This Slow-cooker Beef Stew is the ultimate hands-off recipe and that’s why I love it! I just spend 15 minutes in the morning prepping, pop it all in the slow-cooker, then go about my day. Late afternoon, after school pick-up, we walk through the door to be greeted with the amazing aroma of this delicious, homemade, ready-to-eat dinner. Because it cooks low and slow, the vegetables and beef are meltingly tender, flavour-packed and comforting. It’s the perfect example of how you can make gorgeous food using just simple, low-cost ingredients.

Slow Cooker Beef Stew
In this Slow-cooker Beef Stew, simple, low-cost meat and vegetables are cooked until deliciously fall-apart tender with a rich depth of flavour, and served with creamy mashed potato.

A more economical cut of beef is used, along with simple veggies, which cook down beautifully over time so you end up with melt-in-the-mouth, fall-apart beef in a rich sauce with a delicious depth of flavour. And because it’s all made in the slow-cooker, there is minimal washing up, so in no time you can be snuggled up on the couch with a cup of tea (or glass of red wine!). The recipe makes a big batch, which you can freeze in portions for later use, saving you both time and money. On chilly days when I am tired and don’t feel like exerting myself in the kitchen, it’s wonderful to remember that I thawed out some of this flavoursome frozen stew and mashed potatoes overnight. I can just quickly reheat them and prep some simple steamed greens for a wholesome satisfying meal. 

Slow Cooker Beef Stew
Not only is this Slow-cooker Beef Stew absolutely delicious when just cooked, it is ideal for freezing for easy meals on busy weeknights.

What to serve with Slow-cooker Beef Stew?

As the stew already contains carrots and peas, I find that serving it with just Freezer Friendly Mashed Potatoes does the trick. But, really, this dish is ideal for serving with any vegetables of your choice, such as steamed green veggies like cauliflower, broccoli, broccolini (tender-stemmed broccoli), green beans, snow peas (mangetout), zucchini (courgette) or baby spinach. You could of course also serve the stew with pasta, creamy polenta, rice or crusty bread.

Slow Cooker Beef Stew
I love how I can quickly prep this Slow-cooker Beef Stew in the morning, then leave it to blip away in the background until the gorgeous aromas filling the house let me know it’s ready.

Tips for cooking the best Slow-cooker Beef Stew 

Thicken it –This stew starts off in the slow-cooker with a thin, soup-like consistency. The vegetables in this recipe are naturally starchy and, as the stew sits and the veg releases its starches, the soup will thicken. To thicken further, cornflour (cornstarch) and water are added in the last 15 minutes of cooking. If you would like a thicker, gravy-like stew, spoon the sauce (the sauce only) out of the slow-cooker into a pan othe stovetop and cook it over medium heat, uncovered, until it is at your desired consistency.

Sear the meat first – Browning the meat first in a frying pan is what gives the stew a deep flavour, which can’t be achieved without this searing. Cook the meat in batches to avoid overcrowding.

Don’t skip the Worcestershire – This is what really ups the flavour and adds “umami” (savoury flavour).

Go slow – The stew needs time to cook so that the connective tissues in the beef can break down. If the beef is still firm at the end of your cooking time, continue cooking until it is tender.

Slow Cooker Beef Stew
In this Slow-cooker Beef Stew, simple, low-cost meat and vegetables are cooked until deliciously fall-apart tender with a rich depth of flavour, and served with creamy mashed potato.

How can I make this low-carb?

To keep the meal low-carb, instead of serving with mashed potato, try zucchini (courgette) noodles (zoodles/courgetti) or cauliflower rice instead. 

Watch how to make Slow-cooker Beef Stew

What are some other rich and comforting, slow-cooked dishes?

If you love the depth of flavour in slow-cooked dishes, you’re sure to enjoy:
Slow Cooked Traditional Goulash
Slow Cooked Beef Stroganoff Pot Pies
Mexican Slow Cooked Beef
Slow-cooked Osso Buco
Slow-cooked Sticky Pork Belly

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Slow Cooker Beef Stew

Slow-cooker Beef Stew 

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5 from 1 review

In this comforting Slow-cooker Beef Stew, simple, low-cost meat and vegetables are cooked low and slow until fall-apart tender and full of flavour.

  • Total Time: 8 hours 10 mins
  • Yield: 4 1x

Ingredients

Scale
  • 1.21.5 kg (2 lb 10 oz–3 lb 5 oz) chuck (braising) steak, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 tsp salt, plus extra to taste
  • ½ tsp cracked black pepper, plus extra to taste
  • ¼ cup (35 g) plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  •  ¼ cup (60 ml) water
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp freshly minced garlic
  •  3 large carrots, peeled and sliced diagonally
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste (concentrated tomato puree)
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 cups (750 ml) beef stock
  • 1 tsp dried thyme or two sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup (155 g) frozen peas
  • 3 tbsp cornflour (cornstarch) mixed with 3 tbsp cold water

To serve 

Instructions

  1. Place the beef in a large, shallow dish and sprinkle it with the salt, pepper and flour. Use tongs to toss the beef so that it is evenly coated in the flour mixture.
  2. Heat half the olive oil in a large, heavy-based frying pan over medium–high heat. Cook the beef in batches, using more olive oil as needed (taking care to not overcrowd the pan, otherwise the beef will stew and not caramelise), for 2–3 minutes per batch, or until browned. Set aside on a plate.
  3. Add the water to the pan and scrape up any browned, sticky bits from the base.
  4. Add the onion and garlic, then cook, stirring, for 1–2 minutes.
  5. Transfer the beef, onion and garlic to the slow-cooker.
  6. Add the carrot, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, beef stock, thyme and bay leaves. Stir to combine. Cook on high for 3–4 hours or on low for 7–8 hours, or until the carrots and beef are tender.
  7. In the last 15 minutes of cooking, add the peas and cornflour mixture and stir them through. Remove and discard the bay leaves and thyme sprigs, if using. Leave the slow-cooker lid off (this will allow for the mixture to thicken slightly) for the last 15 minutes. 
  8. Season to taste with the extra salt and pepper, serve with mashed potatoes and a sprinkle of thyme leaves, if desired.

Notes

Make ahead:

Prepare the stew ahead of time and refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months. See reheating instructions below.

Leftovers:

Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw completely in the fridge overnight before reheating (microwave or stovetop), or reheat from frozen in a pan over medium heat, stirring occasionally until heated through.

  • Author: Nicole
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 8 hours
  • Category: Appetisers , mains , starters , entrees , side dishes , soups , stews , salads , sandwiches , burgers , pasta , rice , seafood , vegetarian , desserts , baking , drinks , snacks , breakfast , gluten-free , dairy-free , low-carb , grilling , barbequing , holiday favourites , batch cooking , meal planning , budget-friendly , quick and easy , one pan , freezer friendly , chicken , beef , pork , lamb
  • Method: Barbequing-grilling , roasting , baking , frying , sauteing , boiling , simmering , steaming , slow cooking , grilling-broiling , braising , pan
  • Cuisine: Mexican , Italian , American , French , Asian , Greek , Thai , German , Indian , Middle Eastern , Mediterranean