Slow Cooker Poor Man’s Stew

Slow Cooker Poor Man’s Stew is an easy, delicious, and hearty stew that’s as tasty as it is budget-friendly. It’s loaded with ground beef, carrots, potatoes, and onions, and it’s so good on a cold winter day.

bowl full of poor man's stew.

When fall and winter roll around, we make a lot of soups and stews. One of our favorites is this poor man’s stew. It’s hearty and flavorful, and it won’t break the bank. You can’t beat that!

slow cooker full of poor man's beef stew garnished with parsley.

❤️ Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • It’s a hearty, delicious meal perfect for the fall and winter.
  • It’s budget-friendly and loaded with robust ingredients.
  • It makes a great family meal or an addition to any potluck.


You’ll only need a few simple and inexpensive ingredients to make this recipe. You can find them all in your kitchen or in just a few minutes at your local grocery store.

The ingredients are all listed here, but you’ll find the exact amounts in the recipe card at the end of the post.

  • Lean ground beef
  • Russet potatoes – peeled and chopped
  • Carrots – peeled and chopped
  • Onion – chopped
  • Garlic – minced
  • Beef broth
  • Tomato paste
  • Canned petite diced tomatoes in juice
  • Sugar
  • Italian seasoning
  • Black pepper
  • Onion powder
  • Parsley

🔪 How to Make Slow Cooker Poor Man’s Stew

This hearty stew is made in the slow cooker, so it’s as easy to make as it is to shop for the ingredients. It only takes a little prep, and then the slow cooker does all the work!

tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, onions, cooked ground beef, beef broth and seasonings in a slow cooker.

Step 1: Add the Ingredients to the Slow Cooker

Add the cooked ground beef and the rest of the ingredients to the slow cooker and stir to combine.

slow cooker full of poor man's beef stew garnished with parsley.

Step 2: Cook

Cook on low for 6 hours or on high for 4 hours until the potatoes are tender.


Do you want to change up this recipe and make it your own? Here are some ways that you can do that!

  • Spicy – Add diced jalapenos for a kick of flavor and heat.
  • Ground Beef – You can use ground turkey for this recipe. You can also try ground chorizo for more flavor.
  • Vegetables – Add your favorite vegetables to this recipe.

If you think this slow cooker poor man’s stew looks good, we think you’ll love our slow cooker cowboy stew.

🥄 Equipment

  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Slow cooker

🥫 Storage

Refrigerate this stew for up to 4 days in an air-tight container. For longer storage, freeze it for up to 3 months in an air-tight, freezer-safe container.

ladle full of poor man's beef stew in the air above the slow cooker.

💭 Tips

  • Always drain ground beef, even lean ground beef, before adding it to recipes to avoid excess grease in the dish.
  • Great veggies to add to this dish include corn, peas, or green beans.
  • Cook your ground beef until brown and no further. Overcooked ground beef is rubbery and flavorless.

⁉️ FAQ

Do you have questions about this recipe? Here are the answers to the most commonly asked questions.

What is poor man’s stew?

Poor man’s stew is a hearty stew recipe made with cheap ingredients like ground beef, potatoes, and carrots.

Where does poor man’s stew come from?

Poor man’s stew is also called hobo stew. And that’s exactly where it came from. In the early 1900s, hobos made this stew because they could find the ingredients easily and cheaply.

What happens if you overcook ground beef?

Overcooking ground beef makes it rubbery and almost tasteless. Don’t do it!

🍽 More Recipes

Do you enjoy stew? Then try these delicious recipes:

🧾Recipe Card

Want to make this recipe? Print the recipe card below, or pin this recipe, so you can find it later.

bowl full of poor man's stew.

Slow Cooker Poor Man’s Stew

Slow cooker poor man's stew is a rich, hearty stew loaded with ground beef, carrots, potatoes, and onions. It's delicious and budget-friendly
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 6 hours
Total Time: 6 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 6 Servings
Calories: 259kcal


  • slow cooker
  • large skillet


  • 1 pound lean ground beef browned and drained
  • 3 russet potatoes peel and chopped
  • 3 large carrots peeled and chopped
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 6 ounces tomato paste
  • 14.5 ounces petite diced tomatoes in juice
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 ½ teaspoons garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • Parsley for garnish


  • Place your browned and drain ground beef in the slow cooker.
  • Add your chopped potatoes, carrots, onion, garlic, beef broth, tomato paste, petite tomatoes, sugar, italian seasoning, garlic salt, black pepper, and onion powder in the slow cooker.
  • Stir everything to combine.
  • Cook on low for 6 hours or high for 4 hours or until potatoes are tender.


Any nutritional data I provide is an approximation and actual dietary information can vary based on ingredients and proportion sizes.


Serving: 1Serving | Calories: 259kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 47mg | Sodium: 1188mg | Potassium: 1312mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 5623IU | Vitamin C: 22mg | Calcium: 88mg | Iron: 5mg

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