Mississippi Roast is a slow cooker pot roast that found its way to Pinterest fame in recent years. This is a clean version of the classic recipe that uses no packets, no processed ingredients, no MSG. It takes just 20 minutes to assemble and then cooks all day for a savory, delicious meal that will quickly become a family favorite.
Somehow I missed the early boat on this amazing recipe that has been quietly and slowly gaining momentum on Pinterest. It took a tip from my friend Susie (hi Susie!) and a quick google search to make me curious enough to put a batch in the slow cooker that same night. What sounded strange at first just started to make sense – pot roast seasoned with savory flavors from gravy mix, herb flavors from Ranch seasoning, and plenty of vinegar kick to balance the richness of the dish from (surprisingly!) pepperoncini peppers.
Charmingly, the original recipe for Mississippi Roast was created by woman named Robin Chapman from (of course) Mississippi and found its way to the internet by way of a church recipe book. (Read the whole story here.)
The Pinterest folks are right – this really is the most delicious slow cooker pot roast that I’ve ever had. But the original version is made using packets of processed ingredients. Read on to see how I recreated this dish using cleaner, unprocessed ingredients – it’s just as delicious as the original.
How To Make a Cleaner, Healthier Version of Mississippi Roast
Slow Cooker Mississippi Roast is such a hit at our house that we could probably serve it every week with few complaints. The only problem? The original recipe uses a packet of au jus gravy mix and a packet of ranch seasoning mix. And what comes with those store-bought packets? A bunch of preservatives and MSG.
Now don’t get me wrong – I have no issue with those packets. (And no issue with MSG for that matter. I lived in Thailand for years and probably ate my weight in tasty, salty MSG.) But I knew I could get the same delicious result from a Mississippi Roast without all that. Here’s what I did:
- Seared the roast and chopped onions in a pan to give it the rich, savory flavor that comes from au jus mix.
- Added flour to the onions / pan drippings to make fresh gravy (instead of the thickeners in the au jus mix).
- Added a blend of dried herbs to give the dish the herb flavor that comes from Ranch Seasoning.
In addition to the blend of dried herbs used in the recipe below, I also tested the recipe with my Homemade Ranch Seasoning (a good approximation of store-bought Ranch Seasoning). I found the result to be very similar. Dried buttermilk (from the homemade Ranch Seasoning) offers a bit of tangy flavor, but Mississippi Roast gets so much tart and tangy flavor from the jarred pepperoncini that the buttermilk is barely detectable in the finished dish.
Ingredients for a Clean Version of Mississippi Roast
- Beef Chuck Roast (boneless) – Look for a 3 to 4 pound roast for this recipe. See below for a few other substitutes.
- Unsalted Butter – It’s a good idea to use unsalted butter to avoid over-salting the dish. You can always add some more salt at the end of cooking (but you can’t remove salt if you overdo it).
- Onion – Finely chop an onion and saute it in the pan drippings from searing the meat. The onions will practically melt into the dish as it cooks and will give the meat a rich, savory flavor.
- All-Purpose Flour – After cooking the beef and onions, adding a little bit of flour to the pan will create a paste that thickens the liquid from the meat as it cooks, creating a rich, natural gravy. You can absolutely skip this step if you want to make this a gluten-free, keto, or paleo-friendly recipe. See below for more details.
- Pepperoncini and pickling liquid – I thought this was the most surprising ingredient in Mississippi Roast, but the tart vinegar flavors really do complement the savory flavors of the meat. The liquid from the jar will be used to deglaze the pan where you sear the meat and a few chopped pepperoncini will be added to the mix. Look for mild or spicy pepperoncini depending on your spice preference, and feel free to add even more pepperoncini if you know you like that tangy, pepper flavor.
- Ranch Herb Blend – Mississippi Roast gets a nice herb flavor from Ranch Seasoning. To keep this version clean, skip the store-bought packet and make this Homemade Ranch Seasoning or get a very close approximation by combining 1 ½ tsp each of Dried Parsley, Garlic Powder, Dried Chives, and Dried Dill Weed. (You can use the fresh version of any of those herbs too – just be sure to finely chop them first.
Substitute for Beef Chuck Roast
Boneless beef chuck roast should be fairly easy to find at grocery stores but chuck shoulder, bottom round roast, rump roast, top round, or anything just labeled as “pot roast” could also be used.
Freeze This Meal
To Freeze: If you want to freeze this meal, follow the recipe as written, but let all ingredients cool completely (out of the skillet) and combine them in a freezer-safe bag or container. Freeze for up to 6 months.
To Reheat: Defrost in the refrigerator for 24 to 48 hours. Transfer all ingredients to the bowl of a slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours, until the roast can be easily shredded with a fork. Shred meat on a cutting board. Transfer to a serving bowl and drizzle with cooking liquid.
Be sure to print the recipe below for a label you can attach to the top of the meal. That way the instructions are right at your fingertips!
Low Carb, Gluten-free, Keto, Paleo-Friendly Mississippi Roast
Because this recipe uses unprocessed ingredients, it can easily be adapted to be low carb, gluten-free, keto-friendly, or paleo-friendly. The only issue is the all-purpose flour used to thicken the cooking liquid and make a gravy. The flour is used in such a small quantity that you can absolutely skip the flour completely. You will still get a nice, flavorful cooking liquid, but it won’t be quite as thick as with the flour. You can also substitute a compliant flour like a gluten-free blend or almond flour.
- KitchenAid Slow Cooker (6 quart) – When I was testing slow cooker recipes for this fall season, I got a lot of questions about the “best” slow cooker. The truth is, I just followed the advice of other experts (including America’s Test Kitchen and Food and Wine). This $99 machine has been a staple in my kitchen for years and works better than any other slow cooker I’ve used.
- Lodge Cast Iron Skillet – My favorite heavy-duty skillet is great for getting a nice, golden-brown sear on the roast.
Slow Cooker Mississippi Roast
- 4-quart or 6-quart Slow Cooker
- Cast Iron Skillet
- 2 Tbsp Cooking Oil (I prefer to use avocado oil or grape seed oil for high-heat cooking and searing)
- 3-4 lbs Boneless Beef Chuck Roast
- 1 tsp Salt (see note)
- 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
- 4 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
- 1 cup Chopped Yellow Onion
- 3 Tbsp All-Purpose Flour
- 3 Tbsp Liquid from a Jar of Pepperoncini
- 4 Pepperoncini, sliced
Ranch Herb Blend
- 2 1/2 tsp Dried Parsley
- 2 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
- 2 tsp Dried Chives
- 2 tsp Dried Dill Weed
- Heat a skillet with oil over medium-high heat.
- While skillet is heating, season meat on both sides with salt and black pepper.
- Add beef to heated skillet and sear on both sides until deep golden brown and lightly crusted, about 5 minutes per side.
- Transfer meat to the bowl of a slow cooker (leave the skillet over heat).
- Reduce heat in the skillet to medium and add butter. Stir until butter is melted.
- Add onions to butter and cook, stirring constantly, until onions are soft and golden brown, about 4 minutes.
- Add flour and stir until no dry spots of flour remain, about 1 minute.
- Add 3 Tbsp of liquid from a jar of pepperoncini to the pan, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan (these will add extra flavor to the roast).
- Scrape onions into the bowl of the slow cooker.
- Add sliced pepperoncini and the ingredients for the Ranch Herb Blend.
- Cover and cook on low for 10 to 12 hours, until roast can be easily shredded with a fork.
- Transfer to a cutting board and shred.
- Place shredded meat in a serving bowl and drizzle cooking liquids from the slow cooker over top.
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