Soul Warming French Onion Pot Roast
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The perfect warming pot roast recipe for the chilly months! My French onion pot roast is a mashup of winter favorites. It’s seriously full of flavor and you can even make it in the slow cooker for a stress-free dinner!
How’s it goin’?
Are you having a hard time finding your way to the kitchen and cooking again? Since Thanksgiving, the cooking in our house has slowed down quite a bit. I mean sure, I’ve made us garlic herb dinner rolls and the occasional salad but to be honest with you, I haven’t done my usual roll-up-your-sleeves-cuz-things-gettin’-messy cooking, in a few weeks now.
My full attention has now been turned to completing the house before the start of the new year. We finally had a chandelier installed over the dining table this past weekend. [insert applause] It only took me a whole year to decide on one. And it’s like the best thing ever because we only need to walk past that area at least 15 times a day! And neither of us realized how dark the house looks at night without one before we purchased the place. 1 of 3 big projects done. Hopefully, the other two will also be completed in the next week or so. Say a little prayer, will ya?
It’s time we ease our way back into the kitchen now. I’ve got a crazy simple french onion pot roast recipe to share with you today. It really sounds a lot more difficult than it is. And the best part? You can make it in the slow cooker or the stovetop. It’s family-friendly, simple but fancy enough for entertaining with. Or you know, just amazing for weeknight dinners with the family. All you really need is a bed of mashed potatoes to serve this on. And if you’re feeling extra generous with yourself, those garlic rolls I mentioned?
DO IT.I made this simple french onion pot roast for dinner one rainy evening. And it was a huge hit! We both loved how warm and comforting this meal is. And you know, I also don’t mind the quick prep or the 3 dishes I had to wash so much either.
Plus this pot roast recipe definitely makes tons of leftovers. Just think about that for a second: french onion pot roast over buttered egg noodles, warm sandwiches with melty roast beef, gooey gruyere on hot rolls. And if you’re Ross, you can even dip a slice of that bread in the leftover gravy for a ‘moist maker’ ?. Oh jeez, can we pretend like I didn’t just say that word?
Also, this is one of those dinners where the leftovers actually taste even better. So seriously, don’t be afraid of ’em.
So much goodness for your future meals.
How to make the best french onion pot roast:
- slice your onions really thin. This lets them cook down more. The onions release all that natural flavor which then tenderizes the meat as it slow cooks. You can also sauté the onions for a few minutes in a tablespoon of butter if you want to really build your flavors even more. And who doesn’t want that?
- season then brown and sear your meat. I know! This is just one of those steps that I always make you do. But trust me, I’ve tried making a homemade pot roast without searing the meat first and it was so totally forgettable. Snooze worthy, actually! The searing process not only gives the meat and the gravy this incredible depth of flavor, it also adds a nice caramelized crust to the buttery surface. <– This is so, so important. Remember, we eat with our eyes first. I’m sure someone will argue that it’s not necessary and they’re right, it’s not. But I find that searing gives this recipe that depth of color and that appeal that I look for when i’m making a meal. For me, foods gotta look pretty AND taste good.
Tips for making the best French onion pot roast:
- Make sure to pat down the surface of your chuck roast and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.
- Get your pan nice and hot. Also, use the right size. Don’t overcrowd your pan. I like to use a stainless steel pan or a cast-iron skillet because both of these retain the heat really well.
- Mix your butter with oil to prevent the butter from burning. The milk solids will burn with the high heat that we need to sear the roast. So always, always use a little oil to prevent this from happening.
- Last but not the least, set it and forget it. Make sure to allow the meat to sear for at least 3-4 minutes/side without trying to lift it. It’s hard but avoid it. Step away for a minute or two if you have to. Once it’s seared you’re ready to transfer everything into an oven-safe pot or a slow cooker and continue with the recipe.
Once the meat is seared, you’re literally adding the ingredients to a slow cooker and letting is cook. I like to let my pot roast cook for 8 hours. I find the slow cooking really just leaves the meat falling-apart tender. If you can, set it up right before going to sleep and it’ll be all ready for you to pop into the refrigerator in the morning. Or if you’ve got the time in the morning, set it up before heading out the door. Once that’s done, all you need to do is pull out the meat and thicken the gravy.
We love serving this french onion pot roast on a bed of garlic mashed potatoes. I’ve got amazing garlic and cheese mashed potatoes recipe here that’s easy to make if you’re looking for something to serve this pot roast with. Steamed broccoli, roasted carrots, or egg noodles are some other good options.
Lastly, I made this two-pound roast in a 3-quart slow cooker and it was perfect. If you’re making this french onion pot roast for a large crowd, consider doubling the recipe and using a 6-quart slow cooker or larger. If you’re in the market for a good slow cooker, here’s the one I have and love.
Let’s make slow cooker meals till we’re fully recovered from T-day.
Savory, tender, and so comforting. This one is sure to please the whole fam-jam.
- 1 (2 pound) chuck roast (see notes for larger)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- a splash of oil
- 3 cloves minced garlic
- 2 large onions, thinly sliced
- 2 cups beef broth
- 1 tablespoon EACH Worcestershire sauce AND apple cider vinegar
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- ⅛ teaspoon celery seeds (crushed between fingers)
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2-3 tablespoons cornstarch
- ⅓ cup water
- Pat down your chuck roast and season generously with salt and pepper on all sides. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. If you're making the pot roast in the oven, you can do this directly in the dutch oven. Add the butter and a splash of oil. When the butter melts and starts to crackle, add the chuck roast to the skillet and sear on all sides for about 2-3 minutes per side. You want the meat to brown as this will make a more tender and flavorful roast. Remove to a plate.
- OPTIONAL: Add a little more oil to the pan and sauté the onions for 3-4 minutes or until they sweat down just a tad bit.
- SLOW COOKER: Add half the onions to the slow cooker, followed by all the garlic, beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, apple cider vinegar, onion powder, dried thyme, bay leaf, celery seeds, sugar, and the chuck roast. Top with the other half of the onions. Allow the roast to cook on the low setting for 6-8 hours. I let mine go for 8 and it was fall-apart tender.
- SLOW COOKER FINISH: Remove the meat from the slow cooker. Cover, keep warm. Combine 2 tablespoons of the cornstarch and water in a small bowl or mason jar. Add to the slow cooker, stir and let cook for an additional 5-7 minutes. If the gravy is still thin, use the remaining tablespoon of cornstarch dissolved in 2 tablespoons of water, let cook an additional 5 minutes.
- OVEN: Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 275ºF. Once you sauté the onions (step 2), add the chuck roast back in to the dutch oven along with the garlic, 2 cups of beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, apple cider vinegar, onion powder, dried thyme, bay leaf, celery seeds, and sugar. The liquid should come half way up the chuck roast, if it doesn't add additional broth until half of the chuck roast is submerged. Stir to combine. Cover the dutch oven with a lid and let braise in the oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Remove the pot from the oven, check for doneness and continue braising for an additional 1 to 1 ½ hours. Your roast it done when it easily pierces with a fork.
- STOVE TOP FINISH: Remove the meat from the dutch oven. Cover, keep warm. Combine 2 tablespoons of the cornstarch and water in a small bowl or mason jar. Heat the dutch oven over the stove on medium-high heat until the liquid reaches a simmer. Add the cornstarch mixture to the pot while stirring. Let the gravy regain a simmer. If the gravy is still thin, use the remaining tablespoon of cornstarch dissolved in 2 tablespoons of water, let cook an additional 1-2 minutes.
- If you double or triple the recipe, you'll need 6-8 quart slow cooker.
- Here's the 3 quart slow cooker I have and love for a 2 pound roast.
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