How to slow cook beef
What you need to know
Greatest beef cuts for slow-cooking
- Boneless shin/gravy beef
Cooking basics for the best slow-cooked beef
- Dice your cut into 2–3 cm cubes and season with salt and pepper.
- Brown beef in small batches to give your dish rich colour and flavour.
- Add vegetables – diced onions, carrots and celery are a good combination.
- Add a rich beef stock to give flavour, colour and depth to the finished dish.
- Bring casserole to a gentle simmer during cooking time, stir occasionally and adjust heat if needed.
A slow simmer is when small amounts of tiny bubbles rise to the surface of the cooking liquid.
Handy slow-cooking ingredients
- Good quality liquid beef stock enriches dishes without being overly salty.
- Onions, carrots and celery add sweetness and depth of flavour as they slowly simmer.
- You can interchange canned diced tomatoes, tomato puree or passata in most recipes.
- Sauces like soy or Worcestershire give dishes an instant flavour boost.
- Cupboard spices – it's always handy to have ground cumin, coriander, sweet paprika, caraway and mild curry powder.
- Robust herbs such as bay leaves, fresh rosemary and fresh thyme stand up to long cooking times and build beautiful flavours.
Need more help?
Master recipe: the greatest slow-cooked beef
The fall-apart tenderness and rich flavours of this simple beef casserole classic make it a firm favourite for midweek meals or entertaining. Switch or mix and match ingredients to suit your taste.
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 2–2½ hours
- 1 kg chuck or boneless shin/gravy beef*
- 1 large onion, halved and sliced
- 2 medium carrots, thickly sliced
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- 3 cups beef stock
- a good shake each of Worcestershire sauce and soy sauce
- 5 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 bay leaves (optional)
*1 kg rump, round or blade will take 1–1½ hours to cook .
- Preheat oven to 180°C. Dice beef into 2–3 cm cubes. Season with salt and pepper, add 2 tbsp oil to beef and mix well. Heat a large frypan over medium-high heat. Brown beef in 2–3 batches. Remove each batch and place in casserole dish.
- Reduce heat, add a little oil, add the vegetables, cook for 1–2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Sprinkle in flour and coat vegetables by stirring. Gradually pour in stock or other liquid, stirring well. Add remaining flavour base ingredients, stirring and scraping up the meaty bits as you go until mixture boils. Add to the casserole dish and stir to combine.
- Cover dish, place in oven and cook until the beef is meltingly tender. Stir every 40 minutes or so, adding water if needed to keep the ingredients just covered.
Using a slow cooker?
Ensure stock is covering the beef. If not, add a little water, then cook on high for 4 hours or low for up to 8 hours. Enjoy!
Switch to make/Try these!
Keep the beef and switch the veggies and flavour base to create these delicious slow-cooked classics.
Mexican beef ‘n beans’ casserole
Vegetables – 2 cloves garlic (chopped), 1 medium carrot (finely chopped)
Flavour base – 35 g pkt taco seasoning mix, 2½ cups beef stock, 400 g can diced tomatoes,
400 g can kidney beans (drain and add in the last 30 minutes cooking time)
Dad’s Sunday beef 'n' beer casserole
Vegetables – 6 whole baby onions (peeled), 2 cloves garlic (peeled)
Flavour base – 2 tbsp plain flour, 2½ cups beef stock, a good shake each of Worcestershire sauce and soy sauce, 375 g bottle of beer (or a 440 g can of Guinness), 2 tbsp brown sugar
Mild, creamy beef curry
Vegetables – 1 large onion (chopped), 2 cloves garlic (crushed)
Flavour base – 2 tbsp mild curry powder, ¼ cup apricot jam (or 2 tbsp brown sugar), 2½ cups beef stock, 400ml can coconut milk