How Long to Cook Beef Roast in Instant Pot – A Detailed Guide

Cooking a delicious beef roast in an Instant Pot or other electric pressure cooker is easy and fast! With the right timing, your beef will turn out incredibly tender and flavorful. But how long should you cook a roast in the Instant Pot? Here is a detailed guide with timing for different sizes of beef roast.

How Does an Instant Pot Work?

An Instant Pot is a popular brand of electric pressure cooker that uses both heat and pressure to drastically reduce cooking times. It works by building up steam inside a sealed pot, creating high pressure that allows liquid to boil at a higher temperature. This high pressure environment cooks food very quickly.

There are a few key factors that impact cooking times in the Instant Pot:

  • Size of roast: Larger roasts need more time to cook through.
  • Frozen vs. thawed: Frozen roasts take longer than thawed.
  • Type of cut: Tougher cuts like chuck roast or rump roast require longer cooking than tenderloin.

Understanding these factors will help you determine the right cooking time for your beef roast.

Benefits of Cooking Roast in Instant Pot

Cooking roast in the Instant Pot has several advantages:

  • Speed: Roasts cook up to 70% faster than oven or slow cooker methods. A roast that takes 4+ hours in the oven cooks in about 1-2 hours in the Instant Pot.

  • Convenience: You don’t have to monitor the oven or flip the roast. Just set it and forget it!

  • Juicy, tender meat: The moist heat environment prevents meat from drying out. Pressure tenderizes the meat.

  • Rich flavors: Browning the meat first adds great depth of flavor. Liquid and seasonings infuse into the meat.

  • ** Hands-free:** The Instant Pot does the work for you with no need to watch a stove or oven.

  • Energy efficient: Uses up to 70% less energy than the oven.

Tips for Cooking Roast in Instant Pot

Follow these tips for the best results when making beef roast in your Instant Pot:

  • Select the right cut: Opt for a chuck roast, rump roast, or brisket which become tender when pressure cooked.

  • Trim excess fat: Too much surface fat can lead to a “burn” error message. Trim off any thick, hard pieces.

  • Sear for flavor: Browning the meat on all sides adds tons of flavor. Use saute mode on Instant Pot.

  • Add liquid: Use broth, water, or sauce to create steam and prevent burning. About 1 cup liquid per pound of meat.

  • Layer in vegetables: Put veggies like potatoes, carrots, onions under or around roast to cook in juices.

  • Use natural release: Letting pressure release naturally for at least 10-15 mins ensures tender meat.

  • Check for doneness: Meat should be fall-apart tender when poked with a fork when done.

  • Let meat rest: Allow meat to rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing for juicy results.

Following these simple tips will help you make the most flavorful, fork-tender pot roast every time using your Instant Pot!

How Long to Cook Roast in Instant Pot Based on Size

The most important factor in determining Instant Pot roast cook time is the size and weight of your beef roast.

Here are general guidelines:

  • 1-2 pound roast: 25-35 minutes
  • 3 pound roast: 45-55 minutes
  • 4 pound roast: 55-65 minutes
  • 5-6 pound roast: 65-75 minutes

For best results, plan for cook times of:

  • 20 minutes per pound for a thawed roast
  • 30 minutes per pound for a frozen roast

So for a 3 pound thawed chuck roast, cook for 60 minutes (3 lbs x 20 minutes per lb). For a 5 pound frozen rump roast, cook for 150 minutes (5 lbs x 30 minutes per lb).

Cooking for the minimum recommended time will result in roast that is cooked through but still slightly firm. For super fork-tender meat, go slightly longer such as 25 minutes per pound. Check roast after cooking and if still too firm, add more time in 5-10 minute increments.

Use a meat thermometer to confirm the internal temperature reaches at least 145°F for medium rare or 160°F for well done.

Cook Times for Common Roast Sizes

Here are suggested Instant Pot cook times for some common beef roast sizes:

Roast Weight Cook Time (Thawed) Cook Time (Frozen)
1 pound 20 minutes 30 minutes
2 pounds 40 minutes 60 minutes
3 pounds 60 minutes 90 minutes
4 pounds 80 minutes 120 minutes
5 pounds 100 minutes 150 minutes

Remember, cook times are a general guideline. Always check roast for desired tenderness and use a meat thermometer to confirm doneness, cooking longer if needed.

What If My Roast is Not Tender Enough?

If you open the Instant Pot after the cook time is done and find that your beef roast is still tough and not fall-apart tender, don’t worry!

There are a couple easy fixes:

  • Cook longer: Seal the lid again and use manual/pressure cook mode to cook for an additional 15-20 minutes. The extra time under pressure will further tenderize the meat.

  • Simmer longer: You can also transfer the roast to a skillet or slow cooker, add sauce or broth, cover and simmer for 30-60 minutes until tender.

  • Slice thinly: If meat is still slightly tough, try slicing it very thinly across the grain. This will make it seem more tender when eating.

  • Use in shredded recipes: Shred or chop the roast and use it in tacos, sandwiches, casseroles or soups where tender chunks aren’t as important.

With a little extra cooking time or some creative uses, you can still enjoy your roast even if it didn’t get quite tender enough on the first try.

Doneness Temperature for Beef Roast

To ensure your Instant Pot roast is properly cooked, use an instant read meat thermometer to check the internal temperature when done.

Here are the recommended safe minimum internal temperatures:

  • Rare: 130°F
  • Medium rare: 135°F
  • Medium: 145°F
  • Medium well: 150°F
  • Well done: 160°F

Temperature can also indicate doneness level:

  • Rare roast: Bright red center, cool temperature
  • Medium rare roast: Warm red-pink center
  • Medium roast: Hot pink center
  • Well done roast: No pink, high temperature

Checking temperature is the most reliable way to confirm your roast is cooked to your desired doneness, especially for larger cuts of meat.

Best Cuts of Beef for Roast in Instant Pot

The Instant Pot does a great job of producing tender, flavorful roasts by braising tougher, collagen-rich cuts of beef.

The best cuts for pot roast include:

  • Chuck roast: Very flavorful with marbling. Melts in your mouth when cooked sous vide. The best, most foolproof choice.

  • Brisket: Similar to chuck roast. Becomes extremely tender due to high collagen content.

  • Rump roast: Lean yet tender round cut good for roast beef sandwiches.

  • Round roast: Affordable cut from the rear leg. Can use sirloin tip or eye of round.

  • Shoulder roast: Flavorful like chuck roast. Can use bone-in or boneless.

Cubes meant for stew meat also work great when cooked whole as a roast. Avoid super lean cuts like tenderloin which don’t benefit from moist braising.

Troubleshooting Instant Pot Roast Problems

Here are some common issues and how to avoid them:

  • Not tender enough: Cook for longer time, check internal temperature, slice thinly against the grain.

  • Too mushy or dry: Don’t cook for too long. Stick with recommended times based on weight.

  • Burnt error message: Make sure pot is sufficiently deglazed. Add more liquid next time.

  • No flavor: Always brown roast first to develop fond. Use flavorful broth.

  • Vegetables over/undercooked: Put veggies in later if cooking through too much.

  • Meat stuck to bottom: Don’t move roast after searing until it releases itself.

  • Failed to come to pressure: Ensure vent is sealed. Check that lid is properly in place. Add more liquid.

Following the tips in this guide will set you up for pot roast success every time!

Tips for Leftover Instant Pot Roast

Leftover pot roast makes amazing quick meals for days. Here are some delicious ways to use up leftover roast from your Instant Pot:

  • Slice or shred for sandwiches, subs, tacos or burritos

  • Dice and add to pasta, pizza, salads, omelets or fried rice

  • Reheat in gravy or au jus for a delicious next-day dinner

  • Use shredded meat for shepherd’s pie or casseroles

  • Make soup stock by simmering bones, veggies and herbs

With the right storage, cooked roast will keep for 4-5 days refrigerated or 2-3 months in the freezer. Freeze shredded meat in portions for quick weeknight meals.

Common Roast Cooking Times Summary

To summarize, these are the approximate cook times to use for beef roast in the Instant Pot:

  • 1-2 pounds = 20-30 minutes (thawed) or 30-40 minutes (frozen)
  • 3 pounds = 50-60 minutes (thawed) or 75-90 minutes (frozen)
  • 4 pounds = 60-70 minutes (thawed) or 90-120 minutes (frozen)
  • 5-6 pounds = 70-80 minutes (thawed) or 120-150 minutes (frozen)

Remember to adjust time as needed based on tenderness, and always use a meat thermometer for doneness.

With the Instant Pot, you can cook fork-tender, flavorful roast in a fraction of the traditional time. Just follow this guide for timing based on size and your preferences. Soon you’ll be making delicious Instant Pot roast for weekday meals or special occasion dinners. Enjoy your fast, foolproof roast!

Instant Pot Classic Pot Roast Recipe


How long does it take to cook 2 pounds of beef in the Instant Pot?

Place the frozen beef roast, salt, pepper, garlic, and onion powder inside the pressure cooker. Pour in beef stock around the roast, then top the roast with horseradish. Cook on high pressure for 30 minutes per pound.

Is it better to cook roast in instant pot or slow cooker?

Taste: For overall taste, the pressure cooker was the hands-down winner. Beef, carrots, and potatoes all retained their rich flavors. After 8 hours in the slow cooker, they emerged bland and seemed to need salt.

How long to cook a frozen 5 lb roast in an Instant Pot?

Place frozen roast and broth in inner pot of pressure cooker. Rub with salt, add onions, herbs, garlic and broth. Cook roast 3-5 pound roast it will need 60-90 minutes on high. For a frozen roast of the same size, you’ll need to add about 30 minutes to the cooking time.

Do you add water to instant pot when cooking roast?

Don’t Skip the Extra Liquid. I recommend adding 1/2 cup of liquid (water or low-sodium beef broth) to the Instant Pot for a roast. Typically you need at least 1 cup of liquid in the Instant Pot; the remaining 1/2 cup comes from the juices released by the chuck roast and the tomato sauce.

Leave a Comment