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Braised steak and onions in slow cooker

Braised steak and onions in slow cooker

Braised steak and onions in slow cooker

This blogpost and easy recipe describe how to make braised steak and onions in a slow cooker, Dutch oven or Instant Pot. You can make this meal with any of these methods, or even on the hob if you wish, and it will give you delicious succulent beef meat that falls apart like pulled meat.

A delicious family meal that is perfect with some mashed potato, vegetables and tasty beef and onion gravy.

Using the Instant Pot you can have this meal on the table in half the time it would take to slow cook.

braised beef in slow cooker

Braised steak and onions in slow cooker

Braised beef recipes

I have lived in the Netherlands for 30 years where they have a few different types of traditional slow cook braised beef recipes.


One of these recipes is called ‘sucadelapjes’ or ‘sukadelapjes’. The recipe I describe here is actually based on the recipe I used in Holland to make sucadelapjes, just using a slightly different cut of meat.

For braised beef the best cuts of meat are ones that are tough and muscular and require slow cooking. So think of cuts from the chuck, shank, brisket, round and flank of the animal. 

To make sucadelapjes one uses a cut known in Dutch, funnily enough, as a ‘sucadelapje‘. This cut of meat is taken from the shoulder and is known in English as a top blade steak or a featherblade or feather steak. This meat needs to be slow-cooked as it has a tough sinew running through it which takes a while to break down.

The cut looks a bit like this, although the ones you buy in Holland are not normally so marbled – I think this picture must be of a Wagyu beef cut.

top blade braising steak

Top blade or featherblade steak cut

Chuck Steak

These cuts are not easily available where we are, so instead, I used some chuck steak, also cut near the shoulder, but with a bit more fat in between the lean meat. This fat breaks down during cooking into the braising liquid. You should remove the fat from the liquid before using it to make gravy though, if you want to keep your arteries healthy. 

This was the cut I used to cook in the Dutch oven:

chuck steak for braising

Chuck braising steak cut


Both these cuts of meat are perfect for braising and slow cooking and will give you a pulled beef type of result, which is known in Holland as ‘draadjesvlees’. This literally means ‘thread meat’ – when the meat forms a wire-like shape, like pulled beef. It is also known as ‘stoofvlees’, from the Dutch ‘stoven’ which means to stew.

Effectively this is the same as braised steak – meat which has been cooked in a covered pot with some liquid to create melt-in-your-mouth tender deliciousness.

How to cook braised steak

Now there is more than one way to skin a cat as they say. Also, there are different ways to cook this dish, all of which will give you a similar result. Tasty succulent pulled beef to die for.

seasoned braising steak

Seasoned steak


Braised steak in Dutch Oven or on the hob

I cooked this steak first in my versatile cast iron Le Creuset Dutch oven in my oven, which took about 3 1/4 hours at 170C. Sucadelapjes would take about the same amount of time to cook. The important thing is that your pan has a good tight-fitting lid to retain the liquid. The Le Creuset can of course be used in the oven or on the hob.


braised steak

Browning the steak in the Dutch oven in butter


In Holland it is more normal to cook this sort of dish on the hob in what is known as a ‘sudderpan’ or simmer pan, which is often a black enamelled steel pan with a lid. A bit like this one:


BK Cookware Dutch Sudderpan


To make sure the pan is kept on a low heat, often a ‘sudderplaat’ or heat diffuser might be used, like one of these:

Cast Iron Heat Diffuser Plate 


If you use this type of pan you may wish to check the liquid level a bit more frequently to check it does not dry out, as the lids are not as heavy as a cast iron pan and you may lose more fluid in the form of steam. 

braised steak and onions in slow cooker

Ready for the oven


Braised beef in crockpot or slow cooker

And of course, this dish can always be slow-cooked in a crockpot or slow-cooker. If you are going to cook at a lower heat you will need to cook for longer though obviously, and the time may depend a little bit on the cut of meat you are using.

But the advantage of the crockpot is that you can keep an eye on things and adjust if necessary.


braised steak and onions in slow cooker

After turning the meat in the Dutch oven


Braised beef in Instant Pot

You can also cook this dish using an Instant pot if you need to speed things up a bit. I also tried this and it gave a perfect result on a high-pressure setting for 90 minutes, using the same recipe. I did the browning of the meat using the sauté setting of the Instant Pot and made the gravy in the Instant Pot as well. 

braised beef in instant pot

Braised beef in Instant Pot before closing the lid


I think this is the quickest way to cook a braising steak as it cooked in less than half the time as in the Dutch oven, so it has my preference now. The result was just as tasty.

But as you can see, there are several roads that lead to Rome.


braised beef in slow cooker


Braised steak and onions  

Onions are added to this dish and they add flavour to the gravy and the meat. As my daughter does not like onions I strained them out of the gravy in this photo below, but you should of course leave them in and serve them in the gravy, as they are an important part of this dish.

recipes braised steak

Braised steak with gravy, mash and carrots


I think this dish is great with some mashed potatoes and boiled vegetables, and the rich gravy makes it perfect. It is a great family recipe – who does not like tasty succulent braised beef with mash, gravy and a favourite vegetable?

Here I served the meat with some steamed cabbage and carrots with the mash, which was absolutely delish.

I hope you can get the same results when you try it. We shall certainly be cooking this more often now I have mastered it in the Instant Pot. It is so, so easy to make, and so delicious!

steamed cabbage and carrots


I hope you enjoy trying out this recipe with a suitable cut of beef. If you do, please let me know how you get on in the comments section below!


How to make braised steak and onions in slow cooker

braised beef in instapot

Braised steak and onions in slow cooker

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours 15 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 25 minutes

This easy recipe shows you how to cook different cuts of braised steak using different methods. The results are succulent pieces of tender, pulled beef meat that melts in your mouth and is full of flavour.


  • 1 kg braising steak (try a good piece of chuck steak)
  • 2 onions
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 bouquet garni
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Knob of butter
  • 200 ml red wine
  • 200ml beef stock
  • 50ml Red Wine Vinegar

For the gravy

  • 1 beef oxo cube
  • 1 tbsp gravy granules


In the Dutch Oven or slow cooker (3 hours 15 mins)

  1. This recipe covers cooking in the Dutch oven or in a slow cooker or the hob if you prefer. On the hob, then liquid should be kept at a low simmer. Under this is a recipe for the Instant Pot.
  2. Pre-heat your oven to 170C.
  3. Season the steak on both sides with salt and pepper. Melt the butter in the pan and seal the steak on both sides. In the meantime peel and chop the onions into quarters and peel and half the garlic cloves.
  4. Then add the onions, garlic, thyme, bay leaves and bouquet garni to the pot and add the red wine and stock to the pot.
  5. Put the lid on the pot and place the pot in the middle of the oven (or on the hob). Cook for a total of about 3 hrs 15 minutes.
  6. After 2 hours, check the level of liquid is sufficient and add more water if necessary. Turn the steak over, replace the lid and place back in the oven.
  7. When the cooking time is over, remove the pot from the oven.
  8. Take the meat from the pot and keep it warm in the oven.

In the Instant Pot (1 hour 30 mins)

  1. Season the steak on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat the Instant Pot with the sauté setting and melt the butter in the pot. Then seal the steak on both sides.
  2. In the meantime peel and chop the onions into quarters and peel and half the garlic cloves.
  3. Then add the onions, garlic, thyme, bay leaves and bouquet garni to the pot and add the red wine and stock to the pot.
  4. Put the lid on the pot set, put the release valve to seal set to cook at high pressure for 90 minutes.
  5. When the 90 minutes is finished, release the pressure with the manual release valve, being careful not to burn yourself.
  6. Remove the steak from the pot and keep warm.

To make the gravy

  1. You can use the braising liquid in the pot to make a tasty gravy.
  2. Strain the liquid through a sieve into a jug, and remove the beef fat that is in there with a ladle.
  3. Then pour the liquid back into the Dutch oven or a pan on medium heat, add some water if needed and the onions from the sieve, removing the thyme stalks, bouquet garni and bay leaves. I use the water from the potatoes I was boiling for the mash.
  4. Add the Oxo stock cube and gravy granules and let the gravy reduce on a simmer until it has the required thickness. In the Instant Pot you can do this on the sauté setting again.
  5. Pour into a gravy boat to serve up.


Serve with some tasty creamy mashed potatoes and boiled carrots.

I boiled the carrots and potatoes in the same saucepan together and used the water to make the gravy.

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Served up with this dish:
Best Mashed Potato Recipe
Steamed Cabbage and Carrots

Some other tasty slow cooked recipes: 

Beef in Beer Stew, Slow Cooked
Beef Stew (Dutch Oven) - Beef Bourguignon
Instant Pot Beef Soup
Irish Lamb Stew with Dumplings
Smoor Djawa - Indonesian Beef Stew
Instant Pot Lamb Shanks
Pot Roast Leg of Lamb
Slow Cooked Short Ribs
Slow Cooked Oxtail


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