Balsamic Slow Cooker Pot Roast

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This balsamic slow cooker pot roast is an easy, healthy make-ahead main dish recipe that takes 5 minutes to prepare (no browning required). This crock pot roast is my go-to dish for holiday entertaining. 

overhead view of a plate of shredded Slow Cooker Pot Roast


This balsamic slow cooker pot roast is the most delicious crock pot roast I’ve ever had!  It’s healthy (allergy-friendly), and can be prepared and cooked overnight in the slow cooker.

I usually start this roast cooking just before I go to bed on Christmas Eve (or the night before any holiday or hosting a meal). Then, when it is finished cooking in the morning, I shred it, make the gravy, and then reheat everything when it’s dinner time – making the holiday meal very low-stress so I can enjoy every moment with my family. 

up close overhead view of a plate of shredded Balsamic Slow Cooker Pot Roast

Slow Cooker Pot Roast: Ingredients & Substitutions

There are only a few simple ingredients in this crock pot roast recipe, but here are some potential substitutions.

overhead photo of the ingredients in this slow cooker pot roast recipe
  • Olive Oil. Any neutral oil can be used in place of olive oil – suggestions include avocado oil and canola oil. 
  • Honey. Maple syrup is a great substitute for honey.
  • Honey Mustard. Sub your favorite mustard variety if desired: Dijon, regular yellow, spicy brown, etc. 
  • Beef Broth. You can use chicken or vegetable broth but I highly recommend beef broth as it yields the best flavor! I keep this beef base on hand to make broth for this recipe. 
  • Balsamic Vinegar is an ingredient I splurge on. A high-quality balsamic vinegar should be thick and naturally sweet. If your vinegar pours like water instead of syrup and tastes sour then you do not have a quality product and your recipe will not turn out as delicious.
Slow Cooker Pot Roast on a plate with carrots and potatoes

How to Make Slow Cooker Pot Roast 

Let’s walk through the steps in making the best, easy slow cooker pot roast recipe and answer some commonly asked questions! Don’t forget to watch the video.

Combine the rub ingredient sin a small bowl and stir until they’re evenly combined.

how to make slow cooker pot roast - rub

 Next, place the pot roast in the low cooker and brush or rub olive oil all over it. Then use your hands to spread the rub over the roast, pressing it down so it sticks.

two photos showing how to make slow cooker pot roast -  - putting oil and rub on the roast in the slow cooker

In a small bowl, whisk together sauce ingredients.

how to make slow cooker pot roast - whisking the sauce

Then  pour the sauce over the crock pot roast. 

Cook on low for 8-10 hours, occasionally spooning more sauce over the roast, until it is very easily shredded with a fork.

two photos showing how to make slow cooker pot roast -  - pouring sauce over roast in crockpot

Once the meat is finished cooking, shred it with two forks and return to the sauce to cook on low for another hour. This helps the shredded meat absorb the flavor even more.

two overhead photos showing how to make Slow Cooker Pot Roast

Make the Gravy

I prefer to separate the sauce from the meat to strain and thicken it for serving. However you can simply add thickener to the slow cooker towards the end of cooking time if you prefer.

Remove the meat from the sauce and strain the sauce through a fine mesh strainer into a large bowl (do not pour it down the drain)! Then, transfer sauce to a saucepan and whisk in the thickener.  Cook on medium heat, stirring constantly. until sauce becomes thick.

two overhead photos showing how to make Slow Cooker Pot Roast

Serve

Pour one-fourth of the thickened sauce over the meat and transfer the rest to a serving dish (gravy boat, small pourer, etc.) for serving. 

Serve it with your favorite side dishes, bread or vegetables!

Store/Freeze

Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to two months. 

overhead photo fo shredded Slow Cooker Pot Roast on a plate

To Cook Overnight

Prepare the roast according to the recipe instructions. Begin cooking on low in the slow cooker when you go to bed at night. In the morning,  when the roast is fork-tender, shred it and transfer the meat to a 9×9″ baking dish or a casserole dish with a lid.

Add a little bit of the reserved liquid, and store the meat, covered, in the fridge until it’s almost time to eat. Then when you’re ready to eat simply warm the meat, covered, in the oven at about 325 degrees until it’s warmed through!

Keep the sauce covered in a small saucepan until you are close to ready to eat. Follow the recipe instructions to make/thicken the sauce, then use according to the recipe. 

Slow Cooker Pot Roast on a plate with carrots and potatoes

Slow Cooker Pot Roast FAQs

Do you have to brown a roast before putting it in the crockpot?

No! That’s another beautiful thing about this balsamic pot roast recipe, there is no need to brown it before putting it in the slow cooker!

Does Pot Roast get more tender the longer it cooks?

Yes, do not rush this pot roast. Let it cook low and slow for the most tender result.

Can I freeze pot roast?

Yes, leftovers of this recipe freeze very well. Put them in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 2 months.

Slow Cooker Pot Roast on a plate with carrots and potatoes

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Balsamic Slow Cooker Pot Roast

Laura
This balsamic slow cooker pot roast is an easy, healthy make-ahead main dish recipe that takes 5 minutes to prepare (no browning required). This crock pot roast is my go-to dish for holiday entertaining. 
4.98 from 39 votes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 10 Servings
Calories 306
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time12 hours
Total Time12 hours 5 minutes

Ingredients 
 

  • 2 pounds boneless Chuck Roast
  • 1 Tablespoons olive oil

Rub:

Sauce:

Instructions 

  • Generously grease the bowl of your slow cooker. Set aside

Make The Rub

  • In a small bowl, mix together garlic powder, onion powder, sea salt and pepper. Set aside.

Make the Sauce

  • In a medium bowl whisk together balsamic vinegar, honey, mustard and beef broth. Set aside.

Assemble

  • Put the roast in the container of your slow cooker and coat it in the olive oil either with your hands or a silicone pastry bruch.
  • Evenly sprinkle the roast with the rub, pressing it into the meat so it sticks.
  • Pour the sauce over roast and turn your slow cooker onto low.

Cook

  • Cook on low for 8-10 hours, occasionally spooning more sauce over the roast, until it is very easily shredded with a fork.
  • Shred and continue cooking on low for another 1 hour.

Make Gravy & Serve

  • Just before you are ready to serve, remove the meat from the sauce and strain the sauce through a fine mesh strainer into a large bowl (do not pour it down the drain)!
  • Transfer sauce to a saucepan and whisk in 1 Tablespoon cornstarch.
  • Cook on medium heat until sauce becomes thick.
  • Pour ¼ of the thickened sauce over the meat and save the rest for people to spoon on when you serve!
  • Enjoy.

Video

Notes

To Cook Overnight
Prepare the roast according to the recipe instructions. Begin cooking on low in the slow cooker when you go to bed at night. In the morning,  when the roast is fork-tender, shred it and transfer the meat to a 9×9″ baking dish or a casserole dish with a lid.
Add a little bit of the reserved liquid, and store the meat, covered, in the fridge until it’s almost time to eat. Then when you’re ready to eat simply warm the meat, covered, in the oven at about 325 degrees until it’s warmed through!
Keep the sauce covered in a small saucepan until you are close to ready to eat. Follow the recipe instructions to make/thicken the sauce, then use according to the recipe. 
Store/freeze
Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to two months. 
Ingredient Substitutions
  • Olive Oil. Any neutral oil can be used in place of olive oil – suggestions include avocado oil and canola oil. 
  • Honey. Maple syrup is a great substitute for honey.
  • Honey Mustard. Sub your favorite mustard variety if desired: Dijon, regular yellow, spicy brown, etc. 
  • Beef Broth. You can use chicken or vegetable broth but I highly recommend beef broth as it yields the best flavor! I keep this beef base on hand to make broth for this recipe. 
  • Balsamic Vinegar is an ingredient I splurge on. A high-quality balsamic vinegar should be thick and naturally sweet. If your vinegar pours like water instead of syrup and tastes sour then you do not have a quality product and your recipe will not turn out as delicious.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.5cups | Calories: 306kcal | Carbohydrates: 5.7g | Protein: 25.9g | Fat: 19.1g | Saturated Fat: 1.5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2.3g | Cholesterol: 54mg | Sodium: 364mg | Potassium: 357mg | Sugar: 3.5g | Vitamin A: 60IU | Calcium: 148mg | Iron: 2.3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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Recipe Rating




77 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This turned out really good but I ran into one issue with it. I didn’t see the note on the type of balsamic to use until after I already had made the sauce and everything was cooking. I had just hit jump to recipe so I missed that note and I’d used just cheapo balsamic that I use in my salads. I think with that important of an ingredient note, it should have something in the actual recipe like an asterisk that says see important note on this ingredient. So I dumped out the sauce I’d made and then remade it with my good balsamic.
    Next time I make it I’ll know to use the good stuff. But it was delicious, thank you for the recipe. It’s one I’ll make again for sure.

  2. 5 stars
    Delicious!

    I made this last night for our Yule dinner. I cooked the roast overnight and am glad since mine took close to 15 hours on low, I used 3 lb roast (upped the sauce & rub by a half), but should have cut it into smaller chunks for my slow cooker’s idiosyncrasies. It shredded beautifully and the flavor was great.

    Best of all, it was hands off which let me give the attention to the sides. I like that the flavors in the roast were quietly special enough to make it holiday worthy, but also to let the sides have their moments as the stars of the table.

    Very much looking forward to open face roast beef sandwiches with some of the leftovers.

  3. When freezing, do you freeze with all the sauce mixed in with the meat or is it better to freeze the sauce seperately then add after everything is rewarmed?

  4. 5 stars
    This was so delicious! I used a boneless chuck roast on the slow cooker setting in my Instapot. It didn’t shred well but I just sliced it and that worked for us! Next time I’m going to put it over mashed potatoes. Great recipe! Thanks for sharing!

  5. 5 stars
    Loved this! (My hubby thought it was too “vinegar-y” but I beg to differ. I LOOOVE balsamic and used my 18 yo Fustini’s balsamic . Rich, tender, and flavorful.

  6. 5 stars
    I use ground mustard instead. I also add petite Italian diced tomatoes. Still really fabulous. I used to always worstechire and now always the balsamic. Thank you

  7. 5 stars
    Laura, thank you for your recipes! I just made this using venison and in the instant pot. Otherwise, I followed everything as you suggested. My oldest son said it was the best venison roast he’s had. Everyone enjoyed it. Thank you!