dairy-free beef stroganoff slow cooker

You’ll Absolutely Love This Dairy-Free Beef Stroganoff Slow Cooker Recipe

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Updated on April 27, 2024

Craving a comforting classic with a healthy twist? Look no further than dairy-free beef stroganoff slow cooker! This recipe transforms everything you love about the traditional dish – tender beef, savoury mushrooms, and a rich, creamy sauce – into a delicious and dietary-friendly meal. 

This slow cooker version makes indulgence effortless, perfect for busy weeknights or cosy weekends. So ditch the takeout menus and dust off your slow cooker – a satisfying, stress-free dinner is just a few clicks and prep steps away!

Now, Let’s Gather the Ingredients!

dairy-free beef stroganoff slow cooker
dairy-free beef stroganoff slow cooker

We’ll need a carefully chosen cast of ingredients to craft this symphony of flavours in your slow cooker. Here’s a breakdown of what you’ll need and why they matter:

The Star of the Show: Beef

Select a cut of beef that’s perfect for slow cooking. Lean cuts like sirloin steak or stew beef are ideal choices. 

Sirloin steak offers a melt-in-your-mouth tenderness, while stew beef provides a richer, heartier texture. 

Whichever you choose, ensure the meat is trimmed of excess fat for a healthier and more flavorful dish.

Flavorful Aromatics

Aromatic vegetables like onions and mushrooms are the foundation of a truly delicious stroganoff.

Onions add a subtle sweetness and depth of flavour, while mushrooms contribute an earthy richness. Don’t be shy with these – they sauté down beautifully and become an integral part of the sauce.

Building the Savory Base

Beef broth is the heart of the savoury sauce. Opt for a low-sodium variety to control the dish’s final saltiness. For a quick and flavorful substitute, you can also use a beef bouillon cube dissolved in hot water.

The Dairy-Free Magic

This is where the magic happens! We’ll use full-fat coconut milk or cream to achieve that signature creamy texture without dairy. 

The full-fat content ensures a richer, more decadent sauce compared to its lighter counterparts. For those who prefer a more neutral flavour profile, unsweetened almond milk can also be used, but keep in mind the resulting sauce will be thinner.

Flavor Boosters

To add complexity and depth of flavour, we’ll incorporate a trio of taste bud pleasers: coconut aminos, Dijon mustard, and Worcestershire sauce. 

Coconut aminos are a delicious substitute for soy sauce, offering a similar umami richness without the soy. 

Dijon mustard adds a touch of tang and creaminess, while Worcestershire sauce provides a burst of savoury complexity.

The Thickening Agents

To achieve a luxuriously thick and creamy sauce, we’ll need two options: arrowroot starch or a cornstarch slurry. 

Arrowroot starch is a fantastic gluten-free thickener that works beautifully in this recipe. Simply whisk it with a little water to form a slurry and add it to the slow cooker towards the end of cooking. 

Cornstarch slurry is another effective option. It is created by mixing cornstarch with cold water. Just be sure to simmer the sauce for a few minutes after adding it to activate the thickening properties.

Seasoning to Perfection

Don’t forget the essentials – salt and pepper! These basic seasonings are crucial for drawing out the ingredients’ natural flavours and creating a balanced taste profile.

Additionally, dried herbs like dill or parsley can be included for a touch of freshness.

Step-by-Step Dairy-Free Beef Stroganoff Slow Cooker Symphony

Now that we have all the ingredients assembled, it’s time to transform them into a delicious and comforting meal! This recipe is designed for your trusty slow cooker, making it perfect for busy weeknights or lazy weekends.

Building the Foundation

Browning the Beef (Optional but Flavorful): As mentioned earlier, browning the beef is an optional step, but it adds a significant layer of rich flavour to the finished dish. 

    Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, sear the beef in batches for 2-3 minutes per side or until nicely browned. Don’t overcrowd the pan; this can prevent proper browning and lead to steamed beef. Once browned, transfer the beef to your slow cooker.

    Sautéing the Vegetables: While the slow cooker is your best friend for hands-off cooking, a quick sauté of the vegetables on the stovetop adds another layer of flavour development. 

      Add a pat of butter or drizzle of oil and heat over medium heat in the same skillet you used for browning the beef (no need to wash it!). Sauté the chopped onions for 5-7 minutes or until softened and translucent. 

      Add the sliced mushrooms and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes or until they release their juices and soften slightly. Pour the vegetables and any pan drippings from the skillet into the slow cooker with the browned beef.

      Creating the Creamy Sauce and Slow Cooking Magic

      Bringing it all Together: Add the beef broth, coconut milk/cream, coconut aminos (a soy sauce substitute), Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and your chosen seasonings (salt, pepper, dried herbs like dill) to the slow cooker. 

        Stir everything well to combine and ensure the browned bits from the bottom of the pan are incorporated into the sauce.

        Low and Slow or High and Fast? The beauty of the slow cooker is its versatility. Here are your cooking time options:

        • For a richer, more intensely flavoured stroganoff, cook on LOW for 8-10 hours. This allows the flavours to meld beautifully and the beef to become melt-in-your-mouth tender.
        • If you’re short on time, cook on HIGH for 5-6 hours. The stroganoff will still be delicious, but the flavours may not be quite as developed.

          Thickening the Sauce (The Grand Finale)

          Once the cooking time is complete, give the stroganoff a stir. You may find the sauce is a perfect consistency, but if it needs a bit of thickening, here are your options: 

          • Cornstarch Slurry: In a small bowl, whisk together a tablespoon of cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of cold water until smooth. Slowly whisk the cornstarch slurry into the hot stroganoff until it thickens to your desired consistency. Simmer for an additional minute or two to allow the cornstarch to cook through completely. 
          •  Arrowroot Starch: This is another excellent thickening option for those who prefer a grain-free alternative. Follow the same instructions as the cornstarch slurry, substituting arrowroot starch for cornstarch.

          Tips and Tricks for a Customised Stroganoff Symphony

          dairy-free beef stroganoff slow cooker
          dairy-free beef stroganoff slow cooker

          This slow cooker beef stroganoff recipe is a fantastic foundation, but its beauty lies in its adaptability! 

          Let’s explore some exciting ways to personalise your dish and create a masterpiece that reflects your unique taste preferences.

          Vegetable Variations

          Embrace the Classics: Feel free to stick with the traditional onion and mushroom combination or add a pop of colour with diced carrots or peas. These vegetables cook beautifully alongside the beef and add a touch of sweetness to the overall flavour profile.

          Get Adventurous: For a more vibrant and textural experience, consider incorporating chopped bell peppers (red, yellow, or orange), sliced asparagus, or even broccoli florets. 

          Remember to adjust the cooking time based on the chosen vegetables. Tender options like asparagus or broccoli florets can be added towards the end of the cooking process to prevent them from becoming mushy.

          Flavor Twists and Enhancements

          A Touch of Acidity: A hint of acidity can help balance the coconut milk’s richness and elevate the overall flavour profile. Add a tablespoon of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to the end of cooking for a classic touch.

          Spice it Up: If you enjoy a bit of a kick, there are several ways to add some heat to your stroganoff. A pinch of red pepper flakes, a dash of smoked paprika, or even a sprinkle of cayenne pepper can do wonders. Start with a small amount and taste as you go, adding more to achieve your desired level of spiciness.

          Time-Saving Options

          Pre-Cut Beef: Consider using pre-cut stewing beef or stir-fry strips to save on prep time. These options eliminate the need for chopping and can be added directly to the slow cooker with the other ingredients.

          Frozen Vegetables: Frozen vegetables are a lifesaver in the kitchen. They’re pre-washed and chopped, saving you valuable time. Simply toss a bag of frozen mixed vegetables into the slow cooker with the broth and coconut milk and let the appliance work its magic.

          Answering Your Dairy-Free Stroganoff Queries

          We’ve covered the essential steps to creating a delicious, dairy-free slow cooker beef stroganoff, but you might still have some lingering questions. 

          Let’s explore some common queries to ensure you have all the information you need to create a truly satisfying meal:

          Can I Use Other Dairy Alternatives Besides Coconut Milk?

          Absolutely! While coconut milk offers a naturally creamy texture and subtle sweetness that beautifully complement the stroganoff, there are other options for those who prefer a different flavour profile or have coconut allergies.

          Cashew Cream: This dairy-free alternative provides a neutral and creamy base. To make the cashew cream:

          1. Simply soak 1 cup of raw cashews in hot water for at least 30 minutes or until softened.
          2. Drain and rinse the cashews, then add them to a blender with 1 cup of fresh water and a pinch of salt.
          3. Blend until smooth and creamy.
          4. Use this cashew cream in place of the coconut milk in the recipe.

          Almond Milk with Thickener: For a more subtle flavour, unsweetened almond milk can be used along with a thickener like arrowroot starch to achieve a creamy consistency. 

          1. Whisk together 1 tablespoon of arrowroot starch with 2 tablespoons of cold water until smooth. 
          2. Gradually whisk the arrowroot starch slurry into the hot stroganoff towards the end of cooking, simmering for a minute or two until thickened to your desired level.

          What Can I Serve with My Dairy-Free Stroganoff?

          There are many delicious options for serving alongside your slow cooker beef stroganoff:

          • Classic Comfort: Egg noodles are a traditional and satisfying accompaniment to stroganoff. Since this recipe is dairy-free, be sure to use egg noodles that are also free of dairy ingredients (some brands contain milk or butter). Cook the egg noodles according to package instructions and toss them with the finished stroganoff for a comforting and familiar pairing.
          • Low-Carb Options: There are several fantastic alternatives to traditional noodles for those following a low-carb lifestyle. Serve your stroganoff over cauliflower rice, spaghetti squash, or zucchini noodles (zoodles). These options are not only delicious but also add valuable nutrients to your meal.
          • Gluten-Free Considerations: If you have gluten sensitivities, simply choose gluten-free noodles or alternative bases like cauliflower rice or zoodles. Many brands offer delicious gluten-free pasta options made from ingredients like brown rice, chickpea flour, or lentils.

          How Long Does Leftover Stroganoff Last?

          Leftovers are a wonderful way to enjoy this delicious dish throughout the week. Allow the stroganoff to cool completely, then store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat gently on the stovetop over medium heat, adding a splash of broth or water if needed to prevent thickening.

          Nutritional Information: Understanding What’s on Your Plate

          While we’ve focused on creating a flavorful and satisfying dish, understanding the nutritional content of your meals is always important. This slow cooker beef stroganoff offers a good balance of protein, healthy fats, and carbohydrates, depending on what you serve it with.

          Let’s Break it Down

          Protein: Beef is an excellent source of protein, an essential nutrient for building and maintaining muscle tissue. A serving of this stroganoff (without considering noodles) can provide approximately 25-30 grams of protein, depending on the specific cut of beef used.

          Healthy Fats: Coconut milk, a key ingredient in this recipe, contains medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). These healthy fats are easily absorbed by the body and may offer some benefits like increased satiety and boosted metabolism. However, it’s important to remember that coconut milk is also a source of saturated fat, so moderation is key.

          Carbohydrates: The carbohydrate content of your stroganoff will depend on what you serve it with. Egg noodles or rice will naturally increase the carb content, while options like cauliflower rice or zoodles offer a lower-carb alternative.


          Craving a warm and satisfying meal without the limitations of dairy? This slow cooker beef stroganoff is your answer! This recipe offers endless customisation possibilities, so don’t be afraid to get creative! Add your favourite vegetables, embrace a touch of acidity with lemon juice, or kick it up a notch with some red pepper flakes. This dish will surely become a family favourite whether you serve it over classic egg noodles, flavorful cauliflower rice, or zucchini noodles.

          So ditch the takeout menus and gather your ingredients! With minimal prep and the magic of your slow cooker, you’ll be enjoying a delicious and comforting dairy-free stroganoff in no time. For an extra bit of convenience, prep the ingredients the night before and toss them in the slow cooker in the morning for a hassle-free dinner ready when you are. Now go forth and create a masterpiece in your slow cooker – your taste buds will thank you!

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