Every bite of this old-fashioned Crockpot Beef Stew recipe soothes me from the inside out. With tender beef and vegetables nestled into a rich, soulful gravy, this slow cooker beef stew will reward your patience with every bite.

bowl of comforting old fashioned beef stew slow cooker

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Calling all the warm fuzzies, cuddly blankets, and flannel!

It’s time for a hug in dinner form: crockpot beef stew.

Now that each day seems to be cooler than the last, I wanted to share a recipe for a warm-you-up (and lightened-up) slow cooker beef stew.

It’s without a doubt one of the best crockpot soups in my arsenal (this Crockpot Lasagna Soup is a close second).

Crockpot beef stew is the kind of thing I love to have simmering in the house all day.

As the beef stew cooks and the broth thickens into a rich gravy, the smell fills my kitchen in a nostalgic way that reminds me of my Grandma Dorothy.

bowl of beef stew with red wine made in a slow cooker

5 Star Review

“I made this today, and it was truly a 5-star meal. Everyone absolutely loved it, including my children who can be fussy.”

— Kelly —

Here’s why I think you’ll love this old fashioned slow cooker beef stew:

  • Cooler nights are here! With every bite cozier than the last, this slow cooker stew recipe warms to your core (like this French-inspired Beef Bourguignon).
  • A low and slow cook time makes this recipe the perfect make-ahead meal during a busy work week. You’ll come home to beef so fall-apart tender, you can cut it with a spoon.
  • FLAVOR OVERLOAD. With a rich red wine gravy and aromatic fresh herbs, everyone at your table will be begging for seconds.
  • Loaded with both veggies and hearty protein, beef stew in the slow cooker is a healthy, filling, and satisfying all-in-one meal (although I always recommend serving it with this Rosemary Olive Oil Bread for soaking up extra gravy).

Translation: Making this slow cooker beef stew recipe is WORTH EVERY MINUTE!

How to Make Crockpot Beef Stew

This best-ever slow cooker beef stew tastes like pure comfort in a bowl.

Have it at the ready for the cool evenings ahead.

The best type of meat to use for beef stew

  • As far as what kind of meat is best for beef stew, my answer is (ready for it?) NOT beef stew meat.
  • Stew meat is typically a mix of all different sizes and cuts, so the pieces may not cook evenly. You could have some bites with perfect, fork tender beef and others with tough, rubbery meat. There’s a reason this Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff (which uses sirloin) and this Slow Cooker Beef and Broccoli (which calls for flank steak) have different cooking times: each uses a different type of beef.
  • Similar to this Crockpot Vegetable Beef Soup, I recommend buying a single piece of chuck roast from the butcher, then cutting it into cubes yourself.
  • Selecting a single type of beef means you’ll know what cut you are getting, your pieces will be uniform in size so that they cook evenly, and chuck roast’s deep marbling ensures that every bite of the beef in the stew is fall-apart tender (like these Red Wine Braised Short Ribs).
crock pot full of healthy beef stew with potatoes and carrots

The Ingredients

  • Chuck Roast. Boneless chuck roast is perfect for this recipe. It’s a more marbled cut (and marbling = flavor) that becomes tender throughout the low and slow cooking. (This Italian Beef is another delicious chuck roast recipe.) You also could use a top or bottom round roast.

Tip!

Browning the meat for this beef stew does take a bit of time, but it is worth every second.

  • The deep browning and caramelizing of the beef give the stew a dark, golden, irresistible crust that enriches the gravy and makes this one of the best slow cooker beef stew recipes ever. It’s a similar method when seeing recipes for a pot roast.
  • Red Wine. Slow cooker beef stew with red wine has so much depth of flavor! Try Cabernet Sauvignon or a dark beer (such as an amber or porter).

Substitution Tip

If you prefer to not use alcohol, you can simply add additional beef broth.

  • Vegetables. The more the merrier! I used onion, celery, carrots, parsnip, and peas for an array of flavors, textures, and nutritional benefits.

Market Swap

Feel free to add or swap in other fresh, frozen, or seasonal produce of your choice.

  • Crockpot Beef Stew with Mushrooms. This is perhaps the most popular suggestion among readers! Add a cup of button, white, or crimini mushrooms while sautéing the other veggies
  • Slow Cooker Beef with Frozen Vegetables. While I love fresh vegetables for their superior flavor and texture, you could swap part of the vegetables (including the carrots and parsnips) for a bag of frozen mixed veggies. No need to sauté the frozen veggies; simply stir them into the slow cooker towards the end of the stew’s cooking time.
  • Potatoes. The starch in the potatoes helps thicken the stew and adds some extra bulk to make every bowl filling and satisfying.

Substitution Tip

You can omit the potatoes if you want to make your slow cooker beef stew without potatoes. You may also swap them for a side of steamed rice, quinoa, or cooked noodles.

I have also taken the dumplings from this Crockpot Chicken and Dumplings recipe before to make this into a crockpot beef stew and dumpling recipe.

  • Tomato Paste. An easy way to build concentrated flavor.
  • Worcestershire Sauce. A tangy, savory addition to your beef stew and another flavor building block. If in a pinch, substitute with balsamic vinegar.
  • Beef Broth. To provide moisture and help the meat tenderize. I recommend low sodium so that your beef stew does not become overly salty.
  • Whole Wheat Flour. To help the meat brown and caramelize. It also helps the gravy thicken as well. No need to use corn starch here.

Dietary Note

To Make Gluten Free. Omit the flour when you brown the stew meat, and use red wine instead of beer. If your stew finishes up thinner than you would like due to the absence of flour, try one of the suggestions to thicken it below.

  • Thyme. Thyme is my absolute favorite in beef stew. It’s the ideal match with the root vegetables, and its earthy, savory flavor is a hallmark of comfort food.
  • Salt and Pepper. Don’t be skimpy. These give the beef and vegetables outstanding flavor.

The Directions

  1. Cut your chuck roast, and place it in a large bowl. Sprinkle with spices and flour, tossing to coat.
  2. Brown the meat on the stove top in batches. When dark and golden all over, remove to a plate.
  3. Sauté the vegetables with the tomato paste and spices. Deglaze with the red wine and let reduce.
  4. Transfer everything to your slow cooker. Stir to combine.
  5. Slow cook beef stew on low for 6 1/2 to 8 hours or high for 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 hours, until the beef is cooked through and fall-apart tender. ENJOY!

Wine Pairing

Any full-bodied, dry Cabernet Sauvignon will pair nicely with its hearty, flavorful slow cooker beef stew. 

easy Beef Stew recipe with gravy and vegetables in a bowl

Storage Tips

  • To Store. Place cooked and cooled stew in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • To Reheat. Gently reheat leftovers in a Dutch oven or similar large pot/skillet on the stovetop over medium-low heat, adding splashes of broth as needed. You can also rewarm this stew in a microwave-safe bowl in the microwave until hot.
  • To Freeze. Store cooked and cooled leftovers in an airtight freezer-safe storage container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

Meal Prep Tip

The stew leftovers taste even better the next day, so you can make this beef stew once, then enjoy it for cozy lunches and dinners all week long. Snag some meal-prep containers so you can divvy up leftovers into preportioned amounts for an easy grab-and-go lunch.

What to Serve with Crockpot Beef Stew

Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe

My Favorite Slow Cooker

This 6-quart programmable slow cooker has a locking lid for easy transport, and its ceramic insert is oven and microwave too.

The BEST Crock Pot Beef Stew recipe ever! An easy, healthy slow cooker beef stew with fresh veggies, fall-apart tender meat, in a rich and flavorful red wine sauce. Simple, freezer friendly, and perfect every time.

Did you make this recipe?

Let me know what you thought!

Leave a rating below in the comments and let me know how you liked the recipe.

This crockpot beef stew is the easy, not too heavy, richly flavored, and fall-apart tender recipe you need this season.

Let it comfort you on a cool night soon!

Frequently Asked Questions

Do You Have to Cook Stew Meat Before Putting It In the Crockpot?

While raw meat is perfectly safe to put into the slow cooker, for the best beef stew, you NEED to brown the meat first. The crust that forms on the beef as you brown it is the most essential foundation of the stew’s flavor. It’s the secret to making an old-fashioned beef stew you’ll devour over and over. Browning the meat takes some time, but it is worth it. Brown the meat in batches and don’t crowd the pan to ensure that glorious crust forms. Be patient. Pour yourself some wine. Embrace the moment.

Can You Put Frozen Meat in the Crockpot?

Frozen beef is not safe to place in a crockpot. During cooking, the meat may spend too long at room temperature and become unsafe to eat. To thaw beef quickly and safely: Place your meat in a ziptop bag, squeeze out excess air, and seal. Then, place it in a large bowl, and fill the bowl with cold water. Let it sit for about 30 minutes. If it’s not thawed after this time, empty the water, and refill with fresh water.

Can You Overcook Stew in a Slow Cooker?

You can overcook stew meat in a slow cooker but, the slow cooker significantly reduces these odds due to the low and slow cooking method and the amount of liquid. Beef stew cooks in a crockpot for 6.5 to 8 hours on LOW or 3.5 to 4.5 hours on HIGH. Time can vary depending upon your slow cooker, so check early if your crockpot tends to run on the hotter side. Chuck roast is fairly forgiving thanks to its marbling, so if you go over on time or your crockpot switches to “keep warm” all is certainly not lost. Your vegetables may be a little mushy, but your stew should still have great flavor.

How Do You Thicken Beef Stew in a Crockpot?

I wrote this recipe to ensure the beef stew is plenty thick, so you won’t need to do anything extra to thicken it up. This is why the recipe starts with so little broth in the slow cooker. If you do want to thicken up the beef stew more, you could try whisking in a slurry of cornstarch at the end, but (and this is coming from someone who loves her soups and stews so thick that a spoon can practically stand up in the bowl on its own), it truly doesn’t need it. Take advantage of this beef stew recipe’s easy nature and skip it.

How Can I Make Instant Pot Beef Stew?

This recipe I created specifically for the crockpot. If you’d like to make beef stew in a pressure cooker, try this Instant Pot Beef Stew.

Need a Few More Slow Cooker Recipes That are Meatless?

Crockpot Lentil Soup. A satisfying vegetarian recipe made with lentils, carrots and tomato, slow cooked to perfection.
Red Lentil Curry. Creamy, delicious vegan recipe with the perfect amount of Indian spice!
Crockpot Butternut Squash Soup. A creamy, comforting, and filled with the best flavors of fall.

The BEST Crock Pot Beef Stew recipe ever! An easy, healthy slow cooker beef stew with fresh veggies, fall-apart tender meat, in a rich and flavorful red wine sauce. Simple, freezer friendly, and perfect every time.

Healthy Crock Pot Beef Stew

4.94 from 59 votes
The BEST old-fashioned crockpot beef stew recipe ever with rich red wine gravy, tender potatoes, carrots, and other healthy ingredients.

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 6 hrs
Total: 6 hrs 15 mins

Servings: 6 –8 servings, about 14 cups

Ingredients
  

  • 2 1/2 pounds boneless chuck roast
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper divided
  • 1/4 cup white whole wheat flour or all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil divided
  • 1 1/2 cups dry red wine such as Cabernet Sauvignon, dark beer (such as an amber, porter, or Guinness—do not use a bitter or hoppy beer such as an IPA as the hops will throw off the flavor), or additional beef broth
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 3 celery stalks
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 large carrots
  • 2 parsnips
  • 3/4 pound red potatoes about 2 medium
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme or 2 teaspoons dried thyme; if you like, tie the fresh thyme together with kitchen twine to make the stems easier to fish out at the end
  • 3 to 4 cups low-sodium beef broth
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen peas no need to thaw
  • Fresh parsley optional for serving

Instructions
 

  • Cut the beef chuck roast into 1-inch cubes, removing any large, tough pieces of fat or gristle. I found it easiest to cut it into 1-inch-thick large, round slices, then strips, then cubes. Place the cubes in a large bowl and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Sprinkle on the flour, then toss lightly to coat.
  • Place a large, deep Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil. Once the oil is hot and shimmering (a drop of water should sizzle if added to the surface), add one-third to one-half of the beef. The cubes should be in a single layer and not too crowded so that they brown nicely. Let the cubes of beef cook undisturbed for 4 to 5 minutes (resist the urge to peek!), until the bottom of the cubes develop a dark-brown crust and come away from the pan easily. Turn and continue searing until dark and golden all over, about 4 to 5 additional minutes. Transfer the seared meat to a clean bowl or plate.
  • Add another 1 tablespoon olive oil to the pot, and once hot, sear the remaining beef, working in batches and ensuring that you do not overcrowd the pieces. It may take two or three batches total depending on the size of your pan. If the pan gets too dry, add a bit more oil as needed.
  • While the meat browns, dice the yellow onion and celery. Mince the garlic.
  • When the last batch of beef has been seared, transfer it to a plate and reduce the heat to medium.
  • Add the final tablespoon of olive oil to the pan. Add the onions and celery and cook until the onions are soft and translucent; about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 30 seconds, until fragrant. Stir in the tomato paste, Worcestershire, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.
  • While the onions sauté, peel and dice the carrots and parsnips. Scrub the potatoes and cut into a rough dice. Set aside.
  • Increase the pan heat to medium-high heat and add the wine or beer (stand back, as it will sputter). Cook, letting the wine reduce and scraping up all of the brown bits from the pan. Continue to scrape and stir until the liquid is slightly reduced and thickened, 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Transfer the sautéed vegetables and any sauce from the pan to a 6-quart or larger slow cooker. Add the beef, carrots, parsnips, potatoes, bay leaf, thyme, and 3 cups beef broth. Stir to roughly combine.
  • Cover and cook on low for 6 1/2 to 8 hours or high for 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 hours, until the beef is cooked through and fall-apart tender. Remove the bay leaf and thyme stems and stir in the peas. If you’d like the stew thinner, add additional broth until it reaches your desired consistency. Taste and add additional salt or pepper as desired. Serve hot, garnish with fresh parsley.

Notes

  • TO STORE: Place cooked and cooled stew in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • TO REHEAT: Gently reheat leftovers in a Dutch oven or similar large pot on the stovetop over medium-low heat, adding splashes of broth as needed. You can also rewarm this stew in a microwave-safe bowl in the microwave until hot.
  • TO FREEZE: Store cooked and cooled leftovers in an airtight freezer-safe storage container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

Nutrition

Serving: 1(of 8), about 1 3/4 cupsCalories: 463kcalCarbohydrates: 27gProtein: 33gFat: 22gSaturated Fat: 8gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 98mgPotassium: 1246mgFiber: 6gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 5414IUVitamin C: 26mgCalcium: 73mgIron: 4mg

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Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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171 Comments

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  1. i love this recipe! however my slow cookwr broke and got an insta pot for my birthday. how long you think to cook in an instapot?

    1. Hi Katrina! I actually have an Instant Pot Beef Stew recipe on my site that I’d recommend you try. I hope this helps!

  2. I made this for last night’s supper. It was delicious! My husband said that it was the best stew that he ever had. I have to agree! We are looking forward to the leftovers tonight! This is definitely a keeper recipe!!!5 stars

  3. Absolutely amazing! Thank you so much for the tip about getting a chuck roast and cutting it myself. So much better! Best stew I’ve ever made. Love your recipes!5 stars

    1. Hi Evangeline! I’d recommend preparing the recipe fully first, then rewarming leftovers in the crockpot before serving. I hope this helps!

    1. Hi Diane! While I’ve never tried it myself, another reader has reported success with it. I hope you enjoy the recipe!

  4. Erin, I just recently found your site, so I am looking at old posts. I’ve never followed a blog before so maybe there is some way to sort comments by date? Despite the fact that I hardly cook anymore, I do love reading recipes. (whenever I got a new cookbook I would read it cover to cover even though I would never cook most of it) Anyway, as I read this beef stew recipe, my first thought was, “if I do so much prep in the dutch oven, why couldn’t I just leave it in the pot and stick it in a very slow oven?” I do see others who wondered about leaving it on the burner but I couldn’t read through all the comments, so this question might already have been raised and answered. The slow cooker might be more energy efficient but if we’re reducing clean-up time, the duch oven is already dirty. And as far as adding dumplings, I think they could be added with no problem in either the dutch oven or the slow cooker. (I also love dumplings with soups and stews) Even though I live alone, sometimes I crave a home-cooked beef stew and I don’t have a go-to recipe for stew. Beef has always been expensive so I tended to do stir-frys if I bought beef.

    1. Hi Jackie! Yes, you could make the recipe in a Dutch oven instead. I’d guess timing would be closer to the cook time on HIGH, about 3 1/2 hours. I’d check in more frequently if you’re doing it on the stovetop. I hope you enjoy it!

  5. This is the best beef stew I have ever had! The blend of ingredients and excellent, detailed directions, resulted in the most heavenly stew. Thank you!5 stars

  6. Don’t try to whip this up in the last 30 minutes you have before you walk out the door in the morning. Not going to happen. That being said, if you have time to put into the prep work, you simply won’t find a better beef stew recipe. I believe there are perfectly fine dishes: it is technically what you ordered, had all the components, got the job done and was maybe even good, but nothing to write home about. I also believe that there are dishes that leave you with a smile in your heart because you know the person who prepared your dish had your experience in mind and was truly inspired to provide an experience that “wows”. This is a dish that delivers the wows via layer after layer of flavor. It is a simple recipe, nothing difficult about it, but it will take some time. I think of the time as the love I put into the dish. You could feel confident serving this to company (truly mother in law worthy). If you want to seem like the hostess with the mostest, you could make this a day ahead *but don’t add the frozen peas until the day you reheat it to serve so they don’t get mushy and canned-like. I’ve made dozens of beef stew recipes, but the first time I made this one I knew there was no turning back, no un-tasting the magic! I’ve now made this recipe dozens of times and it’s always to rave reviews and requests for the recipe. I deglaze after each batch of beef I brown and I toast a little roux and add it with the peas at the end because of my husband’s preference for thick stew. Thank you, Erin, we’ll done!5 stars

  7. I love comfort food, and this stew is perfect. Everyone enjoyed seconds. The flavour is delicious. Followed the recipe to the letter and it did not disappoint. With the weather turning cooler now, this will go into our rotation.5 stars

  8. I made this today, and it was truly a 5 star meal. Everyone absolutely loved it, including my children who can be fussy. I can honestly say that every slow cooker recipe I have tried from Erin has been successful and added to my recipe box. Thanks again!5 stars

  9. If I could give this a 10 I would! This has been my go to stew for quite some time now and each time I feel like it’s better and better maybe it’s just because I’m used to making it but it’s always consistently very good, such rich flavors come out in this dish ❤️5 stars

  10. Made this crockpot beef stew for probably the 4th time and it is very tasty. My husband loves it.
    A bit of prep time but it is worth it. Enjoy your recipes Erin.5 stars

    1. Hi Linda! I stopped including sodium info because it can vary so much depending upon what products you used, and I found a lot of conflicting info online, so ultimately I didn’t feel comfortable publishing it because sometimes it wasn’t even in the ballpark. If you’d like to calculate it yourself, there are lots of free tools online (myfitnesspal.com is popular). I hope that helps!

  11. I made this last night and and agree with the previous poster that the 15 minute prep time is a very big stretch. Also, what steps could be taken to thicken the sauce, preferably as it is placed in the crockpot? The flavor was outstanding, but it was way too thin for our taste. Thank you!5 stars

    1. Hi Sharon! So glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you for this kind review! The flour already exist in the recipe to help thicken it, so not sure what else could added. If you decide to experiment with something, let me know how it goes!

  12. I don’t cook super often but I do like finding new recipes once in a while to try for myself or my family. This recipe was easy enough but didn’t come out tasting quite right – Mom & Dad said it was missing a ton of spice, and I agreed. On top of the 2tsp thyme, I added a bit of parsley, rosemary, basil, and oregano (didn’t measure, maybe 1-4-1/2tsp each). While tasty, it just needed MORE spice to tie the whole dish together. I also cooked the stew on high for 5.5 hours and that was perfect. I added a sweet potato in place of 1 baking potato, but next time will wait to put that in after an hour or so of cooking since it was too soft.
    I may try this again but with more/a different spice mix, and definitely more salt and pepper directly into the crockpot. I also added 2tbsp of cornstarch (mixed with water) to try and thicken the mixture, as it was too thin.
    I will say that the beef was PERFECT, as was the texture of the veggies.3 stars

    1. I’m sorry to hear this wasn’t what you hoped for, Hunter. Many other readers have tried it and loved it, but I know everyone has different tastes. I truly wish you would have loved it!

  13. Delicious and would make again but the prep time is so off! You have to wash and dice so many vegetables, and then the actual cook time is longer because you’re pre-sauteeing like everything before it goes into the slow cooker! Not an easy weeknight option but would definitely make again when I have time.5 stars

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