How to Make a Deliciously Easy Traditional Scottish Beef Stew

Some days, you just need something hearty and delicious for dinner. That’s doubly true when it’s been a long, cold day. And on those days, that’s when my taste buds start begging me for some beef stew. And while there are many fine beef stews out there, this new traditional Scottish beef stew is one of my new favorite recipes. That’s because it’s easy, delicious, and I get to smell it cooking all day in my slow cooker. Somehow, that all-day aroma makes it extra satisfying. In any case, let’s make some stew.

Image of Scottish beef stew in a white bowl and placed on top of wooden board next to a half-pulled bread on a colorful stripes kitchen towel

Traditional Scottish Beef Stew (in a slow cooker)

There’s something comforting and delicious about smelling stew cook all day long. It’s an amazing aroma that even thinking about makes me hungry. My kids, bless their souls, are still learning to appreciate when mama makes stew. They’d rather have chicken nuggets. Their loss, y’all. Because I’m not cooking less – I’m getting leftovers!

Beef stew is great, but this traditional Scottish beef stew recipe will have you wondering why you didn’t go old-school earlier.

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Okay, so whether you call it a Crockpot or a slow cooker, I think we can all agree that it’s a great way to cook a proper stew. One day, and hopefully soon, I’m sure I’ll find a way to make this in an Instantpot. But until then, let’s get out the trusty old slow cooker and get stewing.

Yield: 8 people

Traditional Scottish Beef Stew

Image of Scottish beef stew in a white bowl

This traditional Scottish beef stew is the epitome of comfort food: it's the perfect blend of rich aromas, flavor, and it satisfies the soul. Plus, the family carnivores will appreciate its meat-and-potatoes appeal, while the rest of y'all will appreciate the subtle flavors of the whole stew.

Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 8 hours
Total Time 9 hours



  • 2 tbsp olive oil, extra virgin
  • 1 pound stewing beef, cubed
  • 2 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt, divided
  • 1 tsp pepper, divided
  • 1 large onion
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 tbsp cranberry sauce
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 2 cups red wine*
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 large carrots, chopped
  • 3 medium potatoes, diced
  • 1 small rutabega, diced
  • 4 bay leaves

*Red Wine Substitution

  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 1 cup red wine vinegar


  1. Start by making sure that all of your veggies are chopped up. The goal is to have them in uniform sizes so that they all bake evenly. Once the veggies are chopped and set aside, then chop and prepare the beef.

How to prep and brown the beef

  1. In a bowl, combine the half the pepper, half of the salt, and the flour. 
  2. Add in the cubed steak to the flour mixture. Mix so that all the beef is covered evenly. If I'm letting the kids help, I'll actually use a large Ziploc bag instead. That way, they can mix without spilling on the floor.
  3. Heat oil in a large pan on the stove. 
  4. Put the floured beef into the pan and cook for 5-8 minutes, or until the beef is evenly browned.
  5. Add the garlic and onions to the pan. Bake for another 5 minutes, or until the onion and garlic are caramelized. Remove pan from heat.

Prepare the sauce.

  1. In a separate bowl, combine the cranberry sauce, red wine (or red wine substitute), tomato paste, beef stock, Worcestershire sauce, and brown sugar. Whisk to combine.

At this point, you can either cook the stew on the stove or transfer it to a slow cooker.

  1. First, add the beef and onion medley to the pot.
  2. Pour the sauce over the top of the stewing meat. Add bay leaves.
  3. Stove-top: Bring the stew to a boil, then turn down the heat. Cover the stew, and let simmer for 4-6 hours.
  4. Slow Cooker: Bake on low for 6-8 hours OR high for 3-4 hours, stirring occasionally.

Once done, remove the bay leaves. Serve and enjoy!


If you don't have olive oil, you can substitute vegetable oil. I prefer the taste of olive oil and I have a ton of it, so c'est la vie.

Note regarding cooking with wine:

If you cook with wine, go ahead and ignore this note.

If you don't cook with wine, you can substitute the 2 cups red wine for 2 cups beef broth. Or, you can try some of these other non-alcoholic substitutes for wines.

My personal preference is an even substitution of 1:1 beef broth and red wine vinegar (so exchange the 2 cups of red wine for 1 cup beef broth and 1 cup red wine vinegar). I've included this within the recipe itself for your convenience.

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 232Total Fat 6gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 4gCholesterol 9mgSodium 519mgCarbohydrates 27gFiber 2gSugar 8gProtein 7g

Easy, Delicious Scottish Beef Stew. Enjoy!

Easy, right? And if you use the Ziploc bag to toss the beef, it’s a totally kid-friendly recipe, too. As long as you use a very deep pot, anyway! My kids love helping me to stir the pot while we’re cooking together. And, while we’re all baking together, we can talk about Scottish family history or rock out to some great music. It’s a great way to spend time together – and then the bonus is a delicious stew to enjoy, too.

A Note On Cooking Stew…

There’s a lot of fancy crockpots out there, but I love how simple and easy mine is to use! Seriously – it’s a classic design and it’s my favorite.

If you’d rather cook this on the stove, I get it. More power to you. But don’t just use any old pot and burn your stew – make sure you’ve got this amazingly versatile cooking pot so that your beef stew turns out *muah* tres bien.

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Cite this article as: “How to Make a Deliciously Easy Traditional Scottish Beef Stew.” Kimberly C. Starr, 7 December 2018,

By Kimberly C. Starr

I'm a ginger who loves reading, eating, being a nurse, spending time with my family, and writing about it all. I believe humor is the best medicine, followed very closely by chocolate and tacos. To read more about me, click here.