This slow cooker beef stew is loaded with potatoes, carrots, peas, and fresh herbs for a really delicious, easy take on this hearty dish!
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There’s something about stew that just feeds my body and my soul, y’all. It’s so hearty, so delicious, so simple, and just makes me feel good. While “comfort food” typically comes in the form of cheese-y, pasta-y, indulgent dishes, I think that something as simple as a really good beef stew recipe absolutely fits into the comfort food category as well!
This recipe is one that my entire family gobbles up, and no matter how difficult the day, week, or (let’s be honest) season has been, everyone’s smiling after eating a few bowls of homemade beef stew.
Slower Cooker Beef Stew
This beef stew recipe is the ONLY one you’ll ever need! Here’s why:
- It’s made with the freshest, most delicious combination of ingredients. Looking at you, beef, potatoes, carrots, celery, peas, and fresh herbs!
- It’s EASY thanks to the slow cooker.
- It has a huge depth of flavor, especially if you brown the meat ahead of tossing it into the slow cooker to cook through.
- It can be easily customized, so feel free to omit and swap as needed. Don’t have peas? Leave ‘em out! Don’t like regular potatoes? Swap ‘em for sweet potatoes!
Here’s what you’ll need to grab for this beef stew recipe:
- EVOO or Butter – to start, you’ll need 1 tablespoon of either extra-virgin olive oil or butter.
- Beef Stew Meat – you’ll also want to grab 2 pounds of beef stew meat. We prefer opting for grass-fed, grass-finished beef whenever possible.
- Sea Salt + Black Pepper – as far as seasonings go, you’ll need 1 teaspoon of fine sea salt and a ½ teaspoon of ground black pepper.
- Tomato Paste – you’ll also want to grab 1 (6-ounce) can of tomato paste.
- Beef Broth – the bulk of our liquid is made up of beef broth. 8 cups of it, to be exact!
- Yellow Onion – 1 diced yellow onion will go into the stew.
- Garlic – 4 minced cloves of garlic bring such a delicious flavor to the finished product!
- Celery – you’ll also need 4 stalks of diced celery.
- Carrots – 5 medium peeled and sliced (into ½-inch thick coins) carrots also get thrown into the mix!
- Potatoes – what is a classic stew recipe without potatoes?! For this recipe, you’ll want to grab 1½ pounds of potatoes and cut them into 1-inch cubes.
- Bay Leaves – before putting the lid onto the slow cooker, you’ll also want to add 2 bay leaves to the pot.
- Fresh Rosemary – 1 teaspoon of fresh chopped rosemary adds such a delicious, rustic flavor to the finished product, and…
- Fresh Thyme – …1 teaspoon of fresh chopped thyme does just the same!
- Flour – to thicken everything up, you’ll need a ¼ cup flour. We used King Arthur’s Measure for Measure GF flour, but feel free to use any all-purpose-style flour that you have on hand.
- Peas – the last veggie we’ll add to the slow cooker is 1 cup of frozen peas.
- Lemon Juice – to add a touch of brightness and acidity, we’ll also add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice (about 1 lemon’s-worth of juice).
What is the best cut of beef for beef stew?
For this recipe, we grabbed 2 pounds of grass-fed, grass-finished (here’s why we choose grass-fed beef!) beef stew meat at our local grocery store. If you can’t find pre-cut stew meat, you can definitely just buy a beef roast (chuck roast is best, but any roast will do) and chop it up yourself. If you’re going this route, we recommend grabbing a roast that is closer to 2½ pounds (as opposed to the 2 pounds of stew meat that we call for in the recipe), because you’ll need to trim off some of the fat.
How To Make Beef Stew In the Slow Cooker
The process is really simple (as slow cooker recipes tend to be!) Here’s how you’ll do it:
- Brown the Beef (Optional) – add the olive oil or butter to a large skillet (or your slow cooker insert if your slow cooker has a sear function) over medium-high heat. Then, season the beef with the salt and pepper, and add it to the skillet (working in batches, if needed), making sure that the beef doesn’t overlap. Sear the beef for 3-4 minutes, until browned, then flip and sear for an additional 3 minutes, until browned. Note: if you’re short on time, you can skip this step!
- Add the Tomato Paste and Broth – transfer the beef to your slow cooker, then add the tomato paste and toss with the beef to coat. Pour in about 1 cup of broth, and mix everything together to dissolve any clumps of tomato paste, then pour in the remaining broth.
- Add the Veggies and Herbs – add the onion, garlic, celery, carrots, and potatoes to the slow cooker along with the rosemary, thyme, and bay leaves.
- Cook – set the slow cooker to cook for 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low.
- Add the Flour and Peas – when the stew has 30 minutes left to cook, stir in the flour and peas, then continue to cook for an additional 30 minutes, until the stew has thickened.
- Stir in the Lemon Juice, Garnish, and Serve – once the stew has thickened and the beef shreds apart easily with a fork, stir in the lemon juice, then garnish with X and serve!
Frequently Asked Questions
While this step is totally optional, we highly recommend it. Browning your meat first (as opposed to just throwing the raw meat into the slow cooker with the rest of the ingredients) really helps to build such delicious flavor.
You can! When cooking in the slow cooker, the general rule of thumb is either 6-8 hours on low or 4 hours on high, and that same timeframe applies here.
This beef stew recipe doesn’t use red wine, but if you prefer stew recipes that do include wine, feel free to use 7 cups of broth (instead of 8) and 1 cup of red wine.
You can! While you can absolutely throw all of the ingredients into the slow cooker raw, we recommend browning the meat ahead of time to build flavor. If you don’t have time for the browning step, though, don’t worry. Your stew will still turn out really great without it!
Your beef should end up deliciously-tender, but if it doesn’t, you may consider letting everything cook in the slow cooker for a little bit longer.
Sure! You can honestly add almost any veggie you love to beef stew. A few veggies we think would be really delicious here: parsnips, sweet potatoes, green beans, and chopped green cabbage.
Slow Cooker Beef Stew Recipe
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil or butter
- 2 pounds beef stew meat
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1, 6- ounce jar tomato paste
- 8 cups beef broth
- 1 yellow onion diced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 4 stalks celery diced
- 5 medium carrots peeled and sliced into 1/2 inch thick coins
- 1 1/2 pounds potatoes cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon fresh chopped rosemary
- 1 teaspoon fresh chopped thyme
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice about 1 lemon
- Fresh chopped parsley for garnish (optional)
- Cracked black pepper for garnish (optional)
- Add the olive oil or butter to a large skillet (or your slow cooker insert if your slow cooker has a sear function) over medium-high heat. Then, season the beef with the salt and pepper and add it to the skillet, working in batches if needed to make sure that the beef doesn’t overlap. Sear for 3-4 minutes, until browned, then flip and sear for an additional 3 minutes, until browned. Note: if you’re short on time, you can skip this step!
- Transfer the beef to your slow cooker, then add the tomato paste and toss with the beef to coat. Pour in about 1 cup of broth and mix everything together to dissolve any clumps of tomato paste, then pour in the remaining broth.
- Add the onion, garlic, celery, carrots, and potatoes to the slow cooker along with the rosemary, thyme, and bay leaves. Set to cook for 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low.
- When the stew has 30 minutes left to cook, stir in the flour and peas, then continue to cook for an additional 30 minutes, until the stew has thickened.
- Once the stew has thickened and the beef shreds apart easily with a fork, stir in the lemon juice, then garnish with fresh chopped parsley and cracked black pepper and serve!
- If you’d like to include red wine in the stew, reduce the broth to 7 cups and add 1 cup of red wine.
- If you’re short on time, you can skip browning the beef – it adds a bit more flavor but the stew will still taste great!