Everybody will love this delicious Crock Pot Beef Stew with tender meat and vegetables. The ultimate comfort food that will warm you to the bone. This smaller beef stew recipe is ideal for a small household or is quickly doubled to full size.
😊Why you should make this recipe
- This easy slow cooker beef stew recipe is the best classic old-fashioned comfort food you can have on a cold day.
- A short prep to enhance the flavor and all-day cooking in the crock pot gets you a delicious dinner when you get home.
- Melt-in-your-mouth tender beef with excellent flavor and packed with tender potatoes and vegetables in a rich and hearty sauce.
- It is a complete meal, so there is no need for lots of side dishes. Serve with crusty bread, cornbread, or biscuits.
I started with a Cooks Country recipe (subscription required), but I think it is unrecognizable now. Lots of fuss, as usual from Cooks County, has been removed along with some other adjustments, and the size decreased.
- Beef—pre-cut stew meat or trimmed sirloin tip or chuck roast
- Vegetables—Yukon gold or red potatoes, carrots, frozen peas
- Aromatics—onion and garlic
- Tomato paste
- Beef broth—low sodium
- Pantry ingredients—salt, pepper
- Flavor enhancement—soy sauce
- Optional ingredients—flour for browning, dry thyme, bay leaf
- Thickening—tapioca or cornstarch
👨🍳How to Make Crock Pot Beef Stew
- Trim beef.
- Optional: Dust beef lightly with flour and brown.
- Prepare onion, carrots, and potatoes
- Add all ingredients except peas to the crock pot.
- Cook on low for 8 hours.
- Add frozen peas for the last hour.
⏰How long to cook
On low, this takes 8 hours, and on high, it takes 4-5 hours. Some beef may take a bit longer, so check the meat and potatoes for tenderness and extend the time by an hour or two if needed.
- You can use pre-cut stew beef or cut your own from sirloin tip or chuck roast.
- The more marbling, the more tender the results.
- Using soy sauce will enhance the beef flavor. Many recipes use Worcestershire sauce which you can use instead. The tomato paste also will boost the beef taste.
- The potatoes can be any potatoes. If you use russet potatoes, they should be peeled. If you use the specified Yukon Gold or red potatoes, you don't need to peel them.
- You will get about 1 cup of cubed potatoes from ½ pound of potatoes.
- Do not cube the potatoes or the carrots too small, or they can easily overcook.
- Other common additions include celery, green beans, parsnips, and sweet potatoes.
- The secret to tender beef stew is not to undercook the stew. Cook until the meat and vegetables are tender.
- You can skip the browning of the meat, and cooking the onion on the stovetop will only cause a minor change in outcome. Just dump the ingredients into the crock pot works.
- Like all stews and soups, a little more or less of the meat or vegetable will be fine.
- It is acceptable in the crock pot on the "keep warm" setting for an hour or a bit more if needed for your timing.
↕️How to make this a "for two" or "family size" recipe
This is a very easy recipe to cut in half or double
- The full recipe makes about 8 cups of 4 large servings. Perfect for our "for two" household for two meals.
- Use the recipe card and adjust the number of servings to half or double.
- Use the amount of ingredients in the ingredient list, not the instructions—those do not adjust.
- The half recipe will fit in a 2-quart mini crock pot.
- A double recipe fits in a 6-quart or larger crock pot.
- Cook for the same amount of time.
Browning the beef with a dusting of flour before adding it to the crock pot will add some depth of flavor with a Maillard reaction, but you can skip this with only a small effect on the final results.
Tapioca or cornstarch is used to thicken this recipe. For tapioca, add 1 tablespoon at the beginning of cooking. For cornstarch, make a smooth slurry of 1 tablespoon of cornstarch with 1 tablespoon of cold water, then add the peas near the end of cooking.
Using a roux with flour is just fussier than it needs to be. Potato flakes are another possible choice.
❄️Leftovers—storage and reheating
Store leftover beef stew in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4 days or freezer for 3 months.
To reheat, thaw overnight in the refrigerator first if frozen. Then reheat on the stovetop in a saucepan over medium heat is preferred, but the microwave will work, also.
📖Crock Pot Stew/Soup Recipes
Crock Pot Ham Bone and Bean Soup
Extra Thick Crock Pot Cheeseburger Soup
Crock Pot Broccoli Cheese Soup
This recipe is listed in these categories. See them for more similar recipes.
🖼️Step-by-Step Photo Instructions
Note: All images are for a double recipe. Instructions and ingredients are for a single recipe.
Use pre-cut stew beef or trim about 1 ½ to 2 pounds of boneless chuck roast or sirloin tip into 1-inch cubes. Give it a light dusting of flour and place in hot oil over medium-high heat in the large skillet—brown for about 7-8 minutes. Move the meat to the crock pot but keep any liquid in the pan.
While browning meat, peel 2 carrots and cut them into ½ inch thick medallions. Scrub ½ pound of Yukon Gold or red potatoes and cut them into 1-inch cubes. Other potatoes could be used but if using russet potatoes, peel them.
Dice 1 medium onion. Crush or mince 2 cloves of garlic. Add onion, 3 ounces of tomato paste, and ¼ tsp salt into the hot pan. Cook until onions are soft and lightly browned. Add the garlic for the last minute.
When the onion is ready, add 1 cup of beef broth to the pan and scrape any brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
Add all ingredients except the peas to the crock pot, and stir well. Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours. Add the frozen peas for the last hour of cooking.
Small Crock Pot Beef Stew
- 1 ½-2 lbs stew beef or trimmed sirloin tip or chuck roast - trimmed and cut into 1 inch chunks
- 1 medium onion - diced
- 2 cloves garlic - minced or pressed
- 3 oz tomato paste
- 1 cup low-sodium beef broth
- ½ lb red or Yukon Gold potatoes - cut into 1-inch chunks
- 2 carrots - peeled cut into ½ inch medallions
- ½ cups frozen peas
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce - low sodium
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 1 bay leaves - Optional
- ¼ teaspoon dried thyme - Optional
- 2 tablespoons AP Flour - Optional for browning
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil - Optional for browning
Optional thickening-covered in the pro tips below
- 1 tablespoon Minute tapioca
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- Use pre-cut stew beef or trim about 1 ½ to 2 pounds of boneless chuck roast or sirloin tip into 1-inch cubes. Give it a light dusting of flour and place in hot oil over medium-high heat in the large skillet—brown for about 7-8 minutes. Move the meat to the crock pot but keep any liquid in the pan.
- While browning meat, peel 2 carrots and cut them into ½ inch thick medallions. Scrub ½ pound of red or Yukon gold potatoes and cut them into chunks. Other potatoes could be used but if using russet potatoes, peel also.
- Dice 1 medium onion. Crush or mince 2 cloves of garlic. Add onion, 3 ounces of tomato paste, and ¼ tsp salt into the hot pan. Cook until onions are soft and lightly browned. Add the garlic for the last minute.
- When the onion is ready, add 1 cup of beef broth to the pan and scrape any brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
- Add all ingredients except the peas to the crock pot, and stir well. Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours. Add the frozen peas for the last hour of cooking. Cook longer if needed for tender meat and vegetables.
Your Own Private Notes
- Images are for a double batch.
- This makes about 2 quarts as written and will fit a 3-quart crock pot. I recommend a double recipe and use a 6-quart or bigger crock pot. How to cut the recipe in half is covered in the post.
- I prefer to cut and trim a chuck roast or sirloin tip for this, but beef stew meat will work fine.
- If you're in a hurry, skip the whole browning skillet steps. Just dump it in, and it will be great.
- Check for beef tenderness before stopping cooking. Some beef may take a bit longer.
- Leftovers are good in the refrigerator for 4 days or 3 months in a freezer.
- Nutrition is calculated on a large serving size of about 2 cups.
Optional thickeningTapioca or cornstarch is used to thicken this recipe. For tapioca, add 1 tablespoon at the beginning of cooking. For cornstarch, make a smooth slurry of 1 tablespoon of cornstarch with 1 tablespoon of cold water, then add the peas near the end of cooking. Using a roux with flour is just fussier than it needs to be. Potato flakes are another possible choice.
To adjust the recipe size:
You may adjust the number of servings in this recipe card under servings. This does the math for the ingredients for you. BUT it does NOT adjust the text of the instructions. So you need to do that yourself.
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Publisher Note: Originally published March 5, 2011. Updated with expanded options, refreshed photos, and a table of contents to help navigation. Also, the technique has been updated a small amount to current my practice.
I hate peas. I want to do it with frozen green beans. Do I cut them in half and cook longer?
Dan Mikesell AKA DrDan
Frozen green beans are tougher than peas. You can add them with the potatoes but you can just replace the peas with then add near the end. No need to cut them up.
What a different (wonderful) change from the usual stew with brown gravy. The tomato paste took it to another level, with a lovely color and tangy tomato taste. I did use stew meat (it was very high quality), coated it with highly seasoned flour, and browned until the coating was crispy. This flouring actually made a nice gravy without use of any added thickeners. The carrots and peas took on the essence of the sauce without losing their individual flavors. I did choose to serve this over mashed potatoes, rather than put the potatoes into the stew, this time.
It's just my husband and myself--he says this is a "keeper".
Thanks so much--Anne Davis
The grocery store gave me instant tapioca instead of minute tapioca. Is there a big difference if I use it to thicken the stew?
Dan Mikesell AKA DrDan
You should be fine. In many applications, they can not be substituted but here we are using it for the starch to thicken. Either would work.
We loved it!
Katherine A Dietz
In the notes to make the recipe it says it was written for a 3 qt crockpot. In answer to a few of the questions it says to cut the written recipe in half, which is it?
Dan Mikesell AKA DrDan
The original recipe was what I now call a double and needs a 6 quart or larger crockpot. As written now, it is 3 quart. Some of the older comments were for the original larger recipe. So follow the recipe card and instructions in the post. Please note that all images are for a double recipe. Instructions and ingredients are for a single recipe.
This beef stew is the best! I made the smaller version and it was absolutely perfect. We didn’t have Tapioca, so I added cornstarch at the end. It was so delicious there were no leftovers, so the gumminess wasn’t an issue.