Beef Stew

My favorite cozy, hearty, comforting beef stew recipe — easy to make in the Instant Pot or Crock Pot, and always so delicious.

Beef Stew (Crock Pot or Instant Pot)

For years and years, you all have been requesting a classic beef stew recipe here on the blog.  So today, I’m happy to report that I’ve (finally!) photographed my favorite one to share with you.

Meet my go-to beef stew recipe. ♡

I’ve been making versions of this classic beef stew ever since I very first started teaching myself how to cook back in the day.  And while there are all sorts of creative and modern twists you can make on the classic nowadays, I’ve gotta admit that the throwback original will probably always be my fave.  Those of you who grew up with beef stew know exactly what I’m talkin’ about — ultra-tender juicy steak, hearty potatoes, savory mushrooms and veggies, all slowly simmered to perfection in a rich, savory, tomato-herb gravy.  And while it cooks, this stew also has the added bonus of making your home smell absolutely amazing.

I’ve included instructions below for options to either slow cook this recipe in the Crock-Pot (my old standard) or in the Instant Pot (much speedier).  And of course, I’ve also included suggestions for a number of fun add-ins that you’re welcome to include too.  Bottom line, if you’re craving some meat-and-potatoes comfort food, this beef stew recipe won’t let you down!

The Best Beef Stew Ingredients

Beef Stew Ingredients:

Alright, before we get to this beef stew recipe, let’s chat briefly about the ingredients you will need to make it…

  • Steak: Feel free to use whatever type of steak you love best as your beef stew meat.  I typically use chuck roast, diced into bite-sized pieces, which gets extra-tender the longer it cooks.
  • Butter (or olive oil): Which we will use to briefly sauté and sear the steak.
  • Beef stock: Which we will use as the base for our gravy.  That said, if you happen to have an open bottle of dry red or white wine on hand, I would highly recommend swapping in 1 cup of wine for 1 cup of the beef stock to amp up the flavor of the gravy even more.
  • Potatoes: I’m partial to using Yukon gold potatoes in beef stew, but Russets or red potatoes would also be delicious.
  • Mushrooms: I really love the savory umami flavor that mushrooms add to this recipe.  But if you happen to have someone in your house who really can’t stand mushrooms, you’re welcome to leave them out. 😉
  • Other veggies: I usually stick with the classic mix of carrots, celery and onion for beef stew.  If you want a prettier stew, feel free to use a bag of frozen pearl onions instead of a standard white onion.
  • Tomato paste: Feel free to adjust the amount to make the gravy as tomato-y as you prefer.
  • Worcestershire sauce: I always love adding this to steak soups and stews.
  • Bay leaves: A must!  Feel free to add in a few extras if you really love the taste of bay leaves.
  • Cornstarch: To thicken the gravy, if you would like.

See full recipe below for detailed ingredient amounts/directions.

Instant Pot Beef Stew

How To Make Beef Stew:

The steps for prepping slow cooker beef stew (Crock-Pot) and pressure cooker beef stew (Instant Pot) are basically the same.  Simply…

  1. Sear the steak (optional). Season the steak with salt and pepper.  Using either a separate sauté pan or the “Sauté” feature on the Instant Pot, briefly sauté the beef on all sides in melted butter until seared, working in batches if needed.  (This step is optional if you would like to save time.)
  2. Stir together ingredients. Add the remaining ingredients (minus the cornstarch and water) to the bowl of a large slow cooker or Instant Pot, briefly stir to combine, then cover.
  3. Cook.  For Crock Pot beef stew, slow cook for 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low.  For Instant Pot beef stew, cook on high pressure for 40 minutes, followed by a quick release.  Remove and discard the bay leaves.
  4. Add thickener (optional). If you would like to thicken the gravy at this point, make a quick cornstarch slurry by whisking together equal parts cornstarch and cold water.  Then stir it into the gravy, a few tablespoons at a time, until it reaches your desired level of thickness. (This step is also optional if you don’t mind a thin sauce.)
  5. Taste, season and serve. Add salt and pepper, to taste.  Then serve warm, garnished with some freshly-cracked black pepper if you would like.

Beef Stew Recipe (Crock Pot or Instant Pot)

Possible Variations:

As I mentioned above, there are all sorts of tasty ways that you can customize your own beef stew recipe.  For example, feel free to…

  • Add wine: If you happen to have dry red or white wine on hand, I would highly recommend subbing in 1 cup of wine in place of 1 cup of the beef stock to give the gravy extra depth of flavor.
  • Add extra herbs: I also love adding in a few sprigs of fresh thyme (or a teaspoon of dried thyme) to this recipe for extra flavor.
  • Add tomatoes: In place of (or in addition to) the tomato paste, feel free to add in a 15-ounce can of diced or crushed tomatoes.
  • Add a kick: It may sound odd, but I really love adding in a generous pinch of crushed red pepper flakes or some chopped pepperoncini peppers to beef stew to give it a little heat.
  • Use sweet potatoes: I’ve also tried making this beef stew recipe before using sweet potatoes (or a 50/50 sweet and Yukon gold potato blend), and the sweet/savory combo is lovely!
  • Speed things up: As I mentioned above, feel free to skip searing the beef if you would like to save some time.  The beef stew meat will still be plenty tender and delicious. 🙂

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Description

My favorite cozy, hearty, comforting beef stew recipe — easy to make in the Instant Pot or Crock-Pot.  Feel free to skip searing the steak if you would like to save time.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds chuck roast, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • sea salt and freshly-cracked black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
  • 2 1/2 cups beef stock, divided
  • 1 pound Yukon gold potatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 8 ounces baby bella mushrooms, halved or quartered
  • 1 medium white onion, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 2 large carrots, diced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch (plus 2 tablespoons cold water)

Instructions

Slow Cooker (Crock-Pot) Beef Stew:

  1. Sear the steak (optional). Season the steak evenly with salt and pepper.  Heat the butter in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat.  Add the steak in a single even layer — working in batches if needed — and cook the steak briefly on all sides until seared.  (This step is optional if you would like to save time.)
  2. Stir together ingredients. Add the steak, beef stock, potatoes, mushrooms, onion, celery, carrots, tomato paste, Worcestershire and bay leaves to the bowl of a large slow cooker.  Toss briefly to combine.
  3. Cook. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 7-8 hours, until the steak and veggies are tender.  Remove and discard the bay leaves.
  4. Add thickener (optional). In a separate bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and cold water until combined.  Add the mixture to the gravy a few tablespoons at a time, until it reaches your desired level of thickness.
  5. Taste, season and serve. Add salt and pepper to taste.  Serve warm.

Pressure Cooker (Instant Pot) Beef Stew:

  1. Sear the steak (optional). Season the steak evenly with salt and pepper.  Press the “Sauté” button on the Instant Pot.  Add the butter, followed by however much of the steak will fit in a single even layer — you will likely need to work in batches — and cook the steak briefly on all sides until seared.  (This step is optional if you would like to save time.)
  2. Stir together ingredients. Add the beef stock, potatoes, mushrooms, onion, celery, carrots, tomato paste, Worcestershire and bay leaves.  Toss briefly to combine.
  3. Cook. Press “Cancel”.  Cover the Instant Pot and set the lid to “Sealing.”  Then cook on high pressure for 40 minutes, followed by a quick release.  Remove and discard the bay leaves.
  4. Add thickener (optional). In a separate bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and cold water until combined.  Add the mixture to the gravy a few tablespoons at a time, until it reaches your desired level of thickness.
  5. Taste, season and serve. Add salt and pepper to taste.  Serve warm.

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