Succulent with a deep beefy flavor, this Slow Cooker Beef Shank Stew is what stews need to copy themselves by. Tender, fall apart but incredibly rich beefy flavors go throughout this stew. Add in the hearty vegetables, and you have an inexpensive but insanely delicious, hearty beef stew.
One of the best parts of this stewed shank recipe is that it’s one of those recipes where you set it, then forget it for about 7-8 hours. At the end of the cooking time, you have a wonderful filling recipe that everyone will love.
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Tender Beef Shank Stew
You know when that certain beef stew has that SUPER beefy flavor that we all just love in a beef stew? That’s from using tough cuts of meat. Beef shank is the ticket here. Tough, sinewy, and you’ll chew till next Tuesday on a bite if it’s not tenderized.
Using the crockpot and slow cooking this stew is the key to making it crazy flavorful, rich, and savory. The slow cooking of the tough beef shank breaks down the connective tissue and adds that unctuous rich flavor. If you didn’t cook this stew low and slow, the meat would be way too hard to chew.
Beef shanks come from just above the knee on the animal, so they’re used a lot – thus tough. Interestingly enough though, because of the constant use of the muscle, the flavor is much more desirable than a super tender cut from the beef.
Ingredients for this Beef Stew
- Beef Shank: If you don’t have a beef shank on hand, use any other super tough cuts of meat with lots of connective tissue.
- Potatoes: I used baby potatoes but you can use your favorite type.
- Beef broth
Look below for the printable recipe card for the exact ingredients and directions for this easy beef shank stew.
Important Directions for the Stew that Make a Difference in Flavor
- Sear the meat – I know that dredging the meat in flour and searing it in a pan is an extra step but you will be totally rewarded if you do this step. Not only does the flour help to thicken the stew as it cooks, but the searing of the beef adds a depth of flavor that you just don’t get if you put the meat in raw.
- The FOND – The fond is the brown bits that form at the bottom of a skillet when you fry something. This is INSANELY RICH in flavor and you don’t want to miss out on adding that to your stew. The beef broth is poured into the skillet to lift the fond off the pan, and then transferred to the slow cooker for added flavor!
- Add the potatoes later – The potatoes are the only thing that I added halfway through the slow cooking process. The carrots and everything else can withstand longer cooking times, but these potatoes would be overcooked and crumbly if you added them at the same time as everything else. Unless your potatoes are in huge chunks, wait to add them later on in the cooking process.
- Don’t lift the lid very often – Crockpots take a while to get back up to temperature so the more often you lift the lid, the more cooking time will go to bringing the pot back up to cooking temp. Lift it once to add the potatoes, give it a stir, and put the lid back on to finish cooking.
Serving the Stew
Serve the stew with soft crusty baked bread (like my No-Knead Country Bread or my super easy-to-make Cheddar Dill Bread) that’s buttered. Buttered bread is IDEAL for dunking into that rich savory cooking that’s pure flavor.
It’s one of the best parts of this beef shank slow cooker stew, in my opinion.
Because there are other vegetables in the stew, it’s pretty much a complete meal. You could add a nice crisp side salad if you wanted to add some greens to the dinner.
Easy peasy my lovely reader. It will stay yummy in the fridge for up to 4 days and it freezes beautifully. Choose a good freezer-friendly container (or freezer bag) and freeze for up to 3 months.
Thaw overnight in the fridge to reheat, or use the microwave for 4-5 minutes from frozen.
Questions You Might Have
Sure. Pressure cooking will definitely quicken the cooking process. You can follow my directions for my Instant Pot Beef Stew, but use the ingredients from this post.
Absolutely! If you want to add red wine, add your favorite, and do so at the beginning of the cooking process when you’re adding the beef broth. I would add up to a half cup, and then cut back the same amount on the beef broth. When you add the potatoes, taste the cooking liquid and assess if you want more wine or beef broth added.
Don’t wait till the end to add more wine as the alcohol won’t have time to cook off and you’ll taste that in the stew.
Believe it or not, oxtail is amazing for this dish. Again, it’s tough as nails but when slow-cooked (or pressure-cooked) it’s absolutely tender and unctuous. You can also use cut-up chuck roast, or brisket would be a good choice as well.
Well my loves, I hope I’ve convinced you to try this Beef Shank recipe. It’s definitely one of my favorite stews simply because of the incredible flavor that the tough beef shanks lend to the whole dish.
If you’ve tried this recipe, please consider giving it a Star Rating on the recipe card and leave a comment, letting me know how you liked it! Thanks for stopping by The Salty Pot and I hope you have a fantastic day!
Slow Cooker Beef Shank Stew
Tender, fall-apart chunks of beef with perfectly cooked potatoes, carrots, and onions to flavor the stew is exactly what you'll get with this stew. Hearty, rich, and beefy because of the beef shanks, this recipe takes a while in the slow cooker, but it's worth the wait!
- 1.5 lbs beef shanks cut into bite size pieces
- 1 lb baby potatoes, cut in half
- 1 large carrot, peeled and sliced
- 2-3 ribs of celery, sliced
- 1 onion, medium, chopped
- 1 can fire roasted stewed tomatoes, 15 oz, undrained
- 3 cups beef broth
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tsp worchestershire sauce
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp rosemary, dried
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- as desired, seasoning salt and pepper
- 1/4 cup flour
- Oil for frying
- Gather all the spices together and put them into a plastic bag or container. Add the flour and mix well.
- Dredge the meat in the flour mixture and add to a heated and oiled skillet.
- Sear all sides of the pieces of meat and remove them after they've got some color. (2-3 minutes). Transfer the beef to the slow cooker.
- Add about 1 cup of beef broth to the skillet to lift the fond. Stir, and then add the liquid to the slow cooker.
- Add the remaining seasoning mix that you dredged the beef shanks in.
- Add the rest of the vegetables except for the potatoes.
- Add the beef broth.
- Cook over low heat for 4 hours. After four hours is up, add the potatoes to the stew, give it a stir and continue cooking for another 3-4 hours.
- When the potatoes are tender, the stew is ready. Remove the bay leaves and serve with buttered bread.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 268Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 64mgSodium: 499mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 2gSugar: 3gProtein: 28g
All nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.
Frances Suazo says
What are you timing recommendations to make this quicker?
Hi Frances – So this is a slow cooker recipe, so it is designed to take a low and slow approach. Because shank cuts are typically very tough, a long cook time is required to make it tender so I don’t recommend trying to cook it faster. The only other way is to pressure cook it, but then the timing depends on the type of pressure cooker, (stovetop, electric, etc) and the directions would be different regarding adding the vegetables and such.
Mike DeWitt says
Can you use whole shanks?
Hi Mike! So I’ve never used a whole shank for this recipe (with the bone, I’m assuming you’re talking about). I usually use a de-boned shank but I think you could. It’s an interesting thought because I think braising the bone would add wonderful flavor. If you try it, please let me know how it worked out for you! I’d love to add your experiences to the post (giving you credit) to help others who might wonder the same thing 🙂
J. S Marier says
I need to know the amount of Sodium in this recipe for I’m on a 1500 MG salt free diet. I have a heart condition and the more you can tell me about the nutrimentsJ S would help me a lot.
Thanks for your comment! I updated the nutritional information. Keep in mind, this information will depend on the types of products used. You can always decrease the sodium levels by using Low Sodium products in the stew but as far as a super accurate number, that’s the best I can do. I hope this helps.