This hearty and comforting Slow Cooker Beef Bourguignon is the ultimate beef stew. Tender chunks of beef with chunky carrots and potatoes all covered in a rich red wine gravy. The slow cooker does all the hard work here and the beef just melts in your mouth.
We have given this classic French recipe an easier twist, by cooking it in the slow cooker. Whilst a little prep does go in to make the beef perfect, the slow cooker really does all the hard work. After a little prep it can all be dumped in to the slow cooker and left to bubble away.
The rich red wine infused beef gravy really is something else. It is thick and bursting with flavour and cooking it in the slow cooker means that none of it cooks off, so there is plenty of the gravy to serve up. Hearty and warming stews are a must when the weather turns cooler and this Slow Cooker Beef Bourguignon is delicious comfort food with minimal effort.
If you are looking for some other slow cooker recipes to try, try our Slow Cooker Sweet and Sour Chicken, Slow Cooker Honey and Mustard Chicken, Slow Cooker Butter Chicken or Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese.
What is bourguignon?
Also know as Boeuf Bourguignon (which is what I grew up hearing it called from my Nan), it is a classic french stew that is cooked in a rich red wine gravy. It traditionally also has onions, carrots and mushrooms to bulk it out.
Why you will love it
- Super comforting - It doesn't get much more comforting than a hearty beef stew and this might just be the ultimate beef stew. Just what you need to warm you up on a cold winter day.
- Adaptable - Use this as a base recipe and then adapt it with different vegetables.
- Stores well - This slow cooker beef bourguignon freezes and reheats really well, making it perfect for batch cooking.
- Beef - We used standard diced beef, however you could use chuck beef (braising steak in the UK), beef cheeks or boneless beef ribs.
- Oil - This is what the beef is browned in. We used a good quality olive oil, however sunflower or vegetable oil would work too.
- Vegetables - We used carrot and onion, which are fairly standard in a bourguignon. You could swap the onion for a few whole shallots instead, which would add some sweetness. We have added variations below of other vegetables that you could use.
- Potatoes - We added chopped up baby potatoes, to make this a filling meal. You could dice a larger potato if you prefer. They key is for all the potatoes to be an even size, so that they all cook at the same rate.
- Bacon - Just a couple of slices of bacon adds a really lovely smoky flavour to the whole dish. This could be left out though if you prefer.
- Red wine - This is what adds a lovely richness to the gravy, as well as a slightly red colour. You could leave it out though if you prefer and replace it with more stock instead.
- Stock - This is a majority of the gravy, so you want to make sure that you use the best quality possible. We used a beef stock pot.
- Flour - This helps to thicken up the sauce. Without it you will have a very thin sauce.
- Soy sauce - This adds a real depth of flavour to the gravy.
- Tomato puree - This also helps to thicken up the sauce without having to use too much flour.
- Rosemary - This pairs beautifully with the beef, but you could swap it for thyme if you prefer.
A full ingredients list with measurements is in the recipe card below.
Step by step
One: Heat the oil in a pan and add the beef. Brown on all sides for 4-5 minutes. Put in the slow cooker.
Two: Add the bacon and onion to the pan and cook for 3 minutes. Add the carrots and celery and cook for a further 3 minutes.
Three: Add the cooked vegetables and the potatoes to the slow cooker.
Four: Deglaze the pan with the wine and whisk in the flour. Add to the slow cooker with the stock, soy sauce and tomato puree.
Five: Add the rosemary and cook on high for 5 hours.
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 bourguignon, make sure to trim all the visible fat off the beef and bacon (or leave the bacon out) and swap the red wine for extra stock, or just use a little splash of wine.
Traditionally a beef bourguignon would have mushrooms in it. If you are going to use mushrooms, then use button mushrooms and keep them whole. This will add a lovely chunky texture to the dish. You could do this and reduce the amount of meat used.
Although not very traditional, you could add other vegetables like courgette, aubergine or bell pepper which would add colour and texture. You could also stir through some spinach 20 minutes before serving for a green vegetable boost.
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 bourguignon
This dish really does have everything in it already. It has the beef, the potatoes and the vegetables all in a delicious gravy. So, you could easily just serve it up as it is. We added a big serving of Garlic Spring Greens on the side for a green vegetable boost.
However, you could always leave out the potatoes and serve it on rice or mashed potato, or even on a baked potato for something a little different.
All that delicious rich sauce can't be wasted, so serve this up with a big chunk of crusty bread to soak up all the rich sauce.
Frequently Asked Questions
The great thing about cooking a beef 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 (also known as chuck steak), because cooking it low and slow makes it really tender. We wouldn't recommend using anything too lean, as it tends to dry out.
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.
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.
Leftovers of this will keep in the fridge for up to 2 days. Make sure it has cooled completely and then put in to an air tight container in the fridge.
You can also freeze it for up to 3 months. Store the bourguignon without any sides though for best results.
To reheat, you can either microwave for a couple of minutes or heat through on the stove. Make sure it is pipping hot before serving.
This can easily be gluten free. Just make sure to use gluten free flour (or cornflour) to thicken it, and that the stock you use is gluten free and you use a soy sauce alternative (such as tamari). You will also need to make sure that there is no cross contamination and you are good to go. Traditional bourguignon that is cooked on the hob doesn't have flour, but when cooked in the slow cooker it can get watery, which is why we add flour to thicken it up.
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.
Cooking dishes in the slow cooker can result in a watery sauce. If it is too thin for your liking, then you can remove the lid from the slow cooker and cook for a further 30 minutes with the lid off.
• You can opt for a lean cut of beef and then chop off any visible extra fat.
• You can leave the red wine out and just add more stock if you prefer.
• 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 (which is where the name of the dish comes from). You could also use a 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.
More beef recipes
If you’ve tried this slow cooker beef bourguignon recipe, let us know how you got on in the comments below.
Tag us in your creations on Instagram @hungryhealthyhappy - Use the hashtag #hungryhealthyhappy too.
Slow Cooker Beef Bourguignon
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 kg diced beef
- 1 onion - chopped
- 2 carrots - sliced
- 2 rib celery - sliced
- 2 sprig fresh rosemary
- 5 rasher bacon - chopped
- 350 g new potatoes - halved
- 250 ml red wine
- 300 ml beef stock
- 30 g flour
- 50 ml soy sauce
- 3 tablespoon tomato puree
- Heat the oil in a pan and add the beef. Brown on all sides for 4-5 minutes. Put in the slow cooker.2 tablespoon olive oil, 1 kg diced beef
- Add the bacon and onion to the pan and cook for 3 minutes. Add the carrots and celery and cook for a further 3 minutes.1 onion, 2 carrots, 5 rasher bacon, 2 rib celery
- Add the cooked vegetables and the potatoes to the slow cooker.350 g new potatoes
- Deglaze the pan with the wine and whisk in the flour. Add to the slow cooker with the stock, soy sauce and tomato puree.2 tablespoon olive oil
- Add the rosemary and cook on high for 5 hours.2 sprig fresh rosemary
- You can opt for a lean cut of beef and then chop off any visible extra fat.
- You can leave the red wine out and just add more stock if you prefer.
- 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 (which is where the name of the dish comes from. You could also use a 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.