How To Make the Absolute Best Instant Pot Pot Roast

updated Jan 29, 2020
Instant Pot Pot Roast with Carrots and Potatoes

Cook up tender chunks of beef, carrots, and potatoes in a rich gravy in less than hour with an Instant Pot.

Serves4 to 6

Prep10 minutes

Cook1 hour 20 minutes

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Credit: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Cyd McDowell

When it comes to a classic meat and potatoes dinner, the comfort of pot roast reigns supreme. One pot and hours of slow cooking turn a big cut of tough beef into something so tender it practically shreds itself when you poke it with a fork, and the rich sauce it cooks in flavors carrots and potatoes, meaning you don’t have to bother making side dishes. While a traditional pot roast is a labor of love that takes a significant chunk of a day to cook, an Instant Pot is your best friend when you want pot roast on the dinner table stat. Here’s how to do it.

Start with Smaller Steaks

The heart of a pot roast lies, of course, in the beef. Inexpensive beef chuck makes great pot roast because it’s extremely flavorful, but even in the fast-cooking environment of a pressure cooker like the Instant Pot, it needs a bunch of time to get tender. To speed up the process, cut the chuck into a few steaks first, and then sear them to get those tasty browned bits that add deeper, more savory flavor. Thinner pieces mean faster cooking — only 35 minutes under high pressure — and since you’ll shred the beef into big chunks at the end anyway, keeping it whole isn’t necessary.

Credit: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Cyd McDowell

Stick with Large Veggies

Cutting the beef into steaks makes for faster cooking, but pressure cooking bite-sized pieces of potatoes and carrots for 35 minutes turns them into mush — so you’ll want to cut them large. The other trick to cooking them perfectly is to layer them on top of the beef so that they sit mostly above the braising liquid, not in it. This means that the beef, which needs to be closest to the heating element and also needs a moist cooking environment, is submerged in the liquid, while the veggies gently steam on top. Fight the urge to stir!

Credit: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Cyd McDowell

A Little Liquid Is All You Need

The sauce for this pot roast is a blend of dried herbs, tomato paste, Dijon mustard, red wine that gets reduced down, and a measly half-cup of beef broth. The user manual for your Instant Pot probably says that you need a minimum of one cup of liquid for pressure cooking, but trust us that you really only need a half-cup here. There’s just enough so that you don’t get the dreaded burn message, and the beef and veggies quickly release a ton of liquid during the cooking process. You’ll be pleasantly surprised when you open up the cooker and see lots of tasty sauce that gets thickened up with a cornstarch slurry at the end.

How to Serve Pot Roast

Once your pot roast is ready, you can cut the pot roast steaks into chunks for serving, or just grab two forks or some tongs and shred it instead. Serve it on top of that big pile of the carrots and potatoes, and don’t forget to ladle a lot of the gravy right over everything before you dig in.

Credit: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Cyd McDowell
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Here's how to make the best Instant Pot pot roast.

Instant Pot Pot Roast with Carrots and Potatoes

Cook up tender chunks of beef, carrots, and potatoes in a rich gravy in less than hour with an Instant Pot.

Prep time 10 minutes

Cook time 1 hour 20 minutes

Serves 4 to 6

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 1

    medium yellow onion

  • 2 cloves

    garlic

  • 3 pounds

    boneless beef chuck

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons

    kosher salt, plus more as needed

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed

  • 1 tablespoon

    vegetable or canola oil

  • 1 pound

    medium carrots (about 4)

  • 1 pound

    medium red or Yukon Gold potatoes (about 4)

  • 1 tablespoon

    tomato paste

  • 1 tablespoon

    Dijon mustard

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    dried oregano

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    dried thyme

  • 1/2 cup

    dry red wine

  • 1/2 cup

    beef broth

  • 1 tablespoon

    plus 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch

  • 2 tablespoons

    water

  • Fresh parsley leaves, for garnish (optional)

Equipment

  • Paper towels

  • Instant Pot or electric pressure cooker

  • Chef’s knife and cutting board

  • Measuring cups and spoons

  • Large plate

  • Tongs

  • Vegetable peeler

Instructions

  1. Cut the aromatics and beef. Dice 1 medium yellow onion, mince 2 garlic cloves, and place both in a medium bowl. Trim 3 pounds beef chuck of any surface fat, then cut it into 4 steaks.

  2. Dry and season the beef. Pat the steaks dry with paper towels, then season all over with 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper.

  3. Sear the beef in batches. Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in an Instant Pot or electric pressure cooker on the Sauté setting until shimmering. Working in 2 or 3 batches, add the steaks in a single layer and sear undisturbed until browned on both sides, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer with tongs to a plate. Repeat searing the remaining steaks, then transfer to the plate.

  4. Soften the aromatics. Add the onion and garlic to the pot, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 4 minutes. Meanwhile, cut the vegetables.

  5. Cut the vegetables. Peel 1 pound carrots and cut in half crosswise. Halve 1 pound red or Yukon Gold potatoes.

  6. Add the seasonings and spices. Add 1 tablespoon tomato paste, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, and 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme to the onions and cook until the tomato paste is darkened in color, about 1 minute.

  7. Deglaze the pot. Add 1/2 cup dry red wine and stir to combine, scraping up any browned bits. Simmer until almost evaporated, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn off the pressure cooker.

  8. Add the broth and seared beef. Pour in 1/2 cup beef broth and stir to combine. Nestle the steaks evenly in the liquid and pour in any accumulated juices from the plate.

  9. Top with the carrots and potatoes. Place the carrots and potatoes on top of the beef in an even layer but do not stir.

  10. Cook on HIGH pressure for 35 minutes. Lock the lid on and make sure the pressure valve is set to seal. Set to cook for 35 minutes on HIGH pressure. It will take about 19 minutes to come up to pressure.

  11. Naturally release pressure for 10 minutes and make the cornstarch slurry. When the cook time is up, let the pressure naturally release for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, stir 1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch and 2 tablespoons water together in a small bowl until the cornstarch is dissolved. Coarsely chop some fresh parsley leaves for garnish if desired.

  12. Release the remaining pressure. Quick release any remaining pressure. Using tongs, transfer the vegetables to a serving platter. Transfer the beef to a clean cutting board.

  13. Thicken the sauce. Turn on the Sauté function. When the sauce is simmering, stir in the cornstarch mixture and simmer until the sauce is thickened, about 2 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.

  14. Shred the beef and serve. Shred the beef with two forks into large chunks. Place on top of the vegetables. Spoon some of the sauce over the pot roast and vegetables, and serve the rest on the side. Serve garnished with the parsley if desired.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days.