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Slow Cooker Beef Stew & Dumplings

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Slow Cooker Beef Stew and Dumplings – the ultimate comfort food! A hearty beef stew loaded with vegetables, topped with fluffy dumplings and cooked to perfection in your CrockPot.

So if you’re looking for a comforting and hearty meal that requires minimal effort, look no further.

My one pot beef casserole with dumplings is the perfect fuss free dinner option for a chilly evening.

A spoon picking up a dumpling and carrot and gravy.

My mum would make a beef stew and dumplings every week, not least because it was economical. A small amount of a cheap cut of meat stretched a long way with vegetables from our garden.

After getting married, I carried on the tradition of a weekly stew. It made good use of the slow cooker we’d received as a wedding present and money was tight. In fact, to stretch our budget even further, we even had ‘stew pie’ later in the week.

Whilst we may have lost the weekly stew tradition here at the Kitchen Shed, it is far from forgotten. Every now and then, especially when the weather turns, we have a humble beef stew – served with dumplings of course.

Vegetables, beef chunks and stock being stirred in a slow cooker.

I’ve used and adapted my Mum’s recipe, itself an old family recipe which has been tweaked over the generations.

I include more meat than my Mum used to and I’ve added garlic and tomato puree to add extra flavour. Slow Cooker Beef Stew and Dumplings is still a family favourite and it has received my Mum’s approval.

A cheap cut of meat transforms into tender chunks of beef packed with flavour from the vegetables and rich gravy. It’s a timeless slow cooker classic we never tire of.

A bowl of Slow Cooker Beef Stew And Dumplings.

Slow Cooker Beef Stew and Dumplings is easy to make. Chunks of beef are browned, onions softened before adding to the slow cooker with vegetables, herbs and stock. If you’re pushed for time, skip the browning stage and simply add all the ingredients and leave to cook.

The easy dumpling mix is simplicity itself. Bring together with a fork and shape into balls before adding to the pot near the end of cooking time.

A serving of Slow Cooker Beef Stew And Dumplings on a spoon.

Here at the Kitchen Shed our slow cooker is nearly always in use and it really does earn its keep. Be it a hearty goulash stew or a vegetable and bean stew, the slow cooker comes in to its own. But I must admit, a satisfying bowl of slow cooker beef stew and dumplings takes some beating.

Why you’ll love this recipe

 Here’s why this is the Best Slow Cooker Beef Stew and Dumplings Recipe.

  • Budget friendly – stock and aromatic herbs transform stewing steak and humble root vegetables into a rich and satisfying stew. Hearty enough to serve as a one pot meal, it’s a real crowd pleaser and easy on the pocket too.
  • No waste – leftovers can be kept in the fridge or frozen. Good news is, beef stew tastes even better the next day !
  • Easy to make – with clear instructions and step by step photographs.
  • It’s adaptable – choose whatever vegetables you have available and you can even use less meat.
  • Easy cooking – choose from simmering on the hob or set and forget in your slow cooker.
  • Best ever gravy – You can tell a good stew from its gravy or sauce and this one is delicious! Combined with the flavour from the caramelised slow cooked beef, vegetables and herbs you won’t be able to resist a second helping.
A serving spoonful of beef stew and dumpling with a Slow Cooker of beef stew and dumplings underneath.

What equipment do I need ?

  • 6 to 8 person slow cooker – I used my 6.5 litre ( 7 quart ) Crock Pot. Use a heavy based cast iron casserole or Dutch oven if you’re cooking on the hob.

What Ingredients do I need ?

 A few staple ingredients and seasonal vegetables deliver the most deliciously irresistible Slow Cooker Beef Stew and Dumplings.

Celery, potatoes, suet, Worcester sauce, tomato puree, plain flour, carrots, parsnips, beef, onions, herbs, garlic and stockpot.
  • Diced beef – I used chuck steak, you can also brisket or any beef labelled braising steak.
  • Plain flour seasoned with salt and pepper – to coat the beef and thicken the stew.
  • Rapeseed oil or vegetable oil
  • Vegetables – I’ve used onions, carrots, celery, parsnip and potatoes. These were items I’d got in the pantry shelf, but feel free to use any root vegetables.
  • Garlic cloves – is a recent addition to our stew but adds extra flavour.
  • Bay leaves – used dried or fresh
  • Dried thyme – if using fresh, double the amount.
  • Tomato puree – or if you’re in the US tomato paste.
  • Worcester sauce – we love Lea and Perrins.
  • Beef stock – I used Knorr stock pots.
  • Freshly parsley to add freshness at the end.

Slow Cooker Dumpling Ingredients

  • Plain flour
  • Baking powder
  • Shredded suet
  • Freshly chopped parsley
  • Water

For A Suet Free Dumpling

A good substitute for suet is to grate hard white vegetable fat, such as Trex, and coat with rice flour.

How to make Slow Cooker Beef Stew and Dumplings

Making Beef Stew and dumplings in your CrockPot couldn’t be easier ! Just a couple of simple steps before adding to the slow cooker. For full details see the recipe card at the bottom of the post.

  • Sear the beef well on all sides. This is best done in batches as overcrowding the pan will steam the beef instead of browning.
Tossong beef in seasoned flour, browning in a frying pan and then placed in a slow cooker.
  • Fry the onions until soft adding crushed garlic and tomato puree for a minute at the end.
  • Briefly fry the carrots and celery and transfer to the slow cooker.
Sauteeing onions, adding tomato puree and garlic. Followed by browning carrots and celery and cooking a roux in a frying pan.
  • Deglaze the pan with the leftover flour and beef stock before adding to the slow cooker.
Stock pouring onto roux in a frying pan, then into the slow cooker with potatoes.
  • Lastly, add the potatoes, parsnips, herbs, tomato puree and Worcester sauce. Give it a good old stir, place the slow cooker lid on and let the slow cooker do its magic.
Worcester sauce being added to the slow cooker and stirred into stew ingredients.

A Note On Browning Beef

You can just throw everything into the slow cooker but it really is worth browning. Since you’re using a pan for the meat, brown the vegetables as well and get the delicious caramelised crusty bits..

How to cook dumplings in a slow cooker

Cooking suet dumplings in your slow cooker couldn’t be easier.
Gentle simmering in the slow cooker does away with worries about overcooking dumplings or dumplings falling apart.

  • Make up the dumpling dough and shape into small balls.
  • Turn up your slow cooker to High and add the dumplings to your Crock Pot.
  • Cook on High with the lid on for 45 minutes.
Adding water to dumpling mix, rolling into balls and adding to the slow cooker.

A note on Reheating Dumplings

Up until this year I wouldn’t have recommended reheating dumplings. But recently I decided to experiment and reheat in the microwave for a short time. We were pleasantly surprised to find the dumplings were still light and soft.

Cooking Beef Stew and Dumplings on the Hob

  • You will need an extra cup of beef stock or water. Unlike the slow cooker, cooking on the hob loses more liquid to evaporation.
  • Brown the meat, onions, celery and carrots in an enamelled casserole or Dutch oven. Add leftover flour, tomato puree and garlic before stirring in the stock.
  • Keep stirring until thickened and reduce the heat to the lowest setting.
  • Add the parsnips and potatoes along with herbs and Worcester sauce.
  • Cook for 1 hour 30 minutes.
  • Add the dumplings in the last half hour of cooking, cook with the lid on.

Recipe FAQs

What’s the best cut of beef for a Stew ?

It’s pleasing to know the best beef stew comes from inexpensive cuts of beef such as chuck steak. This comes from the shoulder and upper limb of the animal. Chuck has plenty of collagen and intramuscular fat which basically means the longer you cook it the more tender and juicy it becomes.
You don’t have to stick to chuck steak. Beef labelled as stewing steak will breakdown with long slow cooking into forkfuls of tender fall apart beef.
Whatever cut of stewing beef you use, use big pieces so they don’t cook too quickly and dry out – Beef Stew needs time for the flavour to develop.

How long will it keep ?

Your Slow Cooker Beef Stew and Dumplings will keep refrigerated for up to 4 days. Store the dumplings separately from the stew.

Can I freeze it ?

Completely cooled leftover beef stew and dumplings can be frozen in airtight food safe containers for up to 3 months. Store the dumplings in a separate container.
Defrost overnight in the fridge. Reheat in a pan on the stovetop over a medium to low heat for about 10 minutes. Microwave the dumplings for 30 seconds to 1 minute on full power. Check the stew is piping hot all the way through before serving.

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More Slow Cooker Recipes

 Pin Slow Cooker Beef Stew & Dumplings

A spoon of beef stew and dumplings from a slow cooker. Stew being stirred and dumplings being added.

This recipe was first published in November 2016. Updated on 1st February 2024 with new photos, recipe tips and a few tweaks to the recipe.

A serving spoonful of beef stew and dumpling with a Slow Cooker of beef stew and dumplings underneath.

Slow Cooker Beef Stew and Dumplings

Slow Cooker Beef Stew and Dumplings – the ultimate comfort food! A hearty beef stew loaded with vegetables, topped with fluffy dumplings and cooked to perfection in your CrockPot.
4.95 from 101 votes
Print Pin Rate this Recipe Save Recipe
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: British
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 6 hours
Total Time: 6 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 726kcal
Author: Sarah James
people

Equipment

  • 6 to 8 person Slow cooker or Crock Pot I used my 6.5 litre ( 7 quart ) CrockPot. Use a heavy based cast iron casserole or Dutch oven if you’re cooking on the hob.

Ingredients

STEW

  • 1 kg stewing steak cut into chunks I used chuck steak
  • 6 tbsp plain flour or all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 4 tbsp rapeseed / Canola oil or vegetable oil
  • 2 large onions, sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves crushed
  • 4 carrots, sliced into chunks
  • 3 celery stalks, sliced into chunks
  • 2 parsnips, cut into small chunks
  • 3 medium potatoes, cut into small chunks
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree / paste
  • 1 tbsp Worcester sauce
  • 1 litre beef stock
  • 1 tbsp freshly chopped parsley

SUET DUMPLINGS

  • 125 g plain flour or all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 60 g vegetable or beef suet
  • 1 tbsp freshly chopped parsley
  • 6 to 8 tbsp water

SUET FREE DUMPLINGS

  • 125 g plain flour or all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 60 g grated hard white vegetable fat coated with a tablespoon of rice flour
  • 1 tbsp freshly chopped parsley
  • 6 to 8 tbsp water

Instructions

  • MAKE YOUR STEW
    Lightly grease the inside of your slow cooker with oil or cooking spray and turn your slow cooker on high.
  • Add salt and pepper to your flour and coat the beef chunks before setting the coated meat to one side.
  • Heat the oil in a large frying pan on a medium heat. Add the seasoned floured beef chunks to your frying pan and brown well before transferring them to the slow cooker.
  • Add a little more oil to your frying pan and soften the onion, about 10 minutes.
  • Add the tomato puree and crushed garlic and cook for a further minute before adding to your slow cooker.
  • Gently fry carrots and celery for a couple of minutes and transfer to the slow cooker.
  • Add any remaining flour to your pan and cook out in the oil before deglazing the pan with the beef stock. Stir well to avoid any lumps.
  • Pour the pan contents into your slow cooker. Then add the parsnips, potatoes, herbs and Worcester sauce. Stir well and then put on the slow cooker lid.
  • Cook on high for 5 hours or low for 8 hours before making your dumplings.
  • MAKE YOUR DUMPLINGS
    Sieve the flour and baking powder into a bowl and stir in the suet or vegetable fat and chopped parsley.
  • Add 4 tablespoons of water and stir again to form a dough, adding extra water if necessary.
  • Divide the dough into 8 pieces and turn out onto a floured work surface.
    Shape into small balls, add to your slow cooker and cook on high for 1 hour with the lid on.

Notes

  • For US cup measures, use the toggle at the top of the ingredients list.
  • Nutrition information is approximate and meant as a guideline only.
  • If you’re pushed for time, you can add the browned beef to the slow cooker along with the remaining stew ingredients. Cooking time is the same.
  • Your Slow Cooker Beef Stew and Dumplings will keep refrigerated for up to 4 days in a food safe container. Store the dumplings separately from the stew.
  • Completely cooled leftover stew and dumplings can be frozen in airtight food safe containers for up to 3 months. Store the dumplings in a separate container.
  • Defrost overnight in the fridge.
  • Reheat in a pan on the stovetop over a medium to low heat for about 10 minutes.
  • Microwave the dumplings for 30 seconds to 1 minute on full power. Check the stew is piping hot all the way through before serving.

Cooking Beef Stew and Dumplings on the Hob

  • Brown the meat, onions, celery and carrots in an enamelled casserole or Dutch oven. Add leftover flour, tomato puree , garlic, herbs, parsnips and potatoes before stirring in the stock.
  • Cook for 1 hour 30 minutes.
  • Add the dumplings in the last half hour of cooking, cook with the lid on.
Serving: 6g | Calories: 726kcal | Carbohydrates: 61g | Protein: 34g | Fat: 40g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g | Monounsaturated Fat: 19g | Trans Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 85mg | Sodium: 1032mg | Potassium: 1656mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 6963IU | Vitamin C: 38mg | Calcium: 181mg | Iron: 6mg

I’m entering Slow Cooker Beef Stew & Herb Dumplings into a few food challenges this month:

Recipe Rating




Darren

Monday 22nd of January 2024

You've changed the ingredient amounts? Never used to be 1kg of meat, I'm sure it was 400g! Now I can't remember what the other weight of ingredients to use. Great recipe previously abd wished you left it alone 😔

Sarah James

Monday 22nd of January 2024

Hi Darren, thanks for getting in touch. You're right I've tweaked the recipe a little. I'm in the middle of updating the post. It was published back in 2016 and stew at the Kitchen Shed has changed a little over the years. It's been tried and tested by family and friends and has got the thumbs up from my Mum. Here's the original: 400g stewing steak cut into cubes (I used chuck steak) 6 tablespoons plain flour A pinch of salt and plenty of pepper 4 talespoons rapeseed oil 2 large onions - sliced 4 carrots sliced into chunks 4 medium potatoes cut into chunks 1 bayleaf 1 teaspoon dried thyme 1 tablespoon tomato puree 1 tablespoon Worcester sauce 750 ml (3 cups) beef stock 1 tbs freshly chopped parsley

All that has changed is the extra beef, 1 less potato and I've added parsnips, celery, garlic and an extra bay leaf with a touch more stock. Thanks again for the feedback, hope this helps, Sarah.

Cydney

Sunday 12th of February 2023

I am looking forward to making this stew and especially the dumplings. However, I am in Minnesota, USA and don't know what you mean by 'suet or hard white vegetable fat, such as Trex.' Here we only have Lard or vegetable shortening (which is more like creamy than hard). I also keep some bacon fat in my frig. What do you suggest I use?

Sarah James

Monday 13th of February 2023

Hello Cydney, I think suet is just found in the UK, it's a type of hard animal fat that collects around the kidneys of cows, sheep, and mutton. When I lived in France I used lard although softer than suet it's a good substitute. Hope this helps, Sarah.

Tara

Sunday 15th of November 2020

Oh wow! Such a comforting and flavorful slow cooker meal. Definitely perfect for the cooler weather we have had this week. I love how easily it comes together too.

Sarah James

Monday 16th of November 2020

Thanks Tara.

Mary

Sunday 15th of November 2020

This is pure comfort food! So perfect for cold days!

Sarah James

Monday 16th of November 2020

Thank you Mary, we love comfort food here at the Kitchen Shed.

Sisley White

Sunday 15th of November 2020

The perfect winter and cold-weather dish. Comforting and absolutely moreish.

Sarah James

Monday 16th of November 2020

Thanks Sisley, Beef Madras is very moreish which is why I make it on a Friday treat night.