Tender beef tips smothered in a smooth, herbed gravy with tasty mushrooms is a midweek luxury. Rich flavors develop in the slow cooker as the beef becomes melt-in-your-mouth tender. Serve slow cooker beef tips over potatoes, pasta, or rice, for a hands-off dinner that’s hands-down delicious.
I certainly serve my share of salads and stir-frys, but sometimes nothing but a hearty beef dinner will do. In my mom’s day, that was a roast in the oven. But I prefer slow cooker beef tips. They cook in their own gravy. Not only is the meat more flavorful and tender, but there’s no separate step at the end—just serve the beef tips and gravy directly from the crock pot, so I can enjoy my family or guests right up to serving time. And then I can enjoy how much they love this dish.
What kind of meat is used for beef tips?
Well, technically, anything that’s beef can be cut up and called a beef tip. Here’s the breakdown:
The most expensive, most tender cuts of meat come from the tenderloin—the cut that also gives you filet mignon. Those cuts will cost you, and deserve quick, hot cooking rather than stewing, which will allow their natural tenderness to shine.
Sirloin steak (cut pieces will sometimes be labeled as “sirloin tips”) is often diced and served as “steak tips.” Again, these are true pieces of steak that should be grilled or seared. This slow cooker recipe is not how you should utilize those cuts of meat.
Luckily for you, beef stew meat, chuck, or round is what is mostly commonly used for beef tips. Stewing tenderizes the more muscular cuts, and flavor from the stewing liquid infuses the meat. Making them melt in your mouth tender without paying for pricier cuts.
How do you cook beef tips so they are tender?
Chuck, round, or stew meat are considered “muscle meat.” It’s not well suited for grilling and roasting because the muscle fibers don’t have time to break down with fast cooking methods. They key to tender meat is braising or stewing—cooking it slowly in liquid. Braising gives you a bonus advantage: flavors and seasonings in the liquid infuse the meat, making it even tastier.
What about cooking beef tips in a slow cooker?
Slow cooker preparation is PERFECT for beef tips. It’s important to not just boil meat in liquid, which will leech the flavor out rather than put it in. In a slow cooker you can use very little liquid, a very low temperature, and a very long time, which work together to make beef tips turn out perfectly.
Alternate: Do you want to try the Instant Pot?
Go ahead! The Instant Pot is not a magic pot that cooks all things in all ways, but it WILL do magic on beef tips. Read my Instant Pot User Guide if you’re just starting out, but if you’re looking for a recipe to cook TONIGHT, Instant Pot beef tips could be on the menu. If you use the Instant Pot for this slow cooker beef tips recipe, the meat should be done in about 25-30 minutes.
There’s a lot more to slow cookers than stew and pot roast. Beef tips and gravy is just a start. If a dinner that cooks itself while you do other things works for you, check out these other slow cooker meals:
- Slow Cooker Roast Lamb with Lemon, Rosemary, and Garlic
- Chicken Enchilada Soup
- Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas Tacos
- Slow Cooker Pineapple Chipotle Ribs
- Five-Cheese Slow Cooker Macaroni
Pin to your Slow Cooker board: