Beef stew is the perfect comforting dish on a cold day. Best of all, this old fashioned beef stew recipe is made in a slow cooker! Homemade beef stew simmers in a crock-pot for the most tender meat with carrots, potatoes and celery. Plus recipe video.
It was the ultimate cold weather food and we’d always go for seconds and thirds throughout the day. It was the best bowl of comforting goodness...especially if we went outside to play in the snow.
Even now, it’s still one of my favorite lazy Sunday meals I make for my own family.
3 versions of Old Fashioned Beef Stew
We made our beef stew recipe three different ways:
The great thing about soups and stews is that you can customize them by adding whatever vegetables you prefer or have on hand.
Make Ahead and Meal Prep Tips for Old Fashioned Beef Stew
- chop the carrots and celery the day before and add them to a zip-top freezer bag in the fridge
- peel and chop the potatoes and onions and store them in a zip-top freezer bag in the freezer. This prevents the potatoes from changing color and the onions from spreading odours in the fridge.
- cut the beef into chunks and place in zip-top freezer bags. Store in the fridge.
On those days you are pressed for time, you are totally free to skip the browning if you’d prefer an easy dump and go beef stew recipe.
This Slow Cooker Beef Stew recipe makes a big batch with enough for lots of leftovers. In fact, I think I love the flavors even more the next day. All those thick rich and deep flavors get a chance to build even more overnight.
So delicious and the perfect meal for busy weeknights or a cozy Sunday dinner.
How to Make Old Fashioned Beef Stew in a Slow Cooker (VIDEO):
Slow Cooker Old Fashioned Beef Stew + RECIPE VIDEO
BEEF STEW is the best comfort food! This old fashioned beef stew recipe is made in a slow cooker. #beef #crockpot #slowcooker #comfortfood
For the Beef:
- 2 pounds beef chuck roast or beef stew meat trimmed and cut into 1 - 2 inch chunks
- 1/3 cup flour use gluten free flour or arrowroot starch if needed
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt more or less, to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper more or less, to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
For the Stew:
- cooking oil
- 1 medium yellow onion cut into large chunks
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 6 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar or red wine
- 4 medium Russet potatoes peeled and chopped into 1 inch chunks (or can use about 10 small baby potatoes with skin on - cut in half)
- 1 large sweet potato peeled and chopped into 1 inch chunks (leave out if desired)
- 3 medium carrots peeled and cut into slices
- 2 ribs celery chopped
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoons Italian Seasoning or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley, 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 1/2 cups beef broth homemade or low sodium
- 1 star anise optional but adds SO much depth and flavor
- water as needed, to cover the vegetables
- 1-2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley for garnish
- more salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons all purpose flour, gluten free flour or arrowroot powder
- 3 tablespoons cold water
- For the beef In a large zip-top bag, combine flour, salt, pepper, onion powder and Italian seasoning. Add beef and shake until well coated.
- Browning the meat: (feel free to skip to step 5 and add all the ingredients to the slow cooker instead)
- In a large skillet on medium high heat, add cooking oil and brown the meat on all sides. Meat will not be cooked through. (Be sure not to crowd the skillet - you may have to work in batches). Transfer browned meat into a large 6 quart slow cooker.
- Put the uncleaned skillet back on the stove and add onions and garlic. Saute for a minute or two then add the balsamic vinegar and tomato paste until just hot enough to deglaze the pan, about 1 minute. Pour into slow cooker over the beef.
- Add the potatoes, sweet potato, carrots, celery, Worcestershire sauce, Italian seasoning, bay leaf, beef broth, (star anise if using) and stir to combine. If there is not enough liquid to cover the vegetables, add water - only as much as needed.
- Cook on low for 5 to 7 hours or high for 3 to 4 hours (stir about half way through), until potatoes are tender and meat is cooked through. (Times may vary depending on how hot your slow cooker runs - check and cook longer or shorter if necessary)
- Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper if necessary (discard star anise if used). Serve hot with fresh parsley.
- Optional: To thicken stew: Make a slurry by whisking 2 tablespoons of flour (all purpose, cornstarch, gluten free flour or arrowroot powder) with 3 tablespoons of cool water. 20-30 minutes before serving, stir the slurry into the slow cooker, set to HIGH. Stew should thicken within 20-30 minutes. If it does not thicken, your slow cooker may not be hot enough so you will have to transfer to a large pot and heat on the stove if you want to thicken the stew. However, the stew will thicken up on its own overnight in the fridge even without the cornstarch slurry - the slurry is just a solution for immediate results.
Let cool, then store in refrigerator overnight or until ready to serve. This stew improves in flavor if made at least 1 day ahead.