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Slow-Cooker Beef Stew

When there's a chill in the air, nothing beats this Crock-Pot beef stew. Seasoned with thyme and dry mustard, the hearty slow-cooked stew is chock-full of tender carrots, potatoes and beef. —Earnestine Wilson, Waco, Texas
  • Total Time
    Prep: 25 min. Cook: 7 hours
  • Makes
    8 servings (2 quarts)


  • 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


  • 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.
  • 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 before slow cooking to ensure safe cooking temperatures.

Do I 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 that happens during browning. Searing or browning 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. Try one of our most popular beef stew recipes for your slow cooker.

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.

How do you make beef stew meat tender?

The tougher cuts of meat used for stew need to cook low and slow to break down and tenderize. A little acid in the stew can also help break down the fibers in the meat. That acid can come from canned tomatoes or a little red wine vinegar.

Research contributed by Catherine Ward, Taste of Home Prep Kitchen Manager
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.

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  • Joyce
    Mar 17, 2021

    Added mushrooms at the end of cooking, it was delicious. Will make it again.

  • dcscake_OH
    Feb 16, 2021

    Great Recipe, did not use browning sauce. Added peas after it was mostly cooked. Very good. Will make again.

  • Carole22
    Dec 30, 2020

    Best Beef Stew recipe. Love the flavors. I used pearl onions instead of chopped onion. Delicious.

  • gailg112
    Dec 30, 2020

    I really wanted to like this, but it was very bland for our taste. It needed a lot more seasoning to make it taste like something. I won't make it again.

  • Lowcalmama
    Nov 16, 2020

    Best stew we have ever had!

  • 4053lauren
    Mar 8, 2020

    Best beef stew I've ever had or made!

  • Barbara
    Feb 9, 2020

    Haven't tried this yet, but when I do I will use a chuck roast that I will cut up in bite size pieces. I stopped using stew meat a long time ago because I could never get them tender-bad quality at the markets I guess.

  • thebigapple
    Jan 23, 2020

    This was a good recipe and I will definitely make it again. I had organic red potatoes so didn't bother to peel them. I also didn't do the pre-browning step with the meat but it still turned out great. This recipe is a keeper.

  • sjpoor
    Jan 9, 2020

    Tried this last night and we were impressed with how good it is. I did add a can of mushrooms and used Jalapeno diced tomatoes that I had on hand. It was really snappy! Will definitely make this again. Just loved being able to put it all in the crock pot and go about the day with dinner ready when we were. Served with Southern recipe biscuits. Next time will try making cornbread to go with it.

  • Ann
    Dec 22, 2019

    I made this without the dry mustard. I also made same egg noodles for those who wanted to add them to their stew! Delicious!