How to Thicken Beef Stew in The CrockPot? – 6 Effective Methods for 2024

Let’s be real, thickening stew in a crockpot can seem like a bit of a puzzle. You’re aiming for that rich, hearty texture that warms you up from the inside out, not some sad, watery concoction. Sure, you’ve heard about the trusty cornstarch or flour methods, but did you know there’s a whole world of thickening options waiting to be explored?

In this guide, we’re diving into six foolproof methods to elevate your crockpot beef stew from just good to absolutely incredible.

Whether you’re a seasoned kitchen expert or just dipping your toes into cooking, this article is your secret weapon for mastering the art of creating thick, luscious beef stew. So, grab your crockpot and get ready to uncover the secrets to achieving that dreamy texture you’ve always wanted!

Making Beef Stew thicker in Crock Pot

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 beef stew with cornstarch?

How to thicken beef stew with cornstarch

Cornstarch is a gluten-free thickener, making it a good choice for those with gluten sensitivities. It provides a clear and glossy finish to the stew, unlike flour, which can make it cloudy.

To thicken your beef stew with cornstarch, follow these five steps:

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together 1 tablespoon of cornstarch and 2 tablespoons of cold water until smooth. This mixture is called a slurry. If you don’t have cornstarch in your kitchen, you can buy it from your nearby grocery store or on A-mazon cornstarch.
  2. Bring your simmering beef stew to a low boil.
  3. Slowly whisk the cornstarch slurry into the boiling stew.
  4. Continue whisking constantly until the stew thickens to your desired consistency.
  5. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for an additional minute to cook out the cornstarch flavor.

Thickening Crock Pot Stew Without Cornstarch

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 2024

Use Flour

how to thicken beef stew in crock pot with flour
How to thicken beef stew in crock pot with flour

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.

how to thicken beef stew after it is cooked
Thicken Beef Stew After it is Cooked!

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.

Add Potatoes

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 stew with bread or pasta.jpg
Thickening Stew With 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

how to thicken a stew with mash some of the vegetables
Thicken stew with mash of 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!
Crock pot Beef Stew Recipe

Crockpot Thicken Beef Stew Recipe

Helen Knight
Just follow the steps and ingredients given below and you'll get the best delicious crockpot beef stew-
5 from 4 votes


  • 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 Process

Whether 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 Veggies

Put the carrot, potatoes, and tomatoes in the crockpot. Keep the beef broth and apple juice/grape juice ready.

Step 2: Prepare The Meat

Take 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 Pan

After 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 Time

Add mushrooms and other seasoning spices including bay leaves. Stir lightly to combine the mixture.

Step 5: Cooking Time

If 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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Helen Knight
Helen Knight

I'm passionate about cooking and making simple, delicious recipes that you can always feel confident feeding to friends and family. My goals for you are to have fun in the kitchen, learn new things, and create beautiful dishes. I have a lot of experience using kitchen appliances, so making great food is my passion and my favorite thing to share with others. I prioritize food safety in all of my meals. Check out my blog SKI, for helpful tips and tricks to improve your own cooking skills. Let's explore the world of food together!

© Helen Knight | All contents are copyright protected. Please do not use my images and content without prior permission. If you wish to re-publish this content, please get in touch via email. Thank you so much for supporting!

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  1. 5 stars
    This crockpot beef stew recipe looks delicious and easy to follow. The use of a variety of vegetables, seasonings, and a deglazing step adds depth of flavor to the dish. The recipe also includes the option to use red cooking wine, which adds a unique touch to the stew. Overall, a great recipe to try out for a hearty and comforting meal.

    Thanks Helen Knight

  2. Thanks, John, I’m glad you liked the recipe. I love using a variety of vegetables and seasonings in my stews, it really adds depth of flavor. And the deglazing step and red cooking wine are key to creating a unique and delicious taste. Let me know how it turns out if you decide to try it out! – Helen Knight

  3. 5 stars
    Hi Helen, your article on how to thicken crock-pot beef stew was a great read. I appreciated the detailed explanations of each thickening agent and the step-by-step instructions on how to use them. The inclusion of both flour and cornstarch as options was a helpful touch. Thank you for sharing such a useful guide – I’m excited to try out these methods in my next stew-making adventure!

  4. 5 stars
    An amazing guide that makes cooking a breeze compared to baking—it’s an art, not a precise science. I adjusted the portions, added veggies (a couple per serving), and cooked the tender chuck slowly on the stove, adding liquid as needed.

    Super easy recipe—highly recommend with a solid 9/10 rating. You won’t be disappointed!

  5. 5 stars
    Hey Knight! Just finished reading your article on how to thicken stew, and it was a game-changer! Your tips on using flour, cornstarch, and arrowroot were spot-on, and my stew now comes out perfect every time. The roux method was a revelation too! Love your friendly writing style and can’t wait to try more of your insanely good recipes. Cheers!

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