Braised Cider Pot Roast with Onions
Homemade Braised Cider Pot Roast with the most delicious cider spiked gravy! This roast is fork tender because it’s slowly braised in the oven. Trust me; it melts in your mouth! The onion gravy is perfect over a bed of fluffy mashed potatoes or with rice!
‘Tis the season for warm and cozy meals like this.
Cider pot roast is precisely that – a homemade pot roast braised in a cider and beef braising liquid. And if you think for a second that it’s going to be all sweet and weird, it’s not! The sweetness in the cider doesn’t stand a chance when we pair it with salted beef broth, lots of onions, garlic, Worcestershire, fresh thyme, fresh rosemary, and dijon mustard. It has the hint of apples, but I promise you, it isn’t sweet. So if the thought of putting apple cider with a chuck roast weirds you out a little bit, rest assured, this is 100% free of dessert vibes.
This recipe is inspired by the french onion pot roast I make every fall. But this time, I wanted to add a splash of my homemade apple cider and cut the sugar out completely. Then I went in with a little mustard to add complexity, and I went ahead and braised in the oven instead of the slow cooker.
If you’ve made and enjoyed that recipe, I’m willing to bet you’ll like this one too.
Ingredients for cider-braised beef roast:
- Beef Chuck Roast: You’ll want a roast in the ballpark of 2½-3 pounds.
- Seasonings: This is your basic kosher salt and black pepper. You want to pat the roast dry using a paper towel and season generously with salt and pepper. The juices from the roast and these ingredients create brown bits that will ultimately flavor the gravy.
- Garlic Cloves: You’ll need 6 whole cloves and 2 that are minced. The whole cloves will get inserted into the roast to add a delicious flavor as the roasted garlic cooks. This is how I make my ropa vieja too! The other two teaspoons will get mixed into the gravy.
- Avocado Oil: Used to sear the chuck roast in the pan. Olive oil would also work, but it’s best to use a high-heat oil so that it doesn’t start smoking in your cast iron pan.
- Butter: Used as a starter for the gravy.
- Onions: I like to use red onions for this recipe. I slice each onion into 8 pieces starting from the root to the tip, to create wedges. These will cook down in the sauce as the roast braises.
- Flour: Helps thicken the gravy slightly. I opt to leave the gravy loose so that you can thicken it later as desired.
- Beef Broth: Used to create the pan gravy that you can spoon over rice or potatoes!
- A cup Apple Cider: If you’ve gone apple picking, I highly recommend trying my homemade cider recipe. Otherwise, store-bought cider works equally well here. I suggest starting clear of apple juice for this recipe if possible.
- Dijon Mustard: Helps tenderize the roast a little bit, but it also adds tons of flavor to the gravy – it adds the most irresistible flavor!
- Fresh Herbs: I love adding fresh thyme and rosemary when making a pot roast. Feel free to add in a bay leaf or even sage, as all of these would work well with beef!
How to make the best braised cider pot roast:
- Season the roast generously. You want to start by preheating the oven so that it heats up by the time you’re done assembling the pot roast. To make the meat extra flavorful, I like to make small ‘x’ cuts in the chuck roast with a pairing knife and insert the garlic cloves in the meat. Then, you’ll want to pat the roast dry and season with salt at pepper.
- Sear it in a hot pan. Add a drizzle of oil to an oven-safe pan or dutch oven. On medium-high heat, sear the roast on all sides. This is where the roast will develop a crust and create brown bits that will ultimately flavor the gravy. Remove the roast to a baking sheet or plate when done.
- Caramelize. Add the butter and lower the flame to medium heat. Add the onions to the pan and caramelize for 5 minutes, pushing them around the pan to pick p any stuck-on bits. Add the minced garlic and then add the flour and cook for one minute. This cooks out the raw flavor of the flour.
- Braise that bad boy. Add the broth, cider, Worcestershire, and mustard. Give it a good whisk to help pick up any remaining brown bits. Tuck the herbs into the sauce, add the roast back in, and cover with a lid. Braise until the meat is fall-apart tender. Shred with two forks or use these claws. Serve warm!
FAQs about cider pot roast:
You can! Add 1 (16-ounce) bag of baby carrots and 1¼ pounds of baby Yukon gold potatoes during the last 1½ hours of braising. I usually serve this over mashed potatoes, so I skip the vegetables in the pot roast and serve them on the side instead.
Sauteed green beans, roasted brussels sprouts, crispy garlicky potatoes, garlicky broccolini, roasted sweet potatoes, asiago mashed potatoes, garlic butter roasted carrots, rosemary roasted potatoes, cheddar mashed potatoes, or even a sweet potato mash. Equally delicious with this: caramelized onion gruyere drop biscuits to soak up all that gravy!
Yes! I’d sear the roast in a dutch oven to develop the flavor the same way. Spray your slow cooker with cooking spray and place the roast inside. Make the gravy in the skillet with the drippings the same way as you would if you were to braise it in the oven. Pour it all over the roast and let it cook on low for 7-9 hours until it’s fall-apart tender.
If you find you need to make the gravy thicker for mashed potatoes, you can make a cornstarch slurry with 1-2 tablespoons of cornstarch and a splash of water. I suggest removing the roast from the dutch oven, bringing the gravy to a simmer on the stove, and then pouring in the slurry as you stir to make it thicker. It should thicken as it simmers in a few seconds. If it’s still thin for your taste, repeat with additional slurry. It was perfect as is for us, we didn’t need to thicken it.
If you like this recipe, you might also like:
- Ridiculously Tender Beef Tips with Mushroom Gravy
- Birria de Res (Stovetop + IP)
- Irresistible Instant Pot Beef Stew
- Chile Colorado
- Cuban Shredded Beef
- 1 (2½-3 pound) chuck roast
- 8 cloves garlic, 2 minced + 6 whole
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 medium red onions, cut into thick slices
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 ½ cups beef broth
- 1 cup homemade cider or store-bought
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- Fresh herbs (I use about 5 sprigs of thyme + 1 sprig rosemary)
- Prepared Sweet Potato Mash, for serving
- SEASON: Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 300ºF. Place the chuck roast on a clean surface. Using a paring knife, make 6 small ‘x’ cuts. Insert the garlic cloves int the cuts. Season generously with salt and pepper.
- SEAR: Heat a 3 quart or larger dutch oven (something oven-safe) on medium-high heat. Add the oil, and when hot, sear the meat for 5-6 minutes; make sure to sear all the sides. Remove to a plate.
- CARAMELIZE: Add the butter, lower the heat to medium and add the sliced onions to the pan. Cook and caramelize the onions for 5 minutes or until they pick up all the stuck-on bits. Add the minced garlic and push it around the pan for 30-45 seconds. Then add the flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring often.
- BRAISE: Pour in the broth, cider, Worcestershire, and mustard. Whisk to pick up any brown bits still stuck on the pan. Tuck in the herbs, and add the roast back to the pot. Cover with a lid and braise in the oven for 2½-3 hours or until the meat just falls apart. Shred slightly with a fork and serve over a bed of sweet potato mash with sautéed green beans roasted or roasted brussels sprouts or your favorite sides.
- To add veggies: Add 1 (16-ounce) bag of baby carrots and 1¼ pounds of baby Yukon gold potatoes during the last 1½ hours of braising. I usually serve this over mashed potatoes, so I skip the vegetables.
- If the gravy is thin after braising: make a cornstarch slurry with 1-2 tablespoons of cornstarch and a splash of water. Remove the roast from the dutch oven, bring the gravy to a simmer on the stove, and then pour in the slurry as you stir the gravy with a spoon. Let simmer for a few minutes to thicken. Repeat as needed to thicken further.