Traditional Beef Stew Recipe (Without Tomatoes)

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Reminiscent of an Irish beef stew, this traditional beef stew recipe makes a hearty comfort food dish that’s overloaded with tender meat and vegetables… and not a tomato in sight.

If you’ve been around Southern Plate for a while, you might know that I’ve shared quite a few beef stew recipes over the years. There’s the slow cooker beef stew, my ground beef stew, and my smoked sausage and beef stew in the crockpot. Clearly, me and my family can’t get enough of this comfort food main dish in the cooler months.

But today I’m sharing my traditional beef stew recipe, which I also cook in the crock pot. I worked up this recipe especially for my Aunt Sue, who makes the world’s best pound cake but can’t eat tomatoes. It may not include tomatoes or tomato paste, but this stew is still packed full of flavor. There’s tender beef, carrot, potato, onion, Dale’s sauce, thyme, salt and pepper, and beef stock. These ingredients combine to make one hearty and filling meal.

Fortunately, this homemade beef stew recipe is super easy to follow. Just sear the stew meat and then add all of the ingredients to the slow cooker. Walk away and when you get home from work your stew will be ready to serve your family. I love easy meals like this one! Keep reading for some serving suggestions to go with this simple beef stew recipe.

Ingredients for traditional beef stew recipe.

Recipe Ingredients

  • Beef stew meat
  • Carrots
  • Potatoes
  • Pearl onions (you can use a regular onion instead)
  • Dale’s Sauce* (substitution below)
  • Beef broth
  • Flour
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Dried thyme

How to Make My Traditional Beef Stew Recipe

Stir together stew meat and flour in bowl.

Place your stew meat in a medium bowl and pour about a cup of flour over it.

You can use any flour, including almond flour if gluten-free.

Stir it well to coat.

Cook floured meat in skillet.

Now place the beef cubes in a large skillet with a tablespoon or two of olive oil and cook over medium heat until lightly brown.

We’re not trying to get the meat completely cooked here, just brown. The flour will act as a thickener to our stew as well.

Cook meat until brown.

There ya go! All ready.  

Now we’re going to add of these ingredients to the slow cooker. Let’s start with the browned meat before adding the marinade.

Both seasonings…

And the beef broth.

Add carrot to slow cooker.

Next, peel and chop up your carrots a bit and add those.

Add potatoes to slow cooker.

Then wash your potatoes, chop them up in whatever way you want, and add them to the crockpot too.

Add pearl onions to slow cooker.

Pour your pearl onions over that.

The bag I used had about a cup and a half of them. If you don’t have pearl onions don’t worry about going out and buying them. I make this a lot using just a chopped Vidalia onion. Whatever you have on hand is fine.

Stir beef stew ingredients together in crockpot.

Now give those ingredients a good stir to ensure the marinade and seasonings are evenly spread throughout.

Cover crockpot with lid and let the traditional beef stew slow cook all day.

Then cover the crock pot and cook your classic beef stew on low for 7 to 8 hours or on high for 3 to 4 hours.

Every time I see the end shot of a good meal I go all Doctor Seuss: Yum diddy dum dum yum yum YUM!

Grab your ladle and load up your bowls!

Enjoy this slow cooker beef stew with a garnish of parsley.


  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop.
  • You can also freeze the stew for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge before reheating as above.

Recipe Notes

  • If you don’t have thyme, don’t sweat it. Just use Italian seasoning in its place and your stew will have a bit different flavor but still be wonderful. If you are new here you may not realize that I pretty much think you could save the world with a $1 bottle of dry Italian seasoning. I love that stuff.
  • Dale’s Sauce is a marinade available in my neck of the woods but a lot of y’all may not have it near you. If you can get Moore’s Marinade, that’ll work too. I use the two interchangeably depending on which one is cheapest and I’ve never been able to tell the difference (although I’m sure the Dale’s and Moore’s folks will disagree with that). However, if you can’t get either of them, you can easily whip up my homemade all-purpose marinade recipe. If you use my recipe, you’ll need to salt your stew a little to taste, because my homemade version isn’t nearly as salty as Dale’s and Moore’s. They give new meaning to the term “salty” so most folks think that is a good thing.
  • You can peel your potatoes or leave them unpeeled.
  • If you want to add more veggies to this old-fashioned beef stew, opt for 1 chopped bell pepper, 1 celery stalk, or 1 cup of fresh or frozen peas.
  • Stew meat or boneless beef chuck roast is the best to use in this old-fashioned beef stew recipe.

Recipe FAQs

What do you serve with this traditional beef stew recipe?

I like my homemade beef stew best with Jordan rolls, my homemade dinner rolls, or a serving of cornbread. However, you may also want to serve it with crusty bread, cauliflower rice, quinoa, brown rice, homemade buttermilk biscuitsmashed potato, or mashed sweet potato.

Can you put raw beef in the slow cooker?

Yes, you absolutely can! However, searing the stew beef just adds so much depth and flavor to the stew, so I highly recommend it if you have time.

How do you make instant pot beef stew?

If you want to cook this traditional beef stew recipe in the instant pot, first place it on saute to sear the beef and onion. Then add the remaining ingredients, seal the instant pot, and high-pressure cook the stew for 35 minutes. After, allow the pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes.

How do you thicken your beef stew?

Coating the beef in flour acts as a stew thickener. However, if you decide you want your stew to be even thicker, add a few tablespoons of instant potato flakes (one of my favorite thickeners). Another way to thicken a stew is to mix 1 tablespoon of cornstarch (or 2 tablespoons of flour) with 1/2 cup of cold water. Stir it into the stew and continue to cook it for a few more minutes until it thickens. 

Check out these other scrumptious stews:

Our Family’s Southern Chicken Stew Recipe

Famous Alabama Camp Stew

Lentil Stew (Budget Friendly & Delicious)

BBQ Joint Stew

12 Favorite Soups and Stews

Traditional Beef Stew Recipe

Reminiscent of an Irish beef stew, this traditional beef stew recipe makes a hearty dish overloaded with meat, vegetables, and no tomatoes.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 7 hours
Total Time: 7 hours 15 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: beef, crockpot, slowcooker, stew
Servings: 4
Calories: 330kcal


  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup Dales sauce
  • 1 tablespoon thyme or Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 32 ounces beef broth
  • 1-2 pounds stew meat
  • 5-6 medium potatoes, unpeeled and chopped
  • 4 large carrots
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen pearl onions or 1 large chopped onion


  • Place stew meat and flour in a medium bowl. Stir to coat. Then place a tablespoon of oil in a large skillet and heat on medium heat. Add the coated meat and cook, stirring often, just until brown.
    1-2 pounds stew meat, 1 cup flour
  • Place the meat and all other ingredients in the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours.
    1/2 cup Dales sauce, 1 tablespoon thyme, 1 teaspoon black pepper, 32 ounces beef broth, 5-6 medium potatoes, unpeeled and chopped, 4 large carrots, 1 1/2 cups frozen pearl onions or 1 large chopped onion


Calories: 330kcal
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  1. I’ve been making beef stew like this for years. My mother always said “if you add tomatoes, it then becomes soup.” I use garlic, salt & pepper for seasoning.

  2. I just made beef stew yesterday in the crockpot too, my recipe does not call for tomatoes either, but I do use tomato soup and cloves and a bay leaf, its quite tasty if I may say so myself, with a side of cole slaw (well i actually plop my slaw right on top) and crusty buttered bread to scoop up the yummy sauce!!!! I will try your recipe too!!!! Good Luck on the book tour!!! (Your not coming my way :()

  3. Oh Christy! I’m the same way! My husband & I left the kids with my sister (in our house) for a week recently and I went crazy with the “what if”s and stocking the fridge, pantry & closets!
    My daughter is also allergic to tomatoes, amongst other things, (so thank you for this recipe! I’ll definitely be trying it soon!) I even went as far as making a little 3-ring binder “book” to fill my sister in on what foods the kids like (what is safe & what is not for my one with allergies), directions and phone numbers for everything from school to doctors’ offices to fast food to grocery stores, the typical daily routine for the kids, the shows they like to watch, medical consent form, a letter to the school to notify them, etc etc. Our whole lives were detailed in the book for her! LOL
    They’ll be fine (even Daddy!) – I’m sure of it! But, I’ll still be praying for you all so you can take comfort knowing you have people praying for you!
    Thanks again for this and all your recipes! I love that it’s a crockpot recipe and one that’s safe for my lil girl! <3

  4. I can not wait to try this tomorrow. Just happened to buy some stew meat yesterday and I’ve got my trusty Dale’s in the fridge. My first attempt at your chicken stew is on the stove right now and boy, it smells great already, am using a big package of chicken thighs. So excited to see you at the book signing on October 13th!!!! Am bringing some friends too! So happy for you girl!— Lisa

  5. I often ask my husband what he would do if I had to be away for any period of time.

    Let me start by saying he can fix just about anything around our house from plumbing to electrical to any small task that needs to be done, but bless his heart he is a hair dummy. My poor daughter with her long, blond locks would be in serious danger:)

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