A classic and affordable top round roast made in the slow cooker is the perfect comfort meal. With parsnips, potatoes and carrots, and a rich and flavorful broth, you’ll regularly add this recipe to you meal plan.
As soon as the weather in California starts to turn, around mid October, I immediately begin craving pot roast. There are a million variations and recipes on making a tender and flavorful roast in the slow cooker, but now more than ever, we need every recipe we can get our hands on in our arsenal. Food prices are on the rise and we need to make a buck go further. This recipe for top round roast in the slow cooker does just that, with filling root vegetables and a hearty broth.
Why this recipe works
Simple ingredients make this easy to throw together and even customize a bit. Don’t have parsnips on hand? No problem, either ditch them or swap in another type of potato.
Utilizes affordable cuts of meat (I recommend top round roast or chuck roast) and vegetables, to make it a very cost effective meal.
This pot roast meal goes a long way, typically feeding my family 2 nights in a row. The first night we eat it as prepared, and then use the leftover meat for tacos the next day.
Healthy, hearty but not heavy. Lots of vegetables, protein and nutrients, without a lot of added salt or fat.
Microwaving the aromatics ahead of time also brings out more flavor in the dish.
Top round roast (or chuck roast) – While both are large, tough cuts of budget-friendly beef, the main difference that sets these two roasts apart is where on the animal they’re cut from. Top round roast is cut from the rear leg and is more lean than chuck roast, which is cut from the shoulder and contains more fat. Feel free to use either here.
Parsnips, carrots and potatoes – Feel free to leave out the parsnips, but definitely give them a try if you’ve never eaten them! They are related to the carrot, but have a slightly sweeter, nuttier taste. They also contain less carbs than potatoes, so if you’re following a low carb diet, swap out parsnips for the potatoes here.
Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste and beef broth – adds moisture and richness to the roast.
Instant tapioca – thickens the sauce ever so slightly.
Thyme, garlic and onions are the aromatics that will give the dish some extra depth and flavor.
Step 1 & 2 – Microwave onions, garlic, tomato, thyme, oil and tomato paste for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. This process releases more flavor, similar to when you salute garlic and onions in a pan. Add the aromatics to the slow cooker.
Step 3 – Stir in the beef broth, Worcestershire sauce and tapioca.
Step 4 – Nestle in the pot roast into the liquid, making sure to generously season with salt and pepper.
Step 5 – Add the parsnips, carrots and potatoes on top, and cook on low for 8 hours or high for 5-6 hours.
Once done cooking, remove the vegetables and roast, allowing the meat to rest for a few minutes before shredding and serving.
The most commonly recommended cut of meat for slow cooking a pot roast, is chuck roast. I recommend either chuck or top round, because both are affordable and hold up well in a slow cooker. Top round is leaner though, so if fat intake is of concern, go with the top round.
Tapioca is a common thickener for crock pot dishes. If you don’t have quick-cooking tapioca, thicken the stew with a slurry made with equal parts flour and water (say 2 tbsp each).
Yes, you can! Try tying up your veggies in a cheesecloth bundle and lay directly on your piece of meat. Keeping the vegetables above the braising liquid allows them to steam cook instead.
More cooking tips
Once the pot roast is done cooking, set the beef on a platter and place the vegetables in a bowl. For additional flavor, take 2 tbsp melted butter and toss with the vegetables and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add to the platter and serve.
Leftover beef tastes delicious in tacos or enchiladas. Simply reheat and roll up in your tortilla of choice and add toppings. Using a 4 lb roast, you should have enough meat to feed a family of 4 two nights in a row.
To store and freeze leftover meat, place in an air tight container with some of the cooking juice. Make sure to reheat in the broth to keep meat from drying out. Store in the fridge for 4-5 days, or in a freezer bag for up to 3 months.
To cook this roast in the Instant Pot, follow the directions found in my Pot Roast and Gravy recipe.
Slow Cooker Top Round Roast with Root Vegetables
- Slow Cooker
- 3 lb Top round roast or chuck roast 3-5 lb cut works
- ½ Onion diced
- 3 Garlic cloves minced
- 1 tbsp Tomato paste
- 1 tsp Canola oil
- 1 tsp Thyme minced
- 1 cup Beef broth
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tsp Instant tapioca
- 1 lb Red potatoes cut into 1" pieces
- 4 Carrots peeled and chopped into 1" chunks
- 3 Parsnips peeled and chopped into 1" chunks
- 2 tbsp Salted butter melted
- Place the onions, garlic, tomato paste, canola oil and thyme in a bowl and microwave, stirring occasionally, till onions are softened, about 4-5 minutes. Add to the slow cooker
- Add beef broth, Worcestershire and tapioca, and stir to combine.
- Season cut of meat with salt and pepper and place the meat in the slow cooker on top of the onion mixture.
- Nestle in potatoes, parsnips and carrots around the cut of meat, cover and cook on low for 8 hours or high for 5-6 hours.
- Remove beef from slow cooker and place on a platter. Place vegetables in a large bowl and toss with melted butter. Place vegetables on platter and serve.