Thickening beef stew in crock pot is a crucial task but I would call it easy as there is a certain process. You can use cornstarch and flour first. Then you can leave the lid entirely open while cooking for 5-10 minutes. If this method doesn’t work or you haven’t any of them, my final suggestion is to add potatoes or milk/cream to thicken it at its best.
It simply answers the question – how to thicken beef stew in a crock pot? But it’s not as easy as you read. So I’ve described everything in detail throughout this article. So, for a better guide, this article is a must-read for you.
How to Make Beef Stew thicker in Crock Pot?
In crockpot steam or vapor can’t escape from the lid like it can evaporate when you cook on a stove. That’s why your dishes including soup or stew may get more watery as the vapor droplets again reach into the stew or soup. Most of the time, I used to feel quite unsatisfied after making a beef stew or any soup in my crockpot.
This is a common problem that has some easy and simple solutions. However, let’s see how you can cook beef stew in a crockpot and thicken the gravy consistency.
Just follow the steps and ingredients given below and you’ll get the best delicious crockpot beef stew-
How to thicken crock pot stew with cornstarch?
Cornstarch is a gluten-free thickener. Flour gives a cloudy stew or sauce, whereas cornstarch gives a clear and glossy finish.
Use 1 tbsp of cornstarch with liquid and whisk it very well. Then you can pour it into the stew mixture in small amounts. To make a slurry, use 1 tbsp of cornstarch and 1 cup of your stew/soup, and mix these two. Then, add it to your pot. Simmer until the sauce/stew thickens.
How to thicken crock pot stew without cornstarch?
We’ll explore alternative methods to thicken your stew and add depth to its flavor without using cornstarch. If you’re looking for a gluten-free option for thickening your stew, these methods are sure to deliver satisfying results.
Besides, you may read: How to Make Cornstarch Chunks? 2 Different Methods for 2023
One of the most common and easiest ways to thicken your stew or soup. All-purpose flour is a handy item in our kitchen. Mix an equal amount of butter and flour, and knead it until it gets well combined or forms a paste.
Add a small amount of this mixture to your soup and stir. Add the mixture of flour and butter in small amounts and let your stew simmer. Then add if needed.
Making Beurre Manié
Beurre manié is a highly recommended quick fix for thickening sauces, according to many cooking experts. To prepare it, simply mix equal parts of softened butter and flour together until a smooth paste is formed. Then, slowly add small amounts of the mixture into your dish, let it come to a simmer, and repeat until desired thickness is reached.
There is another method where you can make a slurry.
To make a slurry to thicken a stew using flour, you can follow these steps:
- In a small bowl, whisk together equal parts of cold water and flour until smooth.
- Slowly pour the slurry into the stew while stirring constantly, until the desired thickness is reached.
- Allow the stew to simmer for a few minutes to cook the flour and thicken the liquid. Stir occasionally to prevent lumps from forming.
Make A Roux
Roux is a mixture of equal parts of flour, butter/milk. To make a roux, heat a small pan on low heat. Then, add the equal parts of flour and butter/milk, and whisk it until it forms a smooth paste. Keep stirring to prevent any burning. Don’t boil the roux otherwise it’ll create a clump in the stew. Now, after you finish your roux, slowly stir it into your gravy little by little. Simmer it until your stew thickens.
Leave The Lid Open
Notice at the end of cooking if there’s too much liquid. Cook the stew on low heat with the lid open, stirring occasionally, until some of the liquid has evaporated and the stew has thickened to your desired consistency.
Note: This is a great option for those who prefer to avoid adding starches or carbohydrates to their stew.
Add Canned Milk/Cream
Cream or milk, both are very common and delicious ways to thicken your stew or sauce. All the fat in milk/cream can emulsify the stew and make it creamier. It’ll not only thicken your stew but also enhance the taste and flavor.
Grate a raw potato into the crockpot at least 30 minutes before your cooking time is finished. It’ll give the potato time to cook and absorb the excess liquid from the stew. Plus, you’ll get a thick nice gravy.
Add bread or pasta
Thickening a stew in a slow cooker using bread or pasta is a simple and delicious method that can add both texture and flavor to your dish. Here’s how to do it:
Using bread: Soak a few slices of bread in a mixture of milk and water until they become soft and mushy. Stir the bread mixture into the stew and let it cook for about 30 minutes to an hour. The bread will absorb the liquid and help thicken the stew.
Using pasta: Stir in uncooked pasta, such as small elbow macaroni, into the stew. The pasta will absorb the liquid as it cooks, thickening the stew to your desired consistency. It’s important to keep in mind that the pasta will continue to absorb liquid as it sits, so it’s best to serve the stew immediately.
Note: Keep in mind that both bread and pasta will also add additional carbohydrates to the stew, so adjust the seasoning and spices accordingly.
Mash some of the vegetables
Another way to thicken stew in a slow cooker is by using some of the cooked vegetables. Here’s how to do it:
Mash some of the cooked vegetables: Use a potato masher or a fork to mash some of the cooked vegetables, such as carrots or potatoes, in the stew. This will break down the vegetables and release their starch, which will help to thicken the sauce.
Simmer with the lid off: After mashing the vegetables, let the stew simmer with the lid off for an additional 30 minutes to an hour. This will allow the liquid to reduce and the stew to thicken.
Note: By using this method, you not only thicken the stew but also add an extra layer of flavor and texture.
How to Create More Depth in the Flavor of Your Beef Stew?
If you want to bring out the most delicious flavor in the stew, then follow these tips-
- Add tomato paste to the broth while cooking.
- Don’t skip the juice, it gives a fantastic taste with aroma.
- If you use beef consumption/beef stock instead of beef broth, that’ll be the bomb!
Crockpot Thicken Beef Stew Recipe
- 1 (medium size) Onion chopped
- 1 Cup Beef stock/canned beef broth
- 1 Can diced tomatoes
- 1 Cup Apple/ Grape juice (optional)
- 4 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 Tbsp minced garlic
- 1 Onion chopped (medium size)
- 2 Cups • 2 cups carrot sliced
- 5-10 Diced red potatoes
- 2 Cups sliced celery
- 1 Can of sliced mushrooms
- ¼ Cup of flour (to coat the meat)
- 1 Bay leaf
- ½ Dried dried parsley
- ½ Tbsp allspice
- ½ Tbsp dried thyme
- 2 Tbsp cornstarch
- Salt/Pepper (as per taste)
Cooking ProcessWhether you’re cooking beef stew or chitterlings in a crock pot, you must follow certain steps. Here learn about the steps.
Step 1: Prepare The VeggiesPut the carrot, potatoes, and tomatoes in the crockpot. Keep the beef broth and apple juice/grape juice ready.
Step 2: Prepare The MeatTake the chunks of stew meat and pat dry those with paper towels. Sprinkle salt, pepper, and flour, and toss them to get evenly seasoned. Then, fry brown those chunks on the stove. Put the fried brown (not fully cooked) meat chunks in the crockpot.
Step 3: Deglaze The PanAfter frying the meat, don't wash the pan. We need to deglaze here which means on the pan we'll add some liquid that'll loosen the flavourful residues of meat at the bottom of the pan. Heat the pan again and add 2 tbsp of oil. Add onions when the oil is hot. Once the onions are translucent, add cooking wine and beef broth. Once the liquid is boiling, turn off the stove and pour it into the crockpot.
Step 4: Seasoning TimeAdd mushrooms and other seasoning spices including bay leaves. Stir lightly to combine the mixture.
Step 5: Cooking TimeIf you set it at a low temperature then for 9-10 hours, medium for 7-8 hours, and high for 6-7 hours. And you'll be done!
So, these are the methods to thicken your stew, sauce, gravy, or soup in a slow cooker or crockpot. You can also add arrowroot just like you use cornstarch. If you use less water or keep the lid open, that can help you prevent watery stew too. I hope these methods will be helpful for your next beef stew recipe. Best of luck!
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