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Slow Cooker Beef Stew

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

4.91 from 22 votes
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

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  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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Natalya Drozhzhin

Natalya is a food blogger who founded Momsdish.com to make cooking easier. Growing up on a farm in Ukraine, Natalya was inspired by the amazing dishes that were prepared using simple ingredients. Natalya is most notably known for making cooking approachable for any person.

Read more posts by Natalya

Read comments/reviewsAdd comment/review

  • Laura Heffernan
    November 23, 2022

    My husband threw this together yesterday; it was a delicious, savory meal for dinner last night. The chunks of stew meat were so tender. Highly recommend!!!!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      November 23, 2022

      That’s just awesome! Thank you for sharing your wonderful review, Laura!

      Reply

  • Stef
    November 20, 2022

    I finally found the size. Reading on a phone isn’t great 😂🤣

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      November 20, 2022

      Glad you found it!

      Reply

  • Stef
    November 19, 2022

    I thank you for this recipe and can’t wait to cook it. I just ran thru everything and for the life of me can’t find the pot size you cooked it with.

    Did you use a 6qt or 7qt?

    Thank you.

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      November 20, 2022

      Hi Stef, this will fit into a 6 quart or larger slow cooker. We used an 8-quart slow cooker.

      Reply

  • Connie
    November 19, 2022

    It was good, but think next time I will either leave out the vinegar or reduce it to 1 T. Otherwise it had a rich beefy flavor. Came together easy and definitely a keeper. Thanks Natasha!

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      November 19, 2022

      Thank you for the feedback, Connie!

      Reply

    • Susie Buck
      November 21, 2022

      Hi Connie-

      I almost did what you did-it is apple cider and not apple cider vinegar. The apple cider will add a little sweetness to it.

      It was a good recipe. My husband really liked it as well.

      Reply

      • Connie
        November 21, 2022

        My bad! Thanks for pointing this out to me as I totally skimmed over the apple cider and taking for granted it was vinegar! Like you, we really liked it in spite of the vinegar!! Ha!

        Reply

  • Liliya
    November 17, 2022

    What can I substitute the apple cider with in this recipe?

    Thank you

    Reply

  • Roxanne McCormick
    November 17, 2022

    Hi just wanted to know ingredients say apple cider is that apple cider or apple cider vinegar? Thanks 🙂

    Reply

  • Inna
    November 16, 2022

    Bought all ingredients now Can I make this in pressure cooker or Dutch oven? I recently gave away my slowcooker 😞

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      November 16, 2022

      Hello Inna, I have not tested that to advise. Let’s see if others can comments and share their experience if they have tried this method before.

      Reply

  • Kristyn
    November 15, 2022

    This is one of my favorite Sunday go-to meals!! It’s hearty, rich, & so delicious!!

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      November 15, 2022

      So glad you love it!

      Reply

  • Sara Welch
    November 15, 2022

    Enjoyed this for dinner last night and it was a complete success! Hearty, bold and delicious; easily, a new favorite recipe for soup season!

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      November 15, 2022

      So glad you enjoyed it, Sara! Thank you for the review.

      Reply

  • Angus MacDuff
    November 15, 2022

    I like to add a drained jar of Aunt Nellies onions after the meat is tender.

    Reply

  • Kristen
    November 15, 2022

    This recipe was delicious. It has been such a rainy day and this was just what I needed.

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      November 15, 2022

      I love this on rainy days! So comforting. I’m so glad you loved it too.

      Reply

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