How To A Make Perfect Roast Beef
Make a perfect roast beef every time with this time tested easy roast beef recipe made with red wine, garlic and a Dijon herb crust. Perfect for weekend dinners and special occasions.
I have been making this roast beef for almost 20 years and it never fails me. Super simple with a delicious Dijon and herb crust that is to die for.
This roast beef is first roasted in the oven for about a half-hour at a high temperature to seal in the juices and to create a crispy outer coating. Then slow-roasted in the oven for another 2 hours creating a juicy tender cut of beef and delicious pan juices to go with.
What is best to serve this with?
To make this roast beef recipe the perfect weekend dinner feast I often serve these side dishes alongside:
- Creamy Parsnip Puree
- Butter Smothered Green Beans & Cashews
- Creamy Garlic Mushrooms
- Sauteed Rapini
- Glazed Carrots with Honey & Balsamic
- Garden Herb White and Green Bean Salad
- Mushroom & Herb Bread Stuffing
Ingredients & Substitutions
- Beef – Look for a cut of beef that is lean with a little marbling. I like to use an inside round, top sirloin or rump roast. It is the fat from the marbling that gives the roast its flavour and a little fat goes a long way.
- Red wine – You don’t need to cook with expensive wines but it is important that you choose a wine that tastes good and pairs well with the meat. Choose a dry red with moderate tannins and medium body like a merlot, zinfandel, cabernet or chianti. Or if you prefer to stay away from wine in cooking you can replace the wine with beef broth.
- Garlic – Full cloves of garlic are needed and are used to stuff inside the roast.
- Dijon mustard – Gives the roast great flavour, and helps the seasonings to stick to the outside of the roast to form a nice crust. If you do not have Dijon regular yellow mustard will do but make sure it is unsweetened.
- Coarse salt – Adds flavour and helps to form a crust on the outside of the beef.
- Pepper – ground black pepper or ground peppercorns.
- Oregano – This herb goes great with beef and adds flavour and contributes to the outside crust.
- Onions – Used to infuse flavour into the beef as well as flavour the pan juices.
making a perfect roast beef in the oven
Preheat the oven to 450° F. Using a paring knife cut slits even throughout the outside of the roast in place a clove of garlic inside each slit.
Ensure the garlic is fully tucked inside because once the beef begins roasting and tightening up the garlic will want to rise out of the beef.
You will want to use 4-6 cloves depending on the size of the roast. If you have larger cloves you can cut them in half lengthwise and just use a half per slit.
Then pour 1 cup of red wine and 1 1/2 cups of water into the bottom of a roasting pan. Since every roasting pan is a different size I like to add enough liquid so that when I place my index finger in the liquid comes up to the line of my first knuckle.
Spread the mustard evenly over the outside top and sides of the roast. Then evenly sprinkle the salt, pepper and oregano over the top and sides. This is going to form a nice crust on the roast when done and add tonnes of flavour.
Then add the onions cut in half along the side of the roast as best you can. The onions will steam and add flavour to the beef without being overpowering and will also infuse great flavour into the pan juices.
Next place in the oven at 450° F for half an hour. Do not cover the roast with a lid.
After a half-hour, the bottom of the pan may be dried and dark. Excellent because that pan juice is going to be amazing! That is if you are one to love dark beef gravy.
If you aren’t one of those people check at the 20-minute mark and add more water to the pan if need be.
Reduce the oven temperature to 350° F and add more water to the bottom of the pan if it is dry otherwise leave it alone. If you need to add more 2- 3 cups will do.
Continue to roast for another 1 hour gently basting every 20 minutes or so. I say gently because if you hurl the pan juices at the top of the roast all that lovely crust will shoot off and you don’t want that. So be gentle and baste with care. Sort of a light drizzle of pan juices over top.
Remove from the oven when the internal temperature reaches the desired doneness. Tent the roast with foil and let rest for 10 minutes. Carve against the grain and serve.
How to know when roast beef is cooked?
Use and meat thermometer and insert it into the centre of the roast. Depending on how rare you like your meat look for the thermometer to reach the desired temperature and remove it from the oven.
Here are the temperatures the website Cerfified Angus Beef Recommends for the degree of doneness and each cut of beef has it’s own recommended cook time so adjust the recipe cooking time accordingly.
- Rare – 125°F or 52°C
- Medium Rare – 135°F or 57°C
- Medium – 145°F or 63°C
- Medium Well – 150°F or 66°C
- Well Done – 160°F or 71°C
Why do you rest cuts of meat after cooking?
Resting meat allows the juices to flow back into the centre of the meat so that every piece is as juicy as the rest. When the meat is cooked the fibres in the meat tense up and push the moisture to the outside where some of it will evaporate.
If you cut in the meat right after taking it out of the oven the juices would just run right out and leave you with a grey, dry hunk of leather-tasting meat.
Letting it rest allows the juices to redistribute through the meat again so when you cut into it you have a juicy and tender cut to enjoy.
How do you make the pan juices or gravy?
While the meat is resting pour the pan juices through a sieve into a saucepan or gravy dish. That is it for pan juices. Add salt and pepper to taste.
For gravy, do the same but then bring the juice to a light boil over medium-high heat. In a small glass add a 1/4 cup of cold water. Stir in 2 tbsp of corn starch and stir until smooth. Add the cornstarch mixture to the pan juices and stir.
At first, it may look like the gravy has turned very light in colour but that will dissipate in a few seconds. Lower heat to medium and continue to stir until gravy thickens to desired consistency.
If you need more gravy than you ended up with you can thin it out more water and repeat the cornstarch method again if need be. Remove from heat and serve in a gravy boat alongside the roast beef.
How long will roast beef leftovers last?
Store any leftovers in the fridge in a sealed container for up to 3 days. I like to pour any or some of the remaining pan juices or gravy over top to keep some moisture in the beef because the fridge tends to dry things out sometimes.
To reheat you can do so in the microwave but I prefer to add the leftover roast back to a non-stick pan with some of the gravy or juice and reheat on medium-low.
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Perfect Every Time Roast Beef
- Roasting pan
- Paring knife
- Measuring Cups
- Measuring Spoons
- Carving Knife
- 4 Lb Top Sirloin, Pot Roast, Inside Round or Chuck Roast
- 4-6 cloves garlic
- 1 cup red wine merlot, chianti, zinfandel, cabernet
- 2 cups water approximately
- 3 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 3 tsp coarse salt
- 3/4 tsp black pepper
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 2 onions cut in half
- Preheat the oven to 450° F. Using a paring knife cut slits even throughout the outside of the roast in place a clove of garlic inside each slit. Ensure the garlic is fully tucked inside because once the beef begins roasting and tightening up the garlic will want to rise out of the beef. You will want to use 4-6 cloves depending on the size of the roast. If you have larger cloves you can cut them in half lengthwise and just use a half per slit.
- Then pour 1 cup of red wine and 1 1/2 cups of water into the bottom of a roasting pan. Since every roasting pan is a different size I like to add enough liquid so that when I place my index finger in the liquid comes up to the line of my first knuckle.
- Spread the mustard evenly over the outside top and sides of the roast. Then evenly sprinkle the salt, pepper and oregano over the top and sides.
- Then add the onions cut in half along the side of the roast as best you can. The onions will steam and add flavour to the beef without being overpowering and will also infuse great flavour into the pan juices.
- Next place in the oven at 450° F for half an hour. Do not cover the roast with a lid.
- After the half-hour the bottom of the pan may be dried and dark. Excellent because that pan juice is going to be amazing! That is if you are one to love dark beef gravy. If you aren't one of those people check at the 20-minute mark and add more water to the pan if need be.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 350° F and add more water to the bottom of the pan if it is dry otherwise leave it alone. If you need to add more 2- 3 cups will do.
- Continue to roast for another 1 hour gently basting every 20 minutes or so. I say gently because if you hurl the pan juices at the top of the roast all that lovely crust will shoot off and you don't want that. So be gentle and baste with care. Sort of a light drizzle of pan juices over top. Please refer to the temperature chart in the blog post and check for doneness after the 1 hour mark using a meat thermometer.
- Remove from the oven when the internal temperature reaches the desired doneness. Tent the roast with foil and let rest for 10 minutes. Carve against the grain and serve.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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For the step-by-step version of this recipe, check out the How To Make A Perfect Roast Beef Story.
Came across your recipe ,made it for supper it was Delicious !so much flavors !thank you ! This recipe is definitely a keeper ,!❤️
This was the best roast I ever made – I cooked at 500 for half hour as I loaded up the roasting pan with carrots and potatoes. I then cooked to 135 degrees for medium rare – great flavors – This will now be my go to Spoon roast recipe!
Roast was terribly overdone. After high heat for 30 minutes, a 4lb roast only needed 12-15 min/lb for medium rate. There is no way it needed 2 more hours.
Hi Susan, I am sorry your roast didn’t turn out but there are a few things to consider. Did you reduce the heat after the first half hour? Did you test for doneness using the readiness chart I provided in the post for medium, rare, well done? Since every oven is different, using a thermometer and the temperature chart for desired doneness is the best way to know when to take out your roast at the right time for you. If the roast does not cook at first for 30 minutes at high heat you will lose that dark char on top and in the pan that makes a wonderfully flavourful roast and gravy. I hope you give it another try using the doneness chart provided in the post because it really is a wonderful recipe loved by many.
Yep, mine was well past 160 when I checked it after 20 minutes at 350. And I only did 25 minutes at 450.
Hi Alicea and Susan,
I have adjusted the recipe to accommodate those who may be using a different cut or have ovens that run hotter so that overcooking can be avoided. I would rather the meat need to be cooked a little longer than overdo it so cut the cooking time way down. I certainly am not a fan of well done beef.
The new cooking times assume that a Sirloin or Eye of Round are being used. The cut really does make a difference so I also included a link to cooking times by cut of beef to help alleviate overcooking. This can be found in the body of the post.
I do hope you give this recipe another go because it is really quite delicious and one of my most popular recipes. Thanks for your feedback I really do appreciate the insight and hope I have improved the instructions for others moving forward.
It says after 30 minutes reduce to 350 and cook for 1 hour, not 2 hours…
I’m a little bit new to cooking roasts but I love this recipe, so I was wondering, once this has been cooked can it go in the freezer…or is that weird?
You can for sure freeze this but I would freeze it with some gravy because after freezing it will dry out a bit. Then pop it with the gravy in a pan and thaw over low heat to warm.
Do you ever cover the pan like maybe after you reduce temperature?
Hi Robyn, I don’t ever cover this roast but if you are cooking a larger roast that needs to be cooked for longer and find the top starting to char you can certainly do so.
Hello. This is the second time that I will be using your recipe for roast beef. Absolutely delicious!
Woot woot! Love hearing this Jackie. Thanks for sharing!
This was fantastic!! I used a 3.5 lb spoon roast and it was perfect with this recipe. Thank you!
My pleasure Leigh. So happy you loved it!
Can you use sirloin tip?
Sure! This recipe works with pretty much any roast.
The flavor of this is good. However I cooked my 4.25 pound roast exactly to the recipe. It was overdone 45 minutes prior to the 2 hours. I think with all the liquid it cooks more like a pot roast. Also the 30 minutes at 450 is longer than most recipes for a sear. My meat was well done at 45 minutes early and my family likes it rare. Was very disappointed.
Hi Jen, Inside the post, there is a section that talks about measuring the doneness of a roast using a thermometer. A rare roast will take much less time than one that is medium. The recipe itself is very clear to cook to the desired doneness so to ensure the roast is cooked to rare I would recommend reducing the sear time to 20 minutes and then cooking the roast only until the desired doneness is achieved. It is also important to note that everyone’s oven is different with some cooking hotter or cooler so, with any recipe, I would suggest watching the doneness or internal temperature closely. I do hope you give this recipe a try again with the time adjustments because it is really quite delicious!
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!
Is there a substitute I can use for the red wine?
Hi Fiona, you could use beef broth instead of the red wine.
My roast is in the freezer. Do you totally thaw then cook? I have bought a very large roast for an early Christmas meal with family.
Yes I would make sure the roast beef is fully thawed before cooking.
Can I add other vegetables to the roast besides the onions? Like carrots, celery, potatoes.. or should I make these separately.
Hi Ericka, You sure can just add them near the last half hour or so of cooking so that they don’t become mushy.
Just double checking the second part of step four was not intended as it is repeated in step eight.
Thanks for catching that Mindy! I updated the post to correct the error. It should not have been in step 4.
Does the roast sit on a rack in the pan?
No, the roast does not need to sit on a rack. I personally don’t use one but if you prefer it won’t hurt.
Hi Jim! No there is not need for this roast to sit on a rack.
Sounds delicious—My roast is is only 1.5lbs how do I adjust the cooking time … ???
Hi Priscilla, I have not had experience with this size of roast but usually, at 350F it takes 20-30 minutes per lb. But I like to get that char happening at the high temp to form a crust. So based on that I would recommend putting it in the oven at 400F and check it after 20 minutes with a meat thermometer based on the desired amount of doneness. I have a chart for the temperatures for rare, medium and well-done to guide you on the temps. If after 20 minutes it still needs to cook reduce the heat to 350F and check every 10 minutes. Don’t forget when you take it out cover it with foil and let it rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Let me know how it turns out.
Thanks so much for this post. It’s like a masterclass in roast beef!
Wow, this certainly sounds like the perfect roast beef – so delicious and perfect for the whole family.
That meat looks so juicy and full of flavor. I love the details you’ve shared in here.. Everyone struggling with beef roast should read this post, really helpful !!
Thanks so much Alisha
That looks so good, I love both the red wine to make the sauce/keep it moist and mustard crust. Yum!
I was just telling my fiance that I need to make a roast – it’s been so long and I think it’s the perfect comfort food this time of year. I LOVE the rub on this one!