Cheap Recipe: Slow-Cooker Sauerbraten (German Beef Stew)

28 Oct

For a printable version of this recipe and complete ingredients listing, click here.

Man, I wish computers had Smell-O-Vision for this recipe post…

This is one of the great “welcome home” smells of worldly cuisine.

Although sauerbraten (a sort of super-tangy version of pot roast) is prepared in many different ways among various German regions, I prefer the taste of the Bavarian style with its brown sugar and gingersnap flavor balancing out a sharp vinegar marinade.

Traditionally, a sauerbraten roast is larded and marinated over the course of 3-5 days before cooking, and prepared in one large chunk to be sliced into when serving. Vinegar or not, I get pretty creeped out at the idea of any piece of thawed meat hanging out in my refrigerator for 5 days before being cooked (not to mention all the shelf space it would eat up!), so I use a different method which is much quicker, easier, and built for the modern kitchen schedule.

First of all, I have swapped out the giant rump roast for pre-chunked stew meat, which is reasonably priced, available in whatever amount you like, and marinates much more quickly since it’s in small pieces. Next, I have speeded up the whole process by simply preparing the sauerbraten before I go to bed, letting it marinate in the fridge overnight, and then popping it in the Crock Pot the next morning to cook through the day.


Stew meat chunks.

By the time we get home from work, it’s ready to serve and bursting with flavor. You’ll find it as delicious as it is easy! (I know I sure do, and my kraut Hubby approves of the flavor, so that’s something to go on.)

Begin by placing 2 lbs. (or other desired amount) stew meat (beef) in the bottom of the slow-cooker. (You can instead use another bowl to marinate overnight and then


Onions, carrots and celery.

 transfer mixture to slow cooker in the morning to avoid temperature crazing in your ceramic cooker.)

Over raw meat, toss 1 cup carrots (chopped), 1 cup celery (1-inch size chunks), and a Beef broth.large yellow onion (slivered into long pieces).

Sprinkle ingredients with 1 teaspoon garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves (optional). Lay 3 bay leaves over the mixture.

Next, pour 1 cup cider vinegar and 1 (14-oz.) can beef broth over the ingredients. Cover well and refrigerate overnight before slow-cooking OR (if you’re preparing it in the morning)


Don't forget the bay leaves!

 place Crock Pot directly in warmer and cook for 7-10 hours on LOW setting.

Remember to add the sweet stuff later!About 30 minutes before serving, uncover the Crock Pot.

Remove the 3 bay leaves, and add the following two ingredients: 1/4 cup brown sugar (firmly packed) and 15-20 crushed gingersnap cookies.

Brown sugar & crushed cookies will turn that thin broth into delicious gravy!

Some sugar and cookies will turn that broth into thick gravy!

Stir well, replace lid, and switch Crock Pot setting to WARM. Allow stew to heat 30 minutes or until thickened.


Such a pretty stew.

Serve over Quick Homemade Spaetzle or egg noodles. Refrigerate any remaining stew; lefotvers make for great open-faced sandwiches over plain white bread!

The perfect topping for homemade spaetzle dumplings!


4 Responses to “Cheap Recipe: Slow-Cooker Sauerbraten (German Beef Stew)”

  1. Tami October 29, 2009 at 4:59 PM #

    My husband grew up eating Sauerbraten. This is a much easier version of it! It looks terrific over the spaetzle! YUM!

    Thanks for sharing this recipe!

  2. Gracie November 2, 2009 at 12:14 PM #

    Thanks! Welcome to the Red Kitchen, Tami, and be sure to let me know how it comes out if you try this recipe at home! (Let me know how Hubby-who-grew-up-on-it thinks my version stands up to the original!!)

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  1. Cheap Recipe: Honey-Glazed Carrots « The Red Kitchen Project - May 11, 2010

    […] I like to make this side dish when preparing somewhat sour or bitter dishes as my main course. Good examples include Corned Beef with Cabbage, Apple-Sauerkraut Stew and traditional Bavarian Sauerbraten. […]

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