How to make Instant Pot pot roast that is so tender, it melts in your mouth. This easy recipe makes ultra-flavorful beef guaranteed to satisfy the entire family. Use an Instant Pot or another pressure cooker for this recipe.
Watch the video
⭐️ Try our Instant Pot shredded chicken cooked in a salsa verde sauce.
2 Secrets for the best pot roast made in an instant pot
- For the most tender, melt-in-your-mouth pot roast, use chuck roast, known for its rich, beefy flavor and tenderness, especially after cooking in a pressure cooker.
- To get the best and most flavorful gravy for your pot roast, sear your beef roast before cooking. We do this right in the Instant Pot to keep things easy.
Pot roast is more of a cooking method than a specific cut of meat. You can make it on the stovetop, oven, slow cooker, and pressure cooker. This easy recipe uses a pressure cooker (specifically, our Instant Pot) to make the pot roast. A pressure cooker takes the cooking time down dramatically.
How long does it take to cook a roast in the Instant Pot?
When cooking a pot roast in an Instant Pot, allow 20 minutes for every pound of meat.
- Cook a 1-pound roast for 20 minutes.
- Cook a 2-pound roast for 40 minutes.
- Cook a 3-pound roast for 60 minutes.
In addition to the cooking time, you will also need to allow time for the Instant Pot to come to pressure and for the pressure to release, which will take an additional 15 to 20 minutes.
Can I use frozen beef?
You can cook a frozen roast in your pressure cooker, but the cooking time will be longer. When cooking a frozen roast, assume 30 minutes per pound of meat. See below for why we prefer thawed beef in this recipe.
What are the best cuts of meat to use?
The best cuts of beef for pot roast are tougher cuts of meat since they become tender and juicy when cooked slowly or at high pressure in a pressure cooker.
- Chuck roast (reccomended)
- Round roast
- Rump roast
Key steps for making Instant Pot pot roast
Step 1, Season the beef and bring it to room temperature.
After testing, we found that when we left the beef out on the counter to come closer to room temperature before cooking it, the pot roast was much more tender at the end of the cooking time.
I also love that the beef gets a chance to sit with the salt for about an hour before cooking. In this time, the salt seeps into the meat and helps to season and tenderize it.
Step 2, Brown the beef on all sides. By browning the beef on all sides before cooking at high pressure, we add color to the meat and add lots of flavor to the pot.
For a one-pot meal, brown the beef right in the pressure cooker using the “Saute” function. If your pressure cooker does not have this function, simply brown the beef in a heavy pan on the stove.
After browning, I remove the beef so I can move on to the veggies.
Step 3, Lightly brown vegetables. For extra flavor, we add onions, carrots, and celery to our pot roast, but I like to cook them in the bottom of the pot a bit first.
This step builds even more flavor into the dish, which makes the braising liquid taste incredible. When they start to smell sweet and get light brown in places, I take them out and move on to making the braising liquid.
Step 4, Deglaze the pot and place the beef and vegetables back in. By deglaze, I mean to add liquid and scrape the bottom of the pot until it is clean.
The steps where we brown the beef and vegetables leave bits stuck to the bottom. By deglazing, we lift all that flavor stuck to the bottom of the pan.
When the bottom of the pot is clean, I place the beef, vegetables, and more aromatics into the pressure cooker.
Step 5, Pressure cook until the beef is tender. As I mentioned above, the cooking time will vary depending on the size of beef you are cooking. In general, you will need twenty minutes of cooking time at pressure for every pound of meat.
You can see from our photos that we added baby potatoes to the pot, too. These get very soft and can be served whole or mashed into flavorful mashed potatoes.
Alternatively, you can leave them out and roast potatoes in the oven for a more crisp result. This is my preferred method. The beef and carrots are so tender that adding a crisp, roasted potato next to them is a nice change in texture.
Step 6, Naturally release the pressure cooker for 10 minutes and serve. By naturally release, I mean that when the cooking time is up, I leave the pressure cooker alone and allow it to slowly release some of the pressure built up inside the pot.
After about 10 minutes, I use the quick-release button to release the remaining pressure before opening the lid. If you are new to the Instant Pot or electric pressure cooking, I recommend reading the user’s manual before following our recipe.
⭐️ After cooking, the beef will be tender, the onions melt into the gravy, and the carrots turn silky soft. I usually don’t serve the celery or carrots with the beef since by the end of the cooking time they have usually given up all their flavor to the gravy. If you added potatoes, you can serve them alongside the beef or mash them.
As an optional step, you can make a gravy with the liquid left in the pot. I have provided a method in the recipe below. You can also just spoon the liquid in the pot over the beef when serving. It’s completely up to you.
How to tell when pot roast is done
Pot roast is done when it’s tender and easily pulled apart with a fork. The beef should fall apart on you, which means that the pressure cooker has done its job in breaking down all the connective tissue in the beef. You can see what this looks like in the photo and video above.
If your pot roast is tough, cook it longer
If it is still tough after cooking your pot roast, cook it longer. It just needs more time for the braise to do its magic and break down the connective tissues in the beef.
Since we are using a pressure cooker, if after our suggested cooking time, the beef is not as tender as you’d like, you will need to place the lid back onto the pot, seal it, and then cook at high pressure for additional time — try an additional 10 to 20 minutes.
More instant pot recipes
- Our Favorite Bone Broth is made in a pressure cooker. Think of bone broth as a more intense, velvety broth. It can be used in recipes calling for stock or broth, but also doubles as a delicious and comforting soup to enjoy by itself.
- Easy Instant Pot Salsa Verde Chicken is perfect for serving with rice, cooked grains or in tortillas.
- Our Ultimate Pulled Pork is amazing when made in a pressure cooker. See our tips as well as how to make it in a slow cooker.
- These Instant Pot Eggs could not be simpler! If you are looking for a 100% foolproof method for how to cook hard or soft boiled eggs, this is it.
- I love making Homemade Applesauce in my pressure cooker! So easy.
Easy Instant Pot Pot Roast
How to make Instant Pot pot roast that is so tender, it melts in your mouth. This easy recipe makes ultra-flavorful beef guaranteed to satisfy the entire family. Use an Instant Pot or another brand of electric pressure cooker.
The best cuts of beef for pot roast are tougher cuts of meat like chuck, brisket, and round. Baby potatoes are optional. They get very soft and can be served whole or mashed and served alongside the pot roast.
The carrots, celery, and garlic add flavor to the dish. They become pretty soft after cooking. If you like them this soft, serve them with the beef. If they are too soft for you, leave them off the plate and consider them flavoring agents (this is what we do).
Watch Us Make the Recipe
You Will NeedFor Pot Roast
3 pounds beef chuck, brisket, or round, see notes
1 ½ teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 large onion
5 medium carrots (12 ounces)
4 celery stalks
5 to 6 garlic cloves
1 ½ tablespoons high heat cooking oil
3 cups beef broth, try homemade beef broth
1 to 2 bouillon cubes or use bouillon mix, optional, see notes
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
4 rosemary sprigs
4 thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
12 ounces baby potatoes, optionalFor Optional Gravy
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons corn starch
2 tablespoons cream, optional
- Prepare Beef and Vegetables
1Season all sides of the beef with a generous amount of salt (2 to 3 teaspoons) and then set aside, at room temperature, for one hour.
2Meanwhile, make a spice mixture by stirring the onion powder, garlic powder, and black pepper until blended.
3Prepare the vegetables. Peel and cut the onion into large chunks. Peel the carrots and remove the ends. Slice the carrots and celery into thick long sticks. Smash garlic cloves with the flat side of a knife and peel away the skins.
- Cook Pot Roast
1After an hour, use paper towels to pat the beef dry on all sides (this helps the meat brown), and then rub the beef on all sides with the spice mixture. The beef should be well seasoned on all sides with the spices. (You might have some leftover.)
2Add oil to the bottom of a 6-quart Instant Pot (or electric pressure cooker). Select the “Sauté” setting and choose high heat. When the oil is hot and shimmering, add the beef. Cook until well-browned on all sides, about four minutes per side. Transfer the browned beef to a plate.
3Add the onion, carrots, celery, and garlic cloves to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally until they start to sweat and lightly brown around the edges, about 6 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to a plate.
4Pour in the broth, bouillon, and apple cider vinegar, and then use a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pot (not doing this may result in an error while cooking at pressure).
5Turn the “saute” function off. Place the beef back into the pot and scatter the onions, carrots, celery, and garlic around the beef.
6Add the rosemary, thyme, bay leaf, and baby potatoes (optional). It is okay if the liquid in the pot does not completely cover the beef and vegetables.
7Select the “Pressure Cook” or “Manual” function and cook on high pressure for 60 minutes. Note that the timer will not start until there is enough pressure inside the pot, so the timer may not start for a few minutes. If your roast is not 3 pounds, you will need to adjust the cook time. As a general rule, when cooking beef roasts in a pressure cooker, assume 20 minutes of cook time for every pound of meat.
8When the cooking time is up, do not immediately open the lid and instead let the pressure naturally release for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, release the remaining pressure by using the quick-release button (be careful to keep your hands and face away from the venting steam).
9Taste the liquid and adjust with additional salt and pepper. Transfer the beef roast to a cutting board and gently shred to your desired size and place onto a serving platter.
10If you added them, remove the potatoes and gently mash them for serving or serve whole on the platter alongside the pot roast.
11The remaining vegetables will be very soft, if you enjoy them this way, transfer them to the serving platter. If you do not like vegetables to be so soft, you can discard them. They have already done a wonderful job of flavoring the broth and roast.
12Serve drizzled with some of the liquid left in the pot. (Or make a quick gravy.)
- Optional Gravy
1To make a quick gravy with the liquid left in the pot, use a strainer to remove any bits of vegetables and herbs from the liquid. Select the “Sauté” setting and choose high heat then bring the liquid to a boil and cook until it reduces by a quarter, 1 to 2 minutes.
2Meanwhile, whisk the cornstarch and water together. When the liquid has reduced, slowly whisk in the cornstarch mixture. Continue to boil until the gravy thickens. Turn off the pressure cooker, and then season the gravy to taste with additional salt, pepper, or spices. (For a creamier gravy, add a small splash of cream.)
Adam and Joanne's Tips
- Our pressure cooker: We have the 6-quart Instant Pot.
- Cooking time: Assume 20 minutes for every pound of meat.
- Bouillon cubes / bouillon mix: This adds lots if extra flavor to the cooking liquid. If you do not have any in your kitchen, be sure to use a rich beef broth in the recipe.
- Roast is not tender: If after our suggested cook time, the beef is not as tender as you’d like, you will need to place the lid back onto the pot, seal it, and then cook at high pressure for additional time–we suggest 10 to 20 minutes.
- Can I use a slow cooker or oven? We still recommend searing the beef and veggies first. After searing, place everything into a slow cooker or Dutch oven (with a lid) and cook until the meat is tender. I’d expect the slow cooker to take 8-10 hours on low and the Dutch oven in a 275° F oven to take 2 to 3 hours.
- Nutrition facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We have used the USDA database to calculate approximate values. Sodium will vary depending on the broth, bouillon, and salt used.