How to Cook a Top Round Roast

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3kg Top Round Roast of beef” by Colin Henein licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

In the vast world of beef, top round roast is one of the more affordable cuts that you might not think to buy if you’re looking for the cream of the crop. However, it’s somewhat underrated and should be added to your to-try list. 

In this guide, we share all the details on what constitutes a top round roast, how to find one in the store, how to cook top round roast using various cooking methods, and how to store top round roast as leftovers.

What Is A Top Round Roast?

Top round roast is a cut of beef taken from the inside of the rear leg of a cow. This area isn’t exercised much, so it’s relatively tender compared to other cuts, especially when cooked properly. Top round roast is sometimes confused with London broil, which is technically a way to cook roast rather than a cut itself. However, top round roast is often used as a cut for London broil, which could be where the confusion stems from.

Top round roast is most often cooked as a roast and then sliced into steaks or shredded after cooking, depending on the cooking method used. Still, you can slice it into steaks before cooking it if preferred. 

What to Look for When Buying Top Round Roast

When you visit the store to buy top round roast, it’s important to look for the following to ensure that you get a quality cut for your money:

  • Marbling: Top round roast is pretty lean, so you won’t see the rich marbling that you would from, say, a ribeye. However, you should see some thin, bright white lines running through the meat. What you don’t want to find is big chunks of fat, which can be difficult to break down during cooking.
  • Color: Look for a roast with a healthy, bright-red hue, signifying fresh meat. Avoid any roasts that are pale pink or brownish in color, which is usually a sign of a lack of freshness.
  • Label: Consider paying a little extra for top round roasts marked as USDA Prime, which typically offers exceptional quality over other roasts. Also, be sure to check the label for the meat’s sell-by date.

Essential Tips for a Tender Top Round Roast

The key to cooking a top round roast for pure tenderness is to cook it low and slow. More specifically, we mean to cook it using low heat and over a long period, both of which work together to break down fat and tenderize the meat. If you cook it too fast, the natural tenderization process won’t have time to work its magic. Also, cooking it on high heat will crisp up the outside before the inside of the roast has time to cook thoroughly.

Another pro tip for top round roast is to let it rest before slicing it. Rest the roast for about 15 minutes after cooking while keeping it loosely tented with foil. This process helps the meat reabsorb some juices that escape while cooking, putting them back into the roast to enhance tenderness. Then, slice the roast against the grain to break up any tough, long muscle fibers, making each bite impressively tender. 

What To Serve with Top Round Roast?

Want something different than the usual mashed or baked potato to serve with top round roast? Here are a few ideas that work well with this roast:

  • Roasted Vegetables: Choose a blend of your favorite vegetables, like potatoes, carrots, onions, and asparagus. Drizzle them with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper before roasting in the oven for 20-30 minutes or until tender and crisp.
  • Creamed Spinach: This indulgent side is savory and flavorful but won’t overpower your top round roast. 
  • Scalloped Potatoes: This is a unique twist on classic potato side dishes, and there are numerous ways to customize them, like going for a cheesy version or blending them with garlic and parmesan. 
  • Air Fryer Biscuits: If you want a bread side, try making flaky biscuits in the air fryer using canned biscuit dough for a quick cook or your own biscuit dough to customize its flavors.

Different Methods of Cooking a Top Round Roast

Use the following tips to learn how to cook top round roast using a cooking method of your choice. 

In the Oven

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Season the roast with your choice of seasonings on all sides, then place the roast in a shallow baking dish. Move the dish into the oven to cook for 15-20 minutes or until the outside becomes lightly crisp and golden brown. Then, reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees to continue cooking the roast for another 1-1.5 hours. 

Remove from the oven when the inside of the roast comes to 125 degrees. Tent loosely with foil, and rest at room temperature for 15 minutes before slicing. 

On the Grill

Heat the grill to high heat (450-500 degrees). While it preheats, season the roast on all sides. Place the roast on the high-heat area of the grill, searing for 6-7 minutes before turning and searing on the other side. Reduce the heat, allowing the roast to cook for another 1-1.5 hours.

Check that the internal temperature of the roast comes to 125 degrees before removing it from the grill. Rest the roast for 15 minutes, then slice. 

On the Stove

You can sear a top round roast on the stove before moving it into the oven to continue cooking. To do this, preheat a large pan with a drizzle of oil. Meanwhile, season the roast on all sides. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Sear the roast in the pan for 5-6 minutes on each side until golden brown. Then, place the roast in a shallow baking dish and transfer it into the oven to cook for about 1 hour. Remove from the oven when the roast reaches 125 degrees. Then, rest for 15 minutes on a plate tented with foil.

In a Crock Pot

Add roast, salt, pepper, and a 15-ounce can of beef broth to the slow cooker. Add sliced mushrooms and onions, if preferred. Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4-5 hours. Once cooked, shred or slice the roast. 

In an Air Fryer

Preheat the air fryer to 375 degrees for about 10 minutes. Use this time to season the roast with your choice of seasonings. Drizzle oil on both sides of the roast before adding it to the air fryer basket. Cook for about 15 minutes; flip the roast to the other side and cook for another 30 minutes. 

Check that the internal temperature reaches 125 degrees. If not, continue cooking in 5-minute increments until it does. Then, rest the roast for 15 minutes before slicing and serving. 

How To Store Top Round Roast Leftovers

It’s completely safe to store extra top round roast as leftovers if you didn’t finish it all for your meal. However, proper storage techniques are key to ensuring that it’s still safe to eat in a couple of days.

You can either slice the roast or store it whole. Either way, be sure that your roast or slices are tightly wrapped in a sealable container or food-grade storage bags to prevent air from getting in as much as possible. Place the container or bag on a plate in the refrigerator to prevent leakage and potential contamination.

Generally, your top round is safe to store for 3-5 days in the refrigerator if stored correctly.

Conclusion: How to Cook a Top Round Roast at Home

Ready to start cooking top round roast at home using one of the cooking methods we outlined? Remember what to look for when buying your roast at the store to ensure the best results. 

If you’d rather skip the supermarket and have the highest quality beef shipped to your home, place an order from Chicago Steak Company. We offer a bone-in heart of rib roast and a Chateaubriand tenderloin roast that we can ship directly to you. Each comes with a Chicago Steak Company gold seal and gift box and is packaged with dry ice to maintain safe temperatures en route.