Crock Pot Beef Stew
Calling on all the warm fuzzies, cuddly blankets, and flannel! It’s time for a hug in dinner form: Crock Pot Beef Stew. Every bite of this old fashioned beef stew recipe soothes me from the inside out. Tender beef and vegetables nestled into rich, soulful gravy, this slow cooker beef stew will reward your patience with every bite.
Now that fall is officially here, I wanted to share the recipe for this Slow Cooker Beef Stew, one of the best crock pot recipes in my arsenal. It tastes like pure comfort in a bowl, you need to have it at the ready for the cool evenings ahead.
Crock Pot Beef Stew is the kind of thing I love to have simmering in the house all day. As the beef stew cooks, the smell fills my kitchen in a nostalgic way that reminds me of my Grandma Dorothy.
Browning the meat for this beef stew does take a bit of time, but it is worth every second. 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.
Very Important Reasons to Make Crock Pot Beef Stew
- Cool nights are coming and this recipe is the equivalent of your beloved childhood blanket.
- The low and slow cook time makes the beef so fall-apart tender, you can cut it with a spoon.
- FLAVOR OVERLOAD. The deep browning and caramelizing of the beef gives the stew a dark, golden, irresistible crust that enriches the broth and makes this one of the best slow cooker beef stew recipes ever.
- The leftover red wine you’ll have after making the stew will be the perfect amount to enjoy with dinner.
- The recipe is loaded with both veggies and protein, so it’s an ideal all-in-one meal.
Translation: Making this slow cooker beef stew recipe is WORTH EVERY MINUTE!
This time of year, when the first crisp nights arrive and the cool air begins to settle in, is the ideal moment for Crock Pot Beef Stew, or at least this particular recipe for it.
You’ll find the deep, rich flavors of well-browned beef and red wine that you want, right alongside the heap of fresh veggies like carrot, potato, and peas that you need.
About This Crock Pot Beef Stew Recipe
How Do I Make Crock Pot Beef Stew?
First things first: in every way but waiting for it to cook, this is an EASY beef stew recipe.
- Browning the stew meat does take some time—work in small batches and resist the urge to crowd the pan. You want that beautiful brown crust, because that’s where the flavor is to be found.
- Once the meat is browned, there’s one last round of focused activity while you chop the veggies, but that’s it. Add everything to the crock pot, then let the beef stew do its thang.
How long does Beef Stew Take to Cook in a Crock Pot?
- Beef stew cooks in a crock pot in 6 to 8 hours on low or 3 to 5 hours on high.
- The time can vary depending upon your slow cooker, so check early if your crock pot tends to run on the hotter side.
What Spices Do You Put in a Beef Stew?
- Plenty of salt and pepper! This gives the beef and vegetables outstanding flavor.
- Herb-wise, 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.
- I also have a suggested amount for dried thyme in the recipe, but if you can get your hands on fresh, it is 100% worth it.
How Do You Thicken Beef Stew in a Crock Pot?
- 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.
The Best Meat For Beef Stew (It’s Not What You Think!)
- As far as what kind of meat is best for beef stew, my answer is (ready for it?) NOT 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, 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.
- For the best results when making Crock Pot Beef Stew, I recommend buying a single piece of chuck roast from the butcher, then cutting it into cubes yourself. 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.
And now, a recipe guaranteed to warm you through the season ahead: Crock Pot Beef Stew. It’s easy, not too heavy, richly flavored, and fall-apart tender. Let it comfort you on a cool night soon!
Recommended Tools to Make Crock Pot Beef Stew:
- Programmable slow cooker
- A sturdy Dutch oven for browning the meat. I also love this one. This is another good brand and more affordable.
Healthy Crock Pot Beef Stew
- 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
Cut the 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 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.
At this point, the pan should have some nice sticky brown bits (a.k.a. FLAVOR). If it seems to be burning or smoking, add a bit of the wine or beer, scrape it up, then pour it over the beef you set aside.
Reduce the pan heat to medium and add the final tablespoon olive oil. 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 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 and your kitchen smells so cozy you might not ever leave. 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, sprinkled with fresh parsley.
Nutrition InformationAmount per serving (1 (of 8), about 1 3/4 cups) — Calories: 321, Fat: 10g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 81mg, Sodium: 359mg, Carbohydrates: 24g, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 4g, Protein: 30g
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