Slow Cooker Pot Roast has no processed ingredients. Just real food that's really good!

Slow Cooker Pot Roast

By Rachel Tiemeyer
January 27, 2010
Pot Roast with no processed ingredients. Just real food that's really good!

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I try my hardest to cook from scratch and avoid processed foods when possible.  My favorite Pot Roast recipe from the past included a brown gravy packet mix and Italian dressing packet mix…bummer! So, I began the search for how to create one without the use of those packets (full of MSG, sodium, and who knows what) or a “cream of something” soup, which is what 99% of the recipes online call for.

Pot Roast with no processed ingredients. Just real food that's really good!

I realize there are many paths to an excellent homemade roast, but I have researched and tested this one MANY times over the years. This real food Pot Roast, along with some Homemade Wheat Sandwich Bread to sop up the sauce, might well be my favorite comfort meal of all time.

Pot Roast with no processed ingredients. Just real food that's really good!

Photo credit: My dad, Curt

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Slow Cooker Pot Roast

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8 hours
  • Total Time: 8 hours 20 minutes
  • Yield: 68 servings 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Slow Cooker
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Slow cooker pot roast is a comforting one pot dinner that’s wonderful to serve to a group.


Ingredients

  • 1 (8 ounce) can no-salt tomato sauce (sub: 1 cup fire-roasted crushed tomatoes)
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine (recommended: Cabernet Sauvignon)
  • 1 cup low sodium chicken broth (sub: low sodium beef broth)
  • 2 tablespoon whole wheat flour (Gluten-free substitution: Use gluten-free 1:1 flour)
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning, crushed in hand
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 tablespoons avocado or olive oil, divided
  • 1 (2-3 pound) chuck or rump roast, trimmed of visible fat
  • Steak seasoning, to taste
  • 1 large onion, diced (11 1/2 cups)
  • 4 celery stalks, leaves and all, chopped (11 1/2 cups)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced (or 1 1/2 teaspoons pre-minced garlic)
  • 35 carrots, chopped into 1-inch pieces (about 2 cups)
  • 1 1/22 pounds baby gold or baby red potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 5 cups)

Instructions

Make It Now:

  1. In the slow cooker, whisk together the tomato sauce, red wine, chicken broth, flour, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and garlic powder until combined. Add in the bay leaf.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season the roast on all sides with steak seasoning and then sear on all sides in the hot pan. This takes about 2 minutes per side. Place roast in slow cooker.
  3. Next, 1 more tablespoon of oil (if necessary) to the pan and sauté the onions and celery just until tender, about 4 minutes. Add in the garlic during the last 30 seconds of cook time, so it doesn’t burn. Be sure to use a wooden spoon to scrape up the brown bits in the bottom, as this adds flavor. Add these to the slow cooker.
  4. Add the carrots and potatoes to the crockpot. Stir everything around in the slow cooker, making sure all the veggies and meat are coated with sauce. Cover and cook on LOW for about 8 hours, or until the meat shreds easily.
  5. Remove the roast to a wooden cutting board and let it rest for about 10 minutes (or turn off slow cooker, remove lid and let rest). Then shred using two forks. Gently stir the meat back into the veggies and sauce. Taste and adjust seasoning, if needed.

Freeze For Later: Two methods:

  1. Uncooked: Follow Step 2 and set the veggies aside to cool. To a gallon-sized freezer bag, add the tomato sauce, red wine, chicken broth, flour, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and 2 teaspoons steak seasoning. Seal and shake and massage until combined. Add in the bay leaf, roast*, carrots, potatoes, and cooled veggies. Seal and massage the bag and make sure the potatoes are fully submerged in the liquid (they will turn brown if not). Freeze.
  2. Fully Cooked: Fully cook and cool the pot roast (do not leave out of refrigerator or freezer more than 2 hours). Place in a freezer bag or freezer-safe container. Try to remove as much air as possible and seal and/or wrap it well before placing in the freezer.

*Note: You cannot partially cook a piece of meat and freeze it safely, so you’ll skip the searing step when freezing. It will still taste good.

Two methods:

  1. Uncooked: Thaw completely in the refrigerator (place in a dish to prevent spills). Add to the slow cooker, cover, and cook on LOW for 8-10 hours, or until the meat shreds easily.
  2. Fully Cooked: To reheat, thaw for 24-48 hours in the refrigerator (preferred method) or in the microwave using the defrost setting. Then, warm over low to medium-low heat on the stove, gently stirring occasionally.

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38 replies
  1. Bethany says:

    I keep having a hard time with this recipe. I love the flavor but my meat always turns out tough. I can’t shred it, I always have to cut it with a knife. And my potatoes and carrots aren’t soft. 🙁

    Reply
    • Rachel says:

      Darn, I hate that. I would say cook it on low and longer then. Every slow cooker is different. Also, what cut of meat are you using? Sometimes the ones with more marbling (fat!) shred more easily.

      Reply
  2. Christina says:

    For doing this recipe I would like to portion this recipe in two and freeze before cooking so the day of I can put it in the crockpot to cook during the day. If I were to do it this way, so you think I could cook it to the point where you add the carrots and potatoes and then freeze it all together. The day of I could cook it the rest of the way?

    Reply
    • Rachel says:

      I really can’t say without testing. It would only need to slow cook for a few hours at that point. What if you fully cooked the whole thing, cooled it, divided it into smaller portions, and then froze those? Then, it’s just a matter of thawing in the fridge overnight and warming it up the next day. Just an idea.

      Reply
  3. Arma Jo Zimmerman says:

    Looks scrumptious. Do you ever reheat in a crockpot? I leave the house for about three to four hours every Sunday and would love to come home to this all done.

    Reply
    • Rachel says:

      It’s seriously delicious. I think you could reheat in the crockpot on maybe the warm setting. I’m afraid the low setting for several hours might overcook it though.

      Reply
  4. Marcy says:

    Do you freeze the cooked vegetable as well? I am wondering about the potatoes. Is there a noticeable change in their texture?

    Reply
    • Rachel says:

      You know, there is a little textural change. But as long as it’s covered in liquid from the soup while frozen and warmed slowly once it’s thawed, we still really enjoy it.

      Reply
  5. Emma says:

    What kind of steak seasoning and italian seasoning did you use to avoid the packets? Do you have a receipt for them if you made them yourself?

    Reply
    • Rachel says:

      The Italian Seasoning is just a mix of real herbs in the spice section. Steak seasoning is a little more tricky to find an all-natural version. But I’ve found that Emeril’s All-Natural Steak Seasoning is really good; just beware, it makes me sneeze like crazy though!

      Reply
  6. brittney says:

    I am loving how this recipe is making my house smell! I’m a new cook, and I always double guess my own cooking.. Is there enough liquid in the crock pot to cook down everything?

    Reply
    • Rachel says:

      Oh yes, it’ll be perfect if you followed the directions. And, honestly, it’s hard to mess this one up. It’ll be great even if you didn’t follow it perfectly. I make this often!

      Reply
  7. Diana says:

    So excited to try out and freeze your recipes before baby arrives! If I want some for dinner and some to freeze, do I need to double the recipe or are all of your recipes enough for both purposes?

    Reply
    • Rachel says:

      Thanks! Most of my recipes make 4-6 servings (enough for my family), but some make more. Just be sure to check the number of servings on the recipe. Most of them have it.

      Reply
    • Rachel says:

      Yes, you’ll want to shred it before freezing and then add all the liquid to it. To warm, put in a low oven or on the stove top over low. You may need to add a little more stock at that point, if it needs more moisture.

      Reply
  8. Maria says:

    I’m expecting my first baby in about a month and I think it’s about time I got serious about freezing meals! What sort of container should I use to store this in? I don’t want to cook a bunch of meals and then be devastated at the results when I thaw them. 🙁

    And would I thaw this in the refrigerator? Sorry, I’m such a noob! 🙂

    Reply
    • Rachel says:

      I would say 3 months is fine if it is tightly wrapped and stored well. Most sources say you can keep meals longer in a deep freeze–up to 6 months. To be honest, I’ve eaten a meal like this up to a year later! But, I wouldn’t recommend that. 🙂

      Reply
  9. Melody says:

    Would it be okay to leave out the red wine? It’s not something I typically have (we don’t drink wine at all and I don’t generally cook with it either).

    Reply
  10. Elissa says:

    Okay, i just finished preparing this for dinner tonight. I made 2 (hopefully small modifications): 1. Instead of wine I used beer. Why you ask? Well, the wine I purchased for this recipe magically disappeared 2 nights ago (I think my fiance felt he needed it more than the pot roast). We had a couple of craft beers left over from the other night so I used about 3/4 cup. 2. Instead of whole wheat flour I used spelt flour. I do realize the flour is the thickening agent and we do not use traditional wheat products at home, i didn’t research it first, but I’m hoping the spelt flour will have a similar effect on the meat.

    All of the prep was easy and fast, it smells wonderful already! I cannot wait to have this for dinner tonight!

    Reply