Classic Pot Roast

One of the easiest, most affordable ways to feed a crowd is with a pot roast. One of the ways to do that as quickly as possible is to use a pressure cooker.

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A pot roast is a classic braise – a large piece of meat, partially covered in liquid, covered in a pot and cooked at a low temperature for a long period of time. Luckily, the best cuts of beef for braising just so happen to be the less expensive cuts as well – chuck roast, round roast, etc… These cuts are super flavorful, but they tend to be very tough and need time and moisture in order to break down the muscle fibers and render the beef tender. So, while you won’t pay in dollars for this meal, you will pay in time. A pot roast on the stovetop takes at least three hours. Enter the pressure cooker… When you pressure cook a pot roast, you can cut this time by one third and get it done beautifully in an hour. 

Pot Roast on a white dinner plate with knife and fork

You’ll start by searing the roast to get some color on it and to add flavor to the exterior. If your pressure cooker has a brown setting, you can do this right in the pot. Otherwise, sear it on the stovetop in a large pan. (You might find that searing the roast on the stovetop is faster than using the pressure cooker, depending on the size of cooker you have and how powerful the browning function is.) Once browned, the beef goes into the pressure cooker along with some aromatic vegetables, herbs and liquid. Adding red wine and beef stock as the liquid helps build depth of flavor, but if you’re someone who doesn’t like to cook with alcohol, you can leave it out and substitute more stock in its place. 

Chuck Roast on brown parchment paper

A word about the vegetables. These vegetables should be in relatively large chunks because they are going to be cooking for a relatively long period of time. At the end of cooking, these vegetables will be very soft and slightly crushable. If you don’t want your vegetables so soft, leave the potatoes and carrots out until the end. Once you have finished cooking the beef and the pressure has dropped naturally (a natural pressure release is critical for tender beef), remove the beef from the cooker and let it rest, loosely tented with foil. Add the potatoes and carrots to the pressure cooker and pressure-cook on HIGH for 8 minutes. Release the pressure using the quick-release method and remove the vegetables from the pot.

Pot roast with vegetables and herbs in a pressure cooker

I prefer a thin liquid with my pot roast, but if you prefer a thicker sauce, you have two options at the end of cooking.

  1. You can let the liquid simmer in the pot (use the brown setting again) until it thickens, OR
  2. You can add a mixture of 1 tablespoon butter mashed with 1 tablespoon of flour (a beurre manié). Whisk this into the liquid while it simmers and it will thicken.

Either way, you’ll end up with a large platter full of vegetables, the most tender beef imaginable and a delicious jus to pour over everything. 

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Classic Pot Roast

  • Prep Time: 15 m
  • Cook Time: 1 h
  • Total Time: 1 h 15 m
  • Servings:


  • pound beef chuck roast boneless
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 stalks celery chopped
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 2 to 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 carrots sliced into 2-inch slices (or use 18 baby cut carrots)
  • 18 fingerling potatoes left whole
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley


  1. Pre-heat the pressure cooker using the BROWN setting.
  2. Season the roast well on all sides with salt and pepper. Add the vegetable oil to the cooker and brown the roast on all sides. Then, remove the roast and set aside.
  3. Add the onion and celery to the cooker and cook for a few minutes. Pour in the red wine and using a wooden spoon, scrape up any brown bits that have formed on the bottom of the cooker and bring to a simmer.

  4. Return the beef roast to the cooker and add the beef stock, along with the thyme and bay leaf.
    Scatter the carrots and potatoes on top and lock the lid in place.
  5. Pressure cook on HIGH for 45 to 60 minutes (depending on the weight). Let the pressure drop NATURALLY and carefully remove the lid.
  6. Transfer the roast and vegetables to a side plate and tent with foil.
  7. Turn the pressure cooker to the BROWN setting and bring the sauce to a simmer. Reduce the sauce to the desired consistency while the roast rests for at least 10 minutes.
  8. Season to taste with salt and pepper and spoon the liquid and vegetables over the roast.
  9. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley.
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Comments (40)Post a Reply

  1. I just purchased The Instant Pot Duo On QVC and I want to make this recipe first.
    When you say let the pressure release naturally does that mean I don’t have to do anything but just wait? How will I know that it is safe to remove the lid? Thank you in advance for your response.

    1. A natural release is when you turn the cooker off and wait. With the Instant Pot® you’ll see the small pin in the lid drop and the lid will be able to be opened. You won’t be able to open the lid if there is any pressure inside – it will be locked. It takes between 10 and 15 minutes depending on what and how much you have in the pot. Check out my Pressure Cooking 101 video in the cooking school section of this website for more info.

  2. Can you substitute white wine for the red wine? Red gives me a violent headache, even in cooking.
    Thank you, it looks delicious !!!!

  3. 5 stars
    Hi Meredith!!

    I just christened my Instant Pot with your pot roast recipe. It turned out wonderful. I’ve never used a pressure cooker, so I was not sure what to expect. But, with your step-by-step instructions, video, and photos my pot roast was a hit. It did take about 30 minutes to get the pressure fully released, but other than that all went perfectly. I look forward to trying many more of your recipes with my knew kitchen toy. Thank you!!

  4. I made this pot roast last Sunday. It was the best pot roast I have ever made. The house smelled great. I will always make my pot roast like this! Also made the buttermilk biscuits to go with. My family loved them too! Thank you. I luv all your recipes.

  5. 5 stars
    This looks delicious! I was wondering for approx a 3 lb. roast if you would know how long and at what temperature I would cook this in an oven? Thank you!

    1. Hi Michael. Look for a red blend or an inexpensive cabernet sauvignon. No need to spend more than $10 if possible.

    1. Hi Debbie. I usually use whatever I like to drink but if there is nothing open or I’m not enjoying a glass, I’d pick an inexpensive blend or Cabernet Sauvignon.

    1. Hi Lisa. I would cook a 2.75 pound pot roast for about 45 minutes and let the pressure release naturally (just turn it off and let pressure drop).

    1. Hi John. I don’t know if you can buy this exact pressure cooker in Australia, but I’m sure there are many pressure cooker brands available there – like “Instant Pot”.

  6. Hi Meredith. I mistakenly bought a bottom round roast, can I use that to make pot roast? If not, then I need help, I don’t know what to do with it. Help!

    1. Sure! A bottom round roast will be fine for pot roast. You can also roast a bottom round roast for a roast beef. Round is more lean than chuck, so it could take a little longer to become tender and may need some added fat (like bacon!).


    1. I haven’t, Joe, but you certainly could. It will enrich the sauce, giving it a little more substance and tomatoey flavor.

  7. I cooked this roast Sunday and it tasted just like my Mother’s, which is a huge compliment. I used a 3 pound sirloin tip roast and cooked it for 50 minutes in the instant pot. A great roast to use for beef on a bun au jus. Highly recommend.

  8. My question is which red and white wines to use in cooking. I would think the wrong wine would not be good.

    1. Hi Nancy. My first rule of thumb when it comes to cooking with wine is to use a wine that you like to drink. If you don’t drink, then don’t spend too much money on the wine and use a different method of picking the wine. I like to use wines that come from the same area as the dish you are making. That makes sense when you’re making an Italian pasta sauce or a French coq au vin. For a classic pot roast, I would use a cabernet sauvignon or a red blend – not fruity, not too bold and not too acidic.

  9. 4 stars
    This looks so easy and yummy! My problem is that my husband is VERY picky when it comes to vegetables. For him the carrots, onion and celery would be a no-go. Do I need to use them at all? He’s a meat and potatoes kinda guy, unfortunately. Thank you!

    1. Hi Jodi. No you don’t need to use them all but the onions and carrots especially give the dish flavor. You can always cook the pot roast with them and add extra potatoes. When your husband dishes out his portion, just make sure he dishes out only the beef and potatoes. That leaves more carrots for you, which in my opinion are the best part!

  10. Hi Meredith. I have a regular pressure cooker. Would the cooking time be the same? Are there any others adjustments you suggest? Thank you

    1. Hi Renee. As long as your pressure cooker reaches a pressure of over 12psi, the timing should be the same. The most important thing is to let the pressure drop naturally, rather than doing a quick release.

  11. 4 stars
    If you don’t drink and the recipe calls for wine, I usually buy a cooking wine that you get from the grocery store near the vinegar. Our grocery stores in upstate NY do t sell wine in our stores. The cooking wine is only about $4-6! Enjoy!

  12. Hi! I have nmade this multiple times and it is ALWAYS a hit! I have added a few of my own twists to it like two cloves of garlic and some mushrooms. Today is Valentines day and I was planing some steak and scallops with some veggies but I had a request for Pot Roast. So happy wife, happy life, or as someone pointed out to me just the other day, happy spouse happy house!

  13. If I am cooking this in the oven should I cover to Pot Roast before I put it in the oven? I would be putting it in a 9 x 13 Pyrex pan

    1. Yes, you will want to cover and tent the pan with aluminum foil. Roast in the oven at 300°F for 3 1/2 to 4 hours until tender.

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