Slow Cooker Beef Stew

This traditional Beef Stew is the best Slow Cooker recipe for Fall and Winter. It’s loaded with tender bites of juicy beef, golden potatoes, carrots, peas, red wine, onions, garlic, and a hearty beef broth. Serve it with warm baguettes or even over creamy mashed potatoes!

A white bowl filled with Slow Cooker Beef Stew with a spoon in the background.

 

Slow Cooker Beef Stew

I’m pretty sure Slow Cooker Beef Stew is one of the first recipes I ever made in life. It’s such a traditional Fall and Winter comfort food. I’ve been working on slight variations of this recipe for years and I have to say, this version is definitely the best ever.

Wait until you smell the aroma that fills your kitchen. I encourage you to take a big whiff of every ingredient that you add to this stew. The red wine, the seared beef, the onions and garlic, everything compliments each other so well in this recipe, and the quantities of each are perfect, with no ingredient overpowering another.

Let’s get into everything you need to know:

Ingredients

The bottom of this post also contains recipe card with ingredients and full instructions.

  • 1/4 cup flour
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon garlic salt
  • ½ teaspoon celery salt
  • 2 ½ pounds stew meat, or a Chuck roast 
  • 3-6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 Tablespoons cold butter, separated
  • 2 cups yellow onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup high-quality cabernet sauvignon, merlot works as well. See below for non-alcoholic substitute options
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 2 tsp better than bouillon, or 2 beef bouillon cubes. This adds depth of flavor to the broth.
  • 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
  • 3 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
  • 5 medium carrots, cut into ¼ inch cubes
  • 1 lb. baby Yukon gold potatoes, halved or quartered
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 large branch rosemary
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1/4 cup Cold Water + 3 tablespoons Corn Starch (Optional)
  • 3 drops Kitchen Bouquet Browning + Seasoning Sauce (Optional)- Adds an even richer darker color.

Optional ingredient additions include celery, green beans, parsnips, and sweet potatoes.

How to Make It

Cut meat into 1-inch cubes, discard any large pieces of fat. Fat marbleized into the meat is fine!

Sprinkle beef with black pepper, garlic salt, and celery salt. Toss to coat. Sprinkle flour over the meat and toss again. Heat olive oil in a pot over medium-high heat. Sear the meat in batches for 45 seconds per side and transfer to the Slow Cooker.

Coating beef in flour mixture and searing in a skillet to make Slow Cooker Beef Stew.

Melt 1 Tablespoon of butter and soften the onions and garlic, scraping up any meat remnants up from the pot. Add a splash of wine to help loosen if necessary. Transfer to the Slow Cooker.

Seared Beef in a Slow Cooker next to sauteed onions in a pot.

Add all remaining ingredients except for the peas, corn starch, and 2 Tablespoons of cold butter. Heat on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours, until the vegetables are softened and the potatoes are fork tender.

Add the peas during the last 15 minutes of cooking. To thicken, combine 1/4 cup cold water + 3 Tablespoons corn starch and slowly stir it into the broth. It will continue to thicken upon standing. Turn off heat and remove the bay leaves and rosemary stem.

Slow Cooker Beef Stew before and after cooking.

PRO TIP: Swirl in 2 Tablespoons of cold butter for a smooth, velvety finish. This is a technique that chefs use called “monter au beurre”.

Best Beef for Stew

  • A Chuck Roast is perfect for stew because it breaks down and renders very well when cooked low and slow. It is preferred over other cuts because of the connective tissue, which makes it more tender. (Bonus: It’s also a less expensive cut than other types.)
  • Rump Roast or Bottom Round can also be used.

Best Potatoes to Use

Yukon Gold and Red Potatoes are best for stews as they have less starch content and hold up much better than russet potatoes, which tend to fall apart and break down into the stew.

Searing the Meat

Searing the beef adds a nice color, flavor, and texture for the stew, it also creates a nice base to soften up the onions and garlic. The remnants from the meat are loosened up with butter/wine and transferred to the Slow Cooker for the ultimate flavor base.

Be sure to sear just long enough to give the exterior a crisp texture, don’t cook it all the way through. 45 seconds per side is all it takes.

PRO TIP: Resist the urge to press down on the meat while it sears. Handle the beef least amount possible for extra juicy, tender results. Otherwise you’ll cause juices to run right out of it which will make it tough.

Can You Put Raw Beef in the Slow Cooker?

Yes. If you don’t have time to sear the meat, you can toss it in the flour mixture and place it right in the Slow Cooker along with the uncooked onions and garlic.

Best Cuts of Beef for Stew

  • Chuck roasts (the best option)
  • Rump roasts
  • Bottom rounds

The above cuts of meat need to be cooked low and slow in order to break down and become tender. That’s why beef stew is a perfect recipe for the Slow Cooker.

Red Wine Substitute

An equal amount of beef broth or red grape juice may be used instead of wine, along with 2 Tablespoons of Red Wine Vinegar. The acidity helps to break down and tenderize the meat.

For an Irish twist on this recipe, use 1 cup of extra stout Guinness instead of wine.

Storage

Store in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

Tools For This Recipe

(Amazon Affiliate Links)

  • Kitchen tongs make it really easy to delicately handle the meat to place it into the pot for searing it and to remove it afterward.
  • I got this Crock Pot on Amazon and absolutely love it because you can sear meat right on the stove-top. It automatically switches to warm once the cooking time is up, which is hugely convenient when you’re out of the house.

What to Serve with Beef Stew

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A ladle scooping Beef Stew up from a Slow Cooker.

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A close up view of Slow Cooker Beef Stew with beef, potatoes, carrots, peas, and red wine.

Slow Cooker Beef Stew

5 from 3 votes
This traditional Beef Stew is loaded with tender bites of juicy beef, golden potatoes, carrots, peas, red wine, onions, garlic, and a hearty beef broth. It's the BEST Slow Cooker recipe for Fall and Winter.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup flour
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon garlic salt
  • ½ teaspoon celery salt
  • 2 ½ pounds stew meat, (or Chuck roast)
  • 3-6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 Tablespoons cold butter, separated
  • 2 cups yellow onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup high-quality cabernet sauvignon, merlot works as well
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 2 tsp better than bouillon, or 2 beef bouillon cubes
  • 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
  • 3 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
  • 5 medium carrots, cut into ¼ inch cubes
  • 1 lb. baby Yukon gold potatoes, halved or quartered
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 large branch rosemary
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1/4 cup Cold Water + 3 tablespoons Corn Starch, Optional
  • 2-3 drops Kitchen Bouquet Browning + Seasoning Sauce , (Optional)- Adds an even richer darker color.

Instructions

  • Cut meat into 1-inch cubes, discard any large pieces of fat. Fat marbleized into the meat is fine!
  • Sprinkle beef with black pepper, garlic salt, and celery salt. Toss to coat. Sprinkle flour over the meat and toss again.
  • Heat 3 Tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the meat in batches, don’t overcrowd the pan). Brown on each side for 45 seconds. Add more oil if needed. Transfer to slow cooker.
  • Reduce heat to medium and melt 1 Tablespoon butter. Add onions and cook for 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Use a silicone spatula to clean the bottom of the pan, removing any brown remnants. This will give the soup lots of good flavor. If necessary, add a splash of wine to help loosen it. Transfer the onions/garlic mixture to the slow cooker.
  • Add all remaining ingredients except for the peas and 2 Tablespoons of cold butter.
  • Cook on low for 7 ½ to 8 hours or high for 3½ to 4 hours, until the vegetables are softened and the potatoes are fork tender.
  • Add the peas during the last 15 minutes of cooking.
  • Optional: To thicken, combine ¼ cup cornstarch with 3 Tablespoons of water. Slowly add it to the stew, stirring to incorporate. It will continue to thicken upon standing.
  • Turn off the heat. Remove the bay leaves and rosemary stem. Swirl in 2 Tablespoons of cold butter for a smooth, velvety finish. This is a technique that chefs use called “monter au beurre”.
    Optional: Add 3 drops of Kitchen Bouquet for an even darker color.

Notes

Storage
Store in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

Red Wine Substitute
An equal amount of beef broth or red grape juice may be used instead of wine, along with 2 Tablespoons of Red Wine Vinegar. The acidity helps to break down and tenderize the meat.
For an Irish twist on this recipe, use 1 cup of extra stout Guinness instead of wine.

Best cuts of Beef for Stew
• Chuck roasts (the best option)
• Rump roasts
• Bottom rounds

Optional ingredient additions
Celery, green beans, parsnips, and sweet potatoes.

Nutrition

Calories: 507kcal, Carbohydrates: 35g, Protein: 49g, Fat: 18g, Saturated Fat: 7g, Cholesterol: 132mg, Sodium: 1035mg, Potassium: 1377mg, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 7g, Vitamin A: 658IU, Vitamin C: 41mg, Calcium: 93mg, Iron: 6mg