It’s hard to say whether viral recipes like pancake cereal, cloud bread or the tortilla wrap hack will survive for the long haul or fade away. However, Mississippi Pot Roast, one of the first Internet recipe sensations, is still going strong more than 20 years after it was dreamed up by a talented home cook.
The recipe for Mississippi Pot Roast couldn’t be simpler: a large beef roast sprinkled with dry ranch dressing mix and gravy mix in a slow cooker. Add butter and pepperoncini peppers, then walk away. After several hours of low-and-slow cooking, the roast is ready, with meat that’s incredibly tender and loaded with savory, vibrant flavor.
The Unusual History of This Dish
By the time the New York Times wrote about “the roast that owns the Internet,” Mississippi Pot Roast had already been circulating among friends and on the Web for more than 16 years. The recipe was created by Robin Chapman, a home cook from Ripley, Mississippi. She decided to add her own twists to a seasoned roast beef her aunt liked to serve. Robin’s changes included adding a packet of dry ranch dressing and spicy pepperoncini to the slow cooker dish—and her family loved it!
As she passed the recipe on to family and friends, the “Roast Beef,” as it was called, became a popular meal in her community, even appearing in a local cookbook. The recipe was picked up and shared by one food blogger, then many more, and eventually got the name of “Mississippi Pot Roast.” It wasn’t long before the recipe had millions of pins and shares across the Web.
How to Make Mississippi Pot Roast
This recipe is quick to assemble and then needs 8 hours to cook in a slow cooker (see below for Instant Pot directions). It serves about eight people.
3-1/2 to 4 pounds chuck roast or cubed stew beef
1 packet au jus gravy mix
1 packet ranch dressing mix
1 stick unsalted butter
2 to 8 pepperoncini peppers, depending on how much heat you want
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
Tools You’ll Need
Slow cooker: A crock that’s at least 4 quarts will work for this recipe. In the market for a new one? Check out the slow cooker brands that rose to the top in our test.
Fat separator: This handy pitcher will help you skim the fat from the surface of the liquid after the roast is done cooking. A ladle works pretty well, too.
Whisk: Use this tool to thicken gravy that comes out smooth and lump free.
Step 1: Put all ingredients in the cooker
Place the chuck roast or stew beef into the slow-cooker insert. Sprinkle the dry gravy mix and dry ranch dressing mix over the roast, then place the stick of butter on top of the meat. Place the pepperoncini peppers on and around the meat; the more you add, the spicier the roast and gravy will be. Pour 1/4 cup of water over everything.
Step 2: Cook the roast
Turn the slow cooker on to the low setting, and allow the meat and ingredients to cook for eight hours. When the meat is done, it should be fall-apart tender. (If you choose to use cubed stew beef, it may finish cooking a bit sooner; check after 7-1/2 hours to see if the meat is tender.)
Step 3: Shred the meat
Use tongs to move the cooked roast and the pepperoncini to a cutting board. Use two forks to pull the meat apart into shreds, removing any pieces of fat that remain.
Step 4: Make the gravy
Pour the cooking liquid through a strainer into a gravy separator or a large glass measuring cup. Allow the fat to rise to the top so you can pour or skim it from the surface. Discard the fat. Pour the meat juices into a small saucepan, and bring it to a simmer over medium-high heat. Slowly sprinkle the flour into the simmering liquid, whisking it in after each addition. Simmer the gravy a few seconds longer until it begins to thicken.
Step 5: Combine the meat and gravy, and serve
Place the meat and peppers back in the slow cooker and pour the gravy over it. Use tongs to toss everything together. Serve the Mississippi Pot Roast and peppers over mashed potatoes, cooked rice or cooked barley. Add a few extra pepperoncini from the jar if you’d like. It’s also delicious piled onto soft rolls to make sandwiches.
The Final Verdict
After tasting this dish, it’s clear why the recipe has been so popular for so long. Everyone in my house, from the kids to my husband, thought it was really good. Mississippi Pot Roast is wonderfully tender and has loads of flavor from the dressing and gravy mixes. The acidity from the vinegary pepperoncini helps cut through the richness of the meat and gravy. It also gives the dish a little kick. My family loves spicy food, so I put 10 peppers into our Mississippi roast!
I served this slow-cooker dish over cooked jasmine rice, but it’s just as delicious with buttery mashed potatoes. The leftovers are tasty and easy to warm up for sandwiches or to fold into fajitas and tacos. You can also freeze leftover, cooked meat in a sealed, freezer-safe bag for up to three months, to have an easy meal down the road.
How to Make Mississippi Pot Roast in an Instant Pot
Save a considerable amount of time by making this recipe in an Instant Pot. Place the meat and other ingredients into the Instant Pot as instructed above, and increase the water to 3/4 cup. Follow the manufacturer’s directions to lock the lid in place and prepare for cooking. Program the Instant Pot to cook on high for 60 minutes.
Follow the manufacturer’s directions to slowly allow the steam to release before opening the lid. The meat should be fall-apart tender. Follow the remaining steps above to shred the meat and make the gravy.
Then add Mississippi Pot Roast to your Instant Pot recipe collection!
Tips for Making Mississippi Pot Roast
The gravy and ranch dressing packets plus the pickled peppers add a fair amount of salt to this recipe, so don’t add any additional salt at the beginning. Taste the roast once it’s cooked to see if it needs any further seasoning.
You can also opt to add only half of each packet to reduce the overall saltiness.
It’s worth it to take a few extra minutes to remove the fat from the meat drippings and whisk up a gravy that coats every piece of meat. If you want, speed up the gravy step by omitting the flour and keeping the cooking liquid more like an au jus. Follow the directions to strain the cooking liquid and skim the fat, then add the liquid back to the meat.
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