This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.
This slow cooker beef and broccoli recipe is the perfect easy recipe for a busy weeknight. Set it in the morning and come home to a delicious, healthy meal that’s ready to eat! The best part? There’s no need to spend money on takeout when you can make this tasty dish at home.
Table of Contents
- Why You’ll Love This Beef and Broccoli Recipe
- What You’ll Need
- How to Make Slow Cooker Beef and Broccoli
- Why Is My Sauce Not Thickening?
- Substitutions and Variations
- Tips for Success
- Serving Suggestions
- Storing and reheating instructions
- More Takeout-Inspired Recipes To Try
- Slow Cooker Beef and Broccoli Recipe
My favorite time of year is the transition from summer to fall. I love the cooler temperatures. It’s as if as soon as the temperature gets slightly cooler, my body immediately sends out some sort of alarm saying it needs comfort food. Soups, stews, cozy dinners!
This is why this slow cooker beef and broccoli is the PERFECT meal to break in your crockpot/slow cooker.
It’s not just for cooler weather though. We have made this in the dead of summer when we were just absolutely craving take out but didn’t want to actually order it. I love setting up a meal and just forgetting about it. You have the freedom to do whatever you want while a delicious meal is cooking away.
Let me tell you – your whole house will smell AMAZING and the flavors in the sauce are to die for. I probably could’ve dunked all my rice in it, but I needed sauce for the next day as these make great leftovers!
Why You’ll Love This Beef and Broccoli Recipe
Beef and broccoli is one of my favorite take-out dishes but I think I love this recipe even more.
- The slow cooker does the work. Hands down, the best part of this recipe is the fact that I don’t have to do much to it at all. The slow cooker takes over all the heavy lifting, once I add the ingredients.
- Incredible flavors. The sauce in this recipe is no joke. Sometimes I’m tempted to just pour it over my rice and eat it without the beef or broccoli – it’s just that good!
- Healthier than takeout. Like most takeout-inspired recipes, this version is much healthier than what you’d get at a restaurant. There’s no frying and you know the exact ingredients being added.
What You’ll Need
This beef broccoli recipe requires just a handful of ingredients, one of the reasons it’s perfect for weeknight dinners.
For exact amounts, make sure to check out the full recipe below.
- Boneless beef chuck roast – My favorite cut of meat for this recipe because it’s inexpensive and easy to find. It’s also a relatively beautiful cut of meat that has a decent amount of marbling and can sometimes be a tad tougher than other cuts of meat, which means it will benefit from being cooked slowly in the crockpot. The end result will be a tender, fall apart, flavorful piece of meat that’s perfect for this dish.
- Beef consommé or beef broth – Either of these will help to keep the meat moist during cooking and also adds flavor. If you don’t have them on hand, you can substitute with chicken broth or even water.
- Low sodium soy sauce – A key ingredient in this dish because it adds umami flavor. Umami is one of the five basic taste sensations and is often described as a “meaty” or “savory” flavor. It’s an important component in many Asian dishes, including this one.
- Dark brown sugar – This helps to balance out the savory flavors in this dish and adds a touch of sweetness. If you don’t have dark brown sugar on hand, you can substitute with light brown sugar or even regular granulated sugar.
- Sesame oil – This adds flavor and a touch of richness. If you don’t have sesame oil on hand, you can substitute with vegetable oil or even olive oil.
- Garlic – Because garlic is the best and shouldn’t be omitted!
- Frozen broccoli florets – Frozen broccoli is a great ingredient to use in this recipe because it’s easy to find and doesn’t require any prep work. You can simply add it to the crockpot frozen and it will cook up perfectly. If you don’t have frozen broccoli on hand, you can substitute with fresh broccoli florets.
- Cornstarch – This helps thicken the sauce and gives the sauce a beautiful shiny look.
- Liquid from slow cooker – Since cornstarch needs warm liquid to activate, using the liquid from the slow cooker is the best.
- Cooked white rice – To serve the beef and broccoli! More options below.
How to Make Slow Cooker Beef and Broccoli
As I mentioned, this beef and broccoli recipe requires just a few minutes of hands-on time, while the slow cooker does the rest.
- Whisk ingredients together. In the insert of the slow cooker, whisk together the liquids, sugar, and garlic.
- Add the meat. Place the cubed beef into the insert of the slow cooker with the liquid and gently toss to coat in liquid – it doesn’t have to be perfect.
- Set the slow cooker. Cook on low for 4-6 hours.
- Make the cornstarch slurry. Using the liquid from the slow cooker, carefully whisk together cornstarch with the liquid and then pour it back into the mixture and stir to incorporate.
- Add the frozen broccoli florets. After you’ve added the cornstarch in, this is when you’ll add the frozen broccoli florets to the crockpot and cook for an additional 30 minutes.
- Serve! Enjoy over rice or noodles as desired.
Why Is My Sauce Not Thickening?
Cornstarch needs heat to thicken and activate.
If you find that your mixture is not thickening, simply drain the liquid from the slow cooker and place it in a small pot over the stove over medium-high heat. Add the cornstarch mixture and stir into the liquid. This should thicken the sauce. However, you really don’t need to do that because the heat of the liquid from the slow cooker should be more than warm enough.
If you have had the lid open for a while, the temperature of the liquids may have gone down and not have been high enough in temperature to activate the thickening agent of cornstarch.
Additionally, if you decided to throw in your frozen broccoli florets BEFORE you added in your cornstarch mixture, that would have brought down the temperature of the liquids so you would need to cover and bring it up to temperature again.
Substitutions and Variations
Here are a few easy variations for this dish.
- Use other protein. If you don’t want to use beef, you can use chicken but if you’re going to use chicken, I highly suggest making my chicken and broccoli recipe instead. If you’d prefer to use tofu, check out my broccoli tofu stir fry recipe.
- You can use any type of beef that’s suitable for slow cooking. Chuck roast is a good option because it’s inexpensive and easy to find. Other cuts of beef that would work well in this recipe include brisket, short ribs, flank, or even stew meat. Keep in mind different cuts of beef other than what this recipe was tested with will yield different results as they cook differently and may need different cook times.
- Add other veggies. Beef and broccoli is traditionally made with…well, broccoli. But that doesn’t mean you can’t switch it out for cauliflower, green beans, etc.
Tips for Success
Here are a few tips for making this takeout-inspired recipe.
- Can you use frozen broccoli florets instead of fresh? Yes, you can use frozen broccoli in this beef and broccoli recipe. If you are using frozen broccoli florets, you do NOT need to defrost them prior to putting them in the slow cooker. You add them in at the same time as you add the cornstarch mixture. Since you cook an additional 30 minutes, this will ensure that your fresh broccoli will be cooked through.
- Adjust the cooking time as needed. Your crockpot may differ in temperature than mine, I suggest cooking this for 4 hours on your first go-round of this dish. 6 hours in the crockpot seems to be giving a lot of people “shredded” beef instead of slices, so decrease cooking time by 2 hours and go from there. Mine turned out fine with 6 hours. If you want something faster, I suggest using my Instant Pot beef and broccoli recipe instead.
- Do you put the meat in raw/uncooked? Yes, you put the meat in the slow cooker raw, in sliced pieces.
- How do I know when the beef is cooked? The beef is cooked when it’s tender and easily shredded with a fork. You can check the internal temperature of the beef with a meat thermometer. The beef should be at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit.
This beef and broccoli recipe is delicious served over rice or noodles. You can also top it with a sprinkle of green onions or sesame seeds for extra flavor and color. If you’re looking for a lower carb option, you can serve it over cauliflower rice or zucchini noodles.
Storing and reheating instructions
- Fridge. This slow cooker beef and broccoli will keep in the fridge for up to four days.
- Reheat. You can reheat it in the microwave or on the stovetop over low heat. If you’re reheating it in the crockpot, you may need to add a little bit of water or beef broth to keep it from drying out.
More Takeout-Inspired Recipes To Try
- Instant Pot beef and broccoli
- 20-minute teriyaki chicken and broccoli
- General Tso’s chicken ramen
- 25-minute beef and snow pea stir fry
- Slow cooker Korean tacos
Slow Cooker Beef and Broccoli
- 1 pound (454 g) boneless beef chuck roast, sliced into thin strips
- 1 cup (237 ml) beef consumme or beef broth
- ½ cup (118 ml) low sodium soy sauce
- ⅓ cup (73 g) dark brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- Frozen broccoli florets, (as many as desired, I believe I used almost 3 cups)
- 2 tablespoon cornstarch or arrowroot powder
- 4 tablespoon of liquid from slow cooker
- Cooked white rice
- In the insert of the crockpot, whisk together beef consume or stock, soy sauce, dark brown sugar, sesame oil, and garlic.
- Gently place your slices of beef in the liquid and toss to coat.
- Turn slow cooker on low and cook for 4-6 hours.
- When done, in a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and cooking liquid, pour into crockpot, stir to mix well. Toss in your broccoli florets. Cook on low for an additional 30 minutes to thicken up the sauce. Please see notes if your sauce does not thicken.
- Serve hot over white rice.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.
The default measuring system for this website is US Customary. Unit conversions are provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. While we strive to provide accurate unit conversions, please be aware that there may be some discrepancies.
Photography by Sarah Fennel