How to start a slow cooker beef roast from frozen. Dinner can't get any easier!
Beef - Dinner - Food - Slow Cooker

Starting a Slow Cooker Beef Roast Frozen

Last updated on October 15, 2023 by Liza Hawkins

I raised an eyebrow, too, when I first heard of starting a slow cooker beef roast frozen. Stay with me, though…

For many Christmases my in-laws gave us an eighth of a cow, which enabled us to stock our basement freezer chest with meat for most of the year. Score! I love practical gifts.

The ground beef and steaks are easy to use on a whim, only taking a  little while to thaw. But, for the life of me, I can never remember to thaw a whole roast in the right timeframe to eat it.

Finding myself in this very predicament a few years ago, a friend of mine shared a frozen pot roast recipe that she uses.

And yes, you read that right … it started with a frozen roast!

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Frozen beef roast sitting on onions and potatoes in a slow cooker

That right folks, there’s actually a great recipe that not only uses a frozen roast, it also requires a slow cooker (a.k.a. Crockpot™).

How much easier can it get? Not much.

(Except maybe with an Instant Pot, but I haven’t tried that conversion yet!)

Slow cookers are like culinary wizards when it comes to “set it and forget it,” tenderizing tough cuts, one-pot dishes, and for infusing flavors. The benefits of a slow cooker seem endless!

Let’s talk about ideal cuts of beef to use in the slow cooker…

Types of Beef Roasts to Buy:

Before we dive into the wonderful world of cooking a beef roast in a slow cooker, it’s essential to know which cuts of beef work best for this method. Here are some popular choices:

Chuck Roast: This cut is a slow cooker superstar. It’s marbled with just the right amount of fat to keep it tender and flavorful during the long cooking process. Chuck roast is perfect for pot roasts and stews.

Round Roast: Round roasts are leaner than chuck roast but can still yield a tender result when slow-cooked. They’re great for sandwiches or when sliced thin for an elegant dinner.

Brisket: Known for its rich, beefy flavor, brisket shines in the slow cooker. It’s the go-to choice for mouthwatering barbecue, and the slow cooker helps break down its toughness.

Tri-Tip Roast: A leaner option, tri-tip roast is excellent for those who prefer a slightly healthier option. It’s flavorful and cooks well in the slow cooker.
Now that you’ve got an idea of the beef roast options, let’s dive into my favorite recipe.

I love this recipe and other hearty slow cooker beef and potatoes meals. How to start a slow cooker beef roast frozen: dinner can’t get any easier!

Slow Cooker Beef Roast
Yield: 8

Slow Cooker Roast-It Starts Frozen!

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 10 minutes

How to start a slow cooker beef roast from frozen. Dinner can't get any easier!


  • 1 2.5- to 4-pound frozen beef roast*
  • 4 to 6 medium potatoes, cut in 2″ cubes
  • 2 medium onions, sliced
  • 2 large carrots, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 10.5oz can cream of mushroom condensed soup
  • 1 10.5oz can cream of celery condensed soup
  • 1 packet onion soup mix
  • 1 cup frozen peas


  1. Place the potatoes, onions, carrots and garlic in the bottom of a slow cooker, and then add the frozen roast on top (fat side up if it has one).
  2. In a bowl, combine the soups and the soup mix. Pour over top the roast, spreading to cover the exposed sides. Set the slow cooker on low, then cover and cook for 8-10 hours.
  3. About a half-hour before you’re ready to eat, add the peas, stirring just a little to cover them.
  4. Pull the roast out when the time's up, but be careful – it will most likely fall apart as you lift it.


The soups, plus the drippings from the roast as it cooks, create a gravy-like sauce. So, it’s up to you how you want to serve it, all together in one large serving bowl, or separated as a roast with sides and gravy. Either way, delish!

*I’ve used many different kinds of beef roast, from bottom round and chuck, to large sirloins. Some fall apart more than others at carving time, but all are flavorful and tender. I do tend to prefer the cuts that are bone-in as the bone lends a richer flavor and tends to help make the beef fork-tender.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 920Total Fat: 48gSaturated Fat: 18gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 23gCholesterol: 280mgSodium: 1087mgCarbohydrates: 44gFiber: 5gSugar: 6gProtein: 76g

Hi, I'm Liza — a self-proclaimed word-nerd who loves getting lost in whimsical stories and epic movies. I have laid-back, practical attitude towards life and am always on the hunt for good eats, easy recipes, binge-worthy shows, relaxing road trip destinations, the perfect fizzy gin cocktail, and time to finish my novel!

89 Comments on “Starting a Slow Cooker Beef Roast Frozen

  1. Sounds delish but u never mentioned how much meat ! I don’t know what an 1/8 of a cow is but I used bout 3 and 1/2 lbs. hope it works !
    Thanks sounds great ! Let you know tomorrow !

    1. Ed – You stumbled upon an old, old post. 🙂 This one definitely needs edits, including being more specific about the size roast AND a photo! So, speaking of size, it’s fairly flexible. A 3.5 lb roast should be fine, but if you can fit a larger roast in your slow cooker, that would work too. Something that’s thick, rather than long and narrow/flat. I wouldn’t use anything under 2 lbs. Hope this helps!

      1. Hi,
        The recipe sounds delicious and the picture looks just as good.
        I’ve noticed people mentioned searing and you said that you didn’t sear the roast. I’m just curious how the roast got browned in a slow cooker ?

        1. Hi Joe! I agree, the color in this photo does look like a sear. It’s not though; the lighting and color after cooking for so many hours just made it appear that way in the photo. That said, if you’re starting with a fresh roast, definitely sear in a hot pan for a few minutes on each side before adding the roast to the slow cooker (yum!). But in the case of a frozen roast, searing won’t work.

          1. Great recipe, thanks! About color, if you brush the roast with a bit of Gravy Master before the soup mixture, it will be even browner. If you pour the soup mixture around the sides and leave the top of the roast exposed, the Gravy Master will even give it the appearance of the “crust” that you get from searing.

    2. I’m wondering if this would be UNSAFE? I’ve taken courses in safe food handling here in Canada & this could be harmful!!?
      I found this post on-line – Frozen food takes too long to come to temperature in the low-heat slow cooker. So any frozen meat will sit in the danger zone for bacteria growth far too long to be considered safe.
      If you have different information or believe this isn’t correct, please let me know!

      Thank you,

      1. Hi Christine! That’s come up before, and according to the USDA that answer’s a “maybe.” I’ve had no issues with cooking a frozen roast in a slow cooker personally, but we all know that doesn’t mean it can’t (or won’t ever) be a problem. And science definitely supports the risk of bacteria growth like you suggested.

        I’d say if it causes even the slightest bit of worry for you, just use a thawed roast and call it a day. 🙂

        Here’s the USDA link:

  2. I think Ed found the post before a size for the roast was edited in. Looks yum- I am prepping everything for my dad to make while I am out of town, so I will put the frozen items together and the other items already cut up in the fridge with simplified directions (add bag #1, bag#2 and these 2 cans to crockpot) and hope for the best.

  3. I want to try this today. But I only have on hand a can of cream of chicken soup and a can of mushroom soup. I don’t have any onion soup mix. Is there any thing else I can use? I have all the other ingredients.
    Thank you,

    1. Hi Scarlett! I meant to write back yesterday and then the day got away from me! Anyway, if you didn’t already discover a solution, I’d just make a blend of herbs and spices to use instead of the onion soup mix. A tablespoon each of onion powder, dried onion, garlic powder, dried parsley and then maybe a half teaspoon of turmeric and a teaspoon each of salt and pepper.

      1. Hi Liza,
        Just had a question about this recipe, what size cans of of soup did you use? Thanks for the recipe I’m making it today

  4. I’m wanting to try this today or tomorrow, my roast is small 2.28lbs. And I can only to use onions, 1lb of mushrooms and wild or jasmine rice. Suggestions on which rice and for the amount of soups. I’m hoping to make it all in the crockpot so not using instant rice. Thanks!!

    1. Hi Patty! I think wild or jasmine rice would be lovely — wild rice might hold up better in the slow cooker over a long period of time, though. Either way, I wouldn’t add the rice until the last hour of cooking. It won’t need 8+ hours. You might want to keep the liquids, including the soups, the same even with a smaller roast since you’ll be cooking the rice in there, too. Enjoy!

  5. Do you add water or liquids besides soups? I cannot use the canned or dried soups (DF, GF, SF, no grains, soy, nightshade, low histamine).
    I browned the roast. Can I use those bits (with olive oil and ghee 50/50) as part of liquids or should I save it for gravy?Starting the roast (frozen) soon. I’d be so grateful for your suggestions.

    1. I don’t add water or liquids besides the soups, but if you can’t eat “cream of” soup (or simply don’t want to), then you could easily just add the bits from searing (mmmm…), along with some broth in the slow cooker. You won’t get the automatic gravy this way, but you can definitely use the broth after it’s done slow cooking to make your gravy afterwards in an allergy-friendly way. If it were me, I’d save some of those bits for the gravy, rather than dump them all into the slow cooker. Good luck!

      1. Thank you so much for your reply. I have beef and chicken bone broth. Do I use the same amount as the canned soups?

        1. You’re welcome! Sorry I didn’t see your reply until now; holiday hustle-bustle this weekend had me away from my computer. I’d use a similar amount, but in the end I wouldn’t worry too much about exactness. I’d say no less than a cup and no more than two cups. What’d you end up doing?

  6. We live on a cattle farm and also once a year get our freezer stocked with meat. I have cooked all types of roasts from frozen and are always delicious. I even do stew beef from frozen. It makes for a easy dinner after hurrying in the morning to put something on.

      1. Best reply ever! I can’t stop laughing over here . Great recipe, using it tonight, excited to see how it turns out!

    1. Best reply ever! I can’t stop laughing over here . Great recipe, using it tonight, excited to see how it turns out!

    1. Emma – Slow cookers are pretty forgiving, so you wouldn’t have to change much. I’d probably just reduce the cooking time to 4-6 hours on low, instead of 8-10.

      1. Hi, I didn’t have any of the stuff except some seasoning and half onion and big can of cream of chicken soup just put it in the crockpot I hope it’s good lol

  7. Would you recommend 1/2 these ingredients for a 21/2 lb roast? IE: 1 onion, 1 can of soup, 1/2 pk onion soup? Also going from frozen. thx!

    1. Hi Barbara – Sorry for the delayed response! Whether it’s a 2.5lb or 4lb roast, I use the same ratio of ingredients in the slow cooker. I don’t think it would hurt to use smaller ratios, as long as you have enough liquid in there to keep things from cooking/burning. It’s never a problem to have too much gravy, in my opinion! Hope it turned out ok!

  8. I did not read all the comments so sorry if I am repeating but can I use a rolled rump roast and do I remove the string if this is a good meat?

      1. This was my first time making this! I forgot to pull the roast out of the freezer and you saved the day! My entire family loved this recipe and I will never go back!

        I didn’t have potatoes so I served it over rice and it’s amazing

    1. I made it right now, except that i used 2 cans of cream of mushroom soup coz i don’t have the celery. nobody commented here that they made it so looks like i am gambling my roast. let’s see….

  9. I cooked a frozen roast for dinner tonight. It was delicious!

    I used only one can of cream of chicken soup, as that was what I had on hand.

    I mixed it with a packet of onion soup mix.

    I added baby potatoes. Just enough to cover the bottom of the crock pot.

    I added the roast & poured the soup mixture over the roast. It covered the

    the entire roast.

    I added a cup of water & cooked it on low for about the time suggested.

    I would say it was 8 hours & 10 minutes.

    I asked my husband if I should change anything for the next time.

    He suggested not to change a thing.

    I will always cook from frozen now.

    I wish I tried this long before now.

    Thanks for posting!

  10. Why do you put the veggies on the bottom, with the roast on top of the veggies.

    Whenever I’ve made a pot roast in the oven, I’ve always put the roast in first and then put the veggies on top and around the sides.

    1. You know, it’s just how I’ve always done it. Same with roasts in the oven, too, if I’m using root veggies in the roasting pan. Keeps the meat from sitting on the bottom and allows for more even cooking. Not sure that’s as critical in a slow cooker, though!

  11. I like my veggies to have a little firmness to them when done. Should I put them in after the roast has been cooking for awhile to keep them from getting too mushy?

    1. Hi Nicole! Yep, you can play around with that — try putting them in halfway through the cooking time or something. You could also cook/roast the veggies separately!

  12. Visited family yesterday and they sent me home with a 7.5 lb frozen pork shoulder. I got home late and discovered I had no room in my fridge or freezer… We so need to get some college size deep freeze or something! Hahaha! Anyway, I got out our slow cooker, placed that bad boy in there set to low, and went to bed. This morning I read comments that one should never do this and I was about to freak until I saw your recipe. People cook frozen meats in slow cookers, on purpose, and do not die! Yea! Hahaha! Thank you for saving my sanity and our lunch plans. 🙂

  13. Hi Liza,
    My mother taught me to always cook any type of roast from frozen, whether in slow cooker or oven. They retain their juices better.

  14. Silly request here, but I’d be thrilled if you’d mention provolone cheese in the actual recipe’s ingredient list as an option, because every time I make this I forget to get some provolone, and it would be so wonderful!!

  15. Love that you still comment on the recipe and it’s cool it still gets so much traction and you’ve been putting up recipes all this time. That’s really cool. I just made it and it was DELICIOUS! Now, I’m going to follow you and check out some of your other recipes because I’m sure they’ll also be delicious 🙂

    1. This recipe was amazing! I used an eye of round roast and had to cook it in the slow cooker for 13-14hrs to get our desired tenderness. Needless to say- it was a hit! Hubby and 2 babies loved it! Paired it with white rice and sweet corn bread. 10 stars- hands down! (Not to mention- this is the first roast I’ve ever made!) Thank you so much! Looking forward to using more of your recipes

  16. I followed your recipe exactly and it was delicious!! Decided to make it again today, and by the time I got finished adding my ingredients, I can’t get the crock pot lid to fit! I guess I got a little carried away!! Can I just transfer this to the oven, and what changes should I make?

    1. Oh my, that’s a problem to have! You could certainly cook low and slow in the oven if you have a Dutch oven — that’s what people did before slow cookers, after all! What temp and for how long, though, not sure… Maybe look at a similar oven recipe from a trusted source, like America’s Test Kitchen, for a starting point. Good luck!

  17. Thanks so much for this recipe, I followed the directions and recipe the last time I made it and it was a Hit!!!

    This time around I’m making it, but forgot to start it earlier, do you think I could do it on high for 4hrs or maybe 3hrs low and 2hrs high?

  18. Hi Lisa, I have a chuck that is really lean and the sides have thawed a little but most of it is still frozen. Do I still cook it for 8-10 hrs or less time. Plus would I need more liquid so the veggies don’t stick/burn on the bottom?
    Thank You for posting this recipe.

  19. I think it may have cooked a little too long. Flavor is wonderful and husband said it was mmmm good…lol.
    I did in fact have a lean chuck so maybe I shouldn’t have cooked it for the full 8 hours, Plus, the meat had started to thaw a bit before getting it into the cooker. But over-all it will be made again. Thank You Lisa for sharing this recipe …

    Regards Ma

    1. Ah, bummer! I think different slow cookers make a difference too — sometimes they just cook a little hotter, you know? I’m glad the flavor was good and you’re willing to give it another go!

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