Classic Roast Beef

Here's a timeless roast beef recipe that can be made with rump roast, round roast, or sirloin roast. Slow-roasting on low heat works magic on tougher cuts of meat and provides a tender roast beef recipe you’ll love!

Side view of a medium rare roast beef on a cutting board with a couple slices in front of it.
Ciara Kehoe

My mother knows a thing or two about cooking beef. She knows all of the cuts and the best way to prepare them. Perhaps it's because she came of cooking age during a time when most neighborhoods still had local butchers who prepared the cuts themselves and freely shared information with customers about what to do with them.

Video: How to Cook Roast Beef


How to Make Roast Beef

I remember accompanying her to our local corner butcher (now long gone) years ago. The butcher had these huge graphics of beef, pork, lamb on the wall behind the meat counter showing what part of the animal the various cuts came from. It was easy to see that a chuck roast came from the shoulder, and that a rump roast came from, well, the rump.

These days most people buy their meat already packed in plastic at the supermarket. If you want to talk to a butcher, you have to work to find one in your area.

Back to the roast. My mother typically uses a rump roast when making roast beef. This is her method for getting the most out of this (relatively) less expensive cut. (You can also use a round roast or a sirloin tip for this recipe.)

A sliced roast beef cooked to medium rare beef temperature.
Ciara Kehoe

How to Make Tender Roast Beef: Go Low and Slow

She starts the roast at a high temperature to get browning for flavor, and then lowers the oven temp and cooks the beef "slow and low" for a couple hours.

This slow roasting method at low heat is good for tougher cuts of beef; the lower heat prevents gristle from getting too tough. Roast beef made this way is easy, relatively inexpensive (compared to other cuts of beef), and you get great leftovers for roast beef sandwiches.

A plate of rump roast sliced and topped with gravy.
Ciara Kehoe

Choosing the Best Cut for Roast Beef

The cut you buy will depend on what you're using the roast beef for, your budget, your personal preferences. If you're looking for a tender cut for a special occasion or to serve to guests, go for a more expensive cut:

For meals that aren't big affairs, you can still get that wonderful roast beef flavor, but without the high price tag.

  • Petite shoulder
  • Sirloin tip
  • Rump roast
  • Bottom round

Whatever cut you decide on, look for one with some fat and visible marbling for better flavor.

A tied roast gives a more uniform shape for even cooking. If you have a butcher, ask them to tie the roast for you. Or you can tie it yourself with some kitchen twine.

Tips for The Best Roast Beef

  • Every oven is different, so the timing will vary. For the most accurate cooking time, use a meat thermometer to test the doneness of your roast. Bring the internal temperature to 135°F (for medium rare meat), 145°F (for medium meat), or 150°F (for medium well).
  • The size and shape of your roast makes a difference in cooking time. As a general rule of thumb, at 225°F, cook your roast for about 30 minutes per pound, after the initial browning (for a medium rare). But be sure to check at least 30 minutes before it should be done, just to make sure.
  • You may need to cook bone-in roast a bit longer than boneless roasts, because the bone can act like an insulator.
  • If your roast doesn't have any fat, you can rub the roast with butter or olive oil. Or top the roast with some slices of bacon to add some fat. If using butter, it'll brown faster, so keep an eye on it and shorten the browning time at the beginning.

How to Store Roasted Beef

  • Refrigerate leftover roast beef, wrapped in plastic or foil, about 3 to 5 days.
  • To freeze, we recommend slicing it into portions for easier use later, but you can simply put the entire roast in the freezer. Cool to room temperature and double-wrap in plastic or foil, then, seal in a zip-top bag, squeezing out as much air as you can.
  • To thaw, defrost in the refrigerator overnight. Reheat in a pre-heated 350°F oven for 10 to 15 minutes.

What to Do with Leftover Roast Beef?
Make Sandwiches and More!

Leftover roast is like money in the bank. You can make meals for the rest of the week!

The Best Sides to Serve With Roast Beef

From the Editors Of Simply Recipes

Classic Roast Beef

Prep Time 8 mins
Cook Time 3 hrs
Bring roast to room temp 2 hrs
Total Time 5 hrs 8 mins
Servings 4 to 6 servings

The roast pictured in our recipe is tied with butcher’s twine. A tied roast cooks more evenly, but it's not necessary for it to be tied. You can tie it yourself or ask your butcher to.

Every oven is different, so the timing will vary. For the most accurate cooking time, use a meat thermometer to test the doneness of your roast.


  • 3 to 3 1/2 pounds(1.3 to 1.6 kg) boneless rump roast (pick an end cut with a layer of fat, if you can)

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

  • 8-10 slivers garlic (3 to 4 cloves, sliced in half or into thirds)

  • Salt and pepper

For the gravy:

  • Red wine, water, and/or beef stock

  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch


  1. Salt the roast and let it come to room temp:

    The beef should be brought as close to room temperature as possible before you start to roast it, so that it cooks more evenly. Remove it from the refrigerator at least 1 hour, preferably 2 hours, before cooking. Open the wrapping, sprinkle all sides with salt, and wrap it up again.

  2. Preheat the oven to 375°F:

    (190°C). Move a rack to the center of the oven, and place the other one underneath.

  3. Insert slivers of garlic into the roast:

    Pat the roast dry with paper towels. Use the tip of a sharp knife to make 8 to 10 small incisions around the roast. Put a sliver of garlic into each cut.

    Side view of a baking tray with a rump roast set on a rack to make a roast beef recipe.
    Ciara Kehoe
  4. Rub the roast with olive oil, then season:

    Rub olive oil all over the roast. Sprinkle it all around with salt and pepper.

    Side view of a baking tray with a rump roast set on a rack to make a roast beef recipe.
    Ciara Kehoe
  5. Put the roast on the rack with a pan below:

    Place the roast directly on the middle oven rack, fatty side up, with a roasting pan to catch the drippings on the rack beneath it.

    Placing the roast directly on the rack like this with a pan on the rack below creates a convection type environment in the oven, allowing the hot air to more easily circulate around the roast, so you don't have to turn the roast as it cooks.

    Place the roast, fat-side up so that as the fat bathes the entire roast in flavor as it melts.

    A beef roast in oven.
    Ciara Kehoe
  6. Brown at 375°F, then lower the heat to 225°F:

    Cook the roast initially at 375°F (190°C) for half an hour, to brown it. Then lower the heat to 225°F (107°C). The roast should take somewhere from 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours more to cook.

    The shape of the roast will affect the cooking time. If your roast is long and narrow, rather than a more round shape, it may take less time to cook, so keep an eye on it.

    A beef roast in oven.
    Ciara Kehoe
  7. Roast to an internal temp of 135°F to 140°F:

    When juices start to drip from the roast, and it is browned on the outside, check the roast's internal temperature with a meat thermometer. Remove the roast from the oven when the internal temperature of the roast is 135°F to 140°F (for medium rare meat).

  8. Make the gravy as the roast rests:

    Place the roast on a cutting board and tent it with aluminum foil to keep it warm. Let it rest for 20 to 30 minutes before cutting. (Resting the cooked roast is important. If you cut into it too soon, the roast will lose more of its juices.)

    To make the gravy: Remove the dripping pan from the oven and place on the stove top at medium heat. Note that if you are pulling the roast out early, for rare or a medium rare level of doneness, you may not have a lot of drippings. Hopefully you will have some. If not, you may want to leave the roast in a little longer at even lower heat, 175°F, to ease some more drippings out of it.

    Add some water, red wine, or beef stock to the drippings to deglaze (loosen the drippings from the pan). Dissolve a tablespoon of cornstarch in a little water and add to the drip pan. Stir quickly while the gravy thickens to avoid lumping.

    You can add a little butter if there is not a lot of fat in the drippings. Add salt and pepper to taste. Mom adds some fresh thyme too if she has some.

    Foil wrapped roast beef to make a roast beef recipe.
    Ciara Kehoe
    Scraping drippings off the pan to make a roast beef recipe.
    Ciara Kehoe
    Making gravy from the drippings of a roast beef.
    Ciara Kehoe
    Gravy dripping off a spoon and into a white bowl for roast beef.
    Ciara Kehoe
  9. Slice and serve:

    After the roast has had a chance to rest a bit (and reabsorb its juices), thinly slice the roast to serve. (A sturdy long bread knife works well for slicing roasts.)

    Pour the gravy over the slices or serve on the side.

    A plate of rump roast sliced and topped with gravy.
    Ciara Kehoe
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
527 Calories
28g Fat
2g Carbs
59g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 527
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 28g 36%
Saturated Fat 10g 51%
Cholesterol 188mg 63%
Sodium 128mg 6%
Total Carbohydrate 2g 1%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 59g
Vitamin C 0mg 2%
Calcium 18mg 1%
Iron 5mg 27%
Potassium 506mg 11%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.