This Instant Pot pot roast recipe is exactly what you need to make a wholesome, comforting meal. It’s wonderfully convenient too, with very little to clean and hands-free cooking time.
The best part is, this dish is a brilliant option for when things are tight and you can’t afford expensive meat. With the magic of the instant pot, any cheap, tough beef cuts will fall apart and melt in your mouth.
What Is a Pot Roast?
Pot roast refers to a beef dish where a large chunk of beef is slowly cooked in moist heat. The meat is often cooked along with vegetables like carrots or potatoes, and either served as-is or with warm bread.
Pot roasts traditionally involve a large pot and hours of simmering, but things have changed since the advent of pressure cookers. Tender, meat that falls apart is now a result of just one hour of cooking without much supervision.
Is This Recipe Healthy?
Yes, pot roasts in general can be considered a healthy dish.
For starters, the beef cut is often without much fat. Animal fat contains plenty of saturated fat, which the USDA suggests we limit our intake of.
Plus, making pot roast is a good opportunity to include plenty of health-promoting vegetables in our diets, especially for picky eaters. The flavorful, succulent chunks of veggies are difficult to say no to.
How We Made Our Recipe Healthier
But the key to healthy eating isn’t just reducing fat and eating more vegetables. According to the USDA’s latest guidelines, we also need to watch our daily intake of calories, added sugar, and sodium.
This recipe calls for no added sugar, so we don’t have to worry about this nutrient.
To keep the sodium at an acceptable level, we used just enough for a balanced flavor. Estimating the right amount of salt needed comes with experience and practice in calculating nutritional values; we’ve done the working out, so you don’t have to.
Finally, we paired this pot roast with a salad which is healthier and lighter than plain bread and adds variety in both flavor and texture. It complements the flavor of the pot roast beautifully and brings the total calories to an acceptable amount.
You can check our guidelines to see how we regulate the amounts of nutrients and calories for our recipes depending on the different meal courses.
Best Cut of Meat
As mentioned, you can purchase a cheap cut of meat that would be tough on the teeth if handled the wrong way. Usually, these cuts belong to the areas that the animal uses most often, like the chuck, the round, the brisket, and the shank.
Under the pressure of your cooker, the collagen inside the connective tissues of these tough cuts breaks down into gelatin. In one hour, you’ll witness the transformation into a tender, succulent chunk of meat that tastes expensive, but actually isn’t.
If this gets your mouth watering, wait until you see how we seasoned it.
The soul of a good pot roast lies in its seasoning.
First, there must be garlic and onion, fresh and powdered. Fresh aromatics add a hint of sweetness to the dish, while the powder gives a more concentrated fragrance.
Next, salt for flavor and pepper for warmth. We added paprika to enhance the warmth and extra aroma and color to the broth.
We found that adding a bit of mustard makes a world of difference to beef stews. It has that unique pungency, exactly what a stew needs.
When dealing with beef, it’s a must to add a sprig of fresh thyme — they are a taste duo.
To deglaze the pot, use a splash of red wine vinegar. It adds a nice tangy, acidic note to the end result.
Of course, bay leaves are a great addition to any stew. So, we added one along with the other seasonings.
Now that’s covered, you’re ready to make a delicious pot roast.
How to Make a Pot Roast in an Instant Pot
The perfection of this roast lies in simplicity and the knowledge that putting all ingredients in at once is a rookie mistake.
First, you’ll need to coat the chunk of beef in cornstarch. This helps a barrier to form when you sear it, which seals all of the moisture inside.
Then, turn on your Instant Pot, choose the “sauté” mode, and give the meat a good sear. Make sure that all of its sides are golden brown (the inside doesn’t need to be cooked for now).
Once a caramelized exterior is achieved, it’s time to add the garlic and seasonings. When a good minute of stirring has passed, add red wine vinegar and scrape the bottom of the pot to release the flavorful bits stuck to it.
At this point, the meat is ready to be cooked in “beef stew” mode. Add the broth, lock the lid, press the ”meat/stew” button, and sit back while the machine works its magic.
The beef should be cooked for one hour and the vegetables for just 20 minutes. So we cooked the beef for 40 minutes, depressurized the pot, added the vegetables in, and continued to cook for another 20 minutes.
After everything is nicely tender, reduce the broth using the “sauté” setting for a thick, silky soup. Or, you can serve it right away au jus.
For the full ingredients list, refer to our Instant Pot pot roast recipe card below.
How to Cook a Frozen Roast in an Instant Pot
The best thing about the Instant Pot is that foods are pressure-cooked to tender. You can even put frozen meat in the pot, give it some more minutes, and it’ll be completely cooked-through.
What you need to do is exactly all the steps mentioned above, but with 20 minutes extra in step five. Since there is plenty of liquid locked inside the machine, you can rest assured that your stew won’t be burnt.
How Long Does It Last?
The meat and vegetables stay good in the fridge for 4 days, and up to several months when stored in the freezer. You can divide the roast into portions and store it either in individual Ziploc bags or airtight containers.
What to Serve With
With such a savory broth, the dish is best served with soft bread. There’s nothing like the satisfaction that comes with mopping up the last bit of broth on your dish with a soft piece of bread.
But we’re going for a wilder, healthier combination today: beef stew and salad. Our top pick is burrata salad, with peppery rocket and creamy cheese that fits in perfectly with every succulent spoonful of stew.
To round off the meal, we picked out a glass of celery cucumber juice. It packs plenty of nutrients and cuts the richness of the broth for a refreshed palate.
Discover a New World of Flavor with These Instant-Pot Beef Recipes
This classic comfort food is made easy with the Instant Pot. Tender beef, cooked with vegetables and herbs, makes for a warm and comforting meal that's perfect for any occasion.
This hearty and nutritious Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup is the perfect comfort food for chilly days. With tender chunks of beef, wholesome barley, and flavorful vegetables, this soup is easy to make and will satisfy even the hungriest of appetites.
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Press the “sauté” button (or a similar one), pour 3 tbsp olive oil in, and add the beef chuck to sear. Give each side 5 minutes or until golden brown.
Add 1 tbsp garlic, 1 tsp paprika, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp ground black pepper, 1/2 tsp onion powder, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp fresh thyme, 1 tsp Dijon mustard, and 1 bay leaf into the pot. Stir around for 1 minute.
Add 3 tbsp red wine vinegar to deglaze the pot; scrape the bottom to release any flavorful bits that stick to it.
Add 2 cups chicken broth and 4 oz sliced onions in. Close the lid and turn the steam handle to the “sealed” position. Select “meat stew” mode, adjust the timer to 40 minutes, and allow the machine to cook.
Place a cloth over the steam handle and use a spoon to switch it from “sealed” to “venting” position. Wait for the steam to release. Open the lid and add 8 oz baby carrots and 18 oz quartered baby potatoes in. Close the lid, turn the steam handle to “sealed”, and cook the stew in the same mode for 20 minutes.
Release the pressure again similar to before, open the lid, and press the “sauté” button. Allow to cook and reduce the broth for 10 minutes.
Use a pair of tongs to take the meat out and place it into a bowl. Use two forks to pull the meat apart the way you like Then add it back into the pot.
Portion the stew into serving bowls (or dishes). Sprinkle parsley on top and serve.
Instant Pot Pot Roast
Amount Per Serving (1 serving)
Calories 465Calories from Fat 189
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat 6g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 13g
Vitamin A 8270IU
Vitamin C 19mg
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tuyet Pham is an award-winning Saigonese chef who believes that joy is the secret ingredient to delicious food. At Healthy Recipes 101, Tuyet personally tests and simplifies every recipe, ensuring maximum flavor with minimal effort. With a background at prestigious French restaurants P’TI Saigon and Le Corto, Tuyet knows how to make every dish exceptional.
Luna Regina is an accomplished writer and author who dedicates her career to empowering home cooks and making cooking effortless for everyone. She is the founder of HealthyKitchen101.com and HealthyRecipes101.com, where she works with her team to develop easy, nutritious recipes and help aspiring cooks choose the right kitchen appliances.
Lizzie Streit is a Minneapolis-based dietitian and founder of It’s a Veg World After All. She completed her MS in Human Nutrition from Drexel University, and is an expert in culinary nutrition, recipe development, and nutrition communications. Lizzie’s philosophy is centered around making nutrition recommendations, and especially the advice to eat more vegetables, approachable and realistic. She is excited to be working with the team at Healthy Recipes 101 to ensure that their recipes are both nutritious and delicious.
I just cooked this delicious pot roast in an instant pot and it was so easy! The flavor was amazing and the beef was tender and juicy - definitely a winner!