An easy and delicious oven pot roast, with carrots and onions that cooks low and slow in the oven. Served with a delicious horseradish gravy.
There is a lot to love about pot roast. It turns economical cuts of beef into a delicious meal and it’s wonderfully simple to make. This easy pot roast recipe is just that.
The pot roast cooks low and slow in the oven, along with onions and carrots until fork tender and while it rests, make an easy gravy from the braising liquid with added horseradish and grainy mustard.
Ingredients and Substitutions
Beef Roast – Hop on down to the FAQ section, where I go over the best cuts of beef for a pot roast.
White Wine – if you don’t have any wine or you prefer not to cook with wine, simply replace with an equal amount of additional chicken broth.
Tomato Paste – you only need a small amount of tomato paste here, so the handy-dandy tubes of tomato paste are perfect here. If you find yourself without any tomato paste, substitute the same amount of ketchup.
Sour Cream – Full fat sour cream is recommended, as it is the least likely to curdle in the gravy. If you don’t have sour cream, you can substitute an equal amount of heavy, whipping cream (35% b.f.)
Horseradish – this refers to the prepared horseradish in the jar. It comes in various strength levels, so adjust as needed, to your taste.
Prepare your roast by patting dry. If the roast has string, leave the string on. Brush some olive oil over the roast, then season generously with salt and pepper. Heat some oil in the Dutch oven or another pan and place the roast into the pan to brown. Brown the roast on both sides.
While the roast is browning, prepare your carrots and onions and whisk together the braising liquid, which is chicken broth, white wine and a bit of tomato paste. When the roast is browned, remove to a plate.
Add the chicken broth mixture to the pot and stir to loosen the brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Add the garlic, thyme and bay leaf to the pot, then add the carrots and onion. Return the browned roast to the pot.
Place the cover on the Dutch oven and cook in a 250F oven for about 4 hours (for a 2 1/2 – 3 lb. roast). When cooked, remove the roast, carrots and onions to a plate. Make the gravy by simmering the braising liquid for 5-7 minutes to reduce, then add in some horseradish, grainy mustard and a touch of sour cream. If you’d like to thicken the gravy further, mix up a cornstarch slurry of equal part of cold water. Add a bit at a time until the gravy thickens to your liking. Don’t forget to season the gravy with salt and pepper, too!
- The carrot and onion in the pot here is there primarily for seasoning the braising liquid and not necessarily to be served alongside your pot roast at the end. If your beef is quite fatty, you may find they a little too greasy for eating by the end of cooking. For a leaner cut of beef, they might be just fine to eat. Just mentioning this point in case you want to plan another vegetable to have with your roast. Oven roasted carrots are a great side for this pot roast.
- This dish is excellent served with mashed potatoes and for those wondering about adding potatoes to the pot, again, this isn’t a stew, and as mentioned above with the carrots and onion, the vegetables are in the pot for flavouring and not necessarily eating. My advice would be not to add potatoes. It’s very hard to know when exactly to add them so they are cooked through and as above, they may end up a bit greasy in the end with a particularly fatty beef.
- When oven-cooking your roast, make sure your pot has a tight-fitting lid, so that the liquid won’t escape during cooking. If you feel your pot isn’t tight enough, add a layer of foil on the top of the pot, then place the lid on.
- You can change this one up by using a beef broth and red wine combination if you prefer.
- The beef cut I used here was a fairly lean roast (a cross rib roast, I think) so my vegetables and gravy weren’t fatty at all. It was also quite sliceable when done. A fattier cut might be more “fall-apart” than this cut. That’s the nice thing about pot roast though, in that you can use a variety of beef roasts and make a nice meal of it.
What is the best cut of beef for pot roast? A Chuck Roast is widely considered the best cut of beef for pot roast. Here in Canada, it is called a Blade Roast. Top Blade or Bottom Blade Roasts, Shoulder, Brisket or Cross Rib Roasts are other good options. Many times, grocery stores will include the wording “Pot Roast” right on the label, so you know it’s a good choice for a pot roast, or if in doubt, ask the butcher to pick you out a perfect pot roast roast.
Do I remove the string from the pot roast before cooking? No, you want to leave the string on, so that the meat stays in one piece. That way it will cook through evenly.
Can I cook this in the slow-cooker? Yes! Simply follow the recipe on the stove-top to the point that it goes into the oven, but instead, put it all in a slow-cook and cook for 8-10 hours on LOW. (You never want to cook a slow-cooker pot roast on the HIGH setting, as it will result in an over-cooked and stringy roast.)
Get the Recipe: Pot Roast with Horseradish Gravy
- 2 1/2 - 3 lb. boneless beef chuck/blade roast, *see Note 1
- 3 carrots, peeled and cut in half lengthwise
- 1 medium onion, peeled and quartered
- 3 cloves garlic, smashed
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme, or 1/4 tsp dried thyme leaves
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 cup dry white wine, or another cup of chicken broth
- 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
To finish gravy:
- 1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
- 1 teaspoon grainy mustard, or Dijon mustard, using a bit less
- 2 Tablespoons full-fat sour cream, or substitute heavy cream
To thicken gravy, if necessary:
- 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 Tablespoons cold water
- Preheat oven to 250F. (not fan assisted)
- Pat the roast dry with a paper towel. Brush the roast with 1 Tbsp of the olive oil, then season all over the salt and freshly ground pepper. (If roast has a string, leave the string on the roast).
- Heat the remaining 1 Tbsp olive oil in a Dutch oven (or similar oven-safe pot with a lid) on the stove-top, over medium-high heat. Add the roast and cook until the underside in nicely browned, about 3-4 minutes, then flip the roast and brown the other side an additional 3-4 minutes.
- While beef is browning, prepare the carrots, onion and garlic and set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the chicken broth, wine and tomato paste to combine.
- When roast has browned, remove to a plate. Pour broth/wine mixture into the pot and stir, scraping up the brown bits on the bottom of the pan and heating the liquid to a simmer. Add the carrots, onion, garlic, thyme and bay leaf. Return the roast and any juices on the pate to the pot. Flip the roast once or twice in the liquid to moisten. Place cover on the Dutch oven and place into preheated 250F oven. Roast covered for about 4 hours or until very tender (170-190F internal temperature). *I like to flip the roast once or twice during the cooking time, though it's not absolutely necessary.
- Remove roast, carrots and onion to a plate to rest and tent with a sheet of aluminum foil to keep warm. *Carrots and onion may or may not be great for eating, If they are quite greasy, you may want to pass on them, though they will still make a nice garnish for the serving plate.
- Strain the remaining liquid with a slotted spoon and discard any solids. *Alternately, you can strain the liquid completely into a medium saucepan and if your roast was particularly fatty, you may wish to use a gravy separator to remove some of the fat from the gravy liquid. Heat the liquid on the stove-top over medium heat until boiling, then reduce heat slightly and simmer 5-7 minutes to reduce.
- Once gravy has reduced, whisk in horseradish and mustard. In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream and a couple of tablespoons of the hot gravy mixture (this helps to prevent the sour cream from curdling). Add the sour cream mixture to the gravy and whisk well to combine. If you want your gravy thicken, mix up the cornstarch and cold water and add a bit at a time to the gravy, until it thickens to your liking. Taste gravy and season with additional salt and pepper, as needed. You can also add a bit more mustard and/or horseradish at this point if you'd like a bit more of those flavours.
- To serve, remove string from roast, if stringed. Slice pot roast. Serve warm beef slices with the carrots and onions and drizzled with warm gravy.
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Hi! I’m Jennifer, a home cook schooled by trial and error and almost 40 years of getting dinner on the table! I love to share my favourite recipes, both old and new, together with lots of tips and tricks to hopefully help make your home cooking enjoyable, stress free, rewarding and of course, delicious!