Recipe: Sunday Pot Roast

pot roast recipe for slow cooker

I love to eat, and I’m not especially picky. So often, what ends up happening around here is Joe will ask me what I want for dinner, and I respond with, “I’m up for anything! What are you in the mood for?” From there, the way the game goes, he’ll pick a general category or genre, and I usually come up with some recipe that fits the bill. Last weekend, however, we were both stumped, and decided to let our local market inspire us. Sometimes, we’ll walk in and see an ingredient that seems interesting, and I’ll come up with a dish based on whatever we find!

When we got to the meat counter, the butcher had a bunch of large pot roasts (sometimes called chuck roasts) hanging out behind the glass. And that’s when Joe said something that kind of blew my mind. “I’ve never had pot roast.” As a child whose mother loved her crock pot, this was total sacrilege to me. Pot roast immediately went on our menu for Sunday dinner!

If you make a pot roast over the stove, you can brown off the meat before braising to add extra flavor, but I went the super easy route and literally threw all the ingredients into our slow cooker. And with the extra addition of balsamic vinegar, you won’t even miss the searing. Six hours later, and the meat fell apart with just a little nudge from a fork. I personally prefer my pot roast over noodles of some kind, but we were being good, and ladled it over mashed sweet potatoes for a healthier option. Delicious, easy, and oh-so-fall. Here’s the easiest recipe ever:

simple slow cooker pot roast

Sunday Pot Roast (for a slow cooker)
Easily serves 4

1 small yellow onion, cut into wedges
1 10 oz bag pearl onions, blanched and skins removed (or use a 10 oz bag of frozen pearl onions)
3 or 4 carrots (depending on size), peeled and cut into rounds
3 stalks celery, cleaned and chopped
10-12 cremini mushrooms, halved and quartered (larger ones quartered; smaller, halved)
A few sprigs of thyme, 1 sprig rosemary, and 1 dried bay leaf, tied together with butcher’s twine
1/2-1 tsp black peppercorns (more peppercorns will make the pot roast a bit spicier)
1.5 tsp salt
1 lb pot roast (If you’re serving for 4, I would suggest doubling this amount; we went light on the meat since we wanted more vegetables)
1 qt good quality beef stock
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
15-20 small new potatoes (I used one of those mixed bags of red, white, and purple)
4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed

Combine everything in your slow cooker and cook on high for 6 hours. By this time, the meat should be fall apart tender and the vegetables very soft. Remove the herbs and discard.

Serve the pot roast atop rice, noodles, or if you’re being extra healthy, mashed sweet potatoes (that’s what we did!). Spoon a little of the cooking liquid over the top, and serve. The leftovers on this one are especially good!

A note about slow cooker size: I used this 4 quart slow cooker and everything just fit. Since I only used 1 lb of pot roast meat, if you are doubling the amount of meat or adding additional vegetables, I would recommend a 5 or 6 quart slow cooker instead!

{Photographs by Victoria McGinley for vmac+cheese}


  1. 10.31.13

    Your food pictures always look so fancy! A slow cooker recipe is definitely my speed.

  2. 10.31.13
    jillian said:

    mmmm that’s a REAL sunday dinner :) xo jillian – cornflake dreams

  3. 10.31.13

    this sounds like it would be right up my boyfriends alley.

    Molly {Dreams in HD}

  4. 10.31.13

    Just this past weekend, I was just looking for a pot roast recipe that yielded a smaller serving! This is perfect and I love that it is all done in the slow cooker!

    P.S. Yesterday’s post was probably one of the best blog posts I have ever read. It was spot on!

  5. 10.31.13

    My mom used to make this at least once a week, the best part are the leftovers!

  6. 10.31.13
    Alexa said:

    Oh my gosh that looks so so good Victoria! Such a great fall weather recipe.

  7. 10.31.13

    Yum! This looks delicious Victoria! I also never really had pot roast growing up either, so it will be fun to try it now, as an adult! A perfect fall meal…xo

  8. 11.5.13
    megan said:

    I just wanted to let you know I tried this recipe on Sunday and it came out sooo good…we’re still eating the leftovers 2 days later.

    • 11.5.13
      Victoria McGinley said:

      That’s great, Megan! I’m so happy you guys enjoyed it! :)

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