My Instant Pot Pot Roast is a perfect recipe for even beginners or those who are experienced with pressure cooking, it’s really easy to cook and has no complex steps!
I’ve included a detailed troubleshooting guide for making your pressure cooker pot roast, so have a quick read of that before you get started as it will really help avoid problems later on.
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The best way to make Instant Pot Pot Roast
Step 1 – Start by generously seasoning both sides of the chuck roast with salt and pepper.
Step 2 – Then turn on the saute setting in your Instant Pot or other electric pressure cooker (it may be called something else on other brands) and use the ‘adjust’ button to turn it to the ‘medium’ saute setting then add two tablespoons of olive oil.
Brown the beef on both sides until you get it well caramelized, this will add to the flavor so don’t skip this step.
Step 3 – pour in the gluten free beef broth along with the herbs and garlic, and using a flat ended spatula or wooden spoon deglaze the pot by scraping up all the meat bits from the bottom. This will help ensure that you don’t get the ‘burn’ notice.
Step 4 – Add the chopped up onions, carrots, and celery to the broth, this will add flavor to the meat juices and in turn create a really delicious gravy. We don’t serve these vegetables with the meat (too mushy!) but I’ve got directions for cooking those later on as they only take a couple of minutes after the meat is cooked.
Step 5 – put the beef chuck roast on top of the vegetables then lock the lid and cook for it 47 – 50 minutes at high pressure for an average sized roast. Please read the recipe notes on ‘cook times’ for specific details on timings for different sizes of roast.
Step 6 – Once the cook time is up let the pressure drop the pressure by leaving it sitting for about ten minutes without opening it. This is commonly referred to as ‘natural pressure release’ or ‘NPR’. Then release any remaining pressure and open the lid carefully. Check the meat, is it fully cooked and tender? If not, put the lid on and cook it for a bit longer.
If you want to cook vegetables to serve with the meat now’s the time to add them. Take out the cooked meat and skim out all vegetables that are in the broth, then add the steamer basket with the baby potatoes and carrots (or other similar vegetables) and cook for 4 minutes. You can open the lid as soon as the cook time is up (open the steam valve first) no need to wait for the pressure to drop, if you wait the vegetables may be overcooked.
Step 7 – Now to make the gravy! Remove all the vegetables from the meat juices and mix the starch with cold water as directed in the recipe, then use the saute setting and while stirring pour in the starch mixture.
Cook for a couple of minutes until the gravy thickens, if it’s not thick enough add more starch in the same manner as before.
My pressure cooker pot roast was tough, why did that happen?
There are a couple of reasons for your Instant Pot pot roast not cooking as expected so I’ll run through the most common issues below:
- Wrong cut of meat – I highly recommend using a chuck roast for this recipe, or if you can’t find a chuck roast use another cut of beef that is suitable for slow cooking and has some fat marbling. Leaner cuts of meat will tend to be tougher (and drier) cooked like this and in the end may be tough no matter how long you cook them for.
- Needs a longer cook time – The cook time largely depends on the thickness of the meat rather than just the weight so if you have a chuck roast that is thicker than about 1.5- 2 inches, or is thicker at one end of the cut of meat than the other, then you may need to add more cooking time. If you find it’s not tender at the end of the cook time in my recipe, simply put the lid back on and add another five to ten minutes cook time and see how that works.
- Your Pot didn’t actually come to pressure – If your pot doesn’t come to pressure and (you don’t notice that it’s not come up to pressure, that’s happened to me!) it will simply continue to quietly cook the meat just like it would in a pot on the stove. That means that even if you cook it for 60-90 minutes it’s not going to be tender because it didn’t cook under pressure. Another clue would be that the liquid evaporates in part or in full. When you pressure cook anything the unit is sealed and no evaporation takes place. Check your machine after 10 – 15 minutes to see if the timer is showing that it’s actually cooking at pressure, and also the pin should be up on the lid and no steam should be escaping from either the sides of the lid (that should never happen and likely means the silicone ring is missing or not in properly) or out of the weighted valve if it’s set to ‘sealing’.
- You didn’t use natural pressure release – if you open the steam release valve as soon as the pressure cooker beeps at the end of the cook time then you’ll risk ending up with dry inedible meat. This recipe is best if you use a natural pressure release, that simply means waiting about ten minutes or so after cooking until the unit has cooled down enough for most of the pressure to drop. Then you can carefully open the valve to release any remaining pressure and take off the lid.
More Instant Pot Pot Roast FAQ’s
I’ve seen cook times for 90 minutes, yours is less than an hour, why?
Some of this is personal preference, but I personally feel that 90 minutes under pressure for a 3-5lb chuck roast is simply too long and I don’t like the texture of meat cooked that long.
I find that the meat is dry, stringy, and after that long of a cook time all the flavor has transferred from the meat and into the gravy, so you’ll have an awesome tasting gravy but your pot roast will have no flavor.
However, some folks seem to love it cooked that long so if that’s your preference, go for it!
Why are you cooking vegetables with the meat, won’t they be too soft?
I like to add in a small amount of onions, celery and carrots to create a really flavorful gravy, they are only intended to add flavor to the meat juices and are not supposed to be served alongside the meat as they are much too soft to eat.
I’ve got directions in the recipe card for cooking additional vegetables to serve with the meat after the pot roast is cooked, it only takes a couple of extra minutes!
My gravy is not thick enough
That’s an easy fix, you simply need a little more starch! Don’t be tempted to add the starch directly to the hot liquid though, it will create lumps. Mix another one tablespoon of starch with the same amount of cold water and then stir into the hot liquid until it thickens some more.
Can I pressure cook more than one pot roast at a time?
Yes! I have a 6qt machine and I’ve frequently cooked two pot roasts in one go. The trick is to not lay them on the bottom like I’ve done in this recipe, if you put them one on top of the other like that they may take much longer to cook. What I do is simply stand them up sideways on opposite sides of the pot, the cook time then is exactly the same as it would be for one pot roast, win win!
What if I use a 3qt or 8qt Instant Pot, is the cook time different?
No, the cook time is the same. You may need a tad bit more liquid for the 8qt machine so check the owners manual for the minimum liquid requirements for your brand of pressure cooker.
What are the Best Cuts of Meat for Instant Pot Pot Roast?
In general, tougher cuts of meat work best for making a Instant Pot pot roast.
These are the cuts of meat that contain a decent amount of fat throughout and connective tissue, so if they were grilled, fried, or cooked quickly in some other way they would be as tough as old boots!
When cooked with a slow cook time, over a low heat, the collagen will eventually break down and melt, creating a fork tender piece of meat.
We want to make that same fall apart tender piece of meat over a much shorter cook time in our pressure cookers!
My favorite, no fail, piece of beef for my Instant Pot Pot Roast is the boneless chuck roast, it works for me every time.
More Instant Pot Beef Recipes
Instant Pot Pot Roast
Now you can cook a classic Instant Pot Pot Roast in your pressure cooker in less than an hour! This easy recipe makes a really easy, healthy weeknight meal! It's gluten free with paleo and low carb options.
- 4lb boneless chuck roast
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup gluten free beef broth , 250mls
- 2 cloves garlic , crushed
- 1 sprig thyme
- 3 bay leaves
- 2 onions , peeled and chopped
- 2 carrots , scrubbed and chopped
- 2 sticks celery , cut into pieces
- 2 tbsp cornstarch (omit for low carb) , or arrowroot for paleo
Scroll up to watch the recipe video!
Season both sides of the chuck roast with salt and pepper.
Turn on the saute/browning function in your Instant Pot or other electric pressure cooker and add two tablespoons of olive oil. Use the 'adjust' button to turn it to the 'medium' saute setting.
Brown the chuck roast on both sides, then remove and set aside.
Add the beef broth and fully deglaze the pot, if you fail to do this properly the 'burn' warning may come on when you pressure cook the meat.
Add the garlic, thyme, bay leaves, onions, carrots, and celery. (note- these vegetables are simply to add flavor to the gravy, they will be too soft to eat, see directions below for cooking additional vegetables and potatoes to serve)
Place the browned chuck roast on top of the vegetables, lock the lid, turn the steam release vent to 'sealing' and using the manual setting, adjust it to cook for 47 – 50 minutes at high pressure. Please read recipe notes for specific details on cook time.
When the cook time time is up, allow the unit to reduce pressure on its own without opening the steam release vent (Natural Release) for at least 12 minutes, then open the steam release vent and open the lid.
Cooking vegetables and baby potatoes to serve with pot roast
Remove the meat and cover with foil and strain the vegetables and herbs from the cooking liquid, add the liquid back to the pot.
Cut carrots into large pieces, do not cut up the baby potatoes.
Add baby potatoes and carrot pieces to a steamer basket and cook on high pressure for 4 minutes. You can then quickly release the pressure and open the lid as soon as the cook time is up.
Instant Pot Pot Roast Gravy Directions
Ensure that the cooking liquid is strained of all vegetables and herbs.
Add two tablespoons of cornstarch to two tablespoons of cold water. For Paleo use arrowroot or tapioca starch, for low carb omit starch completely.
Add half of your starch mixture to the cooking juices, then turn on the saute function, stir continuously until your pot roast gravy begins to thicken. If you need it thicker simply add the remaining starch mixture and stir as before.
Cook Time – This will vary depending on the thickness of your chuck roast and it really depends on your tastes and how much you like it cooked. If you like pot roast that’s totally falling apart and you can only pick it up in pieces with a fork, then you’ll need to cook your pot roast for longer than the time listed in my recipe, I don’t like overcooked chuck as I think it becomes dry and stringy so my cook time reflects that.
My chuck roasts are typically about 1.5 – 2 inches thick and a 47 minute cook time works for me, if yours is much thicker than that you may need to increase the cook time.