Freezer Crock-Pot Beef Stew

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From the freezer to crock-pot this recipe is a winner every night! Healthy, real food ingredients the whole family loves, plus zero time in the kitchen.

Last week, I tried to make a lasagna for dinner with no-bake lasagna noodles.  In the time it took me to layer the sauce, cheese filling, and noodles, all hell broke loose.  My baby cried.  My 3-year-old ate two cookies.  My crying baby stopped crying long enough to stuff a cookie in her mouth.  What was my 5-year-old doing?  Who knows!

This is why I don’t cook!” I screamed out loud (or at least in my head).

I love to cook, but truth is that I’ve done very little of it since my third daughter was born last year.  I’ve settled into a routine of prepping simple meals on the weekend and freezing them for the week ahead.

From the freezer to crock-pot this recipe is a winner every night! Healthy, real food ingredients the whole family loves, plus zero time in the kitchen.

My freezer cooking system works like this: I chop the vegetables and add them to a gallon-sized plastic freezer bag with sauces, spices, and meat.  Freezer meals last up to three months in a standard freezer, so if I assemble 5-7 per week my freezer stays stocked and I don’t have to cook at all!

From the freezer to crock-pot this recipe is a winner every night! Healthy, real food ingredients the whole family loves, plus zero time in the kitchen.

If you’re brand-new to the concept of “no cook” freezer cooking, here’s why you’ll love it:

  • Since the meals are frozen without any cooking ahead of time, they’re very easy to prep.  (It only takes me 40-50 minutes to assemble six freezer meals – including clean-up!)
  • Your homemade freezer meals will cook for the first time out of the freezer and won’t taste like leftovers at all.  Wahoo!
  • You can take advantage of sales and bulk purchases and stock your freezer.
  • You’ll have healthy, homemade meals ready for busy weeknights.

To get you started today, here’s a recipe for freezer crockpot beef stew that I adapted from Kristin’s recipe.  It’s so delicious that I’ve already made it several times for my family and friends.  You won’t believe how easy it is to prepare this healthy meal.

From the freezer to crock-pot this recipe is a winner every night! Healthy, real food ingredients the whole family loves, plus zero time in the kitchen.

Ditch the no-bake lasagna noodles and make this freezer crockpot beef stew for your family instead!

Crock-Pot Freezer Beef Stew
3 from 6 votes
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Freezer Crockpot Beef Stew

To get you started today, here’s a recipe for freezer crockpot beef stew that I adapted from Kristin’s recipe. It’s so delicious that I’ve already made it several times for my family and friends. You won’t believe how easy it is to prepare this healthy meal.

Course Crockpot, Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword Beef Stew
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 15 minutes
Servings 5 People
Calories 444 kcal
Author Kristin Marr

Ingredients

  • 2 lb beef chuck roast grass-fed, fat-trimmed and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 3 carrots peeled and chopped
  • 2 celery ribs chopped
  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 cup pearled barley
  • 7 cups beef broth *not needed until day-of cooking
  • 1 gallon-sized plastic freezer bag I find Hefty freezer bags work great

Instructions

  1. Label your freezer bag with the name of the recipe, cooking instructions, and "use-by" date.

  2. Combine all ingredients (except beef broth) in a gallon-sized plastic freezer bag, adding the beef to the bag last so it's the first ingredient poured into the crockpot.
  3. Remove as much air as possible, seal, and freeze for up to three months.
  4. When ready to eat, thaw overnight in the refrigerator or in a bowl of cold water.
  5. Add to crockpot with beef broth and cook on "low" setting for 8 hours or until carrots are soft.
  6. Remove the bay leaf and enjoy!

A note from Kristin: I highly recommend stopping by Kelly’s blog where you’ll find many more freezer meals, plus her freezer cookbook.

From the freezer to crock-pot this recipe is a winner every night! Healthy, real food ingredients the whole family loves, plus zero time in the kitchen.

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 7 Lunches You Can Make and Freeze

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Homemade Crusty Bakery Bread

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69 Comments

        1. says: Marcy Harlan

          Since the meat is on top, take it out and dredge it in flour, use the same spices but increase the salt and pepper. That will give you the thickness and added flavor.. And you can always use less broth:-)

    1. says: Marcy Harlan

      Question… What kind of label are you using. I’ve tried using regular Avery- type labels but find once I put the bags in the freezer, the labels come off. Anyone have that issue? Btw, I’ve been doing freezer meals for years! Love, love, love the recipes that do not require cooking anything first! Thanks for your recipe:-)

    1. says: Kristin Marr

      Hey Stephanie, I’m not sure about potatoes. I wonder if they would change color (turn brown), but since they will be cooked in a stew, that’s probably okay. It’s worth a try!

  1. says: Bianca

    I don’t know why, but this recipe was very bland tasting to everyone in my family. I couldn’t get my 7 year old daughter to eat more than one bite. I wanted to love this one so much, but even with the seasonings and the meat stewing in there all day, it tasted very bland.

  2. says: Lauren

    Looks like a great recipe! Question – 7 cups of beef broth seems like so much liquid. Is the stew quite liquidy like a soup? Could you put less? Also do you need to add flour or something to thicken? Thanks! Great blog 🙂

  3. says: GWEN

    Hi is it ok to freeze vegies like carrots, onion and celery for three months without blanching them first.Great blog thankyou

  4. says: Jennifer

    Kristin,
    Barley does some “weird things” to my stomach and my husband has asked me (politely) to not eat it anymore – 🙂 Do you think brown rice added later in the cooking process would still accomplish the flavors for this dish?

  5. says: Patricia

    You say you assemble 5-7 freezer meals on the weekend, this is one of them..what are the other? Can you please give examples, as I do not seem to find more freezer meals on your blog, but I am new here. Thanks.

  6. says: Lauren

    Looks great! I’m doing some pretty precise meal planning and didn’t notice a “number of servings”? How many servings is this?

  7. says: Andy Jacobs

    Kristin, here is a complicated question I’m sure you have a simple answer for.
    I am a 74 years old widower. I live well alone, so I do all my household including
    personal meal prep. About 6 months ago, I got a slow cooker (HB 6 qt. programmable).
    I have been eating well from this. Here is the plan that is working for me to this
    point. I prep the meal (such as your freezer meal). Skipping the freeze I cook the
    meal basics along with stock, which produces about 9 servings. When it is finished
    the cook, I weigh out the servings (16 oz) into 3 cup Pyrex glass bowls with tight fitting
    plastic lids. I eat the first from the pot. The rest goes into 8 bowls which I put
    in the fridge. Preptime: 25 minutes Cooktime:7 hours. For the next four days, I eat
    2 of the bowls (lunch, dinner).
    OK- enter the concept of freeze. Obviously I would like to have some variety, which
    would entail keeping completely cooked meals in freezer. I could prep three meals
    and refrigerate until I could finish the cook, then transer them to freezer packaging
    whereby I would have 24 meals from 3 crocks. Now comes the logistics of managing
    these frozen single servings, so I could just grab one, thaw overnight, empty into one Pyrex bowl, microwave and eat.

    Please let me know if you have a system that would manage the individual cooked, then frozen meal packaging.

      1. says: Andy Jacobs

        That link is dead, but here is the link to the main product page for that meal prep
        category of products:

        https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_c_1_4?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=meal+prep+containers&sprefix=meal%2Caps%2C143

        I will do some research on these to check out the service capabilities and per use cost. On completion I will send you a report that may help others in handling this problem. Preparing meals for a single person is a bigger challenge than family dinners. This type of storage may eliminate the necessity to produce only broth based dinners. If I can prepare a meal for 4-6 people and break it down into multiple containers, I can put up regular meals. Thank you for the reference.

        My current system is great, but the storage medium I have been using limits creativity and produces an ultimately boring daily choice.

        1. says: Kristin Marr

          Hey Andy, Thank you for updating the link–I’ll be sure to do this in the comment. I apologize for the dead link. Yes, let me know how they work, or if you find something else. I know a couple of single food blogger friends who use the meal prep containers and rave about them. They are reusable, so hopefully that cuts down on the cost.

      2. says: Deb S.

        5 stars
        I have used these for my freezer meals and they work great in the freezer (up to 3 months.) Thanks for your encouragement to make these meals, it has made my life so much calmer!

        1. says: Deb S.

          LIFT Certified BPA-Free Reusable Microwavable Meal Prep Containers with Lids, 28-Ounce, 7 Pack (Includes Ebook) from Amazon – $10.97.

          Whoops, forgot to show what I used. LOL!

  8. says: Toots

    5 stars
    This was delicious! My husband loved it too! I was worried 7 cups of broth was gonna make this way too much like a soup but it really was perfect. Awesome flavor, the meat could be cut with a spoon. Nice warm filling dinner for a cold December night. Loved being able to freeze this ahead of time and just pull out the day before to defrost and then let the crockpot do all the work. Put a bag together for my sister and her husband too since they just had a baby.

  9. says: Faith

    Not trying to be negative, but I just wanted to share that I felt this also was a bit bland. I am reading other recipes online now trying to salvage the stew. I am going to add tomato paste and worchestershire sauce in hopes of adding some better flavor. It was so nice this morning to plop the thawed bag into the crock pot, but now I regret not browning my meat and then my veggies. I think that adds a lot of needed flavor. I was hopeful to start freezing more meals, but I think I will freeze cooked meals instead and reheat to ensure I get better overall flavor. I just wanted to comment so if others are also interested, that they might be able to tweak this to their liking.

    1. says: Kristin Marr

      Hey Faith, Not at all :). I truly appreciate the feedback on the recipe. I’ve found that not searing meat and veggies before adding them to the crock-pot can result in less flavor (that step does build some of the flavor in slow cooked meals). I think you have a good plan!

  10. says: Erika

    I know therecipe states that the broth is supposed to be separate, not frozen with everything else. But really, CAN we add the liquid and freeze it with the rest?

  11. says: Lynn

    1 star
    Did not like this recipe at all. There is no indication whether to put slow cooker on low or high, so put it on low for about 7 hrs. The liquid was watery, not like a soup. Followed all the measurements, not sure what i missed. Was not appetizing at all, threw it out. Wanted to like it…

    1. says: Kristin Marr

      Hey Lynn, I’m sorry you didn’t like and it wasn’t for you. The recipe instructions are clear about the temp and setting: #5. “Add to crockpot with beef broth and cook on “low” setting for 8 hours or until carrots are soft.” This stew is created to be more soupy than a thick stew.

  12. says: Lynn

    Yes, i apologize about the setting, i saw that after the fact and wanted to amend the review. Made this a few weeks ago so was trying to remember the details. My husband did correct me, he said we had slow cooker on at least 8 hours. But honestly it was much more watery than a soup. Flavor not appetizing. I know others had success with it. Not sure why we did not.

  13. says: Bobbi Sue Hiber

    For those of you saying this recipe is a little bland….I make a similar one and I usually add a little boullion to my broth to get it to my taste. Sometimes store bought broth is bland. I also add some parsley to mine. Remember, recipes are made to be changed. We all have a different palate. 😉

    1. says: Chardea Singer

      Ashley,

      No, you could make a hamburger soup but it’s not going to the same as a beef stew.

      LS Team.

  14. says: Lana

    I’m looking forward to making this recipe- I’m curious where to purchase labels like you have on your freezer bags? I’m finding the little space on my Ziploc bags just aren’t big enough, and I’d like to provide enough explanation so my husband/roommates can cook them without me!

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