Roast beef is a classic main dish for holidays, family get-togethers, and elegant dinners alike. This guide to cooking roast beef will help you create a flavorful, moist, and tender roast.

By Mary Claire Lagroue
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Home-cooked roast beef tastes much, much better than packaged, deli-sliced roast beef. Trust us on this one. It carries special occasions as well as hams and turkeys do. And that's to mention nothing of leftovers. Roast beef sandwiches? You bet. Leftover Roast Beef Hash? Of course. Roast Beef and Cheddar Frittata? Please. Here's how to choose a cut, what seasonings to use, and how long to cook roast beef at home.

Cut and Quality

Roast beef doesn't refer to just one cut of beef. Eye of round, bottom round roast, top round roast, top sirloin roast, and bone-in rib roast are all common. Whichever cut you choose, quality counts. Opt for USDA Choice or USDA Prime beef when possible.

Some say eye of round is the only cut that will produce a true roast beef. The eye of round comes from the back leg of the cow. It’s lean and somewhat tough, but roasting it takes it to tender, flavorful perfection.

Three pounds of eye of round or another boneless cut will feed four to six people.

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Seasoning

Let the meat stand on the counter for about 45 minutes before you cook it so that it comes to room temperature. If the beef isn’t already tied, use kitchen twine to tie it at three-inch intervals. This helps to hold the meat together and keeps it from drying out, meaning it will cook more evenly.

How to season roast beef

  • Place the roast on a rack in a roasting pan.
  • Make a seasoning rub with 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, and 1/4 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper. Adjust the amounts based on your personal taste.
  • Rub the seasoning into the meat till it coats the entire cut.
  • You can also add herbs, such as sage, rosemary, and thyme.

Temperatures and Times

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Once it's heated, cook the meat for 60 minutes. Adjust the cooking time if you have a bigger or smaller roast. Just cook the roast beef for 20 minutes per pound.

The meat will be medium when it reaches an internal temperature of 150°F. For medium rare meat, cook until it reaches an internal temperature of 130°F.

Remove the roast from the oven once it reaches your desired temperature, and cover it loosely with tin foil. Let it rest for 20 to 30 minutes to redistribute the juices. Only then can you cut the beef into thin slices using a sharp carving knife.

For extra flavor, season the beef with fresh minced garlic and garlic powder, reviewer Maggie McGuire suggests.

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The Best Roast Beef Recipes

Read what our home cooks have said about out our most-viewed (and most-reviewed) recipe for roast beef, All American Roast Beef, which follows this same process as outline above.

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