Slow Cooker Thick and Chunky Beef Stew

4.60 from 10 votes

Comfort food CAN be healthy - this recipe proves it!

thick & chunky beef stew

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.

Preparing Our Thick and Chunky Beef Stew

how to make slow cooker thick and chunky beef stew

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.

4.60 from 10 votes

Slow Cooker Thick and Chunky Beef Stew

This beef stew offers rich, savory flavors and a warming, comforting finish! YUM.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 20 minutes
Yield 6 people
Serving Size 1.5 cups
Course Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine American
Author SkinnyMs.


  • 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 celery stalks, cut into slices
  • 3 carrots large, sliced into thick rounds
  • 1/2 cup snap peas shelled
  • 2 potatoes of any variety medium, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper diced
  • 1 yellow onion medium, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves 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 beef broth low-sodium
  • 1/2 cup red wine optional beef broth
  • 1/4 cup flat parsley chopped (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.

Nutrition Information

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 |
SmartPoints (Freestyle): 8
Keywords Kid-Friendly, Slow Cooker

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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!

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Editor’s Note: This recipe was originally published on September 22, 2015.

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The SkinnyMs. team believes that all people, regardless of age, size, and fitness level, have the power to transform their lives — they just need the resources to do so. The SkinnyMs. method promotes healthy living through a combination of clean eating and regular exercise. We offer everything you need to be successful.

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  1. 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. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

    1. 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.

  5. 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!

  6. 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.

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

  7. 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.

  8. 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?

    1. 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!

    1. 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.

  9. 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.

    1. 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!

  10. 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?

  11. 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

  12. 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!!

  13. 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!

    1. 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. 🙂

  14. 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.

  15. 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”.

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

  17. 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?

  18. 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!

  19. 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 !

  20. 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?

  21. 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!

    1. 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…)

      1. 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.

  22. 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?

    1. 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!

        1. 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. 🙂

  23. 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.

    1. 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.

  24. 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 !

  25. 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…

  26. 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. ?

  27. 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.

  28. Great recipe for these chilly Fall days! So easy to put together, and uses everything I have in my pantry. I can’t wait for dinner tonight, my husband will be super happy!
    Thank you so much for sharing!5 stars

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