Honey Garlic Beef and Potatoes in the Slow Cooker

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Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Beef and Potatoes in a bowl with parsley on top.  It's a delicious easy dinner with tender beef cubes are cooked in the slow cooker with lots of delicious garlic, onions, and potatoes.  Then honey and molasses are added for that touch of sweet.

This Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Beef and Potatoes is a delicious easy dinner that’s incredibly savory, with a hint of sweet.  Tender beef cubes are cooked in the slow cooker with lots of delicious garlic, onions, cilantro, soy sauce, and potatoes.  Then honey and molasses are added for that touch of sweet that really takes this over the top!  The beef is fall apart, melt in your mouth tender.  The potatoes soak up all of the amazing sauce and flavors.   

This is one of those easy dinners that you can make almost entirely out of your freezer!  The beef, onion, and garlic, can all be stored in the freezer.  Thaw the beef overnight and add it to the slow cooker with the frozen garlic and onions, plus the rest of the ingredients.  Click here to get my printable cheat sheet with 10 Freezer Hacks to make easy dinners!

SLOW COOKER LOVE

It’s been a hot minute since I’ve posted a Slow Cooker Recipe.  So, I thought I would take a moment to list all of the fantastic benefits of this method of cooking!

  • Easy! You simply add the ingredients in the morning, then set the timer and it cooks dinner for you!
  • Healthy!  Because you are adding ingredients and liquid, you don’t need to add a ton of oil or butter.  That said, many recipes for the slow cooker are not exactly healthy.  Therefore, it’s up to you to use your discretion on which ingredients you add.
  • Economical!  Because the slow cooker can cook for up to 10 hours, you can use less expensive tough cuts of proteins.  They get beautifully tender in the slow cooker and taste incredible.
  • Abundant!  Since the slow cooker most often produces stews, soups, or other one-pot-meals, you can typically get a LOT of food from one cook.  That means you may get lunch or second dinner out of it!  
  • Get Ahead!  Not only are slow cooker dinners easy, but they can be prepped ahead and stored in the fridge or even the freezer!

Here are some of my favorite Slow Cooker Family Dinners:

Quick note!  This post contains affiliate links, which means I earn a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you purchase from them.  This commission is what helps me keep this blog afloat :).  I also share these links because I have used the products, genuinely love them, and want you to know exactly what I used. 

EQUIPMENT NEEDED

I made this recipe in a slow cooker. However, you could also make it in the oven in a dutch oven or small roasting pan with a lid. If you make this in a dutch oven, you will follow the same instructions, but instead cook it in the oven 450 F degrees for 3 hours.

It can also be helpful to cut the beef with kitchen shears, but you can also just cut with a knife. And mincing garlic is made super easy with a Garlic Press.

PREP-AHEAD STEPS YOUR HONEY GARLIC BEEF AND POTATOES

We are all extremely busy and making dinner during the week can be overwhelming. Here are steps you can prepare ahead to save time on busy nights! (See the full recipe below)

Peel and cut the onion into chunks. Add the onion, cilantro leaves, garlic cloves, and Worcestershire sauce to a food processor. Pulse to get the onion going and then puree until the onion and garlic are minced to about rice-size.

Cilantro, onion, garlic, and Soy sauce in food processor for Honey Garlic Beef and Potatoes. It's a delicious easy dinner made in the slow cooker with tender beef cubes are cooked in the slow cooker with lots of delicious garlic, onions, and potatoes.  Then honey and molasses are added for that touch of sweet.

Cilantro, onion, garlic, and Soy sauce blended in food processor for Honey Garlic Beef and Potatoes. It's a delicious easy dinner made in the slow cooker with tender beef cubes are cooked in the slow cooker with lots of delicious garlic, onions, and potatoes.  Then honey and molasses are added for that touch of sweet.

Cut the beef into 2-inch chunks.  You can use kitchen shears or a sharp chef’s knife.

Cutting brisket with cooking shears for Honey Garlic Beef and Potatoes. It's a delicious easy dinner made in the slow cooker with tender beef cubes are cooked in the slow cooker with lots of delicious garlic, onions, and potatoes.  Then honey and molasses are added for that touch of sweet.

Peel the potatoes and cut into 1-inch pieces. Add to the slow cooker pot. If you will not be cooking this right away, submerge the potatoes in cold water and store in the fridge. Before cooking, drain the potatoes and discard the water.

What kind of Beef to use?

As mentioned earlier, one of the benefits of slow cooker is that you can use less expensive tough cuts of beef.  The most commonly used beef cut for stew is Beef chuck, which comes from the shoulder and has a lot of connective tissue and it gets very tender when cooked for a long time.  I used brisket for this recipe, but you can use beef chuck or round.  Many stores have pre-cubed beef stew meat ready to buy.

COOK YOUR HONEY GARLIC BEEF AND POTATOES

To the slow cooker, add the potatoes, cut beef, onion mixture, broth, honey, molasses, salt, and pepper. Set the Slow Cooker to 6-10 hours, depending on your schedule.

Pouring honey over raw beef and other ingredients in slow cooker for Honey Garlic Beef and Potatoes. It's a delicious easy dinner made in the slow cooker with tender beef cubes are cooked in the slow cooker with lots of delicious garlic, onions, and potatoes.  Then honey and molasses are added for that touch of sweet.

All ingredients in slow cooker for Honey Garlic Beef and Potatoes. It's a delicious easy dinner made in the slow cooker with tender beef cubes are cooked in the slow cooker with lots of delicious garlic, onions, and potatoes.  Then honey and molasses are added for that touch of sweet.

What can I use instead of Molasses?

If you cannot find molasses, you can add 1/4 cup of Brown Sugar and then reduce the honey to 3 tablespoons.  Or you can simply leave the molasses out all together and increase the honey to 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons.

Can I freeze this?

You can freeze the ingredients before you cook it WITHOUT the broth.  Place all of the ingredients in a freezer bag or container in a flat layer.  When you are ready to cook it, place the frozen ingredients in the refrigerator to thaw 24 hours in advance.

Or you can cook it in the slow cooker and then portion it out and freeze it.  If you go this route, you can cook it in the oven straight from the freezer or thaw it 24 hours in advance in the fridge.

ENJOY!  😍 Carrie

Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Beef and Potatoes in a bowl with parsley on top. It's a delicious easy dinner with tender beef cubes are cooked in the slow cooker with lots of delicious garlic, onions, and potatoes.  Then honey and molasses are added for that touch of sweet.
5 from 1 vote
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Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Beef and Potatoes

This Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Beef and Potatoes is a delicious easy dinner that's incredibly savory, with a hint of sweet.  Tender beef cubes are cooked in the slow cooker with lots of delicious garlic, onions, and potatoes.  Then honey and molasses are added for that touch of sweet that really takes this over the top!  The beef is fall apart, melt in your mouth tender.  The potatoes soak up all of the amazing sauce and flavors. 

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword beef recipes, beef stew, Brisket, family dinner, slow cooker
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 8 hours
Servings 6 servings
Calories 472 kcal
Author Carrie Tyler

Ingredients

  • 1 Small Onion
  • 6 cloves Garlic (6 teaspoons minced)
  • 1 cup Fresh Cilantro Leaves
  • 1/4 cup Soy Sauce
  • 2-3 lbs beef brisket boneless
  • 2 large Russet potatoes
  • 1 cup beef Broth or chicken Broth
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup Molasses
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper

Instructions

Prep-Ahead Steps

  1. Peel and cut the onion into chunks. Add the onion, cilantro leaves, garlic cloves, and Worcestershire sauce to a food processor. Pulse to get the onion going and then puree until the onion and garlic are minced to about rice-size.

    Cilantro, onion, garlic, and Soy sauce blended in food processor for Honey Garlic Beef and Potatoes. It's a delicious easy dinner made in the slow cooker with tender beef cubes are cooked in the slow cooker with lots of delicious garlic, onions, and potatoes.  Then honey and molasses are added for that touch of sweet.
  2. Cut the beef into 2-inch chunks.

    Cutting brisket with cooking shears for Honey Garlic Beef and Potatoes. It's a delicious easy dinner made in the slow cooker with tender beef cubes are cooked in the slow cooker with lots of delicious garlic, onions, and potatoes.  Then honey and molasses are added for that touch of sweet.
  3. Peel the potatoes and cut into 1-inch pieces. Add to the slow cooker pot. If you will not be cooking this right away, submerge the potatoes in cold water and store in the fridge. Before cooking, drain the potatoes and discard the water.

Cooking Steps

  1. To the slow cooker, add the potatoes, cut beef, onion mixture, broth, honey, molasses, salt, and pepper. Set the Slow Cooker to 8 hours.

    Pouring honey over raw beef and other ingredients in slow cooker for Honey Garlic Beef and Potatoes. It's a delicious easy dinner made in the slow cooker with tender beef cubes are cooked in the slow cooker with lots of delicious garlic, onions, and potatoes.  Then honey and molasses are added for that touch of sweet.

Recipe Notes

  1. I made this recipe in a slow cooker. However, you could also make it in the oven in a dutch oven or small roasting pan with a lid. If you make this in a dutch oven, you will follow the same instructions, but instead cook it in the oven 450 F degrees for 3 hours.
  2. I used Brisket for this, but you can use beef chuck, beef round, or buy the pre-cubed beef stew meat.
  3. The 6 servings were based on 2 lbs of beef brisket.  If you have more beef, you will get more servings.

Incredible Healthy Meatballs with Zucchini & Lean Beef

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Healthy Meatballs with Zucchini & Lean Beef on a plate with fork cutting into one and pan in background.  They're loaded with flavor from the garlic, minced onion, salt, and pepper.  The zucchini brings moisture, texture, and bulks up the meatballs with healthiness.

Flavorful, succulent, moist, salty, garlic-y, and healthy.  Is there anything better in a meatball? Get ready to have your world rocked!  These are my Incredible Healthy Meatballs with Zucchini & Lean Beef.  From this point on, you will never want to eat a meatball without zucchini again!  No, really.  

These incredible meatballs are loaded with flavor from the garlic, minced onion, salt, and pepper.  Because the garlic and onion are both minced, they really infuse every morsel of meat with big flavor.  The zucchini brings so much more to this flavor party!  It brings moisture, texture, and bulks up the meatballs with healthiness.

These meatballs are super easy to make ahead and freeze for busy weeknights.  Want more freezer tips for making busy family dinners easier?  Click here to get my printable cheat sheet with 10 Freezer Hacks to make easy dinners!

What Makes These Healthy Meatballs?

First, I want to acknowledge that “healthy” means something different to everyone.  Always consult your doctor for any dietary changes and regarding your own health.  That said, healthy for me and for my family means a balanced diet with real food, high in vitamins and nutrients.  I also try to keep calories in check with lean meats.  

First, these Healthy Meatballs use lean ground beef without antibiotics.  I used 90% lean (only 10% fat) ground beef.  You will pay more per pound for really lean beef, but it’s worth it in my opinion.  

Second, adding zucchini into these meatballs acts as a healthy filler – more veg, less beef needed per meatball.  Zucchini has great health benefits!  It’s low in calories and packed with vitamins and minerals, particularly vitamin A.  Zucchini is also rich in antioxidants that are linked to benefits for your eyes, skin, and heart.  

Overall, you get about 24 meatballs with 6 meatballs at 282 calories, 4 meatballs only has 188 calories.

Meatballs for Days!

These Healthy Meatballs with Zucchini are so versatile!  You can add them to a variety of dishes with potentially just a few other ingredients to change the flavor profile.  Here are some of my favorite meatball recipes where you could swap in these Healthy Meatballs!

Quick note!  This post contains affiliate links, which means I earn a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you purchase from them.  This commission is what helps me keep this blog afloat :).  I also share these links because I have used the products, genuinely love them, and want you to know exactly what I used. 

EQUIPMENT NEEDED

For this recipe, you need a food processor for the onions, garlic, and zucchini. I used my go-to mini food processor.

If you are making the meatballs in the oven to add to another recipe, you need a large skillet/frying pan for searing the meatballs on all sides. I use my absolute favorite 12″ Ceramic Pan, which is great because food really does slide right off with minimal oil and I don’t have to worry about food sticking and burning.  Then you need a large sheet pan (I use a 17×11) to finish baking the meatballs in the oven.

If you are going to make these meatballs and finish them in a sauce (tomato or cream or other sauce) you will want a dutch oven or skillet that is large enough to hold the meatballs and the sauce.

PREP-AHEAD STEPS FOR YOUR HEALTHY MEATBALLS

We are all extremely busy and making dinner during the week can be overwhelming. Here are steps you can prepare ahead to save time on busy nights! (See the full recipe below)

To make the meatball prep as easy and painless as possible, you can chop finely all of the ingredients right in a food processor! 

Peel the onion, cut off the stems, cut it into quarters and put into the food processor. Pulse and then blend until chopped up into small rice-size pieces. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.

Minced onion in food processor for Healthy Meatballs with Zucchini & Lean Beef. They're loaded with flavor from the garlic, minced onion, salt, and pepper.  The zucchini brings moisture, texture, and bulks up the meatballs with healthiness.

Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise and then cut into thick slices. Add all pieces to the food processor and blend until complete chopped up into small rice to pea-size pieces. Transfer the zucchini to a clean dish towel or thick paper towel and then squeeze out the excess liquid. Then add the zucchini to the bowl with the onion.

Minced zucchini in food processor for Healthy Meatballs with Zucchini & Lean Beef. They're loaded with flavor from the garlic, minced onion, salt, and pepper.  The zucchini brings moisture, texture, and bulks up the meatballs with healthiness.

Hand squeezing liquid out of towel with zucchini for Healthy Meatballs with Zucchini & Lean Beef. They're loaded with flavor from the garlic, minced onion, salt, and pepper.  The zucchini brings moisture, texture, and bulks up the meatballs with healthiness.

To the onion and the zucchini, add the minced garlic and egg. Mix everything together and then add in the ground beef, breadcrumbs, salt, and pepper. Mix the beef together with everything making sure that it is evenly mixed through.

Ingredients in bowl for Healthy Meatballs with Zucchini & Lean Beef. They're loaded with flavor from the garlic, minced onion, salt, and pepper.  The zucchini brings moisture, texture, and bulks up the meatballs with healthiness.

Meatball ingredients mixed in bowl for Healthy Meatballs with Zucchini & Lean Beef. They're loaded with flavor from the garlic, minced onion, salt, and pepper.  The zucchini brings moisture, texture, and bulks up the meatballs with healthiness.

Divide the mixture in half in the bowl, so that you can make sure to get 12 meatballs from each half, for a total of 24. Scoop out a heaping tablespoon or small ice cream scoop of the meat mixture and roll into a ball. Place on a baking sheet. Do this for the rest of the meat mixture. Either cover with plastic wrap and store in the fridge or move on to cooking.

Raw meatballs on pan for Healthy Meatballs with Zucchini & Lean Beef. They're loaded with flavor from the garlic, minced onion, salt, and pepper.  The zucchini brings moisture, texture, and bulks up the meatballs with healthiness.

Can I make these gluten free?

To make these meatballs gluten free, you can either replace the breadcrumbs with a gluten free prepared breadcrumbs or make your own.  I love to buy gluten free bread and toast it in the oven at a low temperature, such as 250 F until it’s fully dried out.  Then pulse in the food processor to turn into breadcrumbs.

You can also replace the breadcrumbs with grated parmesan cheese.

Can I freeze the Meatballs Raw?

Yes, these freeze incredibly well!  Place the raw meatballs on a sheet pan and then directly into the freezer to flash freeze.  Once they are frozen, you can transfer them to a storage bag.  They will keep in the freezer for 4-5 months.  Then bake them in the oven 400 F degrees directly from the freezer for 30 minutes.

COOK YOUR HEALTHY MEATBALLS

Preheat a large skillet or dutch oven (if you are going to add tomato sauce). Add a teaspoon of olive oil and spread it around. Add the meatballs (don’t overcrowd) and cook on each side until browned (a minute or so for each side).

Meatballs cooking in pot for Healthy Meatballs with Zucchini & Lean Beef. They're loaded with flavor from the garlic, minced onion, salt, and pepper.  The zucchini brings moisture, texture, and bulks up the meatballs with healthiness.

Once all sides are browned, transfer to a sheet pan to finish in the oven or transfer to a plate if you will be making sauce in the same pan.

Finish Cooking in the Oven

To finish cooking your meatballs in the oven, you will place them on a sheet pan.  This method is great for dinners where you are adding meatballs to a sandwich, a salad, or just eating them with a dipping sauce.  To a 400 F degree oven, finish cooking the meatballs for 10 minutes or until cooked through to the center.

Finish Cooking in a Sauce

If you are going to make a sauce, using the meatball pan and finishing the meatballs in the sauce is the way to get the most flavor!  After removing the meatballs to the plate, use the same pan to add your onions, garlic, or any other ingredients to the pan and then the liquids.  Scrape the bottom of the pan to get all of the wonderful brown meatball bits.  Once your sauce is assembled and ready to simmer, add the meatballs back and let them finish cooking in the sauce.  It may take about 10 minutes for them to cook through, but you can remove one to test it.

What to eat on the Side!

Well, if your making a sauce, then pasta, rice, quinoa, or bread for dipping are all good options.  Here is my Easy Luscious Creamy Tomato Sauce Recipe.  Or just get your favorite jarred Marinara sauce from the store!  When the meatballs simmer in the sauce it deepens the flavor to make it taste more homemade.

Other options for sides….Try my Roasted Garlic Cauliflower Mash for a healthy side!  Or my Mushroom Quinoa Risotto!  Or how about this Green Rice!

ENJOY!  😍 Carrie

Healthy Meatballs with Zucchini & Lean Beef on a plate with fork cutting into one and pan in background. They're loaded with flavor from the garlic, minced onion, salt, and pepper.  The zucchini brings moisture, texture, and bulks up the meatballs with healthiness.
5 from 1 vote
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Incredible Healthy Meatballs with Zucchini and Lean Beef

Flavorful, succulent, moist, salty, garlic-y, and healthy.  Is there anything better in a meatball? These Incredible Healthy Meatballs with Zucchini & Lean Beef are loaded with flavor from the garlic, minced onion, salt, and pepper.  Because the garlic and onion are both minced, they really infuse every morsel of meat with big flavor.  The zucchini brings so much more to this flavor party!  It brings moisture, texture, and bulks up the meatballs with healthiness.

Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword ground beef, healthy dinner, Meatballs, zucchini
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 282 kcal
Author Carrie Tyler

Ingredients

  • 1 pound Ground beef 90% lean
  • 1 Zucchini medium
  • 1 Onion small
  • 2 Garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup Breadcrumbs
  • 1 Egg, large
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoons Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
  • Optional: Easy Luscious Creamy Tomato Sauce Recipe (see recipe for ingredients & details)

Instructions

Prep Ahead Steps

  1. Peel the onion, cut off the stems, cut it into quarters and put into the food processor. Pulse and then blend until chopped up into small rice-size pieces. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.

  2. Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise and then cut into thick slices. Add all pieces to the food processor and blend until complete chopped up into small rice to pea-size pieces. Transfer the zucchini to a clean dish towel or thick paper towel and then squeeze out the excess liquid. Then add the zucchini to the bowl with the onion.

  3. To the onion and the zucchini, add the minced garlic and egg. Mix everything together and then add in the ground beef, breadcrumbs, salt, and pepper. Mix the beef together with everything making sure that it is evenly mixed through.

  4. Divide the mixture in half in the bowl, so that you can make sure to get 12 meatballs from each half, for a total of 24. Scoop out a heaping tablespoon or small ice cream scoop of the meat mixture and roll into a ball. Place on a baking sheet. Do this for the rest of the meat mixture. Either cover with plastic wrap and store in the fridge or move on to cooking.

Cooking Steps

  1. Preheat a large skillet or dutch oven (if you are going to add tomato sauce). Add a teaspoon of olive oil and spread it around. Add the meatballs (don't overcrowd) and cook on each side until browned (a minute or so for each side). Once all sides are browned, transfer to a sheet pan to finish in the oven or transfer to a plate if you will be making sauce in the same pan.

  2. OVEN: If you're finishing in the oven, preheat the oven 400 F degrees. Place the meatballs on a sheet pan.  Bake in the oven on center rack for 10 minutes or until cooked through to the center.

  3. IN SAUCE: Cook your sauce in the same pan or pot used to cook the meatballs. Once your sauce is assembled and ready to simmer, add the meatballs back and let them finish cooking in the sauce.  It may take about 10 minutes for them to cook through, but you can remove one to test it.

Recipe Notes

Serving Size = 6 meatballs (assumes 24 meatballs in this recipe)