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This Crockpot beef stew is a slow cooker classic! It’s simple to throw together and so hearty for a warming family meal on a chilly or rainy day, and there’s no fancy ingredients needed.

You may also like my similar Stovetop Beef Stew or Instant Pot Beef Stew recipes for alternative cooking methods.

closeup of a slow cooker with beef stew and a wooden spoon

Why you’ll love it

This thick, cozy slow cooker beef stew is a super easy set-it-and-forget-it kinda recipe. It takes minimal effort to prep, and next thing you know, a traditional dinner from scratch is ready when you’re back home from work!

The best part might be how the beef melts in your mouth, but the tender potatoes and veggies are a close second. The build-up of flavor is incredible considering we’re using just a few pantry staples. You really don’t need much to create that amazing slow-cooked taste.

What you’ll need

  • Beef – use pre-cut boneless beef stewing cubes or chuck (you may need to cut it up yourself). Avoid anything extra lean.
  • Olive oil – for sautéing
  • Onion and celery – sweet (Vidalia) onions are our favorite, but yellow or white work too
  • Garlic – to mince garlic, this garlic press makes it hassle free
  • Potatoes and carrots – Our star veggies. Yukon gold potatoes are the variety we picked since they’re waxy and hold up great for slow cooking.
  • Beef broth – for that deep, rich flavor
  • Tomato paste – the concentrated taste adds a special something-something
  • Worcestershire sauce – my not-so-secret ingredient and the key to giving the sauce a really deep and satisfying umami flavor. Don’t skip it!
  • Salt & pepper – it’s important to be fairly generous with stews and soups
  • Bay leaves – my other go-to ingredient. They’re very fragrant and a favorite in stews.
  • Cornstarch – it’s optional, but it will thicken it up
ingredients for slow cooker beef stew on a countertop

What kind of beef to use

  • Our kitchen used the pre-cut meat labeled “beef stewing cubes” or similar at your meat counter. Look for a fair amount of marbling (fat) and that it doesn’t look too lean, or the meat will won’t be as tender.
  • Cutting up a beef chuck roast works too will and produce really tender meat. Top or bottom round cuts or even short ribs are good as well.
  • Whatever you use, the searing step adds so much texture and flavor, so make sure to do it!

How to make slow cooker beef stew

This is an overview with step-by-step photos. Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.

browning beef and onions in a skillet

Sear half of the beef cubes in a skillet with the olive oil so they’re not overcrowded, and then transfer to a plate. Brown the second batch of beef. Transfer all of the meat and any juices to the slow cooker. In the skillet, fry the onion and garlic, then add to the Crockpot.

beef stew in a slow cooker before and after cooking

Add the remaining ingredients to the Crockpot apart from the bay leaves and cornstarch. Toss well. Gently add the bay leaves in, and cook on low until the beef is tender, about 10 hours. To make it thicker, add a cornstarch slurry if desired. That’s it!

Pro tips

  • I recommend cooking it for the suggested full 10 hours on low since stewing beef needs time to get tender, so you’ll get better results than cooking it on high for a shorter period. It’s worth it for those delicious concentrated flavors.
  • Cut the potatoes and carrots larger for that chunky consistency. If they’re too small, they’re going to get lost in that 10-hour cook time.
  • If your bay leaves have been sitting in the cupboard for a while, take a trip to the grocery store. They’re liable to lose flavor over time!

Substitutions and variations

  • You could use Russet potatoes, but keep in mind that they’ll fall apart more, and then you may opt to not add the cornstarch slurry. Red potatoes would be your best bet if not using Yukon golds.
  • Add some frozen peas in towards the end of cooking time for a pop of color and more vegetables.
  • Replace some of the beef broth with red wine for a touch of elegance! I suggest between 1/2-1 cup or so.
  • Add a half teaspoon or so of Italian seasoning for a more herby flavor, or use a few sprigs of fresh thyme if you’ve got it on hand. This stew is flexible.

What to serve with beef stew

Leftovers and storage

  • Store leftovers in the refrigerator for 3-4 days in an airtight container.
  • Beef stew freezes well! I like to portion it up in individual containers for easy meals anytime and keep in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  • You can either thaw it overnight or reheat from frozen, thawing over a very low heat while stirring occasionally until warmed through.
a bowl of slow cooker beef stew

Hope you enjoy this easy beef stew recipe as much as I did! Questions, or did you make it? Talk to me in the comments below and leave a star rating and review.

closeup of a slow cooker with beef stew and a wooden spoon
4.81 from 46 votes

Crockpot Beef Stew Recipe

This Crockpot beef stew is a slow cooker classic! It's simple to throw together and so hearty for a warming family meal on a chilly or rainy day, and there's no fancy ingredients needed.
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 10 hours
Total: 10 hours 20 minutes
Servings: 6


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil divided
  • 2 pounds boneless stewing beef cubes or chuck
  • 1/2 medium onion chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes peeled & diced (fairly large bite-size pieces)
  • 4 large carrots peeled & cut into fairly large bite-size pieces
  • 3 sticks celery chopped
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Pepper to taste 
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch optional


  • Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil to a skillet and sear half the beef cubes (brown them on all sides) over medium-high heat. Transfer to a plate and then add the remaining oil to the skillet and brown the second batch. Once all the beef is seared, transfer it (and any juices on the plate) to your slow cooker.
  • Add the onion to the skillet and cook for 3-4 minutes, then stir in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Transfer the skillet contents to the Crockpot.
  • Add the remaining ingredients (except for the bay leaves and cornstarch) to your slow cooker. Stir/toss well.
  • Gently add the bay leaves in. Cook on low for 10 hours or until the beef is tender.
  • Optional: to give the stew a thicker consistency, mix the cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of cold water, stir it into the stew, and then cook until it's thickened up a bit (give it 10 minutes or so).


  • Update for 2022 – This recipe has been tweaked to make it more delicious and with the optional cornstarch addition. Here’s the original recipe from 2018 if you loved it as-is.
  • I suggest cooking this on low for the 10 hours vs. on high for less time. Stewing beef is not tender, and slow cooking it gives it a chance to tenderize. If using chuck, you may get away with less than 10 hours.
  • This recipe freezes well. 
  • This is the 7-quart Crockpot I used to make this recipe. 
  • Want to make this in your Instant Pot? Try the Instant Pot version instead. Or try my Stovetop Beef Stew.


Calories: 380kcal, Carbohydrates: 27g, Protein: 38g, Fat: 13g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 7g, Cholesterol: 94mg, Sodium: 1215mg, Potassium: 1370mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 7g, Vitamin A: 7242IU, Vitamin C: 26mg, Calcium: 81mg, Iron: 5mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

© Salt & Lavender Inc. Content and photographs are copyrighted. Sharing this blog post is much appreciated, but copying and pasting full recipes without authorization to social media is strictly prohibited.

Leave a star rating and comment below!

This recipe was originally published on January 17, 2018. It’s been tweaked to be even easier, tastier, and has new photos!

Hi! I’m Natasha.

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  1. Kar says:

    How long will this be good on the “keep warm” setting? I’m making it for a pot luck and need to start the night before

    1. Natasha says:

      Hi! Generally 2-4 hours is the guideline for food safety reasons.

      1. Kar says:

        5 stars
        This recipe was so simple and it turned out amazing I received so many compliments!

        1. Natasha says:

          That’s great to hear!! 😀 Thank you, Kar!

  2. Charlene Forney says:

    5 stars
    Made the stew yesterday. It was absolutely delicious. The gravy was Devine. Best stew I have ever had EVER. Perfect in every way. Thank you. And it was simple ingredients and so easy to make.

    1. Natasha says:

      That’s so nice to hear, Charlene!! 😀 Thank you so much for your glowing review! XO

  3. Wanda Beckett says:

    5 stars
    I love this recipe. I have made it several times. Each time a hit. 🙏

    1. Natasha says:

      Wonderful!! Thanks for your review, Wanda!

  4. Nadia Dodson says:

    4 stars
    What would you use instead of Worcestershire sauce? Worried about my kids allergies with the anchovy. Thanks!

    1. Natasha says:

      I’d probably just leave it out. There isn’t really a good sub that I know of. You may need to add more salt at the end.

    2. Anna says:

      Kitchen Bouquet would work.

  5. Georgia Zagaros says:

    5 stars
    Absolutely wonderful! This was my first time making and trying beef stew. Delicious flavor and another hit from salt and lavender.

    1. Natasha says:

      Yay!! I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Georgia!! 😀 Thanks for your review!

  6. Mariah Richardson says:

    5 stars
    I Made this for me and my husband for dinner followed the recipe down to the last thing the meat came out, so tender delicious and it made our apartment smell amazing for 10 hours !!! Definitely my go to recipe I crave it on a cold day. Thank you so much for this delicious recipe.

    1. Natasha says:

      I’m thrilled it was a hit, Mariah!! 😀 Thanks for your 5-star review!

  7. Brenda Hedrick says:

    5 stars
    This is the best beef stew ever,it took 8hrs every thing was tender thank you Natasha for this recipe ❤️

    1. Natasha says:

      Aww I’m thrilled you enjoyed it, Brenda! 😀 Appreciate your review!

  8. JenniferB says:

    5 stars
    I’ve made this several times now…sooo yum! Hubby is away on the road constantly, which means I bulk cook this by doubling/tripling the recipe. Great to freeze in meal portions. 😍

    1. Natasha says:

      Aww I’m thrilled to hear that, Jennifer! Thank you! 😀

  9. Angelica says:

    5 stars
    So freaking good! I’ve made it 3 times and follow the exact recipe except omit the celery. Is the 380 calories per serving or for the entire meal?

    1. Natasha says:

      Hi! I’m thrilled to hear you like it! 🙂 Thanks for letting me know. The 380 is for 1/6 of the recipe.

  10. Brenda Williams says:

    I used Dei Fratelli seasoned diced tomatoes . Reduced the amount of water. I used bullion cubes for my beef broth. My husband loved the flavor

    1. Natasha says:

      Great! 🙂