Southern Braised Pot Roast

This southern braised pot roast recipe is savory, juicy, and so tender! Beef is seared to perfection, then slow cooked with herbs in a braising liquid. The result is melt in your mouth pot roast that is so rich and flavorful. It’s the best pot roast recipe!
A bowl of tender pot roast with fresh herbs, carrots, and potatoes.

This southern braised pot roast recipe is savory, juicy, and so tender! Beef is seared to perfection, then slow cooked with herbs in a braising liquid. The result is melt-in-your-mouth pot roast that is so rich and flavorful.  It’s the best pot roast recipe!

Up close bowl of pot roast over rice with herbs and veggies.

Southern pot roast is classic comfort food! This old fashioned pot roast is one of the first things I learned to cook, and I still make it when I want something comforting and delicious. Serve it over perfectly cooked rice to soak up all those tasty juices. For more comforting beef dishes, try Short Rib Risotto, Dutch Oven Chili, or Short Rib Ragù.  

Why you’ll love this braised pot roast

  • Simple ingredients. You only need 5 ingredients for this southern pot roast recipe!
  • So. Dang. Flavorful. Even with limited ingredients, this chuck roast recipe has so much flavor!
  • Super tender. Thanks to the low and slow cooking, this pot roast recipe is completely fork tender. 
  • Easy recipe. You only need about 20 minutes of hands on time, the rest of the time the dutch oven does all the work!
  • Super customizable. I kept this recipe simple, but give directions for adding more veggies and additional ingredients for changing up the flavors. 
  • Perfect for making ahead. These leftovers are even better the next day, and they freeze beautifully. 

Equipment needed

The best cut of meat for pot roast

You can use a few different cuts of beef to make a pot roast, but my favorite is the chuck roast. You can also use beef brisket, round roast, eye round, or rump roast. Always start with a high quality product if you want a stellar final dish. 

My favorite cut of meat for a pot roast is the boneless chuck roast.

CHUCK ROAST

Chuck roasts come from the shoulder and neck area of the cow. This cut of beef tends to be tougher than others since they come from muscles that do a fair amount of work. The chuck roast contains more collagen which helps to add flavor when cooked down.

Chuck roasts are best when cooked with a low and slow method, like braising. The collagen and connective tissue in the beef will melt down, creating a rich flavor. You can also use a boneless or bone-in chuck roast. 

BEEF BRISKET

Beef brisket is another good choice for pot roast. Brisket comes from the pectoral muscles (chest) of the cow. It is a fattier cut of beef that also requires a long cooking time, but the fat renders into a delicious broth and makes a tender roast after braising.

ROUND ROAST

You can also use top round, bottom round, eye round, or rump roast. These cuts of beef come from the hindquarter of the cow. Like the chuck roast, they are tougher because they do more work than other muscles, but they tend to be much more lean than the chuck roast and brisket.

They lack the amount of collagen that the chuck roast has, making them less flavorful when cooked. 

Ingredients & Substitutions

Ingredients needed to make pot roast on a cutting board.
  • Boneless chuck roast – This is my favorite cut of beef for making a beef roast. It can be tough, but becomes really flavorful when cooked down over a long period of time. Chuck roast is also great in these shredded beef sandwiches.
  • Onions – I usually use yellow onion. You can also add in diced carrots, onions, or peppers to add more flavor. 
  • Garlic – There is really no substitute for fresh garlic! It tastes so much better than the pre-minced jarred kind. 
  • Beef stock – Use a good quality brand or homemade. I like using beef base paste that can be reconstituted with water. 
  • Flour – For thickening the gravy. 
  • Seasoning – I believe the only seasoning you need for this recipe to be perfect is salt, but you can add others if you want to like garlic powder, onion powder, or a bay leaf. I encourage you to try it with salt only first though!
  • Fresh herbs – Optional but it adds a nice flavor. I usually simmer the roast with thyme and rosemary, then top with parsley for serving.
  • Extras – This is a simple recipe that can be totally customized! Serve over rice, mashed potatoes, or grits. Add in vegetables like carrots, potatoes or peas. See the “Variations” section for more ideas and further instructions. 

See the recipe card below for full list of ingredients and measurements.

How to make the best pot roast

Seared pot roast in a dutch oven.

STEP ONE: SEAR

Sear beef in a hot pan over medium-high heat with oil until well browned on all sides. Set aside. 

Sautéed onions in a large dutch oven.

STEP TWO: SAUTÉ

Add onions to the pot and saute until turning translucent, then add garlic and stir until fragrant.

Pouring beef broth into a pot with seared pot roast topped with herbs and onions.

STEP THREE: SIMMER

Add roast back into the pot with beef broth and fresh thyme and rosemary. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer.

Digging into tender pot roast with a fork.

STEP FOUR: FINISH

Cook covered until roast is fall-apart tender and easily shreds with a fork. Discard the herb stems.

Pouring flour slurry into a pot of pot roast.

STEP FIVE: GRAVY

Remove some broth and whisk in 2-3 tablespoons of flour, then pour back into the pot. Simmer until gravy has thickened. 

Juicy pot roast in a large pot with rich gravy.

STEP SIX: SERVE

Shred or keep in chunks. Serve with gravy over rice, mashed potatoes, or cheesy grits. Top with fresh herbs. 

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Expert Tips

  • Dry the beef. Before searing, pat the chuck roast down with paper towels to dry. This helps to create a nice sear in the pan. Moisture is the enemy of proper browning! If you have time, you can place the beef on a plate in the refrigerator a few hours before cooking to help dry the surface even further. 
  • Get your pan fully hot. Before you add the beef, make sure the pan is fully heated. This will also help get a better browned crust. 
  • Sear really well. There are limited ingredients in this recipe, but tons of flavor! Most of the flavor comes from getting a really good sear on the beef (thanks to the Maillard reaction), so give it time to develop. Don’t move the beef around until it’s almost time to flip it. 

Troubleshooting

  • Roast is tough. If you find your roast to be tough, cook it longer. Make sure there is still some liquid in the pot, then continue to cook covered for another 30 minutes. Continue cooking until the beef is tender
  • Not enough gravy. Add about ½ – 1 cup of beef broth and simmer with the gravy slurry. 

Serving Suggestions

This southern braised pot roast recipe is a favorite main dish for Sunday dinner. Here are my favorite side dishes to pair with it!

Up close bowl of pot roast served over rice with potatoes and carrots.

Storage & Reheating

How to store leftovers: Store leftover pot roast in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 3-4 days. 

How to freeze: Once roast has cooled, store in freezer safe containers for about 6 months. I like to freeze laying flat in a quart size freezer bag for easier storage. Don’t forget to label and date!

How to reheat: To reheat from frozen, allow to defrost first in the refrigerator overnight or in a bowl of cool water. This pot roast reheats well in the microwave. 

PRO TIP: After the roast has been chilled, the fat will pool to the top and harden. Scoop out the white fat and discard. 

Variations

One of my favorite things about this recipe is that it is SO customizable. This is a basic recipe that is delicious on its own, or can be added to to create different versions. 

Change up the aromatics.

I kept this recipe really basic with onions and garlic, but you can change up the aromatics by using a mirepoix, the holy trinity, or a sofrito. Mirepoix (or Soffritto for the Italian version) is a combination of diced onions, celery, and carrots. The holy trinity is a Cajun twist on the mirepoix with diced onions, celery, and green bell pepper. A sofrito is a hispanic version usually containing minced onion, peppers, garlic, tomatoes and herbs. Each culture has its own version, and they are an excellent opportunity to add more flavor to your dish. 

Add tomato paste.

If you prefer a tomato based sauce, Add 1-2 tablespoons of tomato paste after the onions are done sautéing. Mix the tomato paste in with the onions and cook it for 2-3 minutes to caramelize. Then continue the recipe per directions. 

Use a flavorful deglazing liquid.

Deglazing is one of my favorite steps of cooking to add some extra flavor. After the onions are sautéed, “deglaze” the pan with a flavorful liquid like ½ to 1 cup of red wine, a splash of balsamic vinegar, or a dash of worcestershire sauce. Scrape up the fond (browned bits) from the bottom of the pan and reincorporate it into the liquid. If using wine, make sure to let it simmer for a few minutes to let the alcohol burn off. 

Add veggies.

When the beef is about 30 minutes away from being done, add in veggies like baby carrots, chopped celery stalks, diced or baby potatoes, mushrooms, or frozen peas. The veggies will cook and become tender by the time the beef is finished cooking. Root vegetables pair well with this roast beef and they can hold up to the longer cooking time. 

A forkful of juicy southern pot roast with potatoes and carrots.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make this in the crock pot?

I prefer to make this stove top or in the oven for the best results. To make with a slow cooker, sear the meat and sauté the veggies in a dutch oven first, then transfer to a slow cooker. You will need about half of the liquid. Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.

What’s the difference between pot roast and chuck roast?

Pot roast is a slow cooked cut of roast beef. It can be made from different beef cuts like chuck roast, brisket, or rump roast. A chuck roast is a cut of beef. You can use it to make pot roast, or other recipes that need a low and slow cook time. 

How long does a 3 pound pot roast take to cook?

A three pound pot roast should take 3-4 hours to cook on a low temperature. 

How do you know when pot roast is done cooking?

Pot roast is done cooking when it is very tender when pierced with a fork. 

How do you keep pot roast moist and tender?

The secret to a tender and juicy pot roast is braising. Cook your pot roast with a low heat over a longer period of time in a braising liquid, like beef broth. The broth will keep the roast from drying out and the long cooking time will melt the fats and collagen in the beef so it’s flavorful and tender. 

Lauren sitting on the kitchen counter.

Meet Lauren

I’m the blogger, recipe developer, food photographer, and otherwise food obsessed gal behind Lauren From Scratch. I was born and raised in New Orleans and lived in South Louisiana most of my life. Growing up around Cajun country has instilled a love of food that runs deep in my bones. I am passionate about food and teaching you how to make mouth-watering Louisiana inspired dishes in your own kitchen!


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A bowl of tender pot roast with fresh herbs, carrots, and potatoes.

Southern Braised Pot Roast

This southern braised pot roast recipe is savory, juicy, and so tender! Beef is seared to perfection, then slow cooked with herbs in a braising liquid. The result is melt in your mouth pot roast that is so rich and flavorful. It’s the best pot roast recipe!
4.99 from 51 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 20 minutes
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine American, Southern
Servings 8 servings
Calories 358 kcal

Ingredients
  

Instructions
 

  • PREP: About 30 minutes prior to cooking, remove chuck roast from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature.Trim excess fat if needed. You can cut up the chuck roast into more manageable chunks if needed. Salt and pepper roast generously on all sides. Slice onions and mince garlic. Heat up a large pot or dutch oven over medium high heat until it is fully heated.
  • SEAR: Add avocado oil to the pot and swirl to coat. Place in beef and allow to sear for about 5 minutes on each side, forming a browned crust. Once you place the beef down, don’t move it for a few minutes to help it fully sear. Once all browned, remove the beef from the pot and set aside.
  • SAUTÉ: Add onions to the pot and saute for about 8-10 minutes, or until turning translucent, stirring occasionally. Scrape the bottom of the pot to incorporate the fond (browned bits). Add garlic and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  • SIMMER: Add the browned roast back on top of the onions, and pour in beef broth. You can add some of the onions on top of the beef. Add in fresh herbs if using. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook covered for 3-4 hours until roast is fall-apart tender when pierced with a fork. Check occasionally to make sure liquid has not gotten too low. If there is not enough, add a splash of water or beef broth. If there is still too much liquid, simmer uncovered for a few minutes until it reduces.
  • GRAVY: Remove some of the broth into a separate cup. Whisk in 2-3 tablespoons of flour into the removed broth, and stir until all lumps are gone. Add the flour and broth mixture back into the pot and stir well. Start with a little at a time and add more if needed. Simmer for 10-15 minutes more on low heat until the gravy thickens. Add salt and black pepper to taste.
  • SERVE: Remove herb stems before serving. Shred beef into smaller pieces, or cut into large chunks for serving. Serve over rice. Top with fresh herbs.

Notes

  • Oven directions: Alternatively, for the simmer step, you can transfer the covered pot to the oven and braise at 350°F (175°C) for the same amount of time.
  • Add vegetables: When the beef is about 30 minutes away from being done, add in veggies like baby carrots, diced or baby potatoes, mushrooms, or frozen peas. The veggies will cook and become tender by the time the beef is finished cooking.
  • Remove the fat. After the roast has been chilled, the fat will pool to the top and harden. Scoop out the white fat and discard.
  • How to store leftovers: Store leftover pot roast in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 3-4 days.
  • How to freeze: Once roast has cooled, store in freezer safe containers for about 6 months. I like to freeze laying flat in a quart size freezer bag for easier storage. Don’t forget to label and date!
  • How to reheat: To reheat from frozen, allow to defrost first in the refrigerator overnight or in a bowl of cool water. This pot roast reheats well in the microwave.

Equipment

Nutrition

Calories: 358kcalCarbohydrates: 6gProtein: 36gFat: 21gSaturated Fat: 9gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 117mgSodium: 377mgPotassium: 838mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 23IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 49mgIron: 4mg
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2 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I LOVE THIS RECIPE! The flavor … the colorful veggies… the aromatics! I’m going to make this again and divide the meat for freezing. I can make soup, pot roast dinner, shredded beef sandwiches…omygosh! I cooked it in my cast iron dutch oven which has been stored away. (What was I thinking?) and left it in the oven over a long rainy afternoon. With fresh sourdough bread and REAL butter to accompany it…just perfect. Thanks for posting.

4.99 from 51 votes (50 ratings without comment)

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