Easy slow cooker beef stew is thick and hearty and the definition of comfort food. Made in the crockpot, this stew is filled with tender beef, carrots, and peas and is a family favorite.
Crockpot Beef Stew
Some foods are warm and cozy like a hug. This beef stew is one of those meals. It is filled with tender beef, flavorful veggies, and a thick and delicious gravy.
Knowing my meal is cooking while I’m at work is one of my very favorite things. Prepping this slow cooker stew in the morning only takes a few minutes, then you come home to your house smelling amazing and dinner ready to serve.
Below is a list of the major ingredients & some useful tidbits to help you plan out your cooking, but you can also skip it and scroll down for the full recipe.
FLOUR – Before you add your beef to the slow cooker, you’ll want to coat it with flour and sear it. The flour helps the meat brown better, thickens the sauce, and creates a great texture of the meat.
BEEF – You don’t want a lean cut of beef when you’re making stew. You’ll end up with tough meat. Opt for a cut with lots of connective tissue, like chuck and round. When you simmer the beef in liquid, the connective tissue breaks down and becomes super tender.
ONION, CELERY, & CARROTS – The holy trinity for flavor.
POTATOES – I usually use russets, but red skin or yukon gold will work as well.
WORCESTERSHIRE SAUCE – Adds great flavor and depth to the stew.
BEEF BROTH – I use low sodium beef broth. Alternatively, you can use 3 cups water + 2 beef bouillon cubes or 1-2 tsp beef bouillon granules.
ONION SOUP MIX – I typically have Lipton Onion Soup Mix on hand for recipes but if you don’t, you have make your own.
ROSEMARY & THYME – Herbs add a ton of flavor to stew. I use dried because I always have them on hand, but fresh is even better.
BAY LEAF – Bay leaves are great in soups and stews to give a bitterness that balances the dish making it not so heavy.
PEAS – Frozen peas get stirred in about 15 minutes before you’re ready to serve the stew.
Equipment you’ll need
- Slow Cooker – You will need a slow cooker. I have had this 6qt slow cooker for many years and highly recommend it. I love that it switches over to WARM after the designated cook time. That is very helpful for long workdays.
- Kitchen Knife – A good santoku knife will make cutting the beef and veggies super easy.
- Veggie Chopper – This is my new favorite gadget. It is great for chopping onions, carrots, celery, and many other things.
- Ladle – You’ll need a ladle to spoon up all this goodness.
How to slow cook Beef Stew
STEP ONE: Season your flour with salt and pepper in a zip top plastic bag. Add in the chopped beef, seal, and shake to evenly coat.
STEP TWO: Add the olive oil to a skillet over medium-high heat and pour in the meat and flour mixture. Brown the beef then add in the chopped onion and garlic, cooking until soft.
STEP THREE: Pour the seared beef mixture into the bottom of the slow cooker. Add in the rosemary, thyme, and bay leaf.
STEP FOUR: Top the meat with the chopped potatoes, celery, carrots, broth, and Worcestershire sauce. Stir to combine and then cover.
STEP FIVE: Cook on LOW for 6-8 hours or HIGH for 4-6 hours. Stir in the frozen peas 15-30 minutes before serving.
Do I have to brown the meat first?
You don’t have to brown the meat before adding it to the crockpot, but I highly recommend it. Lightly cooking the outside of the meat caramelizes the beef which makes for bold, rich flavors. I recommend it in my slow cooker steak bites, too.
Can I put raw beef in the slow cooker?
You can absolutely put raw beef in the slow cooker. I choose to brown the meat first, but you can skip that step if you’re in a hurry.
How do I make my beef stew more flavorful?
You shouldn’t have any issues with this beef stew lacking flavor – the combo of carrots, celery, and onion, along with the onion soup mix, beef broth, and Worcestershire sauce leads to great flavor. However, if you want to up the flavors even more, use fresh rosemary and thyme instead of dried. Fresh herbs always have the most flavor.
How to store leftovers
Leftover beef stew will last in the fridge, covered in an airtight container, for 3-4 days. Reheat it in the microwave or throw it in a saucepan to warm through.
Can you freeze it?
Luckily, beef stew freezes really well, which makes prepping for busy weeknights really easy. I like to store leftover portions in my Souper Cubes but any plastic container will do. Don’t overfill the containers, the stew will expand as it freezes. It will keep for up to 4 months in the freezer.
Need more slow cooker recipes? Try these:
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