Do you need easy comfort food for dinner but have little time to spare? Here is the answer, Slow Cooker Yankee Pot Roast that’s fork-tender and juicy. With just 10 minutes of prep time, you can fill your slow cooker and let it do all the work. This classic American dish evokes feelings of warmth and home with its hearty flavors. Easy comfort food at its best!

pot roast beef shredded, carrots, potatoes, onion, cleary all topped with gravy

Sunday dinner becomes extra special with an easy pot roast recipe, one of my all-time favorite easy comfort food meals. It’s perfect for having company come over after church for a relaxed dinner with good food and conversation. 

More Short On-Time Recipes: If you have a busy week ahead, try Slow Cooker Salsa Verde Chicken Recipe, Crockpot Chicken and Stuffing, or this copycat, Portobello Mushroom Chicken Texas Roadhouse.

⏲ In a hurry to cook a pot roast? Let me show you how to cook melt-in-the-mouth roast beef using this Instant Pot Roast Beef and Gravy recipe.

Why Is It Called Yankee Pot Roast?

 In past American history, the word “Yankee” was associated with being resourceful and economical, particularly in reference to New Englanders who were skilled at turning basic ingredients into tasty dishes. The name “Yankee Pot Roast” pays tribute to the dish’s origins in New England and the traditional cooking techniques of slow simmering a meal in one pot.

This Recipe Will Become A Family Favorite

  • Easy Preparation: Switching out the big pot for a slow cooker makes this a quick 10-minute prep and forget-it meal.  
  • Always Turns Out Great: Slow cooking makes meat and vegetables incredibly tender and juicy. 
  • Budget Friendly: Create a budget-friendly meal with a tough cut of beef that transforms into tender perfection with an easy slow cooker technique. This delicious and economical option is perfect for those seeking an effortless and flavorful meal on a tight grocery budget. 
  • Great Leftovers: Slow cooker pot roast can yield a generous portion, making it perfect for making two meals at one time. Repurpose the extra meat into sandwiches, stews, or a casserol for your next dinner. 

Ingredients For Tender Pot Roast

This traditional Yankee pot roast recipe is a mouthwatering dish with tender beef cuts, fragrant root veggies, and a flavorful mix of herbs and spices. Let’s delve into the details.

chuck roast potatoes celery tomato paste broth oil onion carrots bay thyme garlic

Choosing the Right Cut of Beef for Tenderness

If you’re planning to make a delicious slow cooker Yankee pot roast, it’s recommended to choose beef cuts like boneless beef chuck roast, bottom round roast, or brisket. These cuts have enough marbling and connective tissue that becomes tender and flavorful over the long, slow cooking process.

Pot Roast Vegetables 

Carrots: Choose large carrots. You will want large pieces of whole carrots. This ensures they do not get overcooked. You could use orange, yellow, white, or purple carrots.

Potatoes: For this recipe, I used an old standard, red potatoes. For the size, choose small potatoes with a diameter between 1.2 – 1.5 inches and weigh between 5 to 10 ounces.

However, if you prefer, you could use one of these varieties of potatoes.  

  1. Yukon Golds:  This potato variety works great also because they have a slightly waxy texture and a buttery flavor. They hold their shape well, making them ideal for slow cooker dishes.
  2. Russet Potatoes: Russets are starchy potatoes with a fluffy texture. They hold their shape nicely during long cooking times and are great for absorbing flavors from the other ingredients in the pot.
  3. Purple Potatoes: Purple potatoes, such as Purple Majesty or Purple Viking, provide a vibrant pop of color to your slow cooker dish and have a slightly nutty flavor. They hold up well during slow cooking and can be a fun and unique addition to your pot roast.

Onions: Yellow onions would be best for this slow cooker recipe. They have a robust flavor that becomes mellow and sweet when cooked, adding depth to the pot roast. I suggest using one large onion cut into quarters.

Bay leaf: Bay leaves give a nice earthy flavor. However, be sure to remove them before serving. They can become a choking hazard, and they do not taste good as is. 

Celary: Use large thick stalks trimmed 2 to 3 inches long.

🗒See the recipe card below for complete ingredients and measurements

Step-by-Step Slow Cooker Pot Roast Instructions

Season and Sear Roast

seared chuck roast in cast iron skillet
  1. Season the beef roast generously with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.
  3. Sear the roast on all sides until browned. This helps to lock in the flavors and adds a nice crust.

Do you have to brown a roast before placing it into a slow cooker?

Browning the roast before placing it in the slow cooker is not mandatory, but it is highly recommended. While it adds an extra step to the cooking process, browning the roast enhances the flavor and texture of the final dish. Searing the roast in a pan on the stovetop or in a skillet before slow cooking creates a rich caramelized crust and browned bits on the meat, contributing to the flavor’s overall depth and complexity.

It also helps seal the juices, producing a more tender and succulent pot roast. However, if you’re short on time or prefer to skip this step, you can still achieve a tasty pot roast by placing the raw meat directly into the slow cooker.

Fill Slow Cooker

  1. Place potatoes, celery, carrots, and onions in the bottom of the crock pot.
Pot Roast carrots, onions, potatoes, celery in bottom of crockpot

2. In a medium-sized bowl, add beef broth, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, minced garlic, dried thyme, salt, pepper, and rosemary. Whisk ingredients together and set aside.

bowl with spices and beef broth

3. Place the seared roast on top of the vegetables in the slow cooker.

seared pot roast and veggies going into crockpot

4. Pour the broth mixture over the roast and vegetables, ensuring they are well coated.

5. Place the lid on the slow cooker.

Cook

  1. Set the slow cooker to low heat and cook for 8 to 10 hours.
  2. After 8 hours, check the roast for doneness. It should be fork tender and easily pull apart. If needed, continue cooking for an additional hour or until desired tenderness is reached. *Note: It is important that beef is cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 145 F, as measured with a food thermometer

👉🏼 USDA recommends never relying on color, firmness, or time as an indicator to know if your food is fully cooked. Always cook all meat to a minimum safe internal temperature as measured with a food thermometer to prevent foodborne illness. Cook raw beef roasts to a minimum internal temperature of 145 F, as measured with a food thermometer, before removing meat from the heat source. For safety and quality, allow the meat to rest for at least three minutes before cutting or consuming.

Reminder: When using a slow cooker, it’s important to note that the cooking time may vary depending on the make and model, as well as the age of the appliance. Adjust accordingly. 

How To Make Gravy With Cornstarch 

To make gravy with cornstarch, water, and finished cooking liquid from a pot roast, follow these steps:

Pot roast beef shredded and potato with gravy
  1. Remove the cooked pot roast from the slow cooker and set it aside to rest. Next, remove the vegetables with a slotted spoon and set them aside. Pour the cooking juices and any remaining liquid into a separate container, leaving behind any excess fat.
  2. Allow the cooking juices to settle for a few minutes so the fat rises to the top. Skim off the fat using a spoon or a fat separator.
  3. Return the defatted cooking juices to the slow cooker or a saucepan and place it over medium heat. Bring it to a gentle simmer.
  4. In a small jar, put the cornstarch and cold water. Tightly seal and shake to create a slurry. The general ratio is 1 tablespoon of cornstarch to 2 tablespoons of water. Adjust the amounts based on the desired consistency of your gravy.
  5. Gradually pour the cornstarch slurry into the simmering cooking juices while continuously whisking to prevent lumps from forming.
  6. Continue whisking and cooking the mixture until it thickens to your desired consistency. This usually takes a couple of minutes. If the gravy becomes too thick, you can add a bit of additional water or beef broth to thin it out.
  7. Once the gravy has thickened, remove it from the heat. Taste and season with salt and black pepper.
  8. Slice the pot roast and serve it with the homemade gravy poured over the top or on the side.

Using cornstarch and water as a thickening agent, you can easily create a smooth and flavorful gravy using the cooking juices from your pot roast. Enjoy the rich and savory gravy along with the tender meat and vegetables for a delicious meal.

Serve

pot roast beef shredded, carrots, potatoes, onion, cleary all topped with gravy
  1. Carefully remove the pot roast from the slow cooker placing it on a serving tray. Let it rest for a few minutes on the tray.
  2. Slice or shred the roast. Place the cooked vegetables around the meat and then drizzle gravy over the roast. 

Variations

What other vegetables can I add to my crockpot Yankee Pot Roast? 

  1. Parsnips: Parsnips are root vegetables with a slightly sweet and nutty flavor. They can be added to the pot roast for a unique twist and additional depth of flavor.
  2. Rutabaga: Rutabaga, also known as swede, is a cross between a turnip and a cabbage. It has a slightly sweet and peppery taste, which can add complexity to the pot roast. Cut it into chunks and cook it along with the other vegetables.

Can I add wine?

Adding red wine to a slow cooker pot roast recipe can give your meal extra flavor and add a delightful depth to the dish. As a general rule, you can replace one cup of cooking broth with red wine. 

Make It A Meal

  • Salad: Green Jacket Salad is one of our family favorites and it only takes a few minutes to prepare!
  • Side: Growing up in Indiana, it was traditional to serve pot roast and gravy over large egg noodles topped with mashed potatoes. 

What To Do With Leftover Roast

Refrigerating or freezing leftovers properly is important to maintain their quality and prevent foodborne illnesses. Here’s how you can store leftover pot roast and vegetables:

Refrigerating Leftovers:

  1. Allow the leftovers to cool down to room temperature before refrigerating. Leaving them at room temperature for too long can promote bacterial growth.
  2. Divide the leftovers into smaller portions if desired, which makes it easier to reheat only what you need.
  3. Place beef and veggie leftovers in an airtight container.
  4. Label the containers with the date to keep track of their freshness.
  5. Store the containers in the refrigerator, ideally within two hours of cooking.
  6. Leftovers can typically be refrigerated for up to 3-4 days. After that, they should be discarded.

Freezing Leftovers:

  1. Follow the same steps of allowing the leftovers to cool and dividing them into smaller portions.
  2. Ensure the leftovers are completely cooled to room temperature before freezing. Hot or warm food can raise the temperature in the freezer and affect the quality of other frozen items.
  3. Use freezer-safe, airtight containers or freezer bags for storing leftovers. Squeeze out excess air from the bags to prevent freezer burn.
  4. Label the containers or bags with the date and a description of the contents.
  5. Place the containers or bags in the freezer, making sure they are not overcrowded and have space for air circulation.
  6. Frozen leftovers can generally be stored for 2-3 months. However, for the best quality, consuming them within 1-2 months is recommended.

When reheating refrigerated or frozen leftovers, ensure they are heated to a safe internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) to kill any potential bacteria. Thaw frozen leftovers in the refrigerator before reheating.

How To Use Leftover Pot Roast In Other Recipes

Leftover pot roast is delicious and makes preparing other meals easier since the meat is already cooked and tasty. Here are some ideas for using leftover pot roast. 

  • Roast beef sandwich: I grew up making these with ketchup and a shake of salt. So good!
  • Beef hash and potatoes: In a skillet with some diced potatoes until crispy and browned. Top it off with a fried egg for a hearty and satisfying breakfast or brunch.
  • Shepherd’s pie: Chop the leftover pot roast and vegetables into bite-sized pieces. Layer them in a baking dish and top with mashed potatoes. Bake until the mashed potatoes are golden, and the filling is heated through. This comforting dish is a great way to use up leftovers.

Cooking Tips and Questions

Here are a few tips and some questions you might have when making this slow cooker Yankee pot roast.

Tip: For easy cleanup, use a slow cooker liner

Using a crockpot liner offers the advantage of easy cleanup by preventing food from sticking to the slow cooker, saving you time and effort in scrubbing the pot after cooking.

Should my pot roast be covered in liquid?

When cooking a pot roast in a slow cooker, it is generally recommended to have some liquid in the pot, but the roast itself does not need to be completely submerged. During the cooking process, the roast and vegetables will release juices, further contributing to the liquid in the slow cooker. As the lid remains closed, condensation accumulates and creates additional moisture. This liquid, combined with the initial amount added, should be sufficient to cook the pot roast properly.

Why is my pot roast in a slow cooker, not tender?

A few factors could be at play if your pot roast is less tender than desired when using a slow cooker. First, ensure that you are using a tough cut of meat suitable for slow cooking, as leaner cuts may break down slowly. Additionally, double-check that you are cooking the roast for a sufficient amount of time on low heat to allow the collagen to break down and tenderize the meat properly. It is ok to cook for an additional hour or two to help tenderize the meat. 

Can you slow-cook a pot roast for too long?

While it is possible to overcook a pot roast in a slow cooker, resulting in excessively chewy meat, the slow cooking method is generally more forgiving and difficult to achieve than other cooking methods.

What is the difference between a pot roast and a Yankee pot roast?

The main difference between a pot roast and a Yankee pot roast is their regional origins and flavor profiles. Pot roast is a generic term for a slow-cooked beef dish that typically includes meat, vegetables, broth, or other liquid. On the other hand, a Yankee pot roast specifically refers to a style of pot roast that originated in New England, particularly in the northeastern United States. It traditionally features a beef roast cooked slowly with root vegetables such as carrots, potatoes, and onions, creating a hearty and comforting meal.

pot roast beef shredded, carrots, potatoes, onion, cleary all topped with gravy
5 from 1 rating

Super Tender Slow Cooker Yankee Pot Roast

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 8
Slow Cooker Yankee Pot Roast that's fork-tender and juicy. With just 10 minutes of prep time, you can fill your slow cooker and let it do all the work. This classic American dish evokes feelings of warmth and home with its hearty flavors. Easy comfort food at its best!

Note: Be sure to read through the recipe’s post for tips and details about this recipe.

Ingredients
 

Roast and Sear Seasonings

  • 4 pounds beef chuck roast , boneless
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Seasonings

  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 4 cloves garlic, Peeled and minced (use fresh, not already chopped in the jar type)
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf, small bay leaf about 2 inches long
  • rosemary, 3-inch sprig of fresh rosemary, stem removed and finely chopped. If you do not have fresh use 1 tablespoon dried that is chopped into small pieces.

Vegetables

  • 2.5 pounds Red Potatoes, Choose small potatoes that have a diameter between 1.2 – 1.5 inches and weight between 5 to 10 ounces. You could also use red potatoes or Russet.
  • 2 onions, medium-sized, skins removed and cut in half
  • 4 celery, large thick stalks cut into 3-inch pieces
  • 4 carrots, large carrots, peeled and cut into 4-inch long chunks

Gravy

  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions
 

Season and Sear Roast

  • Season the beef roast generously with salt and pepper.
    4 pounds beef chuck roast, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.
    1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Sear the roast on all sides until browned. This helps to lock in the flavors and adds a nice crust.

Mix Seasonings

  • In a medium sized bowl, beef broth, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, minced garlic, dried thyme, bay leaf, and rosemary. Whisk ingredients together and set aside.
    4 cups beef broth, 2 tablespoons tomato paste, 4 cloves garlic, 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, 1 tablespoon dried thyme, 1 bay leaf, rosemary

Fill Slow Cooker

  • Place the potatoes, carrots and, onions in the bottom of the slow cooker.
    2.5 pounds Red Potatoes, 2 onions, 4 celery, 4 carrots
  • Place the seared roast on top of the vegetables in the slow cooker.
  • Pour the broth mixture over the roast and vegetables, ensuring they are well coated.
  • Tuck the bay leaf down in the juices.
    1 bay leaf
  • Place the lid on the slow cooker.

Cook

  • Set the slow cooker to low heat and cook for 8 to 10 hours.
  • After 8 hours, check the roast for doneness. It should be fork-tender and easily pull apart. If needed, continue cooking for an additional hour or until desired tenderness is reached. *Note: It is important that beef is cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 145 F, as measured with a food thermometer

Gravy

  • Remove the cooked pot roast from the slow cooker and set it aside to rest. Next, remove the vegetables with a slotted spoon and set them aside. Pour the cooking juices and any remaining liquid into a saucepan. Allow the cooking juices to settle for a few minutes so that the fat rises to the top. Skim off the fat using a spoon or a fat separator. *Be sure to discard the bay leaf.
    2 tablespoons cornstarch, salt and pepper
  • Bring cooking juices to a gentle simmer.
  • In a small jar put the cornstarch and cold water. Tightly seal and shake to create a slurry. The general ratio is 1 tablespoon of cornstarch to 2 tablespoons of water. Adjust the amounts based on the desired consistency of your gravy.
  • Gradually pour the cornstarch slurry into the simmering cooking juices while continuously whisking to prevent lumps from forming.
  • Continue whisking and cooking the mixture until it thickens to your desired consistency. This usually takes a couple of minutes. If the gravy becomes too thick, you can add a bit of additional water or beef broth to thin it out.
  • Once the gravy has thickened, remove it from the heat. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Serve

  • Slice or shred the roast. Serve with cooked vegetables and gravy.
  • Place the pot roast on a large serving platter. Slice or shred the meat. Add cooked vegetables around the meat and top with a drizzle of gravy.

Notes

What other vegetables can I add to my crockpot Yankee Pot Roast? 
  1. Parsnips: Parsnips are root vegetables with a slightly sweet and nutty flavor. They can be added to the pot roast for a unique twist and additional depth of flavor.
  2. Rutabaga: Rutabaga, also known as swede, is a cross between a turnip and a cabbage. It has a slightly sweet and peppery taste, which can add complexity to the pot roast. Cut it into chunks and cook it along with the other vegetables.

Can I Add Wine?

Adding red wine to a slow cooker pot roast recipe can give your meal extra flavor and add a delightful depth to the dish. As a general rule, you can replace one cup of cooking broth with red wine. 
 
Serving: 1g, Calories: 576kcal, Carbohydrates: 33g, Protein: 49g, Fat: 28g, Saturated Fat: 12g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 15g, Trans Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 156mg, Sodium: 1072mg, Potassium: 1741mg, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 6g, Vitamin A: 5311IU, Vitamin C: 19mg, Calcium: 104mg, Iron: 7mg
Cuisine: American Classic
Course: Main Dish
Author: Gina Dickson
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