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Slow Cooker Roast Beef

There are two dishes that us Brits do better than anyone else on the planet – fish and chips, and a roast dinner. Anyone that tries to argue otherwise – well, they’re wrong. This Slow Cooker Roast Beef can’t be beaten for convenience or taste!

If you do some research you’ll find many “one pot roast” recipes for the slow cooker that involve throwing everything (potatoes included) into the crockpot and leaving it to cook. Boiled potatoes in gravy? No thanks. It should be illegal to eat a roast without proper oven-baked roast potatoes! Also, they usually use a brisket cut of beef – which works better for pulled beef style recipes (like our Spicy Beef Tacos), and doesn’t slice too well.

Bec and I have spent a long time refining this recipe. We’ve tried different cuts of beef, different gravy, different ways of serving the veg with it. When we had that “OH MY GOD THIS IS AMAZING” moment, we knew we’d nailed it!

Slow Cooker Roast Beef and Roast Potatoes

What cut of meat should I use for Slow Cooker Roast Beef?

After much experimentation, we can confirm that the best cut to use for a Slow Cooker Sunday Roast Beef – is topside of beef. Topside is a lean cut that comes from the top of the cow’s rear-end. It works so well slow cooked as the long cooking times break down the meat, and it literally melts in your mouth as you eat it.

Topside also cuts really nicely. Rather than falling apart once cooked (brisket – I’m looking at you) it’s possible to cut beautiful slices (as you can see from our pictures!) – but it’s still really tender and flavoursome.

In terms of price you’ll find topside is at the cheaper end of the roasting joints that you can find in supermarkets, so it makes for an excellent thrifty Sunday roast. Brilliant if you have a lot of mouths to feed!

Note for our US and Canadian friends: Over on your side of the pond cows are butchered and named slightly differently. Look for a “top round”.

Slow Cooker Beef, Roast Potatoes and Thyme

Top Tips for Slow Cooker Roast Beef

  • Searing the meat well before you start cooking is probably the single most important thing you can do to ensure an amazing flavour. You’re not sealing the meat to “lock in moisture” as many believe! By searing the outside of the meat on a high heat you’re initiating the “Mailliard Reaction”, which adds to the beautiful meaty flavour.
  • Whilst we add vegetables to the crockpot to add flavour to the gravy and meat, no roast beef is complete without a good selection of vegetables freshly cooked and served with the beef. Nobody wants carrots that taste exactly the same as everything else!
  • No Roast Beef is complete without Yorkshire Puddings. If another Brit tells you otherwise, they’re a – wrong, or b – lying about being British 😉

What’s the best gravy for Roast Beef?

The most flavoursome gravy is made with the meat juices produced whilst cooking the meat. This recipe cooks the beef in red wine and beef stock, which is then reduced, seasoned and tweaked at the end – so literally nothing goes to waste. I can’t explain to you how good the red wine gravy in this recipe is!

It’s important that the gravy is the right thickness, too watery and it won’t have much taste, and too thick it won’t pour – so ensure you reduce it adequately after the meat is cooked. If you go too far either way you can either add some boiling water, or reduce further till you reach a consistency you’re happy with.

It’s really not necessary to use an expensive bottle of wine – don’t be fooled into thinking that using a more expensive bottle will make the gravy taste better. Any bottle of red you have in the cupboard will be absolutely fine.

What vegetables should I serve with Roast Beef?

You can serve whatever vegetables you like with roast beef – the list is pretty much endless. When we ate the beef you can see in the pictures (yes, we do eat everything we make!), we served it with roast potatoes, winter greens, and carrot and swede mash.

You could also serve roast beef with:

  • Carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cauliflower (or cauliflower cheese!)

Vegetables aside, don’t forget your Yorkshire Puddings!

Topside Beef in Red Wine Cooking Times

The cooking times stated in the recipe card are for a 1kg rolled topside joint, cooked from room temperature. Whilst this is a good starting point, the best way to determine if your beef is cooked to your liking is by checking the internal temperature of the meat using a meat thermometer.

The following temperatures are a good guide. Don’t worry if you go slightly over, and bear in mind the temperature of the beef will continue to rise as it rests.

Rare: 50C
Medium: 60C
Well done: 70C

Slow Cooker Beef, Roast Potatoes and Thyme

Slow Cooker Roast Beef

Slow cooking roast beef is the perfect way to bring out the best in a joint of topside
4.95 from 17 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 6 hrs
Total Time 6 hrs 15 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine British
Servings 4
Calories 429 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 kg topside or top round beef
  • 500 ml beef stock
  • 187.5 ml red wine ¼ bottle
  • 2 carrots roughly chopped
  • 1 onion sliced
  • 6 tbsp cornflour
  • 3 tbsp tomato puree
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Instructions
 

  • Add the carrots and onions to the slow cooker, then add 3 tbsp of cornflour and stir to ensure an even coating. Rub a little oil all over the beef and season well with salt and pepper. Sear the beef all over in a hot pan, and transfer to the slow cooker.
  • Add the beef stock, red wine, tomato puree and sugar, ensuring that the beef is mostly covered by the liquid. Cook on low for 6 hours, or high for 3 hours. Once cooked, remove the beef from the slow cooker and cover with foil to keep warm. Rest the beef for up to 30 minutes.
  • Reduce the remaining liquid and vegetables in the slow cooker to a gravy consistency, adding 3 tbsp of cornflour to thicken (remove a little liquid, mix in the cornflour to make a paste, and mix it back into the gravy). If you've got a slow cooker with a metal pot (see the equipment list for a recommendation) you can do this by transferring it straight to the hob, if not, you'll need to transfer the contents of the slow cooker to a pan.
  • When you're ready to serve, slice the beef with a sharp knife and coat with plenty of red wine gravy!

Notes

Cooked Beef Internal Temperature

Insert the beef thermometer into the middle of the beef and wait for the temperature to settle. Use the following temperatures as a guide, depending how you like your beef to be cooked:
Rare: 50C
Medium: 60C
Well done: 70C
The temperature will continue to rise slightly once the beef is removed from the slow cooker.

Resting Beef

For best results, cover with foil and rest the beef for thirty minutes once cooked. This is the perfect time to make your gravy!
 

Nutrition

Calories: 429kcalCarbohydrates: 19gProtein: 57gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 138mgSodium: 1002mgPotassium: 1324mgFiber: 2gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 5157IUVitamin C: 5mgCalcium: 80mgIron: 5mg
Keyword beef, roast
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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Recipe Rating




Trevor Smith

Saturday 25th of July 2020

Hi, Can you tell me why my beef , which is cooked in the slow cooker for 6 hours, tastes like a piece of my grandfathers shoe leather ? My wife, bless her, cooks a wonderful Sunday dinner when she uses a conventional oven, but the slow cooker turns the topside roast into leather, it seems dry and tough. We use best beef from our local butcher and usually it is delicious to eat. Please tell me where we are going wrong and I will pass the answer to my wife. We have tried it 3 times and they all taste tasteless ? Thank you Hungry Trev.

Anna Szeremeta

Thursday 16th of July 2020

I love the sound of this recipe and want to make it on Sunday but I'm having my shopping delivered and can't get topside. Will silverside work ok?

Dave

Thursday 16th of July 2020

Silverside will be awesome :-) Hope you enjoy it!

Peter Cornish

Tuesday 14th of July 2020

Currently got a 1.6kg Beef topside in the slow cooker using this recipe - adding some chestnut mushrooms in place of carrots to the stock to see if blending gives a thicker consistency (I'm also doing carrots as a service with the beef)

Going to slow cook on low for the first 4 hours then push up to high for an hour or two as the join is .6kg larger - will report back with how it turned out.

Rachael Glynn

Monday 13th of July 2020

Wow!!!!! Made this yesterday and I’m stunned by how tasty this recipe is. The meat is very tender and both the meat and gravy are super tasty. I normally buy a rib joint of beef but it’s too expensive right now plus it’s just for me and my husband so I thought I would try this recipe as it uses a cheaper cut of beef, but you would not helieve it at all. Will deffo cook this recipe again, it will be a regular dish here. 10/10 fabulous thank you

Bec

Tuesday 14th of July 2020

That's great to hear, we really enjoy this recipe too! Thank you for the review.

Claire

Sunday 5th of July 2020

I have a 450g salmon cut piece of beef I wanted to cook in my slow cooker (never done a roast in it before.....). Will the cooking times be the same (I don’t have a thermometer 😖.....). Also, I’ve seen on some Facebook sites that you can’t do rare or medium in a slow cooker so I’m confused and don’t want to ruin Sunday lunch!!