When you’re craving comfort, a tender meat-and-gravy dish is just the thing to make you feel nourished, cozy, and satisfied from the inside out. Our Crockpot Beef Tips recipe is what you want to be in your slow cooker today so you can enjoy saucy, warm, and tender beef tonight. No time for the crockpot? No worries! We’ve included Instant Pot directions, too. Serve this comforting beef tips recipe over mashed potatoes, thick noodles, or just as it is, straight out of the crockpot.
This post was created in partnership with the Minnesota Beef Council.
Beef tips and gravy in the crockpot tonight
When beef tips cook low and slow with a few key spices and ingredients, they get fork-tender and infused with deep, rich flavor. Combine the ingredients in your crockpot (or Instant Pot for faster results) and soon you’ll be enjoying a comforting, healthy dinner full of high-quality protein, nourishing veggies, and satisfying flavor. Combine beef tips with frozen sweet pearl onions, umami-rich mushrooms, tomato paste, and a few pantry-staple spices. A quick cornstarch slurry helps thicken the liquid, creating a rich and flavorful gravy to coat this delicious meal.
Ingredients to make crockpot beef tips and gravy
See that small grouping of ingredients above? That’s all you need to get your delicious beef tips and gravy started cooking. Here’s what to gather:
- Beef tips – also called steak tips, you can buy them at most grocery stores; they are typically cubed pieces of beef cut from the sirloin or beef tenderloin; but any large cut of beef will work. If beef tips aren’t available, you can use beef stew meat
- Mushrooms – use sliced cremini or white button mushrooms
- Frozen pearl onions – add them to the slow cooker while still frozen. The small onions will tenderize as the crockpot and ingredients warm up around them
- Tomato paste – this helps thicken the sauce and adds incredible depth of flavor
- Beef broth – use low-sodium beef broth
- Cornstarch – you’ll use this to make a quick cornstarch slurry that will thicken the gravy directly in the slow cooker
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Dried thyme
- Salt and black pepper
how to make beef tips and gravy in the crockpot
This is a true “set it and forget it” meal, where you combine the ingredients and let the slow cooker do it’s thing, slowly warming and tenderizing the beef and infusing each piece with deep flavor.
- Combine the ingredients in a crockpot: In a 6- to 7-quart slow cooker, place the beef tips, frozen pearl onions, tomato paste, garlic powder, onion powder, dried thyme, salt, and pepper; stir until beef and onions are coated in the tomato paste and seasonings. Next, add the mushrooms and pour the beef broth over all. Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 6 to 8 hours.
- Make a cornstarch slurry: When the beef is tender, thicken the liquid with a cornstarch slurry. To do so, place 2 tablespoons cornstarch in a small bowl and ladle ¼ cup of the hot liquid from the slow cooker into the bowl. Use a small whisk or fork to mix the cornstarch into the liquid until dissolved. (It should look like a muddy liquid). Pour the cornstarch slurry into the mixture in the slow cooker and stir until incorporated. Set the slow cooker to the high setting, cover, and cook for 30 minutes or until liquid has thickened. If you prefer even thicker gravy, repeat the cornstarch slurry step with 2 more tablespoons of cornstarch. The gravy will thicken even more as the recipe cools.
What Cut of Beef are beef tips?
Beef tips or steak tips are exactly what they sound like: tender “tips” or pieces cut from larger cuts of beef. Beef tips are most often sirloin, but they can be cut from any part of the cow, such as tri-tip, flank, or tenderloin. You can also use the “less tender” cuts of beef, such as beef stew meat, cubed chuck roast, or round roast. No matter the cubed pieces of beef you start with, they will cook into tender, saucy bites in this slow cooker recipe.
beef and the crockpot: A match made in heaven
We think small chunks of beef, like you use in this crockpot beef tips recipe, are the perfect choice to cook low and slow in the crockpot. Whether you start with more tender beef sirloin tips or slightly heartier beef stew meat, the pieces will cook into fork-tender, pull-apart, juicy beef coated in a flavorful and rich gravy sauce. And because sometimes we don’t always plan so far ahead, we’ve also created a perfect version of this recipe for the Instant Pot. The combination of heat and pressure help mimic the slow cooker environment, infusing the beef with herbs-and-tomato flavor that comes out just right every time (see the Recipe Notes for the Instant Pot directions).
What is a cornstarch slurry?
We opted to thicken the liquid in the crockpot with a cornstarch slurry. It is an easy, fool-proof, and gluten-free way to make gravy without using flour or a roux. The one thing to remember with a cornstarch slurry is that you never want to stir cornstarch directly into a pot or slow cooker full of hot liquid. If you did that, the cornstarch would make small clumps. Instead, you want to make something called a cornstarch slurry. To do so, ladle a small amount (1/4 cup) of the hot liquid into a bowl with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch; whisk together to create a muddy-colored, thick, and smooth liquid (stir until all the cornstarch is dissolved). Then, stir the slurry back into the hot liquid in the crockpot. When the slurry is introduced to the hot liquid, the cornstarch will thicken the liquid and create a smooth and delicious gravy for the beef.
how to serve Crockpot beef tips and gravy
We love to serve this easy crockpot beef tips recipe over simple mashed potatoes. It’s also good over thick cooked noodles, mashed cauliflower, or mashed parsnips, or even mashed sweet potatoes. The combination of tender beef and rich gravy is the perfect match for a comforting base like one of these.
How to store crockpot beef tips and gravy
Let leftovers cool to room temperature, then store in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to five days. The gravy will thicken even more as it cools. Reheat on the stovetop.
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil, divided (for Instant Pot version only)
- 2 lbs. beef tips (cubed sirloin) or cubed beef stew meat (1- to 2-inch pieces)
- 1 (12-ounce) bag frozen pearl onions (unthawed)
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced or coarsely diced
- 1 ½ cups low-sodium beef broth
- 2 to 4 tablespoons cornstarch
- For serving: Cooked mashed potatoes, mashed parsnips or cauliflower, or noodles
- Snipped fresh parsley for garnish (optional)
- In a 6- to 7-quart slow cooker, place the beef tips, frozen pearl onions, tomato paste, garlic powder, onion powder, dried thyme, salt, and pepper; stir until beef and onions are coated in the tomato paste and seasonings.
- Add the mushrooms and pour the beef broth over all. Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 6 to 8 hours.
- When the beef is tender, thicken the liquid with a cornstarch slurry.* To do so, place 2 tablespoons cornstarch in a small bowl and ladle ¼ cup of the hot liquid from the slow cooker into the bowl. Use a small whisk or fork to mix the cornstarch into the liquid until dissolved (should look like a muddy liquid). Pour the cornstarch slurry into the mixture in the slow cooker and mix until incorporated. Set slow cooker to high setting, cover, and cook for 30 minutes or until liquid is thickened. If you prefer even thicker gravy, repeat the cornstarch slurry step with 2 more tablespoons of cornstarch. The gravy will thicken even more over time and as the recipe cools.
- Serve over mashed potatoes, other mashed veggies, or cooked noodles.
- Store leftovers in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
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*Never stir cornstarch directly into a full recipe, as it will create clumps. Instead, follow the directions in step 3 to create a cornstarch slurry in a small bowl, then stir that into the rest of the ingredients to make a gravy.
Instant Pot Directions:
1. Select the ‘Saute’ function on the Instant Pot. When the pot is hot, add ½ tablespoon oil. When the oil starts to shimmer, add half (1 lb) of the beef and cook for 2 minutes or until browned. Flip each piece and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Transfer cooked beef pieces to a plate and repeat with the remaining ½ tablespoon of the oil and remaining 1 lb beef. Remove beef to a plate.
2. Add ½ cup of the beef broth to the pot and scrape the bottom of the pot to remove any bits. Add the mushrooms, garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, salt, and pepper. Cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Press the ‘Cancel’ button. Add the beef back to the Instant Pot along with the frozen pearl onions, remaining 1 cup of broth, and the tomato paste. Stir well to combine.
4. Lock the lid into place and cook on high pressure for 25 minutes. When the cooking time is up, allow for 10 minutes of natural pressure release before flipping the vent valve to the ‘venting’ position to release any residual pressure.
5. When the beef is tender, thicken the liquid with a cornstarch slurry. To do so, place 2 tablespoons cornstarch in a small bowl and ladle ¼ cup of the hot liquid from the Instant Pot into the bowl. Use a whisk to mix the cornstarch into the liquid until dissolved. Pour the cornstarch slurry into the mixture in the Instant Pot. Press the ‘Cancel’ button and then turn on the ‘Saute’ mode. Stir and let it heat for a few minutes until the liquid thickens. If you prefer even thicker gravy, repeat the cornstarch slurry step with 2 more tablespoons of cornstarch. The gravy will thicken even more over time and as the recipe cools.
- Serving Size: 1/6 of the beef and gravy
- Calories: 236
- Fat: 6 g
- (Sat Fat: 3 g)
- Sodium: 627 mg
- Carbohydrate: 11 g
- (Fiber: 2 g
- Sugar: 3 g)
- Protein: 36 g
- Cholesterol: 82 mg
© The Real Food Dietitians
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Photo Credit: The photos in this blog post were taken by Rachel of Half Acre House.
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