A comforting, classic recipe for beef stew – crockpot version! Tender beef chunks with carrots and red potatoes all wrapped up in a buttery, velvety thick gravy. The longer it cooks, the tastier it gets. Like a big warm slow cooker beef stew hug straight from my kitchen to yours.
I love using my crockpot for this fail-proof beef stew recipe. So many of you have loved my Irish Beef Stew that I decided to transfer that recipe over to the slow cooker, with the addition of potatoes. Whether it’s the shorter, cold days of winter or longer, hot days of summer, this recipe can feed a crowd, fill bellies and make you never want to try another beef stew crockpot recipe again. This one has it all.
How to make Crock Pot Beef Stew
Only a few simple steps and basic ingredients needed to create this delicious beef stew!
- Chop onions, carrots and red potatoes and place into a cold crockpot or slow cooker insert.
- Pat stew meat dry with paper towels, sprinkle with salt, pepper and flour and brown on the stove in batches. Transfer browned (but not cooked) meat chunks to the crockpot.
- Deglaze pan with beef broth and pour into crockpot.
- Top off with more beef broth, bay leaves, thyme leaves and Worcestershire sauce.
- Cover and cook 4-5 hours on high or until potatoes and carrots are fork tender and meat is very tender.
- Thicken stew by stirring butter, flour and cornstarch together to create a paste. Add the butter-flour mixture into the hot broth in the stew and stir to melt.
- Cook another 20 minutes to fully thicken.
- Remove bay leaves and thyme sprigs, add chopped parsley and serve hot with crusty bread.
How do you make a thick slow cooker beef stew?
A lot of recipes online only call for butter and flour to thicken the stew. While this butter-flour works slightly, if you can’t boil the broth, the flour won’t reach its full thickening potential.
That’s why I use butter, flour and a little cornstarch to thicken any gravy while using a crockpot. The butter melts evenly, dispersing the flour and cornstarch evenly with no lumps. The cornstarch goes right to work, thickening the gravy almost immediately, with the flour adding an extra velvety texture after that final 20 minutes of cooking.
Can you substitute red wine for beef broth?
Absolutely you can. Instead of deglazing your pan with beef broth, use 1-2 cups of red wine. Once that has cooked down, pour into the crockpot with the remaining beef broth.
How to make beef stew with more depth of flavor
These few simple tips will go a long way in creating the most flavorful and delicious slow cooker beef stew.
- Add in 2 tablespoons of tomato paste to the broth while cooking.
- Don’t skip the Worcestershire sauce.
- Substitute a little red wine for the beef broth. (see note above)
- Try using beef consume or beef stock in place of the beef broth. Makes a big difference!
- Taste as you go and add salt as needed.
Do I have to add potatoes to my beef stew?
No, you absolutely do not have to add in the potatoes. They are very typical and traditional for any beef stew recipe, but if you over cook them, they will start to fall apart and create a ‘grainy’ texture you just can’t get rid of. Still totally edible, but not quite the best conditions for creating that velvety gravy we all love.
Feel free to omit, add in extra carrots or other hearty veggies and serve over mashed potatoes. Truth be told, this is my favorite way to enjoy beef stew.
Other vegetables that you can add to your beef stew (crockpot or slow cooker version):
- Butternut or acorn squash
- Hearty greens
- Sweet Potatoes
- Frozen peas or corn (add in right at the end of cooking)
Beef Stew (Crockpot Recipe)
A comforting, classic recipe for beef stew - crockpot version! Tender beef chunks with carrots and red potatoes all wrapped up in a buttery, velvety thick gravy.
For the Beef Stew:
- 1 yellow onion diced
- 4 large carrots peeled and sliced into large coins
- 2 lbs red potatoes halved or quartered, so they are all the same size
- 2 pounds stew meat
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- salt & pepper, to taste
- 4 tablespoons olive oil divided
- 5 cups beef broth
- 3 bay leaves
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 6 sprigs fresh thyme
Beef Stew Thickener:
- 6 tablespoons salted butter very soft, at room temperature
- 6 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 3 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped, optional
Prepping the Beef Stew for the Crockpot:
Prep onions, carrots and potatoes and place into cold crockpot.
Dry stew meat as best as you can using paper towels. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and flour and toss to coat evenly. Brown meat in batches, using a large, heavy-bottomed skillet and olive oil. Cook over medium high heat to form brown crust, but not to cook thoroughly. As meat browns, transfer over to crockpot.
Once all meat has browned, de-glaze pan with about 2 cups of beef broth and pour into crockpot. Top with remaining broth, bay leaves, Worcestershire sauce, thyme and more salt and pepper.
Cover and turn crockpot to high. Cook 4-5 hours or until meat is very tender and carrots and potatoes are fork tender. Remove bay leaves and thyme sprigs.
How to thicken Beef Stew:
In a small bowl, stir butter with flour and cornstarch until a smooth paste is formed. Spoon the butter-flour paste into the crockpot and stir gently to melt and spread it evenly though the contents of the crockpot. Cover and cook another 20 minutes to thicken completely.
Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Stir in chopped parsley if desired. Serve hot.