Ultimate Slow Cooker Beef Stew
Slow Cooker Beef Stew recipe is a hearty dish packed with chunks of tender meat, potatoes, and veggies. It is comfort food at its best where the crockpot does all the magic!
This is a great recipe and the perfect one to serve during a chilly day or cold night. It is the perfect dish to make even during busy weekdays. Other popular crockpot recipes to warm you up are Cheeseburger Soup, Cabbage Roll Soup, or Chicken Noodle Soup.
Slow Cooker Beef Stew is what we crave during the winter months. Since this dish is so easy to prepare we go back to it again and again. The Crockpot allows time for the beef to get extra tender which literally melts in your mouth.
The benefit of making it in the crockpot is that it gives plenty of time for the veggie and beefy flavor to come together. This results in a rich and hearty meal that is perfect to serve during busy weeknights with some crusty bread on the side.
Also, this easy beef stew recipe is quite easy to prepare as well. Simply, brown the beef for a few minutes in the morning, then add the veggies to it and let it slowly cook.
When you come home, you have the most delicious stew packed with melt in your mouth meat and veggies.
If you want to reduce some carbs, skip the potatoes. It will still taste amazingly hearty and delicious. I like a thicker gravy and I add a bit of cornstarch slurry to the beef broth mixture.
In addition, the dish freezes well, and you can make plenty ahead and simply use resealable bags for later use.
This slow-cooker beef stew recipe is such a full meal with rich flavor that we hardly serve it with something other than a side of bread, baguette, or some green beans. Between the meat, potatoes, and veggies you have a full and easy dinner to enjoy during colder weather.
How to make Slow Cooker Beef Stew?
- To make the best crockpot beef stew, you will need first and foremost beef meat. We usually go with chuck roast as it works best here and the flavors and aromas are amazing. However, you can use other beef cuts, such as stew meat, chuck steak, etc.
- Then, you want to prepare and chop up all the vegetables. We use mini red potatoes cut in half, but any types work just as fine.
- Also, I take the extra step of browning the meat prior to cooking in the crockpot. While this step will take a few extra minutes, the result is well worth it. Browning the meat adds so much extra flavor and tenderness to it.
- Similarly, if you have some extra minutes, you could sauté the onions and garlic before adding them to the slow cooker. It will add a nice flavor to it.
- Once the above steps are completed, the only thing left is to place everything in the crockpot and add the liquid to it. You can pour the broth and some wine over it, or you can use the same pan you cooked the beef with and deglaze it with some broth and red wine. Bring it to a simmer, and pour it into the pot.
- Finally, cover the lid and cook on a low setting for 7 to 8 hours, or for about 4-5 hours on a high setting.
This homemade stew is great during colder times of the year. It stores well, and it tastes even better the next day. Enjoy it warm for lunch or dinner!
This dish is easily modifiable. Some of our favorite add-ins are:
- Add wine: Red wine is perfectly fine to add to it, as it will add a nice aroma and flavor. Also, the alcohol will evaporate as it cooks, so do not worry about that. We recommend using dry red or white wine. Simply, subbing in 1 cup of wine in place of 1 cup of the beef stock to give the gravy extra depth of flavor.
- Make it spicier: For a spicier kick, add some dried chili pepper. Just adjust based on your tolerance.
- Seasonings; Also, feel free to use your favorite seasonings here. Great additions would be bay leaves, Italian seasoning, dry herbs,
- Use other veggies: From time to time, we like substituting tomato paste with diced or crushed tomatoes.
- Use sweet potatoes: Feel free to swap the regular potatoes with sweet potatoes, or use a mix of both, such as a 50/50 ration. Both work great here, and are equally delicious!
Stove top version:
Making in on the stove is pretty simple. You pretty much follow the same steps above, just the cooking time will differ. Usually, on the stove, we cook it for about 2.5 hours.
For full step-by-step instruction, check out this stovetop beef stew recipe.
Instant Pot Beef Stew:
This meal is a great candidate to make in the Instant Pot. If you are short on time and want a quick and delicious meal, the Instant Pot version of it is right for you.
We already have the Pressure Cooker version, and you can check it out here.
The best meat to use for Stew:
Because the meat is cooked on low heat over a longer period of time, pretty much any cut will work here.
However, for best results and tender beef, I would go with chuck roast, rump roasts, chuck steak, or bottom rounds. I prefer them over other cuts because of the connective tissues, which makes them extra tender.
Best potatoes to use:
I love using red potatoes as they are starchy and flavorful. Also, Yukon gold is a great alternative when it comes to stews. Both have high starch content and hold up the best when cooked over a longer period of time.
How do you thicken up beef stew?
To thicken it, you can either mix equal parts of flour/butter together and add it to the last hour of cooking. Similarly, you could mash 3 or 4 chunks of the potatoes, and then mix them into the stew. Both ways work great.
Can you put raw beef in the slow cooker?
Yes! I prefer to sear the meat for a few minutes in olive oil to lock in the flavors. However, if you are short on time, you could easily skip the searing part, and simply add the raw meat to the crockpot.
Can you make it ahead of time?
Absolutely. This dish can easily be stored and reheated later. In fact, it will taste better the next day, because the flavors and aromas will absorb better as they stay, resulting in a richer taste.
Make it 1-2 days in advance and simply refrigerate it in an airtight container. Before serving, reheat it on the stovetop or microwave until warm.
How to freeze it?
If freezing cooked stew, we recommend not adding the slurry/thickener because it may separate on thawing.
- To freeze uncooked beef stew, put all the prepared (chopped) ingredients in a large freezer bag or an airtight container and place them in the freezer. When ready to serve, simply thaw the ingredients add to the crockpot with some broth and cook as instructed above.
- To freeze cooked beef stew, make sure it is completely cooled down prior to freezing. Once cooled, transfer it to large freezer bags or airtight containers and place it in the freezer for up to 3 months. You can also use a smaller (individual size) freezer bag. This way you can reheat single portions when needed.
More Easy Slow Cooker Recipes:
- As stated above, try not to skip the part where you brown the meat. It will make a huge difference in taste and texture. Brown for about 5 min on each side.
- Also, when browning it, it’s best to cut it into 2-3 inch sizes, and brown bits on both sides for 3-4 minutes.
- You can add your favorite veggies into the crockpot and substitute them with some from the recipe.
- Also, bacon can be added if desired. Simply, chop some up, brown it, and throw it into the dish.
- To reduce the carb intake, skip the potatoes.
- Wine can be skipped. However, using wine helps develop richer and more complex flavors in this dish.
- I love using Worcestershire sauce as it adds a lot of flavors. However, if you are not a fan, skip it.
- Similarly, other meats can be used here. Just replace it with your preferred meats, such as pork, lamb, or chicken.
Ultimate Slow Cooker Beef Stew
- 2-3 pounds chuck roast or beef stewing meat trimmed and cut into 2-3 inch cubes
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons butter unsalted
- 1 yellow onion peeled and chopped
- 5 cloves garlic minced
- 1 cup red wine or use beef broth
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 4 cups beef broth low-sodium, more if needed
- 4 medium carrots peeled and cut into 1/4-inch chunks
- 1 cup celery diced
- 1 pound mini red potatoes peeled and cut into halves
- 8 ounces baby Bella mushrooms cleaned stem removed and cap cut into halves
- 3 bay leaves
- 6 sprigs fresh thyme tied together
- 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 4 tablespoons water
- Chopped fresh parsley
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- Place beef chunks into a large bowl, sprinkle with flour, salt, and black pepper. Use kitchen tongs to toss and coat the beef in flour.
- Place a non-stick skillet, over medium-high heat and add 2 tablespoons of oil. Once the oil is hot, add the beef into one layer, work in batches if needed. Brown, on all sides, for about 5 minutes per batch. Once done cooking, transfer it to the slow cooker.
- Reduce the heat to medium and add the butter, once melted add onion and garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the wine to deglaze the skillet. Transfer the mixture to the slow cooker on top of the meat.
- Add Worcestershire sauce and tomato paste.
- Add carrots, celery, potatoes, and mushrooms (if using).
- Pour beef broth on top.
- Add bay leaves, thyme, and rosemary. Season with salt and pepper.
- Cover and cook on LOW for 7-8 hours.
- Taste and adjust for salt and pepper.
- If you prefer the stew to be thicker, either mash some of the potatoes or add the cornstarch mix.
- Mix cornstarch and water in a small bowl until fully combined. Add the mixture to the pot during the last 30 minutes of cooking.
- Garnish with chopped parsley and serve.