What is the Best Cut of Beef for Pot Roast?

Pot roast is a classic American comfort food. This braised beef dish involves slowly cooking a large cut of meat surrounded by vegetables until everything is fall-apart tender. While many cuts of beef work well, the key to memorable pot roast is choosing the right piece of meat. Let’s explore what makes some cuts of beef better suited for pot roasting than others.

What to Look For

When selecting the best cut of beef for pot roast, there are a few qualities to seek out:

  • Well-marbled. You want a good amount of fat marbled throughout the meat, not just around the edges. The fat melts during the long cooking time, keeping the beef moist and adding flavor. Leaner cuts can dry out.

  • Collagen-rich. Connective tissue gives pot roast its famous tenderness. Collagens melts into gelatin during braising, allowing the meat to shred easily. Look for cuts from the chuck, brisket, and round.

  • Boneless. Bones make carving and serving more difficult. Stick to boneless cuts like roasts and briskets.

  • Affordable. Choosing a inexpensive cut helps stretch your grocery budget further. Save the premium steaks for quick grilling.

Top 3 Beef Cuts for Pot Roast

Chuck roast – The classic choice. Cut from the shoulder, chuck is flavorful, tender, and budget-friendly. The abundant marbling provides moisture, and connective tissue breaks down into fork-tender texture. A no-fail option.

Brisket – Brisket delivers even more collagen than chuck roast, making it incredibly tender. The thick fat cap bastes the meat inside. Just trim off any excess fat after cooking. Price is higher than chuck.

Bottom round roast – For a leaner choice, bottom round has a bit less marbling but still enough for flavor. Be sure to braise in liquid to prevent drying out. The round offers great tenderness at a lower cost.

Tips for Cooking the Perfect Pot Roast

  • Brown the meat first to develop that delicious roasted flavor from the Maillard reaction. Use a heavy pan like cast iron.

  • Don’t forget the liquid. The braising liquid, like beef broth or wine, must come at least halfway up the meat. Add veggies too.

  • Cook low and slow. Pot roast needs a long cooking time, around 1-2 hours per pound. Ideal oven temp is 250-325 ̊F.

  • Check doneness with a meat thermometer, not by time. Wait until it reaches 195-205 ̊F internally.

  • Let it rest before slicing to allow juices to reabsorb. Tent loosely with foil while resting.

Pot Roast Recipe

This straightforward recipe highlights the flavor of the meat itself, seasoned simply with salt, pepper, and garlic.


  • 3-4 lb chuck roast
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 lb carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 lb russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 onion, chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 300 ̊F.
  2. Pat roast dry and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat oil in a dutch oven or heavy pot over med-high heat. Brown roast on all sides.
  4. Add garlic and cook 1 minute until fragrant.
  5. Add beef broth and stir, scraping any browned bits from bottom of pan.
  6. Add vegetables around roast and bring to a simmer.
  7. Cover pot and transfer to oven. Braise 3-4 hours until fork tender.
  8. Let rest 15 minutes before slicing. Serve with pan juices.


The best cuts of beef for pot roast have great marbling, abundant collagen, and relatively low cost. Chuck roast reigns supreme, but brisket and round roast also make excellent options. Low and slow braising transforms even the toughest cuts into succulent, pull-apart beef. With a few simple tips, you can make a memorable Sunday supper pot roast right at home.

How to Choose a Pot Roast


What is the best cut of roast for a crock pot roast?

There are many different cuts that can be used for crockpot roast from bottom round, to rump roast, to shoulder roast to chuck roast, but for the best crockpot pot roast, use the boneless chuck roast.

Which is better for pot roast chuck or rump?

While both can be used for pot roast, a chuck roast typically comes from the shoulder area, making it naturally more tender than the rump roast from the cow’s hindquarters.

What cut of beef is best for Sunday roast?

A topside of beef is an incredibly popular choice for oven roasting. Topside beef is a lean cut which not only tastes good but is a great source of protein, making it the perfect addition to a roast beef dinner. Topside beef comes from the hindquarter and is more tender than silverside, as well as affordable to buy.

What’s the difference between a pot roast and a chuck roast?

The difference between chuck roast and pot roast is that chuck roast is a specific cut of beef, whereas pot roast is a method of slowly cooking meat to make it tender. Chuck roast comes from the shoulder of a steer and is flavorful but tough.

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