Roasting beef in the oven is probably one of the easiest ways to cook a meal that’s nothing short of a feast. All you need to do is season your meat, put it in the oven, and let the heat do the rest.
The tricky part is knowing when to take the meat out of the oven, though. How do you get your desired doneness without overcooking your meat? Timing matters; it can mean the difference between a beautifully glazed roast that’s nice and juicy inside and a piece of inedible rubber.
So, how do you know when a 2-pound roast is ready?
How Long To Cook a 2lb Roast in the Oven
There’s no one-size-fits-all method for cooking roast beef in an oven. The cooking time for a roast in an oven depends on a range of factors, including the cut, size, and weight of the meat.
A rule of thumb for cooking beef in the oven is 20-30 minutes per pound at 300°F. So, a two-pound roast needs to spend 40 to 60 minutes in the oven to be fully cooked. But know that tougher cuts may take much longer to be pull-apart tender.
Most recipes suggest searing the beef in the oven at a high temperature, like 425°F/218°C to 500°F/260°C, for about 10 minutes. Then reduce the heat to around 300°F and cook it until it reaches your desired doneness or tenderness.
Here’s a chart of the estimated required cooking time for two pounds of different beef cuts cooked at 300°F, including initial high-temp cooking. However, the most accurate approach is to measure the internal temperature of your roast to see if it has reached your desired level of doneness.
|Sirloin Tip Roast||60 min||70 min||90 min|
|Rib Roast (Bone In)||50-60 min||60-70 min||90 min|
|Rib Roast (boneless)||45-50 min||50-60 min||80 min|
|Eye of round||45-55 min||55-65 min||Not recommended|
|Tenderloin||25-35 min||45-50 min||Not recommended|
|Top round||25-30 min||30-35 min||35-40 min|
|Top sirloin||60-70 min||70-80 min||80-90 min|
|Bottom round||40-50 min||50-60 min||60-70 min|
What Affects Oven Roasting Time?
Cut of Meat
Not all beef cuts are equal in terms of meat fiber length, connective tissue, and fat content—the qualities that make them tender or tough and better suited to different cooking methods.
Different muscles in the animal’s body undergo different levels of movement and pressure. The less exercised a muscle is, the thinner and more delicate the muscle fibers, and the more tender the meat. These cuts need less cooking time.
On the other hand, muscles that are heavily exercised or have more connective tissue require longer cooking time. So the shoulder and leg cuts require longer cooking times than the back or rib portions of a steer.
Generally, soft and tender cuts are more suited for dry and fast cooking, while tougher cuts lend themselves to long and slow methods with water. Roasting can work very well for a variety of beef cuts, but the temperatures and roasting times will vary widely. The following cuts can be roasted:
- Prime rib
- Ribeye roast
- Rump roast
- Petite shoulder
- Bottom round
- Chuck roll
- Sirloin roast
- Eye of round roast
For example, the round cut on a steer’s rear legs is one of the most exercised muscles. Since it’s tough and lean, but doesn’t have a lot of connective tissue, it’s best done to medium rare. It can get very dry when cooked to well done. Be sure to check out my article on the best ways to cook beef bottom round.
But the rib roast, located on the back of the animal, is more tender since it has more fat and doesn’t get much movement. It’s also great when cooked to medium rare, since the fat keeps it tender.
The chuck roast, however, has a lot of connective tissue and is too tough to eat unless it’s been cooked for hours with water in the pan.
Another factor to consider in cooking time is whether a beef cut is boneless or bone-in. Generally, bone-in cuts require longer cooking times since the bone doesn’t let the heat reach all parts evenly and at the same rate.
Here’s a not-so-surprising fact: You’ll need to roast your meat for longer if you want it to be well done!
Cooking temperature also affects the length that you’ll need to cook the meat. Higher temperatures give you your desired doneness faster, shortening the cooking time.
That said, you should strike a balance between temperature and time to avoid browning the inside too quickly without getting the right texture on the inside. Moreover, higher temperatures force more moisture out of the meat because the fibers contract too quickly.
So, instead, lower the temperature and let the beef sit in the oven longer to let all the tastes and flavors blend into a pleasant aroma that fills your home.
Size and Shape
This one’s a no-brainer! The size of your roast affects how long you need to cook roast beef. That’s because it takes the heat longer to penetrate the core sections, prolonging the cooking time. So, if you’re in a hurry and need a quick meal, you should cut the meat into smaller pieces.
The shape of the meat also affects how long it needs to cook! Uniform cuts distribute heat more evenly and cook faster. That’s why trussing the meat is recommended before roasting or grilling. Tying the beef helps retain its form into a more uniform shape.
Here’s an interesting video that shows how trussing can lead to better cooking results:
Did you know that not all ovens cook with the same speed and temperature? I don’t want to get into the technical nitty gritty, but your cooking time can vary depending on your oven’s heating mechanism, the materials used in the device, and its settings.
Apart from that, if your oven isn’t calibrated, the temperature may go higher or lower than what you set. In addition, the temperature sometimes fluctuates inside the cavity, leading to uneven cooking.
If you’ve worked with your oven long enough, you probably have got the hang of it, knowing what works best. If not, check its accuracy to ensure it cooks evenly and at the promised temperatures.
What About Chuck Roast?
My favorite cut of beef for making roast beef is the boneless chuck roast. While it makes a perfect pot roast, I also roast in the oven to treat myself to a tender roast. Cooking chuck roast in the oven can be tricky since it’s a tough cut and may require more time and attention to come out nice.
My roast recipe involves browning the chuck in a pan or skillet and then cooking it in the oven with water in the pan. Like other beef cuts, you can cover the roast with foil to make sure it doesn’t dry or keep it uncovered for a crispy crust. You can cook it at 350 degrees to get the best results.
Here’s how long to cook chuck roast that weighs two pounds in a Dutch oven:
|Medium rare||90-120 min|
|Well done||120-130 min|
Pro tip: You can also make the chuck roast in the slow cooker, making it a perfect choice for beef sandwiches. And the beef stock remaining in the pot is excellent for beef broth or beef gravy.
How To Know Roast Is Done
Cooking time is a straightforward sign that shows your roast is ready. But as I’ve explained so far, cooking time hinges on many factors that may affect the final result. So, it may not be the best —or only— thing to rely on.
The meat’s temperature is another, more reliable measure that can help you decide when it’s time to remove your roast from the heat.
The temperature levels you want to achieve include the following:
|Rare||125°F / 52°C|
|Medium Rare||135°F / 57°C|
|Medium||145°F / 63°C|
|Well Done||160°F / 73°C|
The best way to check the internal temperature is to poke a thermometer into the beef from the beginning. This way, you don’t need to open the oven door during cooking and disrupt the process. A wireless thermometer like this MEATER Plus allows you to monitor the cooking temperature remotely through an app.
However, if you have to use the thermometer while you cook your roast, follow these guidelines:
- Don’t check the temperature frequently. Every time you open the oven door, the hot air goes out and disrupts the cooking process.
- Place the thermometer into the center of the roast, away from the bones.
- Wait a few minutes to let the reading become fixed.
- Try different parts of the meat to ensure it has reached the desired temperature evenly.
Tips for Roasting Beef in an Oven
Apart from watching the cooking time and temperatures, there are some universal tips that help you get the juiciest, most flavorful roast out of any beef cut. To get the premium-quality oven roast:
- Thaw your beef for 24 hours in the refrigerator before cooking if it’s frozen, and pat it dry before cooking it.
- Sear the roast in a cast-iron skillet or pan until it’s brown on the outside. This will bring out the flavors and give your roast a better appearance.
- Place the roasting pan right in the center of the oven to get even temperatures.
- Cover the meat with the pan’s lid or aluminum foil to avoid drying out the roast.
- Take out the meat when it’s 5°F below the target internal temperature because it continues cooking after it’s taken out of the oven. This phenomenon is called carryover cooking.
- Let the roast rest for 15-20 minutes after removing it from the heat to let the juices reabsorb into the meat.
Roasting beef in an oven isn’t rocket science, but it does take experience and care to prepare a meal that gets the thumbs up from your family. Generally speaking, you can expect to wait 60-80 minutes to get a beautiful roast out of the oven. However, it depends on your cut of meat and how well done you want it to be.