Ultimate Slow Cooker Beef Stew

8 Servings
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 20 minutes

Ultimate Slow Cooker Beef Stew made with chuck roast, Yukon potatoes and carrots for a rich beef stew that is perfect for the cold weather.

Like our Classic Beef Stew this slow cooker version is an easy, comfort food Soup Recipe you can make any day of the week.

Ultimate Slow Cooker Beef Stew in bowl with parsley garnish

Slow cooker meals are so popular and with good reason. There is less time with school and holidays and the weather is so cold everyone wants food that is hearty and comforting. This Ultimate Slow Cooker Beef Stew is the best of all worlds.

Serving suggestion? Just like Slow Cooker Vegetable Beef Soup, you can enjoy this meal with Crusty French Bread Rolls or Garlic Bread and a side salad (a nice lemon/olive oil dressing would be great to cut through all the hearty flavors here). The Beef Stew is great for bread dipping.

How to Make Slow Cooker Beef Stew

Meal prepping this recipe is easy and makes the perfect weeknight meal. To prepare, simply:

  • Brown the beef in cubes.
  • While beef is browning cut the carrots and potatoes.
  • Add in the remaining ingredients.
  • Cook on low for 8 hours.

It will cook all day while you’re gone, and when you get home you have the most amazing smell going through your kitchen.

Ultimate Slow Cooker Beef Stew Collage

More Beef Stew Recipes

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to brown the beef?

Brown your beef! This recipe uses a chuck roast, seared it well on both sides, then trimmed and cut it into 2-3 inch chunks.

What kind of potatoes should I use?

One of the easiest and most delicious ingredients in this stew: Yukon Potatoes! They’re buttery and rich and won’t fall apart after a long day of cooking. You also don’t need to peel these potatoes which will cut down significantly on the work you have to do before cooking.

Can this be a one pot meal?

This recipe browns the beef in a cast iron skillet to get a GOOD crust on both sides with plenty of kosher salt and black pepper. If you have a slow cooker with an aluminum insert, brown the beef in this make this a one pot meal. It also saves all the browned flavor that stays in the pan for your stew.

Can I use beef base instead of stock?

If not using a base use beef stock instead of broth, and it’s even more important to get a good sear on the meat, then deglaze the pan with the stock to make sure all the beef flavor comes with it.

Why use tomato paste instead of crushed or diced tomatoes?

Instead of crushed or diced tomatoes we use tomato paste, the concentration of flavors without adding additional liquid makes for a more flavorful stew.

Can I used diced tomatoes if I want to?

In a stew you aren’t looking for the consistency to be that of a soup, so minimizing added liquids is helpful. If using canned tomatoes instead of paste drain the can.

How do you thicken up beef stew?

To thicken beef stew you can either mix equal parts of flour/butter together and add it to the last hour of cooking or you can simply mash 3 or 4 chunks of the potatoes well and mix it into the stew for a natural thickener.

Can I make this stew with red wine?

Instead of four cups of beef broth add in 3 cups of broth and one cup of red wine and follow the rest of the recipe as written.

Ultimate Slow Cooker Beef Stew Collage

Best Meat for Beef Stew

Chuck Roast: This is the most old-fashioned and classic cut of meat for most pot roasts or beef stews. Use this as a replacement for most recipes that actually call for stew meat because chuck roasts are typically well-marbled, just be sure when buying the meat you look for more even fat distribution.

Stew Meat: This is the easiest way to go, not expensive cut of meat because it is pre-cut. This is generally not high quality though and is usually extra cuts left over that the butcher is looking to sell off. Avoid this cut in the grocery store if possible.

Ribeye: If you want to impress your guests and you are cooking this during the holidays, you may find a ribeye roast is on sale. During the holiday season it usually sells for a VERY low price (comparable sometimes to chuck). When it does, get a 4 inch thick cut and use it to make the best roasts and stews with it, because it will be a luxurious treat with the most tender beef you’ve ever eaten.

More Slow Cooker Recipes

Ultimate Slow Cooker Beef Stew

Tools Used to Make Slow Cooker Beef Stew

Food Flipper: This tool flips the chuck roast easily. You can use this tool EVERY time you cook something that requires flipping, it is amazing.
Slow Cooker: This recipe was made in this slow cooker. This slow cooker is great for how programmable it is. Plus the locking lid makes it a breeze for making a dish that needs to travel.
Aluminum Insert Slow Cooker: You brown the meat in the insert without losing a bunch of the flavor by transferring the meat and leaving the browned bits behind. If you’re thinking of a new slow cooker, consider it if your budget is open.
Cast Iron Skillet: If you don’t have a slow cooker with a stovetop friendly
insert, this is the most used pan in our kitchen, heavy, keeps heat well and gives the BEST sear ever.
Beef Base: You’ll never buy boxes of broth because if you keep the beef, chicken and vegetable version of this Better Than Bouillon on hand.

How to Store Slow Cooker Beef Stew

  • Serve: You should never leave meat out for more than 2 hours after cooking it.
  • Store: Once the soup has cooled down to room temperature, put it in an airtight container to store it in the fridge. It will keep well for 2-3 days.
  • Freeze: You can also freeze Slow Cooker Beef Stew Soup for up to 3 months. Keep it in a freezer bag or other airtight container, and let it thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating it in a dutch oven on the stovetop.
Ultimate Slow Cooker Beef Stew in bowl with parsley garnish

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Ultimate Slow Cooker Beef Stew

Ultimate Slow Cooker Beef Stew made with chuck roast, Yukon potatoes and carrots for a rich beef stew that is perfect for the cold weather.
Yield 8 Servings
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 20 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Author Sabrina Snyder

Ingredients
 

  • 3 pound chuck roast , boneless
  • 1 teaspoon  Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • 1 yellow onion , chopped
  • 4 carrots , peeled and cut into 2 inch chunks
  • 4 Yukon potatoes , cut into 2 inch chunks
  • 4 cups beef broth *
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 4 cloves garlic , minced
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter , unsalted
  • 2 tablespoons flour

Instructions

  • Preheat a large skillet or aluminum slow cooker insert on high heat.
  • Season the beef with half the salt and all the pepper.
  • Add to the skillet and brown on each side for 4-6 minutes or until deeply browned on each side.
  • Remove the beef from the pan and add in the onions.
  • Cut the beef into 2-3 inch chunks and add it to the slow cooker.
  • Cook the onions for 3 minutes, stir then cook another 3 minutes.
  • Into the slow cooker add the onions, carrots, potatoes, broth, second half of the salt, tomato paste, bay leaf, thyme, garlic and Worcestershire sauce.
  • Stir all the ingredients until well mixed and cook on low for 7 hours.
  • In a small bowl mix the butter and flour and add it to the slow cooker and stir.
  • Cook an additional hour or until thickened.

Video

Notes

*Alternatively use a big scoop of Beef Better than Bouillon in addition to water/stock. The extra beef flavor is fantastic.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 425kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 37g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 124mg | Sodium: 963mg | Potassium: 1204mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 5340IU | Vitamin C: 15.4mg | Calcium: 83mg | Iron: 7.1mg
Ultimate Slow Cooker Beef Stew Collage

Photos used in a previous version of this post.

Slow Cooker Beef Stew in White Slow cooker insert

Crock Pot Beef Stew up close photo with potatoes and carrots

Slow Cooker Beef Stew Collage

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the cookbook Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients, published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.

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Comments

  1. I found this recipe about a year and a half ago, and it quickly became one of my favorites! Delicious, hearty, and freezes extremely well – a single crock pot makes about 8-10 individual meal prep servings.

    I follow the instructions mostly as-is (I the use 1 cup of wine, sear the beef and deglaze the pan; also a little heavy handed with the seasonings as a personal preference), and at the 7 hour mark when I add the butter and flour, use the opportunity to taste-test and tweak as needed. With my most recent batch I added another tbs of Worcester sauce, and salt to taste — with the hour you wait as the stew thickens, plenty of time to dial in exactly to your preference!

    Thanks for sharing Sabrina, killer recipe!

  2. This recipe was amazing for a cold, rainy night! I left out the thyme, will add it next time. I also skipped cooking the onions to save time. I added 3 tbsp melted butter and flour and the stew thickened beautifully! Will make again for sure!

  3. Yummy stew….
    I also added turnip, parsnips and frozen peas and carrots

    Delicious stew and I will definitely make more.

  4. How do I substitute this onto a stove top? My crockpot isnt big enough to handle my family (6people) and while this was absolutely AMAZING it didn’t feed all of us… So I was hoping to make it in The Big Pot to make sure we had plenty. But I don’t want to mess it up, can you help me?

    1. Of course, just after browning the meat and caramelizing the onions, garlic and carrots add the beef back in with the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 2-3 hours until meat is tender.Enjoy!

  5. I LOVE this beef stew. Thank you for the tip of browning the beef first… I omitted the thyme. Added a dash of paprika and i was ac successful at thickening by using flour/butter idea. I am hoping that the left overs will be just as good after freezing. How long do you suggest that i can freeze it for?

  6. Loved this!!!! Husband isn’t a big onion fan so i just sprinkled some minced onion in, it is easier to hide than chopped onion. Also i couldn’t find bay leaves at my local grocery store so i put just a pinch of dried chopped sweet leaf basil so it wouldn’t over power and added half bag of frozen peas about hour before it was done. So amazing! Husband and I devoured it, only complaint….I should have doubled the recipe!

    1. Not enough is a good problem to have! Easily solved for next time. Thanks for coming back to let me know, Amanda.

    1. Instead of four cups of beef broth add in 3 cups of broth and one cup of red wine and follow the rest of the recipe as written. Enjoy!

  7. Just the right consistency! I added 6oz of tomato paste & the btb. The thyme overpowered the stew & I only added 1/2 tsp. Next time-just a dash & it will be perfect!

  8. I’ve made this stew a couple times and it’s by far the best stew I’ve ever had! The problem is that it makes a lot more than we need. Will this recipe work if everything is halved?

    1. I’m so glad you enjoy it so much! If you don’t want to freeze the leftovers for later, you can cut the recipe in half though you may need to use a smaller slow cooker (4 qt instead of a 6). You don’t want there to be a lot of “extra” space because it has the tendency to run hot and your cooking time will be greatly reduced. Hope this helps!

      1. Thanks, Sabrina. It never even crossed my mind to freeze the leftovers, since I assumed that the vegetables would be mushy when thawed, but I’ll give it a shot.

  9. Hello, looking forward to making this for a girl’s painting party. But I will need it ready about Noon so I have to make the night before. Any suggestions? Should I slow cook it the day before and then just reheat the next day a couple hours before the gals show up?

  10. Hi Sabrina,
    Happy
    Love this recipe. What is the green spice on top of the stew? I was thinking parsley but wanted to make sure.

    Thank you.
    Connie

  11. This is the best stew! I read the reviews and made the following changes~ reduced the thyme by half. Increased the tomato paste to 6 ounces. I used one tablespoon of the beef better than bouillon, as suggested in the recipe. I love pearl onions and put in a dozen. I had a small amount of canned tomatoes in sauce from the meal I made the night before and added that. I thickened the sauce with just fine flour. I am always looking for really good crockpot recipes. This is phenomenal!

  12. Your Ultimate slow cooker beef stew is the best I have tasted. I received so many wows from my family as I served them this Sunday’s dinner. I also made your “copycat recipe” for the Olive Garden salad and dressing. I have to insist that my husband eat at least a small salad anytime I have salad….Just not his favorite accompaniment to meals. He really liked this salad! He commented that the creamy Italian type dressing was much better with the stew than his normal mayo laden dressings. A pan of homemade southern biscuits ( my special recipe) and we are one satisfied family! I followed your recipes exactly and would not change anything. Thumbs up for providing so many delicious recipes and for such easy to follow directions and helpful hints.

  13. Is it me or does anyone else find “better than b“ extremely salty. When I started using it, (making it by the directions), every thing I cooked was too salty. So I started using the taste test, paring down the amount of btb to the ratio of water.

    I’m so excited, I ordered the super crock pot yesterday. I found one in the amazon warehouse half price, yahoo.

    I am cooking your sugar bacon wrapped pork lion today. It will be ready by noon, can I leave it on low in the crock pot until 5 tonight or will it dry out?

    1. I would suggest starting it later in the day so it doesn’t sit on warm for that long. Enjoy!

  14. This recipe is great !! I used one can of beef broth and one can of beef consumme. Added frozen peas, carrots and corn in the last hour. My husband had three bowls and another bowl for lunch the next day.

  15. I’ve made this for my husband several times and he loves it (I don’t eat beef, but he loves a good stew or pot roast). The day after I made it for him last fall, he asked me to make it for his office potluck and it was a hit! I don’t have a large enough slow cooker, so I just simmer it all afternoon on the stove, and it’s tender, tasty and ready by dinnertime. Thank you for the work you do with your recipes!

  16. Sooooo abundant in flavor! I accidentally bought tough meat with way too much fat and gristle, but 10 hours in the crock pot and it was super tender. The potatoes just absorbed all that flavor and my dinner guests were all blown away and went back for seconds.

  17. I made the recipe almost exactly but used grass fed chuck (I thought it would be better) . The meat was too tough and chewy. Very disappointed. The vegetables were OK but not fabulous. I left the potatoes with the peel on and they were fine but not delicious. And the sauce was thinner than I expected. I didn’t thicken it with more flour or starch, but probably should have tried that.

  18. Overall, was an easy recipe to make. But it was way too soupy to be a stew. As mentioned above, there was too much thyme as well, even though I cut back on it. The carrots were not soft enough even after cooking for 8 hours. Don’t think I will make this again.

  19. Hello,
    So I followed the recipe for the most part lol, only difference is that I pretty much cooked the beef Entirely while browning it in the skillet.. and I used a whole can of diced Tomatoes instead of 1/4 cup of paste. Not to mention, I mixed in the butter and flour right away with all the other ingredients. Will the ruin the outcome??

    1. Soooo good. My favorite beef stew that I’ve ever had. It was nice and thick, and so flavorful. I love the addition of the tomato paste to the beef stew.

  20. Hi Sabrina, I just made this recipe yesterday following the recipe almost exactly i just used one full 6oz can of tomato paste and it came out nice and thick without having to add the butter and flour. I brought it for my lunch today and I LOVED and so did my husband! i was just wondering how do you measure the serving size? is it a cup or a ladle? I’m trying to keep my calories in check and i’d really appreciate the information, thank you!

  21. Followed the recipe to the letter. It was absolutely the BEST stew my wife and I have ever had the pleasure to eat. Most stew recipes look promising, but end up tasting a little flat and bland. Not this one. Full of flavor. It will become a staple recipe in our kitchen. Thank you VERY much!

  22. I’m going to make this beef stew, and was wondering, do I chop up the bay leaf and the tyme? I’m assuming I do but I’ve never cooked with these herbs before

      1. Recipe calls for a teaspoon of Thyme NOT a tablespoon!!!! Big difference!!!

        If stew is too watery or soupy, remove some of the liquid and add more cornstarch or flour to thicken.

        Bay Leaf should be removed before you serve the meal.

        Tough meats should always be cooked low and slow for longer periods of time to make the meat tender!!!

    1. Hi Katrina, the bay leaves are not meant to be consumed. It just adds to the flavor of the stew. The thyme should be small already, in the jar.

  23. I am going to make this on Saturday. You suggest using better than bouillon. Should I use it for all 4 cups? Or should I use some broth and some better than bouillon? I have never cooked with BTB before. Thank you!

      1. I’m excited to make this receipe but I’m confused bout the btb. Am I using it in place of the broth or in addition to the broth ,adding a scoop ?

  24. Just finished a bowl of this stew and it turned out great! I used the Better than Bullion and a small amount of wine. Very flavorful! My family always enjoys the recipes we get from you site.

  25. I am a total non-cook and as I love all your recipes, this is the first of many questions. In making the stew, do I peel the Yukon potatoes?

  26. I made this tonight and I loved it! I used canned Kroger beef broth cause it’s what I had on hand and it turned out wonderful. I also cooked it on high for 3 hours, then added butter/flour. My toddler loved it! I appreciate the earlier comment about how to mix the butter and flour! I didn’t know what to do until I read that!
    This will become a keeper.

    Bonus: A roast is cheaper than stew meat at our grocery store, so that’s a positive!

  27. Loved the tip to add the beef better than along with the beef broth. I’ve made it both ways and it’s SO good this way. Also generously salting and peppering the beef beforehand deep browning is very helpful. This has been in regular rotation as a treat since the first time we tried it!

  28. If I’m going to be gone all day at work, can I leave this recipe in the crock pot on simmer or low for 10 hours or would that dry it out?

    1. I would suggest getting a slow cooker that automatically turns to a warm setting once the programmed cook time is complete. I would be afraid it would dry out on low for that long, sorry.

  29. Made this tonight for dinner. It was delicious and very flavorful!!! It will definitely be my go to stew recipe. Thanks for sharing!

    1. So sorry to hear it wasn’t to your taste! Definitely feel free to add more spice if you make it again. Personally I add an extra spoon of Better than Bouillon but I love that beef taste 🙂

    1. As long as your crockpot is big enough, yes. You can adjust the servings size by hovering over the serving amount a slider will appear.

    1. If you are using BTB, you want to add 4 tbsp to 4 cups of warm water to equal the broth amount. If you add wine, I would substitute some of the broth for it so it doesn’t get too liquidy.

  30. Hi Sabrina, can I add some frozen green beans to this? I’ve done this before to this amazing stew but can’t recall if I added them in the last hour or not. Thank you!

    1. Certainly. I would add in during the last hour so they don’t get to mushy. You can also defrost and drain beforehand and put them in long enough to heat up so they don’t make the stew too watery.

  31. I am making this for dinner tonight however i don’t have any paste or beef bouillion on hand but i have a beef stew seasoning packet so I’m going to use that with the scraping the brown pan drippings & hope for the best. Whats your opinion on this??

    1. Sounds like it will be a great sub in a pinch. It won’t bring all the flavor but it should be great with the pan drippings added. Let me know how it turned out!

    1. My family, including three kids, love this recipe- I use venison every time it’s delicious! Thanks for the recipe

  32. I made this stew for our weekly Sunday dinner yesterday. It was a HUGE HIT! My husband even had 3 bowls of it! I served it with toasted sourdough bread. I will definitely be making it again soon! Thank you for sharing your delicious recipe with us! ????

  33. I love this recipe so much! We’ve had it 3 times in the last 2 weeks it’s so good! I normally cook it for the 7-8 hours on low, but today I didn’t have the time to wait that long. Trying 3-4 hours on high and praying it goes well

    1. Wow! It sounds like you like it as much as our family does! I hope it turned out well in that cooking time. I would do closer to 5 hours next time to make sure it’s super tender but let me know if it worked!

          1. I tried this recipe this evening on high for 5 hours and unfortunately the veggies were underdone and the meat was super tough – such a bummer! I can tell that the flavor is there and it would’ve been great if I did it on low as instructed. Warning others not to try the quick way!

  34. I found this to be very bland. I added lots of salt pepper garlic wine and rosemary. i wouldn’t make it again.

    1. Sorry to hear it wasn’t to your taste! You can always go heavier handed on the spices or add a heaping spoon of Better than Bouillon (my personal fave) if you change your mind and try it again.

  35. This stew is insane! This is the best beef stew recipe! I made this for my wife and mother-in-law and they both loved it too. My wife literally had to take it away from me, because I couldn’t stop eating it. I made the recipe exactly as written and included a spoonful of Better-Than-Bullion as recommended. Will definitely make it again.

    1. If you click on the link for Slow cooker above the recipe, you can see the one I use. It’s 6 quarts. Hope this helps!