How to Cook Eye of Round Roast Beef

Medium rare slices of eye of round roast, in a stack.

How to Cook Eye of Round Roast Beef. Eye of round is a simple boneless beef roast, and is what’s called a “whole muscle” cut of beef. It’s one of the best roasts sliced and served with gravy or for making Beef Wellington….and for leftovers, too.

Whether you’re cooking eye of round with a slow cooker, InstaPot (Instant Pot), or your oven, this roast is fast, lean, and delicious.

How to Cook Eye of Round Roast Recipe

A whole eye of round roast with a few slices cut.

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Eye of Round Roast. Yowza! I can honestly say that even though I’ve cooked SCADS of beef all my life, I have never, ever made an eye of round roast…at least not until NOW.

When followers here on my blog began asking about how to cook this particular beef roast, I decided to investigate and do some research. I’m so glad I did!

I’ve always been a big fan of a good chuck roast – it’s a very flavorful cut of beef that comes from the shoulder of the cow. A chuck roast also has a lot of great fat marbling throughout the muscle, so it’s juicy and delicious.

Because we are fans of beef chuck roast, my guys really enjoy Big Bold Beef Carnitas (made in the Instant Pot!) and also Lazy-Butt Beef Subs with Caramelized Onions. Oh! And I cannot forget Hot Beef Sandwiches with Brown Gravy – they are the bomb.

Here’s What I Discovered About Eye of Round Roast for this Recipe:

1. Eye of round is truly a slicing roast. I didn’t grow up eating sliced roast. My Mom made chuck roast that was cooked until very fork-tender and then served in chunks with gravy or shredded for making sandwiches, and etc. 

Because we raised beef on the farm and ate tons of it at home, I never ordered roast beef at a restaurant, so I didn’t realize (prior to this recipe) that roast beef served in slices is what many people expect when eating roast beef. Who knew?

2. Eye of round roast cooks very, very quickly because it’s very, very lean.  It cooks even faster if you let it rest at room temperature (and you should) for at least an hour before roasting. The internal temperature will rise very quickly, and can yield an over-cooked roast before you even realize it. Keep a careful eye on the internal temperature!

3.  Eye of round roast is delicious when the finished product is medium-rare and very nicely pink at the center.  If the roast is overcooked to medium or above, it’s the most tasteless thing I’ve ever experienced, though a good pan sauce over the top helps with that. 

4.  Cooking the eye of round roast just until it reaches 125 degrees F. at the center is a total must.  Remove it from the oven at that point and cover tightly with foil.  The residual heat will allow the roast to climb in temperature another 10-15 degrees or so, ensuring that the finished roast is medium rare and not over cooked. 

5. Eye of round roast is easiest to slice when it’s chilled. I found that if I’m going to use the meat for making French dip sandwiches, Roast Beef Wellington, subs, or sliders, it’s best to cool the roast completely and then refrigerate it.  Once the roast is chilled, it is very easily sliced into wonderfully thin slices that are gorgeous and easy to eat. 

So What IS Eye of Round Roast and Where Does it Come From?

Yikes – eye of round roast comes from the back leg of the cow, which gets a ton of use. And because it gets a lot of use this also means eye of round roast is a very lean cut; if it’s not cooked properly, it will be tough and chewy, just like shoe leather. No good.

But have no fear – there are positives! Because the eye of round muscle gets a big workout on the cow, this cut of beef will absolutely have rich, meaty flavor…..as long as it’s not overcooked.

Eye of round roast that's partially sliced with a meat fork on a cutting board.

What to Love About Cooking Eye of Round Roast for Your Family –

  1. Because it is so very lean, eye of round roast can be on the dinner table in a flash.
  2. Eye of Round Roast slices beautifully and can be served as the star of the show along with your favorite side dishes.
  3. If you are a fan of roast beef sliders, subs and French Dip sandwiches, leftover thinly-sliced eye of round roast is absolutely delish.
  4. Eye of round is very budget friendly and can be found at most grocery stores and butcher shops.

What Ingredients Will I Need to Make Eye of Round Roast Beef?

  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Granulated garlic
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Eye of Round Roast, 3 lbs.

What Ingredients Will I Need if I Choose to Make the Pan Sauce for the Roast?

  • Pan drippings from cooking the roast
  • Red wine, such as a merlot or a cab
  • Beef broth
  • Unsalted butter
  • Flour
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste

How to Cook Eye of Round Roast in 6 Easy Steps –

  1. The day ahead (or at least 4-6 hours ahead), slather the roast with a bit of olive oil, then season with the salt, garlic, and pepper; place the prepared roast into a gallon bag and into the fridge.
  2. When you are ready to cook the eye of round roast, remove it from refrigeration and then from the plastic bag to the counter allowing it to rest at room temperature for at least an hour.
  3. When the roast has rested and your are ready to prepare it, preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Place the beef into a greased roasting pan or Dutch oven and roast the eye of round, uncovered, on the center oven rack for 20-25 minutes or until nicely browned all over the top and bottom.
  4. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F. and continue to cook the roast, uncovered, for 45-60 minutes, just until it reaches 125 degrees F. at the center of the roast. (Yep, I know this may seem like a very rare temperature, but you still have to let the roast raise in temp from residual heat as it rests, so don’t worry!)
  5. Remove the roast from the oven, covering the pan very well with foil; let the roast rest for 20-30 minutes so it can raise in internal temperature another 10-15 degrees or so, to medium-rare doneness.
  6. Place the cooked and rested roast onto a large cutting board; using a sharp carving knife, slice the roast into servings slices, as desired.
Thinly sliced eye of round roast on a cutting board.

Is Eye of Round Considered to be a Good Cut of Beef?

Many people are not as familiar with this cut of beef as they are other beef roasts, so it is often overlooked. However, an eye of round roast is very economical, quick-cooking, and super flavorful when cooked to medium-rare.

How Much Does Eye of Round Cost?

Eye of Round is going to run about $3.50 per lb. on average. Compare that to a chuck roast that’s usually at least $5.75 per lb! Eye of round roast is an inexpensive and economical choice at the meat case.

And, because eye of round roast has no bones, it’s a great value because you can slice the entire roast – nothing is wasted!

Is There More Than One Way to Cook a Beef Eye of Round Roast?

Some cooks prefer to cook the eye of round at a low temperature all the way through the cooking period.

Others, like myself, like the method of starting the roast out at a high oven temperature (to get good, deep browning on the surface of the roast), then reduce the temperature to a lower setting for the duration of the cooking process.

Is There a Secret to Making a Tender and Juicy Medium-Rare Roast Beef Every Time?

Because the eye of round roast is so very lean, the best thing you can do is to make sure that it doesn’t get over cooked.

Eye of round roast is best when cooked to 125 degrees F. as an internal temperature, then wrapped in foil and left to rest for at least 20 minutes.

This 20 minute resting period is what lets the roast continue cooking from residual heat, pushing the internal temperature up to 135-140 degrees F. which is a perfect, medium-rare doneness.

The resting period is also very important because it gives the protein fibers of the roast time to relax. The resting period also lets the juices to gather back into the center of the meat so that when you slice it the roast is nice and juicy.

Why Does This Recipe Say to Season the Roast the Day Before? Can’t I Just do That Step Right Before Cooking it?

The step of pre-salting is known as dry brining. It is a very worthy step for cooking a delicious eye of round roast and must be done at least 4-6 hours (but preferably 24 hours) previous to when you want to cook the meat.

The salt initially draws liquid out of the meat, and after a time, all of the liquid goes back into the meat – bringing the salt and seasonings with it, adding great flavor to the interior of the meat as it cooks.

You can season the roast just before you want to cook it, but doing so doesn’t allow the roast to gain the juiciness and flavor that most of us enjoy.

Beautiful eye of round roast slices that are medium rare in doneness.

Is Eye of Round the Best Roast to Cook if I want Roast Beef that I can Serve in Slices for a Dinner?

You bet. Because eye of round is super lean, it’s best served when cut across the grain, into slices that are no more than 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch thick.

These slices of beef look beautiful when overlapped upon on each other on a serving platter, drizzled with the pan sauce, if desired. Then, just add your favorite roast beef side dishes.

What if I Want to Serve the Roast Without Making the Pan Sauce? Will it still taste good?

Great question! As long as your roast has been properly seasoned, browned on the exterior, and cooked to medium-rare it will be delicious with or without the pan sauce – no worries.

What Can You Do with Eye of Round Roast?

Eye of round roast is really delicious when sliced super, super thin and used for making sliders, subs, and French Dip sandwiches.

At the commercial level, eye of round roast is what becomes deli meat at the grocery store or a roast beef on a bun from your favorite fast food joint.

Because eye of round roast is a very lean and tough cut, it’s typically not a good roast for making pulled beef or shredded beef, which is best made from a chuck roast or any roast that has good fat marbling, cooked low and slow until very nice and tender.

Is Eye of Round Roast Where Round Steak Comes From?

Yep! And we all know round steak is one of the toughest cuts in the meat case. Because round steak is the eye of round roast that is sliced into fairly thick slices by the butcher, it needs moist heat, such as braising (simmering) in a liquid, very low and slow.

Helpful Tips for Making Tender and Juicy Eye of Round Beef –

  • When cooking any roast (beef or pork, either one) always be sure to let it rest on the counter, unwrapped, for at least an hour or so. Resting removes the chill from the meat and lets it relax so it can cook much more evenly, no matter what the cooking source will be….oven, stove top, grill, or smoker.
  • Never overcook eye of round roast, if at all possible! Because this is such a very lean cut of beef, it can easily overcook if you don’t keep a careful watch with your instant-read meat thermometer.
  • Over cooking eye of round roast will seal it’s fate: it will be nearly flavorless, dry, and chewy. Don’t go there!
  • Never cook an eye of round roast without using a meat thermometer of some kind. The use of a meat thermometer will keep from overcooking the roast, this is very important.
  • Before slicing an eye of round roast, be sure to let it rest, covered, when you remove it from the oven. This resting period is very important for letting the protein fibers relax and to allow the beef juices to integrate back into the center of the roast.
  • Always be sure to slice any meat (beef, pork, venison, bison…whatever) across the grain. Slicing meat against the grain (instead of with the grain) cuts the protein fibers into shorter pieces, helping the meat be tender and easy to chew.
  • The reason you don’t want to cut a roast or any hunk of meat with the grain (or along it) is because this leaves the protein fibers in long lengths; this can make meat tough and hard to chew….often compared to shoe leather.

What Tools are Useful When Making a Tender and Juicy Eye of Round Roast?

A juicy medium-rare roast on a cutting board.

More Meat Recipes to Enjoy –

Printable Eye of Round Beef Roast Recipe

How to Cook Eye of Round Roast Beef

Eye of round, a simple boneless beef roast, is what’s called a “whole muscle” cut of beef. It’s one of the best cuts for sandwiches with gravy or for making Beef Wellington….and leftovers, too. Whether you’re cooking eye of round with a slow cooker, InstaPot (Instant Pot), or your oven, this roast is delicious.
5 from 3 votes
Print Rate
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 254kcal

Ingredients

Ingredients for the Roast

  • 1 Tbs. Olive oil may substitute vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 tsp. Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. Granulated garlic
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 Eye of round roast, 3 lbs.

Ingredients for the Pan Sauce

  • pan drippings from cooking the roast
  • 2 Tbs. red wine, such as cabernet or merlot
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter softened
  • 2 Tbs. all purpose flour

Instructions

Prepare the Roast the Night Before

  • Slather the roast with the olive oil on all sides, then season the roast with the salt, garlic, and black pepper. Place the roast into a large freezer bag; seal the bag and place it into a bowl in the fridge. greased 12-inch cast iron skillet or your favorite roasting pan.

Make the Roast

  • 1-2 hours before you want to cook the eye of round roast, remove it from the plastic bag and let it rest on the counter, uncovered. This will let the roast rest and also removes the chill from the meat so it can cook much move evenly.
  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Place the prepared roast into a greased 12-inch cast iron skillet or roasting pan, then into the oven on the center rack.
    Roast the meat, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes or until very nicely browned all over the top and bottom.
  • Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F.; continue to cook the roast, uncovered, for 45-60 minutes, just until it reaches 125 degrees F. at the center of the roast. Begin testing the internal temperature of the roast at about the 40 minute mark to be sure you don't overcook the roast – this is very important.
  • When the roast reaches the internal temperature of 120-125 degrees F. at the center, remove it from the oven, placing it onto a large cutting board. Cover the roast well with foil; let the roast rest for 20-30 minutes.

Make the Pan Sauce

  • While the roast rests, make the pan sauce. Over medium heat, add the wine to the drippings in the skillet or roasting pan; use a whisk to remove any of the attached bits of fond that are stuck to the bottom of the skillet. Continue whisking until the wine is nearly evaporated, then stir in the broth and heat until simmering.
  • In a small bowl, combine the butter with the flour to form a paste, then add to the simmering broth, cooking over medium low for 8-10 minutes or until nicely thickened; season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve the Eye of Round Roast

  • Using a sharp carving knife, cut the roast into slices, across the grain. Place the slices onto plates; drizzle with the pan sauce, as desired.

Notes

 
  • When cooking any roast (beef or pork, either one) always be sure to let it rest on the counter, unwrapped, for at least an hour or so. This removes the chill from the meat and lets it relax so it can cook much more evenly, no matter what the cooking source will be….oven, stove top, grill, or smoker.
  • Never overcook eye of round roast, if at all possible! Because this is such a very lean cut of beef, it can easily overcook if you don’t keep a careful watch with your instant-read meat thermometer.
  • Over cooking eye of round roast will seal it’s fate: it will be nearly flavorless, dry, and chewy. Don’t go there!
  • Never cook an eye of round roast without using a meat thermometer of some kind. The use of a meat thermometer will keep from overcooking the roast, this is very important.
  • Before slicing an eye of round roast, be sure to let it rest, covered, when you remove it from the oven. This resting period is very important for letting the protein fibers relax and to allow the beef juices to integrate back into the center of the roast.
  • Always be sure to slice any meat (beef, pork, venison, bison…whatever) across the grain. Slicing meat against the grain (instead of with the grain) cuts the protein fibers into shorter pieces, helping the meat be tender and easy to chew.
  • The reason you don’t want to cut a roast or any hunk of meat with the grain (or along it) leaves the protein fibers in long lengths which can make meat tough and hard to chew….often compared to shoe leather.
 
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: beef, oven roasted, pot roast, roast beef

Nutrition

Calories: 254kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 33g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 102mg | Sodium: 459mg | Potassium: 507mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 87IU | Calcium: 24mg | Iron: 3mg

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Let’s Get You Cookin’,
Chef Alli

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Blog Comments

5 stars
This will be a New Year Roast for sure, new year, new recipe!! Thanks for delving into figuring out the BEST way to roast this cut. Your site is fabulous and I appreciate your taking the time and thought to help create some amazing dishes. Charlene Haney

Hi Charlene –
Thank you so much for your nice comment – I’m excited for you to give the eye of round roast a try. Please let me know what you think of the whole process awa the roast itself – I’ll be anxious to hear!
Sincerely,
Chef Alli

Happy New Year!!

5 stars
I am sharing this recipe w/ my husband! He made a roast last week and it was TOUGH!!! SO TOUGH infact that we all had a hard time finishing it! I’m excited to experiment w/ your other recipes too. We usually end up just making roast beef sandwiches w/ our leftovers…. BORING! Thanks for all your AMAZING ideas!!!

Hi Mandy –
I’m sorry you guys had a bad experience with the roast – we’ve ALL had that happen, for sure. I’m getting ready to make a recipe post on How to Make a Delicious Fork-Tender Roast. I think there are lots of folks who would like some help in learning how to make a juicy and tender chuck roast. Stay tuned!!
Sincerely,
Chef Alli

5 stars
Excellent, delicious, I followed your recipe all the way. I have finally found a recipe that I like for eye of round roast. We have our own beef and every time I make it comes out tough. Thank you very much for your recipe..
Blessings,
Farmergal

Hi Farmergal –
Thank you so much for letting me know you had a good experience with this recipe. I, too, was glad to finally discover the best route to take for cooking eye of round roast – it’s not easy until you know a few solid tricks. I really appreciate your comment and the rating, too!
Let’s Keep Cookin’,
Chef Alli

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