Practically effortless Slow Cooker Pot Roast with cranberries and pearl onions, which results in tender meat and a wonderful rich sauce!
Nothing quite like a savory and tender slow cooker pot roast to make you look forward to dinner all day. It truly is the ultimate comfort food, especially if it’s served over mashed potatoes or with a side of buttermilk biscuits!
Also no surprise how popular pot roast is, because of its ability to feed a large family (with leftovers, too!), is typically budget-friendly, and it’s so easy!
Most common pot roast recipes use carrots and potatoes, but I decided to vary it a little bit this time with cranberries and pearl onions. Needless to say, this is absolutely wonderful!
What Cut of Meat is Best for Pot Roast?
The following three cuts will all make a fine pot roast.
- Chuck Roast – this might be labeled chuck roast, shoulder steak, boneless chuck roast, or chuck shoulder. Slightly fattier than brisket or round, chuck has a richer taste but is higher in saturated fats. It’s tender, falls apart when finished cooking, and easily shredded.
- Beef Brisket – this is a flat cut, with most of its fat on the outside. It’s best sliced against the grain and cold leftovers are wonderful for sandwiches the next day!
- Round Roast – this is labeled rump roast, bottom round, or top round. It’s the leanest of the three cuts, has a fine grain, and is easy to slice. The flavor isn’t as beefy or bold as the other two.
Why Sear the Meat Before Slow Cooking?
The truth is, you don’t have to sear the meat before slow cooking (whether that be in a crock pot or stove top.) But it definitely is an added step where the payoff is huge.
Browning the meat first, caramelizes the surface and lends such a rich depth of flavor to the finished dish. And bonus, it also prevents the meat from adding excess grease to your cooked dish.
Can I replace the red wine with something else?
The red wine can be replaced with more beef broth or grape juice, but the end result won’t be quite as rich and bold.
How Can I Thicken The Sauce?
Slow Cooker recipes trap moisture, which more times than not, result in tender food but a watery sauce. If you want to thicken your sauce, you have options.
- Use Flour: mix equal parts of flour and hot water together to make a slurry. Then use 2 tablespoons of slurry for every cup of liquid in the slow cooker. Stir the slurry in and simmer the liquid in the cooker on high for 15 minutes. (Alternatively, you can make a roux by heating the flour and some butter in a small pan until it’s bubbly, and then stir in one cup of the liquid. Stir the roux into the broth and simmer until it thickens.)
- Use Cornstarch: mix one part cornstarch with two parts cold water to form a slurry. Then use 3 tablespoons of slurry per cup of liquid. Stir the slurry into the broth, setting the slow cooker to high for 15 minutes so it simmers and thickens.
In either case, if you’re going to thicken the sauce in the slow cooker, do it on high with the lid off, and monitor the sauce so it doesn’t reduce too much. (You can speed up the process by transferring the sauce to a pot and reducing it on the stove top, stirring constantly so the sauce doesn’t burn.)
Buy cranberries when they’re in season so you can freeze them and make this pot roast recipe all year round!
Looking for other Slow Cooker Recipes? Check these ones out!
- Slow Cooker Barbecue Beef Brisket
- Slow Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage
- Slow Cooker Taco Soup
- Slow Cooker Honey Sesame Chicken
- Slow Cooker Cuban Pork
How To Make this Pot Roast Recipe
Slow Cooker Pot Roast with Cranberries and Pearl Onions
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 4-5 pound boneless chuck roast , excess fat trimmed
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 7 ounces beef broth
- 1/2 cup dry red wine
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 bay leaves
- 10 ounce bag frozen cranberries
- 14 ounce bag frozen pearl onions
- mashed potatoes , for serving (optional)
- Coat a 6-quart slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray.
- Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed skillet over medium-high; swirl to coat.
- Season roast generously on both sides with salt and pepper and place in the hot skillet; cook until nicely browned, 3-5 minutes per side. Transfer to the slow cooker.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the beef broth, red wine, Worcestershire sauce, and honey; pour over the roast.
- Add bay leaves, frozen cranberries, and frozen onions to the slow cooker.
- Cook on low for 8-10 hours.
- Discard bay leaves. Shred the meat or tear off small portions; serve as is or over mashed potatoes with some of the sauce!
- The red wine can be replaced with more beef broth or grape juice, but the end result won’t be quite as rich and bold.
- The honey can be replaced with good quality maple syrup.
- You can cook this pot roast on high for 5-6 hours, but for truly optimal results, low and slow for 8-10 hours is the way to go. Your meat will be so much more tender and amazing.
- To thicken the sauce, please refer to the full article.