Slow Cooker Beef Stew – loaded with chunks of tender beef, potatoes, carrots and peas in a rich, delicious sauce. An old fashioned hearty comfort meal – perfect for cold temps!
If you grew up in the Midwest like I did, you didn’t escape childhood without some sort of Beef Stew.
As a girl, I actually liked the stuff in the can. Mostly I was all about the potatoes … and the gravy. The meat – ugh – didn’t touch the stuff. Or the carrots … so yeah, just the potatoes and the gravy.
I’ve since realized there’s way better stew out there. This hearty, old fashioned Slow Cooker Beef Stew recipe is not only incredibly easy to make, but the tender chunks of beef, carrots, potatoes and peas in a rich beef sauce are pretty much comfort in a bowl.
When I started my fall/winter editorial calendar I realized that despite 6 years I’ve been blogging, I haven’t shared my Beef Stew recipe. It’s one I’ve made many times over the years but usually on the stove letting it simmer for a couple of hours.
But when a reader emailed asking about a Slow Cooker Beef Stew they could set and forget for a few hours, I jumped. What a great idea!
Once it’s assembled, turn on the slow cooker and watch – smell – the magic happen.
What’s in Old Fashioned Beef Stew?
- olive oil
- beef chuck roast cut into 1 1/2″ chunks
- salt and pepper
- tomato paste
- beef stock
- Yukon potatoes (can substitute russets)
- Worcestershire sauce
- soy sauce
- dried thyme and rosemary
- corn starch
- frozen peas
- fresh parsley
to sear or not to sear?
Searing is all about building flavor so yes! — you definitely want to sear the beef. Adding meat to a hot skillet caramelizes the meat and adds extra flavor to both the meat and the stew itself.
Can you skip this step? Of course – but trust me on this – the richness it adds to the stew is worth the few extra minutes.
A couple of tips:
- Make sure the skillet is hot before you add the beef.
- Add only a thin layer of oil to coat the bottom of the skillet.
- Resist the urge to peak at the meat or turn it too soon. When it’s seared and ready to flip, it releases itself.
How to make slow cooker Beef Stew:
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Cut the beef into 1 1/2″ chunks, season generously with salt and pepper then add to the skillet searing well on two sides.
Transfer the beef to the slow cooker then add the diced onion and tomato paste to the skillet. Cook 1-2 minutes or until the onions have started to soften then pour in half of the beef stock.
Stir over medium heat, scraping the brown bits up from the skillet then add to the slow cooker along with the rest of the beef stock.
Top with the potatoes, carrots, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, thyme and rosemary, season with salt and pepper then stir together.
Cover and cook on HIGH for 3 hours or LOW for 6 hours. You want the meat and vegetables fork tender but not mushy.
how to thicken slow cooker beef stew:
Whisk the corn starch and 2 tablespoons of beef stock together in a small bowl then pour into the stew gently stirring.
Cook on HIGH 15-20 minutes or until thickened. About halfway through this time, stir in the peas and parsley. After 15-20 minutes give it all a good stir then taste and adjust for salt and pepper. Serve warm.
Tips for the best beef stew:
- Use the right cut of beef (chuck roast or cubes recommended).
- Sear the beef!
- Cook until the beef and vegetables are fork tender but not mushy.
- Larger carrots work best. Thin ones may overcook.
- Be sure to include a good bakery-style bread to go with it.
Variations to the recipe:
This is a classic Beef Stew recipe but you can include additional – or different – vegetables you prefer or already have on hand. You may have noticed the green beans in the photos. I had some in the freezer and decided to add them (totally optional). You could also include frozen corn, parsnips or mushrooms.
Looking for other slow cooker recipes?
Slow Cooker Lasagna Soup – favorite flavors of Lasagna in an easy slow cooker soup.
Crockpot 4 Ingredient Salsa Chicken – just 4 ingredients to spicy shredded chicken for tacos, burritos or salads.
Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili – creamy, loaded with bites of chicken, white beans, corn and green chilies. Top with your favorites like sliced avocado, extra cheese, tortilla strips or sour cream.
If you tried this Slow Cooker Beef Stew recipe or any other on the blog then I hope you’ll leave a comment and a bunch of stars!
Slow Cooker Beef Stew
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 pounds beef chuck roast cut in 1 1/2" chunks
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 medium onion diced
- 1 1/2 pounds Yukon potatoes cut in 1 1/2" chunks
- 1 pound carrots sliced 1 1'2" chunks
- 4 cups beef stock + 2 tablespoons, divided
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 3 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Cut the beef into 1 1/2″ chunks, season generously with salt and pepper then add to the skillet searing well on two sides.
- Transfer the beef to the slow cooker then add the diced onion and tomato paste to the skillet. Cook 1-2 minutes or until the onions have started to soften then pour in half of the beef stock. Stir over medium heat, scraping the brown bits up from the skillet then add to the slow cooker along with the rest of the beef stock.
- Top with the potatoes, carrots, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, thyme and rosemary. Season with salt and pepper, stir then cover and cook on HIGH for 3 hours or LOW for 6 hours. The meat and vegetables should be fork tender but not mushy.
To thicken the stew:
- Whisk the corn starch and the remaining 2 tablespoons of beef stock together in a small bowl or cup then pour into the stew and gently stir to combine.
- Cook on HIGH 15-20 minutes or until thickened. Halfway through this time, stir in the peas and parsley.
- After thickening, gently stir well then taste and adjust for salt and pepper. Serve warm.