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Horizontal image of a large white platter with shredded meat in a red sauce over roasted vegetables.

Slow Cooker Cranberry Chuck Roast

  • Author: Fanny Slater
  • Total Time: 8 hours, 40 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x


The epitome of comfort food, our slow cooker chuck roast swimming with tart cranberry sauce is a match made in heaven for a fall feast.


  • 4-pound boneless beef chuck roast
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt, divided, plus more to taste
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil, divided
  • 1 cup chopped sweet onion (about 1/2 medium) 
  • 1 cup chopped celery (about 2 stalks)
  • 1 teaspoon dried mustard powder
  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 14-ounce can whole berry cranberry sauce (or 2 cups homemade)
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, for garnish (optional)


  1. Pat the chuck roast dry and season all over with 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper, gently pressing so it adheres.
  2. If your slow cooker has a saute setting, add 2 tablespoons of oil into the insert and set to high. If your slow cooker doesn’t have that function, heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat on the stove.
  3. When the oil is shimmering, add the beef and sear on all sides until a golden-brown crust forms, about 1-2 minutes per side. Transfer the beef to a plate.
  4. Lower your slow cooker’s saute setting or your burner to medium heat. Add the remaining oil and let it heat up for 1-2 minutes. Saute the onion and celery until softened, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in the remaining salt and pepper, the dried mustard powder, and the tomato paste. Continue to cook for about 1 minute.
  5. Scraping the bottom of the insert or pan as you pour, stir in the apple cider vinegar, canned tomatoes, cranberry sauce, thyme, and bay leaf. If you’re working on the stove, transfer the mixture to your slow cooker insert.
  6. Transfer the seared beef and any juices that have collected on the plate to the slow cooker. Spoon about 1/2 cup of the tomato-cranberry mixture over the top of the beef so it’s well-moistened. 
  7. Cover and cook the roast on low for 8-10 hours. When it’s done, the beef will be extremely tender and beginning to fall apart,. and a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the roast will register at least 145˚F. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for 10-15 minutes. Discard the thyme sprigs and bay leaf. Season the sauce to taste with additional salt.
  8. Shred or slice the meat and arrange on a serving platter. Top with 1 cup sauce, garnish with the parsley, and serve with the remaining sauce on the side.
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8 hours, 20 minutes
  • Category: Roast
  • Method: Slow Cooker
  • Cuisine: Beef

Keywords: slow cooker, beef, chuck, cranberry