How to Sear A Roast

Searing meat can be intimidating, especially for beginners, but it’s a skill worth mastering. This post is all about how to sear a roast. It will make your roast taste better and seal in the juices. I’ll tell you how to get that perfect crust on your roast, so it tastes like you spent hours cooking it when in reality, the whole thing takes less than 20 minutes of hands-on time!

How to Sear a Roast Homemade Slow Cooker Pot Roast with Carrots and Potatoes

What does it mean to sear meat?

When you sear meat you are cooking it at high temperature, the surface of the meat has direct undisturbed contact with the pan. Searing is the most common method for adding flavor to meat through the browning of its surface. This is called the Maillard reaction.

The Maillard reaction (pronounced “MY-yard”) is a chemical reaction between amino acids and reducing sugars that gives browned foods their distinctive flavors. It was discovered by French scientist Louis Camille Maillard in 1912.

How does searing meat work?

Searing is a technique used in grilling, baking, braising, roasting, sautéing, etc. in which the surface of the food is cooked at high temperatures until a browned crust forms. This is known as the Maillard Reaction.

The Maillard reaction occurs between amino acids (the building blocks of proteins) and reducing sugars (carbohydrates that have been chemically altered to be less sweet). When food is browned, these molecules become unstable — either breaking apart or combining with other ingredients. This often releases energy in the form of heat and light, which is what causes seared foods to change color.

The Maillard reaction makes food taste better through the formation of new flavor compounds. The reaction is responsible for transforming the sugars and proteins in a piece of meat into a complex combination of taste, aroma, color, and texture that makes cooked foods so appealing.

What cuts of Meat Benefit from Searing?

Any meat that you are going to continue to roast in the oven or braise in liquid in the oven or slow cooker will benefit from a good sear. Examples include rump roast, chuck roast, round roast, (meats typically used for pot roast) prime rib, and roast chicken. Searing is also an effective technique when cooking fish or vegetables.

Searing and braising form a cooking technique called a combination cooking method. Generally speaking, meat is seared and then braised, Braising involves adding liquid to the pan like red wine, beef broth, stock, or Worcestershire sauce at low to medium heat on the stovetop or the oven to finish cooking.

How do you prepare the meat for searing?

Take the meat out of the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature. Pat the surface of the meat dry with a paper towel. Season the meat generously with salt and black pepper. Additional seasonings that you might want to try are onion powder and garlic powder.

What are the different ways of searing?

Pan Frying

In Pan Frying foods are shallow-fried in a hot skillet with oil or another type of fat for just a few minutes per side. Pan-frying works best with foods that have a lot of moisture and those that are tender, such as fish, chicken breasts, or boneless pork chops.

Preheat the pan over medium-high heat. Add oil and swirl it around until it coats the bottom of the pan. Pat the roast dry with paper towels, sprinkle salt and pepper (to taste) on all sides, then place meat in the pan. Cook for 4 -5 minutes of uninterrupted contact (in other words, don’t move the meat around) on each side until the meat turns a dark brown. Use tongs to turn large pieces of meat once you have a deep-brown sear or a caramelized crust.

Reverse Sear

The reverse sear is a method that keeps the meat juicy and prevents overcooking. With the reverse sear method, the meat is cooked through prior to searing. Starting off with cooking the meat at low heat, you ensure that your meat is cooked evenly throughout and is tender and juicy. Then pan sear to brown the meat to building flavor happens at the end of cooking. It’s a great method for cooking steak, chops, whole chickens, and other large cuts.

Tools for Searing Meat


Cast iron skillet or Dutch Oven

Instant-Read Thermometer (or meat thermometer highly recommended)

Searing Different Meats:

Please see this meat temperature post from the USDA to find safe cooking temperatures.

How to Sear A Roast Beef Roast

While the pan heats, season roast with salt and pepper (to taste), sear in a hot pan, large pot, or dutch oven all sides until browned then place in the oven at 350 degrees until internal temperature reaches 125 -130 degrees.

This will take approximately 15 -20 minutes per pound. Once the meat is cooked, let it rest for at least 10-15 minutes before slicing and serving.

Make sure to use a thermometer to check that your roast is accurately cooked! Keep in mind some thermometers can read a few degrees high, so you might want to start checking with an internal thermometer when the temperature is a few degrees less than what you wanted!

How To Sear A Roast Chicken

Season whole roast chicken with salt and pepper (to taste) liberally inside and out. Place in a hot pan over medium-high heat, sear on all sides until browned approximately 5 -7 minutes per side.

Place in preheated oven at 375 degrees F. Roast for 30 minutes, rotate the pan then roast an additional 15-20 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees. Don’t forget to rest your chicken after it’s cooked! Let it sit on a cutting board for 10-15 minutes before slicing and serving.

How to Sear a Pork Roast

Season pork roast with salt and pepper (to taste). Sear on all sides until browned. Place in preheated oven at 325 degrees F for approximately one hour per pound or until internal temperature reaches 145-160 degrees.

How To Sear A Roast Turkey Breast

Season turkey breast with salt and pepper (to taste) liberally inside and out. Sear on all sides in 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat until golden brown approximately 4 -6 minutes per side. Place in preheated oven at 325 degrees F for 15 – 20 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees.

How to Sear A Ribeye

Sear ribeye on all sides over high heat until browned. Transfer to a preheated oven at 275 degrees Farenheight for approximately 12-15 minutes per inch of thickness or less if you prefer rare meat and more time for well-done meat.

How to Sear A Rib Roast (Prime Rib)

Pat dry the rib roast, season liberally with salt & pepper. Sear meaty side down on a very hot grill or pan for approximately 5 minutes before searing the rib side. This will create a nice crust on your roast. Sear all sides of the roast until browned, remove from heat, and place in roasting pan.


Now that you know all about the Maillard reaction, how to sear, and what it does for your meat, go ahead and try out some of these techniques in your kitchen. Whether cooking up a steak dinner for family and friends or planning an elaborate meal for guests at home as we enter fall entertaining season – take the time to do it right by following these steps so your food tastes delicious every time.

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