A hearty and warming Slow Cooker Beef Casserole with lots of chunky vegetables is the perfect comfort food. Just what you need for those cold winter nights, this slow cooker beef stew is super tender and the meat just falls apart. It freezes really well too, so it's ideal for batch cooking.
Tender chunks of beef and vegetables in a rich red wine and herb gravy make this slow cooker beef casserole deliciously indulgent. Served on top of creamy mashed potato just to increase the comfort levels - this is a family favourite.
This is a super easy and comforting beef stew that the whole family will love, and an easy way to start using your slow cooker a bit more. It's easy to adapt to include vegetables that you know your family are going to eat too. When life gets busy, stick this meal in the slow cooker.
- Beef - Slow cookers are great for making budget friendly meals, because you can use cheaper cuts of meat. Cooking low and slow will get cheaper cuts really tender and still full of flavour. We used braising steak for this recipe.
- Onion - This is the base of any good stew. You could swap it for shallots if you prefer, and this would give a sweeter flavour. Save yourself some time and use frozen onion.
- Leek - Rather than just use onion, we added in some leek too as it has a really lovely flavour. You could use use all leek if you prefer.
- Mushrooms - These add some nice chunky texture and they are really meaty too. You could even use more mushrooms and less beef if you are trying to reduce the amount of meat you eat.
- Garlic - This adds lots of flavour to the beef stew and a little goes a long way. Save yourself some time and use frozen garlic.
- Stock - This is the base of the "gravy". Use a really good quality beef stock pot as you will taste the difference. If you are making this for young children, then use a low salt stock.
- Red Wine - This is totally optional, but we think it gives a real richness to the dish. If you didn't want to use it, then you could just use stock instead.
- Mustard - A little wholegrain mustard adds lots of flavour. You could use Dijon mustard instead.
- Rosemary - Fresh is always best, however you could use dried as it is cooked for long enough to bring out the flavours.
- Tomato Puree (paste) - This not only helps to thicken up the slow cooker beef casserole, but it adds to that rich colour too.
- Salt and Pepper
A full ingredients list with measurements is in the recipe card below.
Step by step
One: Heat a little oil in a frying pan and add the beef. Cook the chunks of meat for about 2 minutes until all sides are browned.
Two: Meanwhile, chop all the vegetables.
Three: When the beef has browned, remove it from the frying pan and put in the slow cooker bowl. Add the vegetables to the frying pan and cook for 5 minutes.
Four: Place the cooked vegetables in the slow cooker bowl with the beef and add the other ingredients. Cook on low for 7 hours or high for 4 hours.
Why should you try it?
- Low calories - There are just 360 calories for a big filling portion. That doesn't include sides, but we have lots of options for those for you too.
- Hidden vegetables - I am sure we all struggle to get enough vegetables in to our diet, but this one has them chopped up small and all mixed in. Perfect for fussy eaters.
- Hearty and warming - Seriously, this is like a hug in a bowl. It's a warm and comforting stew and just what you need when the weather starts to turn.
- Freezes well - this slow cooker beef casserole is perfect for batch cooking as it freezes and reheats really well. So, make a double batch if you slow cooker is big enough, so you have plenty of leftovers to freeze.
Health benefits of beef
Beef can definitely play an important role in a balanced diet and using lean cuts is key for this. It can provide a lean source of protein, iron and eight essential vitamins and minerals. Beef is a significant provider of protein and is naturally low in sodium and contributes towards good health and wellbeing.
To make a lighter version of this slow cooker beef casserole, make sure to trim all the visible fat off the beef and swap the red wine for extra stock, or just use a little splash of wine.
There are not too many ways that you can adapt this recipe, but you can always add more vegetables. Really chunky root vegetables like carrot, parsnip and swede work well. You could also add some chunks of potato or butternut squash and then you don't need to serve it with anything. It's like a full meal in one that way.
Flavour adding vegetables like onion, shallots, leek, celery are nice too and then you can add some colour by adding some peas, spinach, kale, sweetcorn or green beans about 30 minutes before it is finished cooking. You could also stir through some spinach 20 minutes before serving for a green vegetable boost.
If you wanted to add even more protein, then you could add in a can of cooked lentils an hour before the end of cooking time. Add some extra flavour by adding a bay leaf to the stock and taking it out before serving.
What to serve with Slow Cooker Beef Casserole
I think mashed potato goes perfectly with a beef stew, as they are both so comforting. We love this Vegetable mash, as it adds some extra goodness, but for some extra indulgence, why not have it with our Creamy Mashed Potato? If you have a second slow cooker, then you could make our Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes too!
You could serve it with rice or couscous or even on a baked potato. Sometimes we like to have some warmed crusty bread and then use it to scoop everything out and then mop up all the juices left behind.
Looking for some vegetable packed sides to serve with this? Why not try these:
- Garlic Spring Greens
- Roasted Tenderstem Broccoli
- Roasted Butternut Squash
- Garlic Green Beans
- Air Fryer Carrots
- Roasted Lemon Asparagus
Store: Make sure the beef stew cools completely and then put in an air tight container. It will then keep in the fridge for 2-3 days.
Freeze: This freezes really well, making it perfect for batch cooking. You can keep it in the freezer for up to 4 months.
Defrost: Defrost overnight in the fridge.
Reheat: To reheat, make sure it is defrosted thoroughly if you have frozen it, and then heat through on the hob/stove or microwave.
Frequently Asked Questions
The great thing about cooking a beef stew in a slow cooker is that you don't have to use expensive cuts of beef. You can go for the cheaper cuts like braising steak, because cooking it low and slow makes it really tender. I wouldn't use anything too lean, as it tends to dry out. Brisket or chuck steak work well too.
There really is no rule here, just make sure that the beef you are using can fit in your slow cooker. We use a Crock Pot DuraCeramic Slow Cooker and we love it. What I love most about it is that you can put the bowl insert on the hob too. So, we thicken the gravy on the hob, in the slow cooker bowl. You can also sear the meat in it first. I also love that it has a clear lid, as I am so impatient that I want to keep looking and seeing what it is doing. If you don't have a clear lid, then lifting it to see will release lots of the heat and add to the cooking time.
You don't have to, but we really recommend it as it adds such a depth of flavour. Basically, you want to trigger the Maillard reaction. It is a chemical reaction between amino acids and reducing sugars that gives browned food its distinctive flavour. You don't have to though, and you can just throw everything in to the slow cooker and leave it if you are really short on time.
Slow and low is the key here, so we cook it on low for 7 hours. You could cook it on high for 4 hours instead though. You want the meat to be tender, but not falling apart so much that it's like shredded beef. If you like shredded beef, then why not try our Slow Cooker Pulled Beef recipe?
Yes, you can do some of the prep in advance. You can sear the meat and add it to the slow cooker with the rest of the ingredients and then allow it to cool fully and then put it in the fridge (in your slow cooker pot) for up to 24 hours. You can then put it on the next day, but it might take longer to cook as it will be cold straight from the fridge.
Yes, you can easily make this on the hob instead of in the slow cooker. Follow step one in a large heavy pan and then add the rest of the ingredients to the pan rather than the slow cooker. Put a lid on and cook on low for an hour, until the beef is cooked.
The thickness of a stew/casserole really is a personal thing. This isn't really thin, but it isn't a really thick gravy either. If you want to thicken it, then make a slurry and then add it to the slow cooker.
Not sure what a slurry is? Take some cornflour and a little cold water and mix together until a fairly thick paste (1 tablespoon cornflour and 2 tablespoon water. Then stir that in to the slow cooker about 30 minutes before serving to thicken the stew up.
You could also cook the stew with the lid off for 30 minutes to an hour.
As long as the stock and mustard are gluten free and there is no cross contamination, then this can be gluten free.
Yes, you can easily double the recipe and it won't change the cooking time. Just make sure you have a frying pan big enough to brown double the beef and a slow cooker big enough for double all of the ingredients.
• You don't have to sear the meat first, however it really does make a difference to the finished dish as it seals all the flavour in.
• Root vegetables work really well in this stew, however you can give it a green boost by adding some leafy greens about 30 minutes before the stew is ready.
• The type of wine you use in this recipe is important. A cheap wine won't taste as nice, so we like to use a mid-priced Burgundy or Merlot.
• If the red wine flavour tastes a bit too intense when you first taste it, leave it for 15 minutes to allow the flavours to mellow a little. It will be fine resting in the slow cooker for a little while.
• You don't have to serve this stew with anything. You could add some potatoes to the stew and cook it all together.
• For even more flavour, you could add a splash of Worcestershire sauce.
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The BEST Slow Cooker Beef Casserole
- 500 g braising steak cubed
- 1 large onion cut into chunks
- 1 large leek sliced
- 10 mushrooms quartered
- 2 garlic cloves crushed
- 500 ml vegetable stock
- 250 ml red wine (if you don't want to use wine, then add more stock)
- 2 tablespoon wholegrain mustard
- 4 tablespoon fresh rosemary chopped
- 2 tablespoon tomato puree (tomato paste)
- 1 pinch sea salt and black pepper
- Heat a little oil in a frying pan and add the beef. Cook the chunks of meat for about 2 minutes until all sides are browned.
- Meanwhile chop all the vegetables.
- When the beef has browned, remove it from the frying pan and put in the slow cooker bowl. Add the vegetables to the frying pan and cook for 5 minutes.
- Place the cooked vegetables in the slow cooker bowl with the beef and add the other ingredients. Cook on low for 7 hours or high for 4 hours.
- You don't have to sear the meat first, however it really does make a difference to the finished dish as it seals all the flavour in.
- Root vegetables work really well in this stew, however you can give it a green boost by adding some leafy greens about 30 minutes before the stew is ready.
- You don't have to serve this stew with anything. You could add some potatoes to the stew and cook it all together.
- Thicken the dish by adding a cornflour slurry