This pot roast with tomato sauce is one of my favourite comfort food meals! With a tangy tomato sauce, carrots and potatoes, it’s an entire meal cooked all together in the oven or in a slow cooker.
Why I love this tomato pot roast
- You can make this easy and delicious pot roast in the oven or in a slow cooker. The oven method takes 3-4 hours or allow 6-8 hours for the slow cooker, so you can adjust to either method to suit your schedule.
- I love the plentiful tomato sauce, that is full of the beef juices and has a touch of tang from the vinegar.
- Once you set this pot roast to cooking, there is nothing else to do, as the meat, vegetables and gravy are all in the pot. Simply thicken the gravy before serving and dinner is done.
- Your house will smell fabulous for hours while this pot roast cooks :)
What you’ll need
A few notes about the key ingredients …
Beef Roast – ideally, you’ll want a beef roast that is nicely marbled with fat, such as an inside or outside round beef roast, a blade (chuck) roast or a cross-rib beef roast. Around 3 lbs. is perfect, but it can be a bit smaller or larger. Boneless beef roasts are best, but a bone-in will also work. These type of beef roasts are often tied with butcher string. You’ll want to leave the string on during the entire searing and cooking time, only removing at the end of cooking.
Potatoes – I’ve used red mini potatoes here, that I cut in half. Yellow mini potatoes or yellow flesh (Yukon Gold, for example) large potatoes that are cut into bite-sized chunks will also work. You can peel the potatoes or not, as you like.
Carrots – For the carrots, I peel and cut into bite-sized chunks. If the carrots are especially thick, you can cut in half length-wise and then cut in to chunks.
Tomato Sauce – I’ve used Passata here, but you can also use canned crushed tomatoes or canned tomato sauce for this recipe. I prefer either Passata or canned crushed tomatoes, for the richest tomato flavour.
For both the oven and slow cooker method
This recipe starts the same way for both the oven and slow cooker method. Start by patting the beef roast dry with paper towels, then season well with salt and pepper. Mix together the tomato sauce and set aside. Sear the beef roast in a bit of oil on the stove-top until browned, then transfer to a plate.
For the Oven Method
Add the vegetables to the bottom of the pot you used to sear the beef. Return the roast to the pot and place on top of the vegetables. Pour the tomato sauce over-top, cover the pot with a lid, then place into a 325F oven. Cook covered for 3-4 hours, or until the beef is pull-apart tender.
To finish, remove the remove the beef to a place, cut and remove the string, then break the beef up into chunks. Before returning the beef chunks to the pot, drizzle the cornstarch mixture into the pot with the vegetables and stir until the gravy thickens. Return the chunks of beef to the pot and stir to coat in the gravy and re-warm.
Slow Cooker Method
Scatter the prepared vegetables into the slow cooker. Place the seared beef in the slow cooker, placing it on top of the vegetables. Pour the sauce over-top, cover and let it cook on LOW for 6-8 hours.
To finish the pot roast, remove the beef to a plate, cut, remove and discard the string, then break the beef up into chunks. Before returning the beef chunks to the slow cooker, drizzle the cornstarch and water mixture into the slow cooker with the vegetables and stir until the mixture thickens. Return the beef chunks and stir to combine and re-warm.
- If your beef roast is a bit smaller or larger, simply decrease or increase the cooking time, as needed.
- It can be difficult to see if the beef pulls apart while it is tied up with the string. If you have any doubts, you can snip the string in the pan to loosen. Better yet, test with an instant read thermometer. You’ll want the beef pot roast internal temperature to reach 195-200F (about 90C).
- I like to make an attempt to spoon off some of the fat before thickening the gravy. I find if you tilt the pan, the fat will flow quite easily to the low end, where I use a spoon to spoon off as much of it as I can.
- Be sure to taste your gravy just before serving and season with additional salt and freshly ground pepper as needed.
What to serve with tomato pot roast
When your pot roast is done, you’ll have meat, vegetables and gravy all ready to go. You could add a salad or a green vegetable (broccoli, green beans, peas) if you like. I love a crusty bread or roll with butter on the side, too sometimes :)
Get the Recipe: Tangy Tomato Pot Roast (Slow Cooker or Oven)
- 4-5 medium yellow-fleshed potatoes, cut into chunks, peeled or unpeeled (or mini potatoes halved)
- 4-5 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks (halved if thick)
- 1 medium onion, peeled and thinly sliced
For the beef:
- 3 – 3 1/2 lb. boneless beef roast, inside or outside round, blade or cross-rib works well
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 cups passata , or canned crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 Tablespoons cider vinegar
- 2-3 fresh thyme sprigs, or 1 tsp dried thyme leaves
- 1 teaspoon salt, plus more, to taste
- Freshly ground pepper
- 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 Tablespoon water
- Fresh parsley or thyme sprigs
For both the slow cooker and oven method:
- Prepare the potatoes and carrots and have ready. Stir together the sauce ingredients and set aside.
- Heat the oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot or pan over medium-high heat. *For oven method, use an Dutch oven with a lid or a similar oven-safe roasting pan.
- If the beef roast has a string around it, don't remove the string. Pat the roast dry with paper towels, then season with salt and pepper. Place into the pan with the hot oil. Sear the beef roast on booth sides until well browned, about 3 minutes per side.
- Remove the beef roast to a plate.
For the oven method:
- Preheat oven to 325F / 165C (not fan assisted)
- Scatter the prepared potatoes, carrots and onions on the bottom of the Dutch oven. Return the beef roast to the pan, placing it on top of the vegetables. Pour the tomato sauce over the beef. Scatter a few thyme sprigs over the vegetables. Cover the pot and place into the preheat oven.
- Cook the pot roast covered in the oven for 3-4 hours, or until the beef easily pulls apart with a fork is inserted or until the beef reaches about 200F (93F) when tested with an instant read thermometer. Tip! It can be difficult to pull the beef apart when it is tied up. It's fine to snip the string now, if that helps.
- When the beef is tender, remove the pot from the oven. Remove the beef to a large plate and set aside. Tip! This is the point I try to remove some of the fat from the pan. Use a spoon to move the vegetables and liquid to one end of the pan, then lift the end with the vegetables up a bit. The fat should flow to the low and empty end, where you can spoon it off and discard. *Careful, the pot is hot!
- With the fat spooned off, mix together the cornstarch and water and drizzle over the vegetables and gravy in the pot. Stir until the gravy thickens.
- Cut, remove and discard the string from the beef roast. Use two forks to pull the beef apart into chunks. Return the chunks to the pot with the vegetables and gravy and stir to coat and re-warm (you can turn a bit of heat under the pan if needed). Taste the gravy and add additional salt and pepper, if needed.
For the slow cooker method:
- Scatter the prepared potatoes, carrots, and onions in the bottom of a slow cooker. Place the seared beef roast on top of the vegetables, then pour the tomato sauce over-top. Scatter a couple of fresh thyme sprigs over the vegetables.
- Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook covered on LOW for about 6-8 hours, or until beef is fall-apart tender.
- When the beef is tender, remove the pot from the oven. Remove the beef to a large plate and set aside. Tip! This is the point I try to remove some of the fat from the pan. Use a spoon to move the vegetables and liquid to one end of the pan, then lift the end with the vegetables up a bit. The fat should flow to the low and empty end, where you can spoon it off and discard.
- With the fat spooned off, mix together the cornstarch and water and drizzle over the vegetables and gravy in the slow cooker. Stir until the gravy thickens.
- Cut, remove and discard the string from the beef roast. Use two forks to pull the beef apart into chunks. Return the chunks to the slow cooker with the vegetables and gravy and stir to coat and re-warm. Taste the gravy and add additional salt and pepper, if needed.
- Serve immediately with a salad, a nice green vegetables and/or crusty bread or roll.
- Refrigerate left-overs well covered in the refrigerator for 2-3 days or freeze up to 3 months.
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!