Old Fashioned Beef Stew (Slow Cooker)

This old-fashioned slow-cooker beef stew recipe is a classic, offering a hearty and satisfying meal that’s perfect for cold winter evenings. With its rich flavor and tender beef, this stew is sure to become a family favorite in no time!

slow cooker beef stew with spoon

This surprisingly easy beef stew recipe is hearty and delicious. Imagine coming home to the comforting aroma of a rich, savory beef stew, all thanks to your slow cooker. It’s the perfect blend of convenience and classic, homemade flavor.

Love this slow-cooker beef stew? Then you’ll definitely want to try my mushroom stew, which offers a unique twist. And if you’re a fan of hearty stews, my slow cooker venison stew is a must-try. And for a stew with a thick, beefy broth, check out my vegetable beef soup recipe.

old fashioned beef stew recipe from newspaper

The original recipe comes from my grandma’s recipe box.  It looks like she found this old fashioned beef stew recipe in the newspaper.  I love a good newspaper recipe because they seem to always end in success.  Who would submit only their best?! This recipe reminds me of the slow cooker mac and cheese recipe I also found in an old newspaper.

Why I Love This Recipe

  • One-Pot Wonder: This beef stew is a complete meal in a single pot, making it a convenient and time-saving option.
  • Thick and Hearty: The stew is packed with ingredients, resulting in a thick, satisfying meal that’s perfect for a cold winter day.
  • Classic Flavors: This recipe uses traditional ingredients and cooking methods, resulting in a stew with timeless, comforting flavors. Trust me, it’s the perfect comfort food.
  • Easy: Despite its rich and savory results, this crockpot beef stew recipe is surprisingly easy to make, perfect for both beginner and experienced cooks.

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Key Ingredients

  • Beef Chuck Roast: This will be the star of our best beef stew, becoming beautifully tender and flavorful as it cooks. It’s the best beef stew meat you can use for this recipe.
  • All-Purpose Flour: It’s used to coat the beef, helping to thicken the stew as it cooks in the slow cooker.
  • Salt and Pepper: These common spices will enhance the overall flavor of the beef stew.
  • Paprika: This will add a subtle, smoky flavor to the stew.
  • Worcestershire Sauce: It will give the stew a rich, savory depth of flavor.
  • Beef Better than Bouillon: This concentrated beef base will add a robust beef flavor to the stew.
  • Minced Garlic: It will infuse the stew with a delicious, aromatic garlic flavor.
  • Bay Leaf: This will add a subtle, earthy flavor to the stew.
  • Carrots, Onions, Celery: These vegetables will add sweetness, tang, and crunch to the stew, respectively.
  • Potatoes: They will add a hearty, starchy component to the stew, making it a truly satisfying meal.

Equipment

  • Slow Cooker – This is the star of the show, where we’ll be using our delicious stew. It’s a one-pot wonder that makes this recipe incredibly easy to prepare.
  • Mixing Bowl – You’ll need to combine the flour, salt, pepper, and paprika before adding it to the slow cooker.

How to Make Old Fashioned Beef Stew

Preparation

Let’s start by preparing our main ingredient, the chuck roast. We’ll need to cut it into bite-sized pieces, or as we like to call them, stew meat.

seasoning mixed in bowl for beef stew
stew meat with flour in slow cooker

Step 1 – Coating the Beef

In a bowl, mix the flour, salt, pepper, and paprika. Then, add the cubbed chuck roast to the slow cooker and mix in the flour mixture to fully coat the stew meat. This step is crucial as it helps to thicken the stew and adds a comforting, classic flavor.

carrots, celery, onions, potatoes and all stew ingredients

Step 2 – Adding the Ingredients

Next, add the remaining ingredients to the slow cooker. This includes the carrots, onions, celery, and potatoes, which will all contribute to the stew’s rich, savory gravy. Add water, beef better than bouillon, minced garlic, and a bay leaf for extra flavor.

easy beef stew slow cooker ingredients

Step 3 – Cooking the Stew

Now, it’s time to cook your stew. I either cook it on low for 10-12 hours or on high for 4 to 6 hours. This slow cooking process will allow the beef and vegetables to simmer together, resulting in a stew that is tender and packed with classic flavors.

beef stew recipe crockpot fully cooked

Expert Tip

To ensure the best flavor for your old fashioned beef stew, I recommend using chuck roast for your stew meat. This cut has enough fat to bring even more flavor to the soup.

Recipe Variations

  • Spicier: If you like a bit of heat, try adding a dash of cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes to the flour mixture before coating the stew meat. You can also add a tablespoon of hot sauce for an extra kick.
  • Creamy: For a richer, creamier stew, stir in a cup of heavy cream or half-and-half during the last hour of cooking. You can also add a can of cream of mushroom soup for a deliciously creamy variation.
  • Fresh Herbs: While this slow cooker beef stew recipe calls for dried bay leaf, you can take it up a notch by adding a tablespoon of fresh thyme or rosemary. Just remember to remove the stems before serving.
old fashioned beef stew in slow cooker with spoon ladel

What to Serve With

  • For a hearty, classic meal, serve your crockpot beef stew with a side of crusty bread. The bread is perfect for soaking up the rich, flavorful broth, making sure none of the deliciousness goes to waste.
  • If you’re in the mood for a sweet treat after your savory stew, try serving it with a slice of apple pie. The tartness of the pie is a great complement to the savory stew, and it’s a classic combination that’s sure to please.
  • If you want a more balanced meal, you can serve the stew with a side salad. A simple green salad with a tangy vinaigrette will help cut through the richness of the stew, leaving you feeling satisfied but not overly full.

Recipe FAQs

What size slow cooker do I need to make this beef stew?

I used a four quart slow cooker and it was full to the max. You could use a 5 quart or 6 quart as well with no problems.

Do you have to cook the meat before putting it in the slow cooker?

No. You will cut the meat into bite-size cubbed pieces and then add them to the remaining ingredients in the slow cooker.

How do I thicken my slow cooker stew?

Because you bathe the beef in flour before cooking, it will work its magic while it slowly cooks to create a thick broth on its own. There’s no need to thicken it further.

What kind of beef do you use for beef stew?

I use stew meat, chuck roast, chuck shoulder, chuck-eye roast or top chuck to make my soup. I prefer chuck roast because it has enough fat to bring even more flavor to the soup.

Do you have to brown the beef before cooking it in the slow cooker?

No. For this crock pot beef stew recipe you do not need to brown the beef, first. If you really can’t help yourself, I would brown it after tossing it with the flour mixture.

What kind of beef bouillon do you use?

I only use Better Than Bouillon and I like the organic beef type because it has fewer fillers.

Storing and Reheating

  • Refrigerating: After serving your delicious beef stew, any leftovers can be stored in an airtight container and refrigerated. They’ll stay fresh for up to 3 days.
  • Freezing: Because the potatoes in the stew have a high water content, they don’t freeze well. However, you can freeze the rest of the stew and add fresh or canned potatoes when you reheat it.
  • Thawing: When you’re ready to enjoy your frozen stew, simply move it from the freezer to the refrigerator. Let it thaw for about 24 hours.

Serving Size

  • What to Expect: This old-fashioned beef stew slow cooker recipe will yield a hearty stew that serves six people with two cups of stew each.
  • How to Scale: If you want to serve more than six, you can easily double the recipe. Just make sure your slow cooker is large enough to accommodate the increased quantity. If not, you can cook in two separate batches and combine them before serving for the same delicious results.
slow cooker beef stew recipe
Created by: Lynette Rice

Slow Cooker Beef Stew


Course Soup
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 hours
Servings 12 Cups
12 Cups
This hearty slow cooker beef stew is packed with seasoned well with all the potatoes, chuck roast, onions, carrots and celery.  Just 4 to 6 hours in the slow cooker on high to get the full flavor.

Ingredients
  

  • 2 lbs chuck roast cubed
  • 1/2 Cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 Cups water
  • 2 teaspoons beef better than bouillon
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 carrots sliced
  • 2 onions chopped
  • 1 stalk of celery sliced
  • 3 medium potatoes diced

Instructions

  •  In a bowl, mix together the flour, salt, pepper and paprika.
  • Add the cubed chuck roast to the slow cooker.  Mix in the flour mixture to fully coat the stew meat.
  • Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.
  • Cook on low for 10-12 hours or high for 4 to 6 hours.

Notes

Expert Tip: To ensure the best flavor for your old fashioned beef stew, I recommend using chuck roast for your stew meat. This cut has enough fat to bring even more flavor to the soup.
Refrigerating: After serving your delicious beef stew, any leftovers can be stored in an airtight container and refrigerated. They’ll stay fresh for up to 3 days.
Freezing: Because the potatoes in the stew have a high water content, they don’t freeze well. However, you can freeze the rest of the stew and add fresh or canned potatoes when you reheat it.
Thawing: When you’re ready to enjoy your frozen stew, simply move it from the freezer to the refrigerator. Let it thaw for about 24 hours.  Reheat over the stove over medium-low heat.

Nutrition

Serving: 1Cup | Calories: 213kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 52mg | Sodium: 512mg | Potassium: 580mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 3431IU | Vitamin C: 13mg | Calcium: 37mg | Iron: 2mg

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Recipe Rating




31 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Made this for the first time! It’s cooking right now. Forgive me, I was surprised by only 1.5 cups of water. Will all the flavors mix together with this amount? Can I add more or will it dilute the taste? Thanks so much I can’t wait to try it!

    1. Lynette Rice says:

      The flavors do mix together and the meat and vegetables release their own juices. It is a stew, so it is thicker than a soup would be. If you find you like it thinner, you can add broth at the end. However, our family loves it as is with the recipe. Enjoy!

  2. Jeanne F Hoag says:

    5 stars
    This was so tasty/good. We loved it. There’s just one thing – it needs more juice.

  3. This is how I’ve been making mine for the last few years since I got a slow cooker. While the rest of the world cooed over the air fryer, I was picking up my 1st 7qt slow cooker and hunting down recipes to use it with. So far, I’ve made beef stew, such as this one, stuffed peppers, chili, and a few other that I can’t think of offhand. This was, by far, my kids’ favorite. And I’m about to make it again tomorrow. I usually do most of the prep work the night before and set it in the fridge in a large bowl of water, in the morning I deal with the meat and broth, pour the drained veggies over the meat, then add the broth and cover. Come home after about 12-13 hours away and boom….I got dinner I don’t have to cook.

    1. Lynette Rice says:

      So glad you enjoy this recipe!

  4. I’ve made your recipe before and it was wonderful!! But this time my meat is still a little frozen, do you think I can still put it in the crockpot and it cook fine? Thank you in advance 😊

    1. Lynette Rice says:

      Sure! It will be fine if the meat is still a little frozen. 🙂

  5. What do you use for the liquid base?

  6. 5 stars
    Can you do this same recipe on the stove?

    1. I don’t see why not, it will need to cook long and slow to break the fibers in the meat so that they are tender.

  7. I have smoked paprika , should I use ?

    1. Absolutely! Sounds delicious!