This easy-to-follow advice will make your pot roast so much better.

By Margaret Eby
Updated: February 19, 2019
Becky Luigart-Stayner

Pot roast is a classic American meal, one of those hearty dishes that is particularly great when it's cold, grey, or sleeting outside. It tastes even better the next day, doesn't require any special equipment, and can be endlessly adapted to whatever makes you happiest to eat. It's a pretty easy recipe to make, too, a one-pot wonder that doesn't ask you to use every dish in your kitchen. Here are a few things that'll help guarantee the success of your pot roast

Don't Skimp on Browning Your Meat

Yes, it feels like an annoying extra step to sear your roast before you put it in the pot with the broth and wine to simmer. Afer all, you're going to be cooking that roast plenty, and those extra couple minutes on the pan aren't doing that much for the done-ness of the meat. (And you're choosing an inexpensive cut of meat for pot roast, right? Because that's the first step—use something with connective tissue, save your steak money for a ribeye.) But searing the meat before you add the liquid is key to developing flavor here, since otherwise the meat is just going to get gently simmered. The browned bits you get from searing the meat make all the difference. Just make sure you don't burn the meat or let those browned bits get too black, or they'll give the roast a bitter, unpleasant flavor.

WATCH: How to Make Classic Beef Pot Roast

Bring Everything to a Simmer Before Sticking It In the Oven

You want your pot roast to cook evenly, so if you're going the Dutch oven route rather than the slow cooker, you want to make sure that everything gets up to a simmer on the stovetop before transferring the pot to the oven. Why? Because if you put the pot in the oven before that, the liquid can take a long time to get up to a simmer, meaning that your pot roast will take a lot longer to cook.

Thicken the Broth at the End for a Really Saucey Roast

Once you're finished cooking your pot roast, the cooking liquid is going to be really delicious. But if it's a little bit thin for your liking, don't worry—you can easily thicken it up. Just mash together a couple of tablespoons of flour with a couple of tablespoons of butter, a mixture called beurre manie in French cooking, and stir in a small amount at a time into the simmering liquid until you get your desired consistency. 

Get the recipe for Classic Beef Pot Roast here.

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