Christmas Roast (on a budget)

I love to celebrate Christmas like the Whos in Whoville with a grand roast beast.  However, my budget’s tight and I can’t afford to go all out on a standing rib roast.  Luckily, there’s a much cheaper cut of meat that, if prepared properly, can be a striking centerpiece to your holiday meal.  I’m talking about the Eye of Round Roast and you can find it in most grocery cases, or by chatting up your butcher (which is always a good idea anyway, in case they have an angle on a special offering).  Click on the video to see me make this recipe along with a crazy sauce made with Coca-Cola. You can also find the printable recipe below.

This recipe has also been recently updated with a different gravy recipe. You can find the new Christmas Beef Roast on a Budget at my other blog, The Dinner Bell!

Roast Beef Recipe

Here are the price comparisons I referenced in the video:

Meat Price Comparison

Standing Rib Roast: $12 – $15/lb

Rack of Lamb: $13 – $15/lb

Eye of Round Roast: $5/lb

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Christmas Roast

Christmas Roast (on a budget)

  • Author: Joanie Simon
  • Total Time: 1 hour 35 mins
  • Yield: 6 - 8 servings 1x


A peppercorn and rosemary crusted beef eye of round roast perfect for any holiday table.


  • Rub:
  • 1T paprika
  • 2 tsp sea salt or kosher salt
  • 1T brown sugar
  • 1T coarse ground peppercorns
  • 1 T rosemary minced
  • 2 lb eye of round beef roast
  • 1 Tbs oil
  • Sauce:
  • 1/2 white onion chopped
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 Tbs cranberry sauce
  • 1 cup Coca-Cola


  1. Combine the rub ingredients and then rub them all into a 2lb eye of round beef roast.
  2. Let the roast sit out for 30 minutes to become room temperature and allow the rub to seep in.
  3. Heat your oven to 500F (or as high as it will go).
  4. Heat a cast iron pot or skillet over medium high heat with 1 Tbs oil and once it’s to temp, sear the meat 2 minutes per side until all sides are seared.
  5. Place the roast in the oven uncovered and turn off the heat, leaving the roast in there with the oven door closed until the meat comes to 125F. This might take an hour or up to three, depending on the size of roast you select.
  6. Remove the roast and allow it to rest at least 20 minutes up to 45.
  7. Heat the skillet that roasted the beef over a medium high heat and add in 1/2 chopped onion, stirring to scrape up the beef drippings.
  8. Once the onions are soft, add in 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce, 2 Tbs cranberry sauce and 1 cup Coca-Cola (if you don’t like using sodas, sub 1/2 cup beef stock and 1/2 cup prune juice) and bring to a simmer, allowing it to bubble away, reducing over 20 to 30 minutes while your meat finishes resting. To complete the sauce, using a blender, blend the sauce until smooth and season with salt to taste. Let that keep simmering on low until you’r ready to serve it. The more it sits, the richer it gets.
  9. Finally, slice up your roast into 1/2 in thick slices and serve with the sauce.
  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 90 mins
  • Category: Entree
  • Cuisine: American

*This post was first published on

    • Reply Beverly

      December 29, 2015, 4:12 pm

      I’m trying this recipe for the first time , I doubled the pounds in the beat so I could eat it for the rest of the week I hope it comes out as good as it looks!

    • Reply Beverly

      December 29, 2015, 5:16 pm

      Sorry didn’t see your reply , but had to put it back in the oven at 500 is that to high because it was not even close to being done and I had it on 550 and turned it off like you said and it wasn’t done!

      • Reply Joanie Simon

        December 29, 2015, 5:42 pm

        Sorry if you’re running into troubles! If you’ve got a roast double the size of the one I made in this recipe, you would sear it off on the stovetop, put the oven at 500F then turn off the oven and put the roast in so that it cooks as the temperature of the oven decreases. I left mine in for an hour, so yours being bigger might take up to two hours or more.

        • Reply Bev

          December 29, 2015, 8:04 pm

          I’m good now ,thanks for getting back quickly I just cooked it a little longer and it came of fine. But the only thing I did was use jar Rosemary instead because I didn’t have fresh and I think it gave it a different flavor and in. Your recipe it says paprika and you used salt1 thank you it looks good though !

        • Reply Kelly

          December 20, 2017, 3:05 pm

          Wow I am so excited to try this so I wanted to ask you a question I have a Gas oven can I still cook this roast in my oven???

          • Reply Joanie Simon

            December 22, 2017, 9:26 pm

            Hi Kelly! I own an electric oven, so I did some research and it looks like other folks using this method with gas ovens don’t turn the oven completely off, but to the lowest temperature setting after the initial high temp cooking period. I can’t vouch for certain since I haven’t tried it, but it definitely makes sense. Hope that helps!

        • Reply Chris clarke

          December 24, 2018, 5:42 pm

          Made this and turned out great was a little under done for my wife….should of had it in another 20 30 mins my roast was a little bigger. Awesome meal!!!!!! Made mashed garlic potatoes with it and corn. If it was a little under done for them i threw the piece on cast iron skillet for a few. Loved the meal i have some experience in a kitchen and this meal made me look like a pro! Would love to see more recipes please let me know how i can see more.

    • Reply Beverly

      December 30, 2015, 1:17 pm

      Thank you ! I’ll be lookin for more of your recipes in 2016!!! Happy new year!!

    • Reply Virginia

      November 17, 2016, 9:43 am

      Looks great! Your eye of round recipe said 2 pounds meat fed 6-8? I thought half pound per person. No? I am feeding 15. How much meat? Thanks.

      • Reply Joanie Simon

        November 17, 2016, 9:53 am

        Thank you! I suppose it depends on the size of the appetites of your crowd, how many other dishes you’re serving, etc…When I make it, 2 lb makes 6 to 8 servings, but that means the whole thing is gone, plus I always go overboard on apps and sides :). So, I’d say bump it up to 1/2 lb per person to ensure you have more than enough and perhaps a bit for leftovers. Too, I’d make it two 3.5lb roasts…trying to cook a 7lb roast this way might take forever. Hope you enjoy!

    • Reply I love christmas

      November 17, 2016, 9:21 pm

      How to Make Chicken Tortilla Soup – YouTube

    • Reply Emma

      December 4, 2016, 4:51 pm

      Would it ruin it if I wanted it not so pink inside? Idk why but when it’s that pink I have trouble trying to eat it…? it looks delicious though and I want to make it for Christmas dinner!

    • Reply Lynda

      December 23, 2016, 3:17 pm

      Hi, have a question: Should I make any adjustments if using an electric roaster? Thank you.

      • Reply Joanie Simon

        December 23, 2016, 11:44 pm

        I’ve never tried it in an electric roaster, so I can’t guarantee, but it should work similarly. Just make sure you can get a read on the internal temp of the meat while keeping the roaster closed. You want a final internal temp of 125F on the beef. Cheers and happy hoidays!

    • Reply Lynda

      December 23, 2016, 3:20 pm

      Sauce lookes gorgeous!

    • Reply Kathryn Walls

      November 29, 2017, 7:53 pm

      I have a gas oven…it tends to cool quicker than an electric oven…will this still cook properly with these directions?

      • Reply Joanie Simon

        December 2, 2017, 5:33 pm

        Hi Kathryn! I own an electric oven, so I did some research and it looks like other folks using this method with gas ovens don’t turn the oven completely off, but to the lowest temperature setting after the initial high temp cooking period. I can’t vouch for certain since I haven’t tried it, but it definitely makes sense. Hope that helps!

    • Reply Paige

      December 2, 2017, 10:46 am

      Same question as above, what if we have a gas oven?

      • Reply Joanie Simon

        December 2, 2017, 5:33 pm

        Hi Paige! I own an electric oven, so I did some research and it looks like other folks using this method with gas ovens don’t turn the oven completely off, but to the lowest temperature setting after the initial high temp cooking period. I can’t vouch for certain since I haven’t tried it, but it definitely makes sense. Hope that helps!

    • Reply Autumn

      December 11, 2017, 7:36 am

      I just tuned into your blog and I love your style. Especially the part where you said this “you tube video isn’t paying well yet”. LOL I hope your videos have taken off since last year and I can’t wait to make the roast!

    • Reply Colleen

      December 17, 2017, 6:59 am

      Do you think you could cook this the day before? If so, what would be best way to reheat it next day?

    • Reply Zak

      December 23, 2017, 5:30 pm

      I did this but I set the oven to 325 and baked for 90 minutes so that is between medium well to well done, that is how my family likes it.

    • Reply Becky

      December 24, 2017, 8:48 pm

      Making this tomorrow for Christmas dinner. Don’t know if you’ll read this before then but, I don’t have a meat thermometer. Any tips on how to tell when it’s done?

    • Reply Jamie

      December 25, 2017, 11:29 am

      I have a 3.71 lb I like it medium rare how long would you suggest

    • Reply Paige

      December 30, 2017, 10:05 am

      So I did this roast for Christmas, and made 2 that were a little over 2lbs each(we like leftovers) and I think it took about 2 hours I wanna say. I was a little nervous because when I took it out the thermometer was reading it weird so I was thinking it hadn’t cooked enough in the oven but when I cut in to it, it was perfect. And I wasn’t really sure how I was gonna like the gravy but it was amazing!! We had dinner for two more days after Christmas. Thanks for the recipe!!

    • Reply Maureen

      December 16, 2018, 9:02 pm

      Can you please provide a link to your handy dandy meat thermometer?

    • Reply Sonja Withey

      December 20, 2019, 11:56 pm

      Hello! I am going to make this recipe for Christmas Eve. Do you think Diet Coca-Cola would work for the sauce? (My son has Type 1 diabetes and I’m trying to make low-carb/almost sugar free recipes. 🙂
      Thank you in advance!

      • Reply Joanie Simon

        December 22, 2019, 10:21 pm

        Hi! I have never tried this with Diet Coke, but given that it doesn’t have sugar I don’t think it will work as a substitute. I would, instead, suggest making a simple au jus instead. Here’s an example of an au jus recipe: Happy holidays!

        • Reply Sonja Withey

          December 24, 2019, 12:07 pm

          Thank you for your response Joanie! We are going to do your sauce with the regular Coke and the au jus. 🙂

          One last question if you have time…We are worried about meat only cooking to 125 degrees as not everyone likes rare. Do you think 140 would be too much or just right?

          • Reply Joanie Simon

            December 26, 2019, 10:03 am

            Hi! Sorry I didn’t check my e-mail over the holiday. Hope it all turned out okay! I haven’t cooked it to 140F and only concern is that this cut gets tougher the higher the temp goes, but 140 should have still been fine.

    • Reply Sierra Campbell

      December 28, 2019, 7:40 pm

      Wonderful center piece to our Christmas dinner! I wish I could post a picture!

    • Reply Dave

      December 26, 2022, 9:28 am

      I made this for Christmas lunch yesterday, the result was fantastic. Best roast beef I’ve ever done and the cheap cut of French Roast was sumptuous. Nice work, thanks !

    • Reply pico park

      December 12, 2023, 8:08 pm

      I’m trying to grill the first piece, but I can’t figure out how to grill it medium rare

    • Reply

      February 8, 2024, 10:41 pm

      เทริมากาซิห์ อินฟอนยา ซิตัส ปุนปุโร อินิ ข้อมูลข่าวสาร สังกัต เบอร์มานฟาต.

    • Reply Redbox TV

      March 6, 2024, 10:49 pm

      “Ready to whip up a delicious Christmas roast without breaking the bank! 🎄🍽️ Time to get inspired with some budget-friendly recipes on Redbox TV!

    • Reply candy clicker

      May 7, 2024, 8:40 pm

      Yesterday, I prepared this for Christmas lunch, and it turned out well. It was the best roast beef I’ve ever had, and the inexpensive French roast cut was delicious. Excellent effort; many thanks!

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