Super tender, juicy, fall-apart crock pot roast is not as hard as you think! This slow cooker recipe uses a few simple ingredients (one of them is patience) to make the most flavorful (yet stupid easy) pot roast ever! Carrots add the perfect touch!

Pot roast crock pot

Originally posted January 18, 2018

I don’t know about you guys, but I kind of wanted to just skip January this year, and all the dumb kale diets that go with it. I’m having some serious December withdrawals. I kind of feel like December broke up with me and I wasn’t ready for it. Now I’m dying my hair, “finding myself,” my face is breaking out and all I want is Ben and Jerry’s. Come on, December. We were so good together.

How to make a Crock Pot Roast

Juicy pot roast and carrots

We’re two weeks into the new year anyway, and that’s usually about when my diet peters out, so I’m comin at you with some comfort food to numb the Christmas break up. POT ROAST AND MASHED POTATOES FOREVER.

Roast meat and carrots with mashed potatoes and gravy

Do you suck at making pot roast as much as I used to? You can be a great pot roast maker, you really can be. All it takes is a little patience and a packet of onion soup mix. (Those onion soup packets are pretty magical. I use them to make this 3 Ingredient Roasted Potatoes with Crunchy Onions, too. So good.)

Why is my crock pot roast tough?

I seriously used to be the worst at making pot roast so I used to ask myself that question all the time. They always came out kind of flavorless, or worse, so tough that you could barely chew through them. But since discovering the onion soup mix trick and the most important rule (waiting), I always get super tender, flavorful, juicy pot roasts.

Pot roast with carrots

I love making pot roast in the slow cooker. It just seems so much easier to me than dealing with oven cooking, plus it’s nice to be able to “set it and forget it.” You know how most crock pot recipes you can cook either on low for 8 hours or on high for half the time? I don’t recommend that for pot roast. Cooking at a higher temperature for a shorter time will result in rubbery meat that will make you feel like you’re chewing on an old tire.

What is the best cut for pot roast?

Chuck roast is a really tough cut of meat, but by the time it’s done braising in the slow cooker for 8 hours, it has broken down into a beautiful, tender delight. You just need to wait. Choose a roast with lots of good marbling. That’s fat will be making the meat fall apart by the time it’s finished cooking.

Chuck roast marbling seared

Do you have to brown a roast before putting it in the crockpot?

Short answer: no. I tested it both ways and it still tastes great so if you already started your roast or you don’t have enough time when prepping your roast you’ll still have great roast at the end of the day. However, I highly recommend browning the entire roast. It only takes a few minutes and adds a richness that can take your roast to the next level. Hey, if you’re going to the trouble to make this thing you’re probably trying to impress someone, right? You might as well take the extra step to make it amazing.

Seared chuck roast in crock pot

Pot roast with onion soup mix in slow cooker

Fat separator and beef bouillon

Drippings are on the left. I used a fat separator. I used the beef base on the right for the additional broth needed.

Gravy slur for crock pot roast

Make sure you get out all the lumps!

This recipe calls for the carrots to be added in the last 3-4 hours. Now listen here folks, I know it’s annoying to have to come back and add the carrots later. You can totally add them in at the beginning with the roast if you like, but be prepared for overcooked, mushy, and in my opinion, flavorless carrots. They will add nothing to your dinner besides some orange color, because they will have been cooked for 6 hours too long. Those poor carrots! Do yourself a favor and add the carrots later, or cook them separately.

Pouring gravy over pot roast meat

The same goes for potatoes in my opinion. If you want to add them, put them in (cut into chunks) with the carrots. But really what you ought to do is leave the potatoes out of the slow cooker entirely. Make my Aunt Shirley’s Famous Creamy Mashed Potatoes instead. I’m pretty sure this is the way God intended pot roast to be eaten.

Potatoes that I oversalted

PS I almost forgot to tell you about the fact that the potatoes you see in these photos were so salty they were completely inedible. I was trying to shake some seasoning salt on them mid-mashing, but didn’t realize the shaker thing was missing…I dumped like at least 1/4 cup on top of my potatoes. This was my quick attempt to get the worst of the salty potatoes out of the pot so that I could mash the rest and still use them for the shoot. I kept trying to sneak bites, even though I KNEW it was too salty….mashed potatoes are just way too tempting.

PPS!! I almost forgot to tell you something else very exciting. The entire reason I posted this crock pot roast recipe is so that you have a good basic pot roast for the LEFTOVER recipe that’s coming soon on the blog. Picture this: huge amounts of pie crust. Lots of juicy roast beef. Tender carrots. And cheesy scalloped potatoes, all piled sky high in a pie pan. Oh man guys, it’s so good, can’t wait to share. UPDATE: here it is! Leftover Roast Beef, Carrot, and Creamy Potato Pie.

More great recipes that will impress

Great side dishes to go with pot roast

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The Easiest Fall-Apart Pot Roast (Slow Cooker)

Serves 6     adjust servings

Super tender, juicy, fall-apart pot roast is not as hard as you think! This slow cooker recipe uses a few simple ingredients (one of them is patience...) to make the most flavorful (yet stupid easy) pot roast ever! Carrots add the perfect touch!


For the roast

  • 3 to 4 pound chuck roast*
  • copious amounts of salt and pepper (copious I say!)
  • 1 tablespoon oil, optional (for browning)
  • 1 and 1/2 cups water
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons Better Than Bouillon Beef Base**
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 (1-ounce) packets of onion soup mix
  • 2 pounds carrots, peeled and chopped into chunks

For the gravy

  • 2-3 cups of drippings from the meat
  • 1-2 cups COLD water
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 teaspoons Better Than Bouillon Beef Base
  • 2 tablespoons butter, optional
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. First you are going to have to make a choice about whether you want a really good roast, or a really REALLY good roast. Browning the meat before slow cooking makes it extra special. To do that:
  2. Heat a wide skillet over medium high heat. Generously salt and pepper all sides of the roast. I would say I use somewhere between 1 and 1/2 to 2 teaspoons kosher salt, and about a teaspoon of pepper.
  3. Add 1 tablespoon oil to the hot pan and swirl around to coat the bottom. It should be shimmery right away if your pan is hot enough.
  4. Add the roast to the pan and don't move it for about 1-2 minutes. Check to make sure it is nice and brown, then flip it over and repeat on the other side. Brown every side of your roast that you can. It should not take more than 5-6 minutes.
  5. Transfer the roast to your slow cooker (6 quart or larger).
  6. Keep the hot pan on the stove and add the water and beef base. Stir, breaking up any brown bits on the pan, until the beef base is dissolved. Pour the liquid into the slow cooker.
  7. Sprinkle the roast with the dried thyme or add the fresh thyme. (Just throw the sprig in the pot)
  8. Add the bay leaf.
  9. Dump the 2 packets of onion soup mix directly on the roast (not in the water). Use your hand to rub the dry powder into the part of the roast that is exposed. Some of it will just fall off into the water, and that's fine.
  10. Cover with the lid and set to low heat. Cook for 8-10 hours. If you are a bit short on time, you can turn the slow cooker on to "high" for one hour to get things boiling, then turn back down to low. I do NOT recommend cooking this on high for 4-5 hours. You can if you want, it will be cooked, but it will not be as tender!
  11. If you are not browning the meat, it's so easy. Salt and pepper the meat, rub on the thyme and onion soup mix, and place in a slow cooker. You don't need the oil. Add all the other ingredients, set it on low, and you're done!
  12. Add the carrots: about 3 hours before you want to eat, add the peeled and chopped carrots. See photos, they don't need to be tiny pieces, I tend to like the bigger chunks myself.
  13. When the meat is fork tender and easy to shred, carefully remove it to a cutting board and let rest for a couple minutes. Then shred with two forks or slice with a serrated knife against the grain. Transfer the roast and the carrots to a serving platter and keep warm. (Taste a carrot to see if it needs salt and pepper)
  14. To make the gravy: Use a fat separator to get the fat from the top of the drippings. Discard fat and add the drippings to a medium saucepan. Turn the heat to high. (Use all of the drippings that you have, up to 3 cups. You want about 4 cups of liquid going into your gravy, and at least one cup needs to be COLD water to dissolve the flour.)
  15. In a measuring cup, whisk together 1-2 cups COLD water (or beef stock, if you're not using beef base) with the flour. Make sure you get rid of all the lumps.
  16. When the drippings have heated to a boil, slowly stir in the flour mixture while stirring. Add the beef base and bring the mixture to a low boil.
  17. Let the gravy simmer for 3-5 minutes until it has thickened.
  18. At this point you can add the butter if you want. It's not necessary, but it does add some richness that I love. Season with salt and pepper. Make sure you taste it first!
  19. Devour, preferably with these Famous Creamy Mashed Potatoes. To die for!!


If you make this recipe, share it on Instagram using the hashtag #TheFoodCharlatan so I can see it!