I Made a Coca-Cola Pot Roast and It’s the Best Easy Weeknight Dinner

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This Coca-Cola pot roast is tasty and pull-apart tender. Your slow cooker will do all the work for you!

There are few dishes as comforting as a slow-cooked pot roast. It’s one of those meals that you start enjoying long before your first bite, since it fills the house with a delicious aroma as it cooks. My mom would make Coca-Cola pot roast for holidays, and I remember the smell wafting up to my bedroom. It was a sure sign that a special meal was to come.

For my mom, making pot roast was an all day labor of love, reserved only for special occasions. But with this slow cooker recipe, you get the same fall-apart meat and tender veggies, without spending all day in the kitchen. A slow cooker is perfect for low and slow cooking, as it keeps the temperature even. You don’t have to fuss at all. Just a bit of work in the morning, and by dinner, you’ve got a meal to remember!

These are the best slow cooker brands, according to our Test Kitchen.

Why Cook with Coca-Cola?

For a large and tough cut of meat like chuck roast, your best bet is to braise the meat. In this recipe, the Coca-Cola helps tenderize the meat and create that incredible fall-apart texture. And while red wine (another favorite liquid for braising meats) brings complexity with its tannins, Coca-Cola brings complexity with its sugars. As they cook and break down, they create a caramelized flavor in the meat and jus, with a subtle sweetness.

If possible, use the glass bottle of Mexican Coca-Cola, which is made with real sugar.

How to Make a Coke Pot Roast

coca cola pot roast ingredientsJamie Thrower for Taste of Home

This pot roast recipe serves 6-8.

Ingredients

  • 4 pounds chuck roast
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion
  • 4 carrots
  • 4 ribs celery
  • 1 bulb garlic, sliced in half crosswise
  • 1-1/2 pounds small potatoes
  • 1 package Lipton’s onion soup mix
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 355ml bottle Mexican Coca-Cola
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and pepper

Editor’s Tip: Mexican Coke tastes different than American Coke because it’s made with cane sugar instead of high-fructose corn syrup. It’s also packaged in a glass bottle instead of plastic or metal.

Directions

Step 1: Prep chuck roast and veggies

coca cola pot roast step 1Jamie Thrower for Taste of Home

Season your chuck roast at least 45 minutes (but up to 24 hours) before you’re ready to cook. Sprinkle a heavy hand of salt on all sides, as well as some cracked pepper. Let it sit out at room temperature for a 1/2 hour before searing.

Meanwhile, cut all your vegetables. The onion gets sliced lengthwise, and the carrots and celery get cut into long chunks. The potatoes can be quartered and the garlic sliced crosswise.

Mix together the onion soup mix, cream of mushroom soup, beef broth and Coca-Cola, and set aside.

Pull out your slow cooker and set it up on your counter.

Step 2: Brown chuck and veggies

coca cola pot roast step 2Jamie Thrower for Taste of Home

If your slow cooker has a searing setting, then you can do this in the crock; otherwise use a pan on the stovetop.

When you’re ready to sear the chuck, bring the pan up to heat and pour in the oil. Sear the meat on all sides until it’s a deep brown. Do not rush this step! This is where the flavor builds.

When the chuck is fully browned, remove it from the pot and add the veggies in its place, along with a pinch of salt. Stir for a few minutes until the onions begin to look translucent. Pour a splash of the liquid mixture into the veggies to deglaze the pan and mix well.

Step 3: Cook in slow cooker

coca cola pot roast step 3Jamie Thrower for Taste of Home

Add the chuck roast, deglazed veggies, liquid mixture, bay leaf and a pinch of salt to the slow cooker. Set to low, cover and cook for 6-8 hours.

Editor’s Tip: You’ll want to avoid these common slow cooker mistakes.

Step 4: Separate meat and veggies

coca cola pot roast step 4Jamie Thrower for Taste of Home

When the pot roast is done, remove the chuck roast from the slow cooker. Strain out the sauce from the veggies, reserving both of them separately.

The liquid, also known as the jus, will have a layer of fat on top. If you’re eating the roast immediately, remove the fat layer by skimming it off with a spoon. If you’re not eating until the following day, let the jus cool in the fridge overnight (with the meat). The fat will solidify, so you can easily separate it from the liquid.

You can reduce the liquid in a saucepan, or taste and season to serve as is.

Step 5: Serve and enjoy

Serve pot roast surrounded by vegetables, with jus poured over top and a good sprinkle of flake salt.

Here’s What I Thought

coca cola pot roast servingJamie Thrower for Taste of Home

The great thing is, this dish really is foolproof! The Coca-Cola and onion soup mix provide the flavor bomb, mushroom soup provides thickener, the slow cooker will control the temperature and the whole point is to make a fall-apart meat, so you don’t have to be too precious about anything!

The things I found to be most important are:

  • A good sear brings out loads of flavor. You never want to sear a cold piece of meat, so make sure to let the chuck come to temp.

  • Don’t skimp on liquids. You can even replace beef broth with water; it will still yield a flavorful pot roast.

  • Don’t rush it! This kind of cooking doesn’t require a lot of fuss, but it does call for time and patience. Let the pot roast do its thing and it will pay off!

  • This dish is delicious served warm out of the slow cooker, but it will be even better the next day. It also freezes wonderfully.

Once you make this Coca-Cola pot roast, you’re sure to want more slow-cooked goodness in your life. Thankfully, there’s a whole world of slow cooker recipes to unearth! Just toss in the ingredients and before you know it, dinner will be ready.

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Risa Lichtman
Risa Lichtman is a chef and writer living in Portland, Oregon. She is the owner/chef of Lepage Food & Drinks, a small food company featuring Jewish seasonal foods, providing takeaway all around Portland. She has previously published poems in Poetica Magazine, the anthology The Art of Bicycling, Maggid: A Journal of Jewish Literature, and The Dos Passos Review. She lives with her wife Jamie, their dog Isaac, and their cat Sylvia. Follow her at @risaexpizza, or find her delicious food offerings on @lepagefoodanddrinks.