Slow Cooker Mocha-Rubbed Pot Roast is dusted with a delicious spice mixture, then cooked slowly so it's fall-apart tender. | StupidEasyPaleo.com

Crock Pot Mocha Pot Roast

Slow cooker mocha-rubbed pot roast is on the menu with this recipe. What’s not to love already?

Slow Cooker Mocha-Rubbed Pot Roast is dusted with a delicious spice mixture, then cooked slowly so it's fall-apart tender. | StupidEasyPaleo.com

You’re probably thinking, “Coffee? Pot roast? What?!” but rest assured that it’s not like downing a cup of joe. The coffee adds a subtle depth of flavor to this Slow Cooker Mocha-Rubbed Pot Roast that the spices alone can’t achieve.

The end result was very tender meat and a flavorful sauce.

All About This Coffee-Rubbed Beef Roast

Coffee is well-loved as an ingredient for steak rubs because it complements the beef’s flavor without overwhelming it. I decided to apply that concept to this recipe and include coffee in two places: the rub for the roast and the braising liquid.

If you can’t have caffeine, you can certainly substitute a decaf coffee instead.

The result is a depth of flavor that’s hard to achieve without the earthy notes of the coffee. I took it up one level by adding cocoa powder to complement the coffee.

Of course, cocoa and coffee are known for their bitter undertones, so I added the figs for a hint of sweetness and the balsamic vinegar for a touch of acidity. (A great tasting dish is all about balancing flavors, you see.)

What is the Difference Between Cacao and Cocoa Powder?

You can also use cacao instead of cocoa. What’s the difference? Cacao is cold-pressed from the cocoa bean and so is a raw product. That means it retains its antioxidants and enzymes. Cocoa is what you get once the bean has been roasted.

If you do opt for cocoa, see if you can find a Dutch-process cocoa powder. It should have a deeper, richer chocolate flavor than other types of cocoa powder.

I’ve made this recipe with both cacao and cocoa. Both yield a good result, and cocoa powder is usually much easier to find in traditional supermarkets.

The Best Cut of Meat for Slow Cooking

For best results, be sure to select a roast that’s not too lean. You want some fat marbled through the meat to keep it from drying out. If you’re not sure, talk to your butcher and get some advice for choosing the right roast for this dish.

Chuck roast should do the trick, and it’s widely available. Plus, it tends to be more affordable than other roasts.

Slow Cooker Mocha-Rubbed Pot Roast is dusted with a delicious spice mixture, then cooked slowly so it's fall-apart tender. | StupidEasyPaleo.com

If you have time, I highly recommend taking the liquid from the crock pot and reducing it down by boiling until it becomes thicker. It’s nice to drizzle on top of the Slow Cooker Mocha-Rubbed Pot Roast, almost like a gravy.

Of course, if you’re in a rush, you can skip that step. If you need to feed a crowd, this recipe can be easily doubled.

Don’t stress if you can’t find black figs; any type of dried figs will work. Or, try dried dates. They have a caramel flavor that would pair well with the beef.

What Can You Serve This Slow Cooker Mocha-Rubbed Pot Roast With?

How about:

Of course, these are just a few suggestions. Dive over to the Recipe Index to see more options if none of those suits you!

Slow Cooker Mocha-Rubbed Pot Roast is dusted with a delicious spice mixture, then cooked slowly so it's fall-apart tender. | StupidEasyPaleo.com

Slow Cooker Mocha-Rubbed Pot Roast Recipe

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Beef, Crock Pot, Gluten-Free, Paleo, Whole30
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 6 hours
Total Time: 6 hours 20 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 316 kcal
Author: Steph Gaudreau

Slow Cooker Mocha-Rubbed Pot Roast is dusted with a delicious spice mixture, then cooked slowly so it's fall-apart tender.

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Ingredients

For the Mocha Rub (you will have extra)

  • 2 tbsp finely ground coffee beans
  • 2 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp Aleppo pepper or sweet paprika
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp sea salt

For the Roast

  • 2 lb beef roast I used grass-fed chuck
  • 1 cup brewed coffee
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1/2 an onion chopped
  • 6 dried figs chopped
  • 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Instructions

  1. Prepare the mocha rub by mixing together the finely ground coffee, smoked paprika, black pepper, cocoa powder, Aleppo pepper (sub: sweet paprika), chili powder, ground ginger and salt in a small bowl. You won’t use the entire batch if you’re making a 2-pound roast. It stores well in an airtight container.
  2. Pat the beef roast dry with a paper towel. Spoon 3 to 4 tablespoons of the mocha rub mixture over the roast and rub it in well with your hands.
  3. Combine the brewed coffee, beef broth, onion, figs, and balsamic vinegar in a blender. Puree until liquified.
  4. Pour the liquid into the crock pot and place the roast gently on top.
  5. Cook for 5 to 6 hours on low.
  6. Remove the meat and shred with two forks. You can then boil the liquid until it reduces and thickens or simply serve as is. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper to taste.

Recipe Notes

For an Instant Pot adaptation, click here.

Nutrition Facts
Slow Cooker Mocha-Rubbed Pot Roast Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 316 Calories from Fat 162
% Daily Value*
Fat 18g28%
Saturated Fat 7g35%
Cholesterol 104mg35%
Sodium 677mg28%
Potassium 701mg20%
Carbohydrates 9g3%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 5g6%
Protein 30g60%
Vitamin A 1400IU28%
Calcium 53mg5%
Iron 4.3mg24%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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153 Responses

  1. I cannot wait to make ths perfect crockpot Mel for this hot summer. What is that delicious wrap you served with this?

  2. I really want to try this! The tricky thing is we’re mid-move and the crock pot is currently hiding in some box somewhere. Any suggestions for trying this in the oven?

    Thanks for your help!!

    1. Hi Katie! How about braising it in a dutch oven on the stove top for 2-3 hours on low? The key to this type of roast is low and slow cooking for sure. That might work.

        1. Hey I wanted to make this for dinner but I’m snowed in and can’t get dates or figs. Will it make a huge difference if I leave them out?

  3. Hey Steph! I’m in a time crunch. Would the roast turn out tougher if I cooked it on high for 4 hours instead?

    1. Hi Judy! Decaf will certainly work. You can do this with any type of coffee. Chameleon is sold at Whole Foods and I believe directly from the company online. Feel free to use whatever coffee you have at home.

  4. Hey Steph!
    I reallyreallyREALLY want to try this recipe, but I don’t have a crock pot (or a Dutch oven). Would it work with a rice cooker? Otherwise, what should I do? 🙂

    1. Hi Kendy…You could try roasting it in the oven (I would keep it covered with foil). Say…325F for a couple hours?

  5. Delicious! We made it for dinner last night. I’m always nervous trying new recipes because hubby is pretty picky but this got a big thumbs up! Thank you!

      1. I had some chicken breasts that I wasn’t sure what to do with, so I tossed them in the crock pot with whatever veggies I had on hand (onion, celery, carrot, cauliflower, and zucchini) , some bacon fat and a little chicken broth, couple of tablespoons of the leftover mocha rub spices… YUUUUUUUUMMMMMM!! Thank you for a recipe that keeps on giving!!

        1. Hi Sarah…that sounds fantastic!! I love it when readers find new ways to use or reinvent recipes they’ve learned here. Thanks so much for checking in!

  6. Looking forward to trying this! I am a single gal with a smaller crock pot, so will probably have to use a smaller roast, but this sounds too fantastic to NOT try!

    1. Hi Carrie…sounds like you’re describing me! I think I used a roast that was about 2 lbs…ended up being the pefect amount 🙂

      1. This is so happening right now! It is in the CrockPot right now! I am soooo looking forward to this tonight! Posting link to the recipe, and photos to share with everyone. Super easy, albeit a bit messy, prep. Except for those durned figs. A bit of a challenge to chop those suckers.

        1. Yum!! How did it turn out?? Oh yes…they can be stubborn, sticky little things! I cut mine in quarters and it was still a challenge 🙂

  7. OMG! This was amazing. The men at the firehouse ate every piece of it. Please keep the amazing recipes coming because the firehouse now believes that you can eat great meals and have it be healthy too!

    1. Hi Justin! I want to sincerely thank you for taking the time to write to me, because what you said really struck a chord and put an enormous smile on my face and warmed my heart. First responders and public servants like yourselves are already doing such a selfless thing when you put yourselves on the line for the populace every single day and to know that I can, in some tiny way, contribute to the health and wellbeing of you guys is seriously gratifying. Please tell them thank you, for me. I really appreciate this 🙂

  8. Could I use a slow cooker? That means I would need to use less liquids (or no liquid at all?), right? Thanks!

    1. Yes, Steph! That’s how I prepared this recipe so I would recommend using the amount of liquid called for just so it comes out as expected 🙂

  9. I have made this THREE times now and can’t tell you how wonderful it is! Very easy to make, and it comes out perfect every time. In fact, I have it for my lunch this week, poured over a hot sweet potato which just enhances all the sweetness of the beef. LOVE this dish!

    1. Kim, you made me drool!! I served mine with some sweet potato, too…yum!! Need to find a roast and get it in the crock pot, stat!!

  10. This was amazing! I am so glad I reduced the sauce as suggested – delicious. I will definitely make this again. Unique recipe. Great for fall/winter.

  11. Hi Steph
    I was wondering if it would be possible to throw some veggies in the crockpot with this (maybe carrots and onions?) I’m looking to make it into a one-pot meal as I’m getting a rare night out of the house today and would rather spend my time getting ready and finding something that looks great on my new, thinner paleo body (your recipes are my favorite by the way- thank you!) The mocha rub looks SO good!

    1. Ok so I just threw this in the crockpot. Had to make some substitutions as I ran out of some things. only had 1 tbsp of paprika left (regular old paprika, the jar didnt say whether it was smoked or sweet) so I added some ancho chili powder, a little cinnamon, and garlic powder (because I need garlic on everything!!) Also didnt have beef broth so I just used plain old water ad added a little more salt. Threw some acorn squash on top to have as a side. Hope it works ok (c: I don’t like making substitutions before I’ve tried a recipe “as-is” but I thought this sounded too yummy to wait on!

      1. I’ve made this before and it’s delicious!! This time I want to add veggies to make a it a one-pot meal. If I add small potatoes, carrots and onions should I increase the broth amount?

    2. Definitely! Throwing some veg in there would be perfect, and I think carrots and onions would fit the bill well 🙂

  12. Steph, thanks for the recipe. I made it last night. The meat came out a bit dry (I wonder if used the wrong cut of meat — it was a top sirloin — and perhaps I should have flipped it half way?)
    But with the sauce on it after I shredded made all the difference and it was really yummy — I still can’t believe I barely have any leftovers (I counted on it for dinner tonight as well, but there’s not enough left).
    (Personally I think I’ll add a bit more salt and another sweet element next time (more figs?), but there’s going to be a next time — so that says it all!)
    Thanks again!

    1. Hi Melly…top sirloin is quite lean so it doesn’t hold up as well to the crock pot as a fattier cut like pot roast would :/ I think that’s probably what happened. I hope that helps you troubleshoot for next time!

      1. Oh, I’ll certainly try a fattier cut next time.
        Thanks again for sharing and allowing me to make this for a lovely dinner with friends!

  13. Thinking of trying this out this weekend with my rather picky step daughter. Should I let the rub sit on the meat for awhile, as I’ve done with other rubs or is it good to go right after the rubdown?

  14. After an ice-cold run this morning in the good old middle-west, I’ve got this yum, yum, yummy looking roast in the slow cooker. I can hardly wait until dinner…

  15. This may be a silly question, but I’ve got a family of non-coffee drinkers (including my 1 year old son). Is it okay to eat this at night, or will it keep us all up??

    1. You can use decaf or just beef broth instead. Everyone metabolizes caffeine at a different rate so I can’t really say with certainty.

  16. Figs. I live in the boonies, so figs are not going to be easy to find. Is there any substitution I can use?

    1. If you can’t find dried figs, you can substitute something like cherries (fresh or frozen or dried) or even a couple dates. It’s just to add a bit of sweetness to balance out the bitterness of the coffee and cocoa.

      1. Just wanted to say how great this recipe was. I did have to subtitute dates instead of figs but it still came out amazing.

  17. Getting my ingredient for this today! What would be a good side besides sweet potatoes? any veggie or side recommendations would be great! Thanks! 🙂

  18. I made this tonight and it was a hit for all -family of 5 plus grandma and additional child visiting. I used a pot roast-chuck eye, but the meat didnt fall apart like you pictured here, which I was greatly looking forward to. Can you tell me exactly what you use because I am not well educated in the matters of meat cuts. Thanks!

    PS served mine with Kale and carrots and baked potatoes.

    1. Hi Deb,

      I used “pot roast.” Hope that helps!

      Sounds like your accompaniments were perfect!!

  19. Oh, MAN, this is good. Okay…I’ve made it twice…once with brisket, once with a cross-rib roast. I prefer the cross-rib as it was a bit more tender. We had it on top of mashed cauliflower and I’m pretty sure my 12 year old daughter had 3rds. Oh…we put the rub on, did the ziplock bag thing and froze it, then froze the sauce separately. I didn’t even thaw everything before sticking it in the crotch pot (go ahead and laugh, that’s srsly what we call it), cooked it on low all day while at work…perfect and OH so easy.

  20. Hey Steph,

    do you think this would work with pork shoulder? I definitely want to try it with beef but I know I have pork at home! x

  21. I’ve got this in the crock pot right meow. I couldn’t find anything other than dried turkish figs, so here’s hoping it turns out! I’m making this for a special dinner for my clean eating man friend;)

  22. Paleo rookie here! I am making this roast for dinner and would like to know what would be a good side dish for it? Thanks again for all the goodies!

  23. Hello! I want to try this recipe but I don’t have any figs on hand, do you think I could subsitute with dates? Thanks!! -Michelle

  24. I’m doubling the recipe– should I double the liquid ingredients? Cause I already did and the liquid is nearly covering the meat! Thanks!

    1. Hi Paloma…I don’t think you’ll need to double the liquid. If you use a bigger roast, it’ll fill up more space in the slow cooker, pushing the liquid up higher.

  25. This has become my go-to rub for pot roast crock pot recipes! Love it. One batch of rub made 3 roasts. I coat the beef, add a bit of beef broth and that’s it. Someday I will try with the brewed coffee.

    1. Hi Julie…not really…it just adds a depth of flavor. You can always swap coffee out for beef broth and omit it from the rub.

  26. This recipe looks great! I’m planning on making it tomorrow using 2 pot roasts(4-5 lbs total). Do you think I will have to increase the spices and/or cooking times? Thanks!

    1. Hi Dina…the spice rub makes extra, so you’ll probably have enough. Generally, the time for cooking won’t increase if you add some more meat.

  27. I’m making my second batch of this & I love the way the house smells while it’s cooking! Can’t wait for dinner. Thank you for posting this recipe!

  28. If I were going to sub fig vinegar for the figs, how much should I use? Will the result be the same as if I used figs?

    1. Hi Sabrina,

      Fig vinegar will give tartness and not sweetness like the figs itself. I would wait until the roast is done cooking, then add in 1 teaspoon increments to brighten up the taste.

    1. Yes. If it seems not balanced enough in flavor, you may want to add a dash of raw honey unless you’re doing a Whole30.

  29. Delicious, so tender. Made it with a 3.5lb rolled brisket pot roast, grass-fed, cooked 7.5hrs on low in my crockpot and absolutely perfect. Used blueberry balsamic vinegar and 2 figs because that’s what I had – and it was delicious. Not a strong coffee flavour, for anyone who’s wondering… just rich and juicy. I used 1 1/2 times the coffee and beef broth for the larger roast, which might not have been necessary. But my picky 10 year old loved it (and didn’t seem to be affected by caffeine at bedtime)!

  30. There doesn’t seem to be any point in making so much rub if you need less than half of it. I had a 2+ lb roast and I made 1/2 what the recipe suggested for the rub. I just cut the ingredient measurements in half, which were still easy to measure. I had plenty and didn’t have to store for future use or toss. I didn’t know whether I’d want to make it again, so I didn’t want to make a double batch to store. I would suggest that modification.

    1. Hi Rebecca,

      I included that amount because some people would rather only gather and measure out all the spices once. You’re certainly welcome to adjust the quantities to suit your preferences 🙂

  31. This roast was delicious!!! Great, great flavor. Froze half if two weeks ago when I made it and had some for dinner tonight. Just as delicious as when it was straight out of the slow cooker.

    Next time might add a fig or two more to brighten it up.

    1. Woohoo! So great to hear that it was enjoyed 🙂

      (Our comments go into moderation before they are made public which is why it didn’t show up after you clicked the button) 🙂

  32. So I made these last night from the book with a side of spaghetti squash. The only different thing I did was to sear the meat before it went into crockpot for 6 hours. Amazing!!!

  33. This looks delicious. If I were to do this with a 3-lb roast instead, leave it in crock pot on Low for 8-9 hours? Thanks!

  34. Everytime I make a beef roast in the crock pot it gets super dry – it definitely never shreds apart like your pictures. I cooked it on low for 4 hours and it’s as dry as can be. I used a grass fed chuck roast.
    When I use Pork roasts, I can get them to shred, but never beef – any suggestions?

    1. That’s frustrating for sure. To understand why, it helps to know a bit about cooking times.

      4 hours is not long enough to get the connective tissue to break down. It’s counterintuitive but leaving it in longer results in it shredding apart because the connective tissue starts to release.

      If you want a more consistent result, I suggest a pot roast preparation such as this: https://www.stephgaudreau.com/2016/02/28/pot-roast-recipe/

  35. Hi,
    Wonderful recipe. I made it and had it in the crock pot for 5 hours and some change and took it out at that point for time restriction purposes. When I took it out, though, the meat was tough and dry. The tough part makes me assume it wasn’t cooked long enough, but the dry part makes me assumed it was cooked too long. I had the crock pot on heat setting “I” of “2”, which i assume are low and high, respectively.

    Any suggestions for next time? Thanks!

  36. Hi Steph,

    I am going to make this for a family lunch. I won’t have enough time in the morning to cook it so will have to do it over night. It will be about double the serving you have suggested so will it be OK if I slow roast it for 8 hours on low? Will that make it really dry? Or alternatively, is there a way I can speed up the process?

    Thanks so much, love this recipe – I cooked it last night and it was a complete hit!

    1. Should be okay for 8 hours on low but make sure the meat is not too lean. If you want to speed it up, bake it in a Dutch oven, covered, for 3-4 hours at 300-325F.

        1. Hi Nicola…I’m not sure. I would recommend something like a pork shoulder so that it’s got some fat on it. Otherwise, a pork loin or other similar leaner cut would probably become too dry.

  37. This was so good! My husband doesn’t drink coffee, and I was glad this rub only brought out the beef flavor and did not taste overly like coffee or cocoa. I’ll definitely be making this again! Thanks for sharing.

  38. Thanks for the recipe! I love coffee and beef so this is goood combination. As a diabetics, I omit the fig. I like things spicy so added in more chili and throw in the left over mushroom in the fridge. Needless to say, all so good even without any sugar substitute. Slowcooker is definitely life saver 🙂

    1. I have not. You’d have to make sure it’s a pork shoulder or pork butt because if not the meat will get dry.

  39. I realize this is one of your older recipes, but I just wanted to let you know that I had my in-laws in town and needed a dish that was going to wow them. I made this dish and OMG, they were blown away. It turned out perfectly – I subbed dates for figs because I couldn’t find dried figs and it was just as tasty. Thank you for a winning recipe – sure was stupid easy + delicious, Steph.

    1. Hi Steph, Thank you for sharing your thoughts, I’m sure you’ll find more valuable information exploring the site. Have fun!

  40. I was really skeptical when I saw this recipe because I couldn’t even imagine what this flavor combo would taste like, but I made it last night and it was SO GOOD and unlike anything I’ve ever tasted!! Can’t wait to make it again with dates! Thanks for expanding my tastes!

    1. Ahhhh love that you gave it a shot and have a new dish to add to your routine now, Jess. You’re awesome!

  41. Great recipe! Hardly any leftovers thanks to my husband and son. We had it with potatoes and green beans. I’m on Day 5 of Whole 30. Recipes like this make Whole 30 less challenging. So tasty and satisfying.

  42. Made this with a pork butt and it was excellent. My husband thought it was burnt and didn’t want to try it, but once he tasted it he insisted I make it again. Thanks for all you do!

  43. My family loved this recipe. I’ve made it a couple times and it’s on the menu again tomorrow. Thanks for a great W30 recipe!

  44. Hi Steph! I made this last night with about 5 pounds of beef and it didn’t come out that great. It didn’t fall apart like it was supposed to! Should I have added more liquid? Or cooked it for more time? It’s a great recipe though, and I still have plenty of rub left to try again!

  45. I discovered this during my Whole 30, and I have made it probably a dozen times since. It is so dang good. I always end up with a lot of extra rub, so I half it (this is mentioned in the recipe).

    I serve this with sweet potatoes or broccoli.

    Just make it already!

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Hi, I'm Steph!

Lord of the Rings nerd, cold brew drinker, and depending on who you ask, crazy cat lady. My mission is to help you fuel for more, not less: bigger muscles, strength, energy, and possibilities. We’ll do it with my signature blend of science, strategy…and a little bit of sass.

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