Beef stew in the slow cooker is one of the best things about winter cooking. It’s a simple classic: beef, onions, potatoes, and carrots. You might choose to add bright green frozen peas. I could imagine parsnips, turnips, or rutabaga in here as well.
Don’t let the long ingredient list scare you: this is easy, and goes together quickly. Have it ready at your convenience, whether that’s after work, after a full day of chores, or a day of winter sports. Not only is it simple to make, it’s a timeless family-approved recipe.
Serve the stew with homemade bread or rolls, and a crisp green salad. It goes well with wine or beer or apple cider (hard or soft, your choice!)
This recipe is scaled to fit a 4.5 quart slow cooker. If you wish, cut everything in half and use a smaller 3-quart cooker. I like to make the larger quantity because stew does so well as leftovers: it’s even better tasting after a day or two! I’ve found it will freeze well, and often will freeze individual portions to grab when needed.
Classic Beef Stew in the Slow Cooker
- 2½–3 lbs stew beef (chuck eye, etc) cut in 1-inch chunks
- 2–3 tbsp all-purpose flour to dust the beef cubes
- 1 tbsp oil
- 4-6 carrots peeled and cut into ½-inch rounds
- 1–1½ lbs potatoes cut into 1-inch chunks
- 4 medium onions chopped
- 6 cloves garlic minced
- 4–6 ounces tomato paste
- 14 ounces low-sodium beef broth
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 4 tbsp minute tapioca
- 3 large bay leaves
- 1½ tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- 1½ cups frozen peas [optional]
- Start by trimming about 3 pounds of boneless chuck roast, or if you're feeling lazy, buy a good quality pre-cut stew meat. Working in batches, dust the beef cubes lightly with flour, and cook in hot oil over medium-high heat in the large nonstick pan. Get a good brown on at least half the edges. As batches are browned, move them to the slow-cooker, but keep any oil and liquid in the pan.
- While browning the beef, peel carrots and cut them into 1/2 inch thick medallions. Scrub 1 to 1 1/2 pounds of red potatoes and cut into chunks. Place the vegetables in the slow cooker as you have them ready.
- Chop the onions. Crush or mince 6 cloves of garlic. When all the beef has been browned and added to the slow cookers, cook the onions in the same pan until softened and starting to brown. Stir in the minced garlic, and let cook for just a minute or so.
- Now add the tomato paste, beef broth, and soy sauce. Stir well and scrape any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add this mixture to the slow cooker also.
- Sprinkle salt, pepper, thyme, and tapioca over the ingredients in the slow cooker. Stir to mix everything evenly. Bury the bay leaves in the ingredients.
- Cover and cook 1-2 hours on high, then reduce heat to low and cook for 4-5 hours more. [Optional: if you'd like to include frozen peas, add them about 1 hour before you plan to serve.]