Slow-Cooker Beef Stew

Total Time

Prep: 25 min. Cook: 7 hours


8 servings (2 quarts)

Updated: Jan. 09, 2024
When there's a chill in the air, nothing beats this beef stew. Seasoned with thyme and dry mustard, the hearty slow-cooker beef stew is chock-full of tender carrots, potatoes and meat. —Earnestine Wilson, Waco, Texas


  • 1-1/2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 6 medium carrots, cut into 1-inch lengths
  • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
  • 3 celery ribs, coarsely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) beef broth
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon browning sauce, optional
  • Minced fresh thyme, optional


  1. Layer the potatoes, carrots, onion and celery in a 5-qt. slow cooker. Place flour in a large shallow dish. Add stew meat; turn to coat evenly. In a large skillet, brown meat in oil in batches. Place over vegetables.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, broth, mustard, salt, pepper, thyme and, if desired, browning sauce. Pour over beef. Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours, or until the meat and vegetables are tender. If desired, sprinkle with fresh thyme before serving.
Slow-Cooker Beef Stew Tips

Can you put raw beef in the slow cooker?

It is perfectly safe to add raw beef to a slow cooker. However, if the beef is frozen, be sure to thaw it in the refrigerator overnight to ensure safe cooking temperatures.

Do you have to brown beef before slow-cooking?

While beef can certainly be added directly to a slow cooker, stew meat that has been browned first gets added flavor from the caramelization. Searing the meat also helps to lock in the juices to keep it from drying out. Beef that has been dredged in flour before browning aids in thickening the stew as well. We recommend browning the beef in several of our most popular beef stew recipes for your slow cooker.

Does beef stew get more tender the longer it cooks?

Yes. Meat used in beef stew and other braises needs a long and slow cooking time. This ensures delicious, fork-tender results. Acid—from canned tomatoes, wine or a little vinegar—can also help break down the meat fibers when you’re braising.

Can you overcook stew in a slow cooker?

A slow-cooked stew is pretty forgiving, but cooking beyond the point of tenderness can dry out the meat as well as the cooking juices and sauce. If serving is delayed, switch your slow cooker to warm until you're ready to eat.

What do you serve with beef stew?

Nothing beats hot homemade bread with a bowl of stew, and you don’t have to be an expert baker to make a loaf. Try one of these easy bread recipes for beginners to get started. Mashed potatoes and polenta are also delicious side dishes for stew.

Catherine Ward, Taste of Home Prep Kitchen Manager and Christine Rukavena, Taste of Home Book Editor

Nutrition Facts

1 cup: 272 calories, 12g fat (3g saturated fat), 53mg cholesterol, 541mg sodium, 23g carbohydrate (6g sugars, 4g fiber), 19g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 2 lean meat, 1-1/2 starch, 1 fat.