Put your crockpot to work for you and make this mouth-watering Crock Pot Beef Stew! This easy recipe is comforting, hearty, and a great way to warm up on a chilly day. Every tender bite is filled with juicy stew meat, onions, garlic, potatoes, carrots, and seasonings. Dig in, and you’ll be so glad you did.
We are talking about the ultimate comfort food at its best, my friends! Cozy, hot bowl of stew on a blustery night is the perfect meal to warm you right up!
Whether you eat this dish in a bowl on its own or you want to serve it up with mashed potatoes, mashed rutabagas or mashed cauliflower, rest assured, you are serving up a meal that makes you feel like you’re wrapped up in a blanket.
🍽️ Why This Recipe Works
Quick and Easy – Using cut up cubed beef (whether you do it yourself or buy it from the grocery store) this is a true “dump and go” recipe. Taking you a few minutes in the morning to prep so you can get on to work and/or school.
Classic – Nothing beats a classic slow cooker beef stew recipe that is a hit every time you make it. That is what this is. We all grew up eating a big bowl that our moms simmered for hours. This is the same thing, just cooked in the crockpot.
This is one of the best beef stew recipes ever, and it’s a bonus that you can make it in your slow cooker.
The ingredients are most likely things you already have in your kitchen too. Let’s look at some of the main ingredients.
Beef Stew Meat – You can go to the market or butcher and pick up pre-cut cubed stew meat. We do this when we are in a hurry. Another frugal option is to buy a beef chuck roast and cube the meat yourself. It will cook up the same way.
Seasonings – We use a variety of seasonings like thyme, parsley, rosemary, salt, and pepper. They give the beef stew a delicious and comforting taste that is truly unbeatable.
Vegetables – While you can add in other veggies if you want, we usually go with Yukon Gold yellow potatoes or red potatoes, carrots, and onions in this beef stew recipe. Add in a cup of frozen peas the last hour, if desired. They are the perfect combination, and it tastes so good.
🍽️ Crock Pot Instructions
Making beef stew is simple and doesn’t take a lot of time to prepare. You can easily throw it together in no time and have a delightful stew that the entire family will enjoy.
Step One: Brown the stew meat with olive oil in a large skillet in batches over medium high heat. This adds some extra flavor and locks in the moisture to keep the meat nice and juicy.
Step Two: When the beef is browned, place it in the bottom of the crockpot. Make sure to scrape all the bits into the slow cooker as it’s packed with flavor. Then add the onions, garlic, potatoes, and carrots. Pour in the beef broth, tomato paste, and seasonings. Sprinkle with a little bit of salt and pepper to taste.
Step Three: Put the lid on the slow cooker and cook on high for four hours or low for seven hours.
Step Four: After the stew has cooked, remove ⅓ cup of liquid. Put it in a bowl and whisk with flour until it’s smooth. Add the flour mixture back to the stew and give it a stir. Continue cooking for 30 minutes or until the sauce has thickened.
How to Thicken Slow Cooker Beef Stew
If you want a thick stew that simply melts over mashed potatoes or rice, make sure to not miss out on making the flour or cornstarch slurry and adding it back in for 30 minutes as we have shown in STEP FOUR above. Remove ⅓ cup of liquid and add ¼ cup of flour listed in recipe. Whisk the two until smooth and add back to the stew. Continue cooking for 30 minutes or until the sauce has thickened.
Freezer Meal Instructions
Step One: To make this a freezer meal, brown the beef in a skillet and let it cool all the way down. Place the rest of the beef stew ingredients (yes, you can include the broth or leave it out and just add it in the day of cooking) in a heavy-duty freezer bag or airtight container.
Step Two: Remove the freezer bag at least 24 hours before you plan to place in the crock pot. Pour the bag of freezer meal ingredients into the slow cooker (make sure you have the broth, tomato paste and all seasonings) put the lid on the slow cooker and cook on high for four hours or low for seven hours.
Step Four: After the stew has cooked, remove ⅓ cup of liquid. Put it in a bowl and whisk with flour to make slurry until it’s smooth. Add the flour mixture back to the stew and give it a stir. Continue cooking for 30 minutes or until the sauce has thickened.
🍲 Meal Prep / Freezer Friendly Instructions
You will be so happy you decided to meal prep this homemade beef stew. There are a couple of ways you can accomplish this and end up with a fantastic dinner or lunch idea. Let’s get started:
Option 1: Cook the beef stew as directed and allow it to cool all the way down. Place the stew in a freezer-safe bag or container. Save it all together or make individual servings. Then refrigerate or freeze depending on how soon you want to use it. It lasts in the fridge for up to four days or in the freezer for four months. Thaw in the refrigerator before warming up in the microwave or in a saucepan. Then serve.
Option 2: To make this a freezer meal, brown the beef in a skillet and let it cool all the way down. Place the rest of the beef stew ingredients in a heavy-duty freezer bag or airtight container. To cook, let it defrost and dump it into the crockpot. Cook as described above.
Both methods are fantastic for meal prepping and planning. You’ll appreciate having food that you can easily warm up or drop in the crockpot without any effort at all.
Make substitutions and additions. Here are a few ideas for you to consider.
- Cornstarch Slurry – If you don’t want to use flour or simply don’t have any on hand, use cornstarch instead. The secret to working with cornstarch is using really cold water. Mix the equal amounts of cornstarch with the water until it’s well incorporated. Add to the beef stew and let it cook until it has thickened.
- Arrowroot – If you’re eating gluten-free or just looking for another alternative to the flour, arrowroot to the rescue. Use it in place of the flour, and it will help thicken the stew perfectly.
- Sweet Potatoes – If you want to add some extra color and sweetness, trade the yellow potatoes for sweet potatoes. It’s a lovely addition to the stew. You can also just substitute half of the yellow potatoes if you want to keep them in the stew as well. It helps to cut some of the carbs from the recipe.
- Low Sodium Beef Broth – Cut down the extra salt in your diet by using a low sodium alternative that will not alter the taste of your stew at all.
There are many things you can do to adjust the flavors of this beef stew recipe. Change the ingredients to meet your preferences, and you can’t go wrong. Try some of these delicious ideas:
- Celery – Chop up 2-3 celery stalks and toss them into the beef stew. They add a nice flavor and cook down enough that they don’t affect the texture.
- Bay Leaf – Kick up the flavors a notch or two by adding in a couple of bay leaves to the stew. It’s a great addition!
- Worcestershire Sauce – By adding Worcestershire sauce to the beef stew recipe, you are making it a little bit saltier, and it will have an even deeper flavor. I would start with one or two tablespoons and add more later as desired.
- Peas – If you remember grandma’s beef stew recipe, she probably added peas. Not only does it make the soup stretch farther, it adds some lovely color too.
- Mushrooms – While this stew is already really hearty, adding some mushrooms will make it even heartier. Add 4 – 8 ounces of fresh or canned mushrooms to the beef stew mixture. The earthy flavors are incredible.
Yes, you can put raw beef in the crock pot. Skipping the browning the caramelization process reduces the flavor. So if you are wondering why your stew never tastes quite as good, this is the #1 tip to no skip. Take the time to brown the meat.
Always strive to cook stew on low as it allows the flavors to blend but most of all, it allows the meat to become tender when it has time to breakdown the connective tissues and release the fat.
1. There hasn’t been enough time to allow the collagen to break down yet. Cook a little bit longer.
2. Did you choose cubes of chuck roast or stew meat? If the meat is too lean, cooking it longer won’t help.
3. Did you make sure there is enough fluid in the slow cooker? This creates a rich and moist environment that allows braising of the meat.
Browning the meat before allows you to caramelize the meat to increase the flavor and texture. Browning also makes sure that the meat doesn’t stick to each other in the cooker. Don’t forget to deglaze the pan and put all the drippings in the stew mix.
What to Serve with Beef Stew
Sides dishes help our main dish shine. Don’t forget the role they play on the plate.
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Crock Pot Beef Stew
- Slow Cooker
- 2 ½ lbs Beef Stew Meat
- ½ cup Pearl Onions
- 1 lb Yellow Potatoes small, halved
- ½ cup Carrots sliced into one inch chunks
- 3 cups Beef Broth
- ¼ cup Tomato Paste
- 1 tsp Thyme dried
- 1 tsp Parsley
- 1 tsp Rosemary
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- ¼ cup Flour
- ⅓ cup Liquid from Stew
- In a large pan, brown the beef stew meat. You may need to cook in batches.
- Place the meat in a crockpot along with the pearl onion, garlic, potatoes, carrots, beef broth, tomato paste, thyme, rosemary and parsley. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Cover and cook on LOW for 7 hours or HIGH for 4 hours.
- Remove ⅓ cup of stew liquid from the crockpot and pour into a bowl. Add the flour and whisk until smooth.
- Pour the flour slurry back into the stew; stir to combine. Cover the slow cooker & cook on HIGH for an additional 30 minutes or until stew thickens.
- Serve & enjoy!!
2. Did you choose cubes of chuck roast or stew meat? If the meat is too lean, cooking it longer won’t help. 3. Did you make sure there is enough fluid in the slow cooker? This creates a rich and moist environment that allows braising of the meat. Cornstarch Slurry Substitute: If you don’t want to use flour or simply don’t have any on hand, use cornstarch instead. The secret to working with cornstarch is using really cold water. Mix the equal amounts of cornstarch with the water until it’s well incorporated. Add to the beef stew and let it cook until it has thickened.