Slow Cooker Beef Stew

Published October 25, 2017. Updated October 16, 2020

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Is there a dish more comforting than this Slow Cooker Beef Stew? It’s absolutely perfect for cold fall and winter days. It’s incredibly hearty and perfectly flavorful. This is a stew you’ll want to make again and again!

This has quickly become a reader favorite, try it and you’ll see why!

slow cooker Beef Stew with wooden spoon

The Best Beef Stew Recipe

I’m thinking this is just the thing you need to make this coming Tuesday. I always love to have stew or chili on Halloween, I don’t know what it is but it’s becoming tradition.

It must have something to do with the fact that it’s always cold here when we take our kids out trick-or-treating (sometimes snowing!) so I love to have some warm comforting stew before we head out, then I like to have hot cocoa when we get home. I get cold easy.

Want to see how easy this beef stew recipe is? Watch the video!

Why Slow Cook This Beef Stew?

This slow cooker method is my favorite way to make beef stew because it just allows all that time for the beef to become melt-in-your-mouth tender and also it allows plenty of time for those flavors to meld and marry into utter bliss.

Beef Stew shown here in a white slow cooker with wooden spoon for ladling.

Slow Cooker Beef Stew Ingredients

  • Chuck roast
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Fresh vegetables including yellow onion, celery, garlic, yellow potatoes and carrots
  • Tomato paste
  • Low-sodium beef broth or chicken broth
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Low-sodium soy sauce
  • Fresh thyme and rosemary
  • Cornstarch
  • Frozen peas

Scroll below for full printable recipe.

How to Make Beef Stew in a Slow Cooker

  • Dab beef dry season with salt and pepper then brown beef in a skillet with olive oil. Transfer to slow cooker.
  • Saute onions and celery, followed by garlic then tomato paste.
  • Pour in 1 cup of beef broth (to deglaze the pan) along with Worcestershire, soy sauce, thyme and rosemary.
  • Add potatoes and carrots to slow cooker then pour in beef broth mixture. Pour in remaining broth, season with salt and pepper.
  • Cook on low heat 7 – 8 hours.
  • Whisk cornstarch with water, stir into stew and cook on high heat an additional 20 minutes to help thicken slightly. Stir in peas and half of the parsley.
  • Serve warm garnished with remaining parsley.

slow cooker Beef Stew shown in a single serving in a white bowl with bread as a side.

Do I Need to Brown the Beef First?

I highly recommend that you don’t skip browning the beef as it adds key flavor to this stew. It’s worth the extra 10 minutes hassle, trust me. Same goes with those onions/celery; if you don’t saute them first, they have a different flavor and texture.

Are There Optional Ingredients?

I know it seems like a long list of ingredients, but I don’t recommend omitting any of them. The herbs add freshness and things like soy sauce and Worcestershire add layers of flavor.

Do I Have to Use Fresh Herbs?

If needed, dry herbs can be used in place of fresh but fresh is best. You can look for a roasting herb blend which should include thyme, rosemary and parsley. That way you don’t need to purchase 3 separately.

Can I Cook It on High Heat?

For best results, I recommend cooking on low heat. It makes the beef extra tender.

How to Serve Beef Stew

This slow cooker stew is basically a meal in one with the beef and veggies, but for a simple side you can’t go wrong with fresh bread for dipping. A spinach salad with some fresh apples or pears would be another great option.

Slow Cooker Beef Stew in a white bowl with bread on the side

Make Ahead Tips for the Best Slow Cooker Beef Stew

  • Cut up beef, onions, carrots, celery and garlic the night before cooking (and store separately in the fridge. Wait to chop potatoes so they don’t brown). This will give you a huge head start the following morning because this recipe does have a lot of prep work.
  • You could also measure out and whisk together the beef broth mixture then just have it ready to pour into the skillet the next day.

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Slow Cooker Beef Stew
4.88 from 95 votes

Slow Cooker Beef Stew

This beef stew is the definition of comfort food! It is packed with flavor and that low and slow cooking yields the most tender beef. A staple recipe!  
Servings: 7 servings
Prep40 minutes
Cook8 hours 15 minutes
Ready in: 8 hours 55 minutes



  • Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large heavy bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Working with half of the beef at a time, dab both sides dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper to taste. 
  • Sear in skillet until browned, turning once halfway through, about 4 - 5 minutes total. Transfer beef to slow cooker. Add an additional 1 Tbsp oil to skillet, repeat with remaining beef. Leave excess oil in skillet.
  • Add remaining 1/2 Tbsp oil to oil in skillet (there should be about 1/2 tbsp left after searing beef), reduce burner to medium. Saute onions and celery 3 minutes, add garlic saute 30 seconds longer then add in tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. 
  • Pour 1 cup beef broth into skillet along with Worcestershire, soy sauce,  thyme and rosemary. Add potatoes and carrots over beef layer in slow cooker, then pour broth mixture in skillet into slow cooker along with remaining 2 cups beef broth. Season lightly with salt and pepper (add more to taste at the end). Cover and cook on low heat for 7 - 8 hours.
  • In a small bowl whisk together cornstarch with 1 1/2 Tbsp cold water until smooth. Pour into slow cooker and gently stir, cover and cook on high heat for 20 - 30 minutes until thickened slightly. Stir in peas and half of the parsley. Serve warm garnished with remaining parsley.


To prep this stew in advance: Cut up beef, onions, carrots, celery and garlic the night before cooking (and store separately in the fridge. Wait to chop potatoes so they don't brown). This will give you a huge head start the following morning because this recipe does have a lot of prep work.
Nutrition Facts
Slow Cooker Beef Stew
Amount Per Serving
Calories 482 Calories from Fat 216
% Daily Value*
Fat 24g37%
Saturated Fat 8g50%
Cholesterol 111mg37%
Sodium 566mg25%
Potassium 1634mg47%
Carbohydrates 30g10%
Fiber 7g29%
Sugar 7g8%
Protein 32g64%
Vitamin A 11545IU231%
Vitamin C 36.6mg44%
Calcium 118mg12%
Iron 8.2mg46%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition values are estimates only. See full disclaimer here.

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  • Leigh

    Hi! I’m interested in giving this recipe a go, but my husband hates peas w/ a firey passion. Do you have any suggestions for an alternative to the peas? I was thinking green beans, but I’m still learning how to cook various meats (I’m vegetarian), so I’ve no clue what I’m doing when it comes to modifying meat recipes. Thank you!

  • Brenda

    If I don’t have corn starch nor tomatoe paste. Can I substitute with flour and tomato sauce?

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      I don’t recommend flour as it would add a raw flour taste. Tomato sauce however would work if you replaced it for some of the liquid of the broth.

  • Tatiana

    Hi there!! I was just wondering if you’ve tried freezing this stew? I’m looking for a few recipes to freeze in preparation for baby’s arrival and this looks amazing! Thanks in advance!

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      The only issue with freezing stew is that the texture of the potatoes will change, other than that the other ingredients freeze well.

      • Melissa

        I freeze soups all the time that have potatoes in it and they don’t ruin the potato at all unless it is over cooked.

  • J

    We were very excited for this and followed the directions very closely, but when all was said and done, it didn’t have much flavor and left an empty feeling on the tastebuds.

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      Perhaps you were looking for the flavor of red wine in the dish? I would suggest 1 cup red wine in place of broth for a big boost in flavor depth.

  • Helen Z. Bateman

    I browned the meat in olive oil and butter, then added the potatoes and onions also.

  • Angelo

    Love the browning of the tomato paste, total pro detail. I would suggest emphasizing deglazing the pan (scraping up all the fond in the skillet after the stock is added) during that particular step of the recipe. Any suggestions on how to modify the recipe for accommodating the addition of wine? Maybe cut back on the broth a bit and add some wine into the skillet with the beef broth. Mostly I’m jus wondering what the balance between the broth and wine should be. Thanks a million for sharing this recipe!!

  • Jacquie

    This recipe is my favorite! Super flavorful and my husband loves how thick it is.

  • Lena G

    I love this recipe and Ive made it several times! This time I’m adding frozen baby carrots instead of fresh for convenience, but when should I add those to the slow cooker?

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      I would wait and add frozen carrots during the last 30 minutes probably. I’m glad you love this!