Slow-Cooker Beef Stew

Slow Cooker Beef Stew [paleo-friendly, grain-free, dairy-free] | Lexi's Clean Kitchen

This Slow-Cooker Beef Stew is the perfect healthy comfort food for cold days! It’s hearty, flavorful, packed with veggies, and easy to make right in your crock pot. Make it for a cold winter night, or a festive St. Patrick’s Day meal! Beef stew is a simple recipe that will wow everyone who tries it.

Traditional Beef Stew Recipe

The Slow Cooker is an amazing phenomenon in my opinion. Even those friends of mine who aren’t big cookers use it! Throw all the ingredients in with the right flavor combo and BOOM: the perfect stew. It’s hands off, easy to use, and safe!

What is Irish stew made of?

Filled with beef, carrots, mushrooms, onions, and potatoes is the perfect main dish for your St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. The beef is so tender, it just melts in your mouth!

Tips For Slow Cooker Beef Stew

  • Brown your meat
  • Don’t use too much liquid
  • Don’t skimp on the cook time
  • Layer your beef and veggies
  • Set it and forget it! The beauty of a slow cooker!

Ultimate Slow Cooker Beef Stew

This stew is: hearty, flavorful, tender melt-in-your-mouth beef, and packed with veggies! It is also paleo-friendly, dairy-free, whole30 compliant and has no sugar added… does it get any better than that? I love making this soup at the beginning of the week and enjoy it all week long!

What defines a stew?

  • In a stew you aren’t looking for the consistency of a soup, so minimizing added liquids is helpful!
  • Beef stew doesn’t need to be super, super thick. You’ll most likely be using potatoes, and their starch will naturally thicken your stew! If not, don’t worry, this stew thickens whithout it, too.

What kind of beef is used for stew?

You can buy beef stew meat, which is cut and cubed and is generally chuck or round! Beef round cuts (bottom and eye) are generally leaner than chuck (shoulder, leg and butt) and very well-suited to stew.

I always add beef stew meat to my ButcherBox order in the cold weather months. Each month, ButcherBox  curates a one-of-a-kind selection of the healthiest, tastiest meats, humanely raised and free of antibiotics and hormones. Or you can customize your box and select your favorite cuts and get 20% more meat.The price works out to less than $6.00/meal and shipping is always free. You can also space it out so it’s not every 4 weeks, too! ButcherBox delivers your meat for the month, saves you money, and is the best quality! Order Today and get this amazing deal:

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Can you put raw meat in a slow cooker?

You certainly can, but for this beef stew recipe, we prefer to sear the meat first to bring out the amazing flavor that you’ll get!

Easy Beef Stew

Tools used to make this easy slow cooker beef stew recipe:

  • Slow Cooker: Inexpensive and works great. I’ve had mine for years!
  • Cast Iron Skillet: I like a nice, hot cast iron skillet to sear our stew meat!
  • Chef’s Knife: My go-to chef’s knife. Use whatever you have on hand!
  • Tongs: To easily flip the meat while searing.
  • Cutting Board: A good cutting board, of course! To chop all those veggies!

Want other slow cooker recipes? Try these favorites:

If you like this beef stew recipe, make these other St Patrick’s Day Favorites:

Slow-Cooker Beef Stew

Prep Time 10 min Cook Time 8 hr Total Time 8:10 Serves 6

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Sear meat for about 3 minutes on each side, until brown. Set aside.
  2. Place meat and vegetables in the crockpot
  3. Add in broth, tomato paste, tapioca, and spices
  4. Mix well to combine
  5. Set on low for 8-10 hours
  6. After 7 hours, taste and adjust spices to your liking (i.e. add additional salt, cayenne, or red pepper flakes)
  7. Remove bay leaf and serve hot
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There may be affiliate links in this post! By clicking on them, or purchasing recommended items I may receive a small compensation, at no cost to you! However, I only recommend products I absolutely love and use in my own home! Thank you for supporting Lexi's Clean Kitchen when you shop! See my privacy policy for more information about this, the information we save, and more!

Instant Pot Corned Beef and Cabbage

This Instant Pot Corned Beef and Cabbage comes out so just as tender and flavorful as the stove top version, but in half the time! This corned beef dinner with cabbage, potatoes and carrots is a the perfect dish for a classic for St. Patrick’s Day.

Instant pot corned beefInstant Pot Corned Beef and Cabbage

Who doesn’t love a good boiled dinner, also known as corned beef and cabbage? This classic St. Patrick’s Day dish shouldn’t just be relegated to a once-a-year-meal though, because corned beef is so good, especially when you brine it yourself! The leftovers alone are worth making this meal for! We turned to the Instant Pot to make this dish to cut the cooking time in half and ensure the perfect fork tender brisket and from here on out will be cooking it this way.

What is corned beef?

Corned beef is simply salted or cured beef. It’s topically a brisket, but can also be an eye roast. It’s put in a brine with lots of salt, some sugar and spices like juniper berries and mustard seed. Once it’s done brining, typically 5-10 days later, it’s cooked! We delve into more details in this post here!

How do you cook corned beef in the Instant Pot?

It’s as easy as rinsing the corned beef, placing it in the Instant Pot on a trivet with a lot of water, cooking on high pressure for 85 minutes and then a natural release! We place the additional vegetable in the leftover broth for a quick 4 minute cook. Typically it can take 3-6 hours to cook a corned beef, so using the Instant Pot is really a time saver in this recipe.

Corned beef instant pot

What is in the spice packet for corned beef?

Honestly, anything can be in those spice packets that sometimes come with commercially prepared corned beef. Which is why we advocate making your own (or buying a high quality one). If the corned beef is brined properly all of the flavor should already be inside of the meat! If you aren’t sure that is the case with yours, we used these spices in our brine:

  • juniper berries
  • cinnamon
  • whole cloves
  • peppercorn
  • bay leaves
  • mustard seed

We recommend rinsing the corned beef very well to get off the excess salt in the brine before you cook it. This is true whether you make your own brine or buy store bought. Otherwise you’ll end up with a really salty corned beef.

Instant pot corned beef and cabbage recipe

Can you overcook a corned beef?

You can certainly cook it incorrectly! A corned beef, whether it is a brisket or an eye of round cut should be cooked low and slow, unless you are using a pressure cooker, in which case cooking under pressure keeps it tender. Traditionally this type of meat is tenderized first with the brine, and then it is submerged in liquid and cooked slowly over a long period of time. A slow cooker is also a great way to cook this type of meat. If you cook this type of meat very quickly with high temperature it will seize up and be tough.

What can you make with leftover corned beef?

Leftover corned beef was made to be turned into corned beef hash! It’s also great sliced thin when cold and turned into sandwiches. During testing we also used some of the leftover meat for a stir fry and for a soup!

Corned beef and cabbage instant pot

If you like this Instant Pot recipe, check out these others:

Watch the video:


Instant Pot Corned Beef and Cabbage

Prep Time 00:05 Cook Time 1:29 Inactive Time 00:25 Total Time 1:34 Serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • 3-4lb corned beef brisket (look for nitrate free or make your own here)
  • 4 cups water
  • ½ head green cabbage, sliced into 4 wedges
  • 12 ounces small red potatoes (about 8)
  • 4 large carrots, peeled and sliced on the bias about 2”
  • Parsley, for garnish

Directions

  1. Rinse the corned beef really well to remove any excess salt.
  2. Place a trivet (preferably one with handles) in a 6 or 8 quart Instant Pot. Place corned beef inside with 4 cups of water and cover.
  3. Cook on high pressure for 85 minutes. Release pressure naturally for 20 minutes and then release any remaining pressure.
  4. Remove corned beef with trivet and set aside and keep warm.
  5. Place the cabbage, potatoes and carrots inside. Cover and cook on high pressure for 4 minutes. Use the manual release.
  6. Slice corned beef against the grain and serve with vegetables, mustard and parsley garnish.

Recipe Notes

  1. If using the 6 quart you may need to slice the corned beef in half to fit. Slice in half and stack each piece next to each other, but not on top of one another
  2. After cooking if you wish to remove the fat cap on the brisket, feel free to do so.
  3. Too cook on the stove top:
    1. In a large pot add the brisket and cover with enough water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to a boil over high heat, and then reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 2 hours. Check periodically to make sure the water hasn't reduced below the beef, and if it has add more as needed.
    2. Add cabbage, potatoes and carrots and cook for 1 more hour or until the meat is fork tender.
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There may be affiliate links in this post! By clicking on them, or purchasing recommended items I may receive a small compensation, at no cost to you! However, I only recommend products I absolutely love and use in my own home! Thank you for supporting Lexi's Clean Kitchen when you shop! See my privacy policy for more information about this, the information we save, and more!

Corned Beef Brine Recipe (Nitrate Free!)

Corned Beef is more often purchased already brined than it is made at home, but using this easy Corned Beef Brine Recipe it’s so simple to DIY using our pickling spice mixture and beef brisket. We are skipping the nitrates and using whole ingredients you recognize and the best part is the taste of the final product is far superior than anything store-bought and is SO FUN to accomplish!

Brine brisket for corned beefCorned Beef Brine Recipe

Did you know that you could make your own corned beef at home, starting totally from scratch? It’s so easy when you use this Corned Beef Brine Recipe, we promise! And honestly it results in the best tasting corned beef that is so incredibly flavorful–and you control what goes it in instead of putting in some strange spice package of unknown ingredients. Plus it’s one of those cool things to be able to say that you know how to brine your own brisket, right?

What exactly is corned beef?

Let’s start here, because some of you may have some questions! Corned beef is really just beef that has been preserved with salt, also known as brining. It’s flavored with the salt, spices and a bit of a sweetener which essentially means that you are pickling it, so think of it like pickled beef! The name corned beef comes from an old English way of referring to large granules of salt as “corns”, and therefor it just means salted beef, and there is not actually corn involved.

Most commercially prepared corned beef contains saltpeter, also known as sodium nitrate. The sodium nitrate is a curing salt that contributes to the pink color and cured flavor of corned beef. It also prevent the meat from spoiling or going rancid while it is curing. However, since the meat is cooked after it is brined it is not essential to use it. The use of nitrates and nitrites are controversial as to whether or not they are harmful in cured meats because cured meats typically contain such a small amount, and on average a person consumes larger amounts of naturally occurring sodium nitrates in vegetables like spinach, beets, celery and others. But in 2010 nitrates were declared a possible carcinogen by the World Health Organization, so when possible we avoid buying meat with added nitrates. So for this recipe we skip the sodium nitrate all together since it is not needed, and instead used beet root powder to color the meat, though this is optional.

How to brine corned beef

Why do we eat corned beef?

Corned beef is popularly cooked during the American celebration of all things Irish on St. Patrick’s Day. It can be called a corned beef dinner or a boiled dinner, which refers to the fact that corned beef is often slowly boiled with some vegetables. But if you dig a little deeper, our American tradition of corned beef actually has little to do with food that you might find in Ireland, and more to do with the corned brisket you would have found in a kosher Jewish deli at the turn of the century. Corned beef can also be thinly sliced and use in sandwiches such as pastrami, or then remade into several different recipes, like corned beef hash.

What is the best cut of meat for corned beef?

For this recipe we’re using a flat cut brisket! That cut of meat is ideal because it is contains a lot of fat (which equals flavor) and is generally tough, so the brining really helps transform it. You can also make corned beef from an eye round roast.

What is in the corned beef spice packet?

Honestly, anything can be in those spice packets that sometimes come with commercially produced corned beef. Which is why we advocate making your own (or buying a high quality one). For our corned beef pickling spice we use:

  • juniper berries
  • cinnamon
  • whole cloves
  • peppercorn
  • bay leaves
  • mustard seed

Corned beef brine

How long do you brine corned beef?

Traditionally brined corned beef with sodium nitrates can be brined for as long as 10 days. Because we were skipping it, we went with a smaller amount of time brining, about 5-6 days as there is enough salt in the brine to transform the meat in a shorter amount of days.

Why do you rinse corned beef?

This step is important! If the meat has been properly brined it has been infused with not only the flavor, but also the salt. Before you cook the meat you want to rinse it with cool water to remove all the excess salt. Similarly, you want to cook the corned beef in a ton of water to help bring out some of the salt. Don’t worry though ALL of the flavor of the spices is inside of the meat, and a properly brined beef doesn’t need additional spices during cooking because it’s infused inside of it.

best corned beef recipe

How do you cook corned beef?

Traditionally corned beef is brought to a boil on the stove top and simmered for a few hours. Vegetables like cabbage, potato and carrots are added into the pot and they’re boiled in the flavorful stock until just tender. Another method of cooking it would be in the slow cooker on low for 6-8 hours, depending on the size of the beef, and similarly vegetables added in. We’re talking all about how to cook it in the Instant Pot, which is our modern favorite way of cooking it over here in this post.

For this recipe, we used these tools:

  • Large pot
  • Plastic bag with a tight seal
  • Large container to hold curing beef

If you like this DIY recipe, check out these others:

Corned Beef Brisket Brine Recipe

Prep Time 00:10 Total Time 0:10 Serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • 2 quarts water (preferably distilled / filtered)
  • ½ cup coconut sugar
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon mixed peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon juniper berries
  • 1 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 1 teaspoon whole allspice
  • 3 dried or fresh bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon beet root powder (optional, see note)
  • 3-4 lb. flat cut beef brisket

Directions

  1. In a large pot add all of the ingredients, except the beet root powder (if using), and bring to a boil. After all of the salt and sugar has dissolved shut off the heat.
  2. Let the mixture cool completely. You can let this happen naturally, or you can place the brine in an ice bath by placing the brine inside of a clean bowl and then placing that bowl inside of another bowl filled with ice water.
  3. Once the brine is cool place the beet root powder (if using) and brisket inside a 2 gallon plastic bag and place the bag inside of a large container that will catch any accidental drips. This container has to be able to fit inside of your refrigerator.
  4. Carefully pour all of the brine inside of the plastic bag and seal it. Lay the plastic bag flat inside of the container and place in your refrigerator for 5-6 days.
  5. Each day carefully turn the bag upside down to stir the brine and make sure all of the beef is submerged.
  6. Once ready to cook discard the brine and the spices and rinse the corned beef thoroughly.
  7. See this post for cooking instructions.

Recipe Notes

  1. Traditionally corned beef is cured using a salt that turns the brisket pink. We are purposefully skipping this salt, also known as sodium nitrate because it's been labeled a possible carcinogen and is not necessary in this recipe. Without the sodium nitrate the corned beef is rather gray. We experimented with adding beet root powder to help counteract that and found that the resulting corned beef wasn't super pink, but it did change the color a bit. This is totally optional, and might not be worth buying a package of beet root powder just for this purpose if you are never going to use it again.
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There may be affiliate links in this post! By clicking on them, or purchasing recommended items I may receive a small compensation, at no cost to you! However, I only recommend products I absolutely love and use in my own home! Thank you for supporting Lexi's Clean Kitchen when you shop! See my privacy policy for more information about this, the information we save, and more!

Creamy Peppermint Coconut Cups (Keto-Friendly)

These Creamy Peppermint Coconut Cups are the perfect treat to have in the fridge! They are chocolate-y, peppermint-y, and coconut-y! They are keto-friendly, too! Perfect keto cups!  

Creamy Peppermint Coconut Cups | Lexi's Clean KitchenCreamy Peppermint Coconut Cups

This weekend was really really something else! We got ENGAGED!

Before I share with you the most perfect little recipe, I’ll tell you a gist of the story 🙂 My mom and my brother came into town to celebrate Mike’s mom’s 60th birthday, or so I thought. On Sunday morning after the party, Jax came into the bed with a card and a bow tucked into his collar and Mike with the GoPro strapped to his head. He told me he found a card when shopping for his mom’s, and to go ahead and read it. Half disheveled from a late night and just waking up, I read the sweetest card with Jax snuggling up at my side, and Mike fidgeting next to me. The card was left open ended so I looked up at Mike and that was when he took out the box with the ring inside and asked me to marry him. It was the most amazing moment ever and so beyond perfect. In our home, with our puppy, and with my family there to celebrate! I feel so lucky.

Our Engagement! 3/15/2015With our families celebrating on 3/15/2015. Check out our backyard engagement party here.

Now that you’ve heard the story, let’s move on to the recipe of the day! Creamy Peppermint Coconut Cups. These make the absolute perfect little treat. Of course, I threw in some peppermint extract for good measure for St. Patrick’s Day tomorrow. 

Creamy Peppermint Coconut Cups | Lexi's Clean Kitchen

I made another batch when we had family over last weekend with the extra coconut butter mixture. SO. GOOD. Everyone was a fan.

Creamy Peppermint Coconut Cups | Lexi's Clean Kitchen

I love having these in the fridge for whenever I want a little something after dinner. I also sprinkled mine with coarse malden sea salt because chocolate + sea salt is just the greatest combination.


Creamy Peppermint Coconut Cups

Prep Time 25 min Total Time 0:25 Yields 24

Ingredients

  • 2 cups dark chocolate chunks
  • Optional: Sprinkled coarse pink sea salt
  • Optional: Raw Almonds for garnish on top

For the filling

Directions

  • Heat chocolate over the stove or using your desired method
  • In your high-speed blender, blend coconut and oil until the mixture becomes soft and butter-like texture**
  • Add in the maple syrup and extract of choice***
  • Spoon in a small spoonful of chocolate into your mini baking cups
  • Roll coconut mixture into a 1/2-1 inch ball and drop in the center of the cup- continue until all cups have coconut inside
  • Spoon in remaining chocolate to cover the coconut in the cups
  • Optional: Sprinkle with pink sea salt and/or top with an almond
  • Recipe Notes

  • *This makes a lot of coconut butter, likely more than you'll use for your cups
  • **Be patient- this make take anywhere from 7-15 minutes depending on your blender. The longer you blend the creamier it will be.
  • ***Add additional coconut oil if mixture is extremely dry, although 1 tbsp should be plenty
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    There may be affiliate links in this post! By clicking on them, or purchasing recommended items I may receive a small compensation, at no cost to you! However, I only recommend products I absolutely love and use in my own home! Thank you for supporting Lexi's Clean Kitchen when you shop! See my privacy policy for more information about this, the information we save, and more!

    This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Star Market. The opinions and text are all mine.