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Whether it’s a holiday meal or a family dinner, few things beat the best slow cooker pot roast! If you make it right, it will be tender, flavorful and perfect for feeding a crowd – or storing as a freezer meal. This complete guide will cover the cut of meat for pot roast, tips for how to make it, how to fix tough pot roast, how to freeze low carb pot roast, and of course an easy pot roast slow cooker recipe!
What Kind Of Meat For Pot Roast?
The cut of meat for pot roast is pretty much the opposite of what you’d use for most other uses. There are 2 factors you are looking for:
- Tough meat. You want tough cuts of meat for pot roast! It sounds counter intuitive since the goal is to make pot roast tender, but only a meat that’s tough and muscular to start with will break down into juicy, tender pot roast in the end. For that, you need the right cooking method (more on that below!) and connective tissue…
- Connective tissue. Normally it’s not palatable in meat since it’s tough to chew, but it actually has an amazing benefit: collagen! And, it’s exactly what you want in a cut of meat for pot roast. The connective tissue is made up of collagen, which breaks down into gelatin during slow cooking, making the meat juicy and succulent.
Best Cuts of Meat for Pot Roast
So, what kind of meat has these characteristics? Choose one of these:
- Chuck roast or chuck shoulder – From the shoulder of the cow, and can be bone-in or boneless. Chuck roast or shoulder is the best kind of meat for pot roast, as it contains more fat and connective tissue, so it’s more flavorful.
- Rump roast or round – From the rump and rear legs of the cow. It’s a bit leaner than chuck roast, so is a good option if you like less fatty pieces while still being tender. Rump roast is slightly more expensive than chuck roast.
- Brisket – From the chest and front legs of the cow. This is another great option for making pot roast, but the texture is somewhat more grainy than chuck.
Can you use sirloin roast (from the back of the cow)?
Yes, but I don’t recommend it in general. It can still be tender, but is too lean, so you won’t get fall-apart tender pot roast.
How To Make Pot Roast in a Slow Cooker
Fortunately, the process for how to make pot roast in a slow cooker is one of the easiest dinners you can make. Here are the basics:
- Season and rest the meat.
- Brown the veggies.
- Brown the meat.
- Combine the veggies and pot roast in a slow cooker.
- Add broth and herbs.
- Cook low and slow for a loooong time.
The full instructions are on the recipe card below, but don’t miss the section on tips for the Best Slow Cooker Pot Roast!
How To Make Low Carb Keto Pot Roast
So, what if you want to make pot roast low carb? The good news is, it’s almost naturally low carb. And, the
However, there are two main aspects to that can be carb-heavy with a traditional pot roast:
- The vegetables. Some pot roast recipes include starchy veggies, especially potatoes. We simply replace those with radishes for a similar effect that’s low carb!
- The sauce or gravy. Pot roast recipes can have a gravy that’s thickened with corn starch or flour. But, the sauce is just as delicious and flavorful even if it isn’t thick. You can certainly thicken it with a keto-friendly thickener like xanthan gum, but I prefer to skip that part altogether and keep the ingredients simple. Just spoon the juices over the pot roast before serving. It’s delicious!
Otherwise, a keto pot roast or low carb pot roast is no different than any other pot roast.
Tips For The Best Slow Cooker Pot Roast
Pot roast is pretty straightforward, and the best part is it’s a (mostly) hands-off slow cooker dinner recipe that you can leave alone while you do something else. I’m all about anything that saves me time cooking, especially when it comes to low carb dinner recipes.
But if you want the best slow cooker pot roast, follow these tips!
Use the right cut of meat for pot roast.
The best slow cooker pot roast needs the right cut of meat! See my tips above for choosing the best ones.
Use a heavy hand with the salt and pepper. You need more than you think for pot roast.
Let the meat rest at room temperature.
After you season the meat, then let it sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. This allows the meat to cook more evenly, which means a juicier and more tender pot roast.
Sear the meat first.
You might think that the slow cooker will already be cooking the meat, so do you really need to sear it first? You do.
Browning the outside brings out tons more flavor. It’s super quick to do. Don’t skip it!
Brown the veggies.
The same principle that applies to the meat is true for the veggies too. Browning them brings out flavor and makes them taste so much better!
Include fresh herbs.
Flavor, flavor, flavor. Everything about making a good slow cooker pot roast is about flavor! Heavier herbs, like rosemary and thyme, can stand up to the longer cooking time and yield a delicious result.
If you want to remove the herbs later, you can tie them together using kitchen twine for easy removal. However, I prefer to have them spread throughout the slow cooker.
Use flavorful broth.
Any good pot roast slow cooker recipe should use broth. Do not use water!
You might already know this, but it might come as a surprise that bone broth works even better. It’s more rich and flavorful, plus it has the added benefits of collagen. It will tenderize the meat even more. And, the extra (good) fat is perfect for a keto low carb pot roast recipe!
Do not remove the lid.
You let steam escape every time you do that! And, if you’re making pot roast in a Crock Pot, isn’t the whole point that you can walk away and go about your day while it cooks?
Cook it for long enough.
This is the most important part! Don’t make the mistake of trying to remove the pot roast too soon. It will be tough and dense.
For tender, fall-apart meat, it needs to cook low and slow for a loooong time. If it’s too tough, chances are it needs more time to cook.
How Long To Cook Pot Roast In A Crock Pot
If there is one thing that makes pot roast tender and flavorful, it’s the cooking temperature and time. We want low and slow, for hours!
Slow Cooker Pot Roast on Low
If you can, I highly recommend making slow cooker pot roast on low. A low temperature makes for the most succulent meat possible.
The cook time for pot roast in the slow cooker on low is 10 to 12 hours.
Slow Cooker Pot Roast on High
If you don’t have time to cook slow cooker pot roast on low, you can also do it on high. It’s still a slow cooker temperature, so will still tenderize the meat pretty well.
The cook time for pot roast in the slow cooker on high is 5 to 6 hours.
What To Do If Pot Roast Is Tough or Dry
The key to the best slow cooker pot roast is to allow it to cook for long enough. If your pot roast is not fall apart tender, chances are it needs more time to cook. It’s very rare that it’s overcooked.
How To Test If Pot Roast Is Done
How do you know if pot roast is done? Simply take a fork, stick it into the pot roast, and twist. If you can easily remove the meat, then it’s done. If not, keep cooking it!
How To Fix Tough Pot Roast
Signs of an underdone pot roast are meat that is dense, leathery, and does not shred or twist off.
If this happens, simply close the lid of the slow cooker and continue cooking for another 1 to 2 hours. Then, try the fork test again.
How To Fix Dry Pot Roast
Signs of an overdone pot roast are meat that is dry. Honestly, this is almost impossible with a slow cooker pot roast!
But, if your meat is dry, just baste it with the juices from the slow cooker and it should still be good. If it’s too dry to eat on its own, try making tacos with it. (Use coconut flour tortillas for a low carb version!)
Can Pot Roast Be Frozen?
Yes, definitely! After you’ve cooked your pot roast in the slow cooker, shred it and let it cool to room temperature.
Transfer the shredded meat and veggies to freezer bags and top with the sauce. You might have some solids, which is okay, and it’s up to you if you want to include these. Either way, try to submerge the meat in the liquid.
Freeze the bags laying flat in the freezer. Once they are solid, you can move them around where ever it’s convenient.
More Low Carb Slow Cooker Recipes
You can find more keto low carb slow cooker recipes here. A few favorites to try:
Keto Low Carb Pot Roast Slow Cooker Recipe
Tools To Make Low Carb Pot Roast
Tap the links below to see the items used to make this recipe.
- Dutch oven – For browning the meat and veggies.
- Slow cooker – Of course you need a Crock Pot for a pot roast slow cooker recipe!
Low Carb Keto Pot Roast (Easy & Tender!)
Make the BEST keto pot roast recipe in your Crock Pot! This low carb pot roast is flavorful, fall-apart tender, and so easy to make.
Recipe VideoTap on the image below to watch the video.
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Tap underlined ingredients to see where to get them. Please turn Safari reader mode OFF to view ingredients.
Tap on the times in the instructions below to start a kitchen timer while you cook.
Season the chuck roast liberally with sea salt and black pepper on all sides, rubbing it in evenly. Let sit for about 30 to 45 minutes to come to room temperature.
Meanwhile, heat a tablespoon of oil in a large dutch oven or stock pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, until browned. Add the radishes and carrots. Cook for about 5 minutes, until all the veggies are browned on the outside. (Veggies don't have to be soft, just browned.)
Transfer the veggies to the slow cooker. Arrange the veggies along the sides with a hole in the middle where the pot roast will go.
Add another tablespoon of oil to the pot. Add the chuck roast and sear on all sides for a couple of minutes, until browned on the outside.
Add the chuck roast to the center of the slow cooker. Arrange the veggies mostly along the sides, spooning any stuck on the bottom over the top.
Add the beef broth. Add the fresh rosemary and fresh thyme, partially submerging in broth.
Close the slow cooker lid. Cook for 10-12 hours on Low or 5-6 hours on High, until the beef is very tender.
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Serving size: 1/3 lb meat + a few veggies
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This recipe was amazing – we wanted low carb and this was perfect. I would never have thought to use radishes and I was skeptical lol. But, they were absolutely amazing. Since we did not make it full keto – we also used a rutabaga in place of potatoes – by the time everything was done cooking – the flavors were amazing, the veggies! So good. We did not give potatoes a 2nd thought, and the meat fell off the bone effortlessly! Great recipe, highly recommend and we’ll be making this in a regular rotation.
I’m trying this recipe today. However, I don’t have any carrots or radishes. But I do have a package of fresh mushrooms. I will slice them just not real slim. Should that work ok? I hope because I don’t happen to have any other fresh veggies here. Thanks
Wholesome Yum D0
Hi Cindy, Yes, that would work.
Hi, what would the cooking time be in an instant pot? . Thank you!!
Wholesome Yum D0
Hi Nicole, I have never made this recipe in an Instant Pot.
I ran across this recipe last year and gave made it several times. I usually half the beef broth. Roast the veggies beforehand and use part of the seasoning for the radishes. Add fresh minced garlic. Sometimes I substitute the radishes for either rutabagas or turnips. They all compliment the dish well. I like to get a fresh herb package mix of rosemary, thyme, and parsley. I cook it on high for 2 hours and 6 on low. It’s usually tender but sometimes I’ll have to cook it longer if it’s a thicker cut of meat.
I made this Recipe today & it was so good. My Husband & Granddaughter also enjoyed it as well, too bad My Granddaughter didn’t know she was eating Radishes instead of Potatoes. 🤣🤣🤣
Hi! This sounds so delish and I cannot wait to try it! I am wondering if celery would work instead of radishes? It is all I have on hand. Thank you!!
Wholesome Yum D0
Hi Lauren, Yes, that would work.
This recipe is so simple & delicious. I didn’t have radishes but I plan to serve this over a cauli-mash anyway, so no big deal. The only tip I have to offer, and maybe this has been said in previous comments, but… when you brown your veggies & sear your meat in the pan, take about 1/4 – 1/2 cup of the broth & deglaze your saute pan then pour those drippings in the crock pot with the remaining broth! Why let all that deliciousness go to waste?!?!
How long should I cook a 2lb roast on low?
Wholesome Yum D0
Hi Sierra, It would probably take 8-10 hours on Low or 4-5 hours on High.
I made this yesterday with a 3 lb arm roast. I didn’t have radishes, and I only had one large carrot. I have an abundance of celery so put in two stalks. I also added in 1/2 cup red wine. I only had dried herbs. This came out so good! The meat was falling apart and there was alot of broth, so I roughly shredded the meat into med sized chunks. Served it in a bowl. I don’t think I messed with the carb count too much. I will definitely make again!!!!
Came out awesome! I added turnips to it as well and I love this recipe thank you.
OK, so what did I do wrong? This really was NOT good. The radishes – was I supposed to use the typical red radishes from the produce department? I peeled them. They cooked down to pure mush and were totally inedible. Onions, too. Really, really bad. I may be able to salvage the meat but otherwise…
Based on the number of good reviews, I have to suspect I did something wrong. I followed the recipe closely although I used a smaller roast. The rosemary? You said 3 sprigs (I think) but I’ve never cooked with fresh rosemary. Maybe I used too much? Bottom line is I won’t be trying this again. You have way too many other good recipes I’ve already used. I’ll stick with those!! LOL
Wholesome Yum D0
Hi Susan, Sorry this recipe didn’t meet your expectations. Maybe try waiting a few hours to add the vegetables to allow the meat to cook and then hopefully the veggies won’t get too soft.
When I make a pot roast in the crock pot I let the meat cook for a bit before adding the veges. Maybe 2 hours or so? That will keep your veges from getting mushy. I didn’t add the radishes.
Hi Susan – one issue you might have had is the size cut of your veggies. Typically when cooking low & slow the veggies should be large enough to withstand the long cooking time. You don’t want to slice & dice anything too small/thin. Another tip, with any recipe, if you haven’t used a spice/herb before, start out with less & adjust as necessary in the future. You can always add but never take away 🙂. The recipe is quite good & simple, you may want to try again. Try next time, maybe cooking your fav veggies separately.
We added the veggies right at the start – but did not have a mushy issue. For the radishes, we washed them and just cut them in half, like potato chunks -rather decent sized. They came out a amazing. Same the onion – we left them very large. We also used more rosemary than it called for and the flavor was fantastic. Maybe try again but cut your veggies / onions much larger? We did 8-9 hours on low. Also added large chunks of celery.
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