Easy Pot Roast with Onion Soup Mix (Oven or Slow Cooker)

Nothing is as comforting as a flavorful, fork-tender pot roast made with onion soup mix. The best part is this is easy recipe is ready for the oven or slow cooker with only 15 minutes of prep time, and uses simple ingredients you probably have in your pantry!

Overhead view of easy onion soup mix pot roast with carrots and potatoes in a Dutch oven.

What could be more perfect than a delicious pot roast for a hearty Sunday dinner or a cozy one-pot meal on a cold night? This tender roast with root vegetables is the ultimate comfort food and is famous in my family for being the best pot roast EVER. 

What is pot roast?

Pot roast is a dish made by braising or slow cooking a normally tough cut of beef in moist heat, often along with root vegetables like carrots, onions, and potatoes. By cooking low and slow, the collagen in the beef breaks down and melts into gelatin, making the meat fall-apart tender and moist. It’s a classic American comfort food!

Ingredients

For a while, my mom forgot how she used to make pot roast and tried all kinds of fancy recipes to recreate the flavorful roast she remembered. But when I found an old copy of her recipe, it turned out to be much more simple than she was making it out to be.

The secret to her family-famous perfect pot roast was none other than simple dry Lipton onion soup mix, undiluted canned cream of mushroom soup, and a sprinkling of soy sauce for extra umami.

And while I don’t typically use a lot of seasoning packets and cream-of soups in my recipes, this classic pot roast can’t be beat. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right?

Ingredients for pot roast with onion soup mix, cream of mushroom soup, carrots, and potatoes.

Here are the super simple ingredients that make this such an easy recipe!

  • Chuck roast: You may also use a brisket, bottom round, stew meat chunks, or even boneless short ribs to make pot roast. For more info on the different cuts of meat you can use for pot roast, see the section below.
  • Dry onion soup mix: Using a packet of store-bought Lipton onion soup mix is a great shortcut that takes the place of dehydrated onion, onion powder, and cornstarch. As much as I love making everything from scratch, dry onion soup mix contains other seasonings like dehydrated soy sauce that can’t be easily recreated. You may use French onion soup mix instead, which contains beef bouillon granules in addition. Golden onion soup mix contains chicken solids which would be fine, but I’d use regular Lipton onion soup mix or French onion soup mix instead if you have a choice. 
  • Cream of mushroom soup: Even if you don’t like mushrooms (like my sister), this soup will add all the rich creaminess you need for the gravy, and you won’t even notice the mushrooms!
  • Soy sauce: Classic Lipton onion soup mix contains dehydrated soy sauce, and we’ll sprinkle some extra soy sauce on top of the roast for some bonus umami flavor!
  • Sliced onions: Yellow onions or sweet onions (like Vidalia onions) pair with pot roast for good reason! Over the long, slow cooking time, they will absorb the beef drippings and develop a mellow sweetness, much like the flavor of caramelized onions. 
  • Carrots: While you can use whole carrots cut into chunks or baby carrots, I think carrots cut on the bias look more elegant and homemade. Plus, baby carrots are usually more expensive per pound than regular carrots!
  • Potatoes: Yellow or red potatoes are the best choices for pot roast, yellow being more buttery tasting. Avoid russet potatoes, however: their high starch content may make them disintegrate with the long cook time. You can also use multicolored baby potatoes for an extra pop of color, but be aware that once they’re cooked the purple ones will blend in, color-wise!
  • Beef broth (if needed): You’ll check the roast after an hour in the oven. If it looks dry, you can add half a can of beef broth (or if you don’t have any, a cup of water). You can also add some in at the end of cooking if you shred the meat and decide you need some bonus gravy.

Equipment

You can make this Lipton onion soup pot roast in a Dutch oven, roasting pan, or even a slow cooker. A regular 9×13 pan may not be large enough for this recipe as it cooks down and releases moisture, resulting in some overflow (ask me how I know).

White bowl of pot roast next to pot roast with carrots and potatoes in a Dutch oven.

Cooking time for pot roast

While roast beef (made from a lean cut with little connective tissue) is ideally cooked to medium rare (130-140 degrees), a pot roast needs to reach an internal temperature of about 195-205 degrees F to ensure a tender, fall-apart result.

Collagen breaks down and melts from 160-180 degrees, so if the meat is removed before it reaches that temperature, there will still be some tough connective tissue left. Plus, the roast needs to have enough time at that temperature for the connective tissue to break down. It’s not an instantaneous result.

How long does a roast take in the oven?

For pot roast, the rule of thumb is to cook about 45 minutes to an hour per pound at an average temperature like 300-350 degrees (we use 325 degrees). It will, of course, take longer in a slow cooker.

How long does pot roast take in a slow cooker?

If you decide to make this easy pot roast in your slow cooker, you can cook a 3 lb roast for 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low.

The nice thing is, a little extra time won’t hurt it. It’s difficult (but not impossible) to overcook pot roast, so you can throw everything in before work on low and come home to the most amazing smelling house and dinner ready in the crock pot!

Here’s a handy chart to determine how long to cook your roast depending on size and method.

Size of roastTime to cook in oven (at 325)Time to cook in slow cooker (low)Time to cook in slow cooker (high)
3-4 lbs3-3.5 hours8-9 hours4-5 hours
4-5 lbs3.5-4 hours9-10 hours5-6 hours
5-6 lbs4.5-5 hours10-11 hours6-7 hours

What’s the best cut of beef for pot roast?

There are a few cuts of beef that are ideal for making a tender pot roast. 

Heavily exercised areas of meat are tough when cooked high and fast, but become tender when slow cooked like pot roast. The connective tissue collagen breaks down into gelatin at higher temperatures, moistening the meat even with a tough shoulder.

Boneless Chuck Roast

While “pot roast” does not refer to a specific cut of beef, chuck roast is usually what people use when they make it. Look for a nicely marbled piece for the best flavor!

  • Best for: Fall-apart fork-tender pot roast with big, beefy flavor.
  • Part of the cow: Shoulder and neck region.
  • Also known as: chuck roast, shoulder steak, boneless chuck roast, blade roast, blade cut, or chuck shoulder pot roast, chuck seven-bone pot roast, or beef chuck arm. Stew meat chunks are also usually from the chuck roast.
  • Grain: All different directions. This makes it difficult to slice neatly against the grain, but falls apart beautifully in the context of a pot roast.
  • Fat: The fattiest of the pot roast options, giving it more flavor.
  • Flavor: Full-flavored and very beefy.

Brisket

Briskets, while usually a little more expensive per pound than chuck roasts, have a more regular grain (better for slicing). They’re also usually larger than chuck roasts, so you can plan to have leftovers for sandwiches the next day!

  • Best for: Feeding a crowd; leftover pot roast sandwiches. 
  • Part of the cow: Breast or lower chest
  • Also known as: brisket flat cut or first cut (leaner), brisket point cut (fattier, more flavorful). 
  • Grain: Long strands. May fall apart when hot and freshly cooked, but good for slicing the next day (be sure to slice across the grain!).
  • Fat: Less fat than chuck roast but more than round roast. Point cut has more fat content, making it better for shredded pot roast, but the flat cut, well, lays flat, making it better for slicing later.
  • Flavor: Still nice and beefy, but a leaner brisket flat means not as much flavor.

Round roast

Round roast will work to make a pot roast, but is the least flavorful of the usual cuts because it’s the leanest. However, it’s also usually the least expensive.

  • Best for: If you can’t find a chuck roast, or if you want a sliceable roast without paying a premium for brisket.
  • Part of the cow: rear leg
  • Also known as: rump roast, bottom round, top round
  • Grain: very fine, good for slicing
  • Fat: the leanest cut of the three
  • Flavor: Less fat content means not as much flavor as a chuck roast or brisket point cut.

How to Make the Perfect Pot Roast with Onion Soup Mix

For this easy pot roast recipe, we’ll give the meat a head start and add the veggies later so everything is cooked to perfection! 

For Easy Oven Pot Roast

Step one:
Prepare the meat and onions. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. Layer the sliced onion on the bottom of your Dutch oven or roasting pan. Place the roast on top, sprinkle with dry Lipton onion soup mix, and then spread undiluted cream of mushroom soup on top. Sprinkle with soy sauce, cover with an oven-safe lid or aluminum foil, and cook for an hour (longer for a larger roast).

Optional: For extra beefy flavor, you can start by searing the roast in your Dutch oven over medium high heat for a couple minutes per side until nicely browned. I usually favor the ease of sticking it in the oven completely raw.

Step by step images of making easy pot roast with onion soup mix.

Step two:
Add veggies. Remove the roast from the oven and surround the meat with carrots and potatoes (cut in even chunks about an inch cubed in size). If the meat is looking dry, you may add half a can of beef broth or so. Cover again and return to the oven for an additional 2-3 hours.

Process shot of making easy pot roast with onion soup mix: a partially cooked chuck roast in a Dutch oven, surrounded by raw carrots and multicolored baby potatoes.

Step three:
Enjoy! You may serve your pot roast straight from the pan or arrange the whole roast on a serving platter, surrounded by the carrots and potatoes. The onions will have essentially dissolved into the gravy.

If you’ve used chuck roast, you can shred the meat and mix it with the veggies. Brisket will do better when sliced against the grain to break up the long strands.

For Slow Cooker Pot Roast

Give the meat, seasonings, and onions a head start in your slow cooker if possible, adding the potatoes and carrots after an hour on high or after two hours on low. Cook for a total time according to the cooking time chart above.

Won’t be home to add the veggies later? Easy peasy! Just add all ingredients to your slow cooker before you leave. The potatoes and carrots may be a little softer but will still be delicious!

Store leftovers refrigerated in an airtight container for 3-4 days. Slice leftover brisket or round pot roast for a delicious pot roast sandwich!

How to Serve Pot Roast

You may leave the roast intact and serve on a platter, surrounded by potatoes and carrots, or you can shred the meat with two forks and mix everything together like a stew.

Close up of easy pot roast made with onion soup mix in a white bowl with carrots and potatoes.

What to Serve with Pot Roast

Since classic root vegetables like onions, carrots, and potatoes are cooked with the meat, this easy recipe is a complete meal on its own.

However, if you’d like a little something on the side, I’d recommend either some crusty bread (like No-Knead Rosemary Thyme Dutch Oven Bread), rice, or egg noodles to really take advantage of the delicious gravy. Be sure to add a little beef broth if you want extra gravy for sopping up!

A simple green salad or Lemon Broccoli Salad can also be a nice contrast to a hearty pot roast.

If you like easy comfort food recipes, also check out:

4.70 from 46 votes

Easy Pot Roast with Onion Soup Mix (Oven or Slow Cooker)

Nothing is as comforting as a flavorful, fork-tender pot roast with onion soup mix. The best part is this easy recipe is ready for the oven or slow cooker with only 15 minutes of prep time, and uses simple ingredients you probably have in your pantry!
Print Recipe Save Recipe
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Yield: 4 3/4-lb servings
Calories: 752kcal
Prep Time:15 minutes
Cook Time:3 hours 30 minutes
Total Time:3 hours 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 lb beef roast chuck roast (preferred), brisket, round roast, or stew meat chunks
  • 1 package dry onion soup mix
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup undiluted
  • 1-2 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 onion halved and sliced
  • 1 lb medium or baby potatoes Yukon golds (preferred), red potatoes, or multicolored potatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks. Avoid russet potatoes.
  • 1 lb carrots peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1/2 can beef broth if necessary

Instructions

In the oven

  • Preheat oven to 325.
  • Place onion slices in bottom of Dutch oven or roasting pan and top with meat. Sprinkle dry onion soup mix over meat, cover with undiluted cream of mushroom soup, and sprinkle with soy sauce.
  • Tightly cover with aluminum foil or an oven-safe lid and bake for 1 hour. See note for larger roasts.
  • Remove from oven, uncover, and surround roast with potatoes and carrots. If using stew meat chunks, toss ingredients together to make sure vegetables are coated with soup and juices. If meat seems dry, add beef broth.
  • Recover pan and return to oven for 2-3 hours, or until meat and veggies are fork-tender.

In the slow cooker

  • Place onion slices in bottom of slow cooker and top with meat. Sprinkle dry onion soup mix over meat, cover with undiluted cream of mushroom soup, and sprinkle with soy sauce. Cook, covered, for 1 hour on high or 2 hours on low. See note for larger roasts.
  • Add potatoes and carrots, cover again, and finish cooking for 3 hours on high or 6 hours on low.
  • If you won't be available to add veggies mid-way through, you may also add all ingredients at the beginning and cook for a total stretch of 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low.

Video

Notes

Optional: For extra beefy flavor, you can start by searing the roast in your Dutch oven over medium high heat for a couple minutes per side until nicely browned. I usually favor the ease of sticking it in the oven completely raw.
For larger roasts: You may adjust the cook time depending on the size of the roast. If you’re adding the potatoes and carrots mid-way through (recommended), add them: 
  • 2 hours before the end of cooking in the oven
  • 3 hours before the end of slow cooking on high
  • 6 hours before the end of slow cooking on low
Size of roast Time to cook in oven (at 325) Time to cook in slow cooker (low) Time to cook in slow cooker (high)
3-4 lbs 3-3.5 hours 8-9 hours 4-5 hours
4-5 lbs 3.5-4 hours 9-10 hours 5-6 hours
5-6 lbs 4.5-5 hours 10-11 hours 6-7 hours
Tried this recipe?Mention @pinchmeimeating or tag #pinchmeimeating on Instagram!

Nutrition

Calories: 752kcal | Carbohydrates: 55g | Protein: 86g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 215mg | Sodium: 2418mg | Potassium: 2473mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 18950IU | Vitamin C: 41mg | Calcium: 155mg | Iron: 10mg

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116 Comments

    1. You can use another “cream of” soup like cream of celery. However if you don’t like the taste of mushrooms, even my mushroom-hating sister says you can’t tell with the cream of mushroom soup!

    2. 5 stars
      I made this recipe in my slow cooker today, following the recipe exactly including not searing the meat before cooking. The pot roast was absolutely delicious and only took 10 minutes to throw together! I’ve been making Ina Garten’s pot roast recipe for years. It is very good, but takes a lot of effort and ingredients, including flouring and searing the meat. This recipe is just as flavorful and so much easier! This will be my go-to pot roast recipe from now on. Thank you, Caroline!

  1. 4 stars
    I made this tonight and it was super easy to put together. The gravy was very creamy and not overly salty. The only addition I made was to add some mushrooms to the veggie mix. Very tasty!

  2. 4 stars
    I made this as written for the crockpot. However, the recipe should specify what size onion to use. I used one large onion because it was all I had, and there was way too much onion in it for me. Otherwise, it was very good. The gravy was creamy and smooth.

    1. While I normally make my own from scratch for recipes, this recipe does require a condensed cream-of soup. If you don’t like mushrooms, rest assured my sisters who also don’t like mushrooms don’t even notice them with this. If you can’t find it, you can use golden mushroom soup, or if there’s an allergy you can use something like cream of celery instead, although that may affect the flavor a bit more.

    2. My wife and stepdaughter hate mushrooms, but we always use cream of mushroom for recipes that call for it… They both admit that mushrooms add good flavor to the meals that I make and they just go around the mushrooms or pick them out if they are big… Hopefully this is helpful!

  3. 5 stars
    I LOVE this recipe. Just the smell while it is cooking, alone, is mouthwatering. So much so that I HAVE to ask, is there a way to speed the cooking time up a little bit? What if I were to cook it at 350° as opposed to 325°?

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