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. This recipe for top round roast in the slow cooker is tender and delicious, while also affordable and so easy!
With filling root vegetables and a hearty broth, it’s a great recipe for any day of the week. Also included are directions to make a rich gravy.
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 or air fryer taquitos.
- 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 leaner 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, 1 tablespoon of the Worcestershire sauce and tomato paste for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. This process releases more flavor, similar to when you sauté garlic and onions in a pan. Add the aromatics to the slow cooker.
Step 3 – Stir in the beef broth, other tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce and tapioca.
Step 4 – Nestle the pot roast into the liquid, making sure to generously season with salt and pepper. Add up to 1 cup more of beef broth so that roast is halfway submerged.
Step 5 – Add the parsnips, carrots and potatoes on top, and cook on low for about 7 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.
To make a rich gravy
Strain at least 1-1.5 cups cooking liquid into a sauce pan. On medium low heat, add 1 tablespoon of all purpose flour at a time, quickly whisking in the flour to avoid lumps. I typically use 2-3 tablespoons to reach desired consistency.
When desired consistency is achieved, season with salt and pepper and pour in a gravy boat or measuring cup. Serve on the side or pour on top of the roast and veggies.
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 tablespoon 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.
This was a trick I learned years ago from America’s Test Kitchen. Microwaving releases more flavor and adds that flavor to the dish.
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 tablespoon 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
- 3 lb Top round roast or chuck roast 3-5 lb cut works
- ½ Onion diced
- 3 Garlic cloves minced
- 1 tablespoon Tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon Canola oil
- 1 teaspoon Thyme minced
- 1 cup Beef broth use up to 2 cups
- 2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce divided
- 2 teaspoon 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 tablespoon Salted butter melted
- 1.5 cups Cooking liquid
- 2 tablespoon All purpose flour add up to 3 tablespoons
- 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 cooker½ Onion, 3 Garlic cloves, 1 tablespoon Tomato paste, 1 teaspoon Canola oil, 2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, 1 teaspoon Thyme
- Add beef broth, Worcestershire and tapioca, and stir to combine.1 cup Beef broth, 2 teaspoon Instant tapioca, 2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- Season cut of meat with salt and pepper and place the meat in the slow cooker on top of the onion mixture.3 lb Top round roast or chuck roast
- Nestle in potatoes, parsnips and carrots around the cut of meat, cover and cook on low for about 7 hours or high for 5-6 hours.1 lb Red potatoes, 4 Carrots, 3 Parsnips
- 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.2 tablespoon Salted butter
To make a rich gravy
- Strain 1-1.5 cups of cooking liquid into a small sauce pan1.5 cups Cooking liquid
- Over medium low heat, whisk in 1 tablespoon of flour at a time into the cooking broth. Add up to 3 tablespoons of flour to reach desired consistency. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.2 tablespoon All purpose flour