Slow Cooker Beef Stew: A Hearty Comfort Food Classic

There’s something undeniably comforting about a warm bowl of stew on a chilly day. The slow cooker makes preparing this classic dish even easier, letting the flavors develop over time while you go about your day. Here’s a basic guide to get you started:


  • 2 pounds stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: 1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons cold water (for thickening)


  1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Season beef with salt and pepper. Sear the beef in batches until browned on all sides. Transfer to the slow cooker.
  2. Add onion, carrots, celery, and garlic to the skillet and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
  3. Add the cooked vegetables, beef broth, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, thyme, rosemary, and bay leaf to the slow cooker. Stir to combine.
  4. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours, or on high for 4-6 hours, or until the beef is tender and falling apart.
  5. Remove the bay leaf. If desired, thicken the stew whisking the cornstarch mixture into the pot and simmering for a few minutes until thickened.
  6. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot with crusty bread, mashed potatoes, or rice


  • For a richer flavor, brown the beef in batches with butter instead of olive oil.
  • You can add other vegetables to the stew, such as potatoes, green beans, or peas.
  • If you don’t have fresh herbs, use 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme and 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary instead.
  • For a thicker stew, add mashed potatoes or cooked barley to the pot in the last hour of cooking.
  • Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months.

Additional notes:

  • Cooking times may vary depending on your slow cooker.
  • Be sure to use a slow cooker that is large enough to hold all of the ingredients.
  • Do not lift the lid of the slow cooker while it is cooking, as this can release heat and prolong the cooking time.