This hearty, thick, and flavorful Slow Cooker Beef Stew is the best comfort food for a delicious family dinner. Made with chunks of tender beef, red potatoes, carrots, celery, onion, corn, and peas in a thick V8 juice + beef broth base that is perfectly seasoned with Worcestershire sauce and dried seasonings. You will love this classic stew recipe that's made right in your slow cooker!
Slow Cooker Beef Stew Recipe
One of my personal favorite comfort food dinner recipes is Beef Stew with my buttery One Hour Rolls. I crave it during the cold months! No matter how many different beef stew recipes I try making, I always come back to this easy & simple beef stew made in the slow cooker.
You really can't go wrong. Throw some stuff in the slow cooker and 8-10 hours later it's ready when you are. The thing I love most about beef stew is that the longer it's in the slow cooker the better. This is definitely not one of those recipes where you can throw it in a few hours before dinner and turn it on high, and hope it cooks in time.
Tender chunks of beef, soft potatoes, and tons of vegetables cook in a perfectly seasoned v8 juice and beef broth base. This is the perfect crock pot dinner for those days that you're gone all day and was something warm and comforting when you get home.
Ingredients You Need for Beef Stew
- Beef Stew Meat : You can find this in packages where the beef is already chopped into chunks that's ready to use in stew recipes. It's labeled as 'beef stew meat' on the package at the grocery store. I always buy the lean beef stew meat because then it's ready to just dump right into the slow cooker without having to trim anything off of it.
- Red Potatoes : These are recommended for this recipe because they have a very mild and buttery flavor, and they hold up really nicely to the longer cook time. Another good option are Yukon gold yellow potatoes. I don't recommended using russet potatoes because they are kind of flavorless on their own and don't hold up well to the long cook time. The texture gets much softer and almost mushy the longer it cooks for.
- Carrots + Celery : Leave these in larger chunks so they don't fall apart to mush during the longer cook time. You can use baby carrots whole or cut in half, or just cut thick slices of carrot from a whole carrot.
- Sweet Onion : After years of making this recipe, it's best to use the sweet Vidalia onion. Of course another onion can be used if wanted, like a yellow or white onion.
- Garlic : Use fresh garlic that you have minced or pressed. Chopped garlic from a jar. Or try using garlic paste from a tube which you can find in the refrigerated area of the produce section, by the cold dressings and salsas.
- Beef Broth : Use full salted, regular beef broth for this beef stew. The slow cooker tends to mute flavors over the longer cook time which is why you want to use regular salted beef broth.
- V8 Juice : My 'secret ingredient' for the best beef stew! Don't substitute this one!
- Salt, Pepper, Thyme, Dried Parsley : The dried seasonings that flavor the stew.
- Worcestershire Sauce : Another one of my 'secret ingredients' for the best beef stew.
- Cornstarch Slurry : This is a simple mixture of cold water + cornstarch. It thickens up the stew.
How To Make Homemade Slow Cooker Beef Stew
Learn how to make beef stew right in your own kitchen with this delicious beef stew recipe that's made in the slow cooker!
- Preparation : Get out the slow cooker and spray the insert with cooking spray. Chop all the vegetables and get them ready to go. Peel and chop the potatoes, slice the carrots and celery, finely chop the sweet onion.
- Beef Stew : Combine all the ingredients for the beef stew into the slow cooker. Do not add the frozen corn, peas, and cornstarch slurry until later.
- Cook : Cover with the lid and cook on LOW heat for 8-10 hours. The longer the better! I always cook it all day long for 10 hours.
- Thicken It Up + Frozen Veggies : Add the cornstarch slurry, frozen peas, and frozen corn into the slow cooker when 1 hour is left on the time. If you're not home to do this that is just fine. Add the slurry plus frozen veggies and let it cook for at least 30 minutes so it can thicken up before serving.
Slow Cooker Beef Stew FAQ's
Can I Freeze Beef Stew?
- Yes, this beef stew freezes really well. There are a couple ways to freeze this recipe. No matter what way you freeze it, remember to not add the cornstarch slurry or frozen corn and peas until the very end before serving. We don't want to freeze the cornstarch slurry and frozen veggies.
- Cook the stew as the recipe calls for and let it cool down to a warm room temperature. Place the beef stew into freezer-safe ziplock bags or containers and freeze for up to 2 months. I prefer freezing soups and stews in gallon sized Ziploc bags because then I can lay it flat in my freezer. When ready to reheat and serve, warm it up on the stove top or put it into a slow cooker to warm it up thoroughly. I would recommend letting the beef stew thaw completely in the fridge overnight before reheating and serving.
- Prepare the beef stew ingredients and instead of putting them into the slow cooker, place all the ingredients into a gallon size freezer-safe Ziploc bag. Freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to use, let it thaw in the fridge overnight OR leave it frozen, and place all the contents into the slow cooker and cook on low heat for at least 10 hours. If cooking from frozen you will need a longer cook time (at least 10-11 hours).
Substitution & Variation Ideas
- Potatoes : Although I highly recommend using red potatoes, you can substitute with Yukon gold potatoes if wanted.
- Seasonings : Feel free to add or takeaway any of the dried seasonings. Add additional thyme or try adding Italian seasoning or extra garlic powder. There are lots of ways you can spice it up and/or make it your own if wanted.
- Beef Stock : Beef stock can be used in place of beef broth if wanted. You an even use chicken broth/stock or vegetable broth/stock.
- More Meat : If you want more beef then try using a package that is larger than 1 pound.
- Beef stew is best served with some type of bread to soak up all that hearty broth and leftover beef bits and veggies.
How To Store Leftover Beef Stew
- Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container, in the fridge, for 3-4 days.
- Reheat leftovers in the microwave or in a saucepan on the stove top.
- You may need to add additional water or broth depending on the thickness of the stew. The veggies and potatoes will soak up a lot of broth as it sits in the fridge.
Beef Stew Recipe Tips
Here are some of my helpful tips so that you can have success recreating this recipe for your own family.
- Low & Slow : Beef stew is best when it's cooked on low heat for at least 8-10 hours. Don't try to rush this! Plan ahead and place the stew ingredients into the slow cooker in the early morning and let it cook all day long. I highly recommend cooking for 10 hours on low heat. The beef gets fall apart tender and the flavors just develop and intensify and it's just downright delicious.
- Regular Salted Beef Broth : I know some may want to use unsalted beef broth or reduced-sodium beef broth but I don't recommend it. Unless of course for dietary reasons. For best taste use full salted beef broth as the slow cooker tends to mute flavors over the long cook time. Which means you want that extra salt and flavor to withstand the longer cook time. You can also substitute with beef stock as well.
- Chopped Vegetables : You don't want to chop the celery, carrots, and potatoes into small pieces for this stew. Remember that it cooks for at least 8 hours which means you want larger chunks to be able to withstand the longer cook time. But also, don't make them so large that they don't cook in that amount of time. I love using the baby potatoes and then I just chop them in half! You can peel the potatoes or leave the skin on, either way works just fine.
- Use Red Potatoes : The type of potato you use matters. I recommend using red potatoes because they have a mild & buttery flavor and they hold up really well to the longer cook time. Another good option are Yukon gold potatoes. I would not use russet potatoes as they are bland in flavor on their own and they turn very soft, almost mushy, when cooked for as long as this stew cooks for.
More Slow Cooker Dinner Recipes You'll Love
- Easy Swedish Meatballs - Made in the slow cooker wit frozen meatballs in a rich and creamy beef broth, cream of mushroom, and gravy packet sauce. Serve over noodles for a hearty dinner that is surprisingly so easy to make.
- Slow Cooker Zesty BBQ Chicken - Only 5 ingredients for this tender shredded chicken that cooks in an easy mix of bbq sauce, Italian salad dressing, Worcestershire sauce, and brown sugar. I serve these on hamburger buns for 'sandwiches'.
- Slow Cooker Honey Teriyaki Chicken - Sweet and savory teriyaki chicken with honey added into the homemade teriyaki sauce! Serve over white rice and garnish with green onions and sesame seeds for a dump & go slow cooker dinner.
- Brown Sugar Ham - A spiral ham cooks in pineapple juice, brown sugar, and pure maple syrup. This is always a hit!
Slow Cooker Beef Stew
- 1 lb lean beef stew meat
- 2 red potatoes cut into large chunks
- 2 carrots peeled & sliced thick
- 2 celery stalks sliced
- 1 sweet Vidalia onion finely minced
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 can (14.5 oz) beef broth
- 1½ cups V8 Vegetable Juice
- ½ cup water
- 1 tablespoon dried parsley
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
Ingredients To Add Later
- ½ cup frozen peas
- ½ cup frozen corn
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons cold water
- Combine stew meat, potatoes, carrots, celery, sweet onion, garlic, beef broth, V8 juice, water and seasonings into the slow cooker. Stir to combine.
- Cover with the lid and cook on LOW for 8-10 hours.* Low & Slow is best for stew. I recommend cooking for 10 hours.
- At 1 hour left to cook, add in the frozen corn and peas. Mix together the cornstarch and cold water with a fork in a small bowl and add to the slow cooker. Stir everything together, cover with the lid, and let cook the remaining 1 hour. * If you are not home and can't add the stuff 1 hour before the cook time is done. Simply add the other ingredients after the cook time is over, cover with the lid, and let it cook for about 30 minutes to help thicken the stew up and soften the frozen vegetables.