Slow Cooker Beef Stew with Apple Cider

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 6 hours
Total Time 6 hours 10 minutes
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This comforting Slow Cooker Beef Stew with Apple Cider is made with tender beef, carrots, potatoes, peas, and sweet apple cider. It’s easy to make, and packed with sweet-and-savory flavor!

You’ll “Fall” in Love with This Apple-y Slow Cooker Beef Stew!

This one’s a keeper, you guys! It’s got classic fall flavors and rich, satisfying goodness in every bite. Here’s what you’ll love about it: 

  • Rich and Bold: Bold beef stew meets the sweet-tangy notes of apple cider, creating a rich, complex flavor that’s oh-so-satisfying.
  • Ultra-Convenient: Crockpot cooking is so easy and so convenient. No “babysitting” the stove or oven – just set the slow cooker and walk away.
  • Perfect for Fall: Apple cider makes everything better, but it adds extra-special fall vibes to this already-cozy beef stew.
  • Hearty and Filling: If you’re longing for a comforting dinner that sticks to your ribs, this is it! It’s a complete meal in a bowl.
  • Amazing Leftovers: Leftover crockpot beef stew is even better than same-day beef stew! The flavors meld together after some time in the fridge, making this option wonderful for planned leftovers and meal prep.
Ingredients for Slow Cooker Beef Stew with Apple Cider.

The Ingredients You’ll Need

Are you hungry yet? Me too! But you’ll be starving by the time you finish reading this list of ingredients. For full ingredient amounts and directions, scroll to the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post.

  • Beef Stew Meat: You’ll want cubed beef stew meat, or you can make your own by cutting a braising cut like chuck roast or brisket into chunks.
  • Root Veggies: Carrots, onions, and potatoes make this stew filling and hearty.
  • Other Veggies: For extra freshness and color, we’ll also be adding celery and peas.
  • Apples: Cored and chopped.
  • Garlic: I like minced, fresh garlic here, but you could also use garlic powder.
  • Apple Cider: Plain apple cider is best for flavor, but you can also use unfiltered apple juice.
  • Beef Broth
  • Tomato Paste: Be sure to use tomato paste, not sauce.
  • Worcestershire Sauce: Another bold ingredient, this one adds lots of umami flavors and some tanginess, too.
  • Herbs and Seasonings: Salt, thyme, and a bay leaf are all you need! You can use fresh or dried thyme, whichever you prefer.
  • Cornstarch: Optional, but it makes the stew nice and thick. Arrowroot would also work.
Close-up of homemade beef stew.

How to Make Slow Cooker Beef Stew with Apple Cider

Making this recipe couldn’t be easier. Just throw everything in the slow cooker, and walk away! You don’t even have to brown the beef first.

  • Layer the Main Ingredients: To the insert of your slow cooker, add the beef, vegetables, and apple. Pour the apple cider over these ingredients.
  • Mix and Add the Remaining Ingredients: In a mixing bowl, whisk together the broth, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, and salt. Pour this over the stew, and add in your thyme and bay leaf.
  • Slow Cook: Cover the crockpot tightly with the lid, and cook. You’ll want to let it go on HIGH for 6 hours, or LOW for 8 hours. Stir occasionally (if you are able to).
  • Thicken: When the meat is tender, the stew is ready to eat! If you want to thicken the broth, just scoop out about ⅓ cup of the broth, whisk the cornstarch into it until smooth, and then stir the mixture back into the stew. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring now and then, until the stew has thickened. Ladle into bowls and serve!
A crockpot full of homemade beef stew.

Do I Have to Brown the Meat for Beef Stew in a Slow Cooker?

Browning the beef before you make beef stew is a time-honored way of building more flavor. Usually, the process involves browning the meat, working in batches if necessary. Then you deglaze the pan with some of your cooking liquid, or just water, and use that as the cooking liquid for your stew. 

However, with this recipe, there’s no need to brown the beef (unless you simply prefer to!). Beef broth, apple cider, Worcestershire, and tomato paste add plenty of flavor to the rich, homemade broth.

Bowls of stew on a table with silver spoons.

Tips for Success

To make the most of this gorgeous slow-cooker beef stew, make sure to check out these helpful tips:

  • Fresh is Best: For the best flavor, use fresh, flavorful ingredients, like fresh garlic and fresh herbs.
  • Make Some Swaps: Feel free to add or swap out ingredients depending on what’s in season. For instance, pearl onions are great in stew, and feel a bit more special than chopped onion. Parsnips are great instead of carrots or just in addition to them!
  • Watch the Salt: Always taste the stew at the end of the cooking time, and adjust the salt as needed. If your stew is too salty, you may wish to add a bit more broth. If it seems bland, a bit more salt can work wonders.
Overhead shot of corn muffins, beef stew, and spoons on a table with fresh herbs.

Serving Suggestions

This slow cooker beef stew is a one-pot meal, but it does work beautifully with side dishes, too. Pair your apple cider beef stew with:

  • Crusty Bread: Serve with warm, crusty bread for a hearty meal. This easy beer bread or homemade ciabatta rolls would be perfect.
  • Side Salad: A fresh green salad complements the stew’s richness. You can’t beat a simple Greek salad, especially when fresh tomatoes are in season!
Slow cooker beef stew garnished with fresh herbs.

How to Store and Reheat Leftovers

Leftover stew is even better the next day. Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days. Reheat portions in a saucepan on low heat until piping hot.

Freezing Slow Cooker Beef Stew

For long-term storage, you can freeze this apple cider beef stew in individual portions. Cool it down, and then spoon one or two servings into a freezer bag. Frozen stew will keep for up to three months. Thaw it overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

Spooning a bite of potatoes and beef out of a bowl.

More Wholesome Slow Cooker Soups and Stews

Landscape shot of homemade slow cooker beef stew with apple cider.
5 from 3 votes
Print Pin Recipe
Yield: 8

Slow Cooker Beef Stew with Apple Cider

This comforting Slow Cooker Beef Stew with Apple Cider is made with tender beef, carrots, potatoes, peas, and sweet apple cider. It's easy to make, and packed with sweet-and-savory flavor!
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time6 hours
Total Time6 hours 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 ½ pounds beef stew meat, cubed
  • 6 carrots, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 6 medium potatoes, cubed
  • 4 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 apples, cored and chopped
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • ½ cup diced onion
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 cups apple cider
  • 2 cup beef broth
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme, or 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch, optional for thickening

Instructions 

  • Add the beef, carrots, potatoes, celery, apples, peas, onion and garlic to a crockpot. Pour the apple cider over the stew.
  • In a bowl, combine the broth, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce and salt together. Pour over the stew. Add the thyme and bay leaf.
  • Cover tightly with a lid and set on high for 6 hours, or low for 8 hours. Stir occasionally, if you are able to.
  • When the meat is tender, the stew is ready to eat. If you wish to thicken the broth, remove 1/3 cup broth from the crockpot. Add the cornstarch and whisk until smooth. Pour back into the crockpot and stir to combine. Let cook about 15 minutes, stirring a couple of times, until thickened.

Notes

Storing: Leftover stew is even better the next day. Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days.
Reheating: Reheat portions in a saucepan on low heat until piping hot. You can also reheat in the microwave.
Freezing: For long-term storage, you can freeze this apple cider beef stew in individual portions. Cool it down, and then spoon one or two servings into a freezer bag. Frozen stew will keep for up to three months. Thaw it overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

Nutrition

Calories: 434kcal, Carbohydrates: 54g, Protein: 37g, Fat: 8g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 88mg, Sodium: 1006mg, Potassium: 1590mg, Fiber: 8g, Sugar: 16g, Vitamin A: 7916IU, Vitamin C: 47mg, Calcium: 88mg, Iron: 5mg

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Jessica
For the past 15 years, Jorge & Jessica have loved getting to share their families' favorite recipes with all of you. They live in Florida with their 3 kids.