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Crock Pot Italian Pot Roast Recipe

I love comfort food, and this crock pot Italian pot roast is perfect for my family. It’s quick to throw together and so comforting at the end of the day.

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When the weather gets cold, especially when it’s damp and grey, I want warm, comforting food. And if it comes from a crock pot so I have even less work to do, so much the better.

All of this describes perfectly the crock pot Italian Pot Roast I’ve made a few times recently. It’s easy and tasty and warm and comforting – and the wee ones love it, too.

It practically falls apart by the time it’s done, always a sign of a perfect pot roast to me. And it’s full of flavor, even more so when I remember to purchase fire roasted diced tomatoes.

I love that I can start it up in the crock pot in the morning when I’m making the wee ones’ breakfasts and lunches and then not worry about doing anything more for cooking the rest of the day. Pretty much.

Plated Italian Pot Roast with mashed potatoes

This fall apart tender pot roast makes an absolutely delicious meal. My family raves about the incredible flavor every time I make it.

What should I do with leftover pot roast?

First of all, braised meat like this only tastes better the next day, so plan to enjoy this again.

I like to gently heat the pot roast in its gravy and enjoy it over mashed potatoes just like I did the first night.

However, sometimes I run out of potatoes or want something different. In that case, get some hoagie rolls and provolone cheese. Heat up your Italian pot roast, and add slices to the hoagies, then top them with cheese for a delicious sandwich.

Is Italian pot roast gluten free?

As written, this crock pot Italian pot roast is gluten free until the very end when you thicken the gravy with flour. However, you can easily make this a gluten free dinner.

In place of the flour, use three tablespoons of cornstarch and mix that with an equal amount of cold water with a fork. Drizzle that into the juice you plan to use for gravy, and let it cook the same way you would were you simply using flour.

What cut of meat should I use for pot roast?

The best cut of meat for a pot roast is a boneless chuck roast. This cut has the appropriate marbling to make a tender meat after braising, and as a bonus, it tends to be cheaper than many other options.

You can also make pot roast with top round, bottom round, rump roast, short loin, or top sirloin if that’s what your butcher happens to have in stock. Those cuts all cost somewhat more, however.

Can I add any other ingredients to my slow cooker Italian pot roast?

Of course you can! That’s part of what makes cooking fun, right?

I keep it somewhat simple with Italian herbs, fire roasted diced tomatoes, garlic, and yellow onions. It tastes delicious just that simply, but if you want to add to it, I have some great ideas for you.

Beef always pairs beautifully with red wine, so substitute some of the beef broth for red wine or even red wine vinegar. Make sure that the wine is something you want to drink; don’t ever buy “cooking wine.”

You can also add fresh rosemary, roasted red peppers, pepperoncini, mushrooms, or parsnips – something you usually see in the American or Yankee pot roast recipes.

How do I ensure I get a tender pot roast?

The key to this is to cook your meat in liquid – the definition of braising – over relatively low heat for a long period of time. You do not need to have your meat completely submersed, but you want the liquid around your meat.

If you take out your pot roast and it isn’t as tender as you wish, cook it a little longer. Each crock pot cooks things a little differently, so your cooking times may be a little longer – or even a little less time – than what mine does.

Additionally, the more meat you have and the thicker your roast, the longer it will take to cook, which shouldn’t be a surprise. Make sure to take that into account when you cook this.

Do I have to sear the meat before I braise it?

Technically, you do not HAVE to brown each side of the roast, but I strongly suggest you do so unless you are truly crunched for time.

When you sear your meat first, you create additional flavor that shows through in the final dish. It takes just a few minutes, but it definitely makes for a tastier meal.

And those browned bits you see on your pan where you sear your roast? Those bits add flavor, too, so don’t toss them.

Instead, add the beef stock first to that pan while it is still hot, and use a wooden spoon to scrape up those browned bits. Then add it all to your crock pot.

What makes this an Italian pot roast?

I grew up eating the traditional midwestern pot roast that most of us know and love. The beef gets cooked in a braising liquid and pairs with carrots, potatoes, and celery in my family, but it works with pretty much any root vegetable.

The crock pot Italian pot roast uses the same cooking method to slowly braise the meat, but instead the herbs are Italian, and it gets cooked with tomatoes and onion.

They both great a delicious gravy, but it’s a different flavor profile.

Do I need to use a slow cooker?

If you do not have a slow cooker, you can still make this crock pot Italian pot roast by braising it in the oven. I like the crock pot simply because it takes care of itself, and I don’t need to babysit it.

If you braise this, you need pot with a lid large enough to hold the roast and other ingredients with room to spare for circulation. A six quart enameled cast iron Dutch oven is ideal, as it distributes heat evenly and is both oven and stovetop safe.

If you braise this in the oven, be sure to bring it to a simmer on your stove first, then place it in the oven. You never want to start a braise cold in the oven.

And always, always make sure you use a lid on your pot.

You want to cook it at 350 degrees in your oven for an hour, then reduce the heat to 325 degrees for another two hours. Check it for tenderness at that point, and continue cooking as needed.

What should I serve with my pot roast?

While a traditional Yankee pot roast usually has more vegetables with it – the carrots, potatoes, etc – an Italian pot roast has tomato and onion, and for me, that’s not quite enough to make a full meal.

I usually make mashed potatoes to accompany it, and it tastes delicious served over it. This is the hearty, comforting meal I crave.

I like to have a little more vegetable, however, so this is where a nice vegetable side dish works great. I love my version of an Italian ratatouille or a green salad or even roasted Brussels sprouts.

In addition to potatoes, you can also serve this over rice, noodles, or even risotto.

How to make Italian Pot Roast

Trim excess fat from your roast, but do not remove all fat. Salt and pepper your beef chuck roast on all sides.

Heat a large pan on medium high heat. Once hot, add oil, then sear the chuck roast on all sides. This should take 3 or so minutes per side.

Add your seared roast to the six quart crock pot, fat side down. Add the beef broth to the pan you seared the roast in, and scrape up the browned bits, then add all that to your crock pot.

Note: Make sure you use a low sodium beef stock and not bouillon cubes etc, as that will make your roast too salty.

Slice your onion into rounds, and add that surrounding your beef. Mince the garlic cloves and add them, as well as the parsley and the can of fire roasted diced tomatoes, including the juice from it.

Toss in the bay leaves. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours.

Ingredients assembled for Italian pot roast

After 8-10 hours – or longer is fine, too – everything will have cooked down beautifully. You’ll notice how much juice has been released, which allows the roast to braise and become tender.

Save the juice, as you’ll use it to make gravy for the pot roast.

Italian pot roast once crock pot has finished cooking

You’ll want to make a quick gravy, so remove the pot roast and veggies to a plate to serve. Do not cut your meat now; let it rest while you make the gravy.

To make the gravy, skim the fat, then scoop out about three cups of the cooking liquid. Add it to a saucepan and turn up the heat to medium or medium high.

Add a little less than a quarter cup of flour while whisking. Keep whisking off and on until it has thickened to your desired texture, usually about five minutes.

Add salt and pepper to taste, and voila!

Cooking gravy with a whisk to prevent lumps

Slice the pot roast against the grain, and plate your meal immediately.

Italian pot roast with Mister Man's mashed potatoes

What do you serve with your Italian Pot Roast?

Italian pot roast with Mister Man's mashed potatoes

Crock Pot Italian Pot Roast

Pot roast is comfort food at its best. This Italian version is simple and comes out of your crock pot perfectly tender and bursting with flavor.
5 from 4 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Diet: Low Lactose
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours
Gravy Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 8 hours 25 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 369kcal
Author: Michelle

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 2-3 pounds beef roast
  • 1 medium onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup beef stock
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Trim excess fat, then salt and pepper roast on all sides. Sear in a pan on all sides, then add to crock pot, fat side down.
    2 tablespoons oil, 1 2-3 pounds beef roast
  • Add beef stock to pan while still hot, and scrape up browned bits. Place all this into the crock pot.
    1/4 cup beef stock
  • Slice onion into rounds, and to pot with minced garlic cloves, parsley, bay leaves, and the can of diced tomatoes, including its liquid.
    1 medium onion, 3 cloves garlic, 1 tablespoon dried parsley, 2 bay leaves, 1 can diced tomatoes
  • Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours.
  • Remove cooked pot roast and veggies, and let rest.
  • Skim fat, then scoop out three cups of cooking liquid and place in a saucepan. Turn heat to medium high. Add 1/4 cup of flour while whisking.
    1/4 cup flour
  • Keep whisking periodically until thickened to your desired texture, about five minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
    salt and pepper
  • Slice meat against the grain and serve immediately.

Notes

  • If you don't have beef stock, you can use water or chicken stock in its place, but beef is best for this recipe. You can also sub in a little red wine for a deeper flavor, if you like.
  • For more tips and hints, be sure to read the full article.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 369kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 35g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 136mg | Sodium: 137mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g

This site uses an online source to provide nutrition estimates as a courtesy. If you need exact values, please calculate yourself.

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  1. Chelsea @ Someday I'll Learn says:

    Mmm, I love hearty meals like this. Thanks for joining in at Teach Me Tuesday!

  2. Sandra says:

    Definitely the perfect weather for pot roast. I will have to make this one. Your pictures alone done me in! 🙂

  3. Tara R. says:

    I get the best meal ideas over here. This one I’m going to try this week.

  4. […] *Linking up with Michelle, at Honesty and Truly’s Tasty Tuesday […]

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