Beef Stew is one of the most iconic comfort foods to make! This version has beef and vegetables in a lavish stew. Your whole family will love this easy Slow Cooker Beef Stew recipe!
While traditional beef stew is common in the winter months, I like making it all year round. Slow cooker recipes are a lifesaver when it’s hot out, because I don’t need to turn on the oven to make dinner. Plus, they save me so much time on busy weeknights.
What Type of Beef To Use
Beef Stew used to be considered a peasant food. Made with the cheapest cuts of beef and cheap root vegetables. Today however, it has seen a revival to sophisticated and gourmet status.
The beauty of a beef stew comes in the hours of simmering, which tenderizes even the most stubborn pieces of chuck. The slow cooker is the perfect place for this magical process, as is the pressure cooker, if you have one. Tender chunks of beef simmering in broth with a rich flavor and loaded with veggies makes for a great recipe any day of the week.
Beef Stew Ingredients
The ingredient list looks lengthy, but I assure it is mostly kitchen staples.
- Beef – You can either use lean beef strip, chuck roast or stew beef cubes. Make sure any excessive fat is trimmed (although some is fine and will add flavor) and the meat is cut into cut into bite-size pieces.
- Extra virgin olive oil – Although this is a slow cooker recipe, we do need to brown the meat first. This helps in that process.
- Yukon gold potatoes – This is my favorite type of potato to use for this crockpot beef stew, but feel free to use red potatoes (more waxy) or russet potatoes (more starchy) if you prefer.
- Fire-roasted tomatoes – You will find this in a can near the rest of the canned tomatoes. Some crock pot beef stew recipes call for tomato paste or tomato sauce, but I love the flavor that fire roasted tomatoes give.
- Garlic – Fresh minced garlic provides the best flavor here.
- Sweet onion – I kept my onions cut into larger pieces for a hearty, stew-like texture. Check this out to cut an onion without crying.
- Red wine vinegar – We just need a touch, but it adds just enough acidity to your dish. Balsamic or apple cider also work. A small amount brightens the whole dish.
- Worcestershire sauce – I use this stuff in everything! I love the flavor and it really rounds out the flavors of this stew. It’s robust, so a little goes a long way. Soy sauce can be substituted.
- Bay leaves – A bay leaf provides so much flavor, but can be taken out before serving if you don’t want the leaf showing.
- Oregano – I like to use fresh oregano for maximum flavor. Just make sure it is finely chopped.
- Salt and pepper – More often than not, I reach for coarse Kosher salt when cooking. And freshly cracked black pepper tastes best for this slow-cooker beef stew recipe.
- Smoked paprika – You can use regular paprika if that’s all you have. I just love the robust smoky flavor that smoked paprika provides.
- Low Sodium Beef broth – The flavorful broth provides a good base for this classic beef stew recipe. I highly suggest using low sodium or homemade beef broth to control the saltiness.
- Cornstarch – We need a way to thicken our easy beef stew recipe, and a cornstarch slurry is just the way to do it.
How to Make Slow Cooker Beef Stew
This stew does require a little bit of hands-on time to chop everything up, but the rest is relatively easy!
- Prep the meat. Dab the beef very dry, which will help with the process of browning and developing flavor.
- Brown the meat. In a large enameled pot or other large skillet, heat extra virgin olive oil. Add beef when hot, turning until outsides are brown. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate to drain. If needed, work in batches to not crowd the meat, if it’s steaming and won’t brown.
- Add remaining ingredients (except arrowroot). If preparing in a slow cooker, add all ingredients through beef broth. If using a Dutch oven, do the same but into the Dutch oven.
- Cook. For slow cooker, cook on low for 3 hours. For Dutch oven, simmer, covered for the same amount of time.
- Make cornstarch slurry. Skim the top of your stew for any fat drippings. Ladle out 1/2 cup of broth only and whisk with arrowroot or cornstarch. Stir into stew mixture and cook for an additional 10 minutes. If you desire a thicker stew, add more arrowroot.
- Serve. Ladle into bowl and garnish with Maldon sea salt and serve with a slice of crusty bread!
Make your own version using some of these easy customizations.
- Try adding a cup of red wine for an extra layer of flavor. You can substitute it for one of the cups of beef broth.
- You can add any veggies that tickle your fancy. Some options include: green beans, sweet potatoes, pearl onions or frozen peas.
- Play around with the seasonings and fresh herbs. Fresh rosemary or Italian seasoning are great complements to the savory flavors of this hearty slow cooker beef stew.
Storage and Freezing
Storage & Leftovers: You can store any leftover beef stew in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Letting the flavors marinate overnight sometimes makes it taste better the next day!
Freezing: You can also store it in the freezer for up to three months.
More Crockpot Recipes
We love a good crock pot recipe around here. These are a few more of our favorites.
- Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos
- Slow Cooker Cashew Chicken
- Slow Cooker Garlic Dill Mashed Potatoes
- Crock Pot Beef and Noodles
Slow Cooker Beef Stew Recipe
- 2 pounds beef , strip, chuck or beef stew pieces, fat trimmed and cut into bite-size pieces
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes , cut into 1 inch cubes
- 3 cups low-sodium beef broth
- 14.5 ounces fire-roasted tomatoes , diced and drained
- 3 cloves garlic , minced
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 1 medium sweet onion , cut into 1 inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano , finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 2 tablespoons arrowroot , or cornstarch
- flakey sea salt , such as Maldon
- Blot the beef dry with a paper towel. Set aside.
- In a large enameled pot or other non-stick pan, heat the extra virgin olive oil. Add the beef when hot, turning until outsides are brown. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate to drain.
- Add the cooked beef, potatoes, broth, tomatoes, garlic, bay leaves, onion, oregano, vinegar, Worcestershire, salt, pepper and paprika to a slow cooker or large Dutch oven. Stir and cover.
- For a slow cooker, cook on low for 3 hours. For Dutch oven, simmer on the absolute lowest heat your stove has covered.
- Skim the top of your stew for any fat drippings. Ladle out 1/2 cup of broth only and whisk with the arrowroot or cornstarch. Stir into stew mixture and cook for an additional 10 minutes. If you desire a thicker stew, add more arrowroot.
- Ladle into a bowl and garnish with a flakey sea salt, like Maldon.
- If you've tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was in the comments or star ratings.