This top round roast beef recipe is my family's favorite, and we have pretty high standards for roast beef. I have had this recipe saved in a Google Doc for over five years because my sister-in-law asks for this recipe at least three times a year. It is savory, tender, and this top round roast beef will be your go-to recipe for your family--I promise.
I was hesitant to publish this before, well, this is a predominantly healthy recipe blog and I assumed this wouldn't be healthy the way I cook it. I was pleasantly surprised to find it is actually kind of healthy. When I say kind of healthy, I mean a serving is 271 calories and 8 Weight Watchers points (208 calories and 5 WW SP if you skip the gravy). This is with no shortcuts, no healthy substitutions, real butter and real gravy.
Cooking tools for roast beef
This cooking process involves browning your meat and checking the temperature. The pan and thermometer I use are both linked in my Amazon storefront. I highly recommend using a thermometer that you can keep in the meat and monitor outside of your oven. I use the same for my Thanksgiving turkey. For the cooking, I use my giant stainless steel pan because I can brown and finish in the oven. You can use a roasting pan and brown in a cast iron; you won't get the crust in a nonstick. I prefer the stainless steel because it's one less pan to wash.
You will need a whisk for the gravy and a good knife. Don't waste your time on an electric knife, just get a good sharp knife like the one I have also listed in my Amazon store. By the way, I make very little money from those affiliates (like pennies), but the knife, pan, and thermometer are all things I love and recommend to everyone.
The best herbs for roast beef
I always use rosemary and thyme for my roast beef. I use a lot of garlic, and these herbs pair wonderfully with the beef and garlic. They have to be fresh. Even if you tend to use the dry stuff, try to go fresh here. It is well worth it.
Should I sear my roast beef before cooking?
Yes, and here's why. The sealing in the juices thing is a myth, but it does develop a nice crust that continues to cook when the top round roast beef cooks in the oven. When cooking on the fat cap, this will also render that fat and make everything even more delicious.
Before cooking anything, you need to take your meat out and let it rest for 1-2 hours. The reason why you are doing this is so the beef can cook evenly; if the beef is cold in the middle, you will have uneven temperature and you can have a raw middle or an over cooked outer layer.
GENEROUSLY salt your beef. I used a little over 1 tbsp. of kosher salt (I do acknowledge I can be heavier handed with salt so feel free to use just 1 tbsp). I allow the beef to sit salted for 10 minutes before searing. I blot the top round roast beef with a paper towel to dry it before searing--you need dry meat to sear properly. I sear for about 3 minutes on medium high on each side--it is more about color than time. You are looking for a nice, golden brown.
What vegetables do I add to roast beef?
You can use any vegetables, especially root vegetables in the bottom of your pan. I choose to use 1 potato, 1 onion, 4 carrots, and 2 celery stalks--all roughly chopped. I add a handful of thyme and rosemary with the vegetables and another big pinch of salt to pan after searing the beef.
I cook the vegetables for two minutes while scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. After a few minutes, I delgaze the pan with 1 cup of beef broth. It is important to scrape the brown bits (the fond if you're fancy) with the broth to get maximum flavor. Once the brown bits are scraped up, I add the rest of the beef broth.
Do I need a roasting pan for roast beef?
You do not need a roasting pan for this top round roast beef. You could use it, but I piled my hearty vegetables like potatoes and carrots in the middle and rest the beef directly on them. You can, however, use a roasting pan and rack.
High Low Cooking for Roast Beef
I use the high low cooking technique for my top round roast beef, similar to my Thanksgiving Turkey recipe. I cook this at 450°F for 20 minutes before cooking 275°F until it comes to temperature. I cook mine a little higher than medium rare and take my top round roast beef out at 130°F knowing that the temperature will rise 5-10 degrees.
- Rare 120-130°F
- Medium Rare 130-135°F
- Medium 135-145°F
- Medium Well 145-155°F
- Well 155°F+
It is important to note that you need to let your top round roast beef rest for 20-30 minutes before slicing. In the meantime, you can make your gravy and even make this quick Simple Roasted Green Bean side dish,
Roast Beef and Gravy
I love gravy with roast beef instead of Au Jus. While the roast beef is resting, I strain the stock to remove the vegetables and herbs. I add 4 tbsp of cold, salted butter to the pan and 1/4 flour. Whisk the flour for a minute or so on medium--you will see the flour expanded each time you stir and it should be a rich color like a caramel candy.
Slowly whisk in the reserved beef broth and drippings. If the beef gravy is too thick and you want it thinner, you can thin it out with more beef broth. Depending on the broth, you may need to adjust the seasonings. I tend to add a little more salt, plenty of black pepper, and I simmer with a sprig of rosemary.
On occasion, I have added a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce, beef broth, or a tsp Gravy Master (which my wife's grandmother swears by).
Roast Beef Weight Watchers
Like I said before, this recipe is way more Weight Watchers friendly than I anticipated. A serving is 271 calories and 8 Weight Watchers points (208 calories and 5 WW SP if you skip the gravy). Each serving would be half of a pound raw which ends up being a 6 ounce portion cooked (meat shrinks about 25%). This is a double portion of what is considered a typical portion of beef. Beef is usually portioned out at 3 oz. which is the size of a deck of cards; I don't know about you, but a deck of cards won't really cut it for me.
- 4 lb(s), Top Round Beef
- 1.50 tbsp(s), Kosher Salt (divided)
- 2 tbsp, vegetable oil
- 6 clove, Garlic
- 2 Celery Stalks, roughly chopped
- 4 large Carrots, roughly chopped
- 1 medium potato, quartered
- 1 onion, quartered
- 2-3 sprigs of fresh Rosemary
- 10-12 sprigs of fresh Thyme
- 0.25 cup, All Purpose Flour
- 4 tbsp, Butter
- 4 Cup, No Sodium Beef Broth
- Black Pepper
- Allow roast beef to sit out for 1-2 hours to come to room temperature.
- Preheat oven to 450°F.
- Liberally salt the outside of your roast on all sides. Blot roast beef with a paper towel to dry after 10-15 minutes.
- In a large frying pan, heat some vegetable oil (about 2 tablespoons), and then pan fry the sides until a light brown crust is on each side.
- Remove beef and sauté vegetables and herbs for about 2 minutes.
- Add 1 cup of beef broth and scrape the brown bits to loosen. Add remaining beef broth.
- Add roast beef to a roasting rack or use the hearty vegetables to keep beef raised above broth.
- Roast for 20 minutes at 450°F.
- After 20 minutes, lower temperature to 275°F. Cook until desired temperature 130°F for medium rare, 145°F medium, 150°F medium well, 160°F well done. Medium rare will take about 1-1.5 hours. Every oven is different, so use a meat thermometer.
- Allow roast beef to rest for 20-30 minutes before slicing.
- Strain the liquid from the pan and set aside vegetables for serving. Reserve cooking liquid.
- In the same pan you cooked the roast beef (if you used an oven and stove safe pan), add butter and scrape the brown bits loose.
- Once everything is scraped, add four tablespoons of flour and cook for a minute or so--you will see the flour expanded each time you stir and it should be a rich color like a caramel candy.
- Pour any strained liquid leftover from the roast beef pan. Add slowly and stirring vigorously.
- You may need to add extra beef broth, but that is dependent on how much remained and your preferred consistency.
- Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.
- I add a rosemary sprig while simmering. Taste and adjust seasoning.
A serving is 271 calories and 8 Weight Watchers points (208 calories and 5 WW SP if you skip the gravy). Each serving would be half of a pound raw which ends up being a 6 ounce portion cooked (meat shrinks about 25%).
Serving Size:6 oz cooked + gravy
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 271Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 221mgSodium: 858mgCarbohydrates: 11gFiber: 2gSugar: 2gProtein: 24g