A nice warm filling frugal meal for a cold winters night. Mmmmm… This is one recipe I love because its a throw-together-in-the-crockpot in the morning type meal..one I don’t have to think about. Plus it turns out perfectly every time. Enjoy!
This recipe also works well for a quick freezer meal. Typically I add all the cold ingredients (except carrots and water – these need to be added day of) into a ziploc freezer bag. Freeze. Then night before I take this bag to thaw in fridge. In the morning I add it to the crockpot with carrots and water. Saves me a lot of measuring time.
Slow Cooker Beef Barley Stew
- 1 lb Beef Stew Meat *diced small*
- 1 1/4 cups sliced or chopped carrot
- 1 1/4 cups chopped onion
- 3/4 cup chopped celery
- 5 cups Water
- 1 tsp parsley flakes
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp granulated sugar
- 2 tbsp Beef Bouillon powder
- 1/2 cup pearl barley
- 15 oz can tomato sauce
- Place all ingredients in a 5 quart slow cooker or Crock-pot.
- Stir it up.
- Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours on low or 4-5 hours on High.
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Comments & Reviews
Hi, does anyone know what the non-American equivalent of tomato sauce is? Is it like passata? In Australia tomato sauce is the same as ketchup 😂😂
Flavor is great, but this is not my idea of stew. To me stew is meat and veggies with very little liquid, or at least a thick liquid. I should have read the comments but I got this recipe from the 15 easy freezer meals post and not this one. If I make it again I will add only a cup of water and then monitor it.
Can I use beef broth in place of water and the bullion cube?
How much do you think?
You could use 2 cups of beef broth. Just take the 2 cups away from the water.
First time I made this with dried celery because I realized too late that my celery had gone bad. I may have also puréed my onion instead of chopping it (I originally found this on the 15 freezer meals page). It tasted so good (5/5 stars)! The second time I made it the texture was better— because I had fresh celery this time (and I chopped the onions)— but it didn’t taste as good.
So glad you loved it Laura!
Yes, finally decided puréed onion is best (although I like the soup to be slightly thicker and more hefty so I add double the meat and a tiny bit more barley). I also learned that for my tastes, I like to pack the bouillon powder before I toss it in— although it ends up being more powder that way than just scooping the powder.
This soup was really great. This is going in my go-to list. I added mushrooms cut into quarters, and I put in fire roasted diced tomatoes instead of tomato sauce. My grocery store didn’t have barley so I added farro. I didn’t have time for the slow cooker, so I did 25 mins in the Instant Pot with at 10 minute natural release before releasing pressure. Turned out great.
Heather Ross says
I make this recipe all the time but I cook it in my crock pot overnight so I start it at about 9pm and turn it off at about 7 am. Then I let it sit all day in the pot until dinner time when I ladle a few spoonfulls into a pot to heat up, I find by leaving it in the pot all day- it thickens up on its own and the barley expands quite a bit so I don’t have to put any cornstarch in it.
I’ve done this recipe both as a Make it now and after its been frozen- all the ingredients are raw to start.
it turns out fantastic every time and I have it with garlic bread.
Edlyn Dutton says
Was intrigued by this being a stew. Turns out it’s really what I’d call soup. I happen to love beef barley soup and this was so easy and so delicious. Everyone liked it. This is going into my recipes that passed the test file. I followed the instant pot directions given in the “15 Actually Easy Freezer Meals”.
Just wondering, why are the carrots exempt from the freezer prep? Why do they need to be added the day of? Thanks!
I have added carrots before but sometimes the carrots have a strange texture afterwards, so for those that want the best results I’d recommend adding them fresh day of.
Can you make this in the instant pot from the frozen stage. I thought I had before
Kat Wozniak says
THANK YOU for these wonderful freezer meal ideas–I’m totally inspired! For the beef and barley stew, do I need to sear or cook the beef stew cubes first before adding them to the slow cooker? I imagine it’s fine to add raw cubes to the ziplock bag and freeze, but does the meat cook through properly & tender if added raw from the get-go?
No, you don’t need to sear those cubes first, just simply add them to the bag. They cook up wonderfully! Super tender and oh so gooood!!!
Mary C Rehder says
So delicious tender. Defenerly a meal that you’re belly will be saying more and get in my belly.
Thanks Mary, so happy you liked it!!
Katie McGrath says
I have a smaller slow cooker 2.5-3 ( for 1-3 persons ) Any suggestion for the recipe alterations. Find most slow cooker recipes are for the big crock-pots ?
I would mix all the ingredients well, then split this meal in half. Freeze one half and use the slow cooker for the other half. Same time to cook.
Hello from NC. I read all the comment’s and had a thought… a few people commented that the stew was a little watery for them. Have you thought about flouring the raw beef when preparing the stew as a freezer meal? Wouldn’t that in theory help to thicken the stew once dumped in to crock pot to cook? Just an idea, it’s all new to me 🙂 Thanks, Valerie
That is a good idea or just reduce the amount of water added. You can always add more if needed.
Chris McFadgen says
want to freeze, uncooked…do I have to defrost ingredients before putting them in crockpot?
Looks great. Quick question. Do I put All UNCOOKED ingredients in a freezer bag, freeze and take out when ready, add carrots the cook in slow cooker or must I pre-cook the meals first. Thanks
Yes all uncooked ingredients go in the bag and freeze!
hello All I am just getting started on making Freezer meals for a couple of reasons but mainly to help my husband and daughter out while my youngest Daughter has Back Surgery as she will be in the hospital for a week and I do not leave her side any while she is there. so I have a couple of Quick Questions.
1:) I noticed many saying this stew seems thin and that I can use Corn startch thicken it up but When Exactly would I add that? do I add to the bag or is that done towards the end of Cooking?
2:) Has anyone made this using Frozen carrots from the store and if so how did it turn out?
3:) can I add Potatoes to this and them freeze ok? I read someplace where Potatoes don’t freeze well.
thank you for taking the time to read this and help this newbie to freezer cooking out.
1.) Not sure, I don’t find it to thin…
2.) Yes, you can use frozen carrots, they will be fine.
3.) You would have to blanch the potatoes first or they will be brown and mushy.
I added a bit of cornstarch at the end of the cooking time for a few minutes, stirring it so that it didn’t stick to the bottom. It worked out perfectly. I also added a few pepperoncinis to the stew as it cooked to give it a bit of a tang and it was great. You could any type of chili peppers if you want it a bit spicier.
Kate Y says
I absolutely loved this recipe! I always use baby carrots in soups and never had any issues with softening after freezing. I added one chopped potato to the recipe. It’s so easy and tasty!
wondering why you don’t add the carrots to the freezer bag? Don’t they freeze well?
I have to do the carrots the day of because they never get super soft if I just freeze them raw – even after cooking in a slow cooker all day! 🙂