With the colder weather out there, it’s time to take a load off your dinner prep and let your slow cooker do all the work. This old fashioned beef stew recipe is a family favorite for a reason. I have an easy time in the kitchen and the family loves coming in from the cold to steaming hot beef stew with vegetables that warms us inside and out.
Best Beef Stew Recipe
The best beef stew recipes only look complex. Don’t run from the ingredient list though! This recipe has just 2 steps and a bounty of fresh, wholesome ingredients. You’ll basically dump it all in your crock pot or slow cooker and discover a hot and soothing dinner at the end of your day.
Ingredients in Beef Stew
- Boneless beef chuck – this is the meat to use for your beef stew.
- Potatoes – baby Yukon potatoes are best but you can use what you have on-hand. Russet potatoes are my second choice.
- Carrots and onions – each of these adds flavor, texture, and nutrition to your stew. Some recipes call for celery although I have found in this recipe it makes little difference.
- Beef broth – helps make the stew more stew-y. Use low sodium beef broth if you’re seeking a healthier option.
- Red wine – an obvious requirement for any beef stew with red wine. Wine tenderizes the meat and adds more depth in flavor. I love adding Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot for flavor.
- Fresh parsley – the finishing touch that brings this fresh meal together.
Easy Beef Stew Recipe
While there are a lot of ingredients, they are likely already in your kitchen. This crockpot beef stew takes just a little prep time and then the cooking is all done by your slow cooker. What a great time to be alive for this easy beef stew recipe!
Apparently you can’t use ‘beefstew’ as a password. Its not stroganoff.
How to Make Beef Stew from Scratch
It’s amazing that our grandmothers and great-grandmothers did all this stuff from scratch all the time. But with a slow cooker beef stew recipe, you can reduce your workload tremendously. All you do is brown the beef and cut up the veggies. Then you add it all to the slow cooker. Don’t forget to turn it on and voila! Dinner will be waiting for you!
Expert Tips and Tricks for the Perfect Beef Stew Every Time
- Sear that beef! – It gives it such a wonderful flavor plus locks in the moisture for the cooking process.
- Low & Slow is key – Go for a longer time if possible by setting it to cook on low for 8 hours rather than on high for 4. Slow cooking will make the meat fork tender.
- Thicken to right consistency – Don’t forget the flour to thicken it up or it will be more like soup instead of stew. If you do not have flour, you can quickly use a cornstarch slurry to thicken the stew.
- Parsley at end – Dried spices and other beef stew seasoning like the thyme in this recipe go in at the beginning, but keep that fresh parsley out of there until you’re ready to serve! Feel free to also add a few bay leaves if you like the taste.
- Go for balsamic! – Use balsamic vinegar instead of red wine vinegar. The flavor boost is incredible.
How to Cook Beef Stew
Cooking beef stew is simple. You will brown the meat, then you will add it and the other ingredients to your slow cooker. This beef stew crock pot recipe couldn’t be easier!
How to cook beef stew meat?
Beef stew meat is always best when cooked slowly at lower temperatures. That’s because this particular cut of beef is tough. The longer it cooks, the more it breaks down and becomes tender in texture.
How long does it take to cook stew meat?
Your slow cooker is the best place for this beef stew. You can cook it on high for 4 hours though the best way to ensure its tender and full of flavor is to set it on low for 8 hours.
How to make beef stew in crock pot?
Making beef stew in a crock pot is as simple as following this recipe. It will take about 30 minutes to prep it but from there, you get a break from the kitchen, making this an easy yet impressive recipe.
How do you make beef stew meat tender?
In this simple beef stew recipe, you don’t have to worry about your meat being tender. It allows for plenty of cooking time. This slow and low cooking process helps break down the meat, rendering it a tender texture.
Should you boil potatoes before putting them in stew?
No, if you boil potatoes before they can become mushy. Cooking them in the slow cooker with the stew will tenderize them perfectly while you go about your day.
Do you cook beef stew covered or uncovered?
Typically with slow cooker beef stew recipe, you keep it covered. It’s the best way to lock in all those flavors so they meld together for a delicious meal!
How to thicken beef stew?
In this beef stew recipe, flour is added in before you put the lid on your slow cooker. This will thicken it up plenty for a hearty and rich meal you’ll love.
How do you make stew meat taste better?
Adding in plenty of aromatics and flavors will make your stew meat taste amazing. This recipe uses Cabernet Sauvignon, balsamic vinegar, beef broth, tomato paste, garlic, fresh parsley, and dried thyme to make it super-flavorful.
What can I add to beef stew for flavor?
Beef stew flavors come from garlic, thyme, salt, pepper, and all the other ingredients in there. If you follow this recipe, you will have wonderfully flavorful beef stew. Worcestershire sauce and kosher salt can also add a more bold flavor to beef stew.
Is homemade beef stew good for you?
Yes, it certainly is because it has all nutritious ingredients in one pot. It’s the easiest way to get the kids to eat something healthy.
What can I use stew meat for besides stew?
If you didn’t use all your stew meat for your beef stew, you can always make beef stroganoff or stewed beef tips. These will be great over noodles or rice.
What to Serve with Beef Stew (Side Dishes)
Crusty bread is always a great choice to serve with a traditional beef stew recipe because you can dunk the bread in the stew. We also like mashed potatoes (especially the children!) which is fun to pour beef stew on top of. Salads and steamed green veggies like frozen peas can round out your meal too. Work with whatever is seasonally fresh in your location for a wholesome meal.
How to Store Beef Stew
Leftover beef stew is the best, but don’t let it go to waste. Put it in airtight containers in the fridge for 3 to 4 days max.
Can You Freeze Beef Stew?
And if you have any beef stew left after that, put it in the freezer. It will keep for 3 months, making it a wonderful standby on a busy night.
How to Reheat Frozen Beef Stew
Reheating it is easy. You should take it out the night before and pop it in the fridge. If you forget, you can always put the container or bag in a bowl of cold water until it gets loose enough. From there, use your stove top to heat it up. You can also put it in the slow cooker on low to keep it warm until you get home. For one portion, you can microwave it but that’s not the best way to enjoy your beef stew.
Classic Beef Stew Recipe
- 3 lbs boneless beef chuck roast (cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces)
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 4 large carrots (peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks)
- 2 medium yellow onions (cut into 1 inch chunks)
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 1/2 tbsp tomato paste
- 4 tbsp crushed garlic cloves
- 1 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 2 cups beef broth
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups red wine (cabernet sauvignon)
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 lb baby yukon potatoes (cut in half)
- 2 tbsp fresh parsley (chopped for garnish)
- Remove the beef from the refrigerator, pat dry with paper towels, and season with your teaspoons salt and pepper. In a large pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-high heat until the oil is nice and hot. Sear the meat in batches, turning carefully with tongs, adding about one more tablespoon of olive oil for each section. Once the meat has been evenly seared with a brown crust, place the meat and any browned bits on a separate dish to the side.
- In a crock pot (or dutch oven), add the onions, garlic, balsamic vinegar, tomato paste, red wine, beef broth, water, dried thyme, sugar, carrots, and baby yukon potatoes and stir. Add the beef stew meat to the crock pot mixture and spread in the flour evenly. Cook (simmer) on low heat in the crock pot for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours. Stir occasionally scraping the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to incorporate all flavors. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve immediately.
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