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Quick Pot Roast Recipe | Super Simple Slow Cooker or Instant Pot Dinner

There’s something for everyone in this pot roast recipe! Pick one of four flavor variations to try this week and then come back for another round later.

My mother-in-law says that the best pears are the slightly brown, bruised, so-ripe-they’re-almost-overripe, and her litmus test of perfection is whether the pear juice runs all the way down to your elbows when you eat it, such that you must stand over the kitchen sink to reach the core.

I feel the same way about a roast in the Instant Pot or slow cooker.

RELATED: 10 techniques to get the most out of your Instant Pot

That beef roast better be falling apart, not even requiring a knife, so juicy you’re reminded of pear juice to the elbows.

With a fall-apart roast, you can make sliders, enchiladas, burrito bowls, or classic roast and potatoes.

On the other hand, many folks love the kind of roast you slice into roast beef, which looks a lot fancier on the table and is perfect cold in sandwiches. I’m always nervous that I’ll overcook that sort of roast, so I’m more hesitant (and rely 100% on a good recipe and my trusty meat thermometer).

Italian style pot roast recipe with veggies

That kind of roast is more like an artisan loaf of bread, thickly sliced to perfection, crusty on the outside but steaming and soft on the inside.

With a beef shoulder roast, you get the best of both worlds.

Your juicy pears or your crusty bread, depending on how long you cook it.

If you want a flexible recipe that allows you to choose not only the texture but the flavor of the roast, this framework “dump roast” is your new best friend.

Take a beef shoulder roast, dump in some other ingredients to create one of four different flavor profiles, and cook it either in the Instant Pot or slow cooker. You could have a month of weekly roasts and never need to look up a new recipe!

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What is a Beef Shoulder Roast?

The shoulder of the cow is fairly hearty since the animal uses the joint a lot and builds muscle there. Both shoulder roasts (sometimes called arm roasts) and chuck roasts come from the shoulder.

Beef shoulder roasts are less fatty and more tender than a chuck roast and can even go on the grill like a steak, but can also be shredded if cooked long enough.

Chuck roasts are tougher and 100% require a long, slow cook or an extended blasting from the pressure cooker. They’re often seen in stew or pot roast recipes.

Any meat from the shoulder or chuck area of the cow needs a moist, longer cook time to avoid being tough. They’re great for the budget compared to other roasts and steaks!

pot roast recipe in the instant pot

How to Cook a Beef Shoulder Roast

Traditionally, a shoulder roast would have been braised in liquid in the oven (or in a pot) for quite a few hours, but I prefer modern appliances to make everything even more foolproof.

Pot Roast Recipe in the Instant Pot

In an Instant Pot, you’ll need at least a cup of liquid and cook on HIGH pressure for 25 minutes per pound.

To get sliced roast beef, open up the Instant Pot and check the temp with a meat thermometer. If it’s at 145F, you can remove the roast and set it on a platter, tent it with foil or an inverted pot, and let it rest for about 5 minutes.

If the temp isn’t high enough, return to pressure for 5-10 more minutes.

To make a shredded beef roast for sliders or wraps, go with 30 minutes at pressure per pound and a natural pressure release. With a shoulder roast, you miiiiight not get it to fall apart with only forks, but you should be able to remove, slice with a sharp knife, and return to the juices for 10 minutes to finish getting all shred-y and juicy like you want it.

shredded pot roast in the instant pot

Where to Buy an Instant Pot

This is the 6-quart Instant Pot I started out with. After a few years, we added an 8-quart partly because I knew I would use two at the same time often enough, partly because it was the Prime Day sale, and also because I wanted more space for certain recipes. Both are a pretty basic model and you don’t need more bells and whistles than that!

If you’re deciding on size, most people say it’s better to get a deal on the 6-quart and just have 2 rather than go big, BUT if your family has 5 or more people or you really like to batch cook or do more than a pound of beans, the 8-quart may be the best choice. My full Instant Pot review and buying guide for features, size, and model.

If you’d like to shop directly at Instant Pot’s website instead of Amazon (or just compare prices), check them out here.

You can even get a carrying case to travel with it! See my review of the Instant Pot carrying case we have.

If you’re still on the fence about adding an Instant Pot to your kitchen appliance arsenal here are my Instant Pot pros and cons.

Pot Roast Recipe in the Slow Cooker

Cook that shoulder roast all day long, 8-10 hours on low temp, until it really is falling apart tender. In a slow cooker, I don’t recommend trying for sliced roast beef. Go shredded all the way, and the longer you can cook it, the better. This also should work at about 5 hours on high.

Recipes for Beef Shoulder Roasts Four Ways

In what I call a “framework” recipe, you’ll see how you can combine different fats, liquids, herbs and spices, vegetables, and acid to take a basic format and create many flavor combinations.

We’ll take that shoulder roast and make it into four meals:

  1. A basic pot roast style meal that I’ll call “Dutch” in honor of the many Dutch here in West Michigan who like simple, inexpensive food without much seasoning beyond salt and pepper (and not too much of that, thankyouverymuch)
  2. An Italian-inspired dish perfect with a glass of red wine and an optional side of pasta and crusty bread to soak up the tomatoey sauce. You can see the Italian recipe variation written out here.
  3. A totally different Mexican seasoned roast that can become a burrito bowl with rice, beans, and fixings, soft tacos, or a cold taco salad the next day
  4. And finally, one that I hope Julia Child would approve of, a French-inspired flavor combo with plenty of butter, mushrooms, and red wine
Mexican pot roast recipe with salad

Using your trusty Instant Pot OR slow cooker, you can choose your flavor, choose your texture, learn one method, and have meals planned for Sunday dinners for a month.

You can use the same flavor match-ups for other roasts, such as a chuck roast, bottom round roast, or eye of round roast, as long as you look up a tested recipe for the amount of time it needs to cook.

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pot roast recipe in the instant pot

Katie’s Framework Pot Roast Recipe

  • Author: Katie Kimball
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 75 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

This framework makes it simple to get a flavorful roast with 4 different options: basic, Italian, Mexican or French.


Ingredients

UnitsScale
  • 3 lb. beef shoulder roast (or adjust for smaller or larger roasts)
  • 13 Tbs. Fat
  • Vegetables
  • A deglaze option
  • 1 c. liquid
  • Herbs or spices
  • Acid
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt (Use the code kitchenstewardship for 15% off of your first purchase)
  • 1/21 tsp. pepper
  • 210 cloves minced garlic or 1/22 tsp. garlic powder

Terrible recipe, right? See the chart below to see which options to use in each category for each flavor profile.

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Instructions

  1. Melt the fat on high and, if using an Instant Pot and you have an extra 15 minutes, brown the beef roast on all sides for about 3 minutes each.
  2. If using onions, mushrooms, or peppers, brown them in the fat next. (I don’t bother removing the roast, just stir the veggies around it, but you may remove to a plate.)
  3. If using a deglaze option, that goes in next, and stir around for a minute.
  4. Carefully pour in the liquid and return the roast if you removed it.
  5. Nestle other veggies around the roast.
    • If using green beans, steam separately unless you like overcooked green beans.
  6. Sprinkle the herbs, spices, garlic, salt, and pepper all over the roast and veggies.
  7. Cook according to the following directions:
    • Instant Pot sliced roast beef: 25 minutes per pound, quick release and test temp for 145F, add 5-10 minutes more pressure if necessary.
    • Instant Pot shredded shoulder roast: 30 minutes per pound, natural pressure release until falling apart. Add 10 minutes more at pressure if necessary.
    • Slow cooker shredded beef: 8-10 hours on low or 5+ hours on high.
  8. Add the acid right at the end to the juices.
  9. See serving ideas in the chart and enjoy!


Nutrition

  • Calories: 1088
  • Sugar: 3g
  • Sodium: 904mg
  • Fat: 52g
  • Saturated Fat: 15g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 37g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 7g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Protein: 22g
  • Cholesterol: 421mg

Keywords: simple dinner, quick roast, make ahead dinner

Where to Find High Quality Meat

Having trouble finding good quality meat locally? Would you like to fill your freezer with local and pastured options?

If you’re in Canada, check out TruLocal.ca

If you’re in the US Midwest, Chicago to Milwaukee to Detroit to New York, and select cities across the country, check out TruLocalUsa.

If you’re west of the Mississippi, check out Wild Pastures

If you live in any of the 48 contiguous states, I recommend US Wellness Meats and Butcher Box! 

I’m grateful that there’s an online source of incredibly high quality meat that I can always count on. A subscription from Butcher Box includes grass fed, organic, pastured, and free range = all the labels important to your family’s health! And I’ve got a special deal for you!

They almost always have great deals for new customers. Claim your free gifts, and see what bonus they have going on right now. Don’t miss out!

(free shipping too!)

Where to Find High Quality Meat

Having trouble finding good quality meat locally? Would you like to fill your freezer with local and pastured options?

If you’re in Canada, check out TruLocal.ca

If you’re in the US Midwest, Chicago to Milwaukee to Detroit to New York, and select cities across the country, check out TruLocalUsa.

If you’re west of the Mississippi, check out Wild Pastures

If you live in any of the 48 contiguous states, I recommend US Wellness Meats and Butcher Box! 

I’m grateful that there’s an online source of incredibly high quality meat that I can always count on. A subscription from Butcher Box includes grass fed, organic, pastured, and free range = all the labels important to your family’s health! And I’ve got a special deal for you!

They almost always have great deals for new customers. Claim your free gifts, and see what bonus they have going on right now. Don’t miss out!

(free shipping too!)

Ingredient Category
Dutch (Basic Roast)
Italian
Mexican
French
1-3 Tbs. FatButter or skip the fatExtra virgin olive oilBacon grease (or oil of choice)Combine butter and EVOO (use the code STEWARDSHIP for 10% off at that site!)
VegetablesPotatoes (quartered, carrots and onions (quartered)1 sliced onion , diced or sliced zucchini,
½-1 pound green beans
1 sliced onion, 1-2 sliced green or red pepper(s), optional: ½-1 diced jalapeno1-2 sliced onions, 8 oz. sliced mushrooms
DeglazeNone¼ cup or 1 can tomato paste¼ cup or 1 can tomato paste (or none if you want shredded beef w/o tomato sauce-y juice)½ cup red wine
1 cup liquidWater or brothWater or wine/water comboWater or broth½ cup water or all red wine
Herbs/spices1 Tbs. parsley1 Tbs. Italian seasoning blend1 Tbs. cumin, 1-2 tsp. chili powder, 2 tsp. oregano(optional) 1 tsp. dried thyme (not ground)
AcidNoneA few Tbs. red wine vinegar¼ cup lime juiceBalsamic vinegar to taste
Extra bonus optionsSkip veggies entirely and shred for simple sandwiches that can change flavor based on sauceServe with crusty bread to soak up all the tomato sauceTop with fresh cilantroCook mushrooms separately in butter in a fry pan and serve over the meat
Serve withNothing needed; this is a full “pot roast” style mealOver pasta (optional) or sauteed cabbage “noodles” with a saladEnchilada or burrito filling; DIY Chipotle bowls with rice, cooked beans, corn, salsa, etc; over rice; with tortilla chipsRoast vegetables or steamed broccoli; baked or boiled red potatoes

Now you too can have a juicy, melt-in-your-mouth run-down-to-your-elbows-like-a-pear beef should roast, no matter what flavor suits your family!

I wrote this recipe in conjunction with a guest post for US Wellness MeatsTry out the other recipes I’ve done for them:

Which flavor variation of this pot roast recipe will you try first?
Simple pot roast 4 ways
Unless otherwise credited, photos are owned by the author or used with a license from Canva or Deposit Photos.

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