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2 Ways to Tell When a Pot Roast is Done

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Pot roast was one of the dishes we had for Sunday dinner back when I was a kid. It was either fried chicken, chicken & dumplings, pot roast, or beef stew, and the thought of my mother’s Sunday dinners still makes my mouth water to this day. But if you didn’t grow up watching your mother cook pot roast, you probably would be wondering how you know when a pot roast is done.

According to the USDA, when a meat thermometer reads 145 degrees when inserted into the thickest part of the roast is when it is done. If you don’t have a thermometer, the meat can be tested by inserting a fork into the roast. IF you can easily pull off a bite of the meat, it is done.

I never use a thermometer. A pot roast at my house is done when it is fork-tender and no knife is needed to cut it into bites as you eat. I’ve been doing this for over 50 years and the method has served me well.

I’m sure your next question will probably be, but how do you cook a pot roast and when do you add the vegetables? In the following paragraphs, I will answer a few common questions then discuss 5 different ways to cook a pot roast that will be a great success with your family and friends.

  1. On the stovetop in a Dutch oven
  2. In the oven in a roasting pan
  3. In the oven or stovetop in a brown-in-bag
  4. In a crockpot
  5. In a pressure cooker or Instant Pot.

Is It Possible To Overcook A Pot Roast?

Yes, it is possible to overcook a pot roast, and when that happens, the meat will be stringy and tough. Whichever method you use to cook pot roast, toward the end of the recommended cooking time, be sure to check for doneness often to avoid overcooking.

What Are The Best Cuts Of Meat To Cook As A Pot Roast?

The best cuts of meat to cook as a pot roast are the tougher cuts of meat like round, chuck, or brisket that hold up well when cooked for an extended period of time to tenderize them.

What Can You Serve With Pot Roast?

Homemade Slow Cooker Pot Roast with Carrots and Potatoes

There are an unlimited number of menu options you can build around a pot roast. Here are a few examples, beginning with my favorite pot roast menu. Keep in mind that pot roast is cooked with onions, celery, potatoes, and carrots, so they are also part of each menu.

  • Pot roast served with hot fluffy white rice, potato salad, fresh green beans, hot homemade buttermilk biscuits, and followed by a fresh fruit (peach, blueberry, or blackberry) cobbler.
  • Pot roast cooked with turnip roots, carrots, onions, and brussels sprouts instead of potatoes and served over mashed potatoes. Add a fresh green salad, hot yeast rolls, and a slice of pound cake topped with fresh fruit slices that have been marinated in sugar for a couple of hours.
  • Pot roast served with quinoa, a broccoli and cauliflower medley, brown and serve rolls, and fresh banana pudding.
  • Pot roast served with riced cauliflower “mashed potatoes,” corn on the cob, roasted asparagus, and stir-and-drop biscuits, followed by a brownie topped with fresh whipped cream.
  • Pot roast served with cornbread dressing, cranberry sauce, blackeye peas, rolls, and coconut cake.

1. How Do You Cook A Roast On The Stovetop In A Dutch Oven?

Use the following directions to cook a pot roast on the stovetop in a large pot or a Dutch oven:

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 lb round or chuck roast or brisket
  • 1 medium onion
  • 6 medium size red potatoes peeled and cut in half
  • 2 stalks of celery cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1/2 lb. baby carrots
  • 1 cup flour
  • 3-4 cups water or beef broth
  • Canola oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Directions:

  1. Season roast with salt and pepper and cover with flour on all sides.
  2. Heat 4 tablespoons of oil in a Dutch oven.
  3. When Dutch oven is hot, add roast and sear on all sides.
  4. When the roast has been browned, remove from the pan to a plate or a platter.
  5. To the oil that has been left in the pan, add enough additional oil to make 6 tablespoons.
  6. Add 6 tablespoons of flour and brown to make a roux.
  7. While flour is browning, add one medium chopped onion to the pan.
  8. When flour is brown and onion is tender, add beef broth or water and stir well to make gravy.
  9. When gravy has come back to a boil, add the roast along with any juice that has run out of the meat to the gravy, cover, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook for 1.5 hours. Stir occasionally and turn roast over after every 30 minutes of cooking time.
  10. When the roast has cooked for 1.5 hours, add potatoes, celery, and carrots around the roast, stir, replace the lid and cook for an additional 30 minutes.
  11. The roast and the vegetables should be done by the end of the 2nd hour of cooking time. Cook until done, but do not overcook. Overcooked roast will be dry and stringy.
Anne-James-First-Ever-Dutch-Oven
My Dutch oven I bought in the 1960s.

When Do You Add The Vegetables?

The vegetables should be added only when the roast is within 30 minutes of being done. If added too early, the vegetables will be overcooked and mushy.

2. How Do You Cook A Roast In The Oven In A Roasting Pan?

Use the following directions to cook a pot roast in a baking pan in the oven. This is basically the same recipe as cooking a pot roast on top of the stove.

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 lb round or chuck roast or brisket
  • 1 medium onion
  • 6 medium size red potatoes peeled and cut in half
  • 2 stalks of celery cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1/2 lb baby carrots
  • 1 cup flour
  • 3-4 cups water or beef broth
  • Canola oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Season roast with salt and pepper and cover with flour on all sides.
  3. Heat oil in a skillet or Dutch oven.
  4. When the skillet or Dutch oven is hot, add roast and sear on all sides.
  5. When the roast has been browned, remove from the pan to a baking pan.
  6. To the oil that has been left in the pan, add enough additional oil to make 6 tablespoons.
  7. Add 6 tablespoons of flour and brown to make a roux.
  8. While flour is browning, add one medium chopped onion to the pan.
  9. When flour is brown and onion is tender, add beef broth or water and stir well to make gravy.
  10. When gravy has come back to a boil, pour over the roast into the baking pan, cover, and bake for 1.5 hours. Stir occasionally and turn roast over after every 30 minutes of cooking time.
  11. When the roast has cooked for 1.5 hours, add potatoes, celery, and carrots around the roast, stir, replace the cover and bake for an additional 30 minutes.
  12. The roast and the vegetables should be done by the end of the 2nd hour of cooking time. Cook until done, but do not overcook. Overcooked roast will be dry and stringy.
Raosting Pan On White Background

When Do You Add The Vegetables?

The vegetables should not be added to the pot roast until the meat is within 30 minutes of being done to prevent the vegetables from overcooking and being mushy.

3. How Do You Cook A Roast In The Oven In A Brown-In-Bag?

Use the following directions to cook a pot roast in the oven in a brown-in-bag:

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 lb round or chuck roast or brisket
  • 1 medium onion
  • 6 medium size red potatoes peeled and cut in half
  • 2 stalks of celery cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 lb baby carrots
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 cup water or beef broth
  • 1 envelope onion soup mix
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  • Season the roast with salt and pepper.
  • Add flour to the brown-in-bag and shake the bag.
  • Add onion soup mix and water or beef broth to the bag and shake to mix.
  • Add the seasoned roast to the bag and close the tie.
  • Place the brown-in-bag with the roast into a baking pan and put into the preheated oven.
  • When the roast has cooked for 2 hours, open the bag and add potatoes, celery, and carrots around the roast, stir, and bake for an additional 30 minutes.
  • The roast and the vegetables should be done by the end of the 2.5 hours of cooking time. Cook until done, but do not overcook. Overcooked roast will be dry and stringy.

When Do You Add The Vegetables?

The vegetables should not be added to the roast until the last 30 minutes of cooking time to prevent the vegetables from being overcooked.

4. How Do You Cook A Roast In A Crock pot?

One of the most amazing things about a crockpot is that even though you have to work, run errands, or any other time-consuming thing that you have to do, the crock pot will allow you to cook an amazing meal without having to stand over a hot stove stirring a pot for hours.

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 lb round or chuck roast or brisket
  • 1 medium onion
  • 6 medium size red potatoes peeled and cut in half
  • 2 stalks of celery cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1/2 lb baby carrots
  • 1 cup flour
  • 3-4 cups water or beef broth
  • Canola oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat the crockpot to the high setting.
  2. Season roast with salt and pepper and cover with flour on all sides.
  3. Heat oil in a skillet or Dutch oven on the stovetop.
  4. When the skillet or Dutch oven is hot, add roast and sear on all sides.
  5. When the roast has been browned, remove from the pan to the crockpot.
  6. To the oil that has been left in the pan, add enough additional oil to make 6 tablespoons.
  7. Add 6 tablespoons of flour and brown to make a roux.
  8. While flour is browning, add one medium chopped onion to the pan.
  9. When flour is brown and onion is tender, add beef broth or water and stir well to make gravy.
  10. When gravy has come back to a boil, pour over the roast in the crockpot, cover, and cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 8 hours.
  11. When the roast has cooked for 2 hours on high or 4 hours on low, add potatoes, celery, and carrots around the roast, stir, replace the cover and cook for an additional 2 hours on high or 4 hours on low.
  12. The roast and the vegetables should be done by the end of the 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low of total cooking time. Cook until done, but do not overcook. Overcooked roast will be dry and stringy.
Anne-James-Crock-Pot
I love my old crock pot.

When Do You Add The Vegetables?

When cooking a pot roast in a crockpot, add the vegetables after 2 hours on high or after 4 hours on low. The vegetables need time to cook, but not enough time to be overcooked and mushy.

5. How Do You Cook A Roast In A Pressure Cooker Or Instant Pot?

Like the crockpot, the pressure cooker or Instant Pot is another labor-saving device that allows us to cook a fantastic meal for our family without having to stand over that pot for hours. Here is all you have to do.

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 lb round or chuck roast or brisket
  • 1 medium onion
  • 6 medium size red potatoes peeled and cut in half
  • 2 stalks of celery cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1/2 lb baby carrots
  • 1 cup flour
  • 3-4 cups water or beef broth
  • Canola oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Directions:

  1. Season roast with salt and pepper and cover with flour on all sides.
  2. Heat oil in the pressure cooker over medium to high heat.
  3. When the pressure cooker is hot, add the roast and sear on all sides.
  4. When the roast has been browned, add 1 cup of water or beef broth to the pressure cooker, stir well to loosen all the browned flour residue from the bottom of the cooker, seal the lid and bring the pressure cooker up to full pressure.
  5. Cook the roast for 30 minutes.
  6. Use the quick release method to open the lid to the pressure cooker.
  7. Add the vegetables to the meat in the pressure cooker, seal the lid, bring the pressure cooker back up to full pressure and cook for an additional 15 minutes.
  8. Again, use the quick release method to open the lid and remove the roast and the vegetables from the pressure cooker.
  9. Use the pan drippings to make gravy to serve with the pot roast and vegetables.
Anne-James-Pressure-Cooker
My old pressure cooker should be named “Old Faithful”

When Do You Add The Vegetables?

When using a pressure cooker, cook the meat first for 30 minutes, open up the pressure cooker, add the vegetables, and then close the lid, bring the cooker back up to full pressure and cook the meat with the vegetables for an additional 15 minutes. This way, the meat is cooked enough to be tender while the vegetables are not overcooked and mushy.

Final Thoughts

If you decide to cook a pot roast, it really doesn’t matter which method you choose from the five choices listed above, they will all be delicious. All you have to do is choose the cooking option that fits your own personal cooking style and time schedule and your family is going to love it!

Thanks for stoppin’ by!

For more, don’t miss 7 Best Red Wine Substitutes for Pot Roast.

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