Cooking Tips for Roast Beef

by Anne Hirsh ; Updated December 11, 2017

Roast beef is an easy dish to make for your family because it doesn't require a lot of preparation. With some cooking methods, you can put it in the oven and ignore it for several hours. Easy doesn't have to mean bland, however, especially if you start with a fresh, high quality cut of beef.

Wet or Dry Roast

Dry roasting lets you cook your roast beef in the oven without basting, but can result in burnt edges and a less tender roast beef. Wet roasting methods keep your roast steeped in moisture and flavor, but can also require more active involvement. For dry roasts, rub any seasonings you like on the roast before baking. Rub on the dry seasonings and let the meat sit, covered, in the refrigerator overnight for added flavor.

When wet roasting, add at least one inch of liquid to the bottom of the roasting pan and baste the roast with this liquid at least once every 30 minutes. In either case, cover the roast to keep moisture in, then remove the covering for the last 10 minutes of baking. Braising is also a good cooking method for beef roasts. This method involves browning the outside of the beef on the stovetop, then roasting in a tightly covered pan in the oven with a small amount of liquid.

Time and Temperature

Roast your beef in a 325F oven until a thermometer placed into the meat's center reads at least 145F. Most roasts require approximately 30 to 35 minutes of cooking time per pound, so a 5-pound roast will take approximately 2 1/2 to 3 hours. This cooking time will take longer at high altitudes and in dry climates, so always rely on your meat thermometer to gauge safe temperatures.


Beef is enhanced by a wide variety of seasonings. A traditional roast beef might use small amounts of salt and pepper, plus a few bay leaves to let the flavor of the meat come through. If your family finds that dull, add garlic, onion, parsley, oregano or basil, or a dry salad dressing mix to your roast. If wet roasting, the liquid you use need not be plain water. Packaged or home-made marinade, dressing, juice or broth works well to add both flavor and moisture. Avoid dairy-based dressings and marinades for beef, as they don't hold up well over the long cooking times.


  • Once the roast is cooked, let it stand for three minutes before cutting and serving.

    Thaw frozen beef thoroughly before cooking. Refrigerator thawing is best, or thaw it under running cold water.

    Only thaw a beef roast in the microwave if you will cook it immediately.

    Store leftover beef in tightly sealed containers for up to four days after cooking. You can use leftover beef for soups or casseroles, as long as you do not keep it for longer than the four recommended days.

About the Author

Anne Hirsh has been writing and editing for over 10 years. She has hands-on experience in cooking, visual arts and theater as well as writing experience covering wellness and animal-related topics. She also has extensive research experience in marketing, small business, Web development and SEO. Hirsh has a bachelor's degree in technical theater and English and post-baccalaureate training in writing and computer software.