Beef Stew

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This classic beef stew is the ultimate hearty and satisfying meal! It’s a cold-weather, one-pot wonder with chunks of beef chuck roast that are seared until golden, then simmered with vegetables and herbs in a rich and savory broth that’s complex in flavor but really simple to make. The whole family will love it!

Beef stew in a large pot
Photo: Gayle McLeod

Stews are good for the soul — and this traditional beef stew recipe from my childhood is no exception. It’s like another version of my Dad’s favorite Irish lamb stew, but with delicious elements of pot roast. Think melt-in-your-mouth beef chunks, tender root vegetables, and a red wine, tomato-y broth that continues to build flavor as it simmers.

It’s a meal I always requested when I was younger, and to this day, it delights me every time I make it in my kitchen. Plus, my house gets filled with a savory aroma that comforts me as I eat it by the spoonfuls! This beef stew is really everything you want in a fall and winter stew recipe and it’s one you can prep on a Sunday to enjoy throughout the week. You can even freeze a batch or two to last you all winter long!

Ingredients for beef stew

Beef Stew Ingredients

  • Beef Stew Meat: Stew meat is typically beef chuck roast, which is a tender, marbled portion of the upper shoulder and lower neck. This means you’ll have a good amount of fat to keep the beef chunks juicy and tender as they cooks in the pot.
  • Vegetables: This traditional beef stew has all the classics such as yellow onion, white potatoes, carrots, and celery.
  • Flour: A little bit of flour is added to thicken the broth. I’m using arrowroot powder today, but you could use cornstarch or another flour of your choice.
  • Dry Red Wine: To give this stew a bold and rustic flavor, grab a bottle of cabernet sauvignon or pinot noir. But there’s no need to buy an expensive wine, just one you typically like to drink since there will be leftovers!
  • Beef Broth: Use any low-sodium beef broth brand that you like. I’ve linked the one I always buy in the recipe card below.
  • Red Wine Vinegar and Tomato Paste: Essential ingredients to give the broth depth of flavor. Plus, the tomato paste helps to thicken the sauce a smidge.
  • Aromatics: Fresh garlic, dried thyme, bay leaves, salt, and pepper are all you need! In a pinch you could use garlic powder, but I do prefer fresh garlic in this recipe.

Find the printable recipe with measurements below.

How To Shop For Beef Stew Meat

You’ve got two options here. One, you can buy packaged beef stew meat that’s already been diced into cubes or head to the butcher section to get fresh-cut pieces (which is what I typically like to do!). Second, you can buy a slab of chuck roast and slice it into cubes yourself. This may seem a bit more tedious, but you can also pick and choose meat that’s marbled to your liking.

How To Make Beef Stew

Season the beef. Pat the beef chunks dry with paper towels, then season with a good amount of salt and pepper.

Seasoning beef stew chunks

Sear the beef. In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Working in batches, place the beef in the pot and sear on all sides until golden, 2 to 3 minutes per side, then remove to a plate.

Searing beef stew meat in a pot

Saute the onion. Add the onion and garlic to the pot and pour in the vinegar (which will help to loosen browned bits from the bottom of the pot) and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until the onion is softened. Add the tomato paste and cook for a minute more.

Cooking onions in a pot

Return the beef to the pot. Add the seared beef back to the pot and sprinkle the flour on top. Stir everything together, until the flour is fully dissolved.

Beef stew meat and arrowroot powder in a pot

Add the liquids and aromatics. Add the wine, broth, thyme, and bay leaf. Use a large spoon or spatula to stir everything together. Bring the broth to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer partially covered for 1 hour.

Pouring broth into a pot with beef stew meat

Add the veggies. Add the potatoes, carrots, and celery. Cook for an additional 20 to 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are fork-tender.  Remove the bay leaves, and if you’d like, garnish with fresh thyme before serving.

Adding veggies into a pot of beef stew

Common Questions

How can I get that really rich flavor in my beef stew?

My biggest tip is to brown your meat very well before adding the rest of the ingredients (which is how I show you in the recipe below). Getting a good, golden sear on the meat give it lots of flavor that will seep into the broth as it cooks. It also creates “fond” on the bottom of the pan, which infuses even more flavor into the broth. Additionally, red wine is a huge factor when it comes to that richness. Most of the alcohol burns off, but the depth of flavor remains.

How do you make stew meat really tender?

Choosing a chuck roast with a good amount of marbling will naturally give the meat a tender texture. But make sure to slice across the grain if you’re not buying pre-sliced chunks. Other than that, if you simmer the stew meat for an hour and a half or so, it should naturally become fall-apart tender.

What other vegetables can I add?

If you want to switch things up, you can swap the potatoes with turnips or parsnips (they’re a bit lower carb). Many root vegetables work in this recipe, so have fun with it. Just remember to swap any vegetables with a similar hearty texture so they don’t get overly mushy in the stew.

Can you make this beef stew in the slow cooker?

Yes, you sure can! First, sear the meat in a skillet. Once that’s done, add the cooked meat and vegetables into the slow cooker, and pour all the broth and aromatic ingredients on top (minus the flour). Let this cook on low for about 7 to 8 hours or on high for 4 to 5 hours. Lastly, mix the flour with some water and mix it into the slow cooker until the sauce thickens up a bit.

A bowl of beef stew

Storage Tips

  • To store for the week: Any leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 4 to 5 days. Keep in mind it might thicken up as it sits in your fridge. Just add a bit more water to thin it down, if needed, when reheating.
  • Freeze for later: It feels like such a treat finding containers of this in my freezer —especially on a chilly day! You can store leftovers of this recipe in airtight containers in the freezer for up to 3 months.

More Soups and Stews

With the weather cooling down, these soup recipes are everything you want to cozy up with! Here are some of my favorite comforting meals to get you started.

I hope you enjoy this beef stew as the ultimate comfort food throughout fall and winter! If you make it, I’d love to hear how it turned out in the comment box below. Your review will help other readers!

A big bowl of beef stew

Classic Beef Stew

4.96 from 49 votes
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total: 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Author: Lisa Bryan

Description

This classic beef stew is a delicious, hearty, and comforting one-pot recipe you'll be making on repeat throughout fall and winter! Watch the video below to see how I make it my kitchen!

Video

Equipment

Ingredients 
 

  • 2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, cut into chunks
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons arrowroot powder, cornstarch or other flour
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 4 cups low-sodium beef broth
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 pound baby white potatoes, halved or quartered
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled and sliced on a diagonal
  • 3 celery ribs, chopped
  • Optional: fresh thyme for garnish

Instructions 

  • Season the beef. Pat the beef dry with paper towels. Season with salt and pepper.
    Seasoned beef stew meat on a plate
  • Sear the beef. In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Working in batches, place the beef in the pot and sear on all sides until golden, 2 to 3 minutes per side, then remove to a plate.
    Cooking beef stew meat in a pot
  • Saute the onion. Add the onion and garlic to the pot and pour in the vinegar (which will help to loosen browned bits from the bottom of the pot) and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until the onion is softened. Add the tomato paste and cook for a minute more.
    Saueting onions with sauce in a pot
  • Return the beef to the pot. Add the seared beef back to the pot and sprinkle the flour on top. Stir everything together, until the flour is fully dissolved.
    Arrowroot powder and beef stew meat in a pot
  • Add the liquids and aromatics. Add the wine, broth, thyme, and bay leaf. Use a large spoon or spatula to stir everything together. Bring the broth to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer partially covered for 1 hour.
    Cooking beef stew in a pot
  • Add the veggies. Add the potatoes, carrots, and celery. Cook for an additional 20 to 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are fork-tender.
    Beef stew with vegetables in a pot
  • Serve. Remove the bay leaves, and if you'd like, garnish with fresh thyme before serving.
    A big pot of beef stew

Lisa’s Tips

  • Don’t crowd the pot when searing the meat. You want it turn get a really good golden crust before flipping. More seared “gunk” on the bottom of the pot turns into more flavor in the broth! 
  • If you’d like to omit the alcohol, you can replace the red wine with more beef broth.
  • Many recipes will have you add 1/4 cup of flour, but when you’re finished, the liquid will resemble more of a thick gravy (and you’re often told to thin it back down with more liquid). I find that 2 tablespoons of flour is perfect, as the starch from the potatoes will also naturally thicken the broth while boiling. But if you’d like it thicker, just stir together some broth from the pot in a small bowl with 1 to 2 tablespoons flour, then add it back to the stew. 
  • The flavor of beef stew intensifies as it sits, making it a wonderful recipe for meal prep! 

Nutrition

Calories: 398kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 39g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 94mg | Sodium: 1032mg | Potassium: 1454mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 6933IU | Vitamin C: 21mg | Calcium: 76mg | Iron: 4mg
Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Beef Stew, Beef Stew Recipe
Did you make this recipe?Mention @downshiftology or tag #downshiftology!

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About the author

Lisa Bryan

Lisa is a bestselling cookbook author, recipe developer, and YouTuber (with over 2.5 million subscribers) living in sunny Southern California. She started Downshiftology in 2014, and is passionate about making healthy food with fresh, simple and seasonal ingredients.

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Recipe Rating




101 Comments

  1. I’m going to make this today but can’t seem to find baby white potatoes – I only see baby yellow potatoes. What do you suggest besides baby white potatoes? I’m afraid the yellow ones will get too soft. I’m going to try red potatoes and see how it goes but curious what you would suggest. Based on the reviews I’m going to guess this will be a 5 star meal so ranking ahead as 5 stars! I have enjoyed every recipe I’ve tried from you, Lisa! Thank you!5 stars

  2. My beef stew turned out great. I did add an extra tablespoon of corn starch for a thicker gravy. We taste tested it and made it for freezer meals. I don’t cook with beef often but the vegetables make it a delicious meal.5 stars

  3. hi, I just made this, with 2 lbs of beef stew ,followed the exact instructions, for some reason I thought I had fresh thyme sprig, couldn’t find it, so I just used the thyme in our jars. We grown our own, so I think this was from my garden! at some point. Anyway, didn’t have low sodium beef stock, so I didn’t add the salt this beautiful dish!!!
    thank you so much for lovely and tasty dish! yummy , it’s great for today, snowing and cold outside5 stars

    1. Hi Lise – Happy to hear this beef stew turned out perfectly! It’s such a great meal to enjoy on a cold day.

  4. Delicious- more so than other stew recipes that I’ve tried, yet also simpler. My celery was wilted, so subbed for peas. Excellent.5 stars

  5. I made this delicious stew the day of my arrival in Paris for my French family. They all loved it, it was a success!5 stars

  6. My husband and I have made this stew twice; it is by far the BEST beef stew we have ever made. Kid approved! I love all of your recipes and appreciate the ability to make substitutions easily (both of our kids have tons of food allergies, so it can be challenging to find new recipes to try). Obsessed with your channel!!5 stars

      1. Made the recipe as stated and it turned out delicious. The instructions were easy to follow along. This will be my go to recipe. Thank you!5 stars

  7. Hands down one of my favorite Downshiftology recipes! Flavor is amazing! I have already made this recipe three times. I keep freezing it, but we eat it up so fast that there’s really no point! 🤣 I should just keep it fridge!5 stars

  8. This recipe is AMAZING!! I’ve never made stew before and I’ve made this recipe twice in the last 3 weeks!! I like that dried spices are in the recipe, and not fresh spices. This made it easy and economical to make!!!5 stars

  9. This was hands-down the most delicious beef stew I’ve eaten. I simple ingredients and best flavor!! My whole family loved it and leftovers were gone by breakfast the next morning!5 stars

  10. I followed the recipe, except for the red wine, I just added a little more beef stock. I also added a little extra flour, just to thicken the gravy a bit more, and it was delicious.5 stars

  11. Hi Lisa,

    this stew is absolutely amazing. I tried it this week and I believe it won’t be the last time. An incredible combination full of flavor. I honestly wasn’t sure about the red wine vinegar, but it’s perfect.

    I can’t wait to try more recipes.5 stars

  12. Oh my goodness this was so, so good! I really shouldn’t be surprised at this point Lisa, every single thing I make of yours is a hit! I haven’t make stew in years as I associate it with overcooked mushy boarderline unidentifiable vegetables, lol but I followed the recipe and the veggies were cooked perfectly. Even my picky 14 year old requested I make it again :) thank you so much!!5 stars

    1. Yay, that sounds like a dinner win to me! I’m happy you and your little one both enjoyed this beef stew, Marla. And yes, not overcooking the vegetables to mush is key. Haha. Enjoy!

    1. Hi Linda – you can reduce the sodium by using a low-sodium beef broth and omitting the salt. Hope you enjoy it!

  13. Another great recipe Lisa, although I only had chicken stock & no wine, so I used that instead of beef stock. It didn’t seem to make a lot of difference, other than a bit paler, still really tasty.5 stars

  14. Great recipe! I’ve long been looking for an all around winner like this one. One pot and easy to obtain, simple ingredients. Budget friendly too. I added a wee bit more tomato paste at the end to make it a little more ‘sweet’ and savoury and use up the rest of what was in the tiny can.. My new go to beef stew! Thanks so much!5 stars

  15. Excellent recipe! Absolutely delicious. I cooked it on a Sunday night and served it on Monday evening. Thank you!5 stars

  16. I made this last night and it was delicious and easy to pull together. The meat was beautifully tender, the veggies were great and the gravy/sauce was so yummy. I had left overs today and it was even better. Can’t wait to make it again, but next time I’ll double it.5 stars

    1. Yay, happy you loved it, Tracy! And a second batch is always a smart idea. I just enjoyed the last of my leftovers today as well, haha.

  17. I made this tonight and we all thought it was delicious! Even without the wine (didn’t have on hand) it was just so dang good. I appreciate how uncomplicated the recipe is, yet it’s so full of flavor. Huge hit!5 stars

  18. I made this tonight for my husband and I and it was delicious! I omitted the wine because I wasn’t sure if it was safe to add while being pregnant. My husband told me this is one of his favorite meals to eat when the whether starts to get cool. I will keep this in rotation for the fall/winter season.5 stars

    1. I’m so glad you both loved it! It’s a great recipe to have on repeat through the fall/winter season. :)

  19. This hearty stew is delicious, filling and comforting! I prepared it for my husband and kids and they loved it. There was enough to save for the week, and the stew tasted even better a day or two in the fridge. Wonderful as always. Thank you, Lisa!5 stars

  20. I made the Beef stew in my slow cooker. It was delicious!!! I do think the red wine gives it a special flavor. I will be making this again soon.5 stars

  21. I just made this tonight and can say it is the BEST beef stew I’ve ever eaten! The meat was perfectly done and the broth was so flavorful. I also love that this recipe was simple without a ton of ingredients. Thank you, Lisa! This will become a staple winter recipe!5 stars

    1. Yay, I’m so thrilled you loved it, Kassy! You know I’m all about simple ingredients with tons of flavor. :)

    2. Hi Lisa, This is the only beef stew I ever made. Mom is living with me now and she likes stews and soups. This stew was a huge hit. Everyone thought it was delicious. I’ll be making your chicken soup soon. Thank you so much. Take care, Chris5 stars

      1. Hi Chris – so happy you and your family loved this beef stew recipe! Enjoy the chicken soup as well. :)

  22. Hello!I made the beef stew this evening and it’s very good! One question for you, is it going to reduced by half in terms of the liquid while cooking?

  23. I’ve been wanting to cook a stew for years but could never find a recipe which had no super fancy ingredients. Tried it and just even cooking it was very theraputic. My husband is excited to try the “dish with meet that guarantees it will be good” :D5 stars

    1. Thanks for the review, Olga! That’s great to hear both you and your husband found the perfect beef stew recipe that’s simple and easy.

    2. I was looking forward to making this today and having it for dinner. Especially after reading all the rave reviews. But have to say it was just so so. I have made a lot of stews in my life and this is not one of my favourites. I followed the recipe to a tee. Even watched the video a couple of times. But there is just something missing. If I do make it again. I will not add red wine vinegar to deglaze the pan. Next time it will be extra red wine. Even after adding the beef stock I could still taste the red vinegar. Will add more thyme and Worcestershire sauce. And thicken the sauce more. Too runny for us. My hubby never said a thing. So I don’t think he was very impressed as stew is one of his favourite things. So sorry. I am going to make your lemon Greek chicken next. So hopefully that will be better.3 stars

  24. Can you please let me know how can I make this in a a slow cooker after sautéing the onion and seared the beef?

    1. Once that’s done, add the cooked meat and vegetables into the slow cooker, and pour all the broth and aromatic ingredients on top (minus the flour). Let this cook on low for about 7 to 8 hours or on high for 4 to 5 hours. Lastly, mix the flour with some water and mix it into the slow cooker until the sauce thickens up a bit.

  25. Thank you so much for the metric conversion.
    I find it so frustrating to do this myself.
    This gorgeous recipe has landed just as we finally get cooler weather in Europe!!5 stars

  26. I am not a wine drinker, but I do like the flavors of it in food. I do have some Marsala wine already, would that be a good flavor or just stick to beef broth? I don’t want to buy a bottle of red to use just a cup of it.

    1. Marsala wine is a very sweet cooking wine. So it may overly sweeten the beef stew. Perhaps just add half a cup if you’d like to try it. Otherwise, I’d stick to the beef broth.

    1. Hi Trish – lentils vary in cook time based on type. Check out my lentil recipe for some average cook times, then add those about 20 minutes or so before the stew is done. Enjoy!

  27. I make a similar stew and use cornflour as a thickener as my friend is coeliac. I omit celery as a lot of people don’t like it. No vinegar as wine or any beat, yeah even lager works to declaze the pan and add flavour. I add parsnips cut small as 5he flavour is strong and can overpower the other components. I add Hendersons reliss or Worcestershire sauce to the pot..I add the veggies after the meat has been cooking for about 30 minutes.
    I cook the sree on a very low flame or preferably oven for about 3 hours.

  28. This is a great recipe – so much flavor and so easy! I used bison stew meat and it was outstanding. Thanks for the great recipe Lisa!5 stars

  29. You couldn’t have posted this recipe at a better time! Beef stew was on my meal plan for this week since it has finally gotten colder in Dallas! I’m excited to try your recipe especially since this will be my first time making it since becoming gluten free.

      1. Hi Angela – I’d add them in the last 5 to 10 minutes of cooking, as they don’t need much time. Enjoy!

  30. This looks delicious!!! I am gluten free. Do you have a suggestion for a flour substitute for thickening?
    Thank you :)

  31. I’m looking forward to trying this. It sounds delicious! And I’ll probably make it a little thicker because my favourite way to eat stew is over a couple of halved biscuits. When the liquid is thicker, it doesn’t turn the biscuits to mush. Time to plan, shop, and cook!

  32. Hi Lisa! I would love to make this in a slow cooker. How long would I cook it for on Low and can the potatoes be added from the beginning?

    1. Hi Susan – I have tips for cooking it in a slow cooker in the “questions” section above. :) The potatoes will be a bit softer than the stovetop method, but I do it that way in my slow cooker pot roast recipe and it’s still delicious. Enjoy!