Mom’s Slow Cooker Beef Stew
Mom’s best ever slow cooker beef stew cooked to perfection with dry red wine, garlic, fresh herbs and tender potatoes and carrots. This easy beef stew recipe is just like the classic one you grew up with and makes a delicious, protein-packed dinner the whole family will love!
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Can you believe that this slow cooker beef stew is the first beef recipe on Ambitious Kitchen?! Truth be told, we didn’t grow up eating a lot of beef. My mom preferred a plant forward diet, but of course, always made my brother and I plenty of comfort foods that included chicken and fish.
However, during the winter months, I remember her making a deliciously cozy, tender beef stew that was rich, savory and packed with nourishing carrots, potatoes and peas. On the side, she’d serve a honey cornbread that we’d use to soak up all of the savory broth.
Why I love this beef stew
My mom’s best ever beef stew was one of my favorite comfort foods growing up and because I love to get a little nostalgic on you, I decided to make a slow cooker version for the blog.
And mmmmm hmmm hunny IT IS AMAZING. Perfect for Sunday night dinners, impressing your partner, serving with cornbread or a slice of toasted french bread and warming up during those cold winter nights. Trust me when I say: you need it!
What is beef stew?
Traditional beef stew is basically tender beef simmered in beef broth with potatoes, fresh herbs and a variety of veggies like carrots, celery & onion. We’re jazzing this beef stew recipe up with dry red wine and Worcestershire sauce for extra delicious flavor.
What type of beef is best for slow cooker beef stew?
This homemade beef stew recipe is best when made with lean cuts of beef that don’t contain as much fat. The longer the beef simmers and cooks, the more tender it will be thanks to the breakdown of connective tissue. You can learn more about why tougher meats are better for stews here. Tip: make sure you trim all the beef of excess fat before using!
Ingredients in slow cooker beef stew
This easy slow cooker beef stew recipe is filled with savory flavors, hearty potatoes and veggies to make it filling and delicious. Here’s what you’ll need to make it:
- Beef chuck: you’ll need about 3 pounds of beef chuck, which will end up about 2 1/2 pounds once you trim the excess fat off.
- Beef broth: you can use beef broth or beef bone broth in this recipe.
- Dry red wine: my recommendations are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Shiraz.
- Tomato paste: you’ll use some tomato paste to help thicken the broth and to give it a nice tang of sweetness.
- Worcestershire: the wonderful addition of Worcestershire gives this beef stew recipe an incredible savory umami flavor.
- Balsamic vinegar: helps to give the beef stew a little tang and sweetness.
- Fresh herbs: both garlic and thyme are used!
- Vegetables: onions, carrots, potatoes and peas are forever my favorite.
- Flour: this helps to thicken the stew once it’s done. You can use regular, whole wheat or gluten free all purpose flour.
Can I make it without wine?
Sure! Feel free to skip the dry red wine and just use more beef broth.
How to make beef stew in the slow cooker
Making this slow cooker beef stew is easier than you think!
- Prepare your beef. First, you’ll need to trim the beef of excess fat. After that you’ll saute the beef in a skillet until seared (you don’t need to cook it all the way); browning the meat just helps to create additional flavor so please don’t skip it.
- Add the liquids. Pour your beef broth, dry red wine, tomato paste, worcestershire, balsamic vinegar, thyme and salt and pepper into the bowl of your slow cooker. Stir together with the beef until combined.
- Veg it up. Next stir in the garlic, onion, carrots and potatoes. Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours. The longer it cooks, the better and more tender the stew will be.
- Thicken it. Once the stew is done, you’ll add in the flour and the peas and cook uncovered for another 15 minutes until the stew thickens up. If it’s too thick for your liking, just add a splash of beef broth!
- Enjoy! Serve with cornbread, crackers or biscuits. Enjoy a big bowl of deliciousness.
Tips for making the best beef stew
- Sear your beef beforehand. This is important! Browning the beef in a skillet beforehand will bring out even more flavor.
- Cook it on low. While many slow cooker recipes can be made on high for 3-4 hours, I highly recommend cooking this beef stew on low for the full 7-8 hours. This will ensure that the beef gets nice and tender.
- Thicken your stew properly. When it’s time to add your flour to thicken the beef stew, remove 1 cup of beef broth from the slow cooker and add it to a bowl. You’ll then whisk in ¼ cup flour until there aren’t any lumps, add back to the slow cooker and stir to combine. Be sure you don’t add flour straight to the slow cooker as it will become lumpy.
Storing & freezing tips
- To store: store any leftover crock pot beef stew in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. Simply reheat in the microwave or in a pot on the stovetop.
- To freeze: let the beef stew cool completely, transfer it to a freezer-safe container, and freeze for up to 3 months. To reheat, let the slow cooker beef stew thaw in the refrigerator overnight before heating it in the microwave or on the stovetop.
What to serve with beef stew
I can’t wait to hear what you think about this beef stew and if you love it as much as we do! I recommend serving it with my pumpkin cornbread muffins, my fabulous garlic bread recipe or any one of these recipes:
- Gluten Free Cornbread Muffins
- Warm Brussels Sprouts Salad
- Roasted Sweet Potato, Pear & Pomegranate Spinach Salad
- Balsamic Herb Sheet Pan Roasted Vegetables
- The Best Creamy Garlic Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes
- The Best Fluffy Moist Cornbread Recipe Ever
- Caramelized Garlic Carrots with Spicy Cilantro Yogurt Sauce
I hope you love this beef stew recipe! If you make it, please leave a comment and rate the recipe below to let me know how you liked it! xo.
Mom's Slow Cooker Beef Stew
Mom's best ever slow cooker beef stew recipe cooked to perfection with dry red wine, plenty of garlic & herbs and tender carrots and potatoes. This easy beef stew recipe is just like the classic one you grew up with and makes a delicious, protein-packed dinner the whole family will love!
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 pounds beef chuck, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1 inch pieces (about 2 1/2 pounds when done)
- Freshly ground salt and pepper
- 1 1/2 cups beef broth (or beef bone broth)
- 1 cup dry red wine (or sub extra beef broth)
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Lots of freshly ground black pepper
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 large yellow onion, cut into chunks
- 4 large carrots (or 5 medium), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch diagonal slices
- 1 pound yukon gold potatoes, diced into ½ inch cubes
- ¼ cup all purpose flour (or sub all purpose gluten free flour)
- 1 cup frozen peas
Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to a large skillet and place over medium high heat. Add beef, season with salt and pepper and brown in batches, so that you give the meat room for a nice sear. This should take about 5 minute per batch of meat. Transfer to large 6 or 8-quart slow cooker.
Next add in beef broth, dry red wine, tomato paste, worcestershire sauce, balsamic vinegar, thyme and salt and pepper. Stir together with the beef until combined, then add in garlic, onion chunks, carrots and diced potatoes. Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours or on high for 4-5 hours. I prefer to cook this slow and low so that the beef become really tender and the flavors have time to meld together.
Next, remove 1 cup of beef broth from the slow cooker and transfer to a medium bowl. Whisk in ¼ cup flour until there aren’t any lumps remaining. Add back to the slow cooker and stir to combine. Add in frozen peas and cook uncovered on HIGH for 10-15 more minutes until beef stew thickens up a bit. Serve immediately with toasted french bread, cornbread, crackers, or biscuits. Serves 6.
Feel free to use beef broth instead of red wine if that's what you prefer.
To store: store any leftover crock pot beef stew in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. Simply reheat in the microwave or in a pot on the stovetop.
To freeze: let the beef stew cool completely, transfer it to a freezer-safe container, and freeze for up to 3 months. To reheat, let the slow cooker beef stew thaw in the refrigerator overnight before heating it in the microwave or on the stovetop.
Recipe by: Monique Volz // Ambitious Kitchen | Photography by: Eat Love Eats
This post was originally published on December 9, 2020, and republished on December 14th, 2021.
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