An easy and elegant slow cooker recipe for fall!

Slow cooker meals are a lot of things, but they certainly aren’t elegant.  They might be delicious, of course they’re easy,  they make your kitchen smell insane. and they make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, but they aren’t what anyone would call fancy.  And that’s ok.  When you’re hungry after a long day you don’t need fancy.  I’ve been thinking a lot about slow cookers lately.  I’ve had one for years, but honestly it doesn’t get that much use.  Most of my cooking is done from fresh ingredients in a pretty quick manner, and I don’t really need it on a regular basis.  But every time I do haul it out, I fall in love all over again.  And with both my daughters newly out on their own I’ve been reminded of what a godsend a slow cooker can be.

Easy Slow Cooker Recipe for Beef Bourguignon

Today I took my favorite Beef Bourguignon and adapted it for the crock pot and I must say, I think it’s a rare example of an elegant slow cooked meal.  I say adapted, but I really didn’t have to do anything much, and it’s true that most soups and stews can be made in the crock pot, with just a few small adjustments.  Some recipes fare better than others, though, and sometimes color and texture can be sacrificed in the name of convenience.   I like to choose hearty dishes like stews and dried bean soups for my slow cooker; they not only tolerate, but benefit from the prolonged cooking time.

Slow Cooker Beef Bourguignon

The secret to a great bourguignon is in the sauce.  More specifically, it’s in the Burgundy, its namesake deep red wine that tenderizes the meat and gives the sauce a rich base.  A large shot of Cognac enriches it even further, and during the long slow cooking the two produce an amazing sauce.

Slow Cooker/Crock Pot Beef Bourguignon

Yield: serves 4-6

Slow Cooker/Crock Pot Beef Bourguignon

What You Will Need

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 lb stewing beef, cut in large chunks
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp flour (leave out for gluten free)
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme, tied in a bundle (reserve some leaves for garnish)
  • 1/2 cup cognac
  • 2 cups beef stock or broth
  • 2 cups red wine (Burgundy, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir)
  • 1 heaping Tbsp tomato paste (I like the kind in the tube)
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 yellow onion, peeled, halved, and sliced
  • 3 carrots, peeled and cut in 1 inch pieces
  • 1 lb small white skinned potatoes, left whole if small, or cut in large chunks
  • 8 oz (give or take) mushrooms, dusted off and halved
  • 1 bag frozen pearl onions
  • a splash of red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar


  1. Browning the meat is an optional step, but if you have the time, I like to do it. Skip this step if you like. Heat the oil in large heavy saute pan or stock pot. Toss the meat with the salt, pepper, and flour, When the oil is nice and hot, brown the meat, in 2 batches, until browned on all sides, about 6 minutes per batch. Put the meat in the bottom of your slow cooker and top with the bundle of thyme.
  2. Turn off the heat and add the cognac to the pan, and scrape up all the brown bits as the liquid bubbles. Add the wine and beef stock and continue stirring until you've gotten all of the good stuff off the bottom and sides of the pan, put it back on the heat if necessary. Stir in the tomato paste.
  3. Add the garlic, carrots, onion, potatoes, mushrooms and pearl onions to the slow cooker. Add the liquid from the pan to the slow cooker and give everything a gentle stir to get it settled.
  4. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
  5. At the end of cooking, remove the bundle of thyme and taste to check the seasonings. I like to add a splash of vinegar at this point, add it according to taste. If you want a thicker sauce, stir in a knob of butter coated with flour, or sprinkle in some Wondra flour and stir well. Use corn or potato starch for gluten free.
  6. Serve the stew with a sprinkling of fresh thyme leaves.


There is a lot of alcohol in this dish, and while most of is DOES cook out, even in a covered slow cooker, there will be some save this for the adults. The potatoes are not normally included in Bourguignon, but I added them to round out the stew as a complete meal. No use in using the slow cooker if you have to make a side dish!

Slow Cooker Beef Bourguignon

Photographer’s note:  In order to give you a clear picture of what is in this stew, I shot these photos before the stew had finished its cooking time.  The finished stew will be delicious, but more monotone.  That’s just the way it is with a long cooking stew.  To spruce up the stew before serving, shower it with fresh herbs.


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38 Responses to Slow Cooker/Crock Pot Beef Bourguignon

  1. Arabella says:

    I really love this and make it sometimes, thanks for sharing

  2. Jen says:

    This recipe looks great! I’m having a book club this Sunday for the book The Nightingale which takes place in France during WW2. Can I make this 2 days ahead as written and then reheat? Thank You!

    • Sue says:

      I think stews are always fantastic the day or so after…so go for it! The only thing I would mention is to put the veggies in late, so they don’t turn to mush.

  3. Love this recipe! Will have to give it a try

  4. Lindsay says:

    Can I cook this on high for 5 hours and get a similar result?

    • Sue says:

      It kind of depends on your machine, Lindsay, but I think you could. If your crock pot gets very hot, though, the meat will not be as tender in the end. The best thing is to try so you will know for the future.

  5. Tara says:

    I made this today. After only 4 hours on low, the meat was tough and the carrots hard ;( wish it had come out better.

  6. […] Slow Cooker Crock Pot Beef Bourguignon Recipe by the View from Great Island […]

  7. Stephanie says:

    I have made Beef Bourguignon from a French cookbook, hours and hours of work but delicious. Yesterday I made your crock pot version. It smelled so tempting all day totally worth the wait; absolutely delicious down to the last drop. A big hit with my family and I rate it a 5 star keeper! I had leeks leftover from a previous meal so threw those in as well, otherwise followed your recipe down to the knob of floured butter and splash of red wine vinegar.

  8. Too gorgeous! Beef stew is one of my favorite dishes. Yours looks perfect to cuddle up with after a cold day like today :)

  9. Caitlin says:

    I just made a sub par beef stew, but this one looks much better. I can’t wait to try it…I like the addition of pearl onions!

    • Sue says:

      I love pearl onions, too! Have you ever bought them fresh? It takes forever to peel them, but they are fantastic! That said, I always buy the frozen ones ;)

      • Pat says:

        There are sources online that describe getting pearl onions out of their skin easily. Basically, it involves boiling them for 2 minutes, cooling in an ice bath, cutting off the root end and then popping them out of the skin. Sounds easy to me, but I bought them frozen–even easier.

  10. I absolutely love my slow cooker, but I certainly don’t use it as much as I should. This recipe looks great!

  11. Susan says:

    This looks delicious, Sue! Fall and winter are the time I crave meals like this one. Certainly going to try this!

  12. This looks like perfection – and I’ve always thought potatoes should be in the stew. Great slow cooker recipe Sue!

  13. Sippitysup says:

    Crock pot. The name makes me smile. Of course so does bourguignon (the kind in the bowl and in the glass). GREG

  14. Joanne says:

    It’s true that slow cooker meals don’t tend to be very aesthetically pleasing, but this is a beauty. The perfect comfort food!

  15. Adri says:

    I love my slow cooker, and this dish is just perfect. It looks beautiful, and I can just imagine how good it smells and how wonderful it tastes. It is the time of year for dishes like this!

  16. This looks fabulous, Sue! I do like to use my slow cooker for certain recipes and stews are one of them!

  17. I want and need this slow cooker stew so BADLY! It looks so comforting and delish, Sue.

  18. Catherine says:

    A beautiful meal. Catherine

  19. cheri says:

    Hi Sue, I have been contemplating buying a slow cooker, now after seeing this elegant feast my mind is now made up. Looks delicious, I can only imagine what your house smelled like…….

  20. Today is one of those grey fall days. One where you need to take drive and see the color in the leaves to relieve all the grey. Or you stay home and make this wonderful dinner, which indeed is elegant. Set a beautiful table with the wine glasses and forget about the grey and rain outside.

  21. Monica says:

    So exciting because I recently made beef bourguignon – first time in..forever! And now, I know how to do it in a crock pot. Looks divine and saving it for the adults sounds good to me! : )

  22. Joyce says:

    I had a lot of friends visiting last week and I made up a recipe that was almost a carbon copy of this. I made it up in my head and it was so popular with the guests. Now I see with your recipe that I need to add small onions and some vinegar and some tomato paste. Can’t wait to serve it again to guests. It saved me so much work with the Crock Pot. I made homemade apple sauce with cranberries and good bread. Delish! They had two helpings…..and raved.

  23. I love beef bourguignon! With red wine and cognac, I can only imagine how incredible this smelled simmering away in your kitchen!

  24. Monique says:

    It looks great..One of my fave winter dishes..That was so true what you wrote..after the whole cooking time..things don’t photo as prettily..I agree!

    • Sue says:

      Thanks Monique! With slow cooked meals you really have to go the extra mile with garnishes, I think that makes a huge difference!

  25. This is one of my favorite dishes ever! I often make Julia Child’s, over the stove and then in the oven and have been wanting to try it in the slow cooker! And is it bad that I add a whole bottle of wine in? haha

    • Sue says:

      My regular recipe includes the whole bottle, but with the slow cooker you don’t need as much — the Julia Child recipe is great but SO much work — I hope you give this one a try!

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