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Is pot roast better in pressure cooker or crock pot?

Both pressure cookers and crock pots have their advantages and disadvantages when cooking pot roast. Here’s a quick comparison of the two methods:

Cooking Time

Pressure cooker: Cooks pot roast in 1-1.5 hours

Crock pot: Cooks pot roast in 6-8 hours on low or 4-6 hours on high

The pressure cooker cooks pot roast significantly faster than a crock pot. This makes it better for weeknight meals when you want dinner ready quickly.


Pressure cooker: The high pressure tenderizes meat and breaks down connective tissue

Crock pot: The slow cooking also tenderizes meat over time

Both methods make very tender pot roast. The pressure cooker achieves this tenderness much quicker.


Pressure cooker: Can produce intense flavors as spices and aromatics are concentrated under pressure

Crock pot: Allows flavors to develop and meld over the long cooking time

The pressure cooker may produce slightly more intense flavors, but both methods infuse the pot roast with lots of flavor.


Pressure cooker: Requires monitoring while coming up to pressure and releasing pressure

Crock pot: Can be left unattended all day with no monitoring needed

The crock pot is more hands-off. The pressure cooker requires being home at the start and end of cooking.


Pressure cooker: Traps moisture inside, resulting in a juicy pot roast

Crock pot: Leaves meat exposed, increasing chances it dries out over long cooking

The enclosed environment of the pressure cooker holds in moisture better than a crock pot.

Nutrient Retention

Pressure cooker: Short cooking time preserves more nutrients

Crock pot: Prolonged heat can degrade some vitamins and minerals

The quick cooking of the pressure cooker retains more nutrients in the pot roast.


Pressure cooker: Doesn’t allow browning as pot needs to come up to pressure quickly

Crock pot: Can brown meat first to develop fond and flavor

Browning helps develop richer flavor. This gives the crock pot an advantage.


Here is a quick summary comparing pressure cookers and crock pots for making pot roast:

Factor Pressure Cooker Crock Pot
Cooking Time Much faster Very slow
Tenderness Tenderizes quickly Tenderizes slowly
Flavor Intense flavors Melded flavors
Convenience Less hands-off Very hands-off
Moisture Keeps very moist Can dry out
Nutrients Better retention Some degradation
Browning No browning Can brown first

In summary, the pressure cooker has advantages in cooking time, tenderness, moisture, and nutrients. But the crockpot allows more hands-off cooking and can develop deeper flavors.

For weeknight meals, the pressure cooker’s quick cooking time makes it the better choice. You can get a tender, flavorful pot roast on the table in just over an hour with minimal active cooking required.

However, for days when time is not an issue, the crockpot lets you just throw everything in and come back hours later to a perfectly cooked roast. The long cooking leads to very tender, fall-apart meat and melding of flavors.

So in the end, both methods have their merits. Choose the pressure cooker when you want fast weeknight dinners. Go with the crockpot for its convenience on days when you have time for extended slow cooking.

Tips for Cooking Pot Roast

Here are some tips to cook delicious pot roast in either a pressure cooker or crockpot:


  • Choose a well-marbled chuck, rump, or brisket for lots of flavor
  • Rub the meat with herbs and spices like garlic, rosemary, thyme, salt, and pepper
  • Cook with flavorful liquids like beef broth or wine
  • Add vegetables like potatoes, carrots, onions, and celery

Pressure Cooker

  • Sear meat first for maximum flavor
  • Use a rack inside cooker so meat isn’t sitting in juices
  • Have liquid come halfway up side of roast
  • For a 3 lb roast, cook 20 min at high pressure

Crock Pot

  • Brown roast in skillet if desired, then transfer
  • Cook on low 8-10 hours or high 4-6 hours
  • Flip roast halfway through
  • Keep crock pot lid on, except to flip

By choosing a cooking method and cut of meat that fits your schedule, and using flavorful ingredients, you’re sure to end up with a delicious home-cooked pot roast that can feed your family for days!

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it safe to cook pot roast in a pressure cooker?

Yes, cooking pot roast in a pressure cooker is completely safe as long as you follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Pressure cookers have safety mechanisms that prevent dangerous pressure from building up. Just be sure to properly cook the roast for the recommended time according to size and cut.

Should I sear pot roast before pressure cooking?

Searing is recommended when cooking pot roast in a pressure cooker. It helps develop a flavorful brown crust on the exterior of the meat. Heat oil in the pressure cooker pot first until very hot, then brown roast on all sides before adding liquid and locking lid.

How long should I cook pot roast in a crock pot?

Most pot roast recipes recommend cooking a 3 pound roast for 8-10 hours on low or 4-6 hours on high in a crock pot. Larger roasts may take slightly longer. Check for fork tenderness and ensure meat shreds easily before removing.

What liquid should I add to pot roast in a crock pot?

Beef broth is a classic braising liquid for pot roast, but you can also use a mix of broth and red wine, beer, tomato sauce, or water. Just be sure the pot roast is about halfway submerged in liquid as it cooks.

What vegetables go well with pot roast?

The most common veggies cooked with pot roast include potatoes, carrots, onions, and celery. But you can also add parsnips, turnips, rutabaga, mushrooms, garlic, or any of your other favorites.