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 small-batch beef stew recipe is ideal for a small household or is quickly doubled to full size. Or make it even smaller for only two servings.
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
Pantry ingredients—beef broth, tomato paste, soy sauce, salt, pepper
Optional ingredients—flour for browning, dry thyme, bay leaf
Thickening—tapioca or cornstarch
Table of Contents (scroll for more)
Featured Comment from Lauren:
"5 stars This beef stew is the best! I made the smaller version and it was absolutely perfect."
😊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.
👨🍳How to Make Crock Pot Beef Stew
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 and 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.
For more details, keep reading. See the Recipe Card below for complete instructions and to print.
⏰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 dumping 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.
❄️Leftovers—storage and reheating
Store leftover beef stew in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4 days or in a 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, but the microwave will work, too.
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.
This recipe is listed in these categories. See them for more similar recipes.
Have you tried this recipe, or have a question? Join the community discussion in the comments.
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.