How to Make Tender Eye of Round Roast Beef

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This low and slow method of making roast beef with an affordable eye of round will give you the juiciest and most tender roast that's pink from edge to edge! It's perfect for anything from Sunday roast to holiday meals!

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I can't think of anything better on my holiday table than a beautiful platter holding roast beef of some sort. Prime rib, beef tenderloin, etc. But this year, for Easter I am gladly setting this gorgeous, juicy eye of round roast on the center of my table. 

This low and slow method of making roast beef with an affordable eye of round will give you the juiciest and most tender roast that's pink from edge to edge! It's perfect for anything from Sunday roast to holiday meals!

What if I told you that you could make a tough, lean eye of round roast in a tender, juicy, beautiful piece of meat worthy of your Easter or Christmas table yet easy enough to have for Sunday supper? What if I told you each slice is nearly as tender as a slice of beef tenderloin?

If you don't know what an eye of round roast is, it's an inexpensive cut of very lean meat from the 'round' area of the cow, the hind legs. It gets worked a lot so it's a tough cut. But it's actually a really cheap cut for a big roast, I end up with five pounds at my local BJ's (a bulk store like Costco) for about $13. 

You can see that while it has a thin fat cap, it doesn't have a lot of fat and fatty connective tissue marbled into the meat. This is why it doesn't fall apart and become tender by slow cooking in a crockpot or the oven the same way a chuck roast would for a pot roast. 

eye of round roast getting prepped for roast beef

The usual, popular method is to roast it in the oven, but no matter how I tried it during recipe testing: high temperatures for a short time, "magic number" oven roasting, slow cooking, none of it gave me anything that I really enjoyed.

Roasting always gave me a thick grey ring, which of course means that area would be tough and overcooked, with no fat to help keep the roast juicy inside. And the seasoning doesn't penetrate through the entirety of the roast, even after marinating it overnight in the fridge.

In other words, the eye of round roast was a piece of work during recipe testing. Every single way I tried gave me too-chewy slices that would never be pink from edge to edge and never had great flavor. What I wanted was tender, juicy slices that could be eaten with pan gravy or even piled on my son's sandwiches for lunch so I wouldn't spend so much on my favorite roast beef at the deli.

So instead of giving up, I decided to get a little technical about it. And I ended up with a beautiful, fool-proof method that gives me gorgeous roast beef every. single. time.

Tender slices of roast beef made in the sous vide on a wood platter

What if I told you that it's basically a hands-off technique that tenderizes the eye of round and allows you to safely slow cook it without it losing flavor, without losing juices, and never overcooking it?

Sweetheart, meet my favorite protein cooking technique: the sous-vide.

Aht, aht, don't run away.

Sous-vide is NOT hard, it's NOT some scary scientific experiment (though it looks like one), and it's NOT expensive!

What is sous-vide?

In French, sous-vide means "under vacuum", which makes sense: the sous-vide method of cooking is putting food in a vacuum-sealed bag and cooking it in a temperature-controlled water bath with a sous vide immersion machine.

And really, that's it. It used to be a highfalutin technique only top chefs and those in culinary school used for perfectly cooked proteins: Expensive machines and techy-scientific stuff that no home cook would come near with a ten-foot pole.

Things have changed! Now I would like for every home cook to get onto the sous-vide train! Sous vide immersion machines are incredibly affordable -I got mine for $60 on Amazon- and easy to use. The one I use lets you set up the temperature and the time for cooking and boom, you're in business. I have been loving my sous vide machine and using it for a ton of different recipes.

No need to fuss over a thermometer or worry about if the inner temperature will change. The sous vide method will keep your roast beef at the perfect temperature, no matter how long you cook it. It's why I love this method for a beginner: you cannot fail with this recipe! I'm serious!

If you don't have a vacuum sealer or vacuum sealer bags, they're also extremely affordable, too.

Or you can sous vide in a safe zip-top bag using the water displacement method. 

Why Sous-Vide Makes Perfectly Tender Eye of Round Roast Beef

Sous-Vide is not a fast cooking method, it's even lower and slower than your slow cooker. And since we are cooking low and slow for such a long time, the connective tissue in it has time to break down and the proteins are relaxing and separating, so the meat becomes super tender.

This method takes about 18 hours, so I like to think of it as Sunday Supper started on Saturday night.

Yes, it's perfectly safe to leave your sous-vide running so long as you have taken all precautions and follow the instructions that come with your immersion machine. Making sure that the temperature isn't below 131 degrees F (55 degrees C), ensures that you will never be below food-safe temperatures.

How to Cook a Perfect Roast Beef with Eye of Round

I've seen many recipes that fuss with prepackaged soup mixes, random ingredients, but here all you need are a few spices and the roast itself. The sous-vide method does all the work in imparting great flavor.

Season + Sous Vide. Some recipes require that you marinate the roast before cooking, which helps the salt and seasoning flavor the meat.

close up of the seasoning on eye of round roast beef

We're doing the same thing with the sous vide, where the meat is coated with seasoning for a long period of time before it's time to eat, but it's even better since we're using heat. 

It's kinda like when you're deep conditioning your hair, it works a million times better with heat. And it's happening for 18+ hours, so you know that flavor has had all the time it needs to really get in there and make it super tasty.

I like sous-viding at the lowest temperature safely possible because I feel that this cut is best enjoyed medium-rare, but use my temperature guide to cook it to the doneness that you like to eat. It will still be juicy, tender, and tasty!

Here's a little guide for sous vide temperatures for beef.

Very Rare to Rare: 120°F (49°C) to 128°F (53°C). This is not a safe temperature to keep for over 2.5 hours!

Medium-rare: 129°F (54°C) to 134°F (57°C). We will be cooking our roast at 131 degrees F, the lowest safe temperature to have for long periods of time.

Medium:135°F (57°C) to 144°F (62°C).

Medium-well: 145°F (63°C) to 155°F (68°C).

Well done: 156°F (69°C) and up.

overhead shot of the rare roast beef sliced on a wooden platter

Sear Hot in 15 Second Intervals. After taking the roast out of the bag, it will be perfectly cooked from edge to edge. In order to keep that yet get a gorgeous brown sear all around, you'll need to give each side quick hits in a very hot pan.

I use a cast iron skillet --a kitchen staple that holds heat fantastically-- over medium-high heat with an oil that has a high smoke point, like grapeseed oil. Once that skillet is ripping hot I sear each side in 15 second intervals. This browns the outside without cooking through to the inside and giving our roast a gray ring. You may have to give some sides a second go-around to get the color you want, but as long as you do it quickly (no more than 15-20 seconds) you won't overcook the insides.

I also find that my trusty culinary torch works wonders at touching up any spots that didn't get a great sear.

Slice 'n' Serve! No need to rest! Usually, you rest large hunks of meat for about 10 to 15 minutes, right? Not needed when you sous vide. Resting is needed because the insides need to relax from high heat, but since sous vide is low heat, you can slice this baby right up after searing!

How to Serve Eye of Round Roast Beef

plate of sliced roast beef with mashed potatoes, with wooden platter of roast beef in the background

What Can I serve with Roast Beef?

Plenty of side dishes go along with roast beef, here are a few of my favorites no matter the occasion:

Mashed Potatoes

Mushroom Risotto

With chimichurri sauce (it's SO good!)

Sweet Potato Casserole

Garlic Butter Mushrooms

Southern Baked Macaroni and Cheese

A fresh salad

Asparagus with garlic and lemon

Chimichurri Roasted Potatoes

A homemade gravy using the juices from cooking

 

Can I freeze Roast Beef?

To freeze the roast, let it cool completely, then slice into 2-4 inch thick steaks. This will make it easier to freeze and thaw and can be eaten in smaller servings.

Wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and foil or vacuum seal each piece. The roast beef will keep for 3-4 months in the freezer. 

To thaw, put the frozen roast beef in the fridge to thaw overnight.

Looking for more holiday centerpiece dishes? Check out:

Easy, Juicy, Foolproof Spatchcock Thanksgiving Turkey

Instant Pot Beef Bourguignon

Million Dollar Chicken

 

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📖 Recipe

Tender Eye of Round Roast Beef

Eden Westbrook
This low and slow method of making roast beef with an affordable eye of round will give you the juiciest, super flavorful, and most tender roast that's pink from edge to edge! It's perfect for anything from Sunday roast to holiday meals!
4.56 from 234 votes
Cook Time 18 hours
Total Time 18 hours
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Servings 4 -6 servings
Calories 88 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 3 lb eye of round roast
  • Kosher Salt and Freshly Cracked Black Pepper
  • Granulated Garlic as needed
  • Onion Powder as needed
  • 2 tablespoon high smoke point oil grapeseed, vegetable oil, etc

Instructions
 

  • Fill a large container with water that will properly fit your sous vide immersion machine and the roast without overcrowding. Set the temperature to your desired doneness (medium-rare is 131 degrees F to 134 degrees F) and let the water heat up before adding the roast.
  • Generously season all sides of your roast with salt, pepper, garlic, and onion powder. Vacuum seal your eye of round roast using the vacuum sealer and a vacuum seal bag and add it to the preheated water. Cook for 18-24 hours, adding water if needed.
  • After the sous-vide cooking is finished, remove from the sealed bag and pat dry with a paper towel. Make sure it's extremely dry because water will ruin your sear.
  • Preheat a cast iron skillet to medium-high heat (my stove goes 1-9, I go about an 8) with the high smoke point oil.
  • Once the oil is extremely hot, add the roast to the pan. Sear each side for only 15 seconds each. You can re-sear each side to the desired browning as long as you don't leave the side cooking for more than about 15-20 seconds each time so the inside doesn't cook through and turn gray.
  • Once your roast is seared, you can serve immediately because it doesn't need to rest! Slice the roast beef thinly against the grain (perpendicular to the lines showing across the meat) and serve hot with desired sides.
  • Keep the roast beef in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.

Notes

You can use the juices from cooking in the sous vide bag to make a pan drippings gravy.

To Freeze

To freeze the roast, let it cool completely, then slice into 2-4 inch thick steaks. This will make it easier to freeze and thaw and can be eaten in smaller servings.
Wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and foil or vacuum seal each piece. The roast beef will keep for 3-4 months in the freezer. 
To thaw, put the frozen roast beef in the fridge to thaw overnight.

Nutrition

Serving: 1gCalories: 88kcalCarbohydrates: 1gProtein: 4gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 17mgSodium: 105mg
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38 Comments

  1. I made this exactly as the recipe stated. Sous vide for 18 hours. It was perfect! Everyone loved how tender and flavorful. There were plenty of juices in the bag to add to my gravy base. Thank you for the recipe!

    1. Eden Westbrook says:

      Hi Chris,

      So happy to hear you loved the recipe! Making a gravy from the juices is an excellent idea, gotta try it myself next time. xo, Eden

  2. I am new to the sous vide as my instant pot has the setting. Our grocery had an eye of round roast on sale and thought what a great test with such a lean cut. I trimmed all fat and membrane and was 4.3lbs. Seasoned with little steak spice and put in at 131 F for 23 hrs. Absolutely perfect med rare and moist! Using slicer sliced up thin and the juice that came out was perfect for a dip! This sous vide is so great for lean cuts!

  3. I made this last night, and I was absolutely blown away.
    I usually buy Eye of Round to make nice, chewy Beef Jerky - but this - OMG.
    I cooked it at 131 for 20 hours, and it was literally as tender and juicy as a Prime Rib.
    I still can't believe how great this tasted, and how melt-in-your-mouth tender it was.

  4. Jeff Wong says:

    I’ve been itching to find a cheap cut of beef and do this. I just finished cooking a 2# rump “roast“ and cut slices. Their test and texture rival that of Las Vegas $45 buffet prime rib!
    It’s great even WITHOUT SEARING it!
    I shared this with everyone I know.

  5. I just realized your recipe was for a 3lb. Roast. My eye of round roast was 6lbs. Before trimming it. I had set 131 degrees and 18 hours and that time just ended. I started the time over by choosing 6 hours. Is 24 hours more appropriate for an approximate 6lb. Roast?

    1. Eden Westbrook says:

      That's a great question Mark! I think 24 hours may not get the most tender result, since we are using such a tough cut. I would try around 28-30 hours, we really want those connective tissues to melt away throughout the entire roast and give you the most tender and juicy result. I hope this helps!

      1. I had already removed it at 24 hours. I refrigerated it overnight and thinly sliced it for French dips and sandwiches for the week. I ended up with almost 3.5 lbs. with some wonderful Au Jus. This after trimming and my family sneaking pieces as I sliced it.

        1. Eden Westbrook says:

          Sounds like a total winner! French dip sandwiches is a perfect application for this. I'm so glad you and your family loved it!

  6. Eden, help me please. I am lost in the forest and can’t see the trees. How long to Sous vide a 3 1/2 lbs . eye of round roast for the perfect medium doneness? 16,18, 20, 24 hrs at 135 degrees. I see recommendations at all the time and temps listed above. Be my North Star and guide me out of my confusion. Thank you.

    1. Eden Westbrook says:

      Hi Pat. To answer your question simply: the time doesn’t matter when it comes to the temperature of doneness. Once at 135 degrees, it won’t go any further than 135. It will stay that way until the cows come home. When it comes to tough cuts like eye of round, the time matters for the texture rather than temperature. The long timing helps break down more connective tissue and denature proteins so the meat is more tender. But it won’t ever go past your perfect temperature. Hope that helps!

  7. Alma Herrera says:

    I am cooking a cuban "boliche" with eye of round for a dinner party. I would like to make it ahead of time and either freeze or refrigerate for a few days until the party. Should I slice it ahead of freezing or freeze it whole? Should I reheat in the sous vide? If so, how long and what temp?

    1. Eden Westbrook says:

      Hi. This isn’t a recipe for sous vide boliche, nor have I made it that way, so I wouldn’t know exactly what you would need to do.

      The timing, temperature, and technique for that recipe would have to be developed specifically for it since it’s a stuffed roast dish that’s vastly different from this one.

  8. That was brilliant. I love a rare roast beef sandwich for lunch with provolone or havarti and I followed this recipe exactly. Started a 2.5 lb eye round at 1 PM Tuesday afternoon, took it out of sous vide at 9 AM the next morning, cranked up the all clad stainless steel skillet and seared the outside, about 20-25 seconds on each side. Sliced it very very thin for the sandwiches, and it should make it to Saturday. Super stuff. Thanks,

  9. Jonathan Wright says:

    I agree with you 100% ... an extremely economical eye of round roast cooked via sous vide is a wonderful thing. The only changes we've made are: (1) cooked sous vide for 30 to 36 hours; (2) finished cooking on an outdoor gas grill with all the burners on high and searing the roast for no longer than 30 to 60 seconds on each side.

    Thanks for the great recipe!

  10. I have one that is a little over 5 lbs. Is 24 hrs @ 135 enough, or should I plan for more time?

    1. Eden Westbrook says:

      It should be fine! Please let me know how it went.

    2. Susan Blair says:

      Why the variations in time from 18-24hrs? My roast is 3.78lbs

      1. Eden Westbrook says:

        When cooking using sous vide methods, the food is cooking so slowly that you won’t see much difference between 18 hours and 24, besides slightly more tenderness. The long cook time is to denature the proteins and melt away the connective tissues since eye of round is a tough cut. The time really is more so a grace period in case you have a busy schedule, so there isn’t a need to panic if you’ve gone over an hour or two.

  11. Victoria Small says:

    Absolutely fabulous. Best roast beef I have ever cooked. My family likes a little more done so I did 134 with 2 three pound roasts for 18 hours. Turned out slightly pink, tender. Used a electric slicer and saved au jus for dip sandwiches. PERFECT just PERFECT. My go to recipe.

  12. Michael O'Brien says:

    The roast turned out perfect! I will always use this recipe for Eye of Round Roast from now on. Very flavorful and incredibly tender. Why buy a tenderloin when this is just as good?

  13. I did this exactly the first time by the receipt and it was perfect. The second time I did only kosher salt, pepper and garlic powder. Love this for wraps, sandwiches, etc., and this time I cut into 3 chunks and will freeze 2 for another time. It’s perfect at 131 but do you think I could do 128 and it would be safe? I like it a bit more rare. Thanks for this great recipe!!

    1. Eden Westbrook says:

      Hi Carol, I’m so glad you enjoyed this recipe! Unfortunately 128 degrees would be in the “unsafe” zone where bacteria thrives, especially going for such a long time, you put yourself at risk of getting extremely ill.

  14. This was my first roast with my Joule Christmas gift. I did 131/20 and loved the results. I would never guessed an eye of round could be so tender. Thank you!

  15. I never comment on websites, but this was absolutely amazing! I had to let everyone know how good it was. I cooked a 4 pound roast at 131 degrees for 20 hours. It was as tender as an expensive beef tenderloin. Even near the seared edges it was as soft as butter. I just had tenderloin at Christmas so it is still recent in my memory. This was just as good and 1/10th the price. Thank you! I think I will serve this next year instead.

  16. Yes ma’am... just like all the other comments, mine came out perfect! And this was #1 - the first time I’ve ever made roast, and #2 - the first time I ever used the sous vide method. I am in love with this way of cooking and want to cook all my meat this way! Thank you!!!

  17. This is the BEST. I was hopeful after your comments about trialing all the other recommended methods with low and slow cooking and this totally delivered. Thank you for our Christmas dinner roast!

  18. Thanks so much for this recipe! Some other sources I looked at said this cut of beef can’t be helped with sous vide, but your recipe was spot on. The texture was incredible. I had 2.5 pound eye of round roast and I cooked it for 18 hours, then I made a quick gravy with the drippings. This will be my go-to method from now on.

  19. This looks delicious! Could I follow this same recipe with a sirloin roast? Thank you!

    1. Eden Westbrook says:

      Yes you could!

  20. Judi Athens says:

    I tried this recipe with a two-pound eye of round and it was delicious. I was amazed how tender the meat was! I cooked it at 132 degrees for 19 hours and it's a beautiful pink, end to end, just as promised. Definitely a keeper! Thank you!

  21. Robert Wenzel says:

    I finally broke down and bought a Sous Vide cooker. The was the best recommendation. Followed recipe to the tee and this roast was like prime rib. Totally awesome. Horseradish sauce and blissfulness. For reheating leftovers I placed slices in a ziplock bag and reheated in a hot-water bath using only the hottest water coming out of the tap and let rest for 5-10 minutes. This is definitely my new go-to style for cooking this type of roast.

  22. Jennifer Wylie says:

    Oh my goodness I had never heard anything about Sous vide until I read your recipe for the eye of round roast. It sounded so good that I just had to try it. Bought a Sous vide immersion unit from amazon on Tuesday, it arrived on Thursday. I put a bourbon rub on the roast and vacuum sealed it and set it up for 20 hours at 131 degrees and it turned out wonderful. I can’t wait to try it for a beef brisket! Thank you so much!

  23. Thank you Eden, this is a winner! So much flavour, so affordable. Definitely 24 hrs, next time i’ll try 36.

  24. Jonathan Wright says:

    Like you, I have tried oven cooking eye of round ... start high & finish low or start low & finish high or low all the way and absolutely none worked! Sous vide is the only way to go on this particular cut! I've tried the 24-hour version several times and it's great but my personal preference is 48-hours at 130 - 132 degrees. It comes close to a tenderloin in tenderness after 48 hours.

    Thanks for your time and the great recipes!

    Be safe!

  25. Question? My roast is only 1 lbs. Do I need to cook it 18hrs? Or can I cut down the cook time?
    Thank you for your response.

    1. Eden Westbrook says:

      Hi! For one that small, 12 hours should be enough. The cook time is more so to break down proteins, so the longer it cooks the more tender the eye of round roast will be, since it’s so tough of a cut.

      1. Thank you. I will let you know how it turns out.