Slow Cooker Beef and Sweet Potato Stew

I love a good beef stew. And this smoky, flavorful version is deeeelicious. It kind of takes classic Beef Stew from traditional to Tex-Mex. If you, like me, get confused by sweet potatoes (dude, are they orange or white or yams or what?), never fear. I’ve made this several times with every variety of “sweet potato” at my local grocery store and it is fabulous every single time. Those delicious little taters give just the right balance to the hearty, chili-like flavors. And adding in that splash of fresh lime juice at the end makes my life complete.

As far as slow cooker meals go, it does require a bit (a very, very small bit) of prep before tossing everything in the ol’ crockpot. I know lovers of crockpot meals sometimes cringe at any pre-cooking required in a recipe but I know if you take a deep breath and do it, you’ll be glad you did. Ten minutes max and the step up in flavor and yumminess will be worth it. We’ve eaten it a handful of times over the last month and I just sigh in delight each time. It is so good. It’s also one of the meals I made last week and popped in the freezer for my husband to take to his parents while visiting/helping them this week. It makes a great and simple freezer meal.

Slow Cooker Beef and Sweet Potato Stew

Although the temps here have soared into the 40’s and 50’s (sometimes I don’t even know who I am and how I got here anymore after living the last half-decade in the frozen tundra of Wisconsin and Minnesota where temps are usually a balmy -18 in February), I’m hanging on to soup and stew season as long as possible even if my kids have been outside all week playing 4-square on the driveway in shorts and t-shirts and bare feet.

A discerning eye will notice in these pictures that the cilantro on top of the stew is actually parsley (due to a certain lovable and willing grocery-shopping husband who not for the first time accidentally came home with the wrong leafy green garnish) and I’m happy to report that it works just fine in a pinch (although cilantro lovers will definitely want to chase down cilantro – it completes the Mexican flavors perfectly).

*For those interested, race training/running updates HERE.*

Slow Cooker Beef and Sweet Potato Stew

What To ServeMy Favorite Cornbread or a Classic Dinner Roll
Sliced or grated cheese for topping or as a simple side

One Year Ago: Classic Crème Brulee
Two Years Ago: Coleslaw {My Favorite!}
Three Years Ago: Red Velvet Sheet Cake {& Other Valentine Food Ideas!}

Slow Cooker Beef and Sweet Potato Stew with Corn and Chiles

Yield: Serves 6

Slow Cooker Beef and Sweet Potato Stew with Corn and Chiles

An alternative to cooking this on high for 4 hours is to cook the first step (the beef/broth/seasonings) on low for 8 hours, stir in the sweet potatoes and change the temperature to high for 1-2 hours to let them soften before stirring in the rest of the ingredients. Basically you want the beef to get nice and tender before stirring in the potatoes (they'll get mushy and overcooked if they are in the stew the full cooking time).

If you prefer not to use canned green chiles, an alternative is to use 1-2 poblano or anaheim chiles: char them using a gas stove or broiler, peel and seed them and then chop them up to use in the stew.

To freeze, make the stew, let it cool, then portion into freezer ziploc bags or freezer-safe containers. To serve, thaw in the refrigerator overnight, scoop into a slow cooker and heat on low for an hour or so until heated through.

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds stew meat (or a boneless chuck roast trimmed and cut into cubes)
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons oil (vegetable, canola, avocado)
  • 3 ounces tomato paste (half of a 6-ounce can)
  • 4 cups low-sodium beef broth
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 cup chopped yellow or white onion
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely minced or pressed (or 1 teaspoon garlic powder)
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 pounds sweet potatoes (white or orange), peeled and cubed (about 4 cups)
  • 1 can (4 ounces) green chiles (see note above)
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • Additional lime wedges for serving (optional)

Directions

  1. Season the beef with salt and pepper all over and place in a large ziploc bag. Add the flour and toss in the bag until the beef is well coated with the flour.
  2. In a large 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium heat until hot and rippling. Add the beef in a single layer and brown on all sides (don't cook it all the way through, just let it get a nice golden color on each side). Transfer the browned beef to a 6-quart slow cooker and repeat with the remaining oil and beef. Toss whatever flour is left in the bag over the beef in the slow cooker.
  3. Add the tomato paste to the skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, for about a minute so the tomato paste sizzles and darkens in color. Stir in the broth, scraping up any browned bits in the bottom of the skillet. Increase the heat and bring the mixture to a simmer. Cook for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Pour the broth over the meat in the slow cooker. Add the tomatoes, onion, garlic, chili powder, oregano, cumin, coriander, salt and pepper. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours.
  5. Stir in the sweet potatoes, cover the slow cooker again and cook until they are tender, 1-2 hours on high. Stir in the chiles, corn, cilantro, lime juice and additional salt and pepper to taste. Let sit for just a minute or two to let the corn heat through (if using frozen).
  6. Serve with lime wedges, if desired.
http://www.melskitchencafe.com/beef-and-sweet-potato-stew-with-corn-and-green-chiles-slow-cooker/

Recipe Source: adapted from Cuisine at Home December 2014

48 Responses to Beef and Sweet Potato Stew with Corn and Green Chiles {Slow Cooker}

  1. Sheila says:

    Such a talented writer and photographer! I made your chili and cornbread for company after church on Sunday and was a little embarrassed over the “repeated” comments on how delicious everything tasted. This recipe sounds like a working girl’s dream. I dislike the 4 hour crock pot recipes. Unless you take them to work with you to turn off (which I have done before), they are impossible to make on a work night. Kudos to Brian for being a loving, supportive son, father, and husband!

  2. I really like the use of green chilies in this stew. That really changes up the flavors.

  3. Stephanie H says:

    I was checking your website this morning to find the recipe for your more traditional beef stew, only to find this! I only have red potatoes, but I am going to try it anyway. Thanks for making dinner slightly more exciting than planned!

  4. Colleen says:

    Could you use pumpkin instead of the sweet potatoes? I love pumpkin and I have a bunch still in the freezer from fall:/…

    • Mel says:

      Hi Colleen – I have a chili in the crockpot that uses pumpkin so I think you probably could use it here with good results. You won’t have the texture of the potatoes but I think the pumpkin flavor would be yummy.

  5. I love a good beef stew! This Tex Mex version looks phenomenal!

  6. I love a good hearty slow cooker dinner. I agree that those few extra steps before putting it in the pot are critical for great flavor. Love the sweet potatoes and chilis in this for a great change up to traditional beef stew. Adding it to the must try list!

  7. This sounds so wonderful. I love stew and I love slow cooker even if it involves a little prep. Thanx Mel.

  8. Dani says:

    I will definitely be trying this! My guys don’t love sweet potato so maybe this will be a good way to get them to eat it.

    I know I was in the minority but I really miss having photos on my printed recipes!!!

  9. Denise says:

    This is for anybody that has made this delicious sounding recipe….What do the sweet potatoes and green chilis taste like together? πŸ˜‰

    • Mel says:

      Hi Denise – in my opinion, it tastes amazing! The sweet, starchiness of the potatoes goes perfectly with the other southwestern flavors.

  10. EmilyF says:

    Does anyone know how to best go about making this gluten free? It’s just the flour I need to sub out–I have all purpose GF flour but I also have GF cornstarch or GF brown, rice, almond, and coconut flours. (Just enough to make me dangerous!) I’m assuming it’s mostly for thickening … Any advice from someone with more experience than I have at this would be much appreciated!!

    • Liz says:

      I can’t speak to the GF flours except the cornstarch which would work, but I’m replying because my favorite thickener/binder, especially if it is tex-mex/mex flavors is Masa Harina (corn flour). You can also use cornmeal, but I prefer the taste and texture of Masa.

    • Maxine says:

      I have used all-purpose gluten-free flour in place of wheat flour and have used it for this exact same purpose in recipes (including stew, but not this particular stew recipe). You can’t tell the difference.

  11. karen says:

    Made this tonight with ground beef, didn’t have stew meat, and it’s excellent! Still waiting for my sweet potatoes to be tender though after 2.5 hours on high and 1 on low. Maybe I chunked them too big. πŸ˜‰

  12. Kim in MD says:

    I’m so glad your are enjoying some moderate temps for a change, Mel…you and your family deserve it! I love stew, and especially when it’s made in the slow cooker. This looks so delicious! I giggled when I read that Brian mistook parsley for cilantro. My wonderful husband has done that before, too. I try not to complain, though. Aren’t we blessed that our husbands will grocery shop? πŸ™‚

  13. Leah says:

    I just made your classic hearty beef stew today before seeing this, and it was so good! I’ll have to add this to my menu soon.

  14. This sounds so yummy! I love flavors you chose. I’m in love with sweet potatoes. And the Tex Mex spin sounds just fabulous. Pinning and making soon! Well done πŸ™‚

  15. Wow you did a number on a version of beef stew. Spectacular. This is one recipe that I will definitely be trying.

  16. Jess says:

    I made this tonight for a change and it was delicious! Thank you for the great recipes!

  17. Pat says:

    I love the sweet potatoes in stews. When I make pot roast I now add more sweet potatoes, less regular potatoes, carrots, turnips, onions. And I use some dark beer for liquid and a bay leaf. Some sweet potatoes in smaller chunks will break down and thicken the gravy. Larger chunks keep their size. I get so many compliments on my pot roast…..

  18. Cammee says:

    I just read this and I need it today! I might have to cheat this time and use red or russet potatoes since I don’t have any sweet on hand, but I will definitely be missing the sweet potatoes. Love this Tex-Mex take on Stew.

  19. Molly Schaaf says:

    This sounds so yummy to me, but my dear husband doesn’t care for very spicy things. How much “kick” does this have, and is there a way to tone it down a bit and still keep the flavor?

    • Mel says:

      It will probably depend on the brand of chili powder you use – some are spicy and others are more mild. So I’d suggest starting with a mild chili powder (like McCormicks) and even decrease the amount a bit if you are worried (although I don’t think it’s spicy as much as smoky and flavorful).

  20. Lauren says:

    Hi, Mel. I love being able to click on your website throughout the day, as I use your recipes ALL the time! What kind of cheese would you suggest to finish this off? I’m thinking cheddar, but does parm work, too??

    • Mel says:

      Hey Lauren – I think cheddar or Monterey Jack would be fabulous! Parmesan might work pretty well but won’t be quite as creamy and melty as the other two.

  21. Tiff says:

    I’m not usually a huge fan of beef stew but the twist on this stew was soooo good! Between the mixture of spices and the sweet potatoes(which I think make the dish), it really came together nicely! I don’t think it was very spicy at all, very mild – just right.

  22. Kate Blubaugh says:

    I made this stew today. Simply said “awesome, very tasty”.

  23. Julie says:

    I made this for dinner last night and it was an easy and delicious meal! I didn’t have enough chili powder so I substituted cayenne powder for the remainder and it gave the stew a nice spicy kick that we really enjoyed.

  24. Ida Ewing says:

    Made this for dinner tonight. It was a hit!! We all loved it. I’m a big fan of sweet potatoes and together with the green chilis – yum!! My 8 year old found it a bit spicy so I think I might cut the chili powder a bit next time. Thank you for your recipes. Everything I have made from your site has been outstanding!!

  25. Just finished this delicious stew on this snowy winters night and I must say it’s a keeper! I broiled some french bread with Colby/Jack Cheese on top to go with it. This is a wonderfully flavored stew. I agree, the sweet potatoes are a great addition. They absorb the flavors and you forget they are sweet potatoes, they are more like flavor absorbers. I was looking at the options for beef in the grocery store and went with London Broil as it was cheapest…came thru beautifully. Very Tender. This recipe is a keeper. May I also recommend Mel’s Cinnamon Roll Cake to accompany? It is one of my favorites from this site. We literally stand around with forks and eat it right out of the pan. I don’t think I’ve ever had any around the next day. Thanks Mel…love your site!!

  26. EmilyF says:

    Finally made this and tried it with tapioca flour instead of all purpose to accommodate my celiac husband. I’m not sure exactly how thick it was supposed to be, but I thought it was delicious and so did he! I liked the suggestion of masa (corn flour) but didn’t have it on hand. Maybe next time! Thanks to all who replied to my query.

  27. Sheila says:

    This was so delicious! My crockpot must run a little “hot” because I had trouble with this soup starting to burn after 3 hours on high. It was savory and flavorful. Thank you so much, Mel!

  28. Anna says:

    We loved this! I think next time I may throw in some black beans. Maybe that will confuse this between a chili and a stew but regardless I’m gonna give shot- I think it will compliment the sweet potatoes. Thanks for another awesome recipe Mel!

  29. Allison says:

    This was truly delicious. There’s only two of us at home so it made a lot but reheated well and I froze 1/2 to enjoy another time. I will probably cut the recipe by half next time. Neither of us are fans of sweet potatoes but I know enough about cooking to know they are part of the recipe for a reason: a complimentary flavor. So I kept them in. However they really didn’t have much taste to them which worked out fine for us.

    This recipe will go in my “keep” files.

  30. Lisa Jennings says:

    Hopefully this will still taste just as good without the coriander. Thought I had some but as I was getting everything prepped for tomorrow I discovered I don’t have any. Will be making it without since I need to get it started before hubby gets off work AND before I will have a chance to run to the store. I have zero desire to attempt the grocery store with 2 kids in tow and a tank of oxygen. Long story short……4-1/2-year-old has needed supplemental O2 for over a year now.

  31. Ann F says:

    Mel,
    Just made this, it was great! I will do it again. Kids are not huge sweet potato fans just because they haven’t had them a lot. But the other flavors are so delicious, and the flavor of the sweet potatoes isn’t strong, so they ate it all just fine. I loved it, I may serve it over rice next time or add beans like someone suggested.
    Thanks again, love your website.

  32. Denisa says:

    Hi Mel,

    could I possibly make this stew in the oven? I don’t have a slow cocker and would love to cook this.

    Thank you.

    • Mel says:

      Hi Denisa – sure, I think that could work. Do you have a cast iron or heavy oven-safe pot? Maybe even a deep casserole dish would work. I’d probably try cooking it for 4-6 hours at 225 degrees.

      • Denisa says:

        Thank you Mel. I appreciate getting back to me so fast. I will be cooking it tomorrow. Can’t wait as it sounds very good.

        This gives me the opportunity to thank you for all the recipes you post. I’ve been using them for a very long time but never wrote a word. Everything I’ve ever cooked from your website was outstanding. Thank you again.

  33. Paula says:

    I tried this recipe but it lacked something in the flavor. It was good but not our favorite.

  34. Raquel says:

    We loved this! I admit I was somewhat hesitant to make this because of the combination of flavors, but I was so intrigued to try it that I went ahead and made it anyway. It was so good! The beef was tender. The flavor combination was just right. I’m very glad I tried it. Thank you for the recipe!

  35. Connie says:

    Do you think it would work if you put the sweet potatoes in a foil packet on top and cook on low for 6-8 hours (like your Beef Stew)? I’ve made this recipe the normal way (delish!), but this weekend, I’m not around at hour 4 to chuck in the potatoes, and don’t really trust husband to remember that step πŸ˜‰

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