Easy Slow Cooker Beef Stew is perfect for
cooler temperatures. It is loaded with beef, carrots, potatoes, green beans and is full of flavor!
Easy Slow Cooker Beef Stew is comforting and hearty. It is a classic comfort food for cooler temperatures. This Beef Stew is loaded with beef, veggies, delicious seasoning, and is made in the slow cooker making it the perfect meal for busy nights! It is an Easy Slow Cooker Beef Stew everyone will love! This recipe makes quite a bit, so it is perfect for leftovers the next day and actually tastes better (my opinion!).
What Beef to Use For Your Easy Slow Cooker Beef Stew
There are many options out there for beef for your Easy Slow Cooker Beef Stew. Stew is popular this time of year and people are always looking for the best bang for their buck when it comes to the stew meat.
Luckily, beef stew meat is usually pretty budget friendly. You can spend more and use more quality cuts if you are wanting to really make your stew stand out in flavor and impress your guests. In my opinion, there is no need to spend the extra! You can use beef that won’t break the bank and will make a outstanding stew!
The Butcher Man cuts up leaner pieces of chuck roast for stew meat and it is so popular. The chuck pieces are budget friendly and in my opinion just as good as more expensive cuts. This is the traditional beef that I bet you usually have eaten in your stew. The chuck roast pieces are well marbled and add great flavor.
If you are wanting to go the fancier “impress your guests” route, you can get a nice ribeye or tri tip steak and cut it into pieces. The more expensive cuts will add some nice flavor and make your stew delicious.
Here is my opinion on the beef (for what it is worth). The meat cooks and simmers (braises) all day with the veggies. The soup flavor is hearty with the seasonings, and the beef will pick up this flavor as it cooks. I don’t think you need to spend the extra money on fancier cuts.
Searing/Browning the Stew Meat for Easy Slow Cooker Beef Stew
Many times recipes call for browning your meat ahead of time. Sometimes I do it, sometimes I don’t!
The 2 times I always do it are for my roasts in the crockpot, and this stew! OK, there are a few times I haven’t done it for this stew when I have been in a time crunch and it was still amazing. So if you don’t have time, skip the browning and dump it in!
Back to browning the meat. When you brown your meat it intensifies the flavor of the meat and locks in the flavor. Your meat will be cooking all day in the soup (also called braising) and can become a bit softer and tender. Browning it/searing it a little will help it as it “stews” in the slow cooker. The beef can retain it’s flavor and not get overly mushy as it cooks. Plus, it just makes the meat look more appetizing.
To Brown/Sear the Beef: First, you need to toss your stew meat in some flour. Then, heat your oil on medium heat in a non stick skillet. Add your beef pieces to the oil. I lightly salt and pepper my beef then let them brown, turning them so all sides can get browned. (It is ok for all sides not to get browned perfectly. Don’t waste your time turning each piece…just try and get the majority browned). Set the beef aside while you prepare your other stew ingredients.
The Soup/Stew Base for Easy Slow Cooker Beef Stew
For a stew or soup you usually will want to use stock or broth, (or a roux base for thicker creamy soups). The stock or broth will help build flavors. Water does nothing in the way of flavor, but can help stretch the soup a bit further.
For this stew we use beef broth, tomato paste (this helps give you that hearty classic flavor), Worcestershire Sauce, and some seasonings. The seasonings build upon the broth and tomato paste. Once the veggies and meat are added, this stew turns out delicious.
I mix my broth, tomato paste, Worcestershire Sauce, and seasonings in a bowl. (For less mess you could also just mix it right in your slow cooker). I then add in my celery, onions, carrots, potatoes, and last my seared beef.
Veggies for Easy Slow Cooker Beef Stew
I use classic veggies for this stew. Potatoes and carrots are a must, but you can really add whichever veggies you like! I also like to add fresh green beans, and some chopped onion and celery. The carrots, onion, and celery are great for creating delicious flavor in soups and stew bases. The flavors work together and develop a flavor that is classic and so tasty!
NOTE: The green beans cook a bit faster than carrots and potatoes, so I add them in the last few hours of cooking.
You can also add peas, chopped cabbage, parsnips, sweet potatoes, corn or any other veggies your family loves!
Cooking/Storing the Easy Slow Cooker Beef
This stew can sit and cook all day. I use a 6 quart slow cooker, so I have plenty of room.
Side note: I have a link for the slow cooker I love below. It is bigger, making it versatile for larger or smaller meals. Using it is simple (no fancy timers and buttons). It cooks evenly, and is pretty darn cheap for a 6 quart slow cooker! And don’t forget the lid that locks for easy travel and keeping the heat in!
Cooking Time: 8 hours on low or 3-4 hours on high is usually plenty of time to let the flavors develop.
This stew can be kept in the fridge for up to 3 days and can be reheated in your slow cooker, microwave or stovetop. The flavors are so tasty the next day…almost better as leftovers!
You can store the Easy Slow Cooker Beef Stew in a zip top bag in the freezer, or freezer container for up to 6 months. To reheat, thaw the stew completely then place in your slow cooker, or heat it on your stovetop. it has already cooked, so it just needs to be reheated.
FREEZER MEAL TIP: You can make this Beef Stew and not cook it, just put it directly in the freezer for a freezer meal later! It will stay good in your freezer up to 6 months and can be thawed and cooked just like the recipe states. You can store it in an airtight container or in zip top bags.
Easy Slow Cooker Beef Stew is comforting and hearty. It is a classic comfort food for cooler temperatures. This Beef Stew is loaded with beef, veggies, delicious seasoning, and is made in the slow cooker making it the perfect meal for busy nights!
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Easy Slow Cooker Beef Stew
Beef for Stew (and for optional searing the beef)
- 1 1/2 lbs stew meat/cubed beef *see notes
- 1 1/2 tbsp canola oil *for searing/browning the beef (optional step)
- 1 tbsp flour, to toss the beef in for searing *optional step
- salt and pepper, sprinkled on beef for searing *optional step
Stew Soup base/seasonings
- 3 cans (14.5 oz) beef broth
- 3 tbsp tomato paste
- 3 1/2 tsp Worchestershire Sauce
- 1/4 cup flour *see notes
- 3 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp ground thyme
- 1/4 tsp basil leaves *dried spice-not fresh
Veggies – you can also add peas, sweet potatoes, parsnips, cabbage, or corn… or whatever you like
- 1/2 lb. carrots, chopped
- 1 lb. russet potatoes, cubed
- 1/2 cup celery, chopped fine
- 1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped fine *about 1/2 cup
- 1/2 lb green beans, fresh, cut and trimmed *you will add these in the last 2 hours of cooking time
- If you are searing your beef, heat a skillet on medium heat. Pour your canola oil in the skillet and let it heat. In a bowl, add your stew meat and toss with the flour. Make sure the beef pieces are evenly covered the best you can. Add the beef to the hot oil, and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Move the beef pieces around making sure all sides are seared/ browned. It is ok if all sides aren't perfectly seared. Just do it quickly so the meat pieces don't fully cook. Remove the beef from the heat and set aside.*You do not have to sear the meat. You can add it in the stew without searing it and it will still be delicious! Just skip this step. Do not toss the meat in flour or salt and pepper the meat if you skip this step!
- In a large bowl (or your slow cooker crock) add your beef broth, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce and mix well. Add in your seasonings and flour and mix well. You can adjust any of the seasonings you want at this point. If you did not mix this in your slow cooker, pour it in your slow cooker before adding meat and veggies.
- Add in your chopped celery, onions, carrots, and potatoes. Mix well. Add in your seared stew meat, mix well. If you are adding fresh green beans, add them in the last 2 hours of cooking time.
- Cook on low 8 hours, or on high 3-4 hours. If you are adding in green beans, add them in the last 2 hours of cooking time.