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How To Cook A Frozen Roast Without Thawing

Affiliate Disclosure | in Recipes | by | with 43 Comments

So easy! How to cook a frozen roast without thawing.

Quick! You Have One Hour . . .

To do ANYTHING you want – what do you do?

a) Rob a bank

b) Take a nap

c) Read a book while soaking in a hot bath with a glass of wine

d) Absolutely nothing!

e) Get a massage

f) Make dinner, scrape pans, sweep the floor and collapse in a heap on the couch

If You Chose “F” Do Not . . .

I repeat, do not read this post! The paragraphs below are meant to get you OUT of the kitchen and BACK TO those things you promised yourself you’d make more time for: a night out with friends, yoga – heck, maybe just a shower. If this does not interest you, please exit via the little red “x” in the top left corner.

[looks around] Okay, now that we’re alone I have a confession: I love to cook, but I don’t want to spend all day in the kitchen. If you feel the same way, here are two secret weapons for cooking from scratch in a fraction of the time.

My Secret Weapon: The No-Thaw Pot Roast

We all know crock pots save a ton of “hands on” time, but they often require a lot of planning: remembering to thaw meat + shopping for ingredients + getting up early enough to chop/dice/sear/etc.

High five if you are always that organized, but I’m not! That’s why this roast is different. Though there is a searing option, I’ve created a recipe that I can throw together without any advance notice in a matter of minutes. If you’ve wondered how to cook a frozen roast without thawing, this recipe is for you.

ingredients for cooking a frozen roast in the crock pot

Ranch-Style No-Thaw Roast

This is a from-scratch adaptation of this “To Die For” pot roast which has been hailed around the web as one of the most delightful combinations of flavors every thrown into a pot and ignored for hours. I agree!


  • 3-4 pound chuck, arm or rump roast (where to buy 100% grass fed beef)
  • 1 cup water or broth
  • 1 batch ranch seasoning mix (about 7 tablespoons – see recipe below)
  • 1 batch Italian seasoning mix (3 tablespoons + 3/4 teaspoon – see recipe below)
  • onions, carrots, potatoes, etc. as desired
  • 2-4 tablespoons flour or arrowroot powder for making gravy (optional)
  • coconut oil, ghee, tallow or lard for browning, optional (here to buy pastured lard, how to render your own lard)
  • A sprig of fresh herbs if you have them (I added rosemary)

Ranch Seasoning Mix:

  • 3 tablespoons dried parsley
  • 1 tablespoon dried dill weed
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper

Italian Seasoning Mix: 

  • 1 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 3/4 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried celery leaves


1. Though this step is optional, I recommend browning the roast to seal in it’s natural flavor and juices before placing it in the crock pot. Here’s how:

A. Place your roast in a bowl of warm to hot water for 10 minutes to slightly thaw the outside, flipping once to make sure each side is submerged. While you’re waiting to move on to the next step, measure your spices into a bowl.

B. To brown, warm 1-2 tablespoons of  coconut oil/ghee/tallow/lard in a pan over medium/high heat. Place roast in the pan and cook on all sides until the exterior is nice and brown.

C. If desired, you can build the complexity of this dish’s flavor by tossing your veggies in to caramelize before adding them to the crock pot. Onions and carrots are delicious this way. Potatoes, not so much :)

2. Place any veggies you want to include (onions, carrots, potatoes, etc) into the crock pot, then add the roast. Pour one cup of broth/water around the roast. Sprinkle seasoning over the top and cover. (NOTE: Herbs lose some of their flavor when left in a crock pot for several hours. This recipe compensates by using more herbs to that the flavor is well-distributed throughout the roast. However, you can just as easily add them at the very end of the cooking process. Start with half of what the recipe calls for and then increase as desired. You may want to add some additional salt since it’s included in the seasoning mix and you’re not using the full amount.)

3. Set to high and cook for 5-6 hours, or  low and cook for 8-10 hours, or until meat is tender. Add spices if you haven’t already.

4. When the roast is ready, make gravy using one of these two methods – I use arrowroot powder instead of cornstarch. Add salt if desired.

Is It Safe To Cook Frozen Meat In A Crock Pot?

Before I wrap up this post, I want to mention that there is a lot of conflicting advice on the web about whether it’s safe to cook frozen meat in a crock pot. Some say it will cause the meat to stay too long at a temperature which promotes bacteria growth. However, the manufacturer of the Crock Pot brand of slow cooker has issued an official statement, saying it’s fine if you follow these guidelines:

  • Add at least 1 cup of warm liquid to the stoneware before placing meat in the stoneware.
  • Do not preheat the slow cooker.
  • Cook recipes containing frozen meats for an additional 4 to 6 hours on Low, or an additional 2 hours on High.

Source: Crock Pot Official Site ~ Hints & Tips

However, if you’d like the peace of mind that comes with knowing the roast has reached the recommended temperature, use a meat thermometer to measure when the roast has reached 150-155F. Because the internal temperature will continue to rise while it rests it will reach the recommended temperature of 160F.

As a final note, many traditional recipes call for roasting at lower temperatures than is currently recommended. I love this roast turkey from Nourished Kitchen.

Happy eating, y’all! :)

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43 Responses to How To Cook A Frozen Roast Without Thawing

  1. Cathy says:

    “Forgets-to-thaw” is my middle name! Well, not really…I’m excited to try this recipe with the grassfed top round roast that’s been sitting in my freezer for months. So nice of you to include recipies for the ranch and italian seasonings too! :)

    • Heather says:

      I hope you like it, Cathy! And I’m glad you found the seasoning recipes helpful. I originally combined the two for one list, but then figured they might come in handy as separate recipes. I like more salt in each one than each list calls for because together they make the roast too salty. You might want to add a little more if using them on their own, though :)

  2. Jenn says:

    This is awesome! Could we do something like this with a frozen chicken in a crockpot as well? So excited for the class!

    • Heather says:

      Crock Pot says you can do frozen meat, but doesn’t specify which ones. Some may conclude that all are okay, some may feel more comfortable with cuts like roast.

    • Kathy Miller says:

      I cook frozen turkey breasts and they turn out AMAZING!

    • Jen says:

      I’ve done whole chickens this way, but I remove skin and inside “stuff” before freezing. Our favorite is to use taco seasoning (from Food Renegade) them shred chicken for anything from tacos, quesadillas, soup or salads.

  3. Mary says:

    Where’s the rosemary?

    • Heather says:

      I just threw it in because I had it, but I don’t usually use it. You can adjust the herbs in your Italian seasoning to whatever you like best :)

  4. Tara says:

    Do you use the whole batch of each type of seasoning on one roast? Just checking, since that seems like a lot of seasoning. Is the whole batch used, or do you just sprinkle some on?

  5. ValerieH says:

    As long as the frozen roast fits in my crockpot, I do this all the time. Sometimes I have to defrost it enough to bend the edges. I do this with the slow cooker or the pressure cooker. I have made roasts with and without searing. I can’t say it makes that much of a difference if I’m short on time.

    Since I have moved to Real Food, I have gotten out of the habit of using a lot of seasonings. I have some herb blends from Penzeys that I like. If I use them on a roast, they might get 1-2 tsps per side at most. Pastured meat has so much more flavor than meat from the grocery store. Fewer seasonings are needed for the meat to shine. I put very little liquid because the roast will provide enough to braise it. I have been cooking for over 20 years. Too much fluids and you will find the roast floating at the end. For beef, I use 1/2 to 1 onion, a few cloves of garlic, a bay leaf, salt, 1/2-1 cup of wine, broth or water with wine vinegar. For pork roasts I might get more creative. I have used barbecue seasonings or ginger/garlic/soy sauce/rice wine vinegar for an asian spin. The barbecue spices was a recipe I found on the web for making barbecue sauce. I had some of the mix leftover after making the sauce.

    • Rebecca B. says:

      Thanks for posting your go to spices as well. I totally went into the kitchen to start the roast only to find I am sorely lacking in the spice cabinet!! I didn’t have half of them, oops, not my normal! I’m such a recipe follower I would have had to scour the internet for some way to season my roast.
      But regarding the original recipe, can’t wait to come back to try it, I’ve long eyed that popular original recipe, being intrigued, but would never have those mixes in my pantry.

  6. Amanda says:

    Can I have instructions for mixing the ranch up into dressing, please?

  7. Jemma says:

    Thanks for sharing this recipe. I think a rosemary ranch no-thaw roast is perfect for a Sunday dinner. Thanks also for sharing the tip about the crock pot. Now I know how to use it better when cooking frozen meat. :)

  8. Cathy S says:

    Does anyone know if there would be a reason not to sear the roast before freezing it?

    • Heather says:

      I know of a few people that do this – seems totally fine to me! If mine came thawed I totally would just to save a step later :)

      • blueberry says:

        Just don’t omit adding hot liquid to the crock pot if you choose not to sear the meat. The hot liquid isn’t in the crock pot to make sure the meat gets cooked to temperature; it’s actually in there to help ease the temperature change from the heat the crock pot is generating and the cold from the meat. If you just put a frozen lump on meat in a crock pot and turn it on, the crock pot could crack.

  9. Ramy says:

    I made a totally awesome pork shoulder roast yesterday. Took it out of the freezer, put it in my Le Creuset dutch oven (love that thing). Put some minced garlic on top and added a little red wine. Set the oven to 250 and stuck it in there (lid on) for about 4 hours. Perfection. Simplicity. This was a pasture raised, heritage breed roast, about 2 pounds.

  10. Kirsten V says:

    Yum!!! I’m on my way to pick up a couple of pastured roasts right now. I’ll definitely be giving this recipe a whirl this week! :)

  11. Weekend Links - Keeper of the Home says:

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  12. Teresa says:

    Good taste. Didn’t have arrowroot or anything else in pantry, oddly, so didn’t make gravy, but the broth left in crock pot was not like traditional drippings – much liquid – do you reduce it down before taking 2 tbs? What else can you use the excess liquid for?

  13. Meal Plan Monday #30 - We Got Real says:

    […] Crockpot rosemary ranch roast, potatoes, and […]

  14. Health & Organic Wellbeing ( H.O.W ) says:

    Thanks for sharing!

  15. Kammy says:

    Hey Heather!
    This recipe looks awesome, I’ll definitely have to tell my mom about this one. But I just have one issue; SEARING does not “seal in the juices” of meat. This is a common misconception; I think it may step from the idea of cauterizing a wound, but searing or even dipping meat into boiling water is not the same at all. Searing it creates beautiful flavours, but it does not help with keeping the juices in. I went to cooking school and if there was one thing that all of the chefs pounded into us it is that searing meat does not seal it. They even filmed an experiment of it to show their point between. I am still a huge fan of searing for flavour though. I love being able to brown the meat and then the onions and veg just to layer flavours and get as much out of that meat as possible.

  16. Christine says:

    Where’s the rosemary? :)

  17. Home Production and Gardening–September 2013 | Prepare Every Needful Thing says:

    […] Frozen Roasts.  I love this one.  Unwrap your 3-4 lb frozen roast and place it in your cooker with 1 cup warm water.  Cook on low 8-10 hours or 5-6 hours on high, until meat is tender and a safe internal temperature is reached.  I have done this with a much larger piece of meat (a ham) and it was great, it just took a little longer. For instructions on browning and a recipe, see: […]

  18. Christina says:

    I am trying this today! I did the option where I seared it! Smells so good already.

  19. Ashley says:

    I can NOT wait to try my frozen rump roast from my organic beef I have in the freezer…I put it in the fridge yesterday and this morning…still VERY much frozen ha ha ha So I will be trying this method! I get my ranch and Italian seasonings from Wildtree (we’re all natural/certified organic as well!) They both are AMAZING ! And I will sear in our grapeseed oil! This recipe should be PERFECT! 😀 Thanks for the directions!

  20. Kelly says:

    I do a LOT of freezer meals. My husband and I will take a weekend making scratch spaghetti sauce, and then make as many lasagnas we can, leaving some just sauce. Or enchilada filling and then an “assemble” day. We still have to plan our “ready-meals”…which may or not thaw during the required timeframe. However, we are honing in on the cooking time adjustments for about every stage of thaw.

    Same as slow-cooking with frozen meats. Great topic! I’ve wondered what techniques other cooks have used in this situation

  21. Krystal Wight Armstrong says:

    I made your pot roast quite awhile back and really liked it.
    I’m making it again today with a thawed 3lb rump roast and about 2.5″ of veggies sitting under it in the pot. …Since your recipe says to just use as many veggies as you want, I just wanted to ask if the cup of liquid would need to be enough to reach the meat?
    I poured in just a little more than 1 cup water, but it’s not enough to see it under the vegetables, or to touch the meat sitting on top. Should that still be plenty, or should there be more liquid? I’m exactly not sure what’s supposed to do, so I don’t know if I have enough.
    Thanks for any help!
    (PS- Should I alter the time/temp much for thawed roast?)

  22. Clay says:

    This looks to easy NOT to try! I’ve got a nice venison roast in the freezer that is about to go in the crockpot as we speak!

  23. susanna says:

    Tried this yesterday!! It was a success!!!!

  24. Susan Lee says:

    Snow Day! I was already planning on making this recipe today, now I get to smell it cooking all day

  25. Sandra says:

    Also I used ALL the seasonings you included, and mine looks absolutely crusted in them, not like your pretty photo. :) I hope it will taste okay. I did pre-sear the roast for flavor.

  26. How To Cook Frozen Roast | Adsense says:

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  27. Lucy says:

    Best roast beef I ever made/had! Thanks so much!
    My family and I enjoyed it. I made it last Saturday and I am making it again today! :)

  28. 55+ Healthy Lunch Ideas – MommypotamusMommypotamus | says:

    […] Ranch-style pot roast […]

  29. Amaryllis says:

    I have always had great success cooking my roast from frozen. My recipe is a bit different….I use EVOO, garlic, s&p to sear; I add only potatoes, carrots and onions to slow cooker; using the pan I seared in I add more garlic, extra seasonings (oregano, thyme, turmeric), 3 small cubes beef broth, flour (handful), 1 pack au jus gravy, cook slightly then deglaze with 1 cup good red wine, after I add 1/2 c water. I pour this over my roast in the slow cooker, crank it on high and let it go. Amazing every time!

  30. How To Cook Without A Recipe Book | italian - surprising european cuisine says:

    […] How To Cook A Frozen Roast Without … – If you’ve wondered how to cook a frozen roast without thawing, this recipe is for you. It’s great for last minute situations where thawing isn’t an option. […]

  31. Arial Burnz says:

    Thank you so much for posting this recipe and method. I threw our pork roast in the freezer yesterday, not thinking, and we were going to be stuck without dinner tonight. I looked up “pork roast crock pot frozen” and your article came up. I’m so glad it did!

    Looking forward to dinner tonight!! I’ll try to remember to come back and check in to let you know how it went.

    Arial 😀

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