This Low-Carb Slow Cooker Mexican Beef Stew, also known as Estofado, takes stew to a whole new level. This crock pot recipe boasts tender chunks of beef slow cooked in salsa goodness. This easy recipe can be part of a keto, Atkins, gluten-free, Paleo, grain-free, or Banting diet.


Low-Carb Slow Cooker Mexican Beef Stew-on a bed of riced cauliflower.

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The recipe for Low-Carb Mexican Beef Stew

Who’s up for a warming stew infused with Mexican goodness? This dish is comfort in a bowl. It’s one of those low-carb dishes that the entire family will enjoy–even the kids. 


One feature of this dish that makes it very easy to make is that I use prepared salsa. This keeps chopping and measuring ingredients to a minimum. 


Different brands and types of salsa will change the flavor of this dish a bit. I used a salsa I found in the deli area of my grocery store. It was basically chopped up tomatoes, onions, peppers, cilantro and a few other ingredients. 


Be careful about which salsa you choose as some of them contain large amounts of sugar. You will want to read the labels carefully. 


The inspiration

This recipe was inspired by a recipe for Estofado in Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Cookbook. This cookbook is brimming with recipes made in the slow cooker, but many are not low-carb or keto-friendly. 


The recipe for Estofado was one such recipe. It uses wheat flour to help brown the meat and thicken the stew. Since wheat flour has lots of carbs and contains gluten, I knew it would be a no-go for most of my followers.


To make my version of the recipe work for many of you, I would need to find an appropriate substitution for the wheat flour.


Low-Carb Slow Cooker Mexican Beef Stew-Served in a ceramic bowl.


What is the best keto-friendly thickener for a stew?

Stews are typically thickened with wheat flour, corn starch, or arrowroot starch. Sometimes pureed root veggies or beans are used. All of these choices contain a lot of carbs. 


There are a few ways to thicken stews without as many carbs. These include, but are not limited to, adding heavy whipping cream, cream cheese, xanthan gum, or even a bit of tomato paste. 


Recently I’ve been experimenting with a new thickener, glucomannan. Glucomannan comes from the konjac root. Don’t panic when you look at the label because it does have a lot of total carbs. The thing is,  almost all of those carbs are fiber.


Since we do not digest fiber, we can subtract it from the total carb count to get the net carb count. Fiber from the konjac root may have additional health benefits, like decreasing cholesterol, improving carbohydrate metabolism, and promoting a healthy digestive system.


The thing I love most about using glucomannan as a thickener is how well it performs in the kitchen. This powder works wonderfully as a thickener in this recipe helping to both develop a tasty browned coating on the beef and also to thicken the sauce.


The consistency of the sauce resembles that of a traditional stew in every way. It doesn’t add any weird flavor or consistency. 


I have used glucomannan in sweet recipes such as my keto chocolate pudding successfully as well. It is not limited to savory recipes.


Low-Carb Slow Cooker Mexican Beef Stew-overhead shot.


How to serve Low-Carb Mexican Beef Stew

This stew can be served by itself with just a simple salad to make it a meal. You could also spoon it over a bed of cauliflower rice, like I show in a few of these photos.


To prepare the cauliflower rice I show in the photos, I simply melted about a tablespoon of butter in a large skillet, then added a 12 ounce package of frozen riced cauliflower and stirred it until hot. I seasoned it to taste with sea salt and added a bit of cilantro for a touch of green. 


An alternative to spooning this stew over cauliflower rice is to serve it over low carb noodles like these keto noodles from Low Carb Yum.


The Mexican flare of this dish lends itself to all kinds of toppings. A spoonful of salsa, sour cream, or guacamole on top would add some additional goodness to this recipe. Slices of avocado or a sprinkle of shredded cheese make wonderful additions as well.

How to store beef stew

In the unlikely event that you have leftover stew, you can store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 or 4 days. 


To reheat stew, I transfer it into a sauce pan and gently heating it on the stove, stirring occasionally, until hot. 


Can Low-Carb Mexican Beef Stew be frozen?

If you need to store your leftover stew for more than three or four days, you will need to freeze it. 


To prepare it for freezing, pour cooled stew into a freezer-safe container. Be sure to leave at least 1/2 inch or so at the top of the container as the stew will expand as it freezes. 


Cover the containers tightly, then pop them in the freezer. I like to use single serving containers so I don’t need to defrost the whole amount if I just need one serving.


Once the stew has been defrosted, do not refreeze. 


Final words

This Low-Carb Slow Cooker Mexican Beef Stew makes a wonderful meal the whole family will love. It’s an easy dish to make and has quickly become one of our favorite dinners. Enjoy!




A spoonful of Low-Carb Slow Cooker Mexican Beef Stew resting on a plate.
5 from 1 vote

Low-Carb Slow Cooker Mexican Beef Stew

This Low-Carb Slow Cooker Mexican Beef Stew, also known as Estofado, takes stew to a whole new level. This crock pot recipe boasts tender chunks of beef slow cooked in salsa goodness. This easy recipe can be part of a keto, Atkins, gluten-free, Paleo, grain-free, or Banting diet.

Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword keto mexican food, low carb mexican food
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Servings 6 servings
Calories 361 kcal
Author Annissa Slusher


  • 1 teaspoon sea salt (if desired)
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon glucomannan
  • 2 pound stew meat cut into one inch squares
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil (or oil of choice)
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine
  • 1/2 cup salsa (sugar-free)
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon parsley or cilantro


  1. Place the sea salt, black pepper and glucomannan in a plastic bag or a mixing bowl. Close bag and shake to blend. If using a mixing bowl, whisk it together.

    Making the coating for Low-Carb Slow Cooker Mexican Beef Stew.
  2. Add the stew meat to the bag (or bowl) and close the bag. Shake (or stir) to lightly coat the beef with the dry mixture.

    Coating the meat for Low-Carb Slow Cooker Mexican Beef Stew.
  3. Heat a skillet over medium high heat. Add the avocodo oil. When the oil is hot, add the onion. Cook onion, stirring frequently until softened and edges are just starting to brown. Transfer to the slow cooker.

    Sauteing onions in a pan.
  4. Add part of the beef to the skillet. Do not overload the skillet. The chunks of beef should not touch. Brown all sides of the beef in batches, then transfer to the slow cooker. If needed, add more oil to the skillet.

    Browning the meat in a pan.
  5. After all of the beef has been browned and transferred to the slow cooker, add the wine to the skillet. Bring wine to a simmer, scraping up all of the browned bits in the pan. Simmer for 1 or 2 minutes to thicken slightly. Transfer to the slow cooker.

    Overhead photo of deglazing the pan for the sauce.
  6. Add salsa, red wine vinegar, cumin, and water to the crock pot. Stir and cover. Cook stew on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4-6 hours. Generally I find that the lower end of the cooking range works well for this recipe.

    Overhead shot of all the ingredients in the slow cooker.
  7. Stir in cilantro or parsley just before stirring.

    Adding the cilantro into the slow cooker.
Nutrition Facts
Low-Carb Slow Cooker Mexican Beef Stew
Amount Per Serving (6 ounces)
Calories 361 Calories from Fat 216
% Daily Value*
Fat 24g37%
Saturated Fat 9g56%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 100mg33%
Sodium 611mg27%
Potassium 107mg3%
Carbohydrates 7g2%
Fiber 6g25%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 29g58%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.