Slow Cooker Thick and Chunky Beef Stew

This post may include affiliate links.

If you’re looking for something with rich, savory flavors and a warming, comforting finish, you can’t go wrong with this Slow Cooker Thick and Chunky Beef Stew. It will make you feel like the queen at a medieval feast! Slow cooking is the best way to create a stew filled with hearty ingredients that also happens to be healthy. After steeping in their natural juices all day long, these meats and veggies will leave your family feeling happily stuffed and satisfied.

This Slow Cooker Thick and Chunky Beef Stew is so easy to pull together. Simply cut your beef into cubes (we recommend lean chuck roast because it’s inexpensive and it becomes oh-so tender when cooked low-and-slow). Then, rub them with salt and pepper, roll ’em in flour, and brown them in a skillet over medium-high heat. Once they’re caramelized (and smelling amazing), transfer the meat to a slow cooker and add the remaining ingredients. Let it simmer on Low for 8 to 10 hours, and it will become aromatic perfection!

Can I Speed Up the Cook Time?

This Slow Cooker Thick and Chunky Beef Stew takes time to cook to perfection.

Eight or ten hours may seem like a long time to cook dinner, even in a slow cooker, but there are no alternative cooking times that use the High setting for this Slow Cooker Thick and Chunky Beef Stew. Because the beef is lean chuck, it can easily become tough and chewy if it cooks too fast. Low and slow is definitely the way to go, so make sure to plan ahead with this one.

You can always make the stew a day ahead of time and let it cool down before storing it in the refrigerator. Then, simply heat it up, and you’ll be ready to eat!

Do You Like Stew Thick or Thin?

Do you like your beef stew thick or thin?

Some people prefer thinner stews, while others love their stew as thick as possible. This recipe does turn out on the thinner side, but you have a few choices to thicken it up. You can always use half the amount of liquid, knowing that you can always add more later if you need. Or, you could cook the recipe as-is and thicken it after it’s finished cooking with a cornstarch slurry. Alternatively, adding a few tablespoons of tomato paste will thicken the stew while adding a deep, enriching flavor.

Slow Cooker Thick and Chunky Beef Stew

This beef stew offers rich, savory flavors and a warming, comforting finish! YUM.
Course: Dinner, Lunch
Keyword: Slow Cooker
Servings: 6
Calories: 275kcal


  • 1 pound lean chuck beef, cut into cubes
  • 1/4 cup flour  (non-grain based flour for Whole30 plan)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 stalks celery, cut into slices
  • 3 large carrots sliced into thick rounds
  • 1/2 cup shelled snap peas
  • 2 medium potatoes of any variety, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme ( or 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves)
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper, divided
  • 2 1/2 cups low-sodium beef broth
  • 1/2 cup red wine, optional beef broth
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat parsley, (optional for garnish)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste (optional, but helps to thicken up the stew)


  • Coat the beef with the flour. Over medium heat, in a skillet with extra-virgin olive oil, brown the beef then transfer to the slow cooker.
  • Add all other ingredients, except parsley, to slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours, or when beef is very tender. Remove bay leaf before serving. Enjoy!
  • Garnish with chopped parsley if desired.


Nutrition facts calculated using gold potatoes, red wine, and includes tomato paste.


Serving: 1.5cups | Calories: 275kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 52mg | Sodium: 711mg | Potassium: 1044mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 6856IU | Vitamin C: 41mg | Calcium: 57mg | Iron: 4mg

How do you like your stew? Thin and served over brown rice or quinoa? Thick and hearty on its own? Let us know in the comments!

Hungry for more clean, filling meals? Like us on Facebook and follow us on Pinterest. Subscribe to our daily eNewsletter for the latest SkinnyMs. workouts and dishes delivered to your inbox.

What’s cooking? Leave us a comment about this article or anything else you’d like to see on SkinnyMs. We’re happy to receive your feedback.

free email series

5 Secrets to Transform Your Eating Habits

New tips & recipes to feel & look great!

67 Comments on "Slow Cooker Thick and Chunky Beef Stew"

  1. Kerri B  February 19, 2016

    Following the directions minus carrots and beef broth(substituted chicken broth) and it smells GREAT! But it’s a LOT of onion and a LOT of liquid.

  2. Gale Compton  March 16, 2016

    Charron, Thanks so much for your feedback, it’s greatly appreciated. 🙂

  3. Silvia  March 23, 2016

    My Family and I love it, definitely will make it again. Didn’t had no wine and used Basil instead of Bay leave and used Chicken broth, but it was so good.

    • SkinnyMs.  March 24, 2016

      We’re so glad your family enjoyed it!

  4. Ragnhil H.S.  April 24, 2016

    The point of a sslow cooker is that the liquid stays….. I haven’t made this recepie before, but my experience with other slow cooker stews made me reduce the stock to half the amount, and it turned out great.

  5. Pat  August 6, 2016

    I fixed this for dinner tonight and my family loved it including my picky eater grandson. It came out great. I added some mushrooms and zucchini at the end. I will definitely make this again. My husband called this a gumbo stew, he and my son went back for thirds.

    • Gale Compton  August 7, 2016

      Pat, You just gave me a great idea for a new recipe, Slow Cooker Gumbo Stew! Thank your husband please. 🙂 So happy your family enjoyed our recipe.

  6. Amy  September 12, 2016

    Making this tonight! I just kinda felt like it wasn’t enough to feed 6, I am only feeding 3 and it didn’t make much! Can’t wait to try!

  7. Sherry  September 17, 2016

    Are the roasted bell peppers from a jar, or fresh roasted? Thanks.

  8. Phi  September 20, 2016

    Looks wonderful. Question….. In the narrative above the recipe, you say that you sear it in the crockpot, then add everything else. But in the recipe, you say to sear it in a large pot. Can you explain….. Will it actually sear in the crockpot? Thanks.

    • Kym Votruba  September 23, 2016

      This recipe should be seared in a large pot. We’ve corrected the instructions. Thanks for pointing this out to us!

  9. Jennifer  September 25, 2016

    Made this tonight. It was very liquidy, so I had to thicken it, and I also had to add a little extra salt. Other than that, it was good.

  10. Keri  October 13, 2016

    My husband is Hindu and does not eat beef. Can I do this with chicken? If so, do I need to sear the chicken first or can I just put the raw chicken cubes in the crockpot?

    • Nichole  October 15, 2016

      Great question, Keri!

      Yes, you can substitute chicken breast for the beef. Just throw the raw cubed chicken into the pot. Also substitute chicken broth for the beef and white wine for the red!

      • Keri  October 18, 2016

        Thank you!!! I definitely want to try this out!!! I’ll have to try the beef version at my parents house!

  11. Katy  October 16, 2016

    Mine looks more like soup and less like gravy. Did I do something wrong?

    • Nichole  October 17, 2016

      I’m sure you did nothing wrong, Katy! Next time, you can reduce the liquid in the recipe (beef broth in this case). If you would still like to thicken the stew, you can remove a few of the potatoes and carrots, mash them, and return them to the stew to help thicken.

  12. Kathleen  November 13, 2016

    This is one of the most misleading Pinterest recipes I’ve ever come across. This is NOT stew. It doesn’t look remotely like the photo. It’s basically just a big pot of onions and liquid. Really disappointed and upset that I wasted my time and money on this.

    • Nichole Furlong  November 13, 2016

      Sorry you were disappointed, Kathleen! Could you give me a little more information on what was wrong with your soup? I would love to help troubleshoot this recipe to your satisfaction!

  13. Laura Bayird  November 15, 2016

    My slow cooker is currently in a box in storage. We’re in between places right now. Could you do this in a crock pot on low? How would that affect the cooking time?

    • Nichole Furlong  November 19, 2016

      Hi Laura, You can use a crock pot – the cook times will stay the same!

  14. Max M.  December 9, 2016

    Dried peas? Canned peas? Or Fresh peas? Thanks!

    • Kym Votruba  December 9, 2016

      We used thawed frozen peas, but fresh or canned will also work.

  15. Candy  December 20, 2016

    The BEST I’ve had
    Only thing I didn’t add was the peas because we don’t like peas but everything else was to a TV and will definitely make again. Omg delicious

    • Kym Votruba  December 21, 2016

      Thanks for sharing, Candy! We’re so happy you enjoyed the recipe. 🙂

  16. Kym  December 22, 2016

    This is the best Beef Stew I’ve ever made! My hubby loved it and that’s a big deal! It has a very beefy flavor! Definitely making this again!!

    • Gale Compton  December 23, 2016

      Kym, Thanks so much for your feedback and glad hubby liked it. 🙂

  17. Carrie  January 4, 2017

    After reading the comments and seeing for myself, it is a bit soupy for me at the midway point, so I added 2 TBSP tomato paste (which I keep frozen in 1 TBSP clumps for such situations). It has thickened the stew nicely and given it a darker, richer color, without affecting the taste. Can’t wait to dig a couple more hours!

    • Gale Compton  January 5, 2017

      Carrie, I’ve actually tried this as well. You’re right, it does help to thicken up the stew without changing the taste. Thanks so much for adding the comment. I’ve made your suggestion an option in the ingredients. 🙂

  18. Laurie  January 18, 2017

    i was feeding a crowd so I doubled the recipe. And instead of using beef I made it with venison. It was amazing. Everyone loved it. Will definitely be making again. Thank you for the recipe.

    • Gale Compton  January 19, 2017

      Laurie, YAH!!! Love hear success stories. 🙂

  19. Brina  January 25, 2017

    I made this and it came out great! If it comes out soupy it’s just not done yet. I left mine to cook longer so it would “stew-up”.

  20. veronica  February 1, 2017

    all of these receipes sound wonderful I am always looking for good crock pot ones and these sound really good

    • Kym Votruba  February 1, 2017

      Thanks, Veronica!

  21. Kimberly Thompson`  February 20, 2017

    The picture on Pinterest and the picture on your page do not look like the same dish. I want a hearty rich thick stew as the one shown on Pinterest. I am afraid to try this based on some other comments. I hate paying that much for beef and a recipe not turning out. It has happened to me too many times. Which of the photos is a more accurate look at the finished dish?

  22. Cheryl  March 4, 2017

    Delicious—this is my new go-to recipe for beef stew!! The first time I made it, I used the red wine and it was wonderful! The second time I didn’t have the wine so I used balsamic vinegar and again–delicious!! I like the addition of tomato paste for thickening–I keep it in the freezer already portioned out in tablespoons. On a chilly winter day—perfection!

    • Gale Compton  March 4, 2017

      Cheryl, So happy you enjoyed the stew! I love your balsamic substitute. Thank you. 🙂

  23. Jill  March 5, 2017

    I have tried this twice and LOVE IT !!! Even my friends who don’t like wine, loved the flavors and depth it brings to the stew ! No, I didn’t add the tomato paste (for thickening), but I like my stew a little “soupy” because I usually add more veggies than called for…. One change I did make was to deglaze the meat pan with the wine before I added the wine to the slow cooker. I think it helped the thickness by getting the rest of the flour from the pan AND, it added all that yummy meat goodness. This is definitely on my list of “go to” meals !

    • Gale Compton  March 6, 2017

      Jill, That is great! Thank you so much for the feedback. 🙂

  24. Patrice  March 16, 2017

    If I want to double this recipe, do I need to cook it longer?

    • Gale Compton  March 17, 2017

      Patrice, The same time should work fine. Enjoy! 🙂

  25. Mary  March 30, 2017

    Looks amazing. I am also a fan of thicker dishes – would omitting the broth altogether work well towards that? Doesn’t the meat produce enough liquids on its own in the slow cooker?

    • Gale Compton  March 30, 2017

      Mary, If you prefer less liquid and a thicker stew, eliminating most, or half, of the broth is fine.

  26. Tammy  April 11, 2017

    Looking for a Stew for my Lil”Man.

  27. Connie Fox  May 5, 2017

    Yummy yummy yum! I must make this! I love homemade beef stew. Thanks for the recipe!

  28. Teresa  August 19, 2017

    This looks delicious and I can\t wait to try it. If its a success I will try it with venison for my husband & son. TFS!

    • Teresa  August 19, 2017

      Also, I forgot to ask: We like dumplings in our beef stew. If this was a thinner broth could you not add dumplings to the top? (I think I’ll try it IF the broth is more liquid…)

      • Nichole Furlong  August 19, 2017

        Great question, Teresa! You could definitely add dumplings! If you need to think the broth you can add additional low-sodium beef broth until it’s the proper consistency.

  29. Amie  August 26, 2017

    Hello! I am interested in using this recipe, but would like to prep ahead and freeze the uncooked ingredients, so I can simply defrost and cook in my crockpot when I want the meal. Any suggestions, aside from adding the liquids the day of cooking, rather than to the freezer bag?

    • Nichole Furlong  August 26, 2017

      Great idea, Amie! As you mention, add the liquids the day of cooking rather than to the freezer bag. I would also make sure your ingredients are completely thawed and drained before adding to the crock pot. Using ingredients that are still frozen will increase the cooking time and can add extra liquid making the stew runny. Other than that, I think this is a fantastic plan!

      • Amie  August 26, 2017

        Thanks for the quick reply! Do you suggest browning the meat before freezing or after defrosting?

        • Gale Compton  August 28, 2017

          Hi Amie, I would suggest browning the meat prior to freezing. That would make life a whole lot easier… just add everything to the slow cooker after defrosting. 🙂

  30. matt  September 8, 2017

    Added cajun seasoning to the flour, and added a couple chunks of apple

  31. Gwen  October 5, 2017

    Reading the comments about the soupiness, I added a beef stew flavor packet that includes thickeners, skipped the tomato paste, and in the last 15 minutes added about 5 oz of egg noodles.
    With the seasoning in the flavor packet already I skipped most of the seasonings suggested, but did add the bay leaf.
    If you dice the onion finely, you’ll never notice it, especially with the larger chunks of veggies and meats.
    It was amazing.

  32. Becky  November 12, 2017

    Running short on time, will cooking on high in crock pot cause meat to be tough?

    • Jennifer Hanford  November 12, 2017

      Hi Becky. Yes, cooking meat on high in the crockpot will make the beef tough and chewy. Low and slow is best to make sure the meat comes out tender.

  33. Tony  November 26, 2017

    Instead of beef I used bear meat! Wow

  34. Niki  March 12, 2018

    Made this recipe . I did 3.5 pounds of beef, more potatoes and carrots .
    At the end I mixed it all w rice as it was quite liquidy.
    Tasted very good !

  35. Susan Jimenez  July 1, 2018

    When my stew just isn’t thick enough, i add a little instantly mashed potato, it hasn’t altered the flavor, but I use a flavored one just in case :)..always turns out super yuuummmy…

  36. Liz L  September 9, 2018

    What wine? There’s no calling for wine in the list of ingredients.

    • Gale Compton  September 10, 2018

      Liz, I corrected the recipe to include the wine. 🙂

  37. Sue  October 12, 2018

    I made this yesterday. My husband loved it! He complimented me a several times. I’ve been using the same stew recipe for 35 years, that just changed. ?

    • Gale Compton  October 12, 2018

      Thank you so much, Sue for letting us know. It’s nice to find a new and yummy recipe for an old favorite.

  38. Rob  April 21, 2019

    There’s an alternate way to thicken, if you’re there at the half way point. Use only half the veggies, at half way, mash them all, then add the other half in. You get a thickened stew, and slightly firmer veggies.

    • Nichole Furlong  April 21, 2019

      Great tip, Rob!


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.