How to Tell if Pot Roast is Done?

Pot roast is a classic American dish.

It combines a large piece of beef, chuck, or brisket and vegetables such as onions, carrots, and potatoes, perfectly simmered. But while cooking meat, the biggest challenge you come across is how to get the perfectly roasted pot.

So, how do you tell if pot roast is done? Stab a fork into the meat and check its firmness. If it slips off easily, it’s done. Or, check the roast temperature near the end of the cooking time using a thermometer.

The internal temperature of the pot should be 145 degrees or more. To make it more clear, I have mentioned the steps further in this article. Read on!

How Do You Know if Pot Roast Is Done?

First and foremost, you need to know the exact amount of heat and time that needs to be applied for your pot roast. This ensures that the meal doesn’t turn too tender or undercooked.

The process seems a little tricky, but when done with a bit of caution, we’re sure your pot roast is going to turn out just perfect! Given below are detailed descriptions of how you can check if your pot roast is ready.

Step 1: Get a kitchen thermometer and make use of it

This step will prevent you from serving meat that is uncooked or overcooked.

The most common type of thermometer available in the “instant-read” thermometer. They are digital or standard and also have a probe attached to one end of it and a number display on the other. 

Step 2: Insert the thermometer correctly

Insert the probe end at the center of the pot after it has cooked for the right amount of time (time mentioned on the post-roast recipe). Pot roasts generally get cooked within 2 or two-and-a-half hours of cooking time, but the length may vary.

Step 3: Check the temperature

Note the numbers displayed on the thermometer. It is recommended that round toasts cook to a temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit, whereas chuck/ brisket to 160 degrees Fahrenheit.

You can roast red meat like beef and lamb to different temperatures depending on your needs. Given below is a quick table to help you decide the right temperature.

Temperature (in F) Temperature (in C) Roast Type
125 F 49 C Rare
130 F 55 C Medium-rare
140 F 60 C Medium
155 F 68 C Medium-well
165 F 74 C Very well done

How to Tell if a Roast is Done Without a Thermometer?

If you don’t have a thermometer, you don’t need to panic. I have got alternative methods for you. 

pot roast_cooking

Method 1: The touch test

Many chefs around the world use the touch test. However, what’s the touch test? It is a method of checking the doneness of your meat by touching it with your hands. 

Touch the meat with your finger. Then, feel the part below your thumb.

If the meat feels like the bottom of your thumb, then it is still raw. The meat is rare if it feels the same as when you hold your index finger and thumb together.

Now, touch your thumb to the middle finger.

If the meat feels like that, then your meat is medium-rare. Then, connect the ring finger and the thumb: If the meat feels like that, it’s medium.

Lastly, join the pinky and the thumb. If the meat has a similar feel, it doesn’t need more cooking.

Method 2: Use a cake tester 

Another method used by people is to determine the doneness using a cake tester.

Insert the tester in the middle of the cut of the meat. If it’s cold, the meat is raw. But if it’s warm, the meat is medium-rare (it’ll be as warm as your body). If it’s hot, then you’re good to go.

How to Tell if Pot Roast is Overcooked?

You can tell if a pot roast needs more cooking or not by applying the next tips.

  • Cut a slice or two of the meat to check whether your pot roast is overcooked or undercooked. If you’ve overcooked your pot roast, it will appear dry with flaky muscle fibers and will separate as you slice it.
  • If you cook your roast for too long, it may also turn mushy or tough.

How Do You Know When a Crock-Pot Roast is Done?

When cooking in a crock-pot, ensure that the cooking time is between 4-6 hours on high and 8-10 hours on low flame.

Keep noting the time and turn off the heat after checking the texture of the roast. If the roast is tender and you fork press it easily, it is fully cooked.

Remove the roast from the crockpot and slice it into chunks. Serve with vegetables and gravy for better presentation and taste.

How Do You Tell if a Roast is Cooked?

The following factors can help you determine if a roast needs more cooking or not.


According to the USDA recommendations, roasts are supposed to be cooked to 145 degrees F and should be kept to cool down for around 3 minutes. A temperature of about 106 degrees F (minimum) should be ensured for the food to be cooked safely.


Meat cooked to a temperature of 172 to 180 degrees Fahrenheit or 78 to 82 degrees Celsius is considered well cooked.

Also, well-cooked meat has a dark brown exterior crust, while its inside is entirely gray or brown with no trace of pink/red. 

Related Questions

Why is my roast tough in crock-pot?

If your roast is tough, it might be possible that you did not use a boneless chuck roast. Or you did not cook it for long enough. It probably needs an additional 1-2 hours of cooking, i.e., cook until it easily shreds using a fork.

What should the internal temperature of a pot roast be?

On a meat thermometer, the temperature should read not less than 145 degrees Fahrenheit or 65 degrees Celsius in the thickest part of the roast.

The USDA recommends an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Take readings of meat of various parts, starting from the thickest part. Consider the lowest of all.

Is it possible to overcook pot roast?

Yes. If your first bite of the roast is very chewy, you’ve probably overcooked the roast.

The pot roast gets overcooked when left on the flame for a time longer than that which is recommended. The ideal cooking time for pot roast is 8-10 hours maximum.

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