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Slow Cooker Beef Stew

Slow Cook­er Beef Stew is a com­fort food clas­sic that is so easy you could serve it any night of the week. It’s not only hearty and deli­cious, it’s a beau­ti­ful dish that is loaded with nutrition.

Slow Cooker Beef Stew served in a white bowl next to a green print napkin
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My home­made beef stew com­bines ten­der chunks of seared beef with baby pota­toes and car­rots in a rich, savory and herba­ceous broth. The lus­cious broth is some­where between a soup and a gravy. As a mat­ter of fact, it’s as savory and sat­is­fy­ing as my Roast Beef Gravy. The broth is thick­ened, but just enough to cling to the ten­der meat and veg­eta­bles, pro­vid­ing deep, rich fla­vor in every scrump­tious bite.

Per serv­ing, home­made beef stew is a tru­ly afford­able dish. It even makes enough to enjoy left­overs the next day. It’s loaded with vit­a­mins and min­er­als and it’s a hearty, fill­ing meal. Serve this up with a beau­ti­ful sal­ad and some fresh bis­cuits and you will be revered by all who have the joy of eat­ing at your table. 

My easy beef stew recipe is one you will make again and again, sim­ply because your fam­i­ly loves it. They nev­er have to know you choose it for how easy it is to make and its afford­abil­i­ty. Enjoy!

raw chuck roast

Choosing the Right Beef

When I make Slow Cook­er Beef Stew, I save by using chuck roast, instead of buy­ing pre-cut stew meat. That helps me con­trol not only the qual­i­ty of the meat that goes in, but also the amount of fat. 

In my area, pre-cut stew meat is near­ly $6 per pound, while I can still pick up a chuck roast for between $4.50 and $5 per pound. 

With pre-cut stew meat, it always seems that I get a high pro­por­tion of fat in the pack­age. Using the chuck roast means I get to trim the meat to my stan­dards and get the best val­ue for my money.

Chuck roast is a good choice because it is a fla­vor­ful cut of beef that ben­e­fits from low and slow cook­ing. It’s the per­fect option for home­made beef stew.

Slow Cooker Beef Stew served in a white bowl next to a green print napkin

The Ingredients

  • Chuck Roast: A 2.5 to 3 lb. roast is per­fect in this recipe.
  • Baby Pota­toes: I love the small gold­en pota­toes. They hold up well to the long cook­ing time. You could def­i­nite­ly peel and use rus­set pota­toes, instead.
  • Baby Car­rots: Again, you could save a few cents by peel­ing and cut­ting your own car­rots to size. I love being able to just toss the baby car­rots in the pot.
  • Red Onions: I mince these up fine. You could even grind them in your food proces­sor if you want­ed. I want them to lit­er­al­ly melt away into the broth. 
  • Beef Stock: I use the Sam’s brand beef bone broth I can grab at Wal­mart. Choose the beef stock you like best.
  • V‑8 Juice: V‑8 juice is added for extra veg­etable nutri­tion and for flavor. 
  • Sea­son­ings: I used Worces­ter­shire Sauce and Bet­ter than Bouil­lon Beef Base. Both lend rich­ness and robust nuances to the broth.
  • Herbs: I used gar­lic, pars­ley, salt, pep­per, tar­ragon, thyme, rose­mary, cel­ery seed and bay leaves.
  • Corn­starch: to thick­en the broth at the end of cooking.
Slow Cooker Beef Stew served in a white bowl next to a green print napkin

FAQ’s about Slow Cooker Beef Stew

Why Do You Brown the Beef Before Adding it to the Slow Cook­er?

Sear­ing off the beef caramelizes some of its nat­ur­al sug­ars. This cre­ates deep­er, rich­er, more beefy fla­vor than if you had just thrown the raw meat into the pot. It’s also a good idea to brown the stew meat in a skil­let. By using a skil­let, which is shal­low­er than a stew pot or dutch oven, you allow plen­ty of room for mois­ture evap­o­ra­tion, so you get a good sear quickly.searing chunks of beef in a cast iron skillet

I Don’t Have V‑8 juice. Can I use some­thing else?

Of course. The V‑8 juice is a per­son­al pref­er­ence that adds extra nutri­tion and fla­vor. The acid­i­ty of the toma­toes in it also helps with ten­der­iz­ing the meat. Sub­sti­tute more beef broth if you pre­fer. You could also add a 14.5 oz. can of crushed toma­toes or toma­to sauce, in place of the V‑8, too. Just be aware that those sub­sti­tu­tions will cre­ate a dif­fer­ent fla­vor pro­file than the one I’m cre­at­ing with this recipe.

Do I have to Use So Many Herbs?

I’ll be the first to admit that I may have more herbs in my pantry than the aver­age per­son. But, I think most of the ones I include in this recipe are com­mon and used in so many oth­er real­ly good recipes. I would encour­age you to try this recipe just as writ­ten for the best fla­vor.

That being said, I get it if you decide to change or omit some of the herbs to accom­mo­date what you have on hand. Just under­stand that these were select­ed for the lay­ers of fla­vor they add to the stew and the way they com­ple­ment the beef. Alter­ing them WILL change the fla­vor pro­file I cre­at­ed. You’ll be mak­ing a dif­fer­ent recipe.

How Do I Know When the Slow Cook­er Beef Stew is Done?

I allow my home­made beef stew to cook for a full 6–8 hours on low heat in my slow cook­er. This pro­vides the deep­est fla­vor and most ten­der beef. The meat and veg­eta­bles will be fork ten­der when you final­ly lift the lid. beef stew in a slow cooker

How to Make Slow Cooker Beef Stew

  1. Cut your chuck roast into bite-size cubes. 
  2. Pat the meat cubes dry with a paper tow­el (mois­ture inhibits brown­ing) before attempt­ing to brown them. 
  3. Heat the oil to medi­um high in a skil­let and brown the meat in batch­es, so you have plen­ty of room to allow mois­ture evap­o­ra­tion and achieve good brown­ing. And, for max­i­mum fla­vor, I’m talk­ing about BROWN­ing, here. No grey or pale beef. You want deep brown col­or that shows carameliza­tion has hap­pened. It’s called the Mail­lard reac­tion. It’s the chem­i­cal reac­tion that hap­pens between the amino acids and sug­ars in the meat when you heat them. And that reac­tion cre­ates flavor.
  4. Place the browned meat into an 8 quart slow cook­er (small­er won’t be big enough) along with the halved pota­toes, baby car­rots and minced onion. Stir the meat and veg­gies to even­ly dis­trib­ute them through­out the mixture.

  1. Add the Worces­ter­shire, beef base and all the herbs.
  2. Now add the liq­uids. Pour the beef stock and V‑8 over the meat and veg­eta­bles, into the slow cook­er. It will be VERY full.
  3. Put the lid on the slow cook­er and set to low.
  4. Cook the beef stew on low for 6 to 8 hours or until the meat and veg­eta­bles are fork tender.
  5. Whisk the corn­starch and COLD water togeth­er in a mea­sur­ing cup. The water must be very cold or the corn­starch will make lumps in your stew. Whisk until all the corn­starch has dis­solved into the water.
  6. Pour the corn­starch slur­ry into the slow cook­er, stir­ring until it is dis­trib­uted even­ly through­out the stew.
  7. Turn the slow cook­er to high and allow the stew to con­tin­ue cook­ing and thick­en for about 15 minutes.
  8. Serve.

The Recipe

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Slow Cooker Beef Stew served in a white bowl next to a green print napkin

Slow Cooker Beef Stew


  • Author: Glen­da Embree
  • Total Time: 6 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: 10-12 serv­ings 1x

Description

Seared chunks of ten­der beef, baby pota­toes & car­rots in a rich, savory and herba­ceous broth make Slow Cook­er Beef Stew a com­fort food clas­sic.  It’s an eco­nom­i­cal and crazy deli­cious meal!  Serve it with a green sal­ad and some home­made biscuits.


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 2.5 lb chuck roast, cut into 1 1/2″ cubes
  • 3 Table­spoons avo­ca­do oil
  • salt and pep­per, to taste
  • 3 lbs. baby pota­toes, halved
  • 1 lb. baby carrots
  • 2 red onions, minced
  • 6 cups beef broth
  • 2 cups V‑8
  • 2 Table­spoons Worcestershire
  • 2 Table­spoons beef base (like Bet­ter than Bouillon)
  • 2 Table­spoons minced garlic
  • 3 Table­spoons dried parsley
  • 2 tea­spoons salt
  • 2 tea­spoons black pepper
  • 1 tea­spoon dried tarragon
  • 1 tea­spoon dried thyme
  • 1 tea­spoon dried rosemary
  • 1/2 tea­spoon cel­ery seed
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup COLD water

Instructions

  1. Cut your chuck roast into bite-size cubes. 
  2. Pat the meat cubes dry with a paper tow­el (mois­ture inhibits brown­ing) before attempt­ing to brown them. 
  3. Heat the oil to medi­um high in a skil­let and brown the meat in batch­es, so you have plen­ty of room to allow mois­ture evap­o­ra­tion and achieve good brown­ing. And, for max­i­mum fla­vor, I’m talk­ing about BROWN­ing, here. No grey or pale beef. You want deep brown col­or that shows carameliza­tion has hap­pened. It’s called the Mail­lard reac­tion. It’s the chem­i­cal reac­tion that hap­pens between the amino acids and sug­ars in the meat when you heat them. And that reac­tion cre­ates flavor.
  4. Place the browned meat into an 8 quart slow cook­er (small­er won’t be big enough) along with the halved pota­toes, baby car­rots and minced onion. Stir the meat and veg­gies to even­ly dis­trib­ute them through­out the mixture.
  5. Add the Worces­ter­shire, beef base and all the herbs.
  6. Now add the liq­uids. Pour the beef stock and V‑8 over the meat and veg­eta­bles, into the slow cook­er. It will be VERY full.
  7. Put the lid on the slow cook­er and set to low.
  8. Cook the beef stew on low for 6 to 8 hours or until the meat and veg­eta­bles are fork tender.
  9. Whisk the corn­starch and COLD water togeth­er in a mea­sur­ing cup. The water must be very cold or the corn­starch will make lumps in your stew. Whisk until all the corn­starch has dis­solved into the water.
  10. Pour the corn­starch slur­ry into the slow cook­er, stir­ring until it is dis­trib­uted even­ly through­out the stew.
  11. Turn the slow cook­er to high and allow the stew to con­tin­ue cook­ing and thick­en for about 15 minutes.
  12. Serve.
  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Cook Time: 6 hours
  • Cat­e­go­ry: Soup, Stew, Main Dish
  • Method: slow cook­er
  • Cui­sine: Amer­i­can

What to Serve with Easy Beef Stew

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