Slow Cooker Low-Calorie Beef Stew

Slow cooker low-calorie beef stew

The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 8 hrs
Total: 8 hrs 10 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Yield: 6 cups
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
363 Calories
12g Fat
41g Carbs
26g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 363
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 12g 15%
Saturated Fat 4g 22%
Cholesterol 70mg 23%
Sodium 845mg 37%
Total Carbohydrate 41g 15%
Dietary Fiber 6g 22%
Total Sugars 11g
Protein 26g
Vitamin C 133mg 665%
Calcium 100mg 8%
Iron 4mg 24%
Potassium 1544mg 33%
*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.)

Nothing is better than a comforting beef stew on a cold winter's night. But most beef stew recipes can add up when it comes to the calorie count due to the typical "beef stew" cut of meat and rich beef stock. As a leaner but still flavorful alternative, this recipe uses top sirloin, which is a naturally leaner cut of meat. The high-calorie beef stock is replaced by water and tomato juice. But don't worry, there is no loss of taste. The slow cooking of the stew allows the flavors to meld and create a thick, hearty meal.

This slow-cooked beef stew makes an excellent meal for any weeknight or weekend, as almost all of the cooking time is unattended. It is a complete and delicious meal filled with carrots, potatoes, and tomatoes. If you prefer, serve the beef stew over butter noodles, with crusty bread, or even a bright and acidic salad.

Do take note of the recipe. The first step will cook in the slow cooker for one hour, more ingredients are added, and then the rest cooks for seven hours. While it's not a complete "set and forget" recipe, it's worth sticking around for the additional hour.


  • 1 pound top sirloin, cut into bite-sized pieces

  • 3 cups water

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced onion

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 4 large (about 1 1/2 pounds) Idaho potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces

  • 6 large (about 1 pound) carrots, peeled and sliced into bite-sized discs

  • 1 (15-ounce) can stewed tomatoes

  • 4 cups tomato juice

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for slow cooker low-calorie beef stew recipe gathered

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  2. Place the beef, water, and minced onion in a 4-quart slow cooker, and cook on high for 1 hour.

    Beef stew, water, and minced onion in a slow cooker

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  3. Add the remaining ingredients to the slow cooker, and cook on low for 7 hours, assuring that the meat and vegetables become tender.

    Low-calorie slow cooker beef stew with ladle

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

How to Store and Freeze

  • Save any leftovers in a sealed container in the refrigerator for four to five days.
  • Larger (or smaller lunch-sized) portions can be frozen in a sealed container for up to six months.

Is browning the meat necessary?

Many beef stew recipes call for browning the meat first to add another layer of flavor, but it isn't necessary. Some slow cookers have a sauté feature, which can be especially useful here. If you prefer to brown the meat, do that first. Either cook the pieces of beef in a tablespoon of canola or olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat until brown on all sides or brown the beef right in your slow cooker. Then either add the meat to the slow cooker with the water and onion or add the ingredients and turn on the slow cooker function.