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
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Beef Tips and Gravy Slow Cooker
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 2 pounds stew meat or chuck roast cut into 1 inch cubes
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- ½ teaspoon garlic granules
- 3 tablespoons butter divided
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 cups beef broth
- 1/2 cup dry red wine or additional beef broth
- 1 Tablespoon worcestershire sauce
- 1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 2 tsps tomato paste
- 1/2 tsp dried parsley
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- 1/4 tsp dried thyme
- 1 yellow onion diced
- 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
- 12 ounces cremini mushrooms sliced
- Chunk meat into 1 inch cubes, pat dry with paper towels, then season with salt, pepper, and garlic granules.
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat, and add beef to skillet, browning it on all sides. Try not to stir too much so you can get a nice sear and a good crust.
- Transfer beef to a 6-QT crock pot. Leave any juices in skillet for gravy.
- Add 2 tablespoons butter, to the juices in skillet, and add in your onions, minced garlic and mushrooms. Quick saute for 3-5 minutes until mushrooms start to release their juices, then add mushrooms, garlic, and onions to slow cooker. Leave any juices in pan.
- Return pan to medium high heat and add an additional 1 Tbs of butter to the pan juices (2 if you accidentally poured the juices into your slow cooker). Let butter melt.
- Whisk flour into the butter, until a thick paste has formed. Then add the beef broth, dry red wine, worcestershire, red wine vinegar, tomato paste and herbs stirring it all together.
- Bring to a boil then reduce heat and allow gravy to simmer until thickened to the consistency of thick gravy.
- Pour gravy into slow cooker, and stir.
- Place lid on slow cooker, and cook on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 5-7 hours, until beef is tender. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper as needed.
- Serve over mashed potatoes, pasta or rice.
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