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3-Quart Slow Cooker Tri-Tip Roast Recipe for Two

My easy Tri-Tip in a crockpot or slow cooker is perfect for two and a deliciously lazy Sunday dinner for two. It only takes a few minutes to prepare the ingredients so you can set it and forget it until mealtime. Depending on your appetite, you can have enough leftovers for cold Tri-Tip sandwiches for lunch the next day, yum!

For more small-batch comfort food recipes try my slow cooker half turkey breast and small slow cooker ham steak recipes

small tri tip roast and baby potatoes on round white plate.
classic fork-tender tri-tip roast made easy in the slow cooker

Ingredients and Substitutions

trip tip, potatoes, onion, steak sauce, seasoning and beef broth ingredients measured out on a marble board to make a one pound tri tip in a 3 quart slow cooker.
simple ingredients needed to make a one-pound slow cooker tri-tip roast recipe.
  • One pound Tri-Tip roast: Tri-Tip is a wonderful cut of beef to cook slow and low. For the best flavor choose a cut with some nice marbling running through it. I buy packaged one-pound Tri-Tip from Ralph’s grocery, but if you can’t find it in your area, ask the meat counter if they can cut one for you. You can also buy a larger tri-tip roast and cut it in half, freezing the other half for cooking later.
  • Salt and Pepper seasoning: A mix of ground pepper and salt is a simple rub to bring out the flavor. You can add garlic powder or other dried seasonings to your personal taste.
  • Beef Broth: I love using “Better Than Bouillon” beef base for the broth.
  • Steak sauce: I’ve used A-1 steak sauce forever. You can also substitute Worcestershire sauce and add it to the beef broth.
  • Onion: Use yellow, white, or brown onions.
  • Potatoes: Baby red potatoes, fingerling, or any other potato works. If you use larger potatoes slice them into smaller pieces so they cook properly.

Optional ingredients:

  • Add 2 or 3 ounces of dry red wine to the slow cooker.
  • Chop of fresh garlic added on top of the Tri-Tip.
  • Add chopped carrots for a true one-pot meal.

See the recipe card for quantities.

Recipe Directions

Season both sides of the Tri-Tip roast with salt and pepper.

seasoned one pound tri tip

Rub the steal sauce onto the seasoned trip tip roast.

seasoned tri tip rubbed with steak sauce.
rubbing the beef tri tip with steak sauce adds an extra depth of flavor

Place the onion in a 3-quart slow cooker. Place the seasoned tri-tip on top of the onions.

one pound tri tip over onions in slow cooker.

Pour the beef broth into the slow cooker, avoiding washing away the seasoning on top of the tri-tip roast. Add the baby red potatoes.

one pound tri tip cooking in slow cooker covered in beef broth and baby red potatoes.

Cover and cook on low for 8 hours. Use a meat thermometer to check that the tri-tip reaches a minimum temperature of 165 °F.

3 quart slow cooker on low setting.

If you enjoy this roast recipe you might also like my slow cooker beef stew for two.

Tools Used

  • 3-quart slow cooker is the perfect size for 1 or 2 people.
  • Tongs make flipping and transferring meat easy.
  • The Duralex Bowls are simply the best.
  • If you only have one Measuring Cup it should be a 2 cup version.


Store leftovers in a covered container and refrigerate for up to 2 days. To freeze the roast, wrap tightly in saran wrap and freeze for up to two months.


Should You brown or sear the meat first?

You don’t need to brown the roast before cooking in a slow cooker. Because the meat is not fully submerged it will still brown in the slow cooker. I didn’t brown the roast for this recipe and you can see that it still browned just fine. This being said, searing the roast before cooking does help to enhance the flavor. If you have time I recommend browning first.

Can I use a different cut of beef?

A good substitute is a Sirloin, however sirloin is a leaner cut of beef and would do well with a little extra seasoning.

Recipe Ideas to Serve with Tri-Tip Roast

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tri tip roast on round plate/

Slow Cooker Tri-Tip for Two

A tender trip tip roast perfect for two. This small-batch roast cooks up beautifully in a 3-quart slow cooker.
4.67 from 3 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 6 hours
Total Time: 6 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 2 servings
Calories: 834kcal
Author:Sydney Dawes


  • 1 pound tri-tip
  • ½ onion chopped coarsely
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon A-1 sauce
  • 1 ½ cups beef broth
  • 10-12 baby red potatoes


  • Season both sides of the tri-tip with salt and pepper.
  • Rub the A-1 sauce onto the seasoned trip tip roast.
  • Place the onion in a 3-quart slow cooker.
  • Place the seasoned tri-tip on top of the onions.
  • Pour the beef broth over the tri-tip.
  • Top with the baby red potatoes.
  • Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours.


  • Although not necessary, browning the tri-tip before adding it to the slow cooker helps to develop a rich, deep flavor. It also gives the meat a more appealing color.
  • My recipe is basic and should appeal to most, however for more flavor combinations rub the tri-tip with a mix of your favorite herbs and spices before searing. Salt, pepper, garlic, and rosemary are classic choices.
  • While a slow cooker is great for tenderizing meat, overcooking can lead to a dry, tough result. Tri-tip should be cooked until it’s just tender, about 6 hours on low for a 1- 1/1/2 pound roast.
  • A small amount of broth, wine, or even beer in the slow cooker will keep the tri-tip moist and flavorful during cooking. It also helps to tenderize the meat and creates a delicious sauce.
  • Cooking on low heat for a longer time will produce a more tender, flavorful roast. If you’re in a rush, you can cook on high, but the result may not be as tender.
  • Once your tri-tip is cooked, let it rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat. Slice the meat against the grain for maximum tenderness.
  • Don’t forget about the delicious cooking juices in the bottom of the slow cooker! Skim off any excess fat, then serve the juices on the side as a sauce, or use them to make a gravy.


Serving: 1/4 pound | Calories: 834kcal | Carbohydrates: 181g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 972mg | Fiber: 17g | Sugar: 15g
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Slow Cooker Food safety

Slow cooker safety tips from the USDA.

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