Beef stew with vegetables on mashed potato on plate with fork

Slow cooker beef stew

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(185 ratings)

Prep: 20 mins Cook: 4 hrs 4 hrs on high or 8 hrs on low


Serves 4

Cook beef stew in a slow cooker for really tender meat. Add button mushrooms or smoked paprika for extra flavour – it will be an instant family favourite

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal474
  • fat25g
  • saturates9g
  • carbs10g
  • sugars9g
  • fibre4g
  • protein48g
  • salt0.2g


  • 1 onion, chopped



    Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

  • 2 celery sticks, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp rapeseed oil
    Rapeseed oil

    Rapeseed oil

    If you want a light alternative to other cooking oils, rapeseed is a great choice and has…

  • 3 carrots, halved and cut into chunks
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ pack thyme


    This popular herb grows in Europe, especially the Mediterranean, and is a member of the mint…

  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 beef stock cubes or stock pots
  • 900g beef for braising such as skirt, buy a whole piece and cut it yourself for bigger chunks or buy ready-diced



    The classic choice of meat for a British Sunday roast. Beef is full of flavour, as…

  • 2 tsp cornflour (optional)
  • ½ small bunch parsley, chopped



    One of the most ubiquitous herbs in British cookery, parsley is also popular in European and…

  • buttery mash, to serve (optional)


  1. Fry the onion and celery in 1 tbsp oil over a low heat until they start to soften – about 5 mins. Add the carrots, bay and thyme, fry for 2 mins, stir in the purée and Worcestershire sauce, add 600ml boiling water, stir and tip everything into a slow cooker. Crumble over the stock cubes or add the stock pots and stir, then season with pepper (don’t add salt as the stock may be salty).

  2. Clean out the frying pan and fry the beef in the remaining oil in batches until it is well browned, then tip each batch into the slow cooker. Cook on low for 8-10 hrs, or on high for 4 hrs.

  3. If you want to thicken the gravy, mix the cornflour with a splash of cold water to make a paste, then stir in 2 tbsp of the liquid from the slow cooker. Tip back into the slow cooker, stir and cook for a further 30 mins on high. Stir in the parsley and season again to taste. Serve with mash, if you like. Leave to cool before freezing.

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Comments, questions and tips

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5th Aug, 2020
Has anyone made this on the quick hack method please and what were your thoughts? I use the slow cooker when I don’t have time to stand over a frying pan so want a recipe that I can just throw everything in. Any comments would be much appreciated!
Joanne Kirsch
2nd Aug, 2020
This was so good! I left out the celery and parsley, I added the paprika to the beef when I fried it before adding to the slow cooker. I used Knorr stock pot and added a bit more water during the 8 hours then thickened up with cornflour about ten minutes before the end... I only used half of the amounts stated as only cooking for 2. I'd call it more if a casserole than a stew but either way it was delicious
Dave W's picture
Dave W
15th Jul, 2020
Really tired of people using subjective measures. What does '1/2 pack of thyme mean'. Things can be measured by volume or weight. Even if you use non-standard units at least I can convert them, but woolly statements like that aren't helpful. If it doesn't really matter then that's fine, but don't use a measure at all in that case.
29th Apr, 2020
Tried this and loved it! My observations: Definitely go for mushrooms - button or sliced. Approx one pack, tip them into the slow cooker raw when you switch it on. 'Diced beef shin' seemed to work well for me for this (as bought from Sainsburys) The water, puree, Worcestershire sauce etc. can be mixed into the slow cooker rather than doing it in the frying pan stage. I suspect also that you could brown the beef and start the veg simultaneously if you wanted to (and had a large enough, deep pan) This is a lot of work for 4/5 dishes so I doubled the ingredients which just about fits in a 6.5l slow cooker. Use about 200g raw potato per person for the mash. Stores well in the freezer. I smelled the smoked paprika and decided the dish wouldn't benefit from it so didn't put it in... you might want to try it though.
22nd Mar, 2020
This is my go to recipe for a slow cooker beef stew. I’ve cooked it a few times now. First time I felt the amount of liquid wasn’t enough so I double it to 1.2L with all the other ingredients plus an extra oxo cube. Then I normally just thicken up with cornflour at the end. I always cook on slow, haven’t attempted high. It always comes out delicious.
Raechel Whitworth's picture
Raechel Whitworth
26th Feb, 2020
Brilliant recipe. I used mushrooms in my recipe and left out the celery. I also added a little instant gravy and extra water because I like a lot of sauce. All round, it was absolutely beautiful. thankyou for the recipe!
Isobella Broccoli's picture
Isobella Broccoli
8th Jan, 2020
I didn’t use celery or parsley because I couldn’t find any fresh locally. I also left out bay leaves and completely forgot to buy tomatoe purée. I cut my carrots in huge chunks, I did add salt and another 1/3 stock cube because I tasted the stock and it was weak even though I added 2. I put peppers in for the last hour. I wish I waited until the last 30 mins so they were a little crunchier but they still tasted amazing and made the sauce very nice. It was perfect with mash. Definitely will be trying again I cooked on high heat for 4 hours because of time but will try the 10 hour one next time.
6th Jan, 2020
I was loving the flavours until I added the smoked paprika, I added 1 tsp but it just overpowered everything else, I suggest leaving it out altogether or much less
14th Mar, 2020
There is no smoked paprika in recipe?
29th Mar, 2020
It suggests adding paprika or button mushrooms in the preface


yvonne o'meara's picture
yvonne o'meara
9th Dec, 2019
I don’t have a slow cooker. How can I cook this in the oven? The recipe and reviews look great, I really want to try it.
lulu_grimes's picture
10th Dec, 2019
Yes you can, try 3 hours in the oven at 160C/140C fan/gas 3, put a lid on tightly and if it looks like there isn't quite enough liquid (slow cookers don't evaporate as they cook so there tends to be less liquid in the recipe) then add a little water, you can always boil it off at the end. If the meat is still not tender then give it a little longer. You can thicken the gravy at the end by cooking it with a lid off for 30 mins.
yvonne o'meara's picture
yvonne o'meara
10th Dec, 2019
27th Nov, 2019
How much smoked paprika please?
lulu_grimes's picture
2nd Dec, 2019
Hello, Use 1 tbsp and add it with the carrots and bay etc, it's important that the paprika gets cooked a little before you add the liquid. If you use paprika then you might like to serve the stew with a spoonful of soured cream.
Adrian Parish's picture
Adrian Parish
23rd Nov, 2019
Slow cooker size ?
lulu_grimes's picture
25th Nov, 2019
Hello Adrian, You can use any size of slow cooker from 3.5 litres upwards.
30th Oct, 2019
When should I add the mushrooms?
goodfoodteam's picture
2nd Nov, 2019
Thanks for your question. You can add the mushrooms to the slow cooker in step 2.
Vickie Newman's picture
Vickie Newman
16th Jan, 2019
Could you add ale to this?


The Big Yin
20th May, 2020
Cook the paprika with the beef as you are cooking, then Add a Small bottle of red wine as you are braising the beef in the pan before adding to the slow cooker. Gives a very good flavour.
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