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How to Make Beef Stew the Way Mama Used to Make It (My Favorite Slow Cooker Recipe)

Updated on March 26, 2012

How to Make Beef Stew

It is really quite simple to make beef stew, especially if you own a slow cooker and follow this easy beef stew recipe. Nothing could be more straightforward than quickly throwing together all the beef stew ingredients and then turning a switch on to LOW.

It is by far my favourite slow cooker recipe, because it reminds me of the stew that my Mum used to make for me; hearty, nutritious, and full of love! Many people think of beef stew as a meal best served during the winter time, but really it is a wonderful comfort food to make any time of the year.

The great thing about this recipe is that it can be prepared the night before and then left overnight in the fridge. This is really handy if you leave for work early or are short on time in the mornings. Simply throw all the beef stew ingredients together in the crock pot the night before you go to work, and then in the morning all you have to do is turn the slow cooker on and it will be ready and waiting for you when you get home.

I usually let it cook slowly on low for 7-8 hours, after which time the beef is deliciously tender and the chunky vegetables are perfectly done.

Slow Cooker or Crock Pot?

I should mention, in case you were wondering, that a "crock pot" and a "slow cooker" is one and the same thing. Actually, "Crock Pot" is a brand of slow cookers made by the Company Rival. So, as you'll see in the picture above, my slow cooker is indeed also a "Crock Pot".

As an example, searching for an "easy crock pot beef stew" recipe would be exactly the same as searching for an "easy slow cooker beef stew" recipe. I know that a lot of people get confused by this, so I thought I should clarify before proceeding with the recipe.

Beef Stew Ingredients

500g Stewing Beef, cubed

4 Tbsp All Purpose Flour

Salt and Pepper

1 Medium Onion, finely chopped

3 or 4 Carrots

1 or 2 Sticks of Celery

1 or 2 Parsnips

3 Cups Beef Stock

1/2 Tsp Dijon Mustard

1 Tbsp Tomato Puree

2 Bay Leaves (optional)

Easy Beef Stew Recipe

When making beef stew in the slow cooker, you can really add any combination of root vegetables or seasonings that you like. You could even add ale or guinness for extra richness. I prefer to keep this recipe nice and simple; it's just so "homemade" and all the basic flavors combine together during the cooking process to make a wonderfully scrumptious stew.

Of course, the freshest ingredients are always the best. When my Mum makes her original beef stew recipe on the stovetop, she uses fresh vegetables picked right out of her garden. I am very envious of her recent prize parsnip, which really puts my supermarket-bought parsnips to shame.



Assembling your beef stew ingredients and adding them to the slow cooker couldn't be simpler:

  • Season flour with salt and pepper and toss in bite-sized pieces of the beef to coat thoroughly.

  • Roughly chop celery, parsnip, carrot and any other root vegetables

  • Finely chop the onion (this is the only bit that needs any really work!)

  • Throw all the ingredients in the slow cooker (I don't even bother to brown the beef beforehand, just throw everything in!)

  • Add mustard, tomato puree, bay leaves if using, beef stock, and stir everything together.

That's it! Close the lid and walk away. Leave on low for 7-8 hours and enjoy the aromas of a simply delightful homemade stew. It will bubble away in the slow cooker quite contently until ready to eat.

You can either serve the beef stew as is, or perhaps with dumplings or homemade biscuits.



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    • Cloverleaf profile image

      Cloverleaf 5 years ago from Calgary, AB, Canada

      Hi Chance175, substituting with tomato sauce should be fine, although you may want to reduce the amount of beef stock to adjust the consistency of the sauce. Thanks for reading and I hope that you enjoy your supper!

    • profile image

      Chance175 5 years ago

      Sounds delicious. I have all the ingredients except tomato puree. Could I substitute with tomato sauce or part of a jar of spaghetti sauce?

    • Cloverleaf profile image

      Cloverleaf 5 years ago from Calgary, AB, Canada

      Daisydayz, I coat the meat with flour to give the sauce a nice, thick consistency. Otherwise it would be more like a soup than a beef stew. You could spoon the flour in separately but by coating the meat it distributes it evenly so that you don't get any lumps.

      Best wishes,


    • Gloshei profile image

      Gloria 5 years ago from France

      Cloverleaf Hi,

      The weather has changed again so 'guess what we are having for tea'?

      Love it thanks again.

    • daisydayz profile image

      Chantele Cross-Jones 5 years ago from Cardiff

      Oh this sounds yummy and so easy. Why do you coat the beef with flour though? I thought this was only used when frying meat. Does it give a better texture or anything?

    • Cloverleaf profile image

      Cloverleaf 5 years ago from Calgary, AB, Canada

      That's great, Gloshei! I'm so glad that you enjoyed the recipe. Thanks very much for posting your feedback, too! Have a great day :)

    • Gloshei profile image

      Gloria 5 years ago from France

      Just to let you know it was absolutely fab, and I didn't sear the meat first. This is top of my list now and have sent it to the kids as well.

    • Cloverleaf profile image

      Cloverleaf 5 years ago from Calgary, AB, Canada

      Hi randomcreative, I have tried making stew a couple of times on the stove but find that the meat is not as tender as when done in the slow cooker. I'm hooked on this method now! Thanks for stopping by to read and comment :)

      Hi Gloshel, no I never bother searing meat before throwing it in the slow cooker. A lot of people do this to improve the appearance of the meat, but I do not find that is necessary. Hope you enjoyed your Monday Stew!

      Hi eye say, many thanks - I hope you get to try this someday.

    • eye say profile image

      eye say 5 years ago from Canada

      nice, great pics, gotta try this one!

    • Gloshei profile image

      Gloria 5 years ago from France

      Hey this is a good recipe, and I noticed you did not sear the meat first I must try it.

      Will get somr beef on Monday and give it a go.

      Thanks for sharing.

    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      I love beef stew. I usually make it on the stove, but it is a wonderful slow cooker option. Thanks for sharing your mom's recipe with us.

    • Cloverleaf profile image

      Cloverleaf 5 years ago from Calgary, AB, Canada

      Thanks, aw1219! I hope you get to try the recipe.

    • Cloverleaf profile image

      Cloverleaf 5 years ago from Calgary, AB, Canada

      MM, it always turns out soooo good, but I think it turns out even better whenever you make it for me :) I don't know what I would do without my slow cooker, it's so handy! x

    • Movie Master profile image

      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi Cloverleaf, that dish of stew looks mouthwateringly good!! cooking in a slow cooker is such a good idea especially if you are out at work all day. I wish I could have shared some with you!

      Voted up x

    • Cloverleaf profile image

      Cloverleaf 5 years ago from Calgary, AB, Canada

      Just Ask Susan,






      Thank you all for coming by to read and comment. I just enjoyed leftover beef stew for my lunch. It really is such a simple and delicious recipe that easily feeds 4 people (or 2 people over a couple of days). I hope you all get to try it someday.

      Best wishes,


    • ThePracticalMommy profile image

      Marissa 5 years ago from United States

      This seems like a simple and delicious recipe--right up my alley! I love using my crock pot. I'll have to give this a try! :)

    • Turtlewoman profile image

      Kim Lam 5 years ago from California

      Your mama was a very smart cook. This recipe looks very easy and less time consuming. I love cooking beef stew and I love using slow cookers!

      Voted up!

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 5 years ago from America

      Your recipe looks great. I got hungry for beef stew not long ago. I don't know why I don't usually eat beef. I made it in the slow cooker, it turned out so good.

      Enjoyed your hub.

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 5 years ago from Wales

      A great recipe;take care and I now look forward to many more from you.

      Take care


    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 5 years ago from Orange County, CA

      One of my favorite dishes and I'm glad you provide an easy recipe for a non-cook. But I'd throw some garlic in there for additional flavor. Voting this Up and Useful.

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Looks good. I saw your Mom's recipe yesterday and now yours today. Two new recipes for me to try. I enjoy stew and will try this recipe soon. Thanks.