Slow Cooker Beef Stew

published Jan 4, 2024
Slow Cooker Beef Stew Recipe

Tender chunks of beef and hearty bites of carrots and potatoes make this slow cooker stew the ultimate winter dinner.

Serves4 to 6

Prep25 minutes

Cook4 hours to 8 hours

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Beef stew in a slow cooker with a ladle.
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Styling: Rachel Perlmutter

There’s no better time than during the coldest days of winter to serve a bowl of hearty beef stew. This comforting dish is an all-in-one meal with tender chunks of beef and big bites of potatoes and carrots in a thick, savory broth.

Slow cooker beef stew has everything you’re looking for in a classic beef stew, with a fraction of the work. Thanks to the slow cooker, you can skip searing the beef and deglazing the pan. It’s the coziest — and easiest — dinner you’ll make this winter. Here’s how to do it.

How to Choose the Best Beef for Slow Cooker Beef Stew

Choosing the right cut of beef for stew can be overwhelming if you don’t know what to look for. Boneless beef chuck roast is best for slow cooker beef stew because it has a good proportion of connective tissue (that’s what softens and helps to give braised beef its tender texture) and marbled fat.

Trim off the excess fat and cut into large pieces yourself. Alternatively, take the shortcut of buying beef stew meat, but only if the pieces are well-marbled and uniformly large in size.

Ingredients in Slow Cooker Beef Stew

  • Beef chuck roast: Choose a 2 1/4-pound boneless beef chuck roast or the same amount of good-quality beef stew meat.
  • Potatoes: Yukon gold and red potatoes are ideal for this slow cooker stew because they hold their shape even when cooked for hours.
  • Carrots, onion, and celery: The three elements in a classic mirepoix. Cut carrots and celery into hearty, thick slices so they don’t get too soft in the slow cooker. 
  • Herbs and spices: Raid your spice cabinet for dried thyme, garlic powder, and dried bay leaves to season the stew.
  • Tomato paste: A tablespoon of tomato paste gives this stew a rich, umami flavor. I prefer the ease of tomato paste sold in tubes.
  • Worcestershire sauce: Contributes to the savory sauce.
  • All-purpose flour: Coat the beef in flour before adding the rest of the ingredients so that the broth thickens without any lumps.
  • Beef broth: This recipe was developed with regular beef broth, as it is most readily available. If you use low-sodium or unsalted beef broth, taste and add more kosher salt, if needed.

How to Make Slow Cooker Beef Stew

Making beef stew doesn’t get any easier than this recipe. Instead of browning the beef to build flavor, we’re relying on a trusty set of ingredients — namely tomato paste and Worcestershire sauce — to give this stew a deep and comforting flavor. Here are the simple steps to take to make this dump-and-cook dinner.

  • Prepare beef and vegetables. Trim and cut the chuck roast into large pieces and prepare the onion, carrots, celery, and potatoes.
  • Toss beef in flour and herbs. Stir all-purpose flour, dried thyme, kosher salt, black pepper, and garlic powder together in a 6-quart or larger slow cooker. Add the beef and toss to coat.
  • Add broth and vegetables. Whisk beef broth, tomato paste, and Worcestershire sauce until combined, then pour over the beef. Add the vegetables, and stir to combine.
  • Cook. Slow cook on LOW for 6 to 8 hours or HIGH for about 4 hours. The stew is ready when the beef and vegetables are tender, but not falling apart, and the broth has thickened.
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Styling: Rachel Perlmutter

What to Serve with Slow Cooker Beef Stew

Slow cooker beef stew is a one-pot meal complete with protein, starch, and vegetables. A chunk of crusty bread or skillet cornbread would be welcome to help sop up the rich gravy. 

Storage and Make-Ahead Tips

Transfer leftover stew into an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 4 days. Like other stews, the flavors get even better the next day, so this is a great choice for making dinner in advance.

Slow Cooker Beef Stew Recipe

Tender chunks of beef and hearty bites of carrots and potatoes make this slow cooker stew the ultimate winter dinner.

Prep time 25 minutes

Cook time 4 hours to 8 hours

Serves 4 to 6

Nutritional Info


  • 1/4 cup

    all-purpose flour

  • 2 teaspoons

    dried thyme

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons

    kosher salt, plus more as needed

  • 1 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper, plus more for serving

  • 1 teaspoon

    garlic powder

  • 1

    medium yellow onion

  • 4

    medium carrots

  • 2

    medium stalks celery

  • 1 pound

    Yukon gold or red potatoes (about 3 medium)

  • 2 1/4 pounds

    boneless beef chuck roast or beef stew meat

  • 2

    dried bay leaves

  • 1 1/2 cups

    beef broth

  • 1 tablespoon

    tomato paste

  • 1 tablespoon

    Worcestershire sauce

  • Chopped fresh parsley leaves, for serving (optional)


  1. Place 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, 2 teaspoons dried thyme, 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper, and 1 teaspoon garlic powder in a 6-quart or larger slow cooker and stir to combine.

  2. Dice 1 medium yellow onion (about 1 1/2 cups). Peel and cut 4 medium carrots crosswise into 1-inch-thick rounds (about 2 1/2 cups). Cut 2 medium celery stalks crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick pieces (about 3/4 cup). Cut 1 pound Yukon gold or red potatoes into 1-inch pieces.

  3. Trim off any large pieces of surface fat from 2 1/4 pounds boneless beef chuck roast, then cut into 1 to 1 1/2-inch pieces. Transfer to the slow cooker and toss to coat in the flour mixture. Add the vegetables and 2 dried bay leaves.

  4. Place 1 1/2 cups beef broth, 1 tablespoon tomato paste, and 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce in a liquid measuring cup or medium bowl and whisk to combine. Pour over the beef and vegetables and stir to combine.

  5. Cover and cook until the beef is very tender, 6 to 8 hours on the LOW setting or 4 hours on the HIGH setting. Taste and season with more kosher salt and black pepper as needed. Serve topped with chopped fresh parsley leaves and more black pepper if desired.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days.