Hard Cider Pot Roast with Mushrooms, Carrots, and Onions

hard cider pot roast with mushrooms, carrots, and onionsWith no real plans to share this recipe here, I almost didn’t take a picture of our “big red pot” (what we call our beloved oval French oven from Le Creuset) prior to setting it on the supper table for my family. But then, at the last minute, I decided to snap a shot. Because maybe this would be the greatest meal ever…right?!

And you wouldn’t believe what a conversation piece this magnificent pot of beef turned out to be. Our youngest daughter couldn’t stop gushing about it. After nearly every other bite, Tessa would say, “This is the best thing you’ve ever made, Mom”. And then she’d ask for another helping. I know for a fact that that small-framed 5-year-old girl ate more than my 6′-7″ Blake did that evening.

This Hard Cider Pot Roast with Mushrooms, Carrots, and Onions is so incredibly tender, after braising away in the oven for a few hours, that all you need to do to serve it is simply break up the roast with the back of a wooden spoon. No cutting required. It just falls apart, all loose and juicy and tender. That silky texture is the stuff my supper table dreams are made of.

I have experimented a bit with cooking with hard cider, and this is far and away my favorite meal so far. When the cider is slow cooked with the beef and earthy mushrooms, plus carrots and onions, a most spectacular gravy results. It’s full of rich flavor…slightly creamy and just a bit tangy, with a little touch of warm cloves…utterly delicious. When a 5-year-old says it’s even better than her favorite mac and cheese, you just have to believe it’s one special meal.

Hard Cider Pot Roast with Mushrooms, Carrots, and Onions

Yield: 6 to 8 servings


  • 3 to 3-1/2 lb. boneless beef chuck roast
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • olive oil
  • 8 oz. medium-sized whole button mushrooms, halved
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 4 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1'' to 2'' pieces
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1 bottle (12 oz.) hard cider (I really like "Crisp Apple" by Angry Orchard.)
  • 1-1/2 c. low sodium beef broth
  • 1 bay leaf


An hour before starting to cook, remove the roast from the refrigerator. Rinse it and pat it dry with paper towels. Place on a plate and sprinkle fairly generously all over with kosher salt and pepper. Let stand at room temperature.

Preheat oven to 350°. Coat the bottom of a 5 to 7-quart French oven with a thin film of olive oil and set the pot over medium-high heat. When the oil is shimmering, put meat in the pot and let it cook, without moving it, until it is deeply browned on the bottom and lifts easily from the pot when turned. This should take about 8 minutes or so. Continue to brown all sides of the meat, turning as needed. Transfer meat to a plate and set aside.

Add mushrooms, onions, and carrots to the pot and cook, stirring, until softened. This should take about 5 minutes. Stir in thyme and cloves. Then pour in hard cider and beef broth. Stir to release browned bits on the pan bottom. Add bay leaf. Let mixture come to a boil, then return meat and any accumulated juices to pot. Cover pot and transfer to the oven. Cook, turning meat over once about halfway through cooking, until meat is tender and pulls apart easily when prodded with a fork, about 2-1/2 to 3 hours.

There are a couple of different ways you can finish up this beautiful pot roast:

For an easy weeknight meal, I will simply break apart the meat with a wooden spoon while it sits in the juices in the pot. The meat should be extremely tender, and not even need to be cut with a knife This is personally my favorite way to eat the roast, all loose and juicy and tender.

To achieve a more sliced look, I remove the meat from the pot after it has been in the oven for about 2 hours. Then I slice it against the grain and return it to the pot with slices intact as much as possible, along with any accumulated juices, nestling it back into the veggies and juices. Return the pot to the oven and cook for another 30 to 60 minutes.

My family prefers this served over/alongside creamy mashed potatoes, but herbed wide noodles are good, too.


Inspired by the "Yankee Pot Roast Redux" from All About Braising by Molly Stevens, but greatly simplified and adapted from my family's favorite Classic Pot Roast.

I’m linking up with:


47 Responses to “Hard Cider Pot Roast with Mushrooms, Carrots, and Onions”

  1. #
    Cassie | Bake Your Day — February 27, 2013 at 8:08 am

    It looks like it’s ready to just fall apart. What great flavors, Brenda! I’m so glad you snapped a photo of this!

  2. #
    Sandy @ RE — February 27, 2013 at 8:18 am

    I just love it when the pot gets all dark like that = flavor!

    So yummy and perfect for a Sunday Supper! :)

  3. #
    Amanda — February 27, 2013 at 8:19 am

    I love that Tessa ate more than your hubby! :) What a cutie patootie.

  4. #
    Stephanie @ Girl Versus Dough — February 27, 2013 at 9:56 am

    WOW. Just wow. OK and YUM. :)

  5. #
    Heather | Farmgirl Gourmet — February 27, 2013 at 11:14 am

    I’m coming over for dinner. :) (I wish). Looks great!!

    • Brenda replied on February 28th, 2013 at 4:49 pm

      I wish, too!!!! xo

  6. #
    Laura (Tutti Dolci) — February 27, 2013 at 11:49 am

    I love pot roast, the hard cider sounds like a great addition!

  7. #
    Bree {Skinny Mommy} — February 27, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    This looks like some seriously fabulous comfort food!

  8. #
    Cat Davis - Food Family Finds — February 27, 2013 at 1:02 pm

    I keep trying to convince myself to invest in a big Dutch Oven but I can’t seem to justify the cost to my husband. I think maybe if I show him this recipe it might help with the convincing.

    • MotherLodeBeth replied on February 27th, 2013 at 8:01 pm

      Invest is the key word Cat Davis. Many of my Le Creuset items were handed down to me. Some older than fifty years old. Does you husband buy cheap tools for what he uses around the house or on his vehicles? Again you are making an investment. And a Le Creuset Dutch oven can be used for so many many things.

    • Brenda replied on February 28th, 2013 at 4:48 pm

      I know exactly what you mean, Cat. It took me awhile to hand over the cash myself. But I’ve NEVER regretted it. We have had so many fantastic meals, I just can’t tell you. These meals convinced my mom and my sister to also buy a LC Dutch oven for themselves. There is nothing like a big roast braising away in our Big Red Pot on a chilly day!

  9. #
    Miss @ Miss in the Kitchen — February 27, 2013 at 6:17 pm

    I’ve never cooked with hard cider but just looking at that beautiful roast, I am going to try it. I can see why your girls were bragging on it.

  10. #
    Mom — February 27, 2013 at 6:52 pm

    Yum! Yum! Yum! I want some!

  11. #
    MotherLodeBeth — February 27, 2013 at 7:57 pm

    This recipe is akin to the traditional Beef Bourguignon that we make here in California wine country or when in Paris. We simply use 1 (750 ml.) bottle good dry red wine such as Cote du Rhone or Pinot Noir rather than the hard cider which is not common where we live.

  12. #
    Erika @ The Hopeless Housewife — February 27, 2013 at 8:51 pm

    This looks absolutely wonderful!

  13. #
    Jess — February 27, 2013 at 8:55 pm

    Brenda – that must be the greatest thing to hear from your kids! It’s a tough competition to beat out mac and cheese! Really does sound fantastic, especially with the flavor of that hard cider.

  14. #
    Blair @ TheSeasonedMom — February 28, 2013 at 5:24 am

    So glad that you decided to share this!

  15. #
    Lana @ Never Enough Thyme — February 28, 2013 at 9:21 am

    “Better than mac and cheese” is high praise indeed from a 5-year-old! The hard cider and cloves in the recipe sound really intriguing. Definitely on my to-try list.

    • Brenda replied on February 28th, 2013 at 4:35 pm

      It sure is! ;) Hope you like this too, Lana.

  16. #
    Tara @ Unsophisticook — February 28, 2013 at 12:15 pm

    Yummo, looks delicious! And my Le Creuset French Oven is hands down my most used piece of cookware — so versatile.

  17. #
    Becca from Cookie Jar Treats — February 28, 2013 at 8:04 pm

    Oh man this looks so delicious! And I bet it was tender :)

  18. #
    Liz — February 28, 2013 at 8:12 pm

    This looks so yummy!! We discovered hard cider two years ago in Wales and now there is always some in the house. My family is going to love this roast!! Funny, I found your site trying to find a scone recipe just like the ones we had in Wales. That was a success too!!

  19. #
    DesignedByBH — February 28, 2013 at 10:42 pm

    I’m so hungry now! But close to midnight is too late to be whipping up a roast! However, I know what I’m doing tomorrow… :)

  20. #
    Angie @ Big Bear's Wife — March 1, 2013 at 8:56 am

    ooo I want a dutch oven! This pot roast would be perfect for these cold days we’re having!

  21. #
    Kelly — March 3, 2013 at 10:05 pm

    This looks amazing!!! I definitely need to try it, especially since I have a dutch oven. Thanks for sharing. xo

  22. #
    Shaina — March 5, 2013 at 1:45 pm

    We have been loving hard cider this winter. I don’t know what that says about me, but this looks glorious.

  23. #
    Christy @ My Invisible Crown — March 5, 2013 at 2:57 pm

    I get so stuck on the same pot roast. I need to branch out and try something different and this is the one it’s going to be. It looks amazing!

  24. #
    Brittany R. — March 17, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    Oh my goodness… I just made this for lunch today, and I’ve got to say, it was the best pot roast I’ve EVER eaten. Seriously, just amazing. Thanks so much for this awesome recipe!

    • Brenda replied on March 19th, 2013 at 9:13 pm

      Yayyyyyyy!! Thank you so much for taking the time to come back and let me know!

  25. #
    Annalise — March 18, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    Brenda, this recipe sounds and looks fabulous!! Definitely going to have to try it.

  26. #
    Betty — September 18, 2013 at 10:04 am

    Oh never thought of Hard Cider for a roast, love beer braised roast and can’t do that with a Celiac daughter but can do this. Cooking with booze is great, in the food too. Love a shot of whisky in chili and sherry and beef OMG, the BEST. Thanks for testing.

    • Brenda replied on September 18th, 2013 at 8:02 pm

      Hi Betty! Let me know what you think about this. Personally, I think it’s quite awesome. ;)

      • Betty replied on October 13th, 2013 at 8:36 pm

        Very GOOD! Even put it in Cheese soup instead of beer….cider cheese soup. Not bad either.

        • Brenda replied on October 14th, 2013 at 12:46 pm

          Excellent, love that idea!

  27. #
    Amanda — September 18, 2013 at 11:04 am

    Made this for dinner last night and it was amazing! I loved the flavor and it really was fall-apart tender. Thanks for sharing such a great recipe. This will be my go-to pot roast recipe from now on!

    • Brenda replied on September 18th, 2013 at 8:00 pm

      Woohoo! So happy to hear that! Thank you so much for coming back to let me know. :)

  28. #
    Paige — February 2, 2015 at 1:56 pm

    making this right now but doubled it and now everything will not fit into by cast iron dutch oven – switched it to a big pot and covered with aluminum foil – do you think this will work or do you have any other suggestions. Also, didn’t have bay leaves which I thought I had and it is a snow storm so can’t get out – is there something I should substitute?

    • Brenda replied on February 2nd, 2015 at 5:52 pm

      Hi Paige – I love to double recipes, too! :) Is your larger pot good & heavy? I think it’s worth a try. You also might want to just try putting half in the the dutch oven and half in a covered pot, then you’ll be able to tell the difference in how they cook?? The dutch ovens are hefty and retain heat so well, perfect for braising those tougher cuts of meat. Please let me know how it turns out! Good luck!

  29. #
    paige — February 2, 2015 at 5:31 pm

    This smelled so good throughout the day – and it was just as delicious! Will definitely be making it again – next time with bay leaves! Also shared it with neighbors and they loved it as well.

    • Brenda replied on February 2nd, 2015 at 5:53 pm

      So sorry to not address your bay leaves question earlier! Bay leaves usually have a subtle flavoring, so I don’t think you missed out on a huge piece of the recipe by not having any. But try it next time. I’m so glad you liked this! :)

  30. #
    paige — February 2, 2015 at 6:04 pm

    Brenda – this was absolutely delicious – my 15 year daughter and I were salivating all day and I gave half to my neighbors and they loved it and have already asked for the recipe.
    I do have one question – in your picture the sauce/gravy looks thick and mine was not. I made a slurry and added it but yours look more like a thick creamy mushroom soup. I cooked it for 3 hours and like I said it was delicious so no complaints but I was wondering if I might have done something wrong. Mine was more like a broth. Thanks so much for getting back to me.


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