If you're looking for classic deliciousness, look no further! This crock pot beef stew recipe is a well-loved dish that pleases everyone!
One of my favorite sayings is "classics are classic for a reason". And this beef stew recipe is a perfect example. It's rich, filling, TASTY and not too difficult either.
It's perfect for anytime the weather's on the cool side AND we've listed a few shortcuts down below if you need a quicker, easier version of the classic...DON'T worry. The quick and easy version is really good too!
So if you've time to do the classic, it will take you about 15 minutes to prep for the slow cooker. That time includes making a REALLY full 6 or 7-quart crock pot full...that's quite a few potatoes and carrots to peel and slice/cube.
Who knows, you might be quicker with a knife than me, it might take you 5 or 10 minutes. It took ME 15.
Crock Pot Beef Stew Topics
Time Savers for Quick and Easy Crockpot Beef Stew
There are several ways you can save time when making beef stew. I'm listing just a few that I've used in the past that can shave off 5 minutes when you just do NOT have 5 minutes to spare.
- Purchase beef tips instead of a beef roast
- Skip the browning step for the beef tips (see printable recipe)
- Buy baby potatoes and don't cut them up
- Buy regular potatoes and dice them, but don't peel
- Use canned or frozen carrots ~or~ baby carrots if you eat them
- Buy frozen, pre-diced onions
None of these time savers is going to save loads of time...but any one can save you a couple minutes here and there. And there are days (and weeks, it seems) that very minute counts.
Prep Work for Classic Crock Pot Beef Stew
I just got done talking about saving time...and for this recipe, I didn't. I didn't take any of the shortcuts. But again, I have taken them all in the past and the stew recipe still turned out good each time (or I wouldn't recommend the shortcut).
For here's the classic and all the steps for it too. Holler if you've any questions, additional input or suggestions. Comment below or contact us. Either one works...and ROCK THAT CROCK too 🙂
Season & Brown the Beef Tips
There are all sorts of seasonings you can use when you make crock pot beef stew. Some folks just salt and pepper the beef, then dip it in flour. Some add garlic and onion powder as well. We (personally) like a bit more flavor on the meat.
For us, stew in the cooler months is no different than a steak on the grill in high summer...we like seasonings. So for this recipe, I used garlic powder and Montreal Steak Seasoning.
You can toss the ingredients for coating in a large baggie, then add the meat and shake ~or~ you can do it like I did and just sprinkle it over the meat in the skillet.
Adding everything to the baggie and shaking it up...well, that uses more flour. And if you want a really thick stew, that's the route to go. This crock pot beef stew recipe isn't super thick. It's really good, but it has something between a thin stock/soup base and a super thick gravy.
Either way, if you're browning the meat you'll need to do so over medium heat in butter or oil, for 3 to 5 minutes. Then flip it and do it again...so 6 to 10 minutes total.
Mine was on the high side of that...'cause I made two batches of the printable recipe. 3 full pounds of beef tips needs a bit of time to brown properly 🙂
While the meat was browning I peeled and diced up my potatoes and carrots. I did NOT add peas. I didn't add them because I was feeding two people that prefer they never taste them...and it wasn't worth it to me to argue. If it was just ME eating it...there'd be peas 🙂
Getting a Deep, Rich Flavor
That's really the only thing to do when making crock pot beef stew...just seasoning and browning the meat...BUT just a couple more details/tips/tricks you might want to know.
- Butter. Real butter. Not margarine and not soy. If you fry your beef tips in real butter instead of oil or anything else...you'll add a ton of flavor to your stew. Nope, this isn't a calorie saver, but it's real. And there's no way to match the flavor it gives your stew either.
- Scrape the pan. Glance back up at that last picture please. See around the edge of the pan? That dark, crusty stuff? Do yourself an epic favor and scrape that stuff off the pan and add it to the crock pot. Yep...flavor again.
- And here's another one. Kitchen Bouquet. It's the same flavoring I used in the crock pot beef and noodles recipe we love so much. Just a little of this stuff goes a long way too...it's perfect to enhance the flavors of all sorts of meat dishes.
Toss in the Crock!
And last but not least...toss everything in the crockpot. With crock pot beef stew, all the prep work is in prepping the meat and veggies. Some slow cooker recipes do much better (or don't work any other way) than to do layers. This isn't one of them.
Toss all the ingredients in the slow cooker. No particular order is needed. Stir well and cover and cook for at least 6 hours. When I say 6 hours, that's on low. And 6 hours is the minimum on low...you can cook it up to 10 hours for 1 1/2 pounds of meat as stated in the printable recipe. For the picture you see up above, that's that 3 pounds I browned and I cooked it for almost 14 hours. It. Was. AWESOME!
Also, you CAN do the high setting. It won't be as good. The meat won't be nearly as tender and your flavors won't have a chance to meld together. The tougher meats the big thing I think. 'Cause tough meat out of the crock pot just isn's something you expect to get...Just Fyi, if you decide to go that route.
Printable & Pin It for Later Options
Classic Crock Pot Beef Stew
- 1 1/2 pounds beef roasts cut into 1” pieces OR beef stew meat
- 3 tablespoons Montreal Steak Seasoning
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 5 medium potatoes washed and diced into chunks peeled if desired
- 1 medium onion diced or sliced
- 3 medium carrots peeled and chunked
- 3 cups beef broth
- 3 cloves of garlic minced
- 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1/4 cup cold water + 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- Season the ground beef with the garlic powder and steak seasoning, coat with flour
- Optional Step: Brown in the butter, over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes per side
- Toss the meat and scrapings from the skillet into the crockpot insert and add the remaining ingredients
- Cover and cook on low for 6 to 10 hours, high at least 4.
30 to 45 minutes before serving:
- Turn the slow cooker to high
- Mix the cornstarch with the 1/4 cup of cold water. Stir well until no lumps remain.
- Add the cornstarch slurry slowly while stirring.
- Cover and cook an additional 30 to 45 minutes until the sauce thickens to your desired consistency.
- Season and brown the beef as per slow cooker directions steps #1 and #2. Use your saute function.
- Remove meat from pot and add a bit of the broth to help deglaze the pan.
- Add beef back and add remaining ingredients, except the cornstarch and water.
- Set to manual high for 35 minutes. Allow to natural release for 15 more minutes, then quick release.
- Turn pot to saute and stir.
- In a small bowl mix the cold water and cornstarch very well. Slowly pour into the stew while stirring.
- Cook and stir until stew thickens.
- Use a large, deep skillet or a dutch oven and melt the butter or medium-high heat.
- Follow the Instant Pot directions for steps 1 thru 3. But turn the burner to low (instead of sauteing).
- Cover and cook over low heat for 60 to 90 minutes. Stir occasionally.
- Follow the last 4 steps in the slow cooker instructions to thick your beef stew.
Freezer Meal Prep
- Follow the slow cooker method for steps 1 and 2. Allow beef to cool slightly if browning.
- Label a bag with your recipe name and a “best by” date. And that you will need cornstarch (and maybe potatoes once you read the notes).
- Add ingredients except for cornstarch. Potatoes are optional at this point (see notes).
- Lay flat, squeeze out as much air as possible and freeze for up to 3 months.
Other Crock Pot Yumminess!
If you like this recipe...you might also want to check out some of these too!