Old-Fashioned Slow Cooker Beef Stew Recipe

Old-Fashioned Slow Cooker Beef Stew
The Spruce
Ratings (65)
  • Total: 21 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 6 mins
  • Yield: 6 to 8 Servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
496 Calories
19g Fat
41g Carbs
39g Protein
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This is an old-fashioned beef stew for the slow cooker. The stew is flavored with a variety of basic pantry herbs and seasonings, along with garlic, onion, and vegetables. 

The liquid is low-sodium beef broth, but feel free to replace part of the broth or stock with a good quality red wine. See below for the variations for more ingredient substitutions and add-ins.

The seasoned beef will add more flavor to the stew if it is first seared, but if you are pressed for time you can skip that step.


  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika (divided)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 pounds stew beef (lean chuck)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion (cut into chunks)
  • 1 clove garlic (minced)
  • 2 cups beef stock (unsalted or low sodium)
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 bay leaves (medium-sized)
  • 6 carrots (cut into 1/2-inch pieces)
  • 6 medium potatoes (cut into 1/2-inch pieces)
  • 1/3 cup cold water
  • 3 tablespoons flour

Steps to Make It

  1. Combine the 3/4 cup of flour, 1 teaspoon of paprika, and the garlic powder in a food storage bag; add stew beef and toss to coat.

  2. Heat the vegetable oil or olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.

  3. Brown the seasoned and coated beef in the hot oil, turning to sear the beef on all sides. Transfer the browned beef to the crockery insert of a slow cooker.

  4. Add the onion, garlic, stock, salt, lemon juice, sugar, Worcestershire sauce, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of paprika, the black pepper, bay leaves, carrots, and potatoes. See the variations below for other possible vegetable additions.

  5. Cook the beef stew on the LOW setting for about 7 to 9 hours, or until the beef and vegetables are tender. Alternatively, cook the stew on HIGH for about 3 to 4 hours.

  6. About 30 minutes before serving, combine the 3 tablespoons of flour and water; stir to make a smooth paste.

  7. Add the flour and water mixture to the crock pot. Turn the heat setting to high and cook for about 20 to 30 minutes, or until the broth has thickened.


  • Replace about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the beef stock with red wine, such as a cabernet, merlot, or burgundy (pinot noir).

  • Add 1/2 cup to 1 cup of diced rutabaga to the stew mixture along with the potatoes and carrots.

  • Add 1/2 cup to 1 cup of sliced celery to the stew along with the other vegetables.

  • Add a handful of peeled pearl onions or frozen pearl onions to the stew along with the other vegetables.

  • Add about 6 to 8 ounces of sliced or small whole mushrooms (fresh or canned and drained) to the stew along with the vegetables.

  • Add frozen peas, mixed vegetables, or cut green beans to the slow cooker about 30 minutes before the stew is done.

Other Slow Cooker Stew Recipes: