Old-Fashioned Slow Cooker Beef Stew Recipe

Old-Fashioned Slow Cooker Beef Stew
The Spruce
Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 6 mins
Total: 21 mins
Servings: 6 to 8 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
496 Calories
19g Fat
41g Carbs
39g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 to 8
Amount per serving
Calories 496
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 19g 25%
Saturated Fat 6g 29%
Cholesterol 105mg 35%
Sodium 796mg 35%
Total Carbohydrate 41g 15%
Dietary Fiber 6g 22%
Protein 39g
Calcium 140mg 11%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(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.


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  • 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. Gather the ingredients.

    slow cooker beef stew recipe
     The Spruce
  2. 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.

    slow cooker beef stew recipe
     The Spruce
  3. Heat the vegetable oil or olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.

  4. 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.

    slow cooker beef stew recipe
     The Spruce
  5. 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.

    slow cooker beef stew recipe
     The Spruce
  6. 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.

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

    slow cooker beef stew recipe
     The Spruce
  8. 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.

    slow cooker beef stew recipe
    The Spruce 

Recipe Variations

  • 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.
  • For a low-calorie version, try this Slow Cooker Low Calorie Beef Stew recipe.
  • If you want to try a version with beer, try this Crockpot Beef and Beer Stew recipe.