Hearty Beef Stew {Slow Cooker}

Let me start by asking a really important, earth-shattering question. Is there anyone out there who has the same addiction and love for carrots that have been cooked with a succulent roast dinner? A Sunday roast dinner, as it was with my family growing up? Anyone? Anyone? In my great Book of Opinions, carrots cooked in the flavorful juices of a delicious roast are incomparable. I could eat 83 of them and still go back for more.

Well, I’m happy to announce that this slow cooker beef stew has renewed my love of stew (it simply has really never been a favorite dinner of mine) for many reasons. The first is that the cooked carrots in this stew are reminiscent of the divine vegetables in my mom’s Sunday roast dinners. They nearly melt in your mouth with tenderness while still having a bit of bite and they are infused with flavor. I chalk this up to the unusual cooking method and hereby vow to use foil packets in any and every slow cooker dinner from here on out. The carrot phenomenon alone would allow me to rationalize making this weekly from here on out, but in addition, this hearty, rich stew is also packed with juicy, tender chunks of meat, delicious peas and potatoes, and the sauce is thick, velvety and so very tasty.

New favorite stew with my beloved old favorite carrots. That’s a win-win in my book.

What To ServeA really, great dinner roll (for homemade, I’d suggest French Bread Rolls or Buttery Cornmeal Crescents)
Fresh fruit 
Sliced cheddar cheese

One Year Ago: Balsamic Chicken Noodle Bowl
Two Years Ago: Quick and Delicious Clam Chowder
Three Years Ago: No-Knead Bread Revolution

Hearty Beef Stew {Slow Cooker}

Yield: Serves 6-8

Hearty Beef Stew {Slow Cooker}

Note: this stew recipe has a few steps that I am going to strongly encourage following – even if it makes you roll your eyes to have to go to the work/mess of browning meat before adding it to the slow cooker. I get it, I do! But let me emphasize that there is a reason this stew has more flavor and deliciousness than any other slow cooker stew I’ve had – and I believe it is because of the few minutes you have to spend at the beginning browning up the meat, onions and quickly bringing the sauce to a simmer. Browing = flavor. Now, if you absolutely refuse to do it…don’t worry, I’ll still like you. Go ahead – throw it all in – but don’t tell me before you do or else I’ll spend the day cringing. Also, unless you can find prepackaged stew meat in large pieces, it pays to buy a whole chuck roast and cut it up yourself, plus if you look for chuck roast on sale, it will probably save you a penny or two!

Ingredients

  • 5 pounds boneless chuck roast, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 medium yellow onions, finely chopped
  • 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth or beef broth
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 pound carrots, peeled, and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 pound red potatoes, washed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 tablespoons Minute tapioca
  • 2 cups frozen peas

Directions

  1. After the meat has been cut into chunks, pat it dry with a paper towel and season all the pieces with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium heat until the oil is rippling and hot. Cook half of the beef until it is well browned on each side, about 4 minutes. No need to cook it all the way through – just get some great brown color all around. Toss the meat in the slow cooker and follow the same process with the second half of the meat (you may need to add another tablespoon of oil to the pan if it looks a little dry). Remove the meat to the slow cooker, trying to keep as much oil in the pan as possible.
  2. Return the skillet to medium heat and add the onions and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook until the onions are translucent and golden, about 6 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in the broth, soy sauce, 1/2 teaspoon thyme and bay leaves. Bring the mixture to a boil and transfer it to the slow cooker, pouring it over the meat.
  3. In a large bowl, toss the carrots, potatoes, 1 tablespoon oil, 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. On the counter, lay out a large piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil (use two sheets of regular foil on top of each other if you don’t have heavy-duty). Place the tossed vegetables on one side of the foil. Fold the foil over the vegetables and crimp the edges really well to form a little foil packet that will fit in the top of your slow cooker. Stir the tapioca into the slow cooker. Place the foil packet of vegetables on top of the stew, cover the slow cooker, and cook on high for 6-7 hours or low for 10-11 hours.
  4. When the stew is finished cooking, carefully remove the foil packet from the top of the stew. Discard the bay leaves from the stew. Carefully open the foil packet (be careful of steam that may escape as you open it!). Return the vegetables and any juices to the slow cooker and gently mix them into the stew. Stir in the frozen peas and let them rest in the stew for 5-10 minutes, until they are heated through. Serve.
http://www.melskitchencafe.com/hearty-beef-stew-slow-cooker/

Recipe Source: adapted from Cook’s Country Dec/Jan 2011

177 Responses to Hearty Beef Stew {Slow Cooker}

  1. jaesi says:

    Julia Child would be so proud of you my dear! 🙂 Ive been cravin some good beef stew. Thanks!

  2. Alisha says:

    I too love carrots cooked with a Sunday roast. Which is odd because I don’t really like carrots otherwise too much. But I do have one HUGE HUGE stipulation– NO COOKED BABY CARROTS! They have to be the REAL thing, peeled & cut large carrots. Baby carrots just get all mushy & have a weird texture when cooked. If I had to pick the top 5 food things I could not deal with that people do, its cook baby carrots. Just as my mom. Weird, I know.

  3. Tomi Ann says:

    It looks delicious! Why do you put the veggies in the foil packet, though? How do they get the flavor from the meat and the broth and everything else if they’re all sealed up? <– Asking genuinely, because I've never seen this technique but I am also a big carrots-with-the-roast lover. 🙂

    • Mel says:

      Tomi – that’s a great question about the foil packet. I wondered the same thing but the way it is explained in the recipe is that the foil packet helps roast the vegetables without them becoming soft and mushy (like sometimes happens when you cook vegetables in the slow cooker for the same, LONG amount of time as the meat). I was surprised at how flavorful and delicious the vegetables were without being simmered in the stew. Once they are stirred in, at the end, they pick up all sorts of new levels of flavor from the stew sauce.

  4. briarrose says:

    Fabulous stew. I get mad cravings for this in the cold weather. Ok…I just realized it’s been forever since I made one as well. 😉

  5. Kim says:

    Now this I can get down with. I wish I had all the ingredients before we got 18 inches of snow here in NY and a snow day for the kids. Thanks for posting it.

  6. Amy W. says:

    This is perfect timing on this recipe! I grew up hating stew…I am not sure how my mom made it, but it was pretty gross and chewy. I have been searching for a little while and decided today I was going to such pick one. Thank goodness one of my favorite food blogs posted!!!

  7. Liz K. says:

    This looks fantastic! I am with you on the carrots with the roast. Love them! We also had a roast dinner every Sunday growing up. I have never heard of using a foil packet in the crockpot. I can’t wait to try it.

  8. StephenC says:

    Carrots rock! Beef stew rocks! I don’t use my slow cooker as I prefer a low and slow oven braise. But that doesn’t mean I can’t bookmark your recipe for sometime soon when I get a real deal on stew meat at Safeway.

  9. britt says:

    Yes! My sister and I used to fight over them. I’m so excited to try this. Looks delicious. Thanks.

  10. Shawnne says:

    why tapioca? in stew? can i just skip it?

    • Mel says:

      Shawnne – I had a feeling someone would wonder about the tapioca – trust me, it works! It’s the thickener for the stew and doesn’t break down like cornstarch and flour over long cooking periods. It doesn’t add any flavor at all – it just helps the sauce to thicken. You could skip it, although you’d have a more watery stew.

  11. Whitney R. says:

    We love roast with potatoes& carrots an ultimate comfort food!!
    I actually made this for my family last night! 🙂

  12. Kim in MD says:

    I totally agree with you about the carrots cooked with the pot roast! I could skip the meat and just eat the carrots and the potatoes! 🙂

    I have never seen the foil packet method…I can’t wait to try it! And yes- browning meat before slow cooking is a must! As Anne Burrell says, “brown food tastes good”! 🙂

  13. Bruce The Low Carb King says:

    “Tapioca starch thickens quickly, and at a relatively low temperature. It’s a good choice if you want to correct a sauce just before serving it.” http://www.foodsubs.com/ThickenStarch.html

  14. SJ says:

    Yum, buying a chuck roast will be on my list this week.

  15. Jessica says:

    I admit it!! I have the exact same addiction to cooked in stew carrots.

  16. MaijaSFO says:

    This looks yum and I will try it this weekend. I am glad I read the other comments since I had the same questions about the foil packet and tapioca so thanks for answering. I will also admit that I do not like baby carrots – it’s a pain to peel and cut the big ones but I think they taste so much better.

  17. HeatherM says:

    I’m not a big fan of stew.. but this looks yummy! might just add it to the menu for next week!

  18. Hillary says:

    Thank you! I love stew and plan on making it despite the unavoidable protest from the preschool/kindergarten gallery. Ha ha!

  19. Jenna says:

    I completely agree with the cooked carrots. I’m sure I made myself sick from overeating more than once as a child.

    I’m wondering if I coated the meat in tapioca starch before browning the meat or dissolved it in the broth if it would have the same thickening effect without breaking down. Call m crazy but I just don’t want to buy an entire box of Minute tapioca without another use in mind.

    • Mel says:

      Jenna – I’m not sure on the tapioca starch but I’m guessing it is worth a try. If it makes any difference, you can pick up a box of Minute tapioca for pretty cheap and use the rest to make tapioca pudding (yum!).

  20. Zoe says:

    Looks great! By thickening the stew, I tend to chop little pieces of potato instead of tapioca starch.

  21. teresa says:

    yes! we never have enough carrots in our roast, it’s our favorite! this looks great.

  22. Alisha says:

    Oh we can definitely still be friends & I still love you for sure… I just won’t eat your stew! LOL (SO kidding)

  23. Kandi V says:

    I.LOVE.STEW.CARROTS. Maybe we were sisters, or cousins, or at least cousin thrice removed in a past life. My family knows you by name, and give thanks for you in their dinner prayers, for all the yumminess you have brought into our home. While visiting King Arthur Flour this past summer, I sent good vibes your way, and used you as an excuse to spend lots of money (“You want me to cook more of Mel’s recipes, don’t you honey? I just have to have __ (insert item) in order to cook like her! “). Okay, enough subtle I-want-to be-like-you-ness. I can’t wait to try this. I am so tired of having to lug out the dutch oven to make my husband’s favorite stew. It’s time for a return to the crockpot! 🙂

  24. britt says:

    I was wondering about the tapioca too so I googled it and found this site http://www.foodsubs.com/ThickenStarch.html and learned a lot about thickeners in general. I’m going to have to buy some Minute tapioca now and make this stew for our Sunday dinner (I’ve decided this year is Crock-pot Sundays). Thanks so much!

  25. Lindsey says:

    I am going to make this on Sunday! I have been looking for a good stew recipe! This looks so yummy. P.S. I love your blog!

  26. grace says:

    i hear ya about those soggy, beef-juice-saturated carrots–good stuff! potatoes and onions benefit from it as well. 🙂

  27. Renee says:

    Mmmm, mmmm, mmmmm! I’ve been thinking longingly about beef burgundy today and feeling sad that as much as I enjoy it, some of my people don’t. This is the perfect solution! It’s on my menu for Monday. I’ll let you know how it comes out and is received!!

  28. Anne says:

    Melanie, I feel like you change my life EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Amazing. I have never considered buying a whole chuck roast then cutting it myself. Duh! Then I never make delicious stew since the “stew cut” of meat is always old, gross, and spendy. Oy. And the foil packet! And the admonition regarding browning! I think a post about your Book of Opinions would be awesome. All these genius cooking tips sometimes get great attention in one recipe, but missed altogether if we miss the recipe (how dare we, right?).

  29. Jenny says:

    There’s nothing like beef stew and I can remember when my mother used to make it and you could smell it when you came in from school. Heaven! I must have some weird slow cooker affliction when it comes to onions because it does something to the taste that I cannot abide. I will make this in a dutch oven on the slow cook setting of my oven. Doesn’t do weird things to onions. Thanks!

  30. Jen M says:

    Carrots cooked with roast are DIVINE. I can eat every single one of them myself if allowed to. I’ll have to try this recipe out soon. I made the other stew recipe on your site for a family dinner last month and it was a hit. I tell everyone how awesome your blog is. Thanks so much for sharing!

  31. Jane says:

    Do you think it would be possible to prepare this all the night before and then refrigerate it until the morning? Or do you think it would get weird? This looks delicious but I don’t know about dragging my butt out of bed early to brown every thing before I go to work haha.

    • Mel says:

      Jane – your comment made me laugh, first off, but second off, I’ve done similar things for crockpot meals and it’s worked fine. I’d say it is definitely worth a try with this stew. The only modification I would make is to cool the boiling sauce mixture to room temperature before adding it to the crockpot so that the ingredients don’t start to cook while it cools and refrigerates. Let me know if you try it!

  32. Vicky says:

    I’ve been looking for a good beef stew recipe for a long time, and this was definitely the best I’ve tried in a long time. The only downside for me was that it came out a bit salty (but not overly), so I’ll cut back there next time. Otherwise I loved it! The meat was so tender and the vegetables cooked perfectly. Thanks for sharing.

  33. Jenn says:

    Another great recipe! Everyone enjoyed it. The extra efforts of browning was worth it. And the carrots?!? Perfect. My only oops was I forgot to put the peas in, but I think my kids actually appreciated that mistake!!

  34. Tannis says:

    We had this for dinner last night and it was fantastic! I can’t think of any recipe I’ve tried of yours that hasn’t been good. Thanks for another one!

  35. Jane says:

    This recipe is definitely another winner! I prepared everything the night before and just popped it on the slowcooker in the morning, and it turned out very yummy. I especially loved the carrots – they were the perfect consistency. 🙂

  36. Cheyenne Renard says:

    First of all Mel , I love your blog and your recipes . I would love to make this but maybe on the stove top. How could i convert this so it could be cooked on top of the stove in less time. Like say 6hrs or less. If you know how you would do that with a great stew recipe like this one since its all american and basic like carrots and potatoes and peas and onions . Again Happy New Year and Thank you so much for all you contribute . May GOD richly bless you and yours this year Love to you Cheyenne of Henderson Nevada

    • Mel says:

      Cheyenne – well, that is a really good question. All I can give is my recommendation since I’ve never tried it – but if I were to cook this on the stovetop, I would follow all the instructions (remove the meat to a plate) and when the sauce simmers, add the meat back in to the pot. Do you have a cast iron dutch oven or other heavy pot you could use? Combine the meat and sauce together and lay the foil packet of veggies over the top. My best guess would be to simmer this on low for 3-4 hours, covered. You won’t want to uncover to stir so make sure it cooks on low enough heat not to let the meat stick to the bottom of the pot. Good luck!

  37. Shannie says:

    This stew looked so delicious that I couldn’t wait to try it. I opted for the 6-7 hours on high cook time. After just 4 hours, I noticed a burning smell and realized that the stew was completely out of liquid. I added another can of chicken broth, but 2 hours later the liquid was gone again. I ended up taking it out of the crockpot and adding 4 additional cups of beef broth. I was very sad to have not-so-great-tasting stew after all that prep time and cooking time. Any suggestions?

  38. Emily says:

    I made this and, just like you said, the meat was tender (falling apart in your mouth) and the veggies were perfect. I am sold on the foil packet method. I wasn’t in love with the taste of the broth, but I am in the first trimester of a pregnancy so I don’t exactly trust my taste-buds. I used Costco stew meat which seemed pretty thick, but otherwise followed the instructions exactly. I didn’t think the tapioca did much–maybe I needed to add more. I had quite a bit of liquid and it seemed thin. After the first night, I ended up pulling the meat and veggies out of the broth and eating it like roast and side veggies–but they were better than my roast and veggies ever have been before. Mmmm! Another good recipe. Thanks!

  39. Krysta Lyn says:

    This looks so good, and very similar to my usual crock pot stew recipe, except that yours uses beef broth, and mine doesn’t. This could be a GOOD thing, because accoring to The Hubs, my stew is gross because it doesn’t have enough “gravy,” as he calls it. ( I don’t know, he’s from Wisconsin, and they seem to call a lot of things by strange names up there!) Yours looks like the veggies and meat is sitting in some amount of broth, or gravy, or whatever you want to call it. If that is the case, I might have to try this for The Hubs, and see if he likes this version better!

  40. Kerra says:

    Do you think it would be a big deal if I used Russet Potatoes instead of Red?

  41. Mel says:

    Hi Kerra – I think the original recipe recommended not using russets because they turn kind of mealy and grainy in the slow cooker and reds hold up better. But if you don’t mind the texture, it will probably work out just fine.

  42. Amber N. says:

    You had at me carrots! Where would one find this Minute Tapioca? Is it by rice?

  43. Mel says:

    Amber N. – in my grocery stores and local Walmarts, the Minute Tapioca is usually by the jell-o instant puddings but on the top shelf above them. General area should be near the baking aisle…hope that helps!

  44. Stephanie says:

    First, thanks for all the fabulous recipes!

    I made this tonight & I did something wrong, but I’m not sure what. I used 1 lb of beef & halved everything else. I had to keep adding more water (I added about 1 cup) because it was steaming out of the crock pot and the meat was starting to stick to the bottom. Is something wrong with my crock pot? It was still good and I want to try it again, but was wondering if you had any suggestions. Should I make more liquid or try to weigh down my crock pot lid? Thanks!!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Stephanie – it sounds to me like your crockpot isn’t sealed well enough and is losing too much liquid through evaporating through the lid. Try weighing down the crockpot lid or covering it with foil, really sealing the edges, and I’m guessing you’ll see a huge difference.

  45. Tami says:

    I made this and the whole time I was preparing it with the extra steps of browning the meat and veggie packets I was muttering that it better be worth it. (Of course I wasn’t cursing you, I’m just a lazy cook.) The result. Absolutely the best stew ever made. I’m sold. My family licked their bowls. So delicious. Thanks Mel!

  46. Dana says:

    Does this really take 5 lbs of meat to serve 6-8 people? Seems like a lot of meat for a stew. I’ve tried a number of your recipes for a dinner group and we have loved them all. Thanks for the ideas. Keep them coming. I want to make the stew next, but waiting for clarification on amount of meat needed.

  47. Mel says:

    Dana – you could probably get away with three to four pounds, but it definitely is a meaty stew, which is why it calls for a full 5 pounds.

  48. Ruth says:

    I am a terrible cook and don’t enjoy the process of making food, maybe because I have absolutely no affinity for smells, flavours, colours, etc… I have a suspicion that if I cook often enough and get used to what goes with what, those skills that everyone else seems to be born with will be mine through repetition repetition repetition. The problem is, knowing which recipes are good ones and which are not so good.
    I actually really like stew, so I figured this would be a safe bet and I was right! I made this for dinner yesterday and it was delicious! Thank you! I’m glad that I have found somewhere that shares tried and tested recipes and maybe in 10 or 20 years I’ll actually enjoy making food.

  49. Ruth says:

    Sorry for the double comment, but in reading above comments I figured I add another one. I did the browning and the onions and tomato paste the night before and refrigerated them. I did the rest of the sauce and the veggies in the morning (about half an hour). It would have been quicker if I’d have done the vegetables the night before as well. It worked out well for me in any case.

  50. Laura says:

    I made this and it was delicious ! But I was wondering, I like my stew with the sauce thicker, and I tried to thicken it up with cornstarch, but it didn’t seem to do anything. Do you have any tricks for this?

    It was a big hit! Thanks for the recipe!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Laura – the cornstarch slurry (cornstarch mixed with cold water) should work if it is mixed into the sauce and the sauce comes to a full boil. That can be a problem, obviously, in the slow cooker. So I would recommend transferring the beef stew to a pan on the stovetop, adding your cornstarch slurry and bringing the mixture to a boil. It should thicken right up.

  51. hayley says:

    Made this yesterday. YUM! We loved it. Thanks for another keeper.

  52. JoAnn says:

    I can’t remember if I’ve posted a comment or not, but I made this for the second time tonight, and it is SO good. I did have to weigh down my lid because steam was coming up through it.

  53. Kelie says:

    “___________” – that’s me being speechless after eating this stew! SO DELISH – really there are no words! Thank you so much for a wonderful recipe. I’ve gone through your archives and have printed about 15-20 of your recipes and this was the first my husband and I tried. If the rest of them are anywhere near this one, then you’ve got a follower for life!

  54. juliann says:

    FABULOUS!!!
    I was nervous about the foil packet but the veggies came out just as promised and taste just like the yummy pot roast veggies I adore. I didnt use as much meat as I was supposed too, so there was a lot of liquid and maybe I could have used a little more thickener, but it wasnt anything that took away from over-all meal. I also omitted the peas, because well I am not the hugest fan….and I didnt have any in my freezer like I thought.
    Finally I am starting to find some yummy slow cooker meals that I like!

  55. edna says:

    now i got a dumb question; but what exactly is tapioca; i’ve heard of it, but have never seen it; although i’ve never looked for it. What aisle is it usually in? and brand? thanks!!!

    • Mel says:

      Edna – tapioca is usually by the boxed puddings – on the shelf above them by the gelatin and other pudding-like products. I buy the one in the red, slender box. I think the brand is Minute where I live but Kraft may make a brand, too.

  56. Sandee says:

    my husband and his brothers/brother-in-law spent saturday cutting firewood. my mother-in-law and i were the lunch committee. you bet we had beef stew. it just seemed to go with the nature of the project they were working on. the verdict: hubby said, “i think this may be the best beef stew ive ever had.” there ya have it.

    we now refer to you on a first name basis. “is this mel’s recipe?” yep. 🙂

  57. Bri says:

    Could i get away with 2 pounds meat? I definitely like more vegetables than meat in my stew. Would I change the other crock pot ingredients if I only used 2 pounds? My mom has a stew recipe I love, but this looks really good, and I like the addition of the peas!

  58. Mel says:

    Hi Bri – I definitely think 2 pounds of meat would work, although I would increase the carrots and potatoes to 1 1/2 pounds each and do 2 1/2 cups to 3 cups peas. Hope you like it! P.S. You could halve the recipe, also and then the proportions of ingredients would be about the same (it would work well if you have a smaller crockpot, if you only have a bigger crockpot it might not cook as well if it is a smaller sized recipe).

  59. Linda says:

    Hi Mel, I just foundy our website and I am in love. I am so envious that you have access to all that lovely cheese. My family has taken a day trip to the Gays Mill area for apples and cheese for 5 years now. We just love love love the cheese.

    This beef stew recipes looks wonderful. I am thinking about making it for Christmas Day lunch as we will need something after church that day. What do you typically serve with it? Bread and whatelse? Thanks!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Linda – I usually serve this with cornbread, rolls or some other type of bread and usually some sliced cheese on the side. Occasionally, I’ve also served it with a green salad.

  60. Kristi says:

    Hi Mel! This might be a dumb question, but I am making this today for dinner and wondered, when do you add in the minute tapioca? I’ve never used it, so I wasn’t sure. Many thanks for all of your great recipes!!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Kristi – sorry I am just getting to this, I have been out of town with limited computer access. Did you figure out the tapicoa? It should be stirred in the slow cooker right before placing the foil packet on top.

  61. Kristi says:

    No problem! That is what I ended up doing because I realized at the end I hadn’t put it in yet. I’m SUCH a ditz! It’s right there in the instructions and I didn’t even see it! *slaps forehead* I have to say though, this stew turned out great!! I made it with the Lion House rolls. My hubby had 3 bowls of stew and 7 (SEVEN!!!!) rolls!!

  62. Hi Mel,

    Love the recipe and the tips inside it (foil wrapping, browning, tapioca) – take me to school! My questions are with the beef.. why ‘large’ pieces? I know cooks more tender when larger, but are we expected to cut up the pieces once in the bowl ie for the kiddies? Or is it relatively easy to break up the meat chunks with a fork or spoon since it’s been cooking so long? And what is the difference between chuck and ‘stewing beef cubes’ at the grocery store? Also, I’m looking at my slow cooker and can’t see how 5 lbs beef, 1 lb carrots, 1 lb carrots, 2 cups peas (+ other stuff!) is all going to fit! How big a c/p do you need for this recipe?

    • Mel says:

      Tanya – the meat is fall-apart tender once it is finished cooking so it shouldn’t be an issue to get it into bite-size pieces for the kids. If you are really worried about it, you can always cook it in smaller pieces from the get go. I used my round 4 or 5-quart slow cooker for this recipe. You get a bit more high quality meat by cutting up your own roast versus buying the already cut stew meat cubes. I hope you like it if you try it!

  63. Jessica says:

    I have a hard time finding slow cooker recipes I enjoy, but this was great! I served it with your french bread rolls and both were a hit! Because I have a smaller crockpot, I only used about 3 pounds of meat and fewer vegetables while keeping the rest of the ingredients the same. I also added a tablespoon of Worcestershire into the broth to enhance the meat flavor. Definitely a recipe I’ll repeat! Thanks!

  64. […] WEDNESDAY:  Slow-Cooked Beef Stew […]

  65. […] Beef Stew–didn’t get a chance to make this last week and I still have the ingredients. […]

  66. Deb says:

    This was SO good! I loved the flavor of the sauce and was surprised to see how the veggies had so much flavor even though they were cooked in a foil packet. The veggies kept their shape and texture. And the peas were a great addition. It was worth it to cut your own beef since you could remove alot of the fat. Adding to the rotation for sure!

  67. Stephanie says:

    I’m going to try this with venison. I cannot cook venison roasts because they never turn out! So now I make lots of stews. You are my new cookbook! Thanks Mel!

  68. Melissa says:

    I made this to bring to a friend whose 10 month old daughter is struggling with health issues. My friend fed her daughter the broth and she LOVED it. It was the first time she had eaten anything of “normal” food in months. Thanks so much for the recipe!

  69. Mindy says:

    This looks amazing!! I made your coconut pie recipe like a year ago and was searching for it again. Soooo glad I found it, and in the side bar saw this 🙂 I have dinner and dessert for tomorrow. Thank you for your awesome recipes!!

  70. Shana says:

    AMAZING! I have made this recipe 3 times now …. along with LOTS of your other recipes! BIG FAN!

  71. Jacqueline says:

    This may be a stupid question – but do you literally put the foil packet on top of the stew mixture? Thanks.

  72. Mel says:

    Jacqueline – yep, just put the packet right on top of the stew mixture, cover the slow cooker and let it do its magic.

  73. Jennifer says:

    I made this stew for dinner Monday night and it was a HUGE hit with my husband and my dad who came for a visit. My 1 year old son had his first taste of beef from it and ate it right up along with the carrots and potatoes!! I just found your website and this is the 2nd thing I have made from it (the first being the Penne Pasta with Chicken and Smoked Mozzarella) and both were delicious. Thank you so much for your recipes!!

  74. Jacqueline says:

    Thank you for your previous response – this was delicious! 🙂

  75. Alicia says:

    Made this for Sunday dinner. Oh my, was it delicious! I completely forgot to add the Minute Tapioca, but I didn’t miss it. The stew was amazing and the leftovers, divine. I will definitely be adding this to our meal rotation. I even ate the peas. I’m not a big fan of peas, but in this, they were the perfect addition. LOVED IT! Now I’m craving it and must make it again.

  76. Alicia says:

    I just realized why I forgot to put in the instant tapioca. It doesn’t say when to add it in the directions! So do you add it to the liquid ingredients before pouring it over the meat, or do you add it at the end when everything is done, the same time as the peas?

  77. Mel says:

    Alicia – actually it is in the recipe, just kind of hidden in the third paragraph. After preparing the foil packet (before you lay it on top of the veggie), stir in the tapioca and then place the foil packet on top. Hope that helps!

  78. Alicia says:

    Thanks, Mel. As soon as I re-read the recipe, I found it. But I had already posted my comment. I swear I read through it a few times and I missed it every time! Oh well. Didn’t miss the tapioca the second time around, either!

  79. Meadows08 says:

    I made this on Monday and it was awesome! I hate when stew tastes like veggies and nothing else and this method was the perfect solution. And it had such depth of flavour! The only thing I might do differently is add a splash of red wine!

  80. Crystal says:

    Your meat department at your local grocery store will generally cut meat however you want it. If you find a chuck roast you want, just carry it over to the guy with the big meat cutting equipment and tell him you would like it cut into stew meat. All the grocery stores around here cut meat for free for customers.

  81. Jana says:

    I made this for Autumn and it was great. My husband couldn’t get enough. Blogged about it here. http://www.hobbiesmakemehappy.com/2012/10/hearty-beef-stew.html Thanks again for a wonderful recipe!

  82. […] Slow Cooker Beef Stew from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe […]

  83. Brandi says:

    Hello!
    What size crock pot would this recipe work well in? I have a 4 quart cooker. Thank you!

  84. Mel says:

    Brandi – I use a 4 or 5-quart slow cooker for this so yours should work just fine!

  85. Lynne says:

    Just used this recipe last night. I’ve been making dinners in a crockpot for a long, long time and I must tell you that your adjustment for the vegetables is the BEST!! no longer do I have soggy veggies. The idea will be carried over into some of my other slow cooker recipes. Also, the addition of the tapioca is perfect. I’ve been using that for quite awhile and it makes a big difference. I live alone and use the crockpot frequently as I sometimes don’t feel like ‘cooking’ when it comes to dinner time. I use a 1.5 qt. crockpot and reduce the ingredients for 2 servings.
    Thanks for your create idea.

  86. Mel says:

    Hi Lynne – I can’t take all the credit! The original recipe comes from Cook’s Country (a subsidiary of America’s Test Kitchen) but I agree that the cooking method makes it ultra-delicious. So glad you liked it!

  87. Heather says:

    I made this last night and it was absolutely delicious!! My husband was in heaven! Thank you for the recipe! I just have one question…even before I turned the crockpot on there wasn’t much liquid so i dont think it has anything to do with the seal of the lid. I halved the recipe so only put in one cup of beef stock. The end result was delicious but barely any liquid at all. Am I missing where all the liquid is supposed to come from? I read the recipe over and over and am just a little confused! Can you please help me!

  88. Mel says:

    Heather – the stew isn’t swimming in liquid like a soup – it is thick and less liquidy. If you want more broth, just increase the amount of beef stock you use next time. I’m glad you enjoyed the taste of it!

  89. Listy says:

    I have made this twice and it’s been a big hit both times. This is wonderful! It is now in my recipe book and I’ve been sharing it with others. Thank you so much!

  90. Cat Ireland says:

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE America’s Test Kitchen!! I saw the episode where they went step by step through their Hearty Beef Stew recipe a few weeks ago, I love re-runs! So I checked out the Cooks Country Cookbook from my library and scanned the stew/soup recipes onto my computer and mistakenly left off page 63 that shows the Hearty Beef Stew recipe. What the heck?!? I have my chuck roast, my veggies et al, but no instructions, I knew about the hobo pack but needed to refresh my memory of the recipe!! YIKES!! Thank God for the internet and avid at-home chefs who also love ATK enough to start a blog about this recipe! Now I can make this stew tonight.

  91. Jo says:

    Finally…after trying many recipes, I have found THE beef stew recipe I was looking for! I could never find a recipe that gave a nice thick gravy and vegetables that didn’t get all mushy. The foil packet idea is genius. I can see myself making this alot during the winter…and so good with some crusty bread. 🙂 Perfect comfort food!

  92. Ellen Bjorkstrom says:

    I would not even try a recipe with nutrition information. There are people in my family that have to follow strick diets for their health. It would really help if you
    added information on Fat, Carbs, Sugar, Fiber, Sodium and Protein.

  93. Christie says:

    Delicious! Made it tonight.

  94. Az says:

    This recipe sounds delicious! It’s exactly what I’ve been looking for! However, I do have a question 🙂 I’m going to do the foil packet idea for the carrots and potatoes, but I’m wanting to add corn and peas to my stew..but they’re canned. So, when would I add those in exactly? At the end? ^^;

  95. Melissa says:

    I could not find tapioca. Any suggestions on a substituion? (I’ve never posted a comment, but I have tried and love a lot of your recipes!)

  96. Mel says:

    Melissa – you could thicken the stew with a slurry of cornstarch and cold water after the stew has cooked to thicken it up.

  97. Margaret says:

    This is the best stew I have ever made. Thought the foil/tapioca were strange. No – they were perfect! The veggies were flavorful and not overly mushy. The thyme really seasoned the veggies nicely and they were delicious. The tapioca made the gravy thick and luscious. Yum – will definitely abandon all other stew recipes in favor of this one. And, yes, brown the meat. You will be happy you did.

  98. Valerie says:

    I made this today and was so pleased with how it turned out! It was delicious and I loved the steamed veggies. Feel like it will serve way more than 6-8. My other stew recipe only calls for 3 lbs of meat and says it feeds 12. Lots of leftovers…but on my book that is not a bad thing! Thank you for sharing. This is going into my recipe collection and will be made often!

  99. Allison says:

    Well, just put this in the crock with a few additions: namely, some celery. Never had a tomato-based stew before so I’m looking forward to tasting it in about 6-8 hours.

  100. melody says:

    I made this stew few months ago. I’m making it again today and it smells delicious. I’m grateful I ran across your website and all your delicious recipes. I’ve tried quite a few and they’re fantastic. My husband thanks you too!

  101. DollyG says:

    I like to shake the meat cubes in seasoned flour before I brown it. This thickens the sauce and the brown bits you scrape up after you put the broth and all in makes it all so tasty. I can’t wait to make this.

  102. […] Slow Cooker Hearty Beef Stew-http://www.melskitchencafe.com/2011/01/hearty-beef-stew-slow-cooker.html […]

  103. Phillip Schwartz says:

    And I thought I was a carrot lover. I attack the carrots in their beef stew at Chuck a Rama restaurants in Provo and Orem Utah. Might try this today.

  104. diane says:

    diane mead
    I have been cooking for more years than I care to mention, and I must say this is …by far…the absolute “BEST” stew I have ever eaten. If you follow the instructions to the T you will not be disappointed!! I learned something new with the veggies and the foil (you can teach a old dog new tricks) LOL thanks

  105. Maureen says:

    This recipe sounds fabulously easy and delicious, problem is it calls for SOY SAUCE and I can not have soy products. Is there a substitute?

    • Mel says:

      Hi Maureen – I’m not sure of soy sauce substitutes but you might try googling.

    • Christine says:

      Yes, I know it’s been 2.5 years since you posted this question, but what the heck: a perfect sub is COCONUT AMINOS. Tastes exactly like soy. You’ll find it in health food stores (Whole Foods, EarthFare, etc). Looks & tastes like soy, but much healthier for you. I sub it always and nobody can tell the difference. 🙂

  106. Nicole says:

    We get weekly produce shares, and this week we received fresh red potatoes, peppers, carrots & onions. My husband wanted a pot roast, and this was the closest recipe I could find on your site. I kept my chuck roast whole and browned the entire roast before putting in crock pot. I halved all the gravy ingredients since I was going for less than stew consistency. I also added peppers to the veggie foil pack. FANTASTIC!!! My husband wants this to be our go to pot roast recipe! 😉 Maybe others have made these modifications (I didn’t have time to read all comments, sorry!), but I thought I’d pass along anyhow! I’m so tickled about the foil pack on top of the meat…I want to try your Slow Cooker Italian Beef next with a roasted potato pack on top. What do you think?! Thanks again for another great recipe, Mel! 🙂

  107. Tom says:

    Only substitute = One cup of wine for one of the cups of broth. All great stew deserves wine for depth 🙂 Awesome idea on the veggies packet too, thanks!

  108. Sharon says:

    So by Minute tapioca, do you mean tapioca starch? Does it have to be Minute brand? I couldn’t find it at my grocery store, but I know that Bobs Red Mill makes tapioca starch and I know where I can find that.

    • Mel says:

      Sharon – I’ve never bought tapioca starch but I actually think that the Minute tapioca has a totally different texture than the starch so you’ll have to experiment if using the starch (or look around for the Minute tapioca). Good luck!

  109. Kate says:

    I just put this together, and I must say that there is no way all of the ingredients would fit in my 4.5 qt slow cooker. I only used 4 lbs of meat and it still didn’t fit! good thing I have a 7qt slow cooker, or I’d be in trouble. Otherwise, this is easy to prepare in segments (did the chopping and made the veggie packet the night before). It also already smells amazing! You (and Cook’s Country) never steer me wrong!

  110. esther janeczko says:

    AWSOME>My family love it,THANKS

  111. Theresa says:

    The Crockpot Recipe Exchange posted a link to your recipe on Facebook today, so I decided to try it. This is what my family and I had to say: I thought it was awesome! My husband said it was the best stew he ever had. And during dinner my husband and 2 year old were chanting Man Food! and Fist bumping! (my 2 year old ate two bowls). My daughter loved it too. So, as you can tell, it will be in the family favorites list and making the rotation this winter. Thank you for posting the recipe!

  112. Davina says:

    I made this stew this past weekend and it was amazing! I added 1/2 c. of red wine for part of the broth and used one carrot and fresh green beans. That was the vegetable I had on hand. It was a rockstar dish and my family really enjoyed it. Thank you, Mel…this is now the only Beef Stew Crockpot recipe I’m going to use. The trick with the foiled vegetables was genius….truly!

  113. Allison says:

    I’m not a beef stew person, but I loved this recipe!

  114. Louise Nolan says:

    This was delicious! I followed the recipe to the letter and it got rave reviews from my family. The only part I didn’t enjoy was cutting up the 5 pound roast. I felt like I had taken part in a homicide! 🙂

    • Marsali says:

      hey!
      Just wanted to comment that most grocery store butcher counters will cut roasts into any size cuts you want (thin strips, stew meat, etc.). Then they will slap the same price label back on the package, not charging for the cutting. It’s a big help, especially when I’m pregnant! It makes me sick to handle raw meat too much. Hope this helps!
      -Marsali

    • Christine says:

      FYI: My food store has this cut roast already cubed for stew (SHWINGGG!!).

  115. Stacey says:

    SO GOOD. This was the best stew I’ve ever made. But don’t just take my word for it….I sent some with a friend; she reported back that her husband wasn’t feeling well and wasn’t planning to eat — until he saw it — and said it looked like it was from a restaurant! I used 3 lbs of meat and increased the potatoes and carrots a bit. Thanks for another home run, Mel!

  116. Salem says:

    So I just realize I am out of tin foil…as in my drawer is empty and so is my pantry. Can I just add them when there is about 4 hrs left? I’ve made this before, but with the foil packet method. I’m kinda nervous about just dumping them in, but I am not running to the store!

    • Mel says:

      Salem – Sorry for the delay in getting back with you. I’ve never tried it without foil but adding them in the last four hours or so would be a good compromise. I hope it worked out!

  117. ALICIA says:

    Hi Mel,

    I’d love to try this recipe for a dinner party I’m having this week, do you think this recipe would work with lamb shanks instead of chuck roast?

  118. Jennie P. says:

    Delicious! I already have my leftovers packed away and hidden in the back of the fridge for my lunches the next couple days. If I didn’t hide them my husband would take them since he loved this stew so much!

  119. Betsy says:

    do you think I can prep meat/sauce and foil packet ahead of time, then just add foil packet and turn on before work?

  120. Lisa says:

    I made this last night and it was a total hit! So YUMMY!!! And it was my first time making stew, ever! Thank you so much! I’m going to keep on making this one 🙂

  121. Kim says:

    I do not have tapioca, can I sub flour or corn starch?

  122. Carrie says:

    This turned out great. Loved the flavor. I used ~2 lbs of stew meat and it seemed plenty to me.

  123. Kendra says:

    This looks so good. might be a no-brainer, but I’m kinda a beginner…. how could I make this as a freezer meal? Having a baby soon and I wanted some stew in my freezer stash!

  124. Cat says:

    Hi Kendra,
    Yeah, it’s a no brainer. But it’s also a wonderful recipe that your family will enjoy. After your stew is cooked, let it completely cool in the dish you plan to freeze it in. Make sure there is at least an inch of head space between the stew and the lid because frozen stuff expands. Cover the cooled stew with a piece of plastic to push out the air bubbles then put the lid on it, date it, and freeze!! The day you plan to use it, take it out and let it thaw before you heat it up so that you don’t over cook the vegetables.

    • Mel says:

      Hi Kendra – I freeze this stew and it works great. I portion it into freezer-ziploc bags and then press out all the air and seal (so the bag is laying flat, like a big thick square). I thaw it in the refrigerator overnight and then reheat when we want to eat it. Looks like Cat also gave some good freezing advice, too. 🙂

  125. 99bonk says:

    someone posted about not being able to use soy sauce. Useful substitute to provide a bit of “umami” is anchovy paste.

    • Gyrlsmylee says:

      Anchovy paste!! That’s it! I said salt. Himalayan pink salt is a really good diversion from the regular table salt.

  126. Rachel says:

    Really wanting to try this recipe but I only have a 4.5qt slow cooker. Could I just cut all the ingredients in half for the same results?

  127. Cat says:

    I used a regular crock pot; mine is oblong, I used the regular recipe and it worked fine. I accidently used too much thyme, but wow it still turned out great! Go for it!

  128. Lachelle says:

    This is definitely a favorite of my family. I have made it many times (with less beef than called for and with some frozen corn added too)! Thanks for a great recipe!

  129. Carol ungaro says:

    do I need to put oil in crock pot before starting beef stew

    • Cat says:

      Hi Carol, if the recipe doesn’t call for adding oil to the crock, I wouldn’t add the extra fat. The recipe does say to brown the meat in oil. You want to cook it in two batches so you don’t crowd the meat and make it steam rather than brown. Then move it to the crock leaving as much oil in the fry pan as possible. You will like the recipe. Enjoy!

    • Mel says:

      No, you don’t need to add extra oil.

  130. Stacia McKee says:

    You are so funny. “In my great book of opinions…”. Thanks for all your service posting so many family friendly recipes.

  131. Cearrow Sillman says:

    Ok you’ve convinced me. I’m making this tonight. Glad I have it all on hand. Pot roast is one of my favorite meals, so I looked and noticed you didn’t have a roast recipe.. Unless I missed it. If you don’t, please get on that! I know you’d make a fabulous one! I made a life CHANGING roast once, it had broth and Worcestershire sauce and tomato paste.. All kinds of seasoning, mushrooms and grape tomatoes along with all the regular veggies in a roast. I made it two more times that month then lost the recipe. I looked online for a couple of hours for it before giving up. If you recreated something similar I’d forever be indebted! Until then- looks like slow cooker roast it is!!

  132. Lorna says:

    Wow! I was excited to try this recipes and it did not disappointment. Everyone I had over wanted the recipes. I love your site.

  133. Suzanne says:

    Curious if it has to be minute tapioca? I accidentally bought regular…

    • Mel says:

      I read somewhere that if you grind the regular tapioca into a finer powder, you can sub it for the minute tapioca but I’m not positive. Sorry I’m not more help, I’ve never made it with regular tapioca.

      • Suzanne says:

        I went ahead and threw it in before I read your response (I’m patient like that) and it turned out just fine. Absolutely delicious! Thanks for another great recipe. My family says “Mel never lets us down!”

  134. Shallan says:

    I tried this one a couple weeks ago. My husband and I both didn’t like the tomato flavor. I was really disappointed as I love beef stew. But the tomato in this just does not work for me. The beef was very tender though! If you like a more traditional
    Beef stew I suggest trying one without tomato paste in it. I love some of Mel’s other recipes though!

  135. JaLeen says:

    When you do this in your pressure cooker, do you still use the foil method for the vegetables, or do you do something different with them?

    • Mel says:

      No, I just put all the ingredients in the pressure cooker (after browning the meat) and cooked it at high pressure for 25 minutes (and ran it under cold water to release). I used my stovetop pressure cooker not the InstantPot (I think you’d need to add a few more minutes with the InstantPot). It was delicious. I think you could probably use the foil packet still but I opted not to.

  136. Jaimey says:

    Have you ever frozen this? How does it turn out? Thanks so much!

    • Mel says:

      it freezes pretty well. The potatoes are a bit softer after being defrosted but we still enjoy it as leftovers (the overall consistency is thicker, too).

  137. Julie says:

    HI mel, just a question about the Tapioca, I have seen that our local supermarket sells Tapioca flour would that work as well as Tapioca itself? it actually says it is used for thickening stews, soups etc.

    • Mel says:

      That’s a great question, Julie – and I’m not sure. Tapioca flour is much finer and I’m afraid it might mess up the consistency of the beef stew but it’s definitely worth a try – maybe whisking some of the tapioca flour and hot water or broth together and adding it to the stew after it cooks??

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