medium rare roast beef

How to Cook Roast Beef

Last Updated on June 11, 2021

So there’s roasting, the technique, and then there are roasts, the cuts of meat named for the way they’re most commonly cooked. Roasts are larger cuts of meat that are too big to cook on the stove, and might be unwieldy on the grill. They’re happiest in the oven, whether you cook them in a dry environment or a moist one (braising).

To make melt-in-your-mouth roast beef, you just need to follow the general method—temper and pre-season the beef, cook it until it reaches the desired temperature (around 130°F for medium-rare to medium), and rest generously before carving.

One difference between roasting a “roast” (a large cut) and a smaller cut, like a tray of chicken thighs, is that the ideal temperature may vary depending on the cut, whether there are any bones involved, and how lean or rich it is.

There are many different roast cuts of beef—some do well with high-heat roasting, others need a low and slow trip to the oven; others do best when braised or roasted in a pan with just a bit of well-seasoned liquid to help keep the meat tender. Likewise, smaller beef roasts can be seared at the beginning of cooking, or at the end—we like both methods.

Below is a basic recipe for roast beef.

roast beef recipe

Medium-Rare Roast Beef

3.95 from 105 votes
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Protein: Beef
Cut: Eye Round Roast
Course: Main Course
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 10


  • 2–3 pounds beef roast, such as eye round, top round, or tri-tip
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • freshly ground black pepper


  • One to two days before you want to cook the roast, take it from the package, rub it with salt, place it on a wire rack set on a rimmed baking sheet, and refrigerate uncovered for 8 to 48 hours.
  • Set the oven to 325°F. Bring the roast out of the oven and let sit at room temperature for at least 1 hour. Rub with olive oil and sprinkle again with salt and ground black pepper.
  • Roast for between 12 and 15 minutes per pound, then check the temperature. For medium-rare beef, the temp will be around 125°F to 130°F. Rest the roast for 30 minutes.
  • At this point, you can slice thinly against the grain and serve, or you can heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a skillet on medium heat and when it's hot, sear the roast on all sides until browned. Slice thinly and serve.
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