Get ready for a hearty bowl of slow cooker beef stew made with potatoes, onions, celery, carrots, and seared beef for extra flavor. This entire meal cooks in a delicious gravy that compliments the fork-tender meat and vegetables. Now, this is comfort food!
Beef stew is a staple dish that’ll warm you up on a chilly day. This recipe uses a Crock-Pot to cook big chunks of meat and vegetables over an extended period to ensure every bite is tender and tasty. What makes stew taste so great is that the juices from the meat add flavor to the liquid when cooking which then infuses into the carrots and potatoes.
If you’re looking for the most flavorful beef stew then I highly recommend sautéing the meat first to add another layer of taste and texture. This optional step allows you to incorporate the incredibly flavorful bits left on the bottom of the pan into the stew. This is a classic dish that’s easy to prepare with gourmet results!
What kind of meat do you use for beef stew?
The best meat to use is beef chuck roast or chuck eye roast. It comes from the shoulder area of the cow and has a good balance of connective tissue and fat. I use this cut for my slow cooker pot roast with rave reviews from my family. I avoid buying pre-cut stew meat from the market unless the butcher confirms that it’s from the cut mentioned above. I’d rather trim and cut down the meat myself so I can remove any excess fat that would make the stew become too greasy.
Do you have to cook the meat before putting it in the slow cooker?
No, you do not have to cook the beef before adding it to a slow cooker. Although, I find that taking a few extra few minutes to brown the meat enhances the flavor through the Maillard Reaction. So for this recipe, if you have the time I recommend the extra step. It’s something I always do for stews and braises.
How do you make beef stew in a slow cooker?
- Trim any excess fat and tough visible connective tissue from the beef chuck.
- Season and sauté the beef in a hot pan with olive oil until brown on the surface, add to slow cooker.
- Add garlic and saute until fragrant.
- Scrape and deglaze the pan with balsamic vinegar then reduce to a few tablespoons.
- Cook the beef and vegetables in a slow cooker.
- Make a cornstarch slurry to use as a thickening agent and pour it into the stewing liquid.
- Cook until the sauce is thickened, about 30 to 60 minutes.
For the meat to become tender it needs to be cooked until well done. The key is to stew the chuck at about 210ºF (99ºC) for at least 1 hour. This allows the connective tissue and fat to melt and soften while adding body to the liquid.
After simmering this beef stew in the slow cooker for hours, the smell will draw you to the kitchen. Grab a big spoon because you’ll want each bowl to have creamy Yukon gold potatoes, sweet carrots, savory beef, and a generous drizzle of gravy!
More slow cooker recipes
Can you overcook beef stew in a slow cooker?
It takes a few hours for the slow cooker to reach and maintain its simmer point at around 209ºF (99ºC), and that’s why you can cook for several hours without overcooking the beef. If you don’t cook the meat long enough, it can taste tough and chewy, but excessive cooking past 10 hours on low will dry out the meat eventually.
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Slow Cooker Beef Stew
- 1 pound Yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1 ½-inch pieces
- 2 cups carrots, 1-inch pieces
- 1 cup celery, ½-inch pieces
- 1 cup red onions, 1-inch dice
- 3 sprigs thyme
- 1 ¾ pounds beef chuck , chuck eye roll or chuck tender roast
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- 3 cups unsalted beef stock
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- ¼ cup water
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- Add potatoes, carrots, celery, onion, and thyme to the slow cooker.
- Cut beef into 1 ½-inch pieces, trimming off any excess fat or connective tissue. Combine with salt and pepper in a medium-sized bowl.
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil, once hot add the beef in a single layer.
- Cook until golden brown on one side, 2 minutes. Flip the pieces and cook the other side for 2 minutes. Transfer to the slow cooker.
- Reduce heat to medium and add garlic and saute for 30 seconds.
- Add balsamic vinegar to the pan with the beef drippings. Turn heat to medium-high, deglaze the pan using a whisk to scrape any browned bits and incorporate into the liquid.
- Reduce the sauce, stirring frequently, until 2 to 3 tablespoons of liquid remain, about 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer the pan liquid to the slow cooker.
- Add beef stock and soy sauce to the slow cooker. Cover and cook on "High" setting for 4 hours or "Low" setting for 8 hours.
- Whisk together cornstarch and water in a small bowl. Add cornstarch slurry to the slow cooker, stir to combine.
- Cook on "High" setting for 30 minutes to 1 hour, until the sauce becomes slightly thickened.
- Taste stew liquid and season with more salt and pepper as desired.
- Serve garnished with parsley.
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