Pot roast usually takes a long, long time to cook—all day in the slow cooker, or at least 3 hours in the oven. But when you make it the pressure cooker, you can have a tender, flavorful roast (complete with all the vegetables and sauce!) in about two hours.
Even better, the recipe is super flexible—you can start cooking the pot roast any time of day, leave it on the “Warm” function once cooking ends, and then complete the last few steps about 20 minutes before you want to eat.
Whether you’ve planned ahead or not, whether you’re home during the day or not, you can have a hot, beautiful pot roast on the table for dinner.
Pot Roast for Chilly Winter Days
When the weather turns chilly, I start craving hearty, braised dishes like pot roast. In this recipe, tangy balsamic vinegar, rosemary, and sweet onions combine to flavor the cooking liquid, which helps keep the pot roast moist during cooking.
Serve the extra cooking liquid on the side, too! It is delicious ladled on top of the meat, carrots, and potatoes.
PRO TIP! Save any leftover cooking liquid to use in your next soup or stew, or anywhere you’d use beef broth. It adds lots of deep, savory flavor. It’s something my grandma has always done, and now I do, too.
The Best Cut of Meat for Pot Roast
When choosing a cut of meat for pot roast, you’ll usually have your pick of two common cuts: chuck or bottom round. Chuck roasts tend to have more marbling and connective tissue, so they turn out much more tender than bottom round. If you can get chuck, that’s my top recommendation.
If Frozen, Thaw Before Cooking
One of the most common pressure cooking questions I get (and I get a ton of questions on my Instant Pot Recipes Facebook page) is some version of “How long does it take/can I cook a frozen pot roast/whole chicken/other large, frozen solid hunk of meat?”
While you can cook thinner cuts of frozen meat in the pressure cooker (see How To Pressure Cook Frozen Chicken), I recommend thawing larger cuts like the chuck for this pot roast. Whole frozen cuts can end up stringy on the outside and undercooked on the inside. Thawed or fresh meat cooks much more evenly, and you’ll ensure that the middle is cooked through and tender in the recommended cooking time.
How to Make Pot Roast in the Instant Pot
This recipe is prepared in three stages:
- First, you’ll sear and pressure cook the meat. Once that cooking program begins, you can walk away from the pot if you like— it’ll default to the “Keep Warm” setting and stay hot and ready to carve for up to 10 hours.
- Second, you’ll transfer the cooked pot roast to a carving board, strain the fat off of the cooking liquid, then add the potatoes and carrots to the pot with the liquid and cook them under pressure on their own.
- Finally, when the cooking program ends, you’ll do a quick pressure release on the pot, carve the roast, spoon the vegetables out of the pot, and pour some of the cooking liquid over everything to serve.
WHAT EXTRA TOOLS DO I NEED?
In order to make this recipe, you won’t need any special extra tools, other than a nice sturdy pair of kitchen tongs and a fat separator. When you’re done, there’s only one pot to wash!
HOW LONG TO LEFTOVERS LAST?
This recipe feeds four to six people depending on the appetites in your household, and the leftovers will keep for up to four days in the fridge.
You can also freeze the leftover meat if you like. Store it, sliced, in freezer bags or wrapped in layers of plastic wrap and aluminum foil, for up to three months.
GREAT IDEA FOR USING UP LEFTOVERS!
If you’re lucky enough to have leftovers, my favorite thing to do with them is to make a breakfast hash—dice up the carrots, potatoes, and pot roast and brown them in a skillet with a little oil, adding extra diced onions and/or bell peppers if you like.
Crack some eggs on top of the hash, cover it with a lid for a few minutes, and you’ll have a seriously hearty breakfast!
LOOKING FOR MORE PRESSURE COOKER RECIPES?
From the editors of Simply Recipes
Adapt This Recipe for a Stovetop Pressure Cooker
Follow the recipe as written, but lower the cooking time for the pot roast to 50 minutes at high pressure. Lower the cooking time for the potatoes and carrots to 4 minutes at high pressure.
Adapt this Recipe for the Stovetop/Oven
Preheat the oven to 300°F. Season the roast with the salt and pepper, then sear in a Dutch oven on the stovetop over medium-high heat. Remove it to a dish, then sauté the onions, garlic, and rosemary, then add the broth and vinegar as in the recipe below.
Add the pot roast back to the Dutch oven, then add enough water to come about a third of the way up the roast. Cover the Dutch oven with its lid and place in the oven.
Roast the pot roast for 3 hours, or until it is tender, adding the carrots and potatoes during the last 1 1/2 hours of cooking. Check the pot roast every 45 minutes or so—if too much liquid has evaporated, add an extra splash of water.
Updated December 24, 2020 : We made a few tweaks to this post to make sure you had the best information we can give you. No changes to the recipe itself. Enjoy!