A bowl of Beef stew with a spoon and herbs around.

This Slow Cooker Beef Stew is made by simmering beef, vegetables, and spices together in a crockpot to make a tender and savory soup. It is the definition of comfort food, perfect for warming you up inside and out. Serve this next to Creamy Mashed Potatoes and dinner is made.

A bowl of Beef stew with a spoon and herbs around.

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Slow Cooker Beef Stew Recipe

Unlike our Classic Beef Stew, this Beef Stew is made in a Crockpot. It’s a great set-it-and-forget-it meal! The stew is slow-cooked for hours until the beef is fall-apart tender and full of flavor. This beef stew recipe consists of hearty beef chuck roast and a variety of vegetables that are softened to perfection while cooking. The flavors from all the ingredients meld together as the stew simmers low and slow, making the stew exactly what it should be  — perfect. 

Ingredients for slow cooker beef stew.

How to Cook Beef Stew in a Crockpot

One of the best parts about this hearty and comforting slow cooker beef stew is how easy it is to make. This hearty soup is the perfect make-ahead meal. Set it to stew in the morning and walk away — it’ll be ready for you just in time for dinner. 

  • Brown the beef: Preheat a skillet on medium-high heat with oil then brown the beef on all sides. Once browned, remove the beef and place in a separate dish. 
  • Sauté the onion: In the same skillet, sauté the onion in the leftover oil and beef juices. 
  • Combine all ingredients: Add soup ingredients into a crockpot. Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 7 hours. 
  • Season to taste: Remove bay leaves and season with salt and pepper to taste. 
Step by step process of making crockpot beef stew.

Substitutions and Variations

If you don’t have the exact ingredients the recipe calls for on hand, here are some alternatives or additions to make your beef stew turn out great regardless.

  • Beef: If you don’t have chuck roast, substitute rump roast, bottom round, or “beef stew meat.” These cuts of beef are typically more tough and full of connective tissue, but when slow-cooked, they become perfectly tender. Look for a good amount of marbling (fat) in the meat. More marbling means the meat will be melt-in-your-mouth delicious. 
  • Potatoes: The best potatoes for beef stew are Yukon gold potatoes. Red potatoes and sweet potatoes are also great alternatives as they have less starch and hold up well in a slow cooker. Add them peeled or unpeeled.
  • Tomato paste: If you’re out of tomato paste, you have a few options. For every 1 tablespoon of tomato paste, use 3 tablespoons of tomato puree or sauce. Or, add an equal amount of ketchup (although ketchup does have a slightly sweeter flavor) 
  • Vegetables: Add chopped celery and garlic and sauté briefly with the onion to soften and infuse the flavors. Green beans, mushrooms, and frozen peas are also great additions to this hearty stew.
Slow cooker Beef Stew in crockpot

Tips for the Best Slow Cooker Beef Stew

Why settle on a regular beef stew when you can have an exceptional beef stew? Follow these tips to make your beef stew rich in flavor.

  • Brown the beef and onions: For the best flavor and color, make sure to separately sauté and brown the beef and onions over medium-high heat. It’s okay if the meat is not fully cooked through as it will finish cooking while stewing. 
  • Adjust spices and vegetables: Feel free to add any of your favorite spices or vegetables to diversify the stew. A splash of Worcestershire sauce, a sprinkle of paprika, and sautéed celery are great options. Use what you have in your pantry and refrigerator.
  • Avoid rushing the cooking process: For the most tender and flavorful meat, cook the stew long enough. If you rush the cooking process (skip browning the meat or shorten stew cook time), the meat can remain tough. The longer the stew is cooked, the softer the meat will be. 
  • Limit cooking time: If the stew is cooked for too long (such as overnight), the vegetables can become too tender. Overcooked vegetables will fall apart extremely easily and turn your stew into mush. If you plan to leave the stew in the crockpot, place the setting on “keep warm” after the stew has finished cooking. 

How to Thicken Beef Stew

To thicken the stew, make a cornstarch slurry (start with 1 teaspoon cornstarch and 1 Tbsp cold water) and add to the crockpot at the end. Mix and stew for about 10 minutes or until thickened. Alternatively, add a tablespoon or two of flour when initially browning the meat.

To thin beef stew – add more beef broth and season to taste.

Slow cooker with beef stew.

Common Questions

Do I need to sear beef and onion before putting it in the crockpot?

Searing the beef and onion before adding to the crockpot will improve the flavor and texture of the stew; however, it is not absolutely necessary. If you are low on time, add the raw onions and beef directly to the slow cooker.

How long do I cook beef stew in the crockpot?

With 2-inch cubes of beef, it is best to cook on high for 4 hours or low for 7 hours to achieve tender meat. With smaller cubes of beef, the cooking time may decrease. Beef stew is cooked and ready when the beef is tender and falls apart easily when pierced with a fork.

What size crockpot do I need?

This will fit into a 6 quart or larger slow cooker. We used an 8-quart slow cooker.

To Serve Slow Cooker Beef Stew

Beef stew is incredibly easy to serve because it’s a meal in itself. It is loaded with protein, vegetables, and carbs all in one. To top it off, serve Crusty French Bread or No-knead Artisan Bread on the side and dip the bread slices into the savory stew. Yum! 

Alternatively, serve the beef stew as an option in a “soup and salad” dinner. For a salad, try Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad, Cobb Salad or Roasted Sweet Potato Kale Salad.

Slow Cooker beef stew served in a bowl garnished with parsley

Make Ahead

Crockpot beef stew is a great meal to make-ahead, store, and reheat. Prepare the stew in the morning and have the slow cooker do all the hard work for you. You can also prepare it the night prior and follow these tips to store and reheat the leftovers. 

  • Refrigerator: To store for up to three days, refrigerate cooled beef stew in an airtight container. 
  • Freezer: Beef stew freezes really well. To freeze for up to four months, pour beef stew into airtight containers, allowing about an inch of space on top to compensate for expansion when freezing.
  • Reheating: To reheat from the refrigerator, pour beef stew into a pot and heat over medium-low heat, stirring frequently until the soup is warmed through. To reheat from frozen, thaw overnight in the fridge or thaw on the stovetop over low heat, stirring frequently. 

 More Hearty Beef Recipes

Slow Cooker Beef Stew Recipe

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 4 hours 10 minutes

Total Time: 4 hours 30 minutes

Slow Cooker beef stew

This Slow Cooker Beef Stew is such a comforting soup made by simmering beef and vegetables, in a crockpot to make a tender and savory soup.

Author: Natalya Drozhzhin

Skill Level:

Easy

Cost to Make:

$18-$24

Keyword:

Crockpot Beef Stew

Cuisine:

American

Course:

Main Course

Calories: 415

Servings: 8 servings

  • 2
    tbsp
    extra light olive oil, or high heat cooking oil
  • 3
    lb
    beef chuck roast, cut into 2 inch cubes
  • 1
    large yellow onion, diced
  • 4
    large carrots, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1
    lb
    Yukon potatoes, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1/3
    cup
    apple cider
  • 3
    tbsp
    tomato paste
  • 3
    cups
    beef broth
  • 1
    tsp
    ground black pepper
  • 1
    tbsp
    fine sea salt, or added to taste
  • 2
    bay leaves
  • parsley, finely chopped, to serve
  1. Preheat a skillet with oil. Once the oil is hot, add the beef in a single layer and saute until browned on both sides. Don’t crowd the pan and cook beef in batches if needed. Remove and set aside.

  2. In the same skillet, sauté the onion until lightly browned, adding more oil if needed.

  3. Add all the ingredients to the slow cooker. Set it on high for 4 hours or on low for 7 hours.

  4. Remove bay leaves, season to taste, and serve garnished with parsley if desired.

Nutrition Facts

Slow Cooker Beef Stew Recipe

Amount Per Serving

Calories 415
Calories from Fat 207

% Daily Value*

Fat 23g35%

Saturated Fat 9g56%

Trans Fat 1g

Polyunsaturated Fat 2g

Monounsaturated Fat 12g

Cholesterol 117mg39%

Sodium 1248mg54%

Potassium 1176mg34%

Carbohydrates 17g6%

Fiber 3g13%

Sugar 4g4%

Protein 36g72%

Vitamin A 5213IU104%

Vitamin C 15mg18%

Calcium 54mg5%

Iron 4mg22%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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