Slow cookers are one of the easiest ways to get dinner on the table, and they’re especially perfect for a cosy, hearty meal in winter. Beef is a popular meat for the slow cooker, as many cuts have lots of connective tissue that break down to make a luscious gravy.
Keep reading to find out the best cuts of beef for the slow cooker, and a few different slow cooker recipes.
The best cuts of beef for the slow cooker
Your slow cooker cooks beef low and slow, so the best cuts for it usually have a good amount of connective tissue and some fat. Both the connective tissue and fat break down in the slow cooker and help to keep the meat succulent and delicious.
Corned beef silverside
Corned beef silverside is so easy to cook in the slow cooker. This is a cut taken from the hindquarter of the cow that has been cured in salt and various seasonings, imparting lots of flavour and tenderising the meat.
Normally you would boil corned beef, but by using the slow cooker, you can set and forget the meat for about 8 hours.
How to cook corned beef silverside in the slow cooker
- Rinse the corned beef under running water, then pat dry with a paper towel.
- Place the corned beef in your slow cooker, and add any vegetables and aromatics you like. Popular aromatics include cloves, peppercorns, bay leaves and a splash of vinegar.
- Turn the slow cooker on high for 5-6 hours, or low for 7-8 hours, for a 1.5kg piece.
- The meat is ready when its internal temperature reaches 63° C.
Brisket comes from the breast of the cow and is a naturally tough cut, with lots of connective tissue. Brisket can be smoked dry over a BBQ, or tossed in the slow cooker submerged in water or stock. Slow-cooked brisket is perfect for shredding to make pulled beef and tossing with your favourite BBQ sauce.
How to cook brisket in the slow cooker
- Sear both sides of the brisket in a piping hot cast iron pan. The meat should release naturally from the pan when it’s ready.
- Place the brisket in the slow cooker and cover with liquid. The liquid can be anything from beef stock to tinned tomatoes.
- Cook on high for 5-6 hours, or low for 9-10 hours, for a 1.5kg piece of brisket.
- The meat is ready when it falls aparts when pulled with a fork.
Whole beef joints like bolar and topside roasts can be cooked in the slow cooker as a pot-roast. Slightly different from the usual oven roast, a slow cooker pot-roast has the meat partially submerged in water, so the meat becomes more tender for shredding, rather than slicing.
How to cook beef roast in the slow cooker
- Generously cover the beef roast with your choice of seasonings, then add to a slow cooker with any vegetables you like such as potatoes, celery and carrots.
- Add 1 cup of beef stock for every 500 grams of beef, then cook on high for 5-6 hours, or low for 8-9 hours.
- Before serving, remove the beef and vegetables from the crockpot, then pour the remaining liquid into a sauce pan. Simmer for 4-5 minutes to thicken into a gravy.
- Shred the meat with two forks and serve with roast vegetables and gravy.
Slow cooked roast beef recipe
Any whole beef roast like bolar or topside is perfect for this easy roast beef recipe. With just three ingredients, this recipe couldn’t be easier. Just mix the mushroom soup and onion soup packet together, then add to the slow cooker with the beef roast and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
Read our recipe for slow cooked roast beef.
Slow cooked roast beef
"Perfectly cooked Roast Beef with very tasty gravy. This is a simple recipe, meat falls apart and remains very moist."Get the recipe
Chuck steak comes from the front ribs of the cow, stretching towards the neck. It’s a wonderfully affordable cut, full of connective tissue. Chuck may not appeal to everyone, because it has a fair amount of fat. However, this fat will melt down in a slow cooker and lend loads of flavour to the dish.
Slow cooker Thai beef curry recipe
Use your favourite Thai curry paste as the base for this delicious slow cooker curry. This is a relatively quick slow cooker recipe, taking just 4 hours to cook on high. The result is a rich curry with plenty of vegetables and flavour.
Read our recipe for slow cooker Thai beef curry.
Blade steak is an excellent cut for the slow cooker. This meat comes from the shoulder of the cow and is available as blade or cross-cut blade. Blade steak itself is versatile and can be sliced for stir-fry or slow cooked.
Meanwhile, cross-cut blade steak has a line of gristle running through it that means it’s best suited for slow cooking. With a long, slow and moist cook, the gristle in cross-cut blade steak melts down into gelatine and lends a lusciousness to a gravy or broth.
Gravy beef is a catch-all term that includes meat from the neck and legs of the cow. It’s a tough cut, but a lean one, so it’s a popular choice for anyone cutting down on fat.
How to cook beef stew or casserole in the slow cooker
- Using chuck, blade, cross-cut blade or gravy beef, cut beef down into 1-2 inch cubes.
- Optionally, toss cubed meat in flour, then sear over a high heat to caramelise the outside of the beef.
- Add beef to the slow cooker with your choice of vegetables, beef stock and aromatics.
- Cook on high for 3-4 hours, or low for 7-8 hours.
- The meat should be tender and fall apart when pressed with a fork.
Don’t overlook beef cheeks! These smaller cuts of meat are wonderful when slow cooked in a red wine sauce. The tough meat breaks down beautifully and adds deep flavour to the gravy — perfect for serving on mashed potatoes.
How to cook beef cheeks in the slow cooker
- Trim any large fatty membranes from the beef cheeks.
- Sear beef cheeks well on all sides in a heavy-base frying pan over a high heat.
- Add your beef cheeks and your braising liquid (stock, wine and/or tomatoes) and cook for 8-10 hours on low, or 6-8 hours on high, for 1.5kg of beef cheeks.
- The meat should be tender and falling apart when done.
Beef mince doesn’t need to be slow cooked, but it does well in the slow cooker. This makes chilli or bolognese an even easier meal for weeknights when you need to be on the go.
How to cook beef mince in the slow cooker
- Brown the mince quickly over a high heat in a frying pan, then add it to your slow cooker.
- Add plenty of liquid, such as tinned tomatoes or beef stock. The mince should be submerged, but not drowned.
- Cook for at least 5-6 hours on low.
Easy slow cooker beef chilli recipe
This super simple beef chilli takes no time to prepare. Just quickly brown the mince, then add it with your other ingredients to the slow cooker and cook for 5-6 hours on low or auto. This long cooking time means the chilli gets to build up a deep, rich flavour.
Read our recipe for easy slow cooker beef chilli.
Slow cooker bolognese recipe
There are just three steps to this easy-peasy slow cooker bolognese. Toss this together before work, then pop the slow cooker on low for 8 hours to have dinner ready and waiting when you get home.
Read our recipe for slow cooker bolognese.