How to Cook a Roast – Pressure Cooker Pot Roast

What is a “Home-cooked meal”?  Food fads may come and go, but pot roast never leaves.  It is probably the very definition of home-cooked. 

Yankee pot roast – or a cut of beef browned to perfection and introduced to its vegetable companions part way through cooking – is an all-in-one-pot hearty meal.

“Give them great meals of beef and iron and steel, they will eat like wolves and fight like devils.” William Shakespeare (1564-1616) ‘King Henry V’

The first written reference of Pot Roast appeared in 1881, a natural evolution of the colonial-era New England Boiled Dinner.  Once an appetizing way to cook inferior meat, or cuts from beasts that have been working animals rather than food animals, pot roast at its core represents simplicity, frugality, and sensibility. 

Pot Roast Recipe Video

Most things have a start, and cooking a roast starts with a cut of beef. 

Choosing the right cut of meat

Many cuts make a fine pot roast but the chuck or shoulder of the cow is recommended as the best choice.  The book How to Cook Meat spells out what to look for at your local butcher: 

…basically any cut from the chuck will make a good pot roast, so the best idea is to simply pick one that is the size you are looking for.  Some of the more common names used for chuck roast cuts are: arm pot roast or boneless arm shoulder roast, chuck eye or chuck eye roll, flat iron roast, cross-rib roast or shoulder clod, or just plain boneless chuck roast.

The different cuts of beef, chuck is traditionally used.

The different cuts of beef, chuck is traditionally used.

If you are still hungry for more beef knowledge this illustrated guide to beef roasts should do the trick.

How to Cook a Roast:

Pressure Cooker Yankee Pot Roast

Ingredients (serves 6):  Feel free to substitute vegetable specifics for whatever you have in the fridge. I promise you won’t break anything.

3 to 4 pound chuck or round roast
4 cloves garlic
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons oil
1/2 cup red wine
1-can (28 ounces) of beef broth
1-can (28-ounces) chopped tomatoes
1 teaspoon thyme
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon rosemary
4 carrots
3 stalks celery
6 potatoes
1 parsnip

Step 1: Stuff the roast with garlic, then coat

Make cuts throughout the roast and insert garlic slices, but beware of the beef inspector.  Next make a mixture of the flour, salt, and pepper in a bowl or a bag and coat the sides of the roast.

Stuff the pot roast with garlic

Stuff the pot roast with garlic

Step 2: Brown the roast and cook the onions

In the pressure cooker heat the oil on medium heat and brown the roast on all sides.  If you have room, slide the roast to the side and add the onions, otherwise give the roast a quick break from the pot by setting it aside.  Cook the onions until they are soft and deglaze the pot by adding the wine and scrapping up any stuck bits.  Replace the roast if it was removed.

Coat the roast, cook the onions

Coat the roast, cook the onions

Step 3:  Add the first round of ingredients and cook for 35 minutes

Add the broth, thyme, rosemary, bay leaves, tomatoes, and any other seasonings you might want to try.  Lock the lid and heat the pressure cooker on high heat until it releases steady steam indicating it has reached 15psi.  Start a kitchen timer for 35 minutes.

Step 4:  Use the quick release method and add the rest of the ingredients

Pressure cooker releasing steady steam

Pressure cooker at pressure: releasing steady steam

pressure cooker quick release method

Quick release method releases pressure but keeps contents hot

When time, remove the pressure cooker from the heat and follow the quick release method.  This will allow the pressure to be released while keeping the contents hot.  Check the roast for doneness and if needed return the pot to pressure and cook the roast for another 5 minutes.  When satisfied add the carrots, potatoes, celery, parsnips and other hearty stew vegetables hiding in your fridge.  Distribute the vegetables around the roast inside the pressure cooker. 

Step 5:  Return to pressure and cook for 4 minutes

When time remove the pressure cooker from the heat following the natural release method.  After the lid unlocks, carefully open and remove the roast to rest covered under tinfoil while you make the gravy.  Thicken the broth by adding 2 tablespoons of a flour/salt/pepper mix with about 1/2 cup water.

Add seasonings to taste.  Slice the roast across the grain and serve with the vegetables and gravy.  Leftovers taste superb.

Pot roast

Original recipe adapted from Miss Vickie’s Big Book of Pressure Cooker Recipes

Looking for pot roast slow cooker or oven recipes? Try this:
Alton Brown’s A Chuck for a Chuck

Thanks for reading.

"I was 32 when I started cooking; up until then, I just ate." ~Julia Child  
Why learn pressure cooking?
It's 7 pm. The end of the work day stomach rumbles...

In one hand, a take out menu. In the other hand, the refrigerator door...its contents staring back almost as blankly as we are towards them. We want a homemade meal, but also want something quick and simple to make.
1. Simple and quick recipes requiring basic skills to become proficient in the kitchen.
2. Quality ingredients, not necessarily 100% organic, but meals without artificials and chemistry class additives.
3. To understand more of the story of our food and take small steps towards self-reliance.

It's true, there are many benefits to pressure cooking: the time savings, the taste, a small step towards self-reliance, sustainability... but the real benefit is in what we learn as we redefine our relationship with food. Good food can be fast. Good food can be easy.

Pressure Cooker Recipes
Looking for more Pressure Cooker Recipes? We've got'em here.
   Get new recipes and videos in your inbox.
   Looking for a pressure cooker? Read our pressure cooker reviews.
   Our favorite Pressure Cooker Cookbooks including the
   food book that changed my life.

Similar Posts:

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Bob Pendarvis October 9, 2011 at 9:25 pm

Very Good!

joe December 6, 2011 at 5:31 pm

I know most people are trying to be funny when they joke about the meat inspector. For your information, it would be one of the hardest jobs you ever have. I used to inspect and got out after 5 years. Another inspector broke her hip aftere being slammed into a wall by a steer. You would not beliveve the stuff that the plant got mad about us condeming. You might not eat a lot of things you used to before working in that position. We do not realize how important our safe food and water is until we don’t have it. Ask the folks in Africa who starve to death.

Leslie December 9, 2011 at 8:16 pm

@Joe, Thanks for your service! We need more people like you out there making sure what we eat is the highest quality. I have no doubt that without inspectors the companies would really push the limit of food safety. I know I couldn’t stomach working in the meat industry, and I commend you for doing so.

Vivian April 16, 2012 at 7:01 pm

Joe, I second what Leslie said. Its a nasty job and we are grateful for the people who take it on. My Dad, rest his soul, worked in a packing plant in the 40’s and NEVER EVER ate bologna or wieners again after that! Hence I grind my own mince and have a good relationship with my small hometown butcher.

chantal May 16, 2012 at 12:32 am

I made this for dinner and it was DELICIOUS! The recipe is perfect I didnt make any changes! I will be making this again and again. Thanks.

Janet August 19, 2012 at 2:12 pm

My mom worked & I grewa up mainly on TV dinners. So I have never been a great cook.My pot roasts have been a flop for years. I so look forward to making this one up. Thanks for sharing. Which size of pressure cooker do you use? I have a new 6 quart digital one that I have started using several of your recipes in it with Ohhh’s and Ahhhhh’s from my husband, (we have been married for 40 years and his has always been nice as far as praising me for my dinners, but usually suggests we go out to eat.) I now feel like the queen of the kitchen and plan all day of what to cook.He even loves the left over’s. I made Hawiian style rice & spare ribs dinner for 5 teens who’s mom was in the hospital and they are still talking today about the great meal I made them. It felt good that I had finally made something right.

Janet August 19, 2012 at 2:26 pm

Ahh! I am wrong, it only is a 4 quart pressure cooker- Still works fine though.

Raymond October 14, 2012 at 2:42 pm

I do all the cooking, and just found a pressure cooker my wife bought me as a gift about ten years ago. I’m about to try this recipe. I can tell with my experience that it will be fantastic. You might revise the recipe, by adding the onions to the ingredience list. Thanks

Julie December 30, 2012 at 9:21 pm


Josh January 14, 2013 at 8:11 pm

Hey, I love the recipes but you forgot to put the onions in the ingredients list.

Katha March 22, 2013 at 2:36 pm

Can I cook a 2 to 3 pound rump roast to medium rare with your recipe while still adding the potatoes, etc. without the roast turning to mush? Do you know how long it should be cooked? Thanks.

patricia June 26, 2013 at 11:48 am

I never write reviews but after making this recipe with my pressure cooker I just have to tell everyone how tender and delish my pot roast turned out. After so many failed attempts in the slow cooker and the oven this is amazing!! This is the only way I will cook chuck roast from now on!!! Many thanks!!

Mary September 17, 2013 at 6:34 am

I tried this recipe last night in my electric pressure cooker and it was awesome. I am cooking for both my husband and my adult nephew, who are grateful eaters, but even I was impressed. Every recipe for pressure cooking makes the roast tender but I want more than just tender, I expect good flavor. This recipe gave me both. I used parsnips, turnips, potatoes, onions and carrots for my vegetables. When I took the roast out it was not “falling-apart-tender” so I was concerned that it could be tough but one bite proved me wrong. My husband and nephew were too busy eating to even tell me they enjoyed it, until they had finished. In fact, next time I will need to use a larger roast because there were not enough leftovers. Your seasonings are right on and the gravy was perfect. Thanks.

Michele September 25, 2013 at 8:31 pm

This recipe has some problems. I’m making it right now in a 6-qt stovetop pressure cooker and there is just way too much liquid. I had my suspicions just from looking at the recipe, but given the positive comments and my own inexperience (I’ve only had my pressure cooker for a few days), I opted to just follow your instructions.

I think that each “can” of liquid should not be 28 oz. but the standard 14.4 oz. Either that or you have a giant pressure cooker and neglected to specify its capacity. There is flat-out too much liquid for this recipe to work in a 6-qt pressure cooker.

Amanda November 3, 2013 at 3:34 pm

You mention adding the onions but no onions are listed in the ingredient list. Perhaps you could add how many. Thanks!

Eric November 21, 2013 at 11:29 am

Nice post. Just what I needed today. Looks and smells good already. Alarming thing to me was the first post by “Joe”…… He must justify his existence, I suppose.

Pete December 22, 2013 at 5:03 pm

Um…I think the “meat inspector” he’s referring to is the cat in the picture.

Adriana Corn January 12, 2014 at 7:47 pm

Sorry, I meant to say “a lot of liquid in the pressure cooker”.

frank February 15, 2014 at 9:16 am

Thanks for posting the recipe, we found it very helpful. It’s very savory and well-done, and we will be using this recipe in the future!

My only suggestion is that I would agree with the previous poster that there is way too much liquid. I used half of what was recommended (14 oz broth and tomatoes) and it was still too much. Maybe it’s the size of the pot, but I will be scaling down the liquids in the future.

Roy November 3, 2014 at 10:25 pm

So, how much onion?? I used 2 medium onion
Please check liquid amounts because I cut 1/3 and still too much.
Was delicious!

Roy November 3, 2014 at 10:27 pm

also, my meat was 2.75 pounds.
my cooker was a little over filled and that can cause quite a mess. I recommend opening in sink.

Eve January 29, 2015 at 4:54 pm

Great Pot Roast in pressure pot!!!!!!!

jack February 11, 2015 at 8:48 pm


Leave a Comment

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: