Difference between Pot Roast and Roast Beef
By Theydiffer - 2016-03-04 09:53:34

Pot roast and roast beef sometimes refer to the same dish. However, there are some differences in the two meals, and we will explore them in the following article.


Roast beef

Roast beef refers to any beef which is roasted, hence its name. Normally it is roasted in an oven, but there are some roast beef cooking methods that do not require an oven.

Roast beef is the cornerstone of a traditional English meal, and as such bears a cultural meaning. Writer Henry Fielding even wrote a famous patriotic ballad “The Roast Beef of Old England” back in the 18th century. The poem starts with

“When mighty Roast Beef was the Englishman’s food,

It ennobled our brains and enriched our blood.”

In some American states, roast beef sandwich is served, which is made of bread, roast beef (usually cold), and various additions, such as mustard or red pepper. Kelly’s roast beef diner in Massachusetts invented this type of now famous sandwich.

An easy American roast beef recipe:


  • 3 pounds beef
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. In order for the cooking time to be accurate, it is best to leave the meat stand on a counter at room temperature for about 45 minutes.
  2. If the beef is not already tied (it is often sold as such) then use a kitchen twine to tie the beef at approximately 1 inch intervals. This is to hold the meat together and help it cook more evenly.
  3. Place the roast on a rack in a roasting pan.
  4. Now let’s make a seasoning. Mix the salt, the garlic powder, and the black pepper in a small bowl with a fork. Rub the mixture into the meat with the hands.
  5. Put the beef into a preheated oven and cook it for 60 minutes. The rule of thumb for cooking meat is 20 minutes per pound, so you can adjust it in case you have a bigger or smaller roast. At 150 degrees Fahrenheit, the heat will be medium.
  6. When cooked, remove the roast from the oven and cover it loosely with foil. Let it rest for approximately 15 minutes to redistribute juices before you slice it.

Your all American roast beef is ready.

Pot Roast vs Roast Beef

What is the difference between Pot Roast and Roast Beef?

While roast beef may be cooked in a pot, and as such, be referred to as pot roast, this wouldn’t be correct from the historical perspective. Roast beef is generally cooked in the oven in its own juices.

While pot roast is a traditional French dish, roast beef originates in England. Both dishes migrated to the United States and became popular over there.

Pot roast is tougher in texture compared to roast beef; the latter being the most tender meat meal around.

Pot roast is cooked slowly in order for the ingredients to reach a perfect blend and consistency. This is why a slow cooker may be a perfect way to cook it. Roast beef, on the other hand, can be cooked at various speeds.

Comparison chart

Pot RoastRoast Beef
Originates in FranceOriginates in England
Is less tenderIs more tender
Is cooked slowlyCan be cooked with various speeds