Learn how to cook beef stew low and slow on the stovetop or pressure cook it in the Instant Pot with this easy recipe. Beef stew is a Caribbean staple; chunky cuts of meat cooked with spices and fresh herbs until they’re melt-in-your-mouth tender.
Nothing is better than a hot beef stew on a cold day. It’s flavorful, saucy, and this recipe makes enough to feed the whole family! This stew is classic and simple; just tender chunks of beef, in a thick, savory gravy so it’s the perfect base for customizing.
Why You’ll Love This Beef Stew Recipe
- Classic Comfort Food: The rich stewed flavors and the aromatic quality makes this feel like a warm cozy hug.
- Instant Pot Option: I’ve cooked this stew on the stovetop and in my instant pot and the flavors are identical. But the Instant Pot version just takes 30 minutes and the stovetop takes 2 hours!
- Versatile: This recipe forms the base for many other types of stew. Add potatoes, carrots, spinach or other vegetables. Turn up the heat by adding some fresh chili (wiri wiri or sctoch bonnet preferably). Remix it however you see fit because almost anything goes!
Why Cook Beef Stew in an Instant Pot?
Instant pot beef stew tastes like it was cooked low and slow over a few hours but you have a full meal ready in just 1 hour!
- Beef Stew
- Why You’ll Love This Beef Stew Recipe
- Why Cook Beef Stew in an Instant Pot?
- What Makes this Beef Stew Recipe Whole30 Friendly?
- Ingredients for Beef Stew
- How to Make Beef Stew
- Recipe Variations
- What to Serve With Beef Stew
- How to Thicken Beef Stew
- Tips for the Best Beef Stew
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Beef Stew (with Instant Pot option)
No moisture escapes so the tough cuts of beef break down into succulent, tender meat in about 30 minutes. Then you can enjoy this dish as a quick weeknight dinner!
What Makes this Beef Stew Recipe Whole30 Friendly?
Although it is Whole30 friendly, it tastes exactly like how I always make beef stew. And since doing my first Whole30 many years ago and understanding how sugar affects MY overall health I make a conscious decision to leave it out of most of my stews and other dishes. My family doesn’t know the difference and the taste is exactly the same without the added tummy ache.
Ingredients for Beef Stew
This stew is a medley of rich, savory, and sweet flavors with a tough cut of beef. It’s made with pantry staples.
- Precut stew beef or beef chuck roast: Cut into 1-inch chunks for perfectly bite-sized pieces. You’ll want to use a tough cut of beef so it doesn’t dry out while cooking.
- Seasoning: salt, paprika
- Aromatics: I use yellow onion, garlic cloves, and fresh ginger as a flavor foundation.
- Fresh herbs: Add finely chopped parsley, thyme and cilantro.
- Tomato paste: This enriches the flavor with a subtle sweetness to cut through the savory taste.
- Coconut aminos: Typically when I made beef stew in the past, I would season my beef with cassareep and/or some burnt sugar. Since sugar is not allowed on whole30 I substituted those for coconut aminos.
- Olive oil: Use this when browning the meat.
- Whole Tomatoes: Chopped.
- Water: This is the liquid base for the stew.
See recipe card for quantities.
How to Make Beef Stew
How to Make Beef Stew on the Stove
Begin by browning the beef in the skillet.
After you’ve browned the meat to your liking, add fresh herbs and seasoning, then cook for a few additional minutes on high heat. After that, you can either add 3 cups of water, cover the pot and reduce to heat to medium and let the dish simmer for 1.5 to 2 hours or transfer everything to an instant pot.
How to Make Beef Stew in Instant Pot
To cook the beef stew in the instant pot, add the sautéed beef and seasoning into the instant pot and then add 1 to 2 cups of water. Cover the instant pot and pressure cook on high for 20 to 30 minutes (depending on the cut of beef you are using) or until the beef is really tender.
If your beef stew has too much liquid after it pressure cooks, you can turn on the sauté function and cook down the liquids until it forms a thick sauce. If your beef is still not tender after the first 20 minutes, seal up and cook for another 30 minutes.
When making the dish for this post, I was trying to catch the light (for the photos), so my beef is not as tender as I usually like it to be. I like that no chewing required type of beef stew, but it was still tender enough to eat and very tasty.
The Finished Product
When you are done cooking your beef to the right tenderness and the liquids cook down to a thick sauce, what you are left with is a pot of delicious, hearty, and filling beef stew.
Once the stew has completely cooled, add it to an airtight container and place it in the fridge for up to 5 days. For longer storage, freeze beef stew for up to 3 months. To defrost, place it in the refrigerator overnight.
To reheat, microwave or warm it up over medium heat on the stove.
- Slow Cooker Beef Stew: If you don’t want to stand over the stove for extended amounts of time, and like the aroma of beef stew simmering in your kitchen, the slow cooker may be a better option. Brown the beef on the stove top then transfer it (along with the other ingredients) to a slow cooker or crockpot. Then cook it over low heat for 8 hours.
- Potatoes: Add red potatoes, russet potatoes, or Yukon gold potatoes for a heartier stew.
- Add Veggies: Try adding carrots, frozen peas, or celery.
- More Flavor Elements: Some recipes include Worcestershire sauce for a distinct umami flavor. Try adding bay leaves if you need a substitute for thyme.
What to Serve With Beef Stew
I served this with vegetable stir fry and cauliflower rice for dinner and my family was licking their dinner plates. And my kids haven’t figured out yet that we’ve been eating cauliflower rice instead of regular rice. They just comment like, “This is a different rice, but still yummy.”
For more traditional beef stew, serve it with mashed potatoes.
How to Thicken Beef Stew
The longer the stew cooks, the thicker it will be. But adding a starch like potatoes could also naturally thicken it. Alternatively, you can make a slurry out of cornstarch and water and allow it to simmer with the Sauté function for 3-4 minutes.
Tips for the Best Beef Stew
- Make sure you brown the beef. Pan-searing the meat initially makes for more tender meat later. It provides a golden brown crust and that caramelization adds a great depth of flavor.
- If you choose to sear the beef in the Instant Pot, deglaze the bottom of the pot in order to remove the brown bits. Otherwise, your food may burn. (You can deglaze with water, beef broth, beef stock, or even red wine.)
- Whether you are making beef stew on the stove or in the instant pot, brown the meat on the stove first. Of course, you can cook brown it in the instant pot, but in my very honest opinion it takes about 15 minutes for it to get just right and on the stovetop, it takes 5 minutes, so if time-saving is what you are after, brown it in a skillet on the stovetop first, then transfer to the instant pot.
- If you add vegetables like carrots or potatoes, cut them into roughly the same size as the beef chunks so they cook at an even rate. If they are chopped too small, they may get too soft and fall apart.
Frequently Asked Questions
Cut them into even, bite-size pieces so they cook at the same rate. Then brown the meat and avoid overcooking, for tender meat.
Use a meat that is well-suited for slow cooking like chuck, round, or shoulder cuts. These cuts have more connective tissue and marbling that break down during slow cooking, resulting in tender meat.
It is possible for beef stew to be too thick. Correct this by adding more liquid (water, red wine, or broth).
Beef Stew (with Instant Pot option)
- Large Skillet
- Stock Pot
- Instant Pot
- 2 lbs of precut stew beef or chuck roast cut into 1 inch chunks
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1 yellow onion
- 6 cloves of garlic
- 1/2 cup of chopped fresh parsley
- Small piece of fresh ginger about a 1/2 inch size
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1/4 cup of coconut aminos
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 2 tablespoons of finely chopped fresh cilantro
- 4 whole tomatoes chopped
- 2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 2-3 cups of water
- Add the onion, garlic, parsley and ginger to a food processor and process until a smooth paste forms. Alternatively you can also add to a blender with 1/4 cup of water and blend into a smooth paste.
- Season beef with blended seasoning, salt, paprika, tomato paste and coconut aminos and let marinate for at least 30 minutes.
- Bring olive oil up to temperature in a large skillet, stock pot or dutch oven on medium-high heat.
- When oil comes up to temperature add seasoned beef and sauté until all sides are brown, about 5 minutes.
- Then add chopped tomatoes, fresh thyme, cilantro.
- Next add about two cups of water, cover and reduce heat to medium-low and continue to cook until the beef is fully cooked and tender. This may take up to 2 hours. If needed add more water.
Instant Pot Instructions:
- Follow steps 1 – 5 above.
- Then transfer the beef and pan juices or seasoning into your instant pot.
- Add 1 cup of water.
- Cover the instant pot, seal and pressure cook on high for 20 minutes
- After 20 minutes vent the instant pot and check the tenderness of the beef, then pressure cook for an additional 10 minutes if needed.
- If the stew has too much liquid, turn on the sauté function and cook down the liquids until a thick sauce forms.
- Then turn off the instant pot and serve hot.
- Pairs really well with sautéed veggies and cauliflower rice!
The information listed in the recipe card is an estimate provided by an online nutrition tool. The tool evaluates ingredient names and amounts then makes calculations based on the number of servings listed for the recipe. It is provided as a general guideline and not as a precise calculation. For precise nutrition information please feel free to add the ingredients to your preferred nutrition calculator or consult a doctor or licensed nutritionist.