Get Baked: The Easiest Most Impressive Roast Beef Ever

One of my favorite foods in the whole world is my mom’s roast beef. She made it for Shabbat dinner a lot when I was growing up and it reminds me of being little and eating challah and being home. It’s also just really fucking delicious, like possibly the best meat dish I’ve ever had in my life.

When my mom finally deemed me old enough to share the recipe with me, I was shocked by how easy it looked. Surely it can’t be so easy, I thought. This is my favorite home-cooked meal we’re talking about! But it is. It is so, so easy. It is also impressive and fancy feeling. This dish is perfect to make for a special occasion, like New Year’s Eve or Lemon’s 23rd Birthday Dinner, and it’s ideal if you’re trying to impress someone, like say your girlfriend’s parents or a potential make-out buddy. It’s a low-stress dish with a fantastic finish. Trust me, it is my favorite meal for a reason.

I checked with my mom to make sure it was okay to share her recipe with the Internet, as some people are secretive about what goes down in their kitchens, but my mom said it was a-okay and that she was “actually quite flattered” that I wanted to share it, which I found totally adorable. So without further ado, and with my mother’s blessing, let’s learn how to make the easiest, most impressive roast beef ever.

this is really all you need and fyi once the roast is in the oven the only "dishes" you're gonna have to wash are a cutting board, a knife, and a cup. this recipe is serious about being really easy.

this is really all you need and fyi once the roast is in the oven the only “dishes” you’re gonna have to wash are a cutting board, a knife, and a cup. this recipe is serious about being really easy.


4 pound beef roast
garlic salt
mustard powder
2-4 large onions
garlic (optional)
extra virgin olive oil
red wine (any kind you like)


1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Make sure it is set to bake, NOT broil.

2. Take the roast and put it in the dish/container/Pyrex-thing you’re going to cook it in. It should be oven-safe (duh) and it should be a little bit larger than the roast itself. You’re going to be putting the roast, the onions and the garlic cloves in here together, so make sure there will be room for all (three of) the ingredients. Before you even touch the onions and the garlic, put the meat in the dish and rub salt, pepper, garlic salt, and mustard powder all over it. The key is a lot of mustard powder. Make sure you cover the whole thing — top, bottom, sides, etc. It’s going to get messy and that’s okay!

i said this dish would be easy and delicious but i never said it would look elegant pre-cooked.

i said this dish would be easy and delicious but i never said it would look elegant pre-cooked.

3. Peel the onions and chop them into quarters. Put them in the dish with the roast beef — the closer the better. Everything should be touching everything else.

4. If you want, peel fresh garlic cloves and put a bunch of those in, too. Not necessary, but I think cooked garlic is delicious. Use as many cloves as you want.

5. Pour 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil into the dish, covering the onions and the meat as best as you can.

6. Pour 1 cup of red wine into the dish using the exact same method you just used with the oil: try to douse everything. Helpful hint: Don’t let the wine splatter on your favorite t-shirt. Why are you cooking in your favorite t-shirt?! Oh, is that just me? Okay then.

okay you're done. no seriously, the "effort" part of this recipe is over. mazel tov.

okay you’re done. no seriously, the “effort” part of this recipe is over. mazel tov.

7. Put the whole dish in the oven and forget about it for an hour! Check on it then but it will probably still be a little raw. You can slice into it and see what you think, or if you’re fancy you can use a meat thermometer to see when it’s actually done (I have never used one of those in my life, but if that’s your thing then I commend you). If you’re completely unsure if it’s done cooking and you do not have a meat thermometer, you can take it out and let it rest a bit, then slice it and if it looks too raw you can put it back in the oven once it’s sliced (it will cook quickly then, so keep an eye on it). Something to watch out for is that often the outside of the roast will look really perfectly cooked but then you’ll slice it open and it’s like, “Oops, you’re not done at all!” That’s okay, just pop it back in the oven and go make small talk with your fancy dinner party guests (or your cat, whatever).


yes, on the left it looks oh-so-done but nope! you’ll slice it and see that’s not true at all so put that sucker back in the oven, at least for a few minutes, but to be honest probably for 15-30 more minutes depending on how rare you like your meat.

8. Plate your meat! Include a generous spoonful of the gravy/juice, some green veggies to add a pop of color and make sure that each person gets a few onions and garlic cloves on their plate. Oh you fancy, huh? Yeah you are. Bon appetit!

we ate this for lemon's birthday dinner and it was perfect

we ate this for lemon’s birthday dinner and it was perfect

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Vanessa is a writer, a teacher, and the community editor at Autostraddle. Very hot, very fun, very weird. Find her on twitter and instagram.

Vanessa has written 404 articles for us.


  1. my favorite part of this meal was when our other roommate ate an entire plate of raw spinach in 30 seconds without anyone noticing. that and the roast. i liked that too.

    • if you were wondering why the plate in the background of the final photo has no spinach on it…now you know. our other roommate ate all the spinach off her plate in the time it took me to slice the roast. she then pronounced the dish to be “better than sex roast beef” so i forgave her for fucking up my plating efforts.


    This recipe is a cure for anemia.

    Okay but seriously I finally have thermometers LIKE AN ADULT, what temp is the inside supposed to be at?

    • what a great question! i have no idea because i am not an adult and didn’t even think to ask!

      will check with my mom & report back. stand by.

    • hahaha okay so i checked with my mom and this was our conversation:

      mom: no idea about the temp, they must cut and look/taste!!
      me: hahahaha, i think some people are worried about germs or diseases? they have meat thermometers so what should i tell them?
      mom: well i’m sure they’re right but remember, you and your brother survived cookie dough batter and all that other stuff with raw eggs in it!

      so there you have it folks. follow the instructions on amanda’s food safety link above because my mom is a fucking amazing cook but she’s not worried about salmonella or anything else! ;)

      moms can be so cute and funny.

    • It’s a roast so medium rare to medium is ideal. Shoot for 145-160 depending which you prefer. Back when I was carnivorous, I found 150 to be my goal.

    • It’s beef, so it can be rare and bloody in the middle or super cooked up and dry. You don’t really need a thermometer as much as you need at least 20 minutes.

      PS – Pat dry, season and sear the meat first!


  3. Amaaaaazing. That is what this looks like. A-effing-mazing.

    I can only imagine how good this would taste as a leftover sandwich with gobs of horseradish and gravy soaked bread. Just me? ;)

    • Not just you, pretty sure this spurred me to mass-order more gluten free flour so I can make bread and have sandwiches. I don’t like horseradish though. *ducks*

  4. Your mom and I make roast beef the same way! So, basically, I’m just going to assume that I’m your mother from now on. Also, I think onions are really gross and hate eating them, but I cook with them?

    Two things I’ve found:
    1) Take the meat out of the oven a little early because that shit will keep cooking, especially if it’s a large roast.
    2) Sometimes I’ll make two smaller roasts instead of one large one. I cook one longer than the other to accommodate different tastes. Also, the overall cooking time will be shorter. I like to do a quick pan sear on smaller roasts to help lock in the juices and add a little beef stock to the pan.

    • OMG yes! Pan sear! Plus yummy “crust” on the roast if you season it right. This is where I remind myself that I’m a happy vegetarian. No, really. I am.

    • yes, this is my mother’s roast recipe as well.

      incidentally, I too find myself cooking better dinner dishes, inevitably, in a favorite shirt or sweater.

  5. Please be aware that Gertrude Stein uses roast beef as code for lesbian sex. That is all.

    “Please be the beef, please beef, pleasure is not wailing. Please beef, please be carved clear, please be a case of consideration”

  6. This is not good for my newly vegetarian self…*drool*

    I seriously couldn’t stop my self from looking at every picture for an inappropriate amount of time.

  7. I am now So. Desperately. Hungry. The elegance of the recipe, the sheer POSSIBILITIES, I’m dying inside looking at these pix.

    So I have to plan. I have to get the ingredients to make this, and then survive the busy-ness of the weekend, and then, THEN I can make THIS ROAST. Before things get busy again. Because I must.

    Because if the Earth gets hit by a killer comet at any point in the upcoming week, I don’t want to be the girl who really should’ve had a fine last meal, but didn’t. I don’t want to be THAT GIRL. The Apocalypse loser.

    I can be better than that! I WILL be better than that! (Hunger makes me dramatic. I apologize.)

  8. Remember to let the beef sit at room temp for up to 20 minutes before searing and cooking…

    And don’t forget to rest it for a few minutes before slicing and dicing!


  9. That picture on the right with the sliced, undone roast beef? First thought: Red velvet cake. Just me?

  10. this is like the fancy version of what I was going to make for dinner today until my dad and I decided to just go to chipotle…

    basically my mom’s roast beef is this except instead of actual onions, she uses lipton’s onion soup mix. yep, it’s still 1950s convenience cooking in my household!

    we also do this thing where you leave it in the oven (you turn it off after the initial cooking) for a couple hours and it makes it super perfect somehow. cooking magic from peg bracken’s “the I Hate to Cook Book”!

  11. Totally am making this dish right now. And guess what guys? I got yellow mustard all over my t-shirt when I was opening the container! haha I will let you know how it tastes! So far it’s in the oven cooking ;)

  12. This roast came out fantastic. I slow cooked it at 300, and it came out tender and juicy!

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