Top view of a holiday roast topped with herbs and garlic on an oval platter with fresh rosemary and cranberries around it.

Get ready to spread holiday cheer with a mouthwatering roast beef recipe that’s perfect for Christmas dinner or any other festive occasion. This tender roast beef is surprisingly simple to prepare (less than 10 minutes of active prep time!), and the results are sure to impress your guests. 

Our easy-to-follow instructions will help you create this show-stopping centerpiece for your holiday celebration. Let’s get cooking!

A tender beef dinner served on an oval platter with rosemary sprigs and fresh cranberries with a plate of twice baked potatoes alongside.

What kind of cut do use for roast beef?

For a delicious roast beef that is succulent, we’re going to roast this low and slow, which means you’ll want a cut of beef that will tenderize nicely during the long trip in the oven.

We recommend a top round or bottom round roast (AKA: rump roast) because they have great flavor and will tenderize nicely, but they are more affordable for most folks. A chuck roast will also work beautifully. Basically: if you use it for a pot roast recipe, you can also use it for a roast beef recipe.

Protip: Stick with the round!

Some people recommend a sirloin roast or prime rib roast, and while those will make for delicious and flavorful roast beef, we found that the extra cost isn’t worth it since a top or bottom round roast gets almost equal tenderness and flavor after the same amount of time in the oven.

How do you cook beef so it’s tender?

All right, we’re gonna give you our biggest tip for making sure that your roast beef is tender, succulent, and absolutely melts in your mouth: bring your roast to room temperature (or close) before roasting.

It sounds like it wouldn’t be that big of a deal, but it is the difference between tough roast beef and tender, succulent meat that everyone will be raving over. Don’t skip this step!

Close view of the juicy and tender pink center of a roast beef dinner, sliced and ready to eat.

How do you know when roast beef is done?

While our recipe down below will give you some generalized cooking times, we highly recommend investing in a meat thermometer to make sure you get the perfect doneness for you and your family. Checking the internal temperature is really going to be the best way to make sure your roast is done exactly how you like it—we prefer medium-rare (an internal temp of 130°F) to medium (135°F).

An instant-read thermometer is a must-have kitchen tool, and you’ll use it almost every day. So go ahead and invest in one if you plan on doing a lot of cooking.

How do I carve roast beef?

Before carving, you want to let your roast beef rest for at least 30 to 45 minutes. This is to help the juices redistribute and make the roast even more flavorful and tender. 

If you slice into it as soon as it comes out of the oven, all the juices will end up running all over your cutting board, and you’ll be left with tough and dry meat.

When the resting time is up, use a large, sharp knife to rock back and forth through the roast to make thin slices.

A large serving fork lifts a slice of roast beef from an oval platter.

What can I do with leftover roast beef? 

While a warm and fresh pile of roast beef is incredible, our favorite thing about roasting a full beef cut is the delicious leftover roast beef sandwiches that you and your family can eat on for days! We like ours with horseradish on rye bread. 

Once you have had your fill of sandwiches, try nestling the beef into tacos, adding it to an omelet or frittata, or adding it to soups.

How long does leftover roast beef last?

Leftover roast beef can stay good in the fridge for about 3-4 days. After that, you can freeze it and then use it within six months.

Two hands set a platter of roast beef on a light table with a large serving fork alongside.

What should I serve with this melt-in-the-mouth roast beef recipe?

Here are some of our favorite sides to serve with roast beef:

Top view of a holiday roast topped with herbs and garlic on an oval platter with fresh rosemary and cranberries around it.

Roast Beef Recipe

Yield: 12 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 55 minutes
Additional Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 35 minutes

Cooking tender, melt-in-your-mouth roast beef is easier than you think! This delectable dish is great for holidays, and it takes just a few minutes to prepare.


  • 4 pounds beef top or bottom round roast
  • 6 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon black pepper
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves


  1. Pull the roast from the fridge 2 hours before roasting it to bring it closer to room temperature.
  2. Preheat oven to 450°F and set out a large roasting pan with a roasting rack inside of it.
  3. In a bowl, combine the butter, salt, pepper, minced garlic, rosemary and thyme.
  4. Cut 1-inch deep slits all around the roast, about 10-15 half-inch deep slits. Cover the roast on all sides evenly with the butter mixture, stuffing the slits with it as well.
  5. Place the roast in the roasting pan, and place in the oven for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, reduce the heat to 325°F and roast for between 1 hour 40 minutes and 1 hour 50 minutes, or until the roast reaches an internal temperature of 135°F.
  6. Remove the roast from the oven, transfer to a cutting board or serving platter, wrap loosely in aluminum foil, and allow to sit covered for at least 30-45 minutes. Carve and serve!


  • Setting the roast out at room temperature for 2 hours and then resting the roast after it’s done is essential to making a top/bottom round roast tender as possible. Don’t skip these steps!
  • Leftovers keep in the fridge for up to 3 days and are best served warm.
  • Use a meat thermometer for best results! Some cuts are a little smaller or shaped slightly differently, so it’s best to take the internal temperature before removing it from the oven.
  • This recipe cooks the meat to medium doneness. For medium-rare, cook to 130°F, and 145°F for medium-well.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 461Total Fat: 32gSaturated Fat: 14gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 153mgSodium: 608mgCarbohydrates: 1gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 42g

At Wholefully, we believe that good nutrition is about much more than just the numbers on the nutrition facts panel. Please use the above information as only a small part of what helps you decide what foods are nourishing for you.

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