The secret to making perfect pot roast in a slow cooker

Set it and forget it: That's the appeal of slow cookers, which can put dinner on the table with almost zero effort on your part. And there are tons of delicious dishes you can make in a slow cooker. From white chicken chili to overnight oatmeal to marinara sauce, there's seemingly no end to what your handy countertop kitchen appliance can do. One of the most popular slow cooker meals, however, is pot roast. 

Typically made with cheaper, tougher cuts of meat like chuck or bottom round, according to Just Cook, pot roast is one of those dishes that is best when it's cooked low and slow – i.e., it was basically made for a slow cooker. However, unlike other slow cooker meals that simply involve dumping all of the ingredients into the pot and turning on the timer, pot roast requires an extra step if you want the most tender meat. Do this and you'll be rewarded with melt-in-your-mouth goodness come dinner time.

Sear it before you roast it

According to bloggers like the Daring Gourmet, for the most tender pot roast, you should always pan-sear your meat before slow cooking it. She says that getting all of the sides "very browned" beforehand is the number one key to getting the tastiest, most succulent roast. Not only does it add more flavor to the meat, but the burnt bits that fall off the meat while it's in the slow cooker add a little extra zing to the gravy, too.

As for how long you should cook the roast before putting it in your slow cooker, The Kitchen Whisperer recommends about five to six minutes per side or until all of the sides turn a caramel color. You don't want to leave it in the pan for too long as the meat will continue to cook for hours in the slow cooker. You just want to sear it enough to give it that slightly crispy exterior.