Coconut Beef CrockPot Recipe

Day 225.

I bought some really cheap stew meat the other day, and played around with a few different coconut and curry recipes to make a coconut beef. I was concerned that the meat wouldn't tenderize as much as I would like--because I needed to cook it on high in 4 hours, instead of low for 8. I didn't need to worry. The meat was tender and infused with a great coconut creamy flavor.

The Ingredients.

--1-2 lbs stew meat
--1 yellow onion, cut in chunks
--1 can coconut milk
--1 juice from one lime
--2 T of butter (optional. I used it, but don't think it needs it next time)
--2 cloves chopped garlic
--2 tsp brown sugar
--1 tsp curry powder
--1/2 tsp ground coriander
--1 tsp cumin
--1 1/2 T chili paste (or 1-2 tsp red chili flakes)
--1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated

The Directions.

I used a 6qt Smart-Pot for this dish. Anything 4qt and up will work.

If using, put butter into crockpot, and turn it on to begin to melt. Add meat, lime juice, and coconut milk. Follow with the onion and garlic. Add the brown sugar and all the spices. Grate the ginger. Toss meat a bit in the liquid and spices to coat.

Cover and cook on high for 4 hours, or on low for 8.

The coconut milk will be yellow from the curry, and will separate a bit. A quick stir will turn it all creamy again.

Serve over white or brown rice.

The Verdict.

I liked this a lot. So did the kids, Adam, and my in-laws. We will most definitely make this again. Although it looks like there are a lot of ingredients, don't be intimidated. Once you find all the spice bottles, it comes together really quickly. This can easily be assembled the night before. Like always, if you are going to use a crock straight from the fridge, let it sit on the counter for a bit to warm up before plugging in. You aren't supposed to "shock" the crock.

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Posted by: Stephanie O'Dea | A Year of Slow Cooking at August 12, 2008

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What they say about this article

  1. Anonymous8/12/2008

    hey steph,

    this is an interesting combination of flavors. i like the meals where you have to cross your fingers and hope they turn out edible.

    i have a question about coconut milk that you might know. how long can i keep an opened can of it in the fridge? most of the recipes i make use half a can or so and the can doesn't specify how many days. do you have any idea?


  2. This looks superfantastic. Do you think I could use the "light" coconut milk to achieve equally delicious results?

  3. Hi Joanna, I don't really know. I do know that it's better to pour it into a tupperware than to keep it in the can. I'd probably feel safe using it in the next week or so, and if not, I'd freeze it.

    seattle coffee girl, I haven't had the best of luck with light coconut milk. It could be because we have been eating a lot of Indian or Thai food lately that uses the "real" stuff, so my tongue wants the thicker consistency. If you do opt for the light, you might want to add a bit of fat free half and half at the very end to achieve that velvety feel on your tongue.


  4. this looks like an interesting recipe. I'm not a big fan of coconut but I love pina coladas.....go figure! Maybe this will be on the list for new autumn crockpot meals. Thanks for posting this!

  5. Anonymous8/12/2008

    Hi Steph,

    I love my crockpot! It was a gift
    over 6 years ago and I still love it! I haven't been very daring with my recipes, but since stumbling across your recipe's, I can't wait! I bought a bigger one just today so I can stop borrowing my nephew's cp.

    I think it is awesome what you are doing, and I look forward to your daily recipes; the good, the bad and the ugly.

  6. I stumbled across your blog from someone else's and I love the idea you had of using your crockpot everyday! I am also a big fan of the crockpot. There is nothing better than opening up the door after a long day at work and smelling that yummy dinner that's already ready!

    I am fairly new to the blogging world and have just started a recipe blog, as well.

    I enjoy your posts and I look forward to trying many of your suggestions.

  7. Anonymous8/12/2008

    This is now dinner for tomorrow night. Believe it or not, I have everything to make it sitting here. Something to be said for buying 1/4 cow every year! LOL! Thanks!

  8. Anonymous8/12/2008


    If you (or anyone else in the house) likes Smoothies...use the rest of the coconut milk in that...really good with bananas and pineapple.


    I think we'll have smoothies for breakfast tomorrow.

  9. You can freeze coconut milk. Just shake it up when defrosted.

  10. Anonymous8/13/2008

    About "shocking" the crock (never a good thing to do) ... Whenever I want to marinate something overnight before crockpotting it, I mix everything up in a gallon-size ziplock bag and let it all sit in that in the fridge overnight, then dump everything into the room-temp stoneware the next morning. Works great.

  11. oh what a great idea, Zoe. I'm filing that away in my brain. awesome advice.


  12. I've started this for supper tonight. I gave it a good stir before I left for work and tasted the sauce. One word: YUM! I can't wait to try it out tonight!

  13. Oh my goodness! I made this for our Friday night dinner. Usually we are way too tired to cook and end up getting pizza or fast food. So today we decided to change it up and go crockpot with this recipe. It was so fantastically good. We loved it and will be making it again. It has a very complex taste with all of the flavors coming together. It was really outstanding.

    Thank you!

  14. Hi Crockpot Lady,
    This recipe sounds delicious, I have some venison filling up my freezer because I just really don't like so I don't use it you think this recipe would be a good one to make venison more beef-like?

  15. Anonymous8/19/2008

    I didn't really care for this recipe. I had to add a lot of salt for the flavors to come out. I wouldn't make this again. I'm trying the brown sugar chicken next. You've inspired me to use my crockpot more often. Ever since I found your website, I've been using mine at least once a week. Thanks for the inspiration!

  16. This was so delicious, it made me tear up. Well, that, and the loads of chili flakes I added to the crockpot. Ha!

    DH said it tastes better than the stuff we order at our favorite Thai restaurant. This one's a keeper. And I'm definitely taking your advice about the "no light coconut milk" bit. Body and texture are better with full fat!

  17. Anonymous8/25/2008

    Hey Stephanie -- I'm making this RIGHT NOW and your directions don't say when to add the lime juice. Into the crock? At the end? HELP!

  18. add it in with the rest of the stuff, Mir! You can also garnish with some lime wedges to be extra fancy-schmancy.


  19. Hi Steph,

    I cooked this today, finally (I see the trackbacks give me away - putting it on the menu plan for the second week in a row did the trick!), it turned out beautifully :) Many thanks for sharing all your crockpotting adventures.

  20. I made this yesterday, and it turned out great, though I think I used too much beef. The sauce was more beefy than coconutty. Next time if I use that much I'll double the sauce ingredients.

    This tasted alot like mussamun curry that we get at our local thai place! I also added a couple of sweet potatoes which are excellent with this dish. I had some leftover daikon and cabbage so I threw that in for the final 2 hours, and while they were fine, they aren't something I'll probably add next time.

    Hubby liked it, but he said the reheated leftovers tonight tasted even better! For ten minutes straight I kept hearing comments from the living room like, "This is great!" and "These leftovers rock!," etc. :D

    This is a keeper!! I wonder how it would taste with chicken....

  21. Anonymous10/02/2008

    Being new to this, I wish I had checked the comments before making the dish. It was very good, my two teens loved it, but it was very thin because I used the lite coconut milk. Next time I'll use the regular!

  22. Very tasty! Thanks for the recipe! All of yours are unique and interesting! They are stretching me out of my everyday routine.

  23. Anonymous2/20/2009

    I tried this recipe yesterday. It was good, but my meat came out very dry. I cooked it on low for 8 hours in the crockpot. I'm thinking a couple hours less might have helped or a better quality beef. The coconut flavor was very faint, so I added some shredded coconut to help boost the flavor a little. Thanks for the recipe!

  24. Hi there, stumbled on your blog and I'll be visiting a lot! I've made a few attempts to do a coconut beef recipe in the slow cooker and haven't found the right mix. I have hiiiigh hopes for this one...

  25. I actually tried this recipe and I did not like it at all. I think the curry overpowered the entire dish. I would not make this again. I have used a lot of your recipes but I would not do this one again.

  26. Wonder what I did wrong? Made this a few days ago, and am guessing the problem was the Lite coconut milk. It smelled great, but didn't taste that coconutty or even that flavorful (the taste of the beef seemed to be most prominent). Hmm. Maybe I'll tweak it and use the full-fat coconut milk and give it another shot!

  27. Yum! I made this with lite coconut and more lemon juice than lime but it still tastes fantastic! I do agree, though, that it would be even better with regular coconut milk.

  28. I seem to have screwed this up big time. I was so excited about it, but I think the meat I used was too fatty because the sauce is just a greasy, gritty mess. I'm so sad as it was my first meal in my new Crock Pot (my old one died after 10 years) and I have really been wanting to try some of your recipes! Oh well, try try again I guess

  29. I know I'm a little late to the party on this one, but I saw it in the (amazing!) book and had to give it a try - YUM! It kinda scared the hubby at first, but he went back for more.

  30. I bought some yukon gold potatos and considering adding it to the bottom of the crockpot...hoping the spices, milk etc will absorb into the potato...
    Here goes nothing!

  31. Anonymous2/07/2011

    I made this for my family and they LOVED it!! I added some peas at the end and it was delish

  32. I made this dish and wrote about it here. The whole family enjoyed it but it made A LOT!!. I ended up making a sort of shepherd's pie out of the leftovers and that was tasty too. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  33. I am SOOO thankful for your site. I am on a month-long No Eating Out challenge and this is making it easier for me. Accustomed to eating something different pretty much every night, your recipes will keep my taste buds from getting bored.

  34. Yeah for this recipe!
    I liked it a lot!
    I used the light coconut milk and found it worked great - but i only cook with the light so i might be used to the lighter thickness!
    Great way to cook up some yummy stew meat! Thanks again!

  35. Angelle10/11/2011

    I made this today with 1 lb of meat, however, it had a lot of grease floating on top. I used basic stew meat, which did not appear to be very fatty (?) It was just too much to mix in, so I used a gravy separator to get as much grease out as possible. The sauce was also thin, so I thickened it on the stove with cornstarch. The sauce actually has a nice flavor (minus the oil!) The dish did need salt added for my taste. So, mixed reaction on this one : ) Maybe I'll try again with chicken, pork or extra LEAN beef.

  36. CaseyK1/16/2012

    Would it be possible to put this all in a bag and freeze it to cook later? Im wondering if I need to add everything ahead of time or some later on. Also how long will it last in the freezer? I have 3 recipes I am starting today but dont want to make them all back to back right now.

    Thanks so much!

  37. I borrowed 'Make it Fast' from the library. Glad I didn't buy it. I remember reading the the 'verdict' section and thinking that the wording oddly suggested the author had made the recipe only once at one of the settings described. If only I'd paid more attention! I cooked this recipe on the low setting for 8 hrs and now have pounds of disgustingly mealy over-cooked beef. What a waste. The author not only did not adequately test the recipe before print but seems not to have read the freely given advice of users of this site either (if only I'd seen the feedback of 'Tracy'!). Very disappointing.

  38. Would a london broil cut up into small chunks work for this recipe? I have one in the freezer from a BOGOF sale...

  39. I made this and it was good, but like a couple of others I added salt.

    To those complaining that 8 hours is too long, you really need to know your own slow cooker.. Mine cooks fast too, and I need to factor that into every recipe that I use -- not just Stephanie's recipes. 8 hours is commonly recommended for beef, but in my particular slow cooker, that will burn it every time.

  40. This is great!

    I used a beef roast, so it shredded when cooked, which was great for my toddler.

    I'd double the chili paste and lime juice next time - couldn't taste either.

    Served it with sticky rice and steamed broccoli, and it was a hit!