Pressure Cooker Pot Roast

I have the softest of soft spots in my heart for pot roast. It’s one of my all-time favorite comfort foods. Every single week while my mom was alive, we had pot roast and baked potatoes on Sunday afternoon. Now that I’m an adult and the default pot roast maker, I love the smell while it cooks. I love pot roast the day I make it. Love leftover pot roast. I love it in tacos. Hot sandwiches. Cold Sandwiches. In a house, with a mouse, in the rain, on a train.

The only problem with my mom’s pot roast is that it was dry and tough, so I’m not quite sure why I love pot roast so much when I spent so much of my childhood trying to chew her pot roast. It’s like…I knew there could be more. Hope of a better pot roast propelled me forward.

I made dry, tough roast after dry tough roast. And then I started using a slow cooker, which definitely upped my game, but I don’t think I realized a) the right cuts of meat and b) how long it takes to cook those cuts of meat. “Done” doesn’t mean “done” when it comes to cooking tough cuts of meat.

Finally, I started figuring it out. These French Dip Sandwiches became a regular part of my life. Then these Pepperoncini Beef Sandwiches became my mistress on the side. We got lots of requests for a great pot roast here on the blog, and we published my go-to slow cooker recipe in our 400 Calories or Less Cookbook. Then Sara posted an amaaaazing oven braised pot roast recipe (seriously, if I don’t make it in the pressure cooker, this is my favorite roast recipe.) 

Over the years, I’ve gotten to a point where I make my slow cooker pot roast almost exclusively in the Instant Pot. And honestly, it’s to a point where pot roast isn’t really a Sunday affair anymore. In fact, I’m just as likely (maybe more likely!) to make this on a busy weeknight as I am on a Sunday because the Instant Pot is so quick and it comes together so easily.

You’ll need a 2.5-3.5-pound roast (chuck roasts are always a safe bet, but they require a little more work to trim the excess fat; top and bottom roasts are leaner and great choices, especially if you’re concerned about fat; stay away from eye of round, which is cheap and easy to grab at the store and has only led to disappointment and heartache.) You’ll also need some steak seasoning, a pouch of onion soup mix, some red wine vinegar (or red wine if you like cooking with wine), an onion, lots and lots of garlic, and some vegetable or beef stock. 

Trim the roast of excess fat (don’t worry about the fat marbled in the roast, but anything around the edges or that starts to come off when you tug at it). Slice it into 1″ slices. 

Heat 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil in your Instant Pot on the sauté setting. Cut the onion in half and slice. Set aside.

While the oil is heating, sprinkle the roast slices with the steak seasoning

and rub it into the meat. When the oil is very hot, arrange as many of the meat slices as possible in a single layer in the bottom of the pan and sear 2-3 minutes. Flip and sear on the other side. If you weren’t able to fit all the roast pieces into the pan, remove the seared pieces and sear the remaining roast. Remove from pan. 

Sauté the onion in the pan for 2-3 minutes. Add the smashed or chopped garlic in the last minute of cooking. Add the vinegar (or wine), broth, and seared roast pieces. Sprinkle the onion soup mix and stir to combine everything. Use the manual setting to cook on high for 40 minutes.

When it’s done cooking, allow the pressure to release naturally (don’t turn the valve) for 10 minutes, then use the release valve to release any excess pressure. Shred the roast according to your tastes (some people prefer chunks while others prefer shreds). Transfer to a serving dish and drizzle with the liquid from the Instant Pot and serve.

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Pressure Cooker Pot Roast

  • Author: kate jones
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: Serves 6-8

Description

Use your Instant Pot to cook this tender, juicy, flavorful, fork-tender pot roast in about an hour, start to finish! 


Ingredients

2.5-3.5-pound beef roast (chuck, top, or bottom round roast; stay away from eye of round)
1 tablespoon steak seasoning (like McCormick’s Montreal Steak Seasoning)
1 large onion, peeled, halved, and sliced
10 cloves garlic, smashed
2 cups vegetable or beef stock
1/4 cup red wine vinegar or 1/2 cup red wine (if using red wine, reduce stock by 1/4 cup)
1 packet onion soup mix


Instructions

Trim the roast of excess fat (don’t worry about the fat marbled in the roast, but anything around the edges or that starts to come off when you tug at it). Slice it into 1″ slices. 

Heat 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil in your Instant Pot on the sauté setting. Cut the onion in half and slice. Set aside.

While the oil is heating, sprinkle the roast slices with the steak seasoning and rub it into the meat. When the oil is very hot, arrange as many of the meat slices as possible in a single layer in the bottom of the pan and sear 2-3 minutes. Flip and sear on the other side. If you weren’t able to fit all the roast pieces into the pan, remove the seared pieces and sear the remaining roast. Remove from pan. 

Sauté the onion in the pan for 2-3 minutes. Add the smashed or chopped garlic in the last minute of cooking. Add the vinegar (or wine), broth, and seared roast pieces. Sprinkle the onion soup mix and stir to combine everything. Use the manual setting to cook on high for 40 minutes.

When the roast is done cooking, allow the pressure to release naturally (don’t turn the valve) for 10 minutes, then use the release valve to release any excess pressure. Shred the roast according to your tastes (some people prefer chunks while others prefer shreds). Transfer to a serving dish and drizzle with the liquid from the Instant Pot and serve.


Notes

To make this in the slow cooker, trim but don’t slice the roast. Season the entire roast and sear it, then transfer it to the slow cooker. Cook onions and garlic in the same pot according to the directions, then transfer to the slow cooker as well. Add remaining ingredients and cook on low for 8-10 hours or high for 5-6 hours.

 

21 comments

    1. Chuck roast…and I probably use it 90% of the time. If you are looking for a classic, difficult to mess up, juicy pot roast, chuck is totally the way to go.

  1. I hope this is still good without the onion soup mix packet. Those always contain MSG which is my kryptonite – gives me a migraine every time. However, I’m still going to try this because a pressure cooker is so fast! Thanks for all your amazing recipes.

    1. Just use some dehydrated onion flakes, and whatever bouillon or consumé you like (beef or vegetable).

    1. That’s a tough call. I actually cook mine for a little longer than Sara does in her roast recipes just because mine never seems quite done and she’s at a higher elevation than I am, so I don’t know if it is personal preference or if my instant pot cooks a little differently. You might want to start at 40-45 and then if your roast isn’t done exactly the way you want it, add another 10 minutes? I’ve had to do that before and while it’s not ideal, it gets back up to pressure pretty quickly.

  2. When do you add the potatoes and carrots? Or do you? Do you roast those separately? I have to have potatoes and baby carrots with my roast 🙂

    1. I usually roast those separately. I’m not crazy about cooking potatoes and carrots with roasts in the pressure cookers…too many flavors mixing together, and not in a good way! 😂😬 But yeah, I’ll toss together some chopped potatoes and baby carrots with a couple tablespoons of olive oil, salt, pepper, and sometimes some Italian seasoning and roast them for 30-45 minutes (depending on how big your potatoes are.)

  3. Aren’t childhood food memories funny? I remember loving my mom’s cooking (including pot roast that was like trying to chew tree bark), but now as an adult I find that there are a number of things that I didn’t like the way she cooked them. She has a weird texture/consistency thing and likes to make all her food really watery. Spaghetti sauce, chili, macaroni and cheese, etc. It’s not bland, but it’s always sooo thin and watery.

    I’ve actually never tried to make a roast myself because my mind veers away from the thought of chewing really tough meat, but this looks like something I should get after. Thanks so much for the advice on meat choices!

  4. I have a chuck roast just sitting in my fridge waiting to be cooked up! This came at a perfect time! Pot roast is hands down my all time favorite comfort food. Reminds me of my Sunday’s growing up too. Bonus that we don’t have to wait all day. #Iheartmyinstantpot

  5. Made this pot roast earlier this week. It was amazing. Then we took the leftovers & made philly cheesesteak sandwiches topped with gouda. Holy moly this pot roast recipe just keeps giving. Thanks so much.

  6. This recipe is fool proof. I have never made a mouth watering roast, until now. Thank you for this recipe! It was better than I could have imagined. And my family loved it. I am on cloud nine tonight :).

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