Pressure Cooker Mom’s Classic Pot Roast with Savory Onion Gravy

So Sunday’s in my house was a pot roast kinda day. I can remember getting up super early watching, then eventually helping, Mom make her to-die-for white bread and rolls.  She’d then grab 10-15 pounds of chuck roast, throw it into her big pot along with tons of potatoes, carrots, onions and seasonings.  She’d then let it cook all day long on the lowest heat.  The smell was so rich and inviting that you could literally smell pot roast as you walked up our walkway.  Sunday’s were always my favorite day as I loved my Mom’s pot roast.  Now granted I’d scoff at eating carrots but I’d end up just mashing them up super small and adding enough butter on them that Paula Deen would be impressed with.

Now even though Mom had whole potatoes in the pot she always made her creamy (and lumpy because that was my favorite and I was Mom’s favorite – regardless of what my siblings said) mashed potatoes.  The only downfall of her dish was that it was cooked low and slow ALL DAY LONG.  Let’s face it, in today’s world we are ridiculously busy and free time is something we just don’t have that luxury of. Plus if you’re like me you often aren’t home for 8-10 hours straight while the oven is on.  I know I’m not. It’s sad as I’m away from my house longer per day than I am in it.  It’s the troubles of working really far from the office.
Pressure Cooker Classic Post Roast

I’d say for the past few years I’ve really grown in my passion for pressure cooking.  I conquered that fear Mom put in me that “OMG it’ll explode in your face and you’ll lose an eye” thought she ingrained my brain. One thing I hadn’t tried yet in my pressure cooker was to recreate her phenomenal pot roast recipe but without having to wait all day long for it to cook.  However the day had come for me to attempt it because I was so craving it.

Earlier that morning I was at the butcher’s shop when I spied some of the most gorgeous chuck roasts.  They were on sale (bonus!) and the marbling on them were stunning… that is, stunning how meat goes. You see when you would normally slow bake these you need a good bit of marbling as that it what allows the meat to become tender, juicy and flavorful.  And I’m sorry but if you make me a pot roast I better not need a knife.  It should be fork tender and pretty much just fall apart if you look at it.

Pressure Cooker Classic Post Roast3

As you can see by these pictures, I accomplished this in the pressure cooker annnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnddddd it didn’t have to cook all day. In fact it was done in 90 minutes once it was up to pressure.  However the proof is in the pudding er um, in the pot roast. But I’ll get to the taste later on.  Let’s dish about this dish a bit more. Have you jumped on board the pressure cooker train?  No?  OMG why not?  I have 2 – one that is gas operated and one is electric operated. I’m still on the fence of which one I prefer more.  They both are awesome and I’ve yet to find faults with either. The BEST Gas Pressure cooker out there is the All-Clad PC8. Not only is it stunningly beautiful, it’s a true workhorse.  For an electric on I love my Emeril by T-fal CY4000 Nonstick Dishwasher Safe Electric Pressure Cooker. It was my first one and well you know how it goes, your first will always hold a special place in your heart.  Another popular electric one that has also got rave reviews is the Instant Pot IP-DUO60 7-in-1 Multi-Functional Pressure Cooker.

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Next let’s dish about the cut of meat. Pot roast is not a cut of beef.  When it comes to pot roast you want to buy the tougher, often cheaper cuts of beef that come from the cow’s extremities. You would never use a filet or steak cut in a pot roast.  No you want those tougher, more muscle-laden cuts of beef.  You see the more muscle the cut of meat has the more flavor it will produce.  Sure it’s a tougher meat initially but when you slow roast it, or in this case, pressure cook it, all that muscle fiber and connective tissue begins to break down and the flavors to release thus producing one of the most tender pieces of beef.

Pressure Cooker Classic Post Roast Collage

To get started I did a simple sear of the beef in the pressure cooker.  Why sear the beef?  It doesn’t “seal in the juices or flavor”.  Nope, doesn’t do that.  Instead you’re building up incredible depths of flavor instead. Plus it adds to the color of the dish.  And as I’ve said for years, we do eat with our eyes as well.  Once the beef was seared on all sides the beef is removed and it’s time to “assemble” the pot.  Layering flavors is important in pressure cooking just like regular cooking.  When I have potatoes, carrots or the like to a dish like this I always put those veggies on the bottom and then the meat on top.  As the dish cooks, those veggies get infused with the flavors of the meat.

Next add the meat back in and make sure to pour in any of the juices that escaped from the beef onto the plate.  Don’t pitch that, that’s flavor right there folks! Lastly mix together the herbs and liquid, seal up the cooker and set the timer.

Pressure Cooker Classic Post Roast7

In the 90 minutes while this was cooking I managed to get 2 loads of laundry done, the dishes washed, beds made and even had time to play around on Instagram.  As I walked towards the kitchen that smell hit me in the face and I actually stopped for a minute, closed my eyes and immediately I was transferred back to when I was a 8 years old.  I can do vividly remember this now and it’s honestly because of this smell. It was a Sunday in the summer. I had been sent to ‘play outside’ all day (and not like kids today who I swear don’t see the outdoors until it’s on tv or in a video game). I was swinging on my swing set when I hear Mom holler from the kitchen door “Lori Ann, dinner’s ready.  Come wash up.”

Just like any kid I tried to get in a few last swings before I had to go inside and I thought I was smart and tried to jump off of the swing while it was half way up in the air.  Being a chubby kid I didn’t propel very far. In fact as I jumped off of the seat somehow the back of my foot swung up and got caught on the seat.  BOOM! SPLAT! I went face down into a pile of dirt, grass and rocks.  I laid there wailing like someone had just stabbed me 42 times.  Mom and her ninja speed flew out the door (apron wrapped around her) and by my side in seconds.  She helped me up and even though she kept a smile trying to soothe me I could see in her eyes I was cut pretty bad.  She wiped my face with her spit-kissed apron, told me for dessert we could have ice cream (I immediately stopped crying…fat kids love ice cream) and we walked up to the house.

I can remember holding her hand and as we walked up the brick sidewalk I could smell her pot roast, warm bread and gravy.

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God I haven’t thought about that since I was little. Isn’t it funny how food triggers memories?

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So back to this pot roast…once I did the natural release and took the lid off, OMG the smell was amazing!  Like this was exactly my Mom’s kitchen on Sunday smells.  I couldn’t help but grin from ear to ear!  The roast… OMG I needed to large slotted spoons to help pull it out and keep it intact as it was literally falling apart it was so tender. Next out came the super tender carrots which, yes I still put loads of butter on them.  I just am not a huge fan of cooked carrots – even when they are infused with this amazing flavor.

Growing up I never ate the gravy. Why? Onions… I didn’t do chunks.  But as I grew up and learned to respect them and then eventually grow to love them in recipes.  Now okay sure, I will not eat a raw onion on a sandwich…omg I’d die! but if they are cooked, roasted or whatever.. I’m all for it. So yeah growing up when it came to roasts or steaks I was a *ducking as she says this…* I was a ketchup girl.  Yes I smothered my steaks and roasts in ketchup.  And okay fine, if I eat a steak today I still smother it in ketchup.  I can’t help it. Yes I know you’re probably scoffing at the thought of it but I’m a ketchup-o-holic!

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But for this I kept the gravy and made the onion gravy truly savory.

what to serve

Now I still kept in Mom’s style with the carrots and creamy mashed potatoes. God I love mashed taters!

Perfect Mashed Potatoes2

But I also wanted to step up my game and go with one of my FAVORITE sides – Bacon Wrapped Brussels Sprouts with Maple Dijon Glaze. Plus to be honest, it was the only veggie I had in my fridge since I hadn’t been grocery shopping for veggies in a bit. Annnnnnnnnnnnnnnnd there’s bacon involved so anytime I can incorporate that into a dinner I’m game!

Candied Bacon Wrapped Brussels Maple Dijon9

As you can tell by these mouthwatering pics, dinner was an EPIC SUCCESS! This literally was my Mom’s Sunday pot roast but made in a fraction of the time.  I so wish she was here with me to taste this. I feel like this is the dish that I could serve her and say “Mom you cooked for us all those years.  Because of your guidance you can now relax, hang up your apron and let me take over.”  Mom would have been proud of me.

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Pressure Cooker Mom's Classic Pot Roast with Savory Onion Gravy


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  • 3 – 4lb chuck roast
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped small, about 1 1/2 - 2 cups
  • 4 whole carrots, cut into 3” sections
  • 1 Tbl minced garlic, fresh
  • 3 cups beef stock
  • 2 Tbl Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 Tbl parsley, dried
  • 1 tsp thyme, dried
  • 1 Tbl olive oil
  • 2 Tbl corn starch
  • 2 Tbl water
  1. Coat the chuck roast with 1 tsp of salt on all sides.
  2. In your pressure cooker either over high heat or on the browning stage, add the oil.
  3. Once the oil is shimmering carefully place the roast in the pot searing for 6-9 minutes on each side. Each side should have a dark caramelized crust.
  4. Once seared, remove the meat from the pot and set aside.
  5. If using a gas pressure cooker, reduce the heat to low. If using an electric pressure cooker, shut the system off.
  6. Next, in order, place the onions, carrots and garlic.
  7. On top of the vegetables place the seared meat and any juices that were on the plate.
  8. In a bowl whisk together the stock, Worcestershire sauce, remaining salt, pepper, thyme and parsley.
  9. Pour this over the meat.
  10. Place the pressure cooker lid on the pot and seal. For a gas pressure cooker, turn the heat to high, set the dial to meat/poultry and the timer to 60 minutes. When the unit reaches temperature (mine chirps to notify me) reduce the heat to low. My unit only goes up to 59 minutes however this roast needs 90 minutes to cook. When it chirps that it’s done simply reset the timer by adding another 30 minutes.
  11. For an electric pressure cooker, set it to high and the time to 90 minutes.
  12. After 90 minutes release the pressure in either pressure cooker using the natural release method.
  13. Carefully remove the lid and using large slotted spoons gently remove the roast and set on a serving platter to rest. It should be fall-apart tender.
  14. Next, remove the carrots and set aside.
  15. To make gravy strain any fat off and place the juice back into the pot. Bring the liquid to a boil (electric pressure cooker you’d set it to browning).
  16. In a small bowl stir together the cornstarch and water until blended.
  17. Whisk in the cornstarch slurry into the pot.
  18. Reduce the heat to medium and stir occasionally until desired consistency.
  19. Taste the gravy for seasoning – additional salt and or pepper.




42 Responses to “Pressure Cooker Mom’s Classic Pot Roast with Savory Onion Gravy”

  • Jenny says:

    So I made this last night. In an electric pressure cooker, the news that are all the rage, this takes about 30 minutes. The timer only goes to 30 minutes. I checked the recipe that came with the pressure cooker and it recommended 30 minutes as well. This roast was swimming in juice, from all the beef broth. It was just ok, I won’t make this recipe again, it doesn’t jive with my pressure cooker.

  • Chele says:

    By gas pressure cooker, you mean a gas stove top? I know they have electric (stand alone) pressure cookers, but I have never seen a gas one. Also, do you not used the rack that normally goes in the bottom of the pressure cooker at all? Thank you!

    • TKWAdmin says:

      Hi Chele,

      Yes, sorry – gas pressure cookers are the ones that you put on top of the stove top that use gas heat. As for the rack it honestly depends on the recipe I’m making on when I use the rack. I’ll use the rack when I want to more ‘steam’ items; i.e, like stuffed artichokes. You don’t want them resting in the liquid because you don’t want to poach them. Instead you want to steam them in the pressure cooker. Make sense?

      Best Kitchen Wishes!

  • Daphne says:

    My pressure cooker doesn’t have different settings, only a knob to turn to set times. Should I brown this on the stove first?

  • Leesa says:

    I made this yesterday and it was amazing!! Just wondering if I were to double the recipe would the cook time remain the same?

    • TKWAdmin says:

      Thank you so much Leesa!

      Can your pressure cooker handle that much ingredients? I make this in an 8.4 qt pressure cooker and it’s pretty full with the recipe as-is. I’d say to make one and then make a 2nd one after that. I wouldn’t double it personally just because I’m not sure all that stuff would fit. Can you share which PC you have?

      Best Kitchen Wishes!

      • Leesa says:

        I have the 8 quart power cooker. You are probably correct. I don’t think with the liquid it would all fit. I will try your suggestion! Thanks so much for the advice!

        My family raved about the roast! I have grown boys, so one is really barely enough, especially if we want leftovers for french dip, hash, etc..
        I will share this recipe with all my pressure cooker friends!

        • TKWAdmin says:

          Hi Leesa,

          Oh that’s awesome to hear that everyone loved it! Oh trust me, I know all about not having enough for leftovers. What I tend to do when I’m having a bunch of people for dinner is that I’ll make a full meal that day, put it in the fridge and then when it’s time to start the “real dinner” I’ll put the stuff I made earlier that day in the oven to warm up. Then by the time the stuff in the pressure cooker is done, the stuff in the oven is warmed enough so I can serve 2 full batches at once.

          Best Kitchen Wishes!

  • Sue Maddox says:

    OMG – just made this roast and it was excellent! Had a 2 1/2 # roast so only cooked for 75 minutes. Made gravy, added ‘Kitchen Bouquet ‘ and doubled up one the corn starch to thicken the gravy. It was delicious! Thank you for sharing😊

  • Sally says:

    With a 3 to 4 pound roast, how many people does this serve?
    Thank you and Merry Christmas.

  • Carrie says:

    Would you adjust the cooking time for a 1.5 – 2lb roast?

    • Kathy says:

      Did you adjust the time? I have a roast that is just a hair over 2lbs and want to try this tonight. Thanks.

    • TKWAdmin says:

      Hi Carrie,

      Sorry, was taking a bit of a holiday break. Yes definitely reduce the time this. I would go for 45 minutes.

      Best Kitchen Wishes and Merry Christmas!

  • Heather says:

    Can I cook the pot roast from frozen?

    • TKWAdmin says:

      Hi Heather!

      You can BUT you need to make sure the first layer (if you will) is soft enough that the flour will stick to it for you to pan sear it. Plus you will have to cook it longer since it’s frozen. Also you should reduce the liquid in the pot by a 1/4 cup because as the roast thaws it’ll produce more water.

      Best Kitchen Wishes!

      • Hannah says:

        How much longer? I have a large frozen roast and I’m curious about how it will do. Also, cooks illustrated mentioned baking soda in their article on perfect pot roast. Why did you choose to not go that route?

        • TKWAdmin says:

          Mom never used it simply put. And honestly I didn’t even really give it a thought when I re-created her recipe in the pressure cooker. I’ve only recently started dabbling in food chemistry. I’ll use baking soda when I make my wings as it pulls moisture out of the skin thus crisping it up faster while leaving the meat tender. In dishes where there is protein and sugars just a trace amount of baking soda produces a Maillard reaction. This is what gives you that truly deep and rich flavors. All the baking soda does, honestly is speed up the Maillard reaction by adding that alkalinity to the mix.

          I’ve never made it from a frozen state however when I make my chicken and pork from a frozen state I usually add a few more minutes. So by my calculations for this roast I would think another 10 minutes from a frozen state should be sufficient.

          Best Kitchen Wishes!

  • Ann says:

    Is there any way I cant print this recipe? It looks awesome!

  • Nat says:


    This looks delicious. Do you think it would work well with lamb? We don’t usually buy beef except for ground beef.

    Thanks for the recipe!

    • TKWAdmin says:

      Hi Nat 🙂

      Thank you! Yes it would work well with lamb. Just be sure to sear it first. If you buy the same pound-wise of meat the timing should be the same.

      Best Kitchen Wishes!

  • Paula says:

    This was my second go using an Instant Pot and this meal was a winner! Thank you so much! I’m a novice in the kitchen so I was really proud of myself when it turned out so tender and tasty! Your directions were perfect!

    • TKWAdmin says:

      Oh Paula I’m so happy to hear that! That’s awesome! And hey, we all were novices in the kitchen! The new pressure cookers are such a blessing that in no one anyone can be a pro!

      Definitely check out my Pressure Cooker recipes section! Plus if you find a recipe that you want to make on here that isn’t listed for a PC, let me know and I can help you convert it!

      Best Kitchen Wishes!

  • Ronda says:

    This looks so good! Just making sure- the garlic and herbs are all dried, right? I’d like to use fresh garlic, but wondering how many cloves and if there’s any reason not to use fresh (?).

    • TKWAdmin says:

      Hi Ronda!

      Thank you so much! No, the herbs are dried however the garlic is fresh (I’ll update the recipe to say so). Sorry about that. Fo1 Tbl of fresh minced garlic you’re looking at 3-4 cloves though they do range in size. Mine were on the larger side.

      Best Kitchen Wishes!

  • Holly says:

    90 minutes with a 10m natural release? A true natural release would take another 20-30 m.

    • TKWAdmin says:

      Hi Holly!

      Typical time ranges between 10-15 minutes on both of mine (I have an electric and a gas one). The way I was taught with regards to a natural release was that as soon as the ‘hissing’ stops and you can open the lid with zero resistance, the pressure is released.

      I see what you’re saying about the 20-30 minutes as you do make sense but I’m hesitant of leaving foods in that for a longer time for fear of them becoming overcooked. Know what I mean?


      Best Kitchen Wishes!

  • Mike Osbun says:

    I haven’t tried this yet but intend to soon. Have followed America’s Test Kitchen for years, therefore, I think I will add some beef broth and de-glaze the pot ( scrape up the browned bits) before continuing with step 6. Also like the looks of your bourbon-honey chicken wings.

    • TKWAdmin says:

      Hi Mike! I love ATK too! You can most certainly do that with the deglazing! Those bourbon honey wings were praised by Food Network’s The Kitchn! They are one of my most popular recipes. Any of my wings you can make in the pressure cooker btw.

      Let me know what you think of the roast!

      Best Kitchen Wishes!

  • This looks really delicious! My husband would absolutely love it!

    • TKWAdmin says:

      Thank you so much Lisa! It’s so good plus if you have leftovers it’s AMAZING on nachos! Wait until you see the recipe I’m working on for it!

      Best Kitchen Wishes!

  • Liz says:

    Don’t the carrots turn super mushy after cooking for 90 mins?

    • TKWAdmin says:

      Hi Liz,

      No they do not. I’ve made this recipe about 10 times thus far and they come out perfect every time. I did some research as to why it works and found per Cook’s Illustrated “Certain vegetables (and fruits), including potatoes and carrots, contain an enzyme that enables them to remain firm during long cooking if given a low-temperature “pretreatment” first. When these vegetables are heated to between 130 and 140 degrees and held there for about 30 minutes, the enzyme alters the pectin in their cell walls, allowing it to cross-link with calcium ions to form a more durable structure.”

      Now as you can see I don’t use baby carrots. Mine are normal sized carrots, cut into sections.

      Best Kitchen Wishes!

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