Sweet and savory, this Slow Cooker Cranberry Onion Pot Roast is one of our favorite family suppers. It’s silly easy, chocked full of flavor, and the ultimate cooler weather dinner!
I can’t believe I haven’t posted the recipe for this Cranberry Onion Pot Roast before now. I’ve literally been making it (or a version there of) for the last 15 years. It’s been a go-to in my kitchen thanks to one of my husband’s childhood friend’s mom. (Hi, Jane!!!) My husband remembers “Jane’s Brisket” fondly and would tell me I had to learn how to make it when we first started dating and he learned that I was a cook. Jane graciously gave me the recipe when we were first married and it’s become a beloved recipe in our family kitchen.
The original recipe called for brisket instead of a chuck roast and it cooked in the oven over the course of two days. You would roast it on a low heat for 4-5 hours the day before you planned to serve it and then it would sit in the fridge overnight. Then, a few hours before serving it, you’d reheat it in the oven again over low heat. Feeling obligated to not only Jane herself but also my husband’s memory of the brisket, I made it as written for years. I’m not one to mess with tradition, you know?
But the thing is the recipe as written was kind of a to do. I stopped making it for awhile because I never could seem to plan ahead. The two day cooking was kind of a buzz kill, you know? So on a whim one day I decided to make it in the slow cooker. Total game changer. Dare I say the slow cooker was even better? I can tell you that I’ve never made it in the oven again!
While using both a brisket cut or chuck roast cut are equally delicious, I tend to use a chuck roast because it’s easier to find and is usually less expensive. When I’m really short on time, I literally mix the onion soup and cranberry sauce, pour it over the raw chuck roast and turn the slow cooker on. BUT, if I’ve got an extra 5 minutes- which I almost always do- I take an extra step by browning the roast in some olive oil and spices. I then deglaze the pan with some beef stock or water and add that to the slow cooker as well. This is for sure the best way to make it!
After 8 hours, the chuck roast literally falls apart. I like to shred it and then add back to the sauce to rewarm. The sauce- or gravy as we like to call it- is the perfect balance of sweet and savory. While this is delicious served with mashed potatoes, it’s downright extraordinary served over buttered egg noodles. In fact, it’s the only way I serve it anymore.
While I don’t know if Jane would approve or not, I’m thankful that she shared her recipe all those years ago and I was able to adapt it to work so well in my kitchen. My husband gets a giant smile every time I make it! I’ll take that as a win! xo, Kelley
- 3 lb chuck roast
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
- garlic powder
- onion powder
- kosher salt
- ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup beef stock (or water)
- 1 oz package of french onion soup mix
- 14 oz can jellied cranberry sauce
- Heat 1-2 tablespoons olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Season chuck roast liberally with garlic powder, onion powder, kosher salt and black pepper on all sides. Sear the roast in the hot pan on all sides just until brown.
- Transfer chuck roast to the base of a slow cooker.
- Add the beef stock (or water) to the hot pan and scrape up the brown bits. Pour over the chuck roast.
- Mix the cranberry sauce and onion soup mix in a small bowl; pour around the chuck roast.
- Cook on low 6-8 hours.
- Shred meat, mix into the sauce and serve over buttered egg noodles.