Gently braised low and slow in a garlic, herb, mushroom, and wine sauce, this Dutch Oven Pot Roast is a comforting main course you’ll want to make again and again. It’s easy to make, and easier to eat!
An Easy Melt in Your Mouth Pot Roast
What is your perfect weekend meal, a Saturday evening feast or Sunday family dinner that you love to make? For me, a wholesome pot roast is definitely up there in the top FIVE. When I want to cook something that will make my family and friends feel loved, and give them something that will stick to their ribs, this is it!
My favorite Dutch Oven Pot Roast is made with a rich red wine and mushroom sauce, for a Beef Bourguignon feel (without all the work). It’s very much hands-off in the cooking phase, too! This means I can make this hearty meal without standing over the stove – the oven does all the work! Perfection. And, the leftovers are fabulous for another meal later on!
What Cut of Meat Is a Pot Roast?
Pot roasts are sort of the opposite of a good steak, but equally delicious, if you ask me. While a steak is very tender and needs to be cooked quickly to avoid drying out, pot roasts are made with tough cuts of meat that need to cook low and slow.
If you cook a tough cut of meat quickly, it will seem chewy and rubbery, because the connective tissues haven’t had time to break down. But, magically, if you cook the same cut for a long time at a low heat, those tissues will melt away, leaving the meat moist and tender enough to cut with a fork!
So what cut of meat should you use? Look for large roasts labeled “chuck roast,” “top round roast,” “bottom round roast,” or “brisket.” Chuck is typically the go-to for pot roasts, with plenty of well-balanced, meaty flavor, but round roasts and brisket are also great!
I usually opt for a larger roast rather than a small one, because it will shrink quite a bit during cooking. Also, leftovers! However, if you don’t care to have leftovers or you are not cooking for more than one or two people, a smaller roast is fine.
There’s a somewhat long cast of characters here, but don’t be intimidated! The overall recipe is easy to make, and each element adds its own special flavor. Here’s the rundown:
- Chuck Roast: Many pot roast recipes call for whole roasts, but I recommend cutting the meat into several 4-inch pieces.
- Salt and Pepper: Freshly ground pepper is best.
- Olive Oil
- Onions: Peel and quarter a couple of yellow onions. White or red onions are also fine.
- Carrots: Peel or scrub the carrots, and cut into large chunks.
- Mushrooms: I use baby mushrooms, cut in half.
- Garlic: Mince or press the garlic.
- Wine: For the best flavor, use a dry red wine that’s good drinking quality.
- Broth: You can make pot roast with water, but using beef broth adds even more flavor.
- Fresh Herbs: I love fresh thyme and rosemary in this recipe.
How to Make Classic Dutch Oven Pot Roast
Depending on your roast, you should budget between three and four hours for the beef to become tender. Too little cook time, and the meat will be very tough!
- Prep the Beef, Dutch Oven, and Regular Oven. To get started, first preheat the oven to 275˚F. And that’s not a typo! Pot roast benefits from a slow braise at a low temperature. Next, use paper towels to pat the beef dry, and generously season each piece with salt and pepper. Heat a swirl of olive oil in a large Dutch oven, or a large braiser, over medium-high heat.
- Brown the Beef. Place the beef roast pieces in the hot oil, and sear them for 2 minutes per side, or until browned all over. Then remove the pieces from the pot, and set them aside while you work with the veggies.
- Cook the Veggies Briefly. Reduce the heat to medium. If the pot looks dry, add a bit more oil. Add the onions and carrots to the pot, and cook them for several minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Stir in the mushrooms, and cook for 2 more minutes, and then add the garlic and cook for 20 seconds more.
- Add the Liquids, Herbs, and Beef Back to the Pot. Add wine and beef broth to the pot, and stir to scrape up all the browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Return beef chunks to the mixture, increase the heat to high, and bring everything to a boil. Add the fresh sprigs of thyme and rosemary, cover the pot with a lid, and turn the heat off.
- Braise. Transfer the pot to the oven, and let it cook for about 3 ½ to 4 hours, or until roast is fall-apart tender.
- Enjoy! Serve your perfect pot roast hot, with all of your favorite side dishes.
Tips for Success
To make sure your Duch oven pot roast turns out just right, take a look at these helpful tips! You’ll love how easy it is to make this hearty main dish.
- Brown the Beef: Thoroughly brown the beef to get lots of flavor. You actually want savory browned stuff stuck to the pan at this stage, because when you deglaze it (pour in the liquid and scrape the pan) you’ll create a full-flavored broth/sauce.
- Add Potatoes: For an added boost, toss a few scrubbed potatoes into the pot about an hour before the roast is done. Voila! A one-pot meal that will make your mouth happy!
- Hold the Carrots: After a long braise, the carrots basically fall apart into the sauce. If you’d rather have firm carrots for serving, hold them until an hour or so before the roast is done.
To serve any pot roast, I like to go with a classic side dish or two, especially something comfy and starchy like rice or potatoes. These are hearty, easy sides that everyone loves!
- Potatoes: What could be better with rich red wine sauce than plenty of mashed potatoes? Honestly, not much! My Garlic Rosemary Mashed Potatoes pick up beautifully on the flavors of the pot roast.
- Salad: A burst of freshness and vibrant green is on the menu when you make Spinach Blackberry Salad with Lemon Poppyseed Dressing! This is a super healthy, super easy side that really hits the spot.
- Brussels Sprouts: These Garlic Brown Butter Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Carrots are one of my very favorite roasted veggie side dishes. The flavors are well-balanced and mouthwateringly vibrant!
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
- Store leftover Pot Roast and sauce in the refrigerator, for 3 to 4 days. Cover the Dutch oven with its lid, or transfer the pot roast and sauce to airtight storage containers.
Can I Freeze Dutch Oven Pot Roast?
- Yes! You can store this easy pot roast for up to 3 months in the freezer.
- Freeze the meat in airtight containers, along with the sauce.
Dutch Oven Pot Roast
- 3 to 4 pound chuck roast, cut into 4-inch pieces
- Salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 yellow onions, peeled and quartered
- 4 large carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1 pound baby mushrooms, halved
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup red wine
- 3 cups beef broth
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- Preheat oven to 275˚F.
- Using paper towels, pat dry the beef and generously season it with salt and pepper.
- Heat the olive oil in a large dutch oven, or a large braiser, set over medium-high heat.
- Add beef to the heated oil and cook for 2 minutes per side, or until browned all around.
- Remove beef from the pot and set aside.
- Reduce heat to medium and add onions and carrots to the pot; add more oil, if needed.
- Cook the onions and carrots for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Stir in the mushrooms and cook for 2 more minutes.
- Add garlic and cook for 20 seconds.
- Add wine and beef broth; stir to scrape up all the browned bits from the bottom of the pot.
- Return beef to the pot; increase heat to high and bring to a boil.
- Add the fresh sprigs of thyme and rosemary.
- Cover the pot with a lid.
- Roast in the oven for about 3 ½ to 4 hours, or until roast is fall-apart tender.
- Remove from oven.
- 7-quart Dutch Oven
Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.