11+ Ways To Add Flavor To Roast Beef

add flavor to roast beef

No one is knocking a classic pot roast or traditional roast beef recipe. It is often a comfort food that makes a dreary day better.

But, there are tons of ways to change it up and add flavor to roast beef with almost no extra effort (similar to ground beef).

Let’s look at some ways we can elevate Sunday dinner or build a better sandwich without relying on toppings or condiments and create new traditional tastes.

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What’s the difference between beef and roast beef?

Roast beef is like the word steak. The cut of meat can be anything you want it to be; it just has to be roasted at 350°F.

The first thing that typically comes to mind is a pot roast or the roast beef we put between slices of bread.

What’s the difference between a pot roast and a sirloin tip roast?

Chuck roast will be your best bet if you’re looking for a slamming pot roast. It is easy to braise but is lean and highly affordable.

 A sirloin tip roast is cut from a different part of the cow and is more tender than a chuck roast. It is still affordable, just a bit more expensive than chuck roast. Eye of round roast has lots of flavor but is very tough.

What can I add to roast beef for flavor?

1. Garlic

Badia Minced Garlic, 8 oz

Salt and pepper are given spices. But sometimes, we want a little more out of our roast beef.

Garlic is aromatic, and meat soaks it up. Fresh garlic or garlic powder adds a complex saltiness, so only use half of the table salt you would typically use.

If you choose fresh garlic, stuff the gloves about a half-inch into your roast. It flavors the beef from the inside out.

Onion and chili powder both add quite the bang to roast beef, too.

2. Fresh Thyme


Beef and thyme go hand-in-hand. The fresh or dried herb adds depth and layers to meat.

The best way to go about it is to make thyme part of your herb rub and smear it all over the roast before cooking it.

Basil, parsley, and sage are a few other herbs that pair well with roast beef and add wild aromatics to your meal.

3. Italian Seasoning

McCormick Italian Seasoning, 6.25-Ounce

Marinating in Italian dressing is a tried and true way to tenderize meat. 

But, when you use dry Italian herb seasoning, it adds far more of a bang. You can find it on your grocery store shelf or make your own.

2-Minute Italian Seasoning Recipe

  • Dried basil
  • Oregano, rosemary,
  • Thyme
  • Marjoram
  • Optional herbs

Throw them all in a jar and give it a shake. A good tip is to notate the lid to know what you made and when (i.e., Italian beef).

4. The Wondrous Flavors of Wood

Traeger Grills Signature Blend 100% All-Natural Wood Pellets for Smokers and Pellet Grills, BBQ, Bake, Roast, and Grill, 20 lb. Bag

If you’re using a grill and a roasting pan, the wood you’re cooking it with can make all the difference in taste.

Mesquite, cherry, or applewood add heady aromas and intense flavors to any meat.

5. Dipping Sauces

French's Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce, 12 oz

No, not ketchup.

Horseradish sauce is one of the most common dip sauces for roast beef.

All it takes is a little mayo, sour cream, and horseradish to make your guests gush about your roast.

 6. Baste Your Beef

Basting is about patience, and if you don’t have hours to listen for the ding of an alarm, this way is likely not your way.

Every hour, a tasty baste of fresh beer, wine, butter, or juice will leave your pot roast with a nice crispy outside and yummy tender inside. 

You want to use a baste with natural sugars, so it caramelizes to perfection.

7. Bacon. Yes, Bacon.


Bacon makes everything better. It is just a fact, not something we can avoid. 

5 Ways to Add Flavor to Roast Beef with Bacon

  1. Strips of bacon on the outside of the roast.
  2. Use bacon bits in your seasoning rub.
  3. Pour a little bacon grease on the outside.
  4. Inject bacon grease on the inside.
  5. Or, just wrap a ton of bacon around the hunk of meat.

8. Gravy


Gravy and roast beef go together like peas and carrots.

Take some of the delicious liquid and droppings that remain after the roast is done, and make you some gravy.

You’re getting the flavors you added and the beefy taste of the roast. 

How do you make roast beef taste better?

Beef is just too expensive to risk ruining it on a new recipe. 

But, we will help you avoid common missteps and mistakes when cooking roast beef.

Season It the Night Before

Life is busy, and we don’t always plan out our meals. But, it is all about planning when it comes to a roast.

You want the seasoning to be as saturated into the meat’s interior as possible. 

Just do a quick dry brine with salt and pepper and set the uncovered roasting pan in the fridge overnight. It’ll help keep the flavor even for leftovers.

How to Brine a Roast

Brine is just a solution that contains salt, but you can add whatever you want for the taste you are looking for.


  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 1/4 cup of salt
  • Two tablespoons of cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cloves
  • 1 cup of water
  1. Add the ingredients to your saucepan. 
  2. Bring that to a boil and stir until the sugar is dissolved.
  3. Remove from heat, and then add 3 cups of cold water
  4. Put the brine and the roast in a zip lock bag overnight in the fridge.

Let Your Meat Have a Rest

Your roast needs a pit stop between the fridge and the oven. 

It needs to get around room temperature before you cook it so it will cook through evenly.

Don’t Go Too Low or Too Slow.

You are looking for a golden brown crusty roast, not a grey, a tough chunk of beef, or a raw bleeding mess.

The USDA recommends that you cook pork, roasts, and chops to 145 ºF. For your safety, use a food thermometer.

You then want to ensure that the temperature is not so high that the outside burns and the inside is raw.

At the same time, you want to keep a close eye on it so that once it is getting all brown, you can turn down the heat without burning the outside.

Resist the Urge to Carve Right Away

The experience of sitting in a home while a pot roast is cooking is pure agony. Truly. But, you must resist the urge to cut right into it.

Roast beef needs to rest for at least 30 minutes to do its magic. 

If it cools off more than you like, you can always pour the juices at the bottom of the roast pan back over it. 

Slice the Right Direction

A lot of times, when we bite into the meat, and it’s tough and chewy, it’s because it was cut in the wrong way.

Slice your meat against the grain rather than with it to keep it melt-in-your-mouth awesome.

It totally helps if you find a super sharp knife.

FAQs about How To Add Flavor To Roast Beef

Can I sear my roast beef?

Absolutely, and searing it before you roast it comes highly recommended. It does depend on its size, but you can get a well-caramelized crust on your roast.

Put it in 1-3 tablespoons of oil in a skillet. Then, sear the roast for 2 to 3 minutes on both sides.

Should I cover my roast when cooking it?

You don’t want to cover it. It will steam the beef rather than roast it.

Also, don’t add any liquid or water.

How do I shop for the perfect roast?

Choose the cut of beef you want for your roast. The more marbling (visible fat), the more tender the meat will be.

You will want to choose to roast size based on the number of people you intend on serving..

Make sure they have a USDA label. The higher the grade, the more tender and favorable the roast. 

The roast should be moist and a healthy color. Back slowly away from it if it’s browning or slimy

Avoid buying any meat that has tears or punctures in the packaging, or when there’s liquid at the bottom.

The roast needs to feel firm and cold when you touch it.

How do you give a roast more flavor?

Use ingredients like Garlic, Fresh thyme, Italian Seasoning, Cooking with wood, Dipping sauce, Basting, Bacon, and Gravy.

Use techniques like – Season it the night before. Rest your roast. Cook at the right temperature. Let your roast rest again. Slice against the grain.

Read more about roast beef & meals –

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