Soul Warming French Onion Pot Roast
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!
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, how about a batch of homemade garlic herb dinner rolls?
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’.
Also, this is one of those dinners where the leftovers actually taste even better. So don’t be afraid of ’em.
Ingredients for French onion pot roast:
- Chuck roast: Use a two pound roast for a family of 4-6 people. Keep in mind that the roast will shrink a bit and it cooks so you’ll need more meat than you would think.
- Butter and oil: we’ll sear the meat in the butter and oil before adding everything to our slow cooker.
- Minced garlic: how can you make any good recipe without garlic?
- Onions, onions, onions: I like to use two large yellow onions for this recipe. Thinly slice the onions so that the become fall-apart tender in the crock pot while they slow cook.
- Beef broth: we’ll let the meat become fall apart tender in the slow cooker.
- Sauces: you’ll need Worcestershire sauce and apple cider the vinegar. The Worcestershire sauce adds umami to the dish and the vinegar helps tenderize the meat.
- Seasonings and Herbs: you’ll need onion powder, dried thyme, a bay leaf, celery seeds, some cornstarch and if you’re thinking that all of these ingredients sound like the content of a French onion soup mix, you would be correct. I like to just use the dry forms to make my own version for this recipe. We’ll use the cornstarch to make a cornstarch slurry to thicken the au jus right at the end.
Instructions for the best french onion pot roast:
- Sear the meat. pat down the chuck roast, then season generously with kosher salt and black pepper. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. If you’re making this on the stove top, you can do this directly in a dutch oven. Add butter and oil and allow the butter to melt and start to cracker. Sear the roast on each side for a few minutes or until it develops nice crust on the outside. Remove the roast to a plate and saute the onions.
- 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 over medium heat if you want to really build your flavors even more. And who doesn’t want that? But this is optional.
- Let it slow cook. Add half of the onions to the slow cooker, followed by the garlic, beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, onion powder, dried thyme, bay leaf, celery seeds, sugar and the chuck roast. Top with the remaining onions. Cover the slow cooker with a lid and let it go low and slow for at least 6 hours. Test the meat to see if it’s cooked through with two forks, it should shred easily. It not let it go for longer until it’s fork tender.
- Make a gravy. Remove the meat from the slow cooker. Cover and keep warm. Combine the cornstarch with water in a small bowl to make a slurry. Pour this into the slow cooker and whisk to combine. Let it cook for several minutes. if the gravy is still thin, you can use additional cornstarch and water to thicken it to your liking.
- Storing leftovers. Keep leftover pot roast in an airtight container in the refrigerator. You can also freeze the leftovers. Just allow to defrost in the fridge overnight before reheating.
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 black pepper.
Also, use the right size. Don’t overcrowd your pan. I like to use a stainless steel pan or a cast iron skillet or dutch oven because both of these retain the heat really well.
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.
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.
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.
If you like this recipe, you might also like:
- French Onion Chicken Meatballs
- Jammy Hot Caramelized Onion Dip with Gruyere
- Braised Cider Pot Roast with Onions
- Gruyere Mac and Cheese with French Onion Crust
- Best Ever Pot Roast with Carrots and Potatoes
- 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.