Instant Pot Pot Roast
See my guide on how to use an Instant Pot.
When you’re craving comfort food, it doesn’t get any better than Instant Pot Pot Roast. This easy recipe has fall apart tender beef, potatoes and carrots in a flavorful gravy. It’s the perfect family-friendly meal for Sunday dinner.
Pot roast used to be reserved just for days when you had hours to slow cook a roast in the oven. As it has done for so many other classic recipes, the Instant Pot makes cooking a pot roast faster than using the stove or oven. What’s even better is that the pressure cooking process intensifies the flavors of the ingredients and makes the meat unbelievably tender. This truly is the best pot roast recipe I’ve tried!
I would still consider Instant Pot pot roast to be a weekend meal, as it takes just over two hours of total time to make. Most of that time is inactive, so don’t worry that you will spend all afternoon in the kitchen. I don’t have time for that, and I know you don’t either. If you want to make pot roast on a weekday, try my Slow Cooker Pot Roast, which you can prep in the morning and then cook all day in your crock pot. And if you’re looking for a slightly faster Instant Pot beef recipe, try my easy Instant Pot Beef Stew.
Why You’ll Love this Recipe
- Cooking a chuck roast in the Instant Pot makes the most unbelievably tender and flavorful pot roast in a fraction of the time.
- You’ll only need one pot – your Instant Pot (or other pressure cooker) to make this meal.
- The leftovers reheat wonderfully. Read more about how to reheat pot roast below.
Ingredient Notes & Substitutions
In this pot roast recipe, simple ingredients come together to make a meal that’s flavorful and satisfying.
- Beef Chuck Roast: The best kind of roast to use for pot roast is a boneless beef chuck roast. The marbling in a chuck roast will make your pot roast extra tender and juicy.
- Salt & Pepper: To season the beef roast.
- Olive Oil: For browning the meat and sautéing the onion.
- Onion & Garlic: A yellow onion and fresh garlic bring delicious flavor to the pot roast.
- Tomato Paste: Adds savory flavor and thickens the gravy up just a bit.
- Worcestershire Sauce: Adds umami flavor and brings out the beef flavor. You can substitute balsamic vinegar if you prefer.
- Beef Broth: The broth provides the liquid needed to help the pot come to pressure. It also forms the base for the gravy. I recommend using low sodium beef broth so that you can better control the amount of salt in the finished dish.
- Thyme: I season this pot roast with thyme because it complements the beef flavor. You can use fresh thyme or dried thyme.
- Carrots & Potatoes: The classic vegetables for pot roast, carrots and baby potatoes make this meal hearty and comforting.
- Cornstarch & Water: To make a cornstarch slurry, which is used to thicken the gravy after the roast cooks.
Find the full recipe with ingredient amounts and instructions in the recipe card below.
How to Make Instant Pot Pot Roast
Here is an overview of the recipe steps. If you are new to using an Instant Pot, you might find my guide on How to Use an Instant Pot helpful.
- Season and Sear the Beef: To make this Instant Pot pot roast, you’ll start by cutting the chuck roast in half. Season the meat on both sides with salt and pepper. Be generous with the seasonings, as they will also flavor the gravy. Then sear the beef in olive oil using the Instant Pot sauté setting. Browning the meat adds so much flavor.
- Sauté the Onion and Garlic: Once you have browned the roast on both sides, transfer it to a clean plate and set it aside for a few minutes. Add the chopped onion to the pot and sauté until the onion softens and begins to brown. You can use a spatula or wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Stir in the minced garlic and then turn off the Instant Pot.
- Deglaze the Pot: Add the tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce and beef broth to the pot. Stir everything together well and make sure that there are no browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pot. This step of deglazing the pot will ensure that you do not get an Instant Pot burn message during the pressure cooking process.
- Pressure Cook the Roast: Add the beef back to the pot, along with the thyme. Close the Instant Pot lid and move the steam release valve to the sealing position. Pressure cook for 60 minutes at high pressure. Then, once the cook time ends, allow the pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes before quick releasing the remaining pressure.
- Add the Potatoes and Carrots: Add the vegetables on top of the beef in the Instant Pot. Pressure cook on high pressure for 5 minutes, followed by a 10 minute natural release.
- Thicken the Gravy: Thickening the gravy is optional in this recipe. You can serve your pot roast with the juices in the pot as is, or you can make a quick cornstarch slurry to thicken the gravy. It takes about 5 minutes. To make the gravy, you’ll first need to remove the meat, potatoes and carrots from the Instant Pot. Turn on the Instant Pot sauté function. Stir together a mixture of cornstarch and water and stir that into the juices in the pressure cooker. Simmer for a few minutes, until the gravy has thickened.
Cooking a Roast from Frozen in an Instant Pot
I recommend thawing your chuck roast if possible, since you won’t be able to brown a frozen roast and will miss out on the flavor that searing adds to the pot roast. If you don’t have time to thaw, you can cook a frozen roast in your pressure cooker. You will just have to increase the pressure cooking time and skip the step of browning the meat.
Pressure cook a frozen 3 pound beef chuck roast for 90 minutes, followed by a 10 minute natural pressure release. Then add your potatoes and carrots and pressure cook for 5 minutes more. If your roast is larger than 3 pounds, add 10 minutes per pound to the pressure cooking time.
Instant Pot Pot Roast Recipe Tips
- Don’t skip the natural release time. Allowing the pressure to naturally release makes the meat more tender.
- Be sure to follow the recipe directions to pressure cook the chuck roast on its own first before adding the potatoes and carrots. While it may be tempting to add the vegetables at the very beginning to save a step, don’t. If you pressure cook your potatoes and carrots for an hour they are going to be overcooked and mushy.
- A fresh (not frozen) 3 pound roast will need to pressure cook for 60 minutes at high pressure before adding the vegetables. If your roast is larger, add 10 minutes per pound to the cook time.
- If you prefer to serve your pot roast with mashed potatoes, you can omit the baby potatoes from this recipe. Try my Mashed Potatoes or Garlic Mashed Potatoes recipes.
- If you’d like to substitute baby carrots for the chopped whole carrots just know that they will turn out very soft, since they cook more quickly than regular carrots.
What to Serve with Instant Pot Pot Roast
With the gravy and vegetables, this pot roast is a hearty meal that doesn’t need much in the way of side dishes. I like to serve some crusty bread or dinner rolls on the side for soaking up extra gravy. A green salad is a nice, fresh addition to this one pot meal.
Storage & Reheating Tips
Leftover pot roast is a meal to look forward to, and can be even more flavorful on the second and third day. To store in the fridge or freezer and reheat:
- Refrigerator: Store leftover pot roast in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- Freezer: Cool completely, and then store pot roast in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months. I like to freeze the roast, vegetables and gravy in individual portions for quick meals later on. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
- To Reheat: The best way to reheat leftover pot roast is to heat it in a pot on the stove, covered, over medium heat, adding a little broth or water as needed to thin the gravy. Stir it often to help it heat evenly. You can also reheat pot roast in your pressure cooker using the sauté setting, or in the microwave.
More Favorite Instant Pot Recipes
If you love cooking in the Instant Pot, try one of these Instant Pot recipes next:
- Instant Pot Pulled Pork
- Instant Pot Meatloaf
- Instant Pot Beef Stroganoff
- Instant Pot Chicken and Dumplings
- Instant Pot Chili
- Instant Pot Spaghetti
- Instant Pot Pork Chops
Instant Pot Pot Roast
- 3 pound boneless beef chuck roast
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large sweet yellow onion, coarsely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 ½ cups low sodium beef broth
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 6 medium carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1.5 pounds whole baby potatoes
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch, optional, for thickening gravy
- 2 tablespoons water, optional, for thickening gravy
- Cut the beef chuck roast in half.
- Sprinkle the salt and pepper on all sides of the beef.
- Heat the olive oil in the Instant Pot using the saute setting until hot.
- Place the seasoned beef in the pot and brown on both sides, about 4 minutes per side. Do not move the beef until you are ready to turn it; once it has seared it should easily release from the bottom of the pot. After browning the beef on both sides transfer it to a clean plate.
- With the Instant Pot still on saute mode, add the onion to the pot. Cook until softened and lightly browned, stirring often and scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot, about 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic and press cancel to turn off the Instant Pot.
- Add the tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce and beef broth. Stir well and scrape up any browned bits that are stuck to the bottom of the pot.
- Place the beef back in the pot. Add the fresh thyme sprigs or dried thyme.
- Close the Instant Pot lid and move the steam release valve to the sealing position. Cook on Manual/Pressure Cook, high pressure, for 60 minutes. When the cook time ends, allow the pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes and then quick release any remaining pressure by moving the valve to the venting position.
- Open the Instant Pot and add the carrots and potatoes on top of the beef. Close the lid and pressure cook for 5 minutes more on high pressure using the Manual/Pressure Cook function. When the cook time ends allow the pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes. Then quick release any remaining pressure by moving the steam release valve to the venting position.
- Remove the beef and vegetables from the Instant Pot, leaving the juices in the pot. Discard the thyme stems (if you used fresh thyme). Use two forks to shred the roast into chunks.
- Thicken the juices in the Instant Pot (optional): Turn the Instant Pot on saute mode. Stir together 2 tablespoons cornstarch and 2 tablespoons water in a small bowl and pour into the liquid in the pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until gravy has thickened slightly.
- Serve pot roast with the gravy.
- Recipe has been updated to reduce the cook time for the vegetables to 5 minutes, after reader feedback that the vegetables were overdone in 10 minutes.
- If your roast is larger than 3 pounds, add 10 minutes per pound to the pressure cook time.
- To cook pot roast from frozen, skip the step of browning the meat. Pressure cook a frozen 3 pound beef chuck roast for 90 minutes, followed by a 10 minute natural pressure release. Then add your potatoes and carrots and pressure cook for 5 minutes more, plus 10 minutes natural release. If your roast is larger than 3 pounds, add 10 minutes per pound to the first pressure cooking time.
- Leftover pot roast can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw frozen pot roast overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
- Reheat leftover pot roast in a pot on the stove, covered, over medium heat, adding a little broth or water as needed to thin the gravy. You can also reheat pot roast in your pressure cooker using the sauté setting, or in the microwave.