This thick, hearty and healthy slow cooker venison stew is made in the crockpot with tender hunks of deer meat, vegetables, and a rich & flavorful broth.
In this house, we LOVE venison stew. It’s a classic. I tend to shy away from overdone recipes, but you just can’t beat a cozy bowl of this thick and hearty slow cooker venison stew.
If you prefer to watch recipe videos for inspiration, check out my slow cooker venison stew video below. Like and subscribe for more on YouTube.
This venison stew recipe is one of the most popular recipes on my website. People also love this Instant Pot version! But, some have commented that they love the flavor but wish it was a bit thicker. So, I decided to give you a super easy version of deer meat stew that you can make in the crockpot that’s nice and thick. Just what you all asked for!
What to do with venison stew meat & where does it come from
Venison stew meat is chunks cut up from tougher cuts of meat where there is a lot of connective tissue. You’re usually getting this from the shoulder, rump, leg, flank, sometimes shank and sometimes neck (however, I like to use my neck roasts in this recipe if I can). Check out this diagram if you want more help.
These cuts usually aren’t great for something like steaks because the connective tissue can be rubbery if not cooked long enough. However, if these tissue heavy cuts are allowed to braise for a long time, the tissue melts into the meat making it fall-apart tender and very juicy.
How to make venison stew in the slow cooker
The reason I like making venison stew in the slow cooker is because the crockpot allows you to cook your deer meat low and slow (or braise gently in liquid) for hours at a time with little to no effort. And you’re not messing up or crowing the oven/stovetop. If you don’t have a slow cooker and would prefer to make it in your dutch oven, check out my recipe for the Best Venison Stew You’ll Ever Eat.
What makes this the best slow cooker venison stew
This is the BEST slow cooker venison stew because it combines a rich, flavorful broth (that really works WITH and is designed for your wild game), tender meat, perfectly cooked veggies. And, you’re basically only working on it for about 15 minutes before you let the slow cooker do all of the work for you! How easy is that? (where are my Ina fans at?)
INGREDIENTS & KITCHEN TOOLS TO MAKE SLOW COOKER VENISON STEW
This ingredient list is simple and basically just a few pantry essentials, deer meat you have in your freezer and produce. Here’s what you need:
- Venison (I prefer cubes of venison, but you can use elk, antelope, moose, beef, bear – really any red meat)
- High heat toleant cooking fat or oil (duck fat, bacon/pork fat, tallow, avocado oil, clarified butter)
- Herbs de Provence
- Diced tomatoes
- Beef or venison stock (beef broth will work as well but it won’t be as flavorful, feel free to use low sodium to keep the sodium content down)
- Dry red wine (Cabernet, Bordeaux)
- Worchestershire sauce
- Cornstarch/tapioca starch/arrowroot powder
Since this recipe takes 8 hours to make, you can always do all of the chopping the night before and sear your venison in a pan, add it to your slow cooker, and store in the refrigerator overnight. When you wake up, add the liquid, set it, and forget it while you go about your day.
Alternatively, you can make it overnight while you sleep and just heat it on low or warm in the slow cooker or a saucepan before you want to eat. Or heat individual portions in the microwave.
NOTE: If you only have beef on hand, you can also use this recipe to make a delicious crockpot beef stew. I haven’t tried it with beef chuck roast, it might not be as tender, but I am sure it’ll still be delicious!
TIPS & TRICKS
How do you get venison tender in stew?
As I mentioned previously, if you’re working with a tough cut of meat or one with a lot of connective tissue, it’s best to cook it low and slow. AKA, cooking it at a low temperature for a long time to ensure that the meat falls apart. If it isn’t falling apart, turn the heat down and cook it longer.
I recommend slow cooking this stew recipe for 8-9 hrs on low in the crock pot. You can do 4-5 hrs but your meat won’t be as tender and the flavor won’t be as developed. So, you’ve been warned!
Is there a way to help with the “gamey” flavor?
Here’s my short answer: Yes!
The use of red wine (or red wine vinegar), plenty of aromatics, herbs de Provence, and Worchestershire sauce are all tweaked to perfection. They’re designed to enhance the beautifully bold flavor of venison while mitigating that “tinny” flavor some people don’t love.
There are a lot of differing opinions about what gamey flavor is. Ultimately, when people tell me they think venison is gamey it’s probably because they’re used to beef. Venison is different because it’s a wild animal. However, if your meat is downright offensive, it’s probably due to the nature of the kill, field dressing, and potentially improper processing.
Other factors like age, gender, rut, diet, and location can all contribute to flavor notes, too.
What other meats can you use – this recipe will work well with beef stew meat, elk, antelope, moose, bear – really any red meat. You can also follow this recipe to make a delicious slow cooker beef stew. When I use the term venison here or in my book, you can assume I’m also including elk, antelope, and moose.
To make this slow cooker venison stew gluten-free – This recipe has not been tested with gluten-free flour, however, I imagine it will work just fine. You can also choose to omit steps 1-2 in the recipe card below and add the starch suggested in step 6.
If you don’t have Herbs de Provence – I suggest finding Herbs de Provence and not substituting because it’s so lovely. I call for it in a lot of my recipes so you’ll use it up. I get mine at Wal Mart or Thrive Market. If you must sub or want to make it yourself, check out this post.
On selecting/substituting wine – When using a wine you really just want something palatable. This doesn’t call for much so just use something you already have open from the night before or that you’d like to serve with the meal. Don’t feel the need to spend big, I usually stay in the $12-$17 range with something I cook with. Of course, it can be omitted completely if you wish, but be sure to add 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar instead.
HOW TO SERVE | SIDES & GRAVY
This is the perfect fish to serve up on a crisp fall day or after playing in the snow with the kid’s. I highly recommend taking the time to whip up the super simple gravy by making the cornstarch slurry, it seriously takes this stew to the next level!
We love serving it up with some crispy bread or dinner rolls, but it is also delicious with some green beans, a simple side salad, or just pop a bag of frozen peas in the microwave and you the the most delicious, hearty meal the whole family with love.
STORAGE & REHEATING
This keeps well in the fridge for 3-4 days in an airtight container. My husband always says it’s better the next day!
If we have leftovers (because this makes 6-8 servings) I like to freeze them in a freezer-safe dish or a vacuum-sealed bag for busy nights or a cozy lunch. This is the MVP of meal prep – it keeps fantastically for about 6 months.
MORE FAMILY FAVORITES
- Venison Chili
- Slow Cooker Venison Roast
- Venison Enchiladas
- Venison Meatballs
- Bear Roast
- Venison Bolognese
- Elk Burgers
Want more? Grab a copy of my bestselling cookbook, Venison Every Day!Print
Slow Cooker Venison Stew | Thick & Hearty
This thick, hearty and healthy slow cooker venison stew is made in the crockpot with tender hunks of deer meat, veggies, and a rich & flavorful broth.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 8 hours
- Total Time: 8 hours 15 minutes
- Yield: 6–8 servings 1x
- Category: Main Dish
- Method: Slow Cooker
- Cuisine: French American
- 2 lbs. venison stew meat (or elk, antelope, moose, beef, bear – really any red meat)
- ¼ cup all purpose flour
- 2 tsp. salt, divided
- 1 tsp. pepper
- 1–2 Tbsp. high heat tolerant oil or fat (duck/deer/beef fat, avocado oil, clarified butter)
- 1 lb. baby, gold potatoes, quartered
- 3–4 large carrots, diced
- 3 celery stalks, diced
- 1 onion, diced
- 4–5 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tsp. Herbs de Provence
- 1 (15oz.) can diced tomatoes, drained
- 4 cups beef or venison stock
- ½ cup red wine (dry red like a Cabernet or Bordeaux is lovely)
- 5–10 dashes Worcestershire sauce
- Optional: 3 Tbsp. corn starch, arrowroot powder or tapioca starch
- Mix together the flour, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of the pepper in a medium bowl. Pat the venison very dry with a towel to remove any liquid. Toss the venison chunks in the flour mixture until everything is coated and the flour is absorbed.
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the oil or fat. Once hot, sear the venison on all sides. You may need to work in batches to avoid overcrowding the meat.
- Once seared, transfer the meat to the bottom of a slow cooker with the potatoes.
- Then layer in the carrots, celery, onion, garlic, Herbs de Provence, the remaining 1 teaspoon of salt, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of pepper, tomatoes, stock, wine, and Worcestershire sauce.
- Set your slow cooker on low for 8-9 hours.
- Optional (for thick stew) – After about 6 hours, remove a few spoonfuls of the broth and pour into a bowl or cup. Stir in the starch until the starch dissolves making a slurry. Pour the slurry into the stew, stir well and skew the lid for the remaining cook time.
- Serve with crusty bread & get cozy!
- You *can* cook this for 4-5 hours on high, but 8-9 on low is much better. The flavors will meld better and the meat will be more tender.
- This recipe has not been tested with gluten-free flour, however, I imagine it will work just fine. You can also choose to omit steps 1-2 and add the starch suggested in step 6.
- I suggest finding Herbs de Provence and not substituting because it’s so lovely. I call for it in a lot of my recipes so you’ll use it up. I get mine at Wal Mart or Thrive Market. If you must sub or want to make it yourself, check out this post.
- When using a wine you really just want something palatable. This doesn’t call for much so just use something you already have open from the night before or that you’d like to serve with the meal. Don’t feel the need to spend big, I usually stay in the $12-$17 range with something I cook with. Of course, it can be omitted completely if you wish, but be sure to add 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar instead.
Keywords: stew, venison stew, slow cooker