Slow Cooker Beef Stew – Immaculate Bites

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Slow Cooker Beef Stew – A savory, hearty bowl of beef stew slowly cooked to perfection with the aroma of herbs, spices, and vegetables for an ideal one-pot meal. The perfect winter comfort food!

Winter is the best season to pull out my reliable slow cooker. But honestly, even when we have a heat wave, this beef stew recipe for the slow cooker is excellent for dinner. Stews are an easy, winning weeknight meal, no matter the season!

And having a slow cooker on hand to cook beef slow and tender while I do other things is a lifesaver. I can run errands, clean the house, or work on my blog while dinner cooks to perfection. See the convenience of modern appliances? Such a time-saver!

Two bowls of steaming slow cooker beef stew with homemade garlic bread on the side

Flavorful Slow Cooker Beef Stew

Yes, a pressure cooker makes a great stew when you’re pressed for time. But there’s something about a slow cooker for those tougher (cheaper😉) cuts of beef that increase flavor. Slow cooking also gives the seasonings time to flavor the meat to the bone.

Recipe Ingredients

  1. Beef – Flavorful stewing beef becomes tender from the slow cooking process. Any cut that has fat and good marbling works great for slow cooking. Stew beef is usually already cut into bite-sized pieces, but chuck roast, short rib, oxtail, brisket, and shanks are some ideal cuts. Just cut them into manageable chunks.
  2. Aromatics – Onion, garlic, and ginger provide a mouthwatering base layer of flavor.
  3. Seasonings – Bay leaves, bouillon powder, thyme, and smoked paprika deliver bold, earthy, smoky flavors to beef stew.
  4. Tomato Paste thickens the stew and provides delightful, flavor-enhancing acidity. If you don’t have tomato paste, three tablespoons of puree or sauce will replace one tablespoon of tomato paste.
  5. Broth is the liquid base to simmer the beef, tenderize it, and provide a flavorful gravy.
  6. Vegetables – Classic comfort food veggies like green onions, potatoes, carrots, mushrooms, and peas make a one-dish, soul-warming meal!

How to Slow Cook Beef Stew

Sear meat, saute aromatics, add everything to the crockpot to simmer
  • Season stew beef with salt and pepper to thoroughly cover all sides.
  • Brown Meat – Heat the oil in an oven-safe Dutch oven pan over medium heat. Add the stew beef and brown well, turning once, 2-3 minutes per side. Avoid overcrowding the pan, cooking in batches if necessary. (Photo 1)
  • Seasonings – Add onions, ginger, garlic, thyme, smoked paprika, and bay leaf to the skillet. Stir for 2-3 minutes until onions become translucent. (Photo 2)
  • Liquid – Add tomato paste and bouillon. Then, stir for another minute, and add broth (or water) to the skillet, scraping the sides to get all that good flavor into the stew. Bring to a boil, remove, and pour in the slow cooker. (Photos 3-4)
  • Vegetables – Throw carrots, potatoes, mushrooms, and peas in the slow cooker. Add salt to taste.
  • Slow Cook – Cover and set on low for 6-7 hours or high for 3-4 hours.
  • Remove and garnish with parsley. Serve with your favorite bread.
Deliciously fresh slow cooker beef stew ready to enjoy

Recipe Variations

  1. Vegetable Add-Ins – Feel free to customize the vegetables according to your palate. Celery, green beans, parsnips, and sweet potatoes are great additions to crock pot beef stew.
  2. Broth Swap – Replace one cup of the broth with dry red wine. Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot will give the stew a rich, robust flavor.
  3. Seasonings – A splash of Worcestershire sauce or balsamic vinegar provides depth of flavor.
  4. Finishing Touch – Add two tablespoons of cold butter at the end of the cooking process and swirl it through the stew to give the dish a velvety texture.

Tips and Tricks

  1. It’s best not to skip the searing part since it brings out a better flavor. However, if you’re short on time, you can add all the raw ingredients to the slow cooker without pre-cooking them. The stew won’t have the same depth, but it will still be delicious.
  2. Yukon Gold potatoes don’t fall apart as easily when cooked longer, like any waxy or boiling potato.
  3. Mix equal parts of flour and butter and add it during the last hour of cooking for a thickening hack. Or mash up a few chunks of potatoes as soon as they’re tender.
  4. No slow cooker? You can make this tasty dish on the stovetop. Follow the instructions, adding everything to the Dutch oven. Cover the pot and simmer over low for 3-4 hours (5-6 hours at high altitude), adding more broth as needed.

Make-Ahead Instructions

Slow-cooker beef stew makes weeknight meal planning a cinch! You can make this deliciousness ahead, let it cool, and refrigerate it for a couple of days or freeze it for 3-4 months. It tastes even better the next day.

Serving and Storage Instructions

I love this comforting stew straight from the slow cooker alone or over a bowl of white rice or garlic-mashed red potatoes! Leftovers stay good in the refrigerator for up to three days or in the freezer for three months in an airtight container.

Reheat the stew stovetop in a pan over medium heat or individual portions in the microwave.

Insanely good slow cooker beef stew with homemade garlic bread to soak up every last drop

What to Serve With Slow Cooker Beef Stew

Slow-cooker beef stew is a nourishing one-dish meal! But a side of easy dinner rollshomemade garlic bread, or easy buttermilk drop biscuits soak up the flavorful gravy.

Wine pairing: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Malbec all taste great with beef stew.

More Soul-Warming Slow Cooker Recipes to Try

  1. Slow Cooker Pumpkin Soup
  2. Oxtail Stew
  3. Lamb Stew
  4. Black-Eyed Peas
  5. Beef Brisket

Watch How to Make It

This blog post was originally published in January 2018 and has been updated with additional tips, new photos, and a video

Slow Cooker Beef Stew

A savory, hearty bowl of beef stew slowly cooked to perfection with the aroma of herbs, spices, and vegetables for an ideal one-pot meal. The perfect winter comfort food!