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Christmas Roast Beef Recipe (Holiday Dinner on a Budget)

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Perfect for special occasions or the holiday season, this Christmas Roast Beef Recipe is so easy to make! Cooked to your preferred “doneness”, this step-by-step guide is foolproof and loaded with tips to cook the best juicy roast. Serve with all of your favorite sides, this easy Roast Beef Recipe is sure to be a hit at your next holiday meal.

Sliced roast beef on a wooden cutting board next to wine, rosemary, and an orange.

❤️ Why you will love this recipe

  • Easy: Easy recipes are what I gravitate to when I have a few mouths to feed. This roast beef is exactly that. Let it sit out of the fridge a bit. Tie and season it (sometimes you don’t even have to tie it if it already has the twine around it). Then bake it in the oven following the guidelines below. Very easy!
  • Cheap: I used the least expensive cut of meat I could find to test if tender roast beef is achievable on a budget. It is! This beef was cooked perfectly, medium-rare, and was not chewy.
  • Healthy: Although red meat has had a bad rep over the last few years, it is still a healthy source of food. As with all things, it should be eaten in moderation. Beef is a fantastic source of protein, methylcobalamin (which is the most bio-available form of vitamin B12, essential for creating red blood cells), zinc, and of course, iron.
  • Family-friendly: Whether it’s Christmas dinner or Sunday lunch, this is an easy main course to serve that the whole family will enjoy.
  • Adaptable: This is one of the easiest roast beef recipes that can fit many diets! This main dish is perfect for whole30, paleo, and keto. Just choose your side dishes to suit your goals (low-carb, gluten-free, dairy-free, etc.)

🗝️ Key Ingredients & Substitutions

  • Beef: I used a “British roasting joint” which is a topside cut of beef. This is referred to as “top round” in the U.S. and is also called the poor man’s sirloin. Either a round roast, rump roast, or bottom round will work for this recipe. Ideally, choose a cut with a good layer of fat (but it’s okay if the supermarket already cut it off). The weight of my roast beef was 1.872 kg which is a 4.1 lb roast.
  • Olive oil: This coats the outside of the red meat. Another healthy oil like avocado oil would work instead.
  • Orange: The zest of one orange adds a delicious flavor. If you really love that citrus note, zest another half an orange.
  • Garlic: Whole garlic cloves sliced in half get slotted into the meat. It’s so delicious. You’ll need fresh garlic here and not dried or powdered.
  • Rosemary: Fresh rosemary is ideal for this roast beef recipe as it adds so much flavor. All I used is one sprig, although you could add an extra one depending on how fresh the herb is. Mine was cut straight from my garden and had loads of aroma.
  • Salt & pepper: Sea salt (or kosher salt) and ground black pepper season this meat beautifully.
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🥣 How to make this Christmas Roast Beef Recipe

1. Remove packaging: Begin by taking your meat out of the refrigerator and removing any plastic or paper packaging.

2. Pat & tie: Pat the meat down with a paper towel, and if it’s not already, tie it with kitchen twine. All you need to do is tie it 2-3 times tightly around the middle. This will help it cook more evenly.

3. Salt: Sprinkle the salt all over the meat and rub it in.

4. Wrap and sit: Wrap the meat back up in parchment paper and allow it to sit at room temperature for 2 hours.

After two hours

1. Heat oven: After two hours have passed, preheat the oven to 190 degrees C/375 degrees F and place a clean rack in the middle of the oven.

2. Mix seasoning ingredients: Meanwhile, zest one orange and place it in a small bowl along with the black pepper and olive oil, mixing it all together well.

Seasoning ingredients mixed in a bowl.

3. Prepare garlic: Slice the garlic cloves in half or thirds if they’re quite large.

4. Pierce meat: Unwrap the meat and pierce holes into the flesh with a sharp knife for the garlic. I did 3 on the top and bottom, and two on the remaining two sides. You don’t need to pierce too far into the roast, just enough for the garlic to slot in.

5. Add garlic: Slot the garlic into the holes.

6. Coat with the seasoning: Rub the olive oil mixture all over the roast.

Cook the meat

1. Place in the oven: Place a roasting pan in the bottom of the preheated oven underneath the middle rack and place the meat on the rack over the pan.

Adding beef and a roasting pan to the oven.

2. Roast and reduce temp: Bake for 30 minutes and then decrease the oven temperature to 110°C/225°F.

3. Roast: Bake on the low heat until the meat inside reaches 135-140°F. This took 1 hour and 45 minutes for me. The general rule of thumb for medium rare is about 30 minutes per pound after you turn the heat down in the oven. I recommend checking the meat temperature 30 minutes before you think it should be done, just in case.

4. Check the temp: Check the internal temperature by inserting a meat thermometer into the center of the roast to make sure it is cooked to your preferred temperature. If it needs a little longer, check it in bursts of 10 minutes. I’ve detailed below the different temperatures the meat needs to reach for different amounts of “doneness”.

Thermometer checking the meat temperature.

5. Rest: When the roast beef has finished cooking, allow the beef roast to rest for at least 30 minutes. This allows the temperature to rise a little more and keeps it nice, tender, and juicy inside.

6. Slice and serve: Cut the twine and then thinly slice the beef on a cutting board and serve it with your favorite side dishes.

7. Make gravy (optional): If your roasting tray managed to catch enough drippings, make gravy by adding 2 cups/473ml of drippings (or a mixture of drippings and beef broth) to a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add a little garlic and onion powder if needed. Make a cornstarch slurry with 1-2 tablespoons of cornstarch plus around the same amount of water. When it is combined, pour the slurry into the beef broth and stir well. Feel free to add in a little red wine and a bay leaf to amp up the flavor!

Sliced roast beef on a wooden cutting board next to wine, rosemary, and an orange.

🫙 Storage Instructions

  • Fridge: Store any leftover Christmas roast beef in the fridge for up to 4 days.
  • Reheat: I personally don’t like to reheat my roast beef because I find that it can become overcooked and tough quickly, and what was once juicy becomes a dry piece of meat. If you must reheat it, make sure it is sliced very thinly and heat it minimally in a cast iron skillet or pan on the stove.
  • Freeze: Yes, this meat freezes well for later. I like to freeze the sliced beef in individual portions and take it out as needed. Thaw completely before consuming.
  • What to do with leftover roast beef: Roast beef sandwiches are a great way to use up leftovers the following day. The meat is also great on salads or in wraps.

Roast Beef Temperature Guide

It’s what’s inside that counts, right? Here is a quick and easy guide to finding the right temperature of roast beef for you. I recommend using an instant-read thermometer where possible, but any thermometer that checks the internal temperature of the meat will work perfectly.

I always begin by roasting the beef at 190°C/375°F for 30 minutes and then turning down the oven temperature to 110°C/225°C. After turning down the oven temperature, I cook it for:

  • Rare: 20 minutes per pound (450g).
  • Medium: 25 minutes per pound.
  • Well-Done: 30 minutes per pound.
Roast beef cooking times infographic.

Medium-rare and medium-well are somewhere in between these. If you’d like to cook the roast beef medium-rare, I recommend following the timeline for cooking rare meat and checking it at the end of that time. If it still needs a little cooking, cook it in bursts of 10-15 minutes until it reaches the right temperature. Same for a medium-well temperature: follow the timeline for medium and add time in bursts of 10-15 minutes at the end.

What internal temperature should the thermometer read?

This is the temperature the meat should read right after you take it from the oven and before resting it for 30 minutes:

  • Rare: 54°C/130°F
  • Medium-rare: 57°C/135°F
  • Medium: 62°C/145°F
  • Medium-well: 65.5°C/150°F
  • Well-done: 68°C/155°F
Internal temperatures for roast beef infographic.

Which cut of beef should I choose?

Ideally, a cut of meat with a little fat left on one side will produce the best flavor; Here are the cuts I recommend.

Cheap cuts of meat that work well for this recipe:

  • Topside
  • Round roast
  • Rump roast
  • Bottom round
  • Petite shoulder
  • Sirloin tip
  • Chuck roast

Expensive cuts of beef that will also work:

  • Prime rib
  • Beef tenderloin roast
  • Ribeye
Close up of medium sliced roast beef.

🪄 Recipe Notes & Top Tips

  • Size of roast: Take careful note of the weight of the roast beef before you start cooking. I recommend writing it down or taking a photo of the packaging label so you don’t have to try weighing it later.
  • Different flavors: The sky is the limit! I kept my seasoning very simple and family-friendly, however, some chili flakes or powder would taste absolutely divine! I also really like to add cumin and turmeric for some South Asian vibes.

🍽️ What Can I Serve With Roast Beef?

Here are the best ways to serve Roast Beef. I’ve included both my favorite side dishes and wine pairings.

Side dishes:

Looking for more sides for this Christmas Roast Beef? Check out this post of Over 60 Christmas Side Dishes!

Red wines:

  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Pinot Noir
  • Malbec
  • Merlot

White wines:

  • Champagne
  • Chardonnay
  • Sauvignon Blanc/Sancerre
  • Reisling
  • Pinot Grigio/Gris
Overhead shot of sliced roast beef on a wooden cutting board next to wine, rosemary, and an orange.

😋 More festive meat recipes you will love

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Sliced roast beef on a wooden cutting board next to wine, rosemary, and an orange.

📖 Easy Roast Beef Recipe

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Rest Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 25 minutes

Perfect for special occasions or the holiday season, this Christmas Roast Beef Recipe is so easy to make! Cooked to your preferred "doneness", this step-by-step guide is foolproof and loaded with tips to cook the best juicy roast. Serve with all of your favorite sides, this easy Roast Beef Recipe is sure to be a hit at your next holiday meal.

Ingredients

  • 1.87kg (4.13lbs) topside roast (or round roast, rump roast, bottom round)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 garlic cloves, halved or in thirds
  • Zest from 1.5-2 medium oranges
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1 sprig of fresh rosemary, leaves finely diced

Instructions

  1. Begin by taking your meat out of the refrigerator and removing any plastic or paper packaging.
  2. Pat the meat down with a paper towel, and if it's not already, tie it with kitchen twine. All you need to do is tie it 2-3 times tightly around the middle. This will help it cook more evenly.Patting beef with a paper towel.
  3. Sprinkle the salt all over the meat and rub it in.Salt sprinkled over beef.
  4. Wrap the meat back up in parchment paper and allow it to sit at room temperature for 2 hours.Beef wrapped in parchment paper on a wooden cutting board.

After two hours

  1. After two hours have passed, preheat the oven to 190 degrees C/375 degrees F and place a clean rack in the middle of the oven.
  2. Meanwhile, zest one orange and place it in a small bowl along with the black pepper, finely diced fresh rosemary, and olive oil, mixing it all together well.Seasoning ingredients mixed in a bowl.
  3. Slice the garlic cloves in half or thirds if they're quite large.
  4. Unwrap the meat and pierce holes into the flesh for the garlic. I did 3 on the top and bottom, and two on the remaining two sides.Piercing holes into beef with a knife.
  5. Slot the garlic into the holes.Garlic in the holes in the beef roast.
  6. Rub the olive oil mixture all over the roast.Seasoning all over beef roast.

Cook the meat

  1. Place a roasting pan in the bottom of the preheated oven underneath the middle rack and place the meat on the rack over the pan.Adding beef and a roasting pan to the oven.
  2. Bake for 30 minutes and then decrease the oven temperature to 110°C/225°F.
  3. Bake on the low heat until the meat inside reaches 135-140°F. This took 1 hour and 45 minutes for me. The general rule of thumb for medium rare is about 30 minutes per pound after you turn the heat down in the oven. I recommend checking the meat temperature 30 minutes before you think it should be done, just in case.
  4. Check the internal temperature by inserting a meat thermometer into the center of the roast to make sure it is cooked to your preferred temperature. If it needs a little longer, check it in bursts of 10-15 minutes until it's ready. I've detailed below the different temperatures the meat needs to reach for different amounts of "doneness".Thermometer checking the meat temperature.
  5. When the roast beef has finished cooking, allow the beef roast to rest for at least 30 minutes. This allows the temperature to rise a little more and keeps it nice, tender, and juicy inside.
  6. Cut the twine and then thinly slice the beef on a cutting board and serve it with your favorite side dishes.Cutting the twine with scissors.
  7. If your roasting tray managed to catch enough drippings, make gravy! See the post above for details.

Notes

Roast Beef temperatures:

I always begin by roasting the beef at 190°C/375°F for 30 minutes and then turning down the oven temperature to 110°C/225°C. After turning down the oven temperature, I cook it for:

  • Rare: 20 minutes per pound (450g).
  • Medium: 25 minutes per pound.
  • Well-Done: 30 minutes per pound.

This is the temperature the meat should read right after you take it from the oven and before resting it for 30 minutes:

  • Rare: 54°C/130°F
  • Medium-rare: 57°C/135°F
  • Medium: 62°C/145°F
  • Medium-well: 65.5°C/150°F
  • Well-done: 68°C/155°F

Storage instructions

  • Fridge: Store any leftover Christmas roast beef in the fridge for up to 4 days.
  • Reheat: I personally don't like to reheat my roast beef because I find that it can become overcooked and tough quickly, and what was once juicy becomes a dry piece of meat. If you must reheat it, make sure it is sliced very thinly and heat it minimally in a cast iron skillet or pan on the stove.
  • Freeze: Yes, this meat freezes well for later. I like to freeze the sliced beef in individual portions and take it out as needed. Thaw completely before consuming.
  • What to do with leftover roast beef: Roast beef sandwiches are a great way to use up leftovers the following day. The meat is also great on salads or in wraps.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 662Total Fat: 30gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 281mgSodium: 834mgCarbohydrates: 1gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 96g

Nutrition information and calculations will vary with the use of different brands or ingredients. These figures are estimates. Please get in touch if you have questions!

Did you make this recipe?

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