This Is Why Slow Cooker Pot Roast Tastes So Good

You can use a Crockpot to turn tough cuts of meat into tender, shreddable roasts. But what makes tough cuts work so well in a slow cooker?

The Instant Pot might be hot right now, but there’s a reason the ol’ slow cooker is one of the most purchased kitchen gadgets of all time. It gives us an easy (and hands-off!) way to put a home cooked meal on the table. There are hundreds of fantastic slow cooker recipes, but slow cooker pot roast is our go-to for something that’s comforting, tasty and impossible to mess up.

When you think of fool-proof slow cooker recipes, chicken breasts might be the first thing that comes to mind—after all, those recipes tend to show up a lot on Pinterest. But using your slow cooker to turn tough cuts of meat into tender, shreddable, melt-in-your-mouth bites is really what it’s all about.

What makes tough cuts work so well in the slow cooker?

Here’s the Pot Roast Secret

As many contributors to this Reddit thread point out, the slow cooker works magic on tough cuts of meat because of all the connective tissue. You see, tender cuts (like chicken breast, pork loin or beef tenderloin) come from rarely worked muscles, so they have little fat and almost no connective tissue. That makes them great for quick cooking methods, but they tend to become tough and chewy when simmered for long periods of time.

Psst: Are you using the right beef stew meat? Find out!

Overworked muscles, on the other hand, have both intramuscular fat and connective tissue. Chuck roast, brisket and pork shoulder would taste awful if you cooked them like a steak, but try cooking them low and slow in a Dutch oven or slow cooker and they turn into something completely magical! The collagen-rich connective tissue slowly melts into the meat, releasing gelatin as it goes. That keeps your meat juicy while it breaks down and gives everything a super-rich mouthfeel.

That’s why slow cooker pot roast is so hard to beat. Give our slow cooker Mississippi pot roast a try and tell us we’re wrong! Dump all the ingredients into the crock and, eight hours later, you’ll have a fall-apart roast complete with its own savory gravy. It doesn’t get any easier (or more delicious) than that.

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Lindsay D. Mattison
Lindsay has been writing for digital publications for seven years and has 10 years of experience working as a professional chef. She became a full-time food writer at Taste of Home in 2023, although she’s been a regular contributor since 2017. Throughout her career, Lindsay has been a freelance writer and recipe developer for multiple publications, including Wide Open Media, Tasting Table, Mashed and SkinnyMs. Lindsay is an accomplished product tester and spent six years as a freelance product tester at Reviewed (part of the USA Today network). She has tested everything from cooking gadgets to knives, cookware sets, meat thermometers, pizza ovens and more than 60 grills (including charcoal, gas, kamado, smoker and pellet grills). Lindsay still cooks professionally for pop-up events, especially when she can highlight local, seasonal ingredients. As a writer, Lindsay loves sharing her skills and experience with home cooks. She aspires to motivate others to gain confidence in the kitchen. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her cooking with fresh produce from the farmers market or planning a trip to discover the best new restaurants.