The Cozy Cook

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 biscuits or even over mashed potatoes.

Be sure to try my Crock Pot Roast recipe next!

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

Slow Cooker Beef Stew

Who doesn’t love a hearty bowl of rich and flavorful beef stew. 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.

All of the ingredients in this recipe compliment each other so well, and the quantities of each are perfect, with no ingredient overpowering another.

Let’s get into everything you need to know. From the what cuts of beef to use, the best potatoes for stew,  pro tips, storage, and more:

How to Make It

See recipe card at bottom of post for ingredient quantities and full instructions

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

Season beef with pepper, garlic salt, and celery salt. Toss to coat. Sprinkle flour over the meat and toss again. 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. Add browning and seasoning sauce.

Slow Cooker Beef Stew before and after cooking.

Best Beef for Stew

  • Chuck roasts -The best option. 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 roasts
  • Bottom rounds

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.

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.

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.

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.

Pro Tips

  • 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.
  • Swirl in 2 Tablespoons of cold butter at the very end for a smooth, velvety finish. This is a technique that chefs use called “Monter au beurre”.
  • Optional ingredient additions include celery, green beans, parsnips, and sweet potatoes.

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)- Check out all of my kitchen essentials here.

  • 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 have this Crock Pot which allows you to sear meat right on the stove-top. It also automatically switches to warm once the cooking time is up.
  • Kitchen Bouquet Browning + Seasoning Sauce (Optional)- Adds an even richer darker color.

What to Serve with Beef Stew

Try These Next

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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

4.91 from 51 ratings
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, see notes
  • 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 notes.
  • 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 COLD water with 3 Tablespoons of cornstarch. 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.

Best cuts of Beef for Stew
• Chuck roasts (the best option)
• Rump roasts
• Bottom rounds
You can also season and sear a whole roast for about 8 minutes total, and then cut it into cubes. This results in less moisture loss, but there is also less surface area to season and add a seared texture to.

Note 2: 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.

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

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161 comments on “Slow Cooker Beef Stew”

  1. Can this be cooked on the stove too?

    • Hi Kate! You could, I prefer to use the Slow Cooker because cooking it low and slow renders down the meat so that it’s nice and tender! But you could replicate that on the stove top!

  2. Do you think I could make dumplings in the slow cooker with this?

  3. Heck! Why wait for Fall/Winter to make this? It’s summertime and it’s too hot to be hanging out in a hot kitchen. Throw all of this into a slow cooker and forget about it. Your kitchen will stay cool, you won’t be tethered to the kitchen all day, you’ll have time for other things like floating in the pool while drinking a margarita, and when you’re done, you’ll have a hot, delicious meal for dinner & no one will be the wiser. I made this today & it was really good. Thank you for the recipe.

    • You’re very welcome Laura! You just described one of the reasons why I love slow cooker recipes so much!😍 Thanks for taking the time to comment and leave a review!

  4. Believe it or not, I have kids that like cabbage, so I threw some into the stew! Was just great! Also, subbed out the tomato paste(didn’t have any)  for stewed tomatoes— also great. Which is the nice thing about stew— it’s very forgiving!

    • Hey Jeanette! Those changes sound absolutely delicious, I love that you incorporated cabbage and stewed tomatoes, nicely done! Thank you for sharing! -Stephanie

  5. Just made this tonight, and wow. The best stew I have EVER put into my mouth. 

    • I’m so happy to hear that Sarah!😍 I had so much fun cooking this one this past winter. Definitely such a cozy recipe! Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a review!❤️

  6. You are helping me to be a better cook.stew was delicicious!!

    • GREAT, Gena! That is always my hope!! I’m so happy that you enjoyed this stew!! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a review! -Stephanie

  7. Can you use apple cider vinegar instead of red wine vinegar?

    • Hi Tammy, White Wine Vinegar would be a better substitute if you have that, but otherwise, Apple Cider vinegar should be fine… it has a fruitier taste but you probably won’t be able to tell in the finished dish! 🙂

  8. I never leave reviews but with this recipe, I had to! I have made beef stew for most of my 50 years of marriage, but this has to be the best I have ever tasted. The seasonings are just perfect and blend together to bring such a wonderful flavor. I’m glad I made enough for some leftovers. Thank you Cozy Cook!

    • Hi Kay! I am SO happy to hear that, and I really appreciate you taking the time to leave this review as well, you are the BEST! So glad that you enjoyed how the flavors blended together. So great to hear. Have a wonderful day! -Stephanie

  9. I’ve tried several beef stew recipes during the pandemic, and this one is the best of them! My husband is a picky eater and he goes for seconds every time I make this. I have made this in my instant pot also, when I’m short on time, and it’s just as good. I just cook it on the ‘meat/stew’ setting for 35 minutes. Thank you, Cozy Cook, for this recipe!

    • Hi Diane! I am SO happy to hear that, and I really appreciate you providing the Instant Pot information as well, super nice of you. Can’t thank you enough for the review. Have a great weekend! -Stephanie

  10. Making this tonight for dinner. I got a craving for beef stew and wanted something slow cooked and made at home instead of in a can. Grabbed a big loaf of crusty bread and some pure Irish butter to go with it, and in under an hour it was in the slow cooker. Can’t wait to taste it! So excited! This looks (and smells) absolutely delicious. I nixed the wine but I’m absolutely sure it will be delicious without it. Found this recipe on Google and I’m bookmarking it!

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