This slow cooker beef stew is the ultimate classic comfort food. Simply prep, set, and forget, and at the end of the day you’ll have a rich and hearty dinner with tender vegetables and melt in your mouth pieces of beef. The whole family will be asking for seconds!
If you’ve explored the recipes on this site then you’ll know I’m a sucker for nostalgia when it comes to food. And if you’re new, well I hope you’re ready for a taste of epic comfort food that comes straight from my childhood memories.
When I was a kid, my dad did pretty much all of the cooking and you can safely say that I wasn’t always a fan of some of his creations. The exception however was always his beef stew. I would request him to make this whenever I was given the choice and it was always keenly devoured.
Now this recipe is not his, and I haven’t had his beef stew for years, but this version is a variation of what I’ve been making since I moved out of home and always leaves me feeling warm and cosy and completely satisfied. It’s exactly what comfort food ought to be.
This traditional beef stew recipe is made using the slow cooker which I love. Slow cooker recipes allow me to put it on in the morning and have dinner ready to go when I finish work with zero fuss when I don’t feel like doing anything. Not to mention if you work from home like I do, you get to enjoy the delicious aromas as it gently cooks throughout the day.
This recipe is pretty simple, using just a few ingredients, and the long, slow cooking time helps to ensure the best flavour. This is one of those recipes that tastes better over time, so feel free to make ahead and reheat.
Serve it as is, with rice or mashed potatoes, or just with some slices of buttered toasted bread.
This slow cooker beef stew is pretty forgiving and uses just basic, simple ingredients – most of which you may just have on hand.
- Beef chuck – you can use any cut of stewing beef if you can’t get chuck such as blade or gravy beef.
- Plain flour – along with a generous amount of salt and pepper, the all purpose flour is used to coat the beef before cooking and help ensure a rich, thick gravy at the end.
- Onion and garlic – the flavour base.
- Potatoes, carrots and peas – the base vegetables for the stew but you could also use celery in this mix. The peas are added right at the end of the cooking time to ensure they don’t end up mushy.
- Tomato paste – adds a richer, deeper flavour to the gravy.
- Worcestershire sauce – optional, but again helps the gravy develop a rich flavour.
- Thyme – you can use dried or fresh for this recipe. If you’d prefer another herb you can also use oregano, parsley, bay leaf or simply leave it out.
- Beef stock – using beef broth is the key to a rich, flavourful stew. I like to use a salt-reduced version so I can control the saltiness of the stew. You could also replace some of this liquid with red wine for a richer flavour.
To make this easy beef stew with vegetables, you’ll need a slow cooker or a multi-function cooker, like an Instant Pot that has a slow cooker setting (I use my Phillips all-in-one cooker).
Start by preparing all the ingredients – peeling and chopping up your vegetables into large chunks and dicing the meat. This stew is pretty rustic so your chopping doesn’t have to be perfect.
To a large zip lock bag (or you can just use a bowl) add the chopped beef pieces, the flour and season with salt and pepper. Shake the bag vigorously to evenly coat the beef pieces with the flour.
Depending on the slow cooker you have, you can either use a sauté setting or do this step using a frying pan on the stove over medium heat. Heat some olive oil and add the beef and sauté until just browned.
Depending on the size of your pan, you may want to do this in batches as it’s important not to overcrowd the pan so that the beef sears and you get the extra colour and flavour that this step brings to the stew.
Remove the beef from the pan and set aside on a plate. Add the onion and garlic with a little extra olive oil if needed and continue cooking until the onions have softened.
Add the beef, cooked onion, chopped potatoes and carrots to the pot of the slow cooker along with the tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, thyme and beef stock. Give it a good stir before placing on the lid and letting it cook for 8 hours on low or 4 hours on high.
Once the stew has finished cooking, add the peas and mix through. If your slow cooker has a simmer function you can let it simmer for about 5 minutes to thicken slightly and let the peas cook, otherwise just leave it to keep cooking for 15 minutes or until the peas are soft.
Serve with toasted crusty bread, mashed potatoes or rice. The stew will thicken as it cools and the flavours will intensify over time, so it actually is better on day 2 or 3!
No, for this recipe it’s not needed as we add flour to the beef at the beginning.
Yes you can make this in the oven! Make sure to use a large, heavy based pot on the stove and after searing the beef and cooking the onion, add in the tomato paste Worcestershire sauce and the potatoes and carrots. Cook for a few more minutes, scraping the bottom of the pan. Add back in the beef, thyme and stock and mix to combine. Place the lid on and add the pot to a low oven for 3-4 hours, checking occasionally to stir. If the stew is getting too thick, add a little water so it doesn’t dry out.
Absolutely! This stew freezes well. Allow it to cool completely, then transfer it to airtight containers or freezer bags. Label them with the date and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and reheat on the stovetop or microwave before serving.
Yes! Especially if you’re serving this stew with mashed potatoes you may want to use celery, parsnips and/or swede instead.
More slow cooker recipes:
Slow Cooker Beef Stew
- 700 grams to 1 kilogram beef chuck
- ¼ cup plain flour
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic crushed
- 2-3 potatoes chopped into cubes
- 2 carrots chopped into cubes
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 3 cups beef stock
- 1 cup frozen peas
- Bread mashed potatoes or rice
- Fresh thyme or parsley
- Start by preparing the beef. Cut it into bite-sized pieces and add it to a large bowl or zip lock bag with the plain flour and season with salt and pepper. Toss the beef pieces in the flour mixture until they are evenly coated.
- Heat a large pan over medium-high heat or use the sear function in your slow cooker/multi-function cooker. Add a little oil to the pan and then brown the beef in batches, ensuring not to overcrowd the pan.
- Once the beef is browned, remove from the pan and add the onion and garlic cloves and cook until softened.
- Add the beef and onion mixture to the slow cooker if you are using a separate pan. To the slow cooker, add the tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, thyme, and season with salt and pepper.
- Pour the beef stock into the slow cooker, and mix everything together with a wooden spoon.
- Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours.
- About 15 minutes before serving, stir in the frozen peas. Continue cooking until the peas are heated through. Taste the stew and adjust the seasoning if needed.
- Serve the slow cooker beef stew hot with your choice of bread, mashed potatoes, or rice and garnish with fresh thyme or parsley.
Nutritional information is provided as a guide only and is calculated using automated online tools, therefore we cannot guarantee the accuracy. We encourage you to make your own calculations based on the actual ingredients used in your recipe.