Best Cuts of Meat For Pot Roast (8 Options)

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Have you ever been planning a pot roast dinner or browsing through the meats wondering which is the best cut of meat for a pot roast? Well I have. Personally I just don’t like certain cuts of meat for pot roast, as much as I do others. I tend to like the bigger, plumper cuts that have little to no marbling on them. These cuts are a bit tougher, but they end up just as tender after they’re cooked for 8 hours.

In this article I’m going to list some of the most common cuts of meat used for pot roast, to help you decide which one you want to use in your next pot roast dinner.

Best cuts of meat for pot roast

All of the cuts on this list can be slow cooked in a crock pot and end up tender. However, depending on your preferences and tastes, you may prefer one cut over another. Personally, I like the bottom round and the rump roast. They are fairly lean so there’s not a ton of fat, and they still end up fall-apart delicious after 8 hours in the crock pot.

1. Chuck roast

Chuck roast | image by benketaro via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

The chuck roast is probably the most common pot roast. It’s the one in most recipes and just generally what most people think of when they refer to a pot roast. It’s a cut from the shoulder and neck region of the cow, and is somewhat fatty compared to other cuts used for pot roast. Many like this marbling and fat, it can make for much more flavor.

An average chuck roast weighs between 2.5 and 5 pounds.

2. Shoulder roast

The shoulder roast comes from the same general area of the cow as the chuck roast, but is a leaner and more tender cut of meat. It’s still often used as a pot roast, but this cut is less common in the crock pot and more commonly cooked on a grill in the form of flat-iron steaks.

An average shoulder roast weighs around 3 pounds.

3. Beef brisket

The brisket comes from the lower chest, or breast area of the cow. Brisket is more commonly used as the main cut of meat in barbecue, corned beef, and pastrami. I’ve never used one in a pot roast recipe myself, but I’ve had many bbq beef briskets that melt in your mouth.

An entire beef brisket can weigh between 10 and 16 pounds

4. Bottom round

The bottom round is more common for roast beef, which is cooked dry instead of in liquid like pot roast. However it still makes a delicious pot roast, and I actually prefer it over a chuck roast. It is leaner than both the chuck or brisket which is probably why. Because of this though, it is more likely to dry out during cooking so you may need to account for this when cooking.

A typical bottom round roast cut is 1-4 lbs at the grocery store.

5. Top round

Much like the bottom round, the top round is quite lean, easy to slice, and makes a great pot roast. Because it is on the leaner side, it is considered to be a tougher cut of meat and is therefore usually cheaper at the store. However, if you cook one of these on low for 8 hours in the crockpot it’s going to end up tender and delicious. Also like the bottom round, this cut is more often for roast beef than pot roast.

On average, a cut of top round will weigh between 2.5 and 4 lbs at the grocery store.

6. Eye of round

The eye of round is another cut from the round section in the rear portion of a cow. The eye of round looks very similar to a tenderloin, though it is much tougher so not nearly as expensive. However it still can make a great steak and be used for various other things such as beef stew and pot roast.

An eye of round at the store could weigh between 1.5 to 4 lbs.

7. Rump roast

Rolled rump roast | image by Carnivore Locavore via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

The rump roast, which is actually cut from the bottom round, is beloved for pot roasts and often turns out more tender and juicy than the chuck roast. The rump roast is located next to the loin primal where the sirloin, porterhouse and T-bone steaks come from. This cut is known for its strong beef flavor and can often be purchased for less than $5/lb at the store.

An average rump roast cut weighs around 2 to 4 lbs at the store.

8. Tri-tip sirloin roast

This cut of meat is triangular in shape and located at the very “tip” of the sirloin. It’s also known as the triangle steak, bottom sirloin steak, or sirloin butt, and is known for its rich and beefy flavor. The tri-tip is leaner than many other cuts of meat and is typically priced well making it a good cut of meat. It’s not used for pot roast as much as some others on this list, but it can certainly be.

An average tri-tip roast weighs around 1.5 to 2.5 lbs at the store.

Pot roast FAQs

Does pot roast get more tender the longer you cook it?

In general, the longer you cook your pot roast in the crock pot, the more tender it becomes. However you can also overcook it which can lead to it drying out, so just make sure you are cooking it in liquid and you follow the recipe.

Can you overcook pot roast in a slow cooker?

Undercooked pot roast can end up tough and chewy, overcooked pot roast can end up too dry. So it is important that you cook your meat for the correct amount of time, or at least close to it.

Is pot roast beef or pork?

Pot roast refers to a large cut of beef that is slow cooked until it is tender. There is a pork roast, but it is typically referred to as pork roast.

Is pot roast supposed to be pink?

As long as the beef has been cooked for 6-8 hours and is tender and pulling apart, a light pink color is ok. For pot roasts color isn’t the best way to judge doneness, use a meat thermometer if you are worried to make sure it is at least 145 degrees F.

Does a pot roast need to be seared?

Searing your meat is an optional step when cooking a pot roast, but one that many people take. It helps seal in the moisture and juices and really only takes a few minutes extra to do. Having said that, you don’t have to sear your roast and it can be placed directly in the crock pot if you wish. Though I recommend it.

Do you cut the fat off a roast before cooking?

This also isn’t a necessary step, most of the fat will render and dissolve in the cooking process anyway. However if there are any large veins or pieces of fat that you don’t want to bite into while eating then go ahead and trim them off. This is one reason why I like a leaner cut of meat for my pot roasts, like a round.


I hope this article has helped you decide what the best cut of meat for a pot roast is. I prefer the round roasts, but many people like a good chuck roast. Either way has the potential to end up as a delicious meal.

Thanks for reading!