Who loves using their instant pot or slow cooker as much as I do? This 5 Ingredient Beef Pot Roast recipe can be made in either the instant pot or a slow cooker, depending what you have at home! Both cooking methods result in fork tender, super juicy beef pot roast that will be a hit for your next meal!
What ingredients are in this 5 Ingredient Beef Pot Roast?
There are only 5 non-pantry ingredients in this 5 Ingredient Beef Pot Roast! I consider olive oil, salt and pepper to be ingredients everyone should have in their pantry, and I don’t count them as one of the 5 ingredients needed for this beef pot roast.
Here are ALL of the ingredients you will need to make this 5 Ingredient Beef Pot Roast.
- Beef chuck roasts
- Dried thyme
- Ground coriander
- Coarse salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Olive oil (regular)
- Whiskey or bourbon
Can I use something besides whiskey in this 5 Ingredient Beef Pot Roast?
The whiskey in this 5 Ingredient Beef Pot Roast adds depth to the flavor of the cooking juices. If you prefer bourbon, scotch, or even brandy, you can use a different alcohol.
If you prefer to cook without alcohol, you can simply use water instead of the whiskey. The water will also help release the browned bits from the skillet after browning the roasts like the whiskey does. The other flavors on the meat and the meat itself will add enough flavor to the cooking juices.
Prep Now, Eat Later
One of the ways I use the slow cooker or Instant Pot most often is for prepping a large amount of meat that I can then use over the course of a few days, or pop in the freezer for an ultra-quick meal at a later time.
This 5 Ingredient Beef Pot Roast is one of those recipes for me. For the first meal, I will often serve the beef straight out of the cooker (shredded or not, and with some of the cooking juices spooned on top) and served with a tossed salad and a vegetable side dish (such as this Toasted Sesame Cauliflower Rice, these Caramelized Roasted Beets, or a seasonal veggie made with the steam-sauté method I love).
After the first meal, I will use the meat in a different way over the next day or two. I make make one of the following:
- Beef fajitas
- Beef noodle bowls
- French dip sandwiches
- Barbecued beef sandwiches
- Soups and stews
My motto when I’m cooking meat in the slow cooker for multiple uses is “go big or go home”, so it shouldn’t be surprising that I cook two beef chuck roasts in the cooker at once (I use a 6-quart size slow cooker to make sure it’s large enough). It doesn’t take much more work to cook two roasts compared to one, and then I have that much more meat prepped ahead for those days when dinner prep time gets cut short.
Why take time to brown the meat before cooking?
One step I rarely skip when cooking meat in my slow cooker or Instant Pot is the step of browning the meat in a skillet (or right in the Instant Pot if that’s what you’re using) before fully cooking it.
This step is completely optional because it doesn’t affect how the meat cooks or the timing, but it makes a huge difference when it comes to the final flavor. Browning the meat ahead of the slow cooking (or pressure cooking) step sears the outside of the meat, which helps prevent the meat from drying out during the cooking process, and the meat looks better when it comes out of the cooker.
And while that may not seem important, let’s face it, how food looks does make a difference in perceived flavor and eating enjoyment.
Browning the meat first takes a little extra time, but while the meat is browning, you can work on other things. Take that time to get your veggies or a salad prepped for dinner so that when it’s time to eat and the meat is done, you don’t have much left to do in the kitchen.
P.S. Make sure to eat or freeze the cooked meat by the fourth day for food safety reasons (and that goes for anything you’ve made with the meat, such as a soup or casserole). Start counting from the day the meat was first cooked, not the day that you made it into a casserole!
5 Ingredient Beef Pot Roast (Instant Pot or Slow Cooker)
- 2, 2- to 2 1/2- pound boneless beef chuck roasts
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons regular olive oil or refined coconut oil
- 1 medium onion, cut into wedges
- ½ cup water (if using Instant Pot, use 1 cup water)
- 1/3 cup whiskey or water
Slow Cooker Directions
- Trim outside fat from the beef roasts. In a small bowl combine thyme, coriander, salt, and pepper. Sprinkle about one-fourth of the seasoning on the top of one of the beef roasts. Heat half the oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the seasoned roast, seasoned side down. Sprinkle top of the roast with some of the remaining seasoning.
- Cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until meat is well browned, flipping roast once about halfway through cooking. Remove roast from the skillet; set aside. Add remaining oil to the skillet. Repeat seasoning and browning the second roast, using the rest of the seasoning mixture.
- Meanwhile, add onion wedges and ½ cup water to a 6-quart slow cooker. Place browned roasts on top of onion, overlapping them as needed, or cutting roasts in half or thirds so they fit better in the cooker.
- Remove the skillet used for browning from the heat. Carefully add whiskey to skillet. Return to the heat. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until whiskey is boiling, scraping the browned bits from the bottom of the skillet. Pour the whiskey and any browned bits from the skillet over the meat in the cooker.
- Cover cooker; cook on low-heat setting for 11 to 12 hours or on high-heat setting for 5 ½ to 6 hours. Serve meat topped with some of the cooking juices and onion wedges, if desired.
Instant Pot Directions
- Trim outside fat from the beef roasts. In a small bowl combine thyme, coriander, salt, and pepper. Sprinkle about one-fourth of the seasoning on the top of one of the beef roasts. Select “sauté” on the instant pot; adjust to “normal” heat level if needed. Allow pot to heat for a couple minutes. Add half the oil.
- Add the seasoned roast to pot seasoned side down (it will fit snugly and that's fine). Sprinkle some of the remaining seasoning mixture atop beef roast. Cook roast for 8 to 10 minutes or until well browned, flipping roast once about halfway through cooking. Remove roast from the pot; set aside.
- Add remaining oil to the pot. Repeat seasoning and browning the second roast in the pot, using the rest of the seasoning mixture. Remove roast from the pot; set aside. Carefully pour whiskey into pot. Cook and stir until whiskey is boiling, scraping the browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Once most of the browned bits are released, press the “cancel” button.
- Add 1 cup water and the onion wedges to the pot. Stack beef roasts atop onion wedges in pot. Lock instant pot lid in place; make sure the vent is pointed toward “seal”. Select “manual” on high pressure and adjust the time to 95 minutes. The pot will automatically start the cooking process and once the pot is up to pressure, the time will start to count down.
- When the cook time is complete, select “cancel” and allow the pressure to release naturally. Once the pot is depressurized, remove the lid. Serve meat topped with some of the cooking juices and onion wedges, if desired.
If using this meat for french dip sandwiches, what rolls are best to use and how can i make enough au jus for dipping? Ideas appreciated.
Hi Julie, I would recommend a roll that has a slightly crunchy, crust. Or, you can lightly toast a softer roll before serving so that the crust is more crunchy. There should be enough cooking juices left in the cooker for you to use as dipping, but if you want to make sure there is enough, you could add 1/2 to 3/4 cup of lower-sodium beef broth to the slow cooker with the meat before cooking. Enjoy!
Could I substitute rosemary for the coriander?
Hi Philip, yes dried rosemary will work as a substitute for the ground coriander. That will taste great. I would recommend crushing up the dried rosemary in a mortar and pestle a bit or grinding it just a bit in a spice grinder (or clean coffee grinder) before you sprinkle it on the meat. That will help break up those large (sometimes tough) pieces of rosemary. Let me know how it turns out!