Starting a Slow Cooker Beef Roast Frozen
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!
That right folks, there’s actually a great recipe that not only uses a frozen roast, it also requires a slow cooker.
How much easier can it get?
(Except maybe with an Instant Pot, but I haven’t tried that conversion yet!)
I love a hearty slow cooker beef and potatoes meal.
Here’s my favorite.
How to start a slow cooker beef roast frozen: dinner can’t get any easier!
Slow Cooker Roast-It Starts Frozen!
How to start a slow cooker beef roast from frozen. Dinner can't get any easier!
- 1 2.5-4 lb 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
- 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).
- 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.
- About a half-hour before you’re ready to eat, add the peas, stirring just a little to cover them.
- 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.
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Last Updated on December 14, 2021 by Liza Hawkins
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 !
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!
I put a 4lb frozen roast in crock pot will cook over night also 1 cup 1/2 of pinto beans rotel with chili’s, onion, beef broth as you like I used 5 squares.
Interesting! Sounds good!
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 ?
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.
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.
Oh interesting! I’ve never heard of “gravy master” before.
It says in recipe 2.5-4lb frozen roast
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!
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: https://ask.usda.gov/s/article/Is-it-safe-to-cook-frozen-foods-in-a-slow-cooker-or-crock-pot
I’m lol about the comments….it does say what size roast and that a 1/8 of a cow filled her freezer.
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.
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.
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.
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
Thanks for calling that out, Mike! I’ve added the can size to the recipe card (it’s 10.5oz). Hope you enjoy!
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!!
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!
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.
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!
Thank you so much for your reply. I have beef and chicken bone broth. Do I use the same amount as the canned soups?
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?
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.
Yes! Many days I need something easy like that. I’ll have to try it with frozen stew meat!
Hi! I was wondering if I could wear my frozen roast before putting it in the crock pot. TIA
Is “wear” a typo? If not, no. I wouldn’t recommend that. 😉
Best reply ever! I can’t stop laughing over here . Great recipe, using it tonight, excited to see how it turns out!
Haha – hope it turns out yummy!
I am making this for several meals, can I freeze the leftovers?
Yes! I’d reserve some of the juices/gravy to freeze with the portions.
I’m guessing she meant sear?
Best reply ever! I can’t stop laughing over here . Great recipe, using it tonight, excited to see how it turns out!
I need to stock up on these ingredients. There are so many days when all my dinner options are hard as a rock frozen!!! Thanks for the great recipe!
Right? Plus it’s so easy to just throw everything into the slow cooker and then go about the rest of your day!
How would you change this for a roast that ISN’T frozen?
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.
Did you sear your frozen roast before putting it in the slow cooker?
Hi Camille! Nope, I didn’t. If it wasn’t frozen, I would have done that.
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
Hi Leeann! This recipe is very forgiving, so I bet it will still be delicious!
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!
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!
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?
I think that could work! I’d probably leave the string intact until it’s done cooking, then remove it.
Can I cook this in 4-6 hours on high?
I’d be hesitant with a frozen roast, but you could definitely do that with a fresh one!
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
Oooh – yeah, I bet it’s delicious over rice! Glad it worked out for you!
Hi! Do you put any sort of seasoning on the meat before placing in the crockpot?
Hi Jackie! Aside from step two where you coat the roast with the soup/soup mix blend, there’s no additional seasoning on the frozen roast.
Pretty sure she meant sear
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….
Two cans of “cream of” pretty much anything will work, so yours should have turned out fine!
Hi AJ – is this in reference to the “wear” comment above? If so, I bet you’re right! I’ll have to add that to my answer.
Allie – did you mean “sear”? If so, no. If the roast weren’t frozen, that would be a great step to add before putting it in the slow cooker.
Hi can i use frozen chicken
Hi Kim! I wouldn’t use frozen chicken in this recipe, no.
Can I use cream of chicken and cream of mushroom as I don’t have cream of celery
Yep! Any of the “cream of” soups would probably work fine.
Can I use tri tip sirloin? Its 3.5 lbs. Thanks!
Hi Lisa! I’ve never used that cut before, but I bet it would work fine — particularly cooked low and slow. Let me know how it turns out if you do!
Do you think if I use a frozen chuck roast and cook on high 6-7 hours it would be tender?
I do! You’ll want to watch it on high though, might be fine on low for 6-7 hours.
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!
That’s great, Marlene!
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.
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!
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?
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!
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. 🙂
Oh great! I’m sure it’s not without risk, but… you’re right. People do it all the time. Including me.
My mother taught me to always cook any type of roast from frozen, whether in slow cooker or oven. They retain their juices better.
Beck & Bulow
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!!
Hi! Provolone cheese for the slow cooker roast recipe? I’m not sure it’s mentioned anywhere, but certainly keep me honest.
Beck & Bulow
Great! I accidentally threw in a small can full of tomato paste vs a tblspn. It was still good but I did end up adding a lot more broth. I used mini gold potatoes-Yummy!
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 🙂
Hi Cody! Glad you stopped by — look forward to seeing what else you try!
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
I’m so glad you liked it! That’s crazy it took so long — happy it worked out in the end!
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?
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!
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?
Hi Tracy! What did you end up doing? My gut says it *should* work, but I hesitate going from frozen…