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Three Ingredient Pot Roast {Recipe}

A versatile and delicious pot roast with just three ingredients! Melt in your mouth tender and packed full of flavor.

It’s comfort food season here in Charlotte. Last week we endured a stretch of arctic air and this week it’s a four days of rain and 40 degree temperatures. The weather, coupled with the sadness of taking all the holiday prettiness down and the realization we have a few more months of this weather, has left me needing coziness. One of my favorite ways to get cozy is in the kitchen. I’ve been all about soups and comfort food recently.

I only make pot roast once or twice a year but when I get a craving for it, I have to have it. I took advantage of a Sunday afternoon at home to make my favorite pot roast recipe. It couldn’t be simpler…just three ingredients…but it’s absolutely packed with flavor and melt in your mouth tender. I promise…you need no kitchen prowess to make this recipe…just time! It takes it about four hours to do its thing in the oven. No time to sit around and wait for it to cook? I’ve also made it in the crockpot.

Three Ingredient Pot Roast

You seriously only need THREE ingredients for this recipe (well, minus salt and pepper).

1) A 3 pound chuck roast.
2) A 28-ounce can of  tomatoes.
3) A head of garlic.

Three Ingredient Pot Roast Prep

This recipe doesn’t even require you to brown the meat before placing it in the oven to cook or to peel the garlic cloves. It is insanely easy! Plop your roast in a dutch oven (or large, heavy pan with a lid), season generously with salt and pepper, dump the can of tomatoes over it and tuck the unpeeled garlic cloves into the meat.

Three Ingredient Pot Roast Cooked

Stick it in the oven at 300 degrees and forget about it. I like to give mine at least three hours to cook but four is the ticket. What happens during that four hours in the oven is magical. The meat cooks, softens and starts breaking apart and shredding all on its own, the garlic cloves mellow out into the most amazing tasting things ever and the tomatoes thicken into a sauce that is flavored by the meat and the garlic.

Three Ingredient Pot Roast Shredded

Before serving, I remove the garlic cloves and shred the meat with two forks. I add the garlic back in by squeezing the softened, cooked garlic out of the cloves and stirring it into the meat. I discard the peel.

Three Ingredient Pot Roast Cous Cous

I love serving this pot roast over polenta, grits or mashed potatoes. On Sunday night I served it over parmesan couscous for a change and that was really tasty. Roasted broccoli and carrots on the side. Note, if you want to add some potatoes, carrots, onions or any other veggies into the pot while the roast is cooking you can totally do that. Just add them the last hour instead of in the beginning so they don’t turn into complete mush.

One of the reasons I like to cook my veggies separate is because I like to keep the meat simple so I can use the leftovers for shredded beef enchiladas. That’s happing for dinner tonight…yum!

Try this recipe. As long as you cook it long enough, you can’t mess it up. And it’s so versatile and amazingly delicious!

Three Ingredient Pot Roast
(Recipe source Gourmet Magazine, February 2001)


3 to 3.4 lb boneless chuck roast
28-ounce can tomatoes (whole, petite diced or crushed)
1 head of garlic, broken into cloves and unpeeled
Salt and pepper, to taste


Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Season the roast generously with salt and pepper and place it in a Dutch oven, heavy pot or casserole dish with lid. If your tomatoes are whole, give them a whirl in the food processor to chop them up a bit. Pour tomatoes over the roast. Scatter garlic around. I like to tuck mine into the meat in a few places.

Place covered dish or pot in oven and cook for 3-4 hours, or until meat can be easily broken apart. You can shred it, break it into hunks or slice it to serve.

If you’re preparing in the crockpot, place all ingredients in the crockpot and cook on low for 7-8 hours.

Yield: 6 servings

{ 38 comments… add one }
  • sabrina January 13, 2015, 12:49 pm

    Thank you Jen for the perfect comfort food recipe. Definitely going to try this on Friday so we can enjoy all weekend long. Cheers!

    • Jen January 13, 2015, 12:57 pm

      enjoy and let me know how it turns out!

  • She Rocks Fitness January 13, 2015, 1:14 pm

    I wonder if I could make this in my slow cooker…Maybe on low for 3-4 hours??? What do you think? It is cold, grey, and rainy in Houston and I am OVER IT..LOL. This looks so good. Thanks for sharing!

    • Jen January 13, 2015, 1:31 pm

      I think so! I would think low for 7-8 hours.

  • kristin | W [H] A T C H January 13, 2015, 1:47 pm

    so simple!

  • Amy January 13, 2015, 3:33 pm

    Looks awesome and easy (love that). Will def try!

  • ErikaMC January 13, 2015, 3:49 pm

    Have you ever made it from frozen roast? That looks so delish and having leftovers would be awesome.

    • Jen January 13, 2015, 4:19 pm

      I haven’t…do you mean using a roast that’s been frozen or freezing the leftovers?

  • Callie January 13, 2015, 6:00 pm

    Putting this on my meal plan for next week! Perfectly simple. Looking forward to seeing what goes into making it become beef enchiladas!

    • Jen January 17, 2015, 6:23 pm

      let me know how it turns out! and the beef enchilada combo is in the post after this one.

      • Callie February 9, 2016, 8:39 pm

        Made this tonight! So so so good! My husband raved about it and he rarely does that! 🙂

        • Jen DeCurtins February 9, 2016, 9:16 pm

          It’s such a good recipe! Glad it was a hit for you! 🙂

  • Tamara @ASideOfDessert January 13, 2015, 9:43 pm

    Wow, looks delicious! I’m drooling even though I’m full from my own dinner. I’ll be trying this one soon 🙂

  • Chris January 13, 2015, 10:36 pm

    This sounds delicious! I would love to know how you make your enchiladas. Mine always end up being not so healthy.

  • Nicki January 14, 2015, 11:42 am

    My apartment in New York is constantly 90 degrees in the winter (thanks to buildings being required to provide heat, and old pipe systems that I cannot turn on/off!) so I avoid using my oven at all costs…but this looks PERFECT for my crockpot! Love all the garlic, had no idea you could put them in unpeeled. Will be trying this tonight 🙂

    • Jen January 17, 2015, 6:25 pm

      hey nicki – bummer about your apartment being 90 degrees. that is crazy!

      did you make this in the crockpot? if so, how did it turn out? how long did you cook it?

  • Dani @ DaniCaliforniaCooks January 16, 2015, 7:08 pm

    I was traveling up to the pacific northwest this week for work so I ate a ton of amazing seafood! I even had cioppino twice – a personal favorite for the winter.

  • Salina January 19, 2015, 9:51 pm

    Thank you for this great and easy recipe!! I made it over the weekend, and used it as the filling for lettuce wraps! SO good!!
    Thanks again!

  • erin January 20, 2015, 6:48 am

    love how easy this is!! totally going to try it in the crock pot!

  • Liz January 20, 2015, 4:27 pm

    This looks so good! And whole 30 compliant! I’m adding it to next weeks menu, thanks 🙂

  • Jacque January 21, 2015, 10:04 am

    Do you think this would work with tomato sauce? Otherwise the only tomatoes I have in the house are the Rotel with diced green chiles.

    • Jen January 21, 2015, 10:43 am

      It should. I would try it. Let me know how it turns out!

      • Jacque January 23, 2015, 1:32 pm

        I did try this and it was delicious!

  • Lauren January 22, 2015, 10:53 am

    Made this Sunday night, and it couldn’t have been easier. I’ve been eating it everyday since, and I LOVE having a delicious protein ready to throw in my lunches for work.

    • Jen January 22, 2015, 7:48 pm

      yay! thanks for trying it and for the feedback! glad to hear it was a success for you!

  • Liz January 25, 2015, 6:12 pm

    I had to update, this was amazing! My husband said it’s the best pot roast he’s ever had 🙂

    • Jen January 25, 2015, 8:03 pm

      Yes! So happy to hear it! 🙂

  • Whitney January 26, 2015, 7:14 pm

    Hey Jen! Just made this in the slow-cooker and it’s fantastic. I did low for 8 hours and had it turn to warm until I got home from work!

    • Jen January 26, 2015, 8:37 pm

      So great to know! Thank you!

  • Elle Queen February 4, 2015, 4:08 pm

    Ok, this is the BEST recipe ever! So simple, so dang delicious.

  • melissa February 8, 2015, 8:47 am

    totally unrelated topic/request (tho it sounds like i need to try this recipe) … pull ups …sadly i can only do 1 good one. going to strength related classes with plenty of push ups + arm work doesn’t seem to translate into being able to do pull ups. i’m guessing you can rock them out. if so, would love to see a post on how you worked up to doing them, proper form, etc.

  • Stephanie February 15, 2016, 9:59 pm

    I’m planning on making this on Thursday, but I only have about 2 1/2 pounds of meat – would you still go the full 4 hours? Or stick to 3?

    • Jen DeCurtins February 15, 2016, 10:10 pm

      I would just start checking it at 3 and see how tender the meat is. Let it go longer if it still seems like it needs it!

      • Stephanie February 16, 2016, 12:45 pm


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