Chuck steak and chuck roast are both choices of beef taken from a cow. Both actually happen to come from the same region of the cow, as well. Both chuck steak and chuck roast come cut from the shoulder of the cow. Despite this, there are many subtle differences between chuck steak and chuck roast that people should know about. From cooking instructions to tenderness to appearance, these two cuts of beef have a lot of unique traits.

grilled beef steak with vegetables on plate
Chuck steak can come paired with many different vegetables or garnishes.

©Andrei Iakhniuk/

What is Chuck Roast

Chuck roast is the chuck portion of the cow. This is cut from the shoulder region. Due to the area of the cow from which it's cut, there's not much fat or marbling on it. Cows get a ton of movement and exercise to their shoulders, therefore, there's far less fat than other parts of their body. However, due to this, chuck portions of meat tend to be much tougher.

What is Chuck Steak

Chuck streak is a portion of the chuck that is cut away from the chuck roast itself. It's a smaller portion of meat cut off to create a smaller steak. It's not very tender, but can sometimes give off the same flavor as a ribeye. Many people call the chuck steak the “poor man's ribeye” because it happens to be far less expensive than a ribeye would be in the grocery store. While it is inexpensive, it's also flavorful, as well.

Subtle Differences

Cooking Uses

Chuck roast and chuck steak have different uses in the kitchen when cooking. Due to the size of a chuck roast, it's used for many different types of roasts, such as pot roast, and stews. This is because many people slow-cook the meat when using it. It's extremely thick and flavorful, which is given off in the crockpot process or slow cooker.

Chuck steak is used instead for a steak dinner mostly, or it can be cut up and used in other recipes. It's an inexpensive steak to buy and cook, however, many people also use chuck steak for pot pies and ground beef, as well.

Horizontal Photo of Raw Beef Roast On White Background with marbling
The chuck is the shoulder region of the cow.


Flavor Palette

While chuck steaks are often cut from chuck roasts, the two can have different flavor palettes. It depends on how they are being cooked. Many people opt to use a cast iron to pan-sear a chuck steak, which will give it a smokey flavor. On the contrary, slow-cooking a chuck roast will give it a completely different flavor palette than a pan-seared chuck steak. However, the beefy flavor of both remains the same in each dish.

Calories and Fat

When it comes to the nutritional values of chuck steaks and chuck roasts, this also depends on what you are using the beef for. Different recipes will have different calories, depending on what sauces and additives you cook. Overall, a 3-ounce cut of cooked chuck roast usually contains around 250-300 calories. The biggest difference in calories and fat between chuck roasts and chuck steaks comes down to size, as well. Chuck roasts are bigger portions because they are mostly in pot roasts and other recipes where the beef is in abundance. Chuck steaks are smaller and have a smaller calorie count.


Chuck roasts and chuck steaks tend to cost around the same, however, chuck steaks tend to be slightly a bit more expensive than chuck roasts. This is simply due to the labor of cutting the steaks by the butcher. However, both cuts are extremely affordable in comparison to other cuts of beef, such as ribeyes and tenderloins.

Which to Buy

When it comes down to it, if you're on the fence between a chuck roast and a chuck steak, it all depends on what kind of recipe you are going to make. If you're going to make something such as a stew or a roast for your whole family, a chuck roast is the better choice. But, if you want to make something that's leaner, smaller, and more of a steak, clearly the chuck steak is the better option.

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