This easy slow cooker beef stew recipe is the ultimate family comfort food. It is filled with beef, potatoes, onions, carrots and peas for the perfect one pot meal. Made with fresh or frozen vegetables it is an excellent way to feed a crowd with little effort.
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Stew is one of my favorite comfort meals and a dinner that my family always enjoys. It is easy to make, either in a slow cooker like this recipe or in a pressure cooker. If are looking for a pressure cooker recipe check out my apple cider Instant Pot beef stew recipe or my Instant Pot pork stew!
This easy slow cooker beef stew recipe is one I have made for years. I enjoy making new recipes, but it is also good to have old favorite recipes that you know you can depend on and make easily.
This recipe isn’t fancy, but it is simple to make, inexpensive and a great way to feed a lot of people. It is also an excellent recipe to make ahead of time because it tastes delicious reheated.
Easy Beef Stew Shortcuts
I keep this recipe quick and easy by using simple shortcuts with the vegetables.
- Baby carrots – Instead of peeling and chopping carrots I use baby carrots in this recipe. They are a nice small size, so I just have to open the bag. Sometimes I chop them in half and sometimes I leave them whole. Alternately you can use Frozen carrots in this recipe.
- Frozen pearl onions – I love pearl onions in stews, not just because they save me from chopping onions but also because they add interest to the finished dish.
- Frozen peas – No one in my family likes peas much on their own, but we eat them in stews. Adding peas before serving is an easy way to make the stew even more nutritious and the green color adds a nice contrast to the stew.
- Italian seasoning – Another way I keep things easy is just using Italian seasoning to flavor the stew, rather than fool around with individually measured out spices.
That just leaves the potatoes, which do need to be peeled and chopped into bite sized pieces. So I have to do a little bit of prep work, but not much.
Best Beef for Stew?
There are two ways you can go with beef for stew – either buy chuck roast and chop it yourself or buy a package of stew beef. I have done both, but I prefer to use chuck roast for a few reasons.
First of all it is cheaper to buy a chuck roast and cut it into cubes. You pay for the convenience of having someone else chop the meat. Secondly chuck roast is an excellent cut of beef for stew.
Chuck roast has a lot of fat marbled throughout the meat. This helps tenderize the meat as it cooks and makes for a delicious stew.
Pre-cut stew beef is sometimes made from chuck roast, but sometimes made from round steak which doesn’t get as tender. Additionally I feel that the pre-cut stew beef is often cut into pieces that are too large. So every time I buy it I end up cutting the pieces smaller, which kind of defeats the purpose of buying it in the first place.
Why Brown the Beef?
Another way you could make this quicker is to skip browning the beef, but I don’t recommend skipping this step. Browning the beef activates the Maillard reaction, which is a chemical reaction inside the beef that really improves the flavor.
Beef that has been browned will taste better and add a depth to the flavor. So it is worth the extra step of getting a frying pan dirty and browning the meat.
How to Make Beef Stew
1. Brown the Beef
Heat a frying pan over medium heat. Add oil to the frying pan and brown the beef quickly, stirring so all sides of the beef are browned. If necessary work in batches so the frying pan isn’t too crowded with meat.
Once the meat is mostly browned add the flour to the frying pan and stir to coat the meat in the flour. Continue to cook, stirring for 2 minutes.
2. Use the Slow Cooker
Dump the beef and flour mixture into a slow cooker. Add the broth, carrots, onions, potatoes, Italian seasoning and salt and stir to mix everything. Don’t add the peas!
Turn the slow cooker on and cook on low for 4-6 hours. I don’t like to cook this on my slow cooker’s high setting, I think the beef is more tender with a lower cooking temperature and the vegetables have a better texture.
If I don’t have 4-6 hours to make stew I will use a pressure cooker recipe, not this recipe.
3. Add the Peas
A few minutes before you are ready to serve dinner stir the peas into the stew. Put the lid back on the slow cooker and continue to let it cook for 5-10 minutes.
Make Ahead Meal
This beef stew is a great recipe to make ahead of time. It tastes delicious when it is reheated. If you are planning to serve it later let it cool for 30-45 minutes, then store it in an air tight container. It will keep for 4-5 days in the refrigerator or can be frozen for up to 3 months.
To reheat the stew thaw overnight in the refrigerator if frozen. Then heat on low heat for about 20 minutes to warm the stew.
What to Serve with Beef Stew
I usually serve my stew over rice, but it is also great served with egg noodles or crusty rolls. I also sometimes just serve it by itself, although rice or egg noodles is a great way to extend the dinner to serve even more people.
With this easy beef stew recipe you can have a family dinner ready without a lot of expense or effort. Stew is the ultimate one pot meal!
Find More Slow Cooker Recipes
- 2 Tablespoon cooking oil
- 2 pounds beef chuck cut into pieces or beef stew meat
- 2 Tablespoon flour
- 2 cup pearl onions, frozen
- 2 baby carrots, or frozen
- 2 pounds potatoes, peeled and chopped
- 2 cup beef broth
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 2 cups peas, frozen
Slow Cooker Recipe
- Heat a frying pan on medium heat. Add the oil and brown the beef with salt and pepper until brown on all sides. Don't crowd the pan and brown the meat in two batches if necessary.
- Once the beef is browned stir in the flour into the frying pan and cook for two more minutes.
- Put the beef and flour mixture in the slow cooker. Add the onions, carrots, potatoes, broth, salt and Italian seasoning. Don't add the peas. Stir to mix the ingredients well.
- Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 4-6 hours.
- Remove the lid and stir the peas into the stew. Then cover the stew and cook on low for 5-10 minutes.
Nutrition facts are estimates.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 440Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 123mgSodium: 587mgCarbohydrates: 37gFiber: 6gSugar: 6gProtein: 47g
Nutrition facts are estimates.