When To Add Veggies For Pot Roast In The Slow Cooker Vs. Oven

The popularity of pot roast is easy to understand: It's inexpensive, easy to cook, and mouthwateringly delicious if done right. While it's easy to see why most folks focus on the beef itself, when preparing a pot roast dinner, it's important not to neglect its all-too-classic accompaniment, the veggies. This poses the question: when should you add those veggies? The answer depends on the size of your roast, and how you're cooking it.

Your veggies should be added in with the pot roast if you're preparing the meat in a slow cooker. However, if you're making the pot roast in the oven, the timing of the veggies needs to be staggered since the dry heat is cooking the meat much faster. Not heeding that timing rule could spell disaster for your vegetables — undercook them and they'll be too hard; overcook them and you end up with sad veggie mush.

The ideal time to add potatoes and carrots to a pot roast?

For slow cooker pot roasts (cooking upwards of 6-10 hours), you might think you should hold off on adding your veggies until later, but don't let the long cook time fool you. Slow cookers are made for slow-and-low, trapping all that moist heat inside and preventing vegetables from drying out. Because cheaper, tougher cuts of beef are used when cooking traditional pot roast, making it fall-apart-succulent relies on a few key factors: choosing the right cut (with a nice ratio of collagen and fat to meat), getting the right sear, and keeping things moist. Add your veggies from the jump, along with your beef, and don't worry — vegetables like potatoes, carrots, celery, and onion can not only handle it, but their flavors thrive in it, getting tastier as they mingle. 

On the other hand, oven cooking times are quicker (about three to four hours) for pot roast. But you're looking at drier, higher heats, where veggies have a greater chance of overcooking, so it's best to add them at the halfway mark (or at minimum an hour before the meat is done) if you want both roast and veggies to predictably and delectably finish at the same time.