Slow Cooker Beef Stew and Dumplings

Slow Cooker Beef Stew and Dumplings is a classic comfort food dinner featuring an easy beef stew topped with fluffy herbed dumplings. Everything is made in the crock pot for a no-fuss dinner that’s rich and satisfying.

Easy Slow Cooker Beef Stew and Dumplings

Beef stew and dumplings in a blue rimmed bowl.

When I first made and wrote about this recipe back in 2012, I spent several paragraphs ranting about daylight savings time.

I won’t do that now (although daylight savings time is still the worst and WHY HASN’T IT BEEN CANCELLED YET??), but I WILL still rave about the wonders of this Crock Pot Beef Stew and Dumplings.

We’ve got all the usual suspects here: tender hunks of beef, mushrooms and onions, and red wine.

But we’ve also got fluffy dumplings, steamed and partially soaked in the rich beef juices from the crock pot, a triumph in their own right.

This recipe is so easy a newlywed without the tiniest clue what she was doing made it. That probably should have been the blog’s motto from 2011-2014.

We’ve adapted the stew a bit as our tastes and skills have evolved (we now use our favorite easy drop biscuit recipe for the dumplings!), but the essence of that original recipe (found in the Betty Crock Cookbook, Bridal Edition! LOL) remains.

This is a deliciously simple meal that combines classic beef stew and dumplings for an extremely cozy one pot dinner.

Herbed dumplings on top of beef stew in the slow cooker.

Key Ingredients + Substitutions

For the beef stew:

  • Beef stew meat– Stew meat is usually made from whole cuts like chuck or round roasts, cut into bite size pieces perfect for slow cooking. We have several packages of stew meat from buying a side of beef, but if you don’t have it on hand, feel free to cut up a chuck roast to use in the stew.
  • Carrots and onions– A classic for any stew recipe, these veggies add flavor and texture. Feel free to add celery as well if you prefer.
  • Mushrooms– We LOVE mushrooms in a stew, but if you’ve got a mushroom hater in the bunch, feel free to omit them. Both crimini and white mushrooms work well.
  • Diced tomatoes- This is non-traditional for stew, but once we tried it with the tomatoes, we haven’t gone back!
  • Garlic- Plenty of aromatic garlic is a must for this stew.
  • Red wine- Choose a medium to full bodied dry red wine that you wouldn’t mind drinking. Cabernet Sauvignon or merlot are both good options.
  • Beef broth- We use Better than Bouillon’s low sodium beef broth.
  • Seasonings– Salt, pepper, dried thyme, and ground mustard.

Tip: This stew has some broth, but the focus is definitely on the meat and veggies. If you prefer more liquid, feel free to add up to one more cup of broth.

Ingredients for beef stew on a wood background.

For the dumplings:

Dumplings are essentially a drop biscuit that’s steamed rather than baked. We like using our homemade drop biscuit recipe with some fresh herbs, but you can customize them with your own cheeses, seasonings, or herbs. You could even top the stew with Cheddar Bay Biscuits, Red Lobster style!

  • Flour
  • Baking powder
  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • Butter– We use unsalted butter so we can control the amount of salt.
  • Whole milk– 2% also works if you don’t have whole.
  • Rosemary– We love adding fresh rosemary to the stew biscuits. Thyme would also be lovely.

How to Make Beef Stew and Dumplings in a Crock Pot

Step 1: Brown the beef. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Sprinkle the beef on all sides with Kosher salt and pepper, then add them to the pan. Brown for 2-3 minutes, or until the beef releases easily. Flip and brown the other side. Add a splash of the wine and deglaze the pan. Transfer the beef and any browned bits from the pan into the slow cooker.

Stew meat browned in a skillet.

Step 2: Add remaining ingredients. In the slow cooker, stir together the beef, carrots, onions, mushrooms, diced tomatoes, garlic, red wine, broth, and seasonings. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours.

Stew meat, canned tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, beef broth red wine, thyme, garlic, and mustard powder in a slow cooker.

Step 3: Make the dumplings. When the slow cooker is almost finished, start the dumplings. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in a medium bowl. Add the chunks of butter and use your fingers or a pastry cutter to work the butter into the flour mixture, until small pea-sized pieces are distributed evenly throughout it. Pour the milk in and gently stir together until a shaggy dough forms. If there are any very dry spots (pockets of completely dry flour), add additional milk, a teaspoon at a time, until it comes together.

Dumpling dough in a white bowl.

Step 4: Cook dumplings.  Uncover the stew mixture and drop dumplings by the heaping tablespoon full onto the stew pieces. Try to drop it on the veggies and meat pieces rather than directly into the liquid. Cover and allow dumplings to cook for 25-30 minutes or until puffed and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Dumpling dough dropped onto beef stew in a crock pot.

Step 5: Sprinkle with parsley if desired, and serve.

Crock pot beef stew and dumplings, just made and still shown in the crock pot.

Tip for Success

The dumpling dough should be prepared and ready to scoop before removing the crock pot lid. We’re depending on the steam from the cooker to cook the dumplings, so you want to lose as little heat and steam in the process as possible.

This dumpling technique could be used with any stew recipe, including our Slow Cooker French Onion Beef Stew, Guinness Beef Stew and Rotisserie Chicken and Dumplings.

Dumpling topped beef stew in a bowl with a blue rim.

Make Ahead and Storage Instructions

The dumpling dough can be made up to 24 hours in advance. Press saran wrap over the dough in the bowl so it doesn’t dry out, and refrigerate until ready to use.

Leftover stew should be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days. Reheat in the microwave for 1-2 minutes or until hot clear through.

Dumplings shown on top of beef stew in a crock pot.

FAQs

Do you have to brown beef before putting it in the crock pot?

You don’t have to sear meat before adding it to the crock pot. It will cook safely and fully without this extra step.

But whether we’re making Slow Cooker Steak Bites or Slow Cooker Beer Pot Roast, we find that browning beef first results in the best flavor and texture. That said, if you’re running low on time, you can skip this step and still have a delicious stew.

What’s the best cut of meat for stew?

Tougher cuts of meat with lots of connective tissue are perfect for stew! It may sound counterintuitive, but the low and slow cooking of stew helps break down all that connective tissue, resulting in tender, fall apart cuts of beef.

We like to use chuck roasts, round roasts, or the aptly named stew beef for stews. Look for cuts with lots of marbling (fat) to ensure the most flavorful and tender meat.

Can I bake the dumplings in the oven rather than on the stew?

If you prefer a biscuit over a dumpling, you can absolutely bake them in the oven instead. Bake on parchment paper at 450 degrees for 12 minutes.

Spoon scooping up a bite of beef stew.

More Comforting Beef Slow Cooker Dinner Recipes

Dumpling topped beef stew in a bowl with a blue rim.

Slow Cooker Beef Stew and Dumplings

Tender hunks of beef and veggies in a red wine broth form the base of this deliciously simple Beef Stew and Dumplings. Make it in the slow cooker for a super cozy and easy dinner!
5 from 1 vote
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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 20 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 523kcal

Ingredients
 

For the stew

  • 2 lbs. stew beef (*SEE NOTE)
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 4 medium carrots (sliced)
  • 1 large yellow onion (sliced)
  • 14.5 oz diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 8 oz. fresh mushrooms (sliced)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 cup dry red wine (such as Cabernet Sauvignon)
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard

For the dumplings

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 6 Tablespoons cold (unsalted butter)
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary (optional)
  • Fresh or dried parsley (for serving)

Instructions

  • Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Sprinkle the beef on all sides generously with Kosher salt and pepper, then add them to the pan. Brown for 2-3 minutes, or until the beef releases easily. Flip and brown the other side. Add a splash of the wine and deglaze the pan. Transfer the beef and any browned bits from the pan into the slow cooker.
  • In the slow cooker, stir together the beef, carrots, onions, mushrooms, diced tomatoes, garlic, red wine, broth, and seasonings. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours.
  • When the slow cooker is almost finished, start the dumplings. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in a medium bowl. Add the chunks of butter and use your fingers or a pastry cutter to work the butter into the flour mixture, until small pea-sized pieces are distributed evenly throughout it. Pour the milk in and gently stir together until a shaggy dough forms. If there are any very dry spots (pockets of completely dry flour), add additional milk, a teaspoon at a time, until it comes together.
  • Uncover the stew mixture and drop heaping Tablespoon sized balls of dumpling dough onto the stew pieces. Try to drop it on the veggies and meat pieces rather than directly into the liquid. Cover and allow dumplings to cook for 25-30 minutes or until puffed and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  • Sprinkle with parsley if desired, and serve each individual bowl with a dumpling portion.

Notes

  • Note 1: If you don’t have stew beef, cut up a chuck roast for the stew.
  • Note 2: The dumpling dough can be made up to 24 hours in advance. Press saran wrap over the top of the dough and refrigerate. Drop batter on the stew as usual.
Course Slow Cooker
Cuisine American
Keyword beef stew and dumplings slow cooker, crock pot beef stew and dumplings, slow cooker beef stew and dumplings, slow cooker beef stew with dumplings

Nutrition

Calories: 523kcal | Carbohydrates: 59g | Protein: 43g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 97mg | Sodium: 1125mg | Potassium: 1131mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 7301IU | Vitamin C: 12mg | Calcium: 286mg | Iron: 11mg
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4 Comments

    1. I haven’t tested this myself, but it’s worth a try. I would recommend using unsweetened almond milk and vegan butter.

  1. Your photos are making my mouth water. This stew looks so good! I’ve always wondered if I could make dumplings in my slow cooker; I’ve only ever made mine on the stovetop. I’m so glad to know I can. And I can’t wait to make this stew, yum!!

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