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Slow-Cooker Beef Stew

When there's a chill in the air, nothing beats this Crock-Pot beef stew. Seasoned with thyme and dry mustard, the hearty slow-cooker beef stew is chock-full of tender carrots, potatoes and meat. —Earnestine Wilson, Waco, Texas
  • Total Time
    Prep: 25 min. Cook: 7 hours
  • Makes
    8 servings (2 quarts)

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 6 medium carrots, cut into 1-inch lengths
  • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
  • 3 celery ribs, coarsely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) beef broth
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon browning sauce, optional
  • Minced fresh thyme

Directions

  • Layer the potatoes, carrots, onion and celery in a 5-qt. slow cooker. Place flour in a large shallow dish. Add stew meat; turn to coat evenly. In a large skillet, brown meat in oil in batches. Place over vegetables.
  • In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, broth, mustard, salt, pepper, thyme and, if desired, browning sauce. Pour over beef. Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours, or until the meat and vegetables are tender. If desired, sprinkle with fresh thyme before serving.

Slow-Cooker Beef Stew Tips

Can you put raw beef in the slow cooker?

It is perfectly safe to add raw beef to a slow cooker. However, if the beef is frozen, be sure to thaw it in the refrigerator overnight to ensure safe cooking temperatures.

Do I have to brown beef before slow cooking?

While beef can certainly be added directly to a slow cooker, stew meat that has been browned first gets added flavor from the caramelization that happens during browning. Searing the meat also helps to lock in the juices to keep it from drying out. Beef that has been dredged in flour before browning aids in thickening the stew as well. Try one of our most popular beef stew recipes for your slow cooker.

Does beef stew get more tender the longer it cooks?

Yes. The meat used in beef stew and other braises needs a long and slow cooking time. This ensures delicious, fork-tender results. Acid—from canned tomatoes, wine or a little vinegar—can also help break down the meat fibers when you’re braising.

Can you overcook stew in a slow cooker?

A slow-cooked stew is pretty forgiving, but cooking beyond the point of tenderness can dry out the meat as well as the cooking juices and sauce. If serving is delayed, switch your slow cooker to warm until you're ready to eat.

What should I serve with beef stew?

Nothing beats hot homemade bread with a bowl of stew, and you don’t have to be an expert baker to make a loaf. Mashed potatoes, polenta and other delicious side dishes for beef stew abound.

Research contributed by Catherine Ward, Taste of Home Prep Kitchen Manager and Christine Rukavena, Taste of Home Book Editor
Nutrition Facts
1 cup: 272 calories, 12g fat (3g saturated fat), 53mg cholesterol, 541mg sodium, 23g carbohydrate (6g sugars, 4g fiber), 19g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 2 lean meat, 1-1/2 starch, 1 fat.