Best Beef Cuts for Slow and Pressure Cooking

When it comes to cooking beef, not all cuts are created equal. Some cuts are better suited to slow or pressure cooking which helps to transform and tenderise while infusing flavour. Knowing which cuts of beef are best for each method can help you create delicious and flavourful meals with ease.

Chuck roast, brisket and short ribs are the best cut because they contain a lot of connective tissue. During both slow & pressure cooking, that connective tissue breaks down and turns into gelatin giving the beef a rich, meaty flavour and a tender, juicy texture. Slow and pressure cooking methods are ideal as the steady heat allows the beef to become tender and juicy without becoming overcooked or dry. The added benefit? These cuts are cheaper than their more tender counterparts like tenderloin and sirloin!

silver Slow cooker in foreground with silver pressure cooker in background. Green plan in back left corner.

Recipe Suggestions

Slow Cooker / Pressure Cooker Barbacoa Beef
Looking for a delicious and easy dinner recipe? Look no further! This recipe is sure to be a hit at your next gathering with its tender, flavourful beef that's perfect for tacos, burritos, or simply served with rice. Try it out today!
Check out this recipe
Dinner table with bowls of beef, tortillas and vegetables

Other cuts of beef that are good for slow and pressure cooking include beef shanks and oxtail. When choosing a cut of beef for slow or pressure cooking, decide how you want to serve it first. Pulled or shredded beef needs long strands, so this means larger pieces of meat. Look for one that has a good amount of marbling and fat as this will help keep the beef moist and flavourful during the long cooking process.

Chuck Roast

One of the best (and my most used) cuts of beef for slow and pressure cooking is the chuck roast. This cut comes from the shoulder area of the cow and has a lot of connective tissue and marbling making it ideal for slow & pressure cooking. This cut is also quite affordable, making it a great option for those on a budget. Chuck roast is usually quite large, meaning it creates many servings. If you don’t need to feed a lot of people, simply portion the raw meat and freeze it until needed. Alternatively, cook all the meat in a single recipe and portion afterwards.


Another great option for slow and pressure cooking is the brisket. This cut comes from the chest of the cow and is a bit tougher than the chuck roast, but with slow cooking, it becomes incredibly tender and flavourful. Just like chuck roast, brisket is sold in large quantities. It’s easy to either portion the raw meat (freeze until needed) or cook all the meat in a single recipe and portion afterwards.

Short Ribs

Short ribs are also a great choice for slow and pressure cooking. This cut comes from the lower part of the cow’s rib cage and has a lot of connective tissue and marbling, which makes it ideal. This cut is often used in stews and braises and is known for its richness.

Close up of pulled beef in a light grey bowl.

Slow Cooker vs Pressure Cooker basics

Both slow cooking and pressure cooking can be great options for cooking meat, but they work in very different ways.

Slow cooking is a method that involves cooking food at a low temperature for an extended period of time. The low temperature and long cooking time allow the connective tissues to break down, leading to meat that is very tender and flavourful.

Pressure cooking involves cooking food quickly in a sealed container with high pressure and steam. Pressure cooking is a great option for cooking meat when you’re short on time, as it significantly reduces the cooking time and gives results just like they’d been slow-cooked.

Want More Slow & Pressure Cooker Information? Check out our cookbook All In Together: Slow & Pressure.

Why are cheaper cuts best for slow and pressure cooking?

Cheaper cuts of beef, such as chuck roast, brisket, and short ribs, are best for slow and pressure cooking because they contain more connective tissue and collagen than expensive cuts. These cuts come from muscles that are used more frequently by the cow, which means that the muscle fibres are tougher and have more connective tissue.

When these cuts are cooked at high temperatures, the connective tissue and collagen can become tough and chewy. When cooked slowly over a long period of time, the heat and moisture break down the connective tissue and collagen, resulting in wonderfully tender meat. It means that cheaper cuts need some love and attention to bring out their best but is SO worth it in the end!

Don’t waste your time with expensive cuts

Expensive cuts of beef, such as tenderloin or ribeye, are prized for their tenderness and don’t require slow cooking methods to be enjoyed. These cuts are better suited for quick-cooking methods like grilling or pan-searing to retain their natural tenderness. These cuts can end up stringy and dry with extended cooking
times so don’t waste your money if you plan on slow/pressure cooking.

Choose cheaper cuts of beef that are rich in connective tissue and collagen for slow and pressure cooking. Not only will they save you money, but they’ll also result in delicious, melt-in-your-mouth beef dishes.

Light grey bowl with pulled beef in foreground. Small bowl of salsa with plate of tacos in background.

Have any more questions about this topic or others? Let me know and I can update this article or create something new!

Lauren and Troy George, Creators of MissMollyMakes smiling to camera.

Hiya, I’m Lauren but you can call me Molly!

Former OR Nurse and self-taught home cook passionate about Approachable, No-Nonsense recipes to help you level up in the kitchen. Together with my husband Troy, we create simplified dishes for busy people with easy-to-find ingredients!
To learn more about us, our cooking show and more, click here!

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