This hearty beef stew is the ultimate in comfort food! It’s the coziest meal, and it’s perfect with rustic bread on the side.
This version is loaded with beef and vegetables, and it’s accompanied by a rich, nicely thickened broth.
This quick and easy beef stew recipe can be made in an instant pot, slow cooker, oven, or on the stovetop.
We’ll show you how to make this delicious homemade beef stew in a variety of ways so you can make it however suits you best.
Tender, melt-in-your-mouth beef chunks are served with soft, comforting potatoes and carrots. We guarantee that this will be the best beef stew recipe you’ve ever had!
- The Best Cooling Rack to Buy
- The Best Instant Pot Test Kitchen To Buy
- Different Betwee Corn Beef and Brisket
WHAT’S THE BEST BEEF FOR BEEF STEW?
For beef stew, I recommend using chuck roast (which comes from the cow’s shoulder).
It has a nice beefy flavor and is well marbled with fat. Furthermore, it may be less expensive than other options.
HOW TO MAKE HOMEMADE BEEF STEW?
Let’s start with how we made this simple vegetable beef stew recipe.
- Preheat oven: While the rest of the ingredients are being prepared, preheat the oven to 325° F.
- Prepare the beef by seasoning it on all sides with salt and pepper. Toss the seasoned beef with the flour to coat it on all sides.
- Warm Skillet: In a large Dutch oven over medium heat, heat the olive oil. If you don’t have a dutch oven, use an oven-safe skillet or pot with a lid instead.
- Cook the beef in batches, browning it on all sides for 3-4 minutes per batch. At this point, don’t worry about fully cooking the beef. Place the browned beef on a plate and set it aside.
- Then add the onions, garlic, and carrots to the Dutch oven and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 minutes, or until lightly browned. Scrape the browned bits from the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon before adding the potatoes, beef broth, tomato paste, bay leaf, thyme, and Worcestershire sauce.
- Stirring constantly, bring the mixture to a simmer, then return the beef to the pot.
- Cook in an Oven: Cover the Dutch oven (pot) and place it in a preheated oven. Cook for 2-2.5 hours, or until the beef is tender. Take out the bay leaf.
- When ready to serve, taste the stew and season with more salt and pepper, if desired. Serve hot.
HOW TO THICKEN BEEF STEW?
This beef stew is thickened with a lot of flour, so there should be no problems with it thickening.
If you have another type of stew that didn’t come out thick enough, you can always combine a tablespoon of cornstarch with equal parts water or beef broth, then stir it into the stew and let it simmer for a few minutes until thickened.
HOW TO MAKE A SLURRY?
A slurry is extremely simple to make! Stir together equal parts cornstarch and water. I told you it was simple!
Pour a little of this mixture at a time into a bubbling soup or stew to thicken until desired consistency is reached.
Allow your stew to boil for at least 1-2 minutes after it has thickened to ensure that any starchy flavor has been cooked out.
If left to sit before adding to the soup or stew, a slurry will form within a few minutes, so give it a good stir before adding it.
Instead of water, I sometimes combine the cornstarch with low sodium (or no sodium) broth.
- Include more vegetables, such as mushrooms, peas, kale, spinach, corn, or parsnips.
- To increase the depth of flavor, add some minced anchovies, a little soy sauce, or an extra 1/2 cup red wine in place of the 1/2 cup beef broth.
- Cooking on the stovetop: If you don’t have an oven, you can cook the stew entirely on the stovetop. Simmer for 1 1/2 hours on low heat, then add the potatoes and carrots and continue to cook until tender, about 30 to 40 minutes more. Thin with more broth as needed.
CAN YOU FREEZE BEEF STEW?
Yes, you can totally freeze beef stew! I like to freeze it in single serving portions in freezer bags so I can take one out for lunch (or four out for dinner)!
Defrost in the refrigerator overnight or in the microwave (time will vary depending on portion size), stirring occasionally.
WHAT TO SERVE WITH BEEF STEW?
Beef stew is delicious on its own; it’s a complete meal! To soak up any broth, we usually serve it with bread, biscuits, or even Garlic Crescent Rolls!
I also like to serve it with mashed potatoes on the side! All you really need are some crushed crackers or saltines.
STORAGE AND REHEATING
- Beef stew should be refrigerated in an airtight container.
- It can stay there for up to three days.
- Reheat in a covered pot on the stovetop over low heat, stirring occasionally, until heated through (thin with a little broth if desired).
- It can also be frozen for up to 3 months, but the texture of the potatoes will change and become mushy.
HELPFUL TIPS FOR THE BEST BEEF STEW
- Choose a chuck roast with even marbling throughout. However, I recommend removing larger chunks of fat from the roast (even those lined within). The thick portions will not melt into the soup and will remain chewy.
- Dry the beef with paper towels before beginning, preheat the oil in the pan, and sear the beef on each side until nicely browned. It adds a lot of flavor to the stew and helps to achieve a nice sear on the beef (including all those tasty browned bits along the pot that come with it).
- Make sure to use high-quality beef broth. Many brands of beef broth can be pretty disgusting; use one that tastes good, or simply use chicken broth.
- Add the vegetables last. If you include them in the beginning, they may become fall-apart mushy.
- Take it easy on the salt. Unless you’re using unsalted broth, you shouldn’t need to add much here.
- Cook on low and slow heat. Cooking at a lower heat and allowing time for the fat and connective tissue to soften and become more tender is the key to tender inexpensive cuts of beef.
Frequently Asked Questions
What can I add to beef stew to make it taste better?
For extra savory (or umami) flavor, try adding soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce, a touch of honey or brown sugar for sweetness, lemon zest or vinegar for brightness, or chili powder or smoked paprika for spice and depth.
How do you make beef stew meat tender?
Chuck meat is the best choice for beef stew, but it’s also a tough cut that requires time to break down and become tender. If you rush the cooking time, the beef will be tough and chewy. Follow this tip: Cook the stew low and slow for about two hours to get really tender meat.
What liquid do you use for beef stew?
But no one said the main liquid had to be water. Beef stock is preferred, but beef broth will suffice. Veal stock would be fantastic. It is perfectly acceptable to use instant bouillon paste to add flavor.
What can I use to thicken beef stew?
A medium-thick, viscous stew can be made with one tablespoon cornstarch per cup of liquid. In a small bowl, combine equal parts cold water and cornstarch and whisk thoroughly to combine.