Slow Cooker Steak and Caramelized Onions

Have a cheap steak that you need to cook or just don’t want to fire up the grill to make it? This Slow Cooker Steak recipe is the perfect solution! You can make a delicious steak with very little effort but produce a tasty result.

Slow Cooker Steak Recipe

How Do I Make a Steak in the Slow Cooker

There are many different ways to cook a steak, but a steak cooked in a slow cooker is one of the best ways. You can use a frozen or a fresh steak to make a steak in your slow cooker. You’ll simply need to put it in your slow cooker with a little bit of water and cook at a low temp until it’s nice and tender.

Making a steak in the slow cooker is a great way to use less expensive (more tough) cuts of meat and still get a delicious and tender steak. Adding in a few flavoring extras like seasonings or caramelized onions will really help bring out the flavor in your steak as well.

Keep scrolling down to see exactly how we make steaks in our crockpot!

Making a Slow Cooker Steak

We don’t enjoy steaks very often, but since we buy our meat in bulk we usually tend to have some in the freezer most of the time and it’s fun to pull one out here and there for a Sunday treat.

We’ve yet to buy a grill though at our little homestead so my only option for cooking would be in the oven or on the stove top. I’ve never had much luck with fully cooking a steak on the stove top and I know those of you with no air conditioning can relate…but I’d do just about anything to not heat up my oven during these hot days!

Our solution to this problem is simple and we just love it! Not only do we get a soft and tender steak no matter what cut we use, but it’s also full of flavor and I don’t have to worry about getting it too well done or heating up the house while I’m making it. How? We are now connoisseurs of the slow cooker steak!

This is really so easy to make I’m not sure why I didn’t think about it before. I love to cook just about anything in the slow cooker! Here’s all you need to do to make the perfect slow cooker steak. And don’t forget about this recipe for Steak Sauce to go with it!

Instructions for Making Steak in the Slow Cooker

Since I originally wrote this blog post, I no longer have a crock pot, but I do have an Instant Pot with a Slow Cooker Lid. It’s wonderful to have one appliance that can do multiple things!

Slow Cooker Steak in Crockpot

Step One:

You can use any cut of steak, just remember the thicker the steak the longer you will need to cook it. Most of the steaks in our freezer are less than an inch thick. I’ve used both thawed and frozen. Frozen will need to cook a little longer of course. Start by putting the steak in the slow cooker.

Step Two:

Add in water until it covers the steak halfway up the sides.

Step Three:

Add in your favorite spices. To please our whole family I usually just add a bit of minced onion and minced garlic. You could also use the Roast Seasoning recipe found in my book, Little House Living.

Step Four:

Cook in the slow cooker for 6 hours on high for a frozen, thick steak. A thawed steak should be finished at about 4 hours if cooked on high. You can always cook it on low if you need to put it in earlier in the day. If you are using a much thinner cut of steak, you may need to cook it for less time.

That’s all you have to do! It only takes about 5 minutes to put together and once it’s cooked you have an amazing tender steak with great texture. It’s not quite like a roast but much more tender than your average steak.

Want to make this recipe often? Print out the Crock Pot Steak Recipe below to add it to your Recipe Binder!

Slow Cooker Steak
5 from 3 votes
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Slow Cooker Steak

Calories 1934 kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs Steaks
  • 2 tablespoons Minced Onion
  • 1 tablespoon Minced Garlic
  • 1 teaspoon Salt

Instructions

  1. You can use any cut of steak, just remember the thicker the steak the longer you will need to cook it.  Frozen will need to cook a little longer of course. Start by putting the steak in the slow cooker.

  2. Add in water to your slow cooker until it covers the steak halfway up the sides.

  3. Add in your favorite spices. We add minced garlic, minced onion, and some salt.

  4. Cook in the slow cooker for 6 hours on high for a frozen steak. A thawed steak should be finished at about 4 hours if cooked on high. You can always cook it on low if you need to put it in earlier in the day.

Nutrition Facts
Slow Cooker Steak
Amount Per Serving
Calories 1934 Calories from Fat 1152
% Daily Value*
Fat 128g197%
Saturated Fat 57g356%
Polyunsaturated Fat 6g
Monounsaturated Fat 61g
Cholesterol 553mg184%
Sodium 2801mg122%
Potassium 2626mg75%
Carbohydrates 11g4%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 4g4%
Protein 184g368%
Vitamin A 139IU3%
Vitamin C 10mg12%
Calcium 105mg11%
Iron 16mg89%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Bonus Flavor Additions for Steak

If you really want to make the flavor of this steak stand out, here are some things you can try.

  • Cook the steak in beef broth instead of water.
  • Add onion soup mix for your flavoring. (I have a recipe in my book!)
  • If you use beef broth for the liquid, add a bit of cornstarch to make a gravy to top your steak when it’s done cooking.
  • Add some mushrooms into your onions when they are almost done caramelizing.
  • Add in some chopped bell peppers to the onions when they are almost done cooking.

Finished Slow Cooker Steak

Store any leftovers in an airtight container with a lid in the fridge.

Now to really make your slow cooker steak extra amazing you have to make some delicious caramelized onions to top it with! Here’s how I make them:

How to Make Shortcut Caramelized Onions

Slow Cooker Steak

Chop up one medium-sized onion. (Or really, as many onions as you want if you want to make a big batch of this and save some for later!)

Slow Cooker Steak

Place in a saucepan with a little butter. You can also use vegetable oil if you prefer or need something dairy free.

Slow Cooker Steak

Fry for a few minutes before adding a spoonful of brown sugar. You don’t need much! Continue to fry the onions until they are translucent and perfectly caramelized. Place on top of your steaks for a real treat!

The above method is a shortcut way to make caramelized onions. For typical caramelized onions, skip the sugar and continue to cook the onions over a low heat until they’ve reached a very tender and brown stage (natural caramelization). This process takes quite a while so if you don’t have an hour to spend on your onions, you can use the shortcut method above.

Slow Cooker Steak with Caramelized Onions

Serving Suggestions for Slow Cooker Steaks

In the summer we love to pair this steak with a fresh garden salad topped with either Homemade Ranch Dressing, Homemade Russian Dressing, or Homemade Dorthy Lynch Dressing.

For some added carbs, serve the steak over white rice, mashed potatoes, or egg noodles.

What Steak is Best for the Slow Cooker?

Some cheap cuts of beef that will work well with this recipe are:

  • top round steak
  • sirloin tip steak
  • eye of round steak
  • bottom round steak
  • Arm chuck roast
  • top blade steak

Is Steak Good in the Slow Cooker?

We think it’s great! It’s not the same as a traditional steak that’s been fried on the stove top or on the grill, but it’s so nice and tender. Such a great way to use up those cheaper cuts of meat!

How Long Does Steak Take to Cook in the Slow Cooker?

About 4-6 hours or less, depending on the thickness of the steak and if it’s going in frozen or fresh.

Do You Have to Cook Meat Before Putting it in the Slow Cooker?

No, you don’t. If you want to, you can sear the edges of the meat in a skillet before starting it in the slow cooker for a little bit of added flavor. But if you prefer not to heat up your stove, you can just put the meat in the slow cooker raw.

Can You Put Raw Meat in the Slow Cooker with Vegetables?

Yes, you can, however, vegetables will cook much more quickly than the meat so I would recommend not adding them in until the last hour or so of cooking.

Looking for even more slow cooker recipes? Here are more of our favorites!

What are your favorite steak toppings and pairings? Have you ever tried making steak in the slow cooker?

merissabio

This Slow Cooker Steak recipe was originally published on Little House Living in August 2014. It has been updated as of September 2022.

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48 Comments

  1. We like our steak medium rare. Does this method allow for any pink in the center? I like the idea of being able to use a less expensive cut of meat though. Thank you for sharing and inspiring!

    1. I haven’t tried cooking it medium rare but I suppose you may be able to achieve that by cooking it for less time, although I’m not sure. If you try it let us know!

    1. Personally we pay the same price for all our beef per pound since we buy it in bulk but I know at the grocery store there are cuts that are cheaper than others such as flank steak, chuck steak, etc. Of course it will depend on your regional prices as well.

      1. How does that work? I understand you put the water to a certain level for one steak. How do you arrange more than one steak- stacked, leveled, etc.? I’m still learning how to use my slow cooker. This sounds like something my husband would love.

        Also, can I put garlic gloves and raw mushrooms in while I’m carmelizing (sp?) the onions? How about canned mushrooms?

        Thank you in advance for your help. Have a wonderful day.

        1. The water is only to create steam and help your steak to not stick to the bottom. When I put in more than one steak I usually put them on their sides stacked next to each other instead of on top of each other.

          Yes, you could for sure add in other ingredients when caramelizing!

  2. How many pounds do you usually cook at a time? This recipe sounds so good and I think it would satisfy my husband and son’s meat cravings. Why type of steak cuts do you usually find you use?

    1. I’ve done all kinds of different cuts. Right now I’ve been using sirloin steaks because we found a bunch for a really good deal, otherwise it would normally be a round steak or something similar. For the 3 of us that eat solid foods I make about 3 pounds of steak.

  3. I don’t know why I never thought of this either, but I’m darn sure gonna try it!!

    Thanks for sharing!! πŸ™‚

  4. This looks delish! I’ve been looking for a slow cooker steak recipe for a while now, thanks for sharing! Pinning for later πŸ™‚

    Stopping by froom Turn It Up Tuesday!
    B

  5. keep the crockpot recipes coming. With a 5 year old and a 4 month old I would love to cook in my crockpot more. My husband is a meat and potatoes guy. so beans and cornbread doesn’t cut it around here. Thank you!

    I have plans to do chicken tacos in the crockpot and now fajias thanks to you…there is a flank steak in our freezer that needs to be used.

  6. i have a ninja cooker, it has a steam tray, if I put the steak on the tray and the water underneath do you think it would do the same thing? I cook a pork tenderloin on the steam tray for 25 minutes, so maybe it would work. Hmmmmm

  7. I can’t wait to try this!! My husband LOVES steak and I’m not that crazy about it b/c it isn’t always wonderful! He will eat it any old way! As long as its meat. However!! This sounds like it would be great for both of us! I have a Ninja cooker and 2 other slow cookers, so I could do steak in one, potatoes in the other and then just put a salad together! Thanks so much for the recipe!!

  8. I love the crockpot recipes, too. I have two crockpots that I use often, and am wanting to buy another 6 quart size. Thankfully, there are oval shapes that make cooking large meats easier. I was surprised to see the casserole-style crockpots that are very low-design. For my needs, I will stick to the deeper versions. Cooking for 9 or 10 every night, I just don’t have enough room on/in my stove for cooking a number of dishes at the same time.

    I would add that while butter has its own rewards, olive oil also works well in caramelizing onions.

  9. I would love for you to share this delicious post at our WIW party. Hope you can join us!

    Paula
    ivyandelephants.blogspot.com

  10. This looks so easy & delicious! Thanks for linking up at the Thoughtful Spot Weekly Blog Hop! We hope you join us next week!

  11. Since you live on a farm, I know you have the makings for a fun grill.

    Just make a fire pit out of stones and put a grate on top. Buy some charcoal and you are ready to get started. Have water near by for to many flames.

    Great for when the nights cool down but the house is a little warm.

  12. 5 stars
    Thanks for sharing this easy recipe!! Seeing as how I’m a huge fan of any kind of meat, steaks being my #1 go to, I found this super easy and delicious! The Carmelized onions were a show stopper! I made 7 steaks for 5 of my buddies and 2 for me (an extra one for me the next day) the guys eyeballs were so huge on their first bite! On actually asked if Martha Stewart was in my kitchen cooking for me and I said, nope I got this off the internet. 2 guys also asked for your recipe!!
    Thanks so much for helping me with our guys only night!!

    Dave
    Crystal Lake Illinois

  13. Thanks for sharing this easy recipe!! Seeing as how I’m a huge fan of any kind of meat, steaks being my #1 go to, I found th. N.vis super easy and delicious! The Carmelized onions were a show stopper! I made 7 steaks for 5 of my buddies and 2 for me (an extra one for me the next day) the guys eyeballs were so huge ontheir first bite! One actually asked if Martha Stewart was in my kitchen cooking for me and I said, nope I got this off the internet. 2 guys also asked for your recipe!!
    Thanks so much for helping me with our guys only night!!

    Dave
    Crystal Lake Illinois

  14. 5 stars
    My dad is missing teeth, so eating steak has been out for a while. I made steak tonight according to your directions. For the first time in over a year my dad ate steak without problem! Thank you!

  15. I always wanted to try making a steak in a slow cooker because after working 12 + hours each day .. Sometimes you just do not have the energy or desire to fire πŸ”₯ up the grill . So I actually just asked my best friend if he ever made a steak in slow cooker and he jokingly said…. well that’s a waist of a steak. So I was determined to give this a shot and I just came home to a very juicy delicious steak. Thank you for sharing this recipe…… Brian

  16. This recipe with the crockpot steak is going to make my life so much easyer. I’m going to try this recipe this week with the weather being in the 90’s + and high humidity. My husband is very finicky when it comes to steak. Thanks for recipe. 😊

  17. 5 stars
    I can’t thank you enough for helping me. My whole life I’ve not been able to make good meat. My steak came out unbelievably tender and amazing. I used a rib eye thin steak and I seered it in a pan first high heat in a pan one side. no salt and I followed your directions>> a little water in the cooker with the steak. (because the thin ones are pretty thin.) lid on, turned to high left it about an hour.

    I then cut the steak into little squares and I made ribeye hamburger helper strogenoff. I didn’t use any additional water in the cooker and cut waaay back on the milk, because I like to boil my noodles in advance, super AL DENTE!!! – (not quite all the way cooked) in a seperate pot when I do slow cooker spaghetti etc. (i hate slow cooker mushy noodles)

    I just left the remaining steak juice/water in the bottom in there, stirred in the strogonoff mix and about a 1/2 cup whole milk. let this sauce simmer on high in the cooker for a few minutes, then i dumped in the nearly done noodles and steak squares and stirred. stirred in some sour cream and let it cook another few minutes on high. i then turned it off.

    ohhh boy it was good. My meat was the best most perfectly cooked i’ve ever done in my life. I am floored! I was super skeptical btw.

    Thank you thank you thank you for teaching me how to make good steak.