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3 Ingredient Instant Pot Pot Roast

This ridiculously tender Instant Pot Pot Roast is made with only 3 ingredients but is loaded with flavor!  Tender meat is surrounded by a luxurious sauce! Perfect for a Sunday dinner but easy and fast enough for Monday nights! 

This ridiculously tender Instant Pot Pot Roast is made with only 3 ingredients but is loaded with flavor!
This ridiculously tender Instant Pot Pot Roast is made with only 3 ingredients but is loaded with flavor!

On occasion a dish surprises me.  This Instant Pot Pot Roast did just that.

Naturally, as so many of my recipes lately, this recipe was created out of necessity and a very sad looking fridge.

A few weeks ago, due to a sick munchkin and a sick mommy, I was quarantined to the house.  There was an awful polar tundra outside in Chicago and therefore my ordinary grocery delivery was backed up and unavailable until the very next morning…almost 24 hours later.

It was time for plan b.  If only there was a plan b.

I knew the munchkin and I would be fine for lunch because I had already made a batch of my mom’s famous Jewish Chicken Soup.  But dinner, did not look promising.  My pantry was very sad and empty with the exception of some simple pantry staples of onions and potatoes.  And deep in the back of my fridge lay a large chuck pot roast cut that I had once had high hopes for…sadly now due to my creeping fever and mild case of delirium induced by said fever, my high hopes were deduced to the bare minimal.

This ridiculously tender Instant Pot Pot Roast is made with only 3 ingredients but is loaded with flavor!  Tender meat is surrounded by a luxurious sauce! Perfect for a Sunday dinner but easy and fast enough for Monday nights! 

The bare minimal included the pot roast chuck, onions, garlic and my trusty [easyazon_link identifier=”B06Y1MP2PY” locale=”US” tag=” ne0fc6-20″]Instant Pot.[/easyazon_link].  I knew that despite what I decided to put into my Instant Pot, it would be safe if I decided to doze off to a fever induced slumber and hopefully I would at the very least have a fall apart roast that could always be utilized as a part of a slider.

The Technique

  1. The Ingredients: My minimal ingredients proved to actually be a life saver.  The onions and garlic melt into an incredibly sweet sauce and compliment the meat perfectly.  Because garlic, onions and beef go together like…well like garlic, onions and beef 🙂  Essentially it created a saucy perfection. The best part is that the equation for the recipe is super simple: For each pound of beef you use 1 onion and 2 cloves garlic.  Deliciously simple right?  It is also very important to season the meat with a heavy hand with good coarse salt and fresh ground black pepper.  I also like to finish it off with a nice turn of freshly ground black pepper once it is out of the oven.
  2. Searing the Meat:  Searing the meat is the first step in almost any stew or pot roast.  Despite the popular idea, searing meat is NOT done to retain moisture in the meat.  It is however done to boost flavor.  When the meat gets seared, a fun little chemical reaction happens and a nice, beautiful golden crust appears adding a very important depth of flavor to the meat.  More importantly it leaves caramelized little bits on the bottom of the pot that get picked up by scrubbing the bottom of the pot and adds immense flavor to the sauce.
  3. Cutting the Meat: I chose to cut up the meat in a few large pieces because I really wanted more surface area exposed for searing, I cut the meat into large pieces.  You can also keep it whole.  However, my roast happened to be quite large and I would have had to cut in half anyhow to fit, so I decided to cut it into a few larger pieces so that I can give as much of it as much color as possible.
  4. The Sauce: Each time I have made this I have done something a little different with the sauce.  The first few times I made it I just left the sauce as is.  Another time, I added a bit of flour to the onions when sautéing them and this really thickened the sauce as it cooked.  Additionally I pureed the sauce roughly in my [easyazon_link identifier=”B008H4SLV6″ locale=”US” tag=” ne0fc6-20″]Vitamix.[/easyazon_link].  You get a chunkier texture to the sauce using this method, which makes the whole dish feel a bit more hearty.  Lastly, you can make a little slurry out of 2 tablespoons of water and 2 tablespoons of flour and thicken the sauce while it boils.  There is no correct method.  They all work and this dish was designed to actually work with the sauce just being served as is.

With the limited strength I had, I seasoned the meat heavily with salt and pepper and seared it on the “sautee” option in my Instant Pot.  In the meantime, I cut up 4 onions grabbed 8 cloves of garlic and wiped the tears from my eyes from the potent onions (or the creeping fever).  I removed the meat rom the [easyazon_link identifier=”B06Y1MP2PY” locale=”US” tag=” ne0fc6-20″]Instant Pot[/easyazon_link] and added in the onions and garlic along with a healthy helping of Kosher salt.  I scrubbed the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon insuring to pick up all those delicious bits.

10 minutes later, I added the meat back into the [easyazon_link identifier=”B06Y1MP2PY” locale=”US” tag=” ne0fc6-20″]Instant Pot[/easyazon_link], sealed it up and set the timer to 40 minutes.  I then wrapped myself and the munchkin up in blankets and we both passed out for a much needed nap.

This ridiculously tender Instant Pot Pot Roast is made with only 3 ingredients but is loaded with flavor!  Tender meat is surrounded by a luxurious sauce! Perfect for a Sunday dinner but easy and fast enough for Monday nights! 

After passing out for what seemed like 9 days, I had awoken refreshed thanks to my flu meds kicking in and to the intoxicatingly delicious smell permeating the kitchen.  My Instant Pot had gone into the warm function and after allowing any remaining steam to vent, I was excited to see what savory goodness lay inside.

To say that I was happy with my results was an understatement.  The onions had almost melted into a delicious and velvety sauce that clung to each piece of meat.  But more importantly the flavor of the onions and garlic had been absorbed into every nook and cranny of the meat, leaving it savory, sweet and absurdly delicious.

This ridiculously tender Instant Pot Pot Roast is made with only 3 ingredients but is loaded with flavor!  Tender meat is surrounded by a luxurious sauce! Perfect for a Sunday dinner but easy and fast enough for Monday nights! 

But best of all…it was beyond tender.  In fact, when I tried to lift a piece of the roast out for a taste, it barely held together.  Tender goodness just melted in my mouth encouraging me to let out a loud “Yum” .  The munchkin heard me and quietly let out the words, “I’m hungry, feed me.”  And so I did.  I served it over some leftover Creamy Mashed Cauliflower and she never even suspected that they were not mashed potatoes.

This super creamy mashed cauliflower puree is better than potatoes!  With plenty of garlicky flavor and none of the carbs, these delicious side dish is the perfect add on to any guilt free dinner!

We both sat side by side, eating up every bit of the pot roast.  Happy that our fevers had finally broken and our appetite had returned, we ate helping after helping, almost forgetting to leave the hubs some for his dinner.

Later as I lay the munchkin down to sleep, I heard the garage open and so I texted the hubs to help himself to the pot roast.  After the munchkin fell into her slumber, I made my way into the kitchen and was happily surprised by the hubby’s comments,

“That meat was so good I ate the whole pot. ”

This ridiculously tender Instant Pot Pot Roast is made with only 3 ingredients but is loaded with flavor!  Tender meat is surrounded by a luxurious sauce! Perfect for a Sunday dinner but easy and fast enough for Monday nights! 

Considering how spoiled the hubby is with food, I had to agree with him on this one…my Instant Pot Pot Roast was indeed delicious…and absurdly tender.  My accidental Instant Pot Pot Roast was unanimously one of the best items to have come out of my trusty Instant Pot.

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Instant Pot Roast

3 Ingredient Instant Pot Pot Roast

  • Total Time: 65 minutes
  • Yield: 6 people 1x


This ridiculously tender Instant Pot Pot Roast is made with only 3 ingredients but is loaded with flavor! Tender meat is surrounded by a luxurious sauce! 


  • 4 pounds chuck pot roast cut (see note)
  • 4 onions (sliced roughly)
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • black pepper and kosher salt (to taste)
  • parsley (chopped to garnish )


  1. Turn the Instant Pot to the “saute” function.  Press the “saute” button until it reaches the highest temperature.  
  2. In the meantime, cut up the meat into large pieces.  This of course IS optional.  You can just as easily leave it whole.  However, I feel that it gets a great deal more depth of flavor in each piece when I cut it up.  
  3. Season heavily with Kosher salt and black pepper.
  4. Pour the oil into the pot.  Add in your meat in batches (if cut up) or place the whole piece in at once.  Allow to sear for 5 minutes on each side.  
  5. Remove the meat and add in your onions and garlic, season with salt and pepper.  After two minutes, some of the juices from the onions will release.  Using a wooden spoon, scrape the bottom of the pot using that liquid as a way to really pick up those browned bits. See note
  6. After allowing the onions to cook for a total of 10 minute, add in the meat.  Toss some of the onions with the meat and seal the lid.
  7. Turn the valve to “sealing”, set the Instant Pot to “manual” high pressure, 40 minutes.
  8. Once the time is up, allow to sit on the “Keep Warm” option for 15 minutes.  
  9. Turn the venting valve to the “vent” position.  HINT: Place a towel over the vent so it doesn’t spray everywhere.  
  10. Open the lid carefully.  At this point you can also remove the meat and puree the sauce to give it some more body.  Additionally, you can bring it up to a boil and make a slurry with 2 tbsp cornstarch and 2 tbsp cold water and slowly add it to the boiling sauce.  This however is totally optional.  
  11. Sprinkle with parsley and serve over my super creamy mashed potatoes or creamy cauliflower as I have.


  1. If the meat is a less fatty cut or one that has less marbling add on 5 more minutes to the recipe.
  2. You can also add in 1 tablespoon of flour to the onions while they sautee  .  This will result in a thicker gravy as they cook.
  3. You will not need any additional liquid in this recipe because so much liquid comes out of the onions and the meat.
  4. The meat will not be completely fall apart like a pulled beef.  It still has plenty of texture but it is so tender that only a fork is needed to eat it.  If you would like it a bit more tender, add an additional 10 minutes. 
  5. If you have more than 4 pounds add 5 extra minutes per pound.  For example, if you have 5 pounds then the cook time will be 45 minutes.
  6. You can also make this a one pot meal and add in potatoes.  Just peel and quarter the potatoes.  Once the meat has finished cooking and you have opened the lid, turn the “sautee” option on and add the potatoes in.  Allow to cook until fork tender.  They will absorb they delicious sauce and be even more delicious! 
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 60 minutes
  • Category: beef, freezer friendly, Main Entree
  • Cuisine: American Classic

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This ridiculously tender Instant Pot Pot Roast is made with only 3 ingredients but is loaded with flavor!  Tender meat is surrounded by a luxurious sauce! Perfect for a Sunday dinner but easy and fast enough for Monday nights! 

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      1. I made this last night with a 3 lb rump roast in an 8qt DuoIP and I did need to add liquid because I kept getting the burn error message. I added 1 c of vegetable broth, got the burn error indicator message, and then added a second cup of vegetable broth. 8 qt pots much have liquid added to reach pressure. It turned out great even with the learning curve!

        1. Seriously so bizarre! None of mine ever gave me a burn message. It may be that some sensors are more sensitive than others 🙂 either way glad you got some more experience!

          1. I am in the middle of cooking this. It smells great! However I, too, received a burn error message so added some broth. Perhaps it has to do with the model of IP? I also got a burn error message when cooking a NYT recipe with LOTS of liquid — but also tomatoes (they have a high specific heat). I am using an IP Ultra that I bought this Christmas, which is different than what Becca was using when she got her burn error message. *shrug*

          2. Marina, it’s so odd truly. Sometimes it’s more sensitive than other times. I do hope you enjoyed it though! I mean the amount of liquid that comes out of the meat and the onions is insane!

        2. Did you scrape the bottom to get everyrhing that was stuck off? That will cause your IP to show the Burn Error.

  1. I had no luck with roasts in the Instant Pot until your recipe!! Thank you so much! Cutting up the roast and browning and adding a few more minutes to the very lean meat I like has added some beef back into my meals. The lovely au-jus created from the onions and garlic was perfect. LOVE your blog. DianeHW

  2. I’m making this recipe for the first time and Uh Oh, I started it too soon before dinner, thinking it would take me a longer time to prepare. Will it taste just as good if it’s kept on the Keep Warm function?
    I know your answer will come in too late for this time around, but I’m also interested for when I make it in the future.

  3. I made this recipe today, followed it to the T! It turned out delicious and I will make it again. Thank you for posting this recipe!

  4. I can’t wait to make this. I have a 3 qt Instant Pot, so can only fit a 2 to 2.5 pound roast. Do I still set it for 40 minutes?

  5. I’m searing my 3.5 roast as we speak. The garlic cloves are added whole? Also, do you remove the onions and garlic before you put the roast back in?

  6. I used your recipe as a basis for Carne Asada for tacos and it was great. I cooked for 55 minutes, let it de-pressure for about 35 minutes because I was doing other things and it was amazing. I also added just before sealing: small can of chipotle sauce, juice of one lime, cumin, and chili powder. At the very end I let the fluids reduce a bit on sauté. I took out all but a cup of the “gravy” and mixed the shredded meat back in. The rest was an option to put on the rice. Big hit.

  7. I usually don’t take the time to comment on recipes that I try online. They have to be exceptionally good. And this one is! I like simple recipes that are big on flavor which is exactly what this. So easy to make and remember! Thanks for sharing. I foresee this being on our table weekly.

  8. I made this for dinner tonight. This was my second meal in my new instant pot. Made it exactly as the recipe called for, came out amazing! I will definitely keep it in my recipe folder. Thanks for the great recipe!!!

  9. Wow just made this for dinner….so simple and seriously the best meal I’ve cooked! Made mine with the mashed cauliflower….the sauce is so dang good I cannot believe there is only 3 ingredients!

  10. Tried this tonight for the first time. It was really good. Added one pouch of beef bouillon powder mixed with a cup of water, and my roast was partially frozen so it came out perfect rare. And with the extra liquid I now have a nice broth to make a soup tomorrow.

  11. Made this tonight. Followed all the instructions, but in moment of self doubt, I threw in a large splash of red wine as I was afraid I didn’t have enough liquid. It was delicious! We don’t do flour, but it really didn’t need any thickening. Thanks for a great recipe!

  12. Fail. The flour that I put in and mixed burned the pot so bad I dumped everything in a bowl to clean the pot to hopefully be able to finish. Don’t add flour. Make a slurry at the end. And I added a cup of liquid. No idea the size ofonions anyone else used but there was nothing close to a cup of liquid after 10 minutes.

    1. Oh I’m so sorry this did not work out for you. I have never had this issue and I make this close to weekly. Just an FYI… my onions are super large. Like about the size of an orange.

  13. Thank you for this recipe! I have made it several times over the past 3 months and it turns out lovely each time. I do add in 1/2 – 1 cup water as my onions just don’t seem to release enough water after sauteeing. This might create a more liquid broth, but I just use that as a base for soup (and my onions tend to be orange to grapefruit sized). Really wonderful and easy recipe!

    1. YAY!!! So glad it worked for you! I literally just made a variation of it this past weekend with some balsamic and it totally transformed the flavor and still kept the same technique!

  14. I’ve often made this dish in my slow cooker … am trying it now, “as we speak”, in my IP. It smells so good. I’m serving it with mashed squash. My variation? I use granulated garlic instead of salt. We have varying preferences for salt around our table, so add it at serving. Everyone loves garlic, and it does an amazing flavour job when used on the roast, along with fresh garlic in the onions, of course. Did you know that garlic keeps the blood pressure down?

    A perfect meal for a cloudy, windy, rainy November day.

    1. Garlic has MANY health solutions 🙂 So glad that this worked out for you! I am a much bigger fan of the Instant Pot instead of the Crock Pot.

  15. Hi there,
    Planning on making this tonight, is it not possible to add the potatoes to the meat while it cooks? Do they have to be added at the end?

    Thanks so much!

  16. Do you add the potatos to the meat/onion and cook with the lid open? Or take out meat/onion? New to the instant pot! Thank you!

  17. The Instapot had a burn signal twice. I added 1 c beef broth. I think it could have used 1.5 c or 2. Flavor was good m

    1. Gloria, that’s odd, I have made this recipe hundreds of times and never got a burn signal. Perhaps the onions did not release all the juices or potentially your IP is a bit sensitive (happened to my clients with other recipes.) I am glad that you figured it out regardless and enjoyed it!

  18. Hi! So, I’m cooking this in my Instant Pot and it’s my first time ever using it! We’ve had it for a year & a half and have been so busy we didn’t have time to read the instructions & it seemed scary. Lol- So, I picked your recipie because it was simple & had the yummiest looking after photos & rave reviews! Plus, you told us exactly how to set the Instant Pot! I did add some healthy splashes of worshtershire & about 1/2 a cup of water. My niece came over- while I was sauteeing & flipped out over the Instant Pot & the recipie & the smell- she *loves* to cook. Update to follow in a few! Cant wait!

    1. Well now I’m all antsy to hear the reviews!!! Next time…leave the water out…promise there is enough liquid from all those onions!!! Feel free to let your niece know that she can shoot me a note with any questions!

      1. Oh it was DELISH!!!! I do wish I would’ve left the water out – you are so right, the meat and onions made a lot of water – but it was amazing! Loved the Instant Pot too! We had some leftover potatoes that we put it over and YUMMMM! Like the yoplait commercial – it was “Stupid Good”! 🙂 My honey loved it too. I will let my niece know for sure – so sweet!
        Thank you so much Mila!!

      1. Why did I have to scroll a mile through your whole entire life story before I got to the actual recipe? Jesus Christ. No one gives a shit.

        1. Hi Pete. I’m so sorry that my story is no interest to you. But… there is a really lovely jump to recipe button on the top that allows you to see the recipe without reading my whole heartfelt story.

          1. Mila, you are a true class act. I just so happen to love your story. It added one of the most important ingredients to any recipie that has ever been created – love!!

  19. The simplest yet most delicious pot roast recipe I’ve ever had the pleasure of encountering. My family thanks you!

  20. This looks amazing!! I’m fairly new to the instant pot- Do you leave off the lid the whole prep time (heating to sauté, sautéing) until you put the meat in for the final time to cook?

  21. Hi! I made your three-ingredient Instant Pot Pot Roast this evening and it turned out fantastic! This was my very first time using my instant pot so I was very nervous, plus we didn’t have the ingredients most other recipes call for. I did an internet search and found your recipe. It was easy to follow and my husband and I loved it. Thanks so much!

  22. This is a great recipe. Love the flavor and the tenderness of the meat. Done but not over done. I usually use chuck roast and it’s fantastic. I made it yesterday with boneless short ribs and found I had to pressure cook a bit longer (did a second pressure cook of 15 minutes) and it also turned out great. I’ve not had any problem with burning. Thanks!

  23. I don’t know if I have thanked you already so if not, this is long overdue. I’m gonna say it again anyways. THANK YOU! 🙂 This is by far the easiest pot roast that I have made for my family. I have even simulated your same scenario where I was feeling ill but still had to make food for the fam (haha). It is now my go-to recipe and I have even been brave enough to try it different ways (playing with sauce, adding veggies etc). Thank you for giving us another dish to add to our dinner rotations.

  24. I also have an 8qt so I added additional liquid as well. However I threw in mushrooms and used Montreal Steak for the seasoning. Awesome IP recipe!

  25. At first I was skeptical, followed your request exactly and reaped the most flavorful, tender roast I’ve ever had. Absolute winner you are.

  26. I followed the recipe to a T .
    However , we are ordering pizza because I could t even cut through my roast ! Incredibly tough ! Not sure where I went wrong. 🙁

  27. This recipe did not turn out as well as I thought it would. I cut up the meat and seared it but I did get the burn error several times. The onions just did not put off the liquid and I even added extra. I added beef broth and cooked the potatoes and carrots at the end. My husband said the meat was tasty but dry. He also prefers more gravy. I definitely will be making this again. The directions were wonderfully written and easy to follow. Hopefully it will be a little better next time.

    1. Margaret, I wonder if the onions sold to you were old? That may be a reason why it did not give out as much juice. Next time just add 1/4 cup of water if you get the burn warning.

      1. The onions I used were very good. Big sweet onions. Next time I will just add a little broth to them. I will make it again.

  28. Hi Mila, this Recipe sounds amazing and I have been looking for a good Pot Roast Recipe! Could you please share any thoughts/directions on making this in a crock pot? I don’t have an insta pot (I might be one of the only ones ) and would love to try this with what I already have. Thank you!

  29. I too got Burn error and added broth. Next time I tried to cook with potatoes and it was boiling to hard on Sauté..

    1. If it’s boiling too hard nothing will happen 🙂 Sometimes the onions just aren’t as juicy as other times and we do need to add a tad of broth. great job figure that out!

  30. This has been a go to recipe for my family year round! It is so easy and ingredients are usually on hand. The one issue I have had is adding the flour during the onion sauté, the IP will not come to pressure and seal. I always have to add water to get it to seal. But other than that note, this is a great recipe!

  31. Made this tonight for my wife’s birthday. Turned out unbelievably tender and full of flavour! Thanks for this recipe – it will be my go to from now on for roast beef…

    On a note, I had to add some broth because the onions didn’t seem to give as much liquid as I would have hoped.

    1. Awesome recipe! I used a less fatty cut of meat and it was still so tender! I did decrease the onions to 2 medium for a 4# roast and the cloves of garlic to 3 large and added 2 1/2 c of mushrooms to the mix as well as 1/2 C of water. My search for the perfect pot roast is over.

  32. The meat AND the onions were so tender and flavorful that I thought the first mouthful of onion was beef marbling. We will be making this again.

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