate than I do, perhaps you notice a difference.
but it's up to you. 

This is what I did:

In a plastic zippered bag, shake a thawed beef roast with flour, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Remove roast from the bag and brown all sides in a large skillet with olive oil. While your meat is browning, place the sliced onion in the bottom of the cooker. Add meat, and toss in the potatoes, celery, and carrots. 

Pour worcestershire and beef broth (or wine) on top. Cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours. If your meat isn't as moist as you'd like nearing serving time, take it out and cut it into a few pieces and return it to the pot to soak up more juice.

A dry roast isn't from over slowcooking, it's from under slowcooking!

Exactly how Grandma would have made her pot roast! No packets -- just delicious slow cooked awesomeness. For a more pronounced flavor, take the time to brown the meat. This is company worthy pot roast!

The Verdict.

This is what pot roast should taste like!! We served this at a Sunday family dinner, and it went over really well. I appreciated that I could play in the yard and fold laundry while dinner cooked itself. The girls set the table, and the boys cleaned up---meaning the "work" part of my dinner was over by 8 am!


other hunk of meat recipes:
Day 14 of Crocktober!

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Posted by: Stephanie O'Dea | A Year of Slow Cooking at October 07, 2016

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What they say about this recipe

  1. I love this simple, back to basic recipe for Pot Roast. Thank you for blogging everyday. i look forward to seeing a new recipe each day! I know its a ton of work for you... and I thank you for it.

  2. Seems too simple! Can't wait to try it.

  3. This sounds so much better than my mother's pot roast recipe which calls for both cream of mushroom soup, Liptons soup mix and coffee! Thanks.

  4. This sounds great! I do have to say, we are really fans of 3-Packet Pot Roast around here lately! Maybe I'll try this version though too. I did get a great deal last week-buy one pot roast, get one free! So, I have some freedom to experiment a bit. He he he! Thanks for all the yummy recipes!

  5. I have a very similar recipe going in the crock pot at home right now! Can't wait for dinner...

  6. This is pretty much what I do for pot roast, whether in the crockpot or on the stove. One tip, if you're browning the meat, it's nice use the broth or wine to deglaze the hot pan for a minute, and then pour all that goodness over the meat in the crock. So glad the weather right for pot roast!

  7. Anonymous10/14/2010

    Stephanie, would I make any adjustments if I wanted to make this recipe with stew beef chunks?

    It's just my pastured beef guy sells those so much cheaper than the whole roast, I usually buy those.

  8. mmmm. I want pot roast now! Your way is how I usually cook it, though I don't usually brown the roast (I can't taste the difference), and just dump the other ingredients in the crock pot. Liptons onion soup is a great idea.

    A friend gave me a tip to use au jus sauce, which gives the broth an amazing flavor too!

  9. Kennedy's: no need to change anything except for the name! :-)
    If you'd like more broth for your stew, you can up the beef broth. Or, eat it as meat chunks the first night and add more broth the second to stretch it out into a stew.


  10. Excellent! I'm glad you were honest and said you browned the meat...it makes a difference in presentation...I clicked on the entry cause of that awesome browned hunk of beef. I think you've moved me back to doing potroast in the crockpot....with mandatory browning! Thanks again!

  11. Anonymous10/14/2010

    Thanks for the alternative for the onion soup mix!

    I can't use Worcestershire sauce because it has corn syrup. As a substitute, I use equal parts fish sauce and vinegar, and add a generous pinch (or more) of sugar. According to some ingredient lists, real Worcestershire sauce has tamarind, but I've never really missed it.


  12. I have a secret ingredient to my pot roast I saw in a recipe about 10 years ago. Everyone I make it for LOVES it! My husband even says my pot roast is better then his (gasp!) Mothers! Season the meat with paprika also!!! Voila! Enjoy!

  13. Anonymous10/14/2010

    Love the blog and a big thank you for all the effort. I noticed your note today about the onion soup mix and wanted to give an fyi about making your own spice mixes. I have used a few from "Healthy Meals for Less" by Jonni McCoy. I have food allergies, so I like to know exactly what's going into my food.

  14. Ditto seeing you blog everyday! I did a pot roast recently with golden mushroom soup-turned out really nice.


  15. I usually don't brown my meat before cooking it b/c of the same reason you mentioned. I LOVE my crockpot, and I LOVE your recipes, but I had to admit that I like the taste of pot roast in the oven better than the crockpot - must be the dry heat... :-)

  16. Anonymous10/14/2010

    I pretty much do this with my pot roast almost every time I make it. Some other veggies that I have been known to throw in as well is purple cabbage, zucchini, and squash. Red potatoes work wonderfully as well.

  17. I am really glad to see this post! I was trying to become inspired for a weekend at our cabin with a couple guests and didn't have an idea of what to make. I am going to make this. Even though it uses a 6qt cooker, I think I am still disappointed about not winning the 4 qt pretty one. It would have fit my 3 person family so nicely. I am now done with the whining portion of my loserdom, and will go right back to loving the slow cooker lifestyle that you (Steph) have shown me. THANKS! (and sorry, sort of)

  18. Steph, a classic pot roast is always appreciated--looks delish! I wanted to mention for folks who are still using it that Lipton Onion Soup mix is no longer gluten free. It's been reformulated to include barley. There may still be older packages on the shelf (and, yes, I agree, the other ingredients are not great either), but folks need to read labels to see if they are the gf ones or not. Soon, all the packages for sale will be the new ones that contain gluten.


  19. I'm so glad I stumbled upon this today. I went straight to the store and bought the ingredients. It's finally getting chilly out and I'm battling a sinus infection, so this sounded like the perfect thing.

  20. for those of you who need gluten free and can't find the gf Lea and Perrin's mentioned in the post, I wondered if a combo of GF soy sauce or tamari with a little bit of anchovy paste would replicate the taste????

    This made my mouth water. Will give it a try.

  21. My family recipe is similar but we pour a can of tomato sauce over it. I serve it over white rice and always knock myself into a food coma by over-indulging.

  22. I am a health conscious person and I always read the food labels! I work with La Cense Beef which is an approved USDA grass fed program. You might want to try cooking with grass fed beef the next time you make pot roast. The health benefits are huge and the taste is amazing.

  23. I enjoy reading nutritional labels, too! It feels so good not to be alone! hahaha

  24. Anonymous10/18/2010

    I do mine the same way but add an entire container of presliced baby bella mushrooms

  25. I made this yesterday and it turned out great!

    The only thing it needed was more salt and pepper.

    Delicious!!! Thank you.

  26. Anonymous10/22/2010

    I made this yesterday and it was great! A big improvement over my normally bland pot roast.

  27. Was so excited to find your recipe for slow cooker pot roast that didn’t call for condensed soup or onion soup mix. Tried it last night and it was wonderful!! I too HATE pre-cooking, but I think that searing the cut of meat was a must and gave it such a nice rich flavor. Added a handful of baby reds with the skins on instead of russets because that's what I had on hand. Cooked four hours on high but next time I will try cooking it eight hours on low so the meat gets even more tender. I plated the meat and veggies and transferred the remaining liquid to a saucepan to make a quick gravy with flour, butter and red wine. I strained it so it was extra silky and it was just lovely over the meat and veggies. Thank you so much for this recipe. I’ll be using it again and again. Cheers!

  28. Thank you SO MUCH! I have never before made a pot roast that was not dry.....like you need a drink with every bite to get it down :/ I had pretty much given up on pot roasts. But I trust your recipes and decided the Crockpot Lady would not steer me wrong, so I tried your pot roast recipe. Success! It was soooooooo good! Apparently, I had been not cooking my roasts long enough, who knew? I had always thought I had over-cooked them, but your comment about how a dry roast in from not cooking it long enough in the slow cooker, made me think I should try like a 9-10 hour roast in the crockpot. It worked, yay! We have a new favorite slow cooker meal :D

  29. This IS how pot roast should taste. I've tried various recipes which were just OK - all used onion soup mix. So I was thrilled to find yours didn't use it. Even our picky 10yr old gave it a thumbs up!

  30. I cooked last week's roast using this recipe, and then tried it out on our beef stew a few nights ago.

    My husband said, "Whatever you're doing to the beef lately, keep doing it."

    I think he likes it.

    Thank you so much!!!!

  31. Am I reading the ingredients right and it says that the only liquids are the beef broth (wine) and worcestershire sauce? No water? Doesn't it get dried out?

    I'm afraid. Very afraid. But this looks super good and easy and I want to try it tommorrow.

  32. I've got this going for Sunday lunch tomorrow. :)

    Sassy, since it's in a crockpot, you're going to lose very little liquid, plus as the meat and veggies cook they will all add liquid to your pot. Should be fine :)

  33. My husband made this yesterday -- it was so delicious! We didn't have 8-10 hours so he did it on high for 6 hours. The meat fell apart when served. It was so tender and the flavor was rich and so delicious. We had mushrooms on hand so he threw some in. Also dropped a wedge of cabbage on top just because it was sitting in the fridge. We will definitely make this again. Thanks!

  34. I think I've found my recipe for crock pot pot roast finally. My husband and I both raved about it. The only real addition was I added two teaspoons of minced garlic to the broth.

  35. Made this today...used Cabernet instead of broth and honestly...had to use more oil to brown the meat. (I've never understood how 1 tablespoon was ever enough to brown anything this size)....BUT...I am swooning over this roast! Fabulous! Thank you so much! This was the first recipe I made in my brand new fancy digital Slow cooker!

  36. Hi - I just put this in the crock pot this morning (with a few variations for missing ingredients). I also wrote a post promoting your website and linking back here. =D

    Thanks! Tina 'the book lady'

  37. I'm gonna try to make this this Saturday...can't wait to give it a go!

  38. Can I use a smaller Crock pot? Mine is definitely not 6 quarts.

  39. Hi Danielle,
    certainly. You may need a smaller cut of meat, but if the meat fits with the lid on nicely, you're all set! :-)

  40. I made this today. It was perfect! Thank you for posting a recipe without a "cream of something" soup :)

  41. Anonymous10/28/2015

    I'll be honest, this didn't wow me. There just wasn't enough flavor and I like a thicker gravy. I put the juices into a pot and thickened them with a cornstarch slurry. I added some more seasonings and red wine vinegar to get the flavor right. That being said, the meat and veg were cooked perfectly and I also love that this is a recipe that doesn't use any cream of anything soups or those dried onion soup mixes. I'll definitely be using it as a jumping off point and will tweak it to fit my family's tastes.

  42. This is pretty much how I make pot roasts, but I don't add flour to my pot roasts. I thicken the broth after the fact with a corn starch slurry. The other thing I do, is I puree the onions, celery and garlic in the broth because nobody in my family will eat them and then do the thickening. This adds a flavor boost to the gravy plus I didn't waste any food.