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Instant Pot Beef Stew

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This Instant Pot Beef Stew is a hearty, comforting dish made with chunks of tender, fall apart beef in a flavorful broth with carrots, potatoes, and green peas done all in your Instant Pot!

bowl with beef stew with beef chunks, potatoes, carrots, peas and fresh parsley on top

Why We Love Beef Stew

There’s just nothing quite like hearty beef stew! All those flavors and ultra-tender textures of meat and veggies are just about the coziest thing you can put in a bowl.  It is definitely the ultimate comfort food! 

Usually, beef stew is more of a weekend affair. It takes time to tenderize all the goodies on the stove. But with this delicious Instant Pot version, you can have have amazing stew with minimal prep (and half the time compared to stovetop stew, if you’re using the IP!) So beef stew can go on your weeknight menu. This is the BEST Beef Stew you will ever make – the flavors are incredible, and the beef is so fall apart tender you can eat it with a spoon.

overhead few of a bowl of beef stew made in the instant pot with crusty bread and fresh parsley in the background

Ingredients Needed for Instant Pot Beef Stew

  • Beef Chuck Roast: This cut of beef is a more marbled cut and when it is cooked under pressure in your Instant Pot, it becomes absolutely melt in your mouth tender.  You can use other cuts of beef like rump roast which typically aren’t as tender, and even this type of cut will come out really tender in your Instant Pot.  
  • Onion: yellow or white onions work good in this recipe and will add a delicious flavor. 
  • Carrots: For beef stew, it’s best to use carrots that are firm, sweet, and have a good texture. The most common type of carrots that are used for beef stew are the regular orange carrots, They have a naturally sweet taste and are high in beta-carotene.
  • Potatoes: Yukon Gold potatoes are typically considered the best variety of potatoes for beef stew.  They have a buttery flavor and a creamy texture that holds up well during the long cooking time. They also don’t fall apart as easily as some other varieties. 
  • Garlic
  • Beef Broth
  • Tomato Paste: adds a rich, tomatoey flavor and a deep red color. It can also help to thicken the stew as it cooks and add a bit of acidity which help to balance the flavors 
  • Worcestershire Sauce: adds a savory, salty, and slightly sweet taste to beef stew. It also adds umami flavor to the dish, which is a savory taste that is often described as “meaty” or “brothy”. 
  • Green Peas: add a pop of color and a fresh, sweet flavor to beef stew. They also add a contrast in texture to the tender beef and soft potatoes in the stew.
  • Corn Starch: This can be added at the end if you feel like you want a thicker stew.  I usually don’t end up adding it because this recipe makes a really nice thick stew. 
  • Spices: thyme, salt and pepper.
ingredients needed for beef stew: chuck roast, thyme, tomato paste, worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper, beef broth, potatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes and green peas

How to Make Beef Stew in Your Instant Pot

The magic of the Instant Pot is that it creates SUPER tender meat and veggies, in a fraction of the time it takes to cook on your stove-top (or anywhere else, really!) And when you make this stew in the Instant Pot, you can do all your cooking in one place. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Push the “Saute” button on your Instant Pot, and add the olive oil. Season the beef with salt and pepper. When the pot is hot, add half the beef cubes to the Instant Pot and sear for 5-7 minutes until caramelized and brown on the bottom. Remove and set aside. Repeat with oil and the rest of the beef cubes. Remove and set aside with already browned beef.
  2. Add the chopped onion and garlic to the pot, and saute until they begin to soften and turn brown. (It’ll happen in just 2-3 minutes because your pot is already so hot!)
  3. Add the beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, thyme, and tomato paste. Stir briefly to combine, then cancel the “Saute” mode on your Instant Pot. This will deglaze your pot and add a delicious flavor to your stew.
  4. Add the caramelized beef back to the pot, then carrots and potatoes. Make sure that you cut the veggies in large pieces, otherwise they will breakdown too much and turn mushy. If you choose to add the sweet potato, it will breakdown regardless and is meant to add thickness and flavor to the stew base.
  5. Put the lid on and set the valve to seal. Push the “Manual” or “High Pressure” button on your Instant Pot, and set the timer for 25 minutes.
  6. When the timer beeps, let the pot depressurize naturally for about ten minutes. After 10 minutes, flip the valve to release the remaining pressure, then open the lid carefully. Add the frozen peas.
  7. If you want a thicker stew, make a cornstarch slurry by whisking cornstarch and water together. Stir into the stew, and press ‘saute’ and let it simmer for a few minutes to thicken. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm with crusty bread or rolls. Enjoy!

How to Make Beef Stew in Your Slow Cooker

The slow cooker version of this stew is just as delicious! It may even be a little bit more straightforward in the prep department (you don’t have to pop in midway to add the veggies.) The trade-off is, it takes many hours more for the stew to be ready. And you’ll need to use one extra pan to brown your meat. Choose the method that works best for you! Here’s how to make this delicious, savory beef stew in your slow cooker:

  1. Use a large skillet to brown your meat on the stovetop, then transfer it to your slow cooker.
  2. Add all the remaining ingredients, except the corn starch and frozen peas. Put the lid on the slow cooker, and cook on low for 8 hours, or on high for 5 hours.
  3. Open the lid and stir in the cornstarch and water slurry until the stew thickens.
  4. Add the peas and stir until they’re heated through. Serve and enjoy!
process steps for making beef stew in the instant pot browning the stew meat and cooking onions and garlic
process shots for making beef stew in the instant pot: deglazing the pot, adding vegetables and finished product and adding green peas

What is the secret to tender beef stew?

  1. Choose the right cut of beef: Look for cuts that are labeled as “stewing beef” or “beef for braising,” as these are typically well-marbled and will break down and become tender during the long cooking process. Good options include chuck roast, round roast, and short ribs.
  2. Brown the beef well: Before adding the beef to the stew, it’s important to brown it well on all sides. This helps to seal in the juices and adds flavor to the finished dish.
  3. Use an Instant Pot or Crockpot: Both of these cooking methods will tenderize the beef either by using pressure or a longer slower cooking method.
close up shot of a ladle full of beef stew in the instant pot

Is it better to slow cook or pressure cook beef stew?

Both slow cooking and cooking in a pressure cooker can produce delicious beef stew, but there are a few differences. 

Pressure cooking in your Instant Pot is great for quickly tenderizing tough cuts of meat, and infusing the flavors of the other ingredients into the meat.  The ingredients are cooked at high pressure, which raises the boiling point of the liquids, resulting in a faster cooking time.

Slow cooking is great for breaking down tough cuts of meat and infusing them with the flavors of the other ingredients. Slow cooking also allows for a longer window of time for the flavors to meld together, producing a more complex flavor. 

Ultimately, the choice between slow cooking and pressure cooking depends on your personal preference and how much time you have.

overhead view of a bowl of beef stew with a spoon in the bowl

Why is my stew meat tough in Instant Pot?

These are some reasons your stew meat might be tough when cooked in an Instant Pot:

  1. The meat was not properly browned before cooking: Browning the meat before cooking it in the Instant Pot helps to seal in the juices and create a flavorful crust on the outside of the meat. Skipping this step can result in a less flavorful, and tougher meat.
  2. The meat was cooked for too long: Overcooking the meat can cause it to become tough, as the proteins in the meat can break down and lose moisture. To avoid this, make sure to follow the recipe instructions. 
  3. The cut of meat is not great for stewing: Some cuts of meats are better for stew than others. Meats that are more tender, like sirloin or tenderloin, will not require as long cooking time as less tender cuts like chuck roast or rump roast.
  4. The Instant Pot was not properly sealed: If the Instant Pot is not properly sealed, the pressure will not build up and the meat will not cook as quickly. Make sure that the lid is locked and that the sealing ring is in place.
instant pot beef stew with beef chunks, carrots, potatoes, and green peas in a thick broth

Storing Leftover Beef Stew

Leftovers taste great the next day! Store in the fridge and reheat in a saucepan on your stove. Leftovers will keep well for about four days in the fridge.

You may also freeze this stew, but you might find that the potatoes change their texture a bit and are a little less desirable reheated from frozen.

overhead view of a two bowls of beef stew made in the instant pot with crusty bread in the background

Try More Hearty Instant Pot Recipes!

overhead view of a bowl of beef stew with a spoon in the bowl

Instant Pot Beef Stew

This Instant Pot Beef Stew is a hearty, comforting dish made with chunks of tender, fall apart beef in a flavorful broth with carrots, potatoes, and green peas done all in your Instant Pot!
3.99 from 80 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: dinner
Cuisine: American
Keyword: instant pot beef stew
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 322kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound chuck roast cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 6 medium carrots peeled and cut into 1 1/2" inch pieces
  • 3 small Yukon Gold potatoes peeled and quartered
  • 3/4 cup frozen peas
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 teaspoons corn starch + 1 tablespoon cold water (optional)
  • 1 medium sweet potato optional

Instructions

INSTANT POT DIRECTIONS

  • Push the "Saute" button on your Instant Pot, and add the olive oil. Season the beef with salt and pepper. When the pot is hot, add half the beef cubes to the Instant Pot and sear for 5-7 minutes until caramelized and brown on the bottom. Remove and set aside. Repeat with oil and the rest of the beef cubes. Remove and set aside with already browned beef.
  • Add the chopped onion and garlic to the pot, and saute until they begin to soften and turn brown. (It'll happen in just 2-3 minutes because your pot is already so hot!)
  • Add the beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, thyme, and tomato paste. Stir briefly to combine, then cancel the "Saute" mode on your Instant Pot.
  • Add the caramelized beef back to the pot, then carrots, potatoes, and sweet potatoes (if adding them) Make sure that you cut the veggies in large pieces, otherwise they will breakdown too much and turn mushy. If you choose to add the sweet potato will breakdown regardless and is meant to add thickness and flavor to the stew base.
  • Put the lid on and set the valve to seal. Push the "Manual" or "High Pressure" button on your Instant Pot, and set the timer for 25 minutes.
  • When the timer beeps, let the pot depressurize naturally for about ten minutes. After 10 minutes, flip the valve to release the remaining pressure, then open the lid carefully. Add the frozen peas.
  • If you want a thicker stew, make a cornstarch slurry by whisking cornstarch and water together. Stir into the stew, and press 'saute' and let it simmer for a few minutes to thicken. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm with crusty bread or rolls. Enjoy!

CROCKPOT DIRECTIONS

  • Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add stew meat, and cook until evenly browned on the outside. Transfer meat to a slow cooker.
  • Peel and chop the carrots, potatoes and sweet potatoes into 3/4-inch thick pieces, and add them to the slow cooker along with the garlic, onion, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, beef broth, and thyme.
  • Cover and set the Crockpot to Low, and cook for 8 hours, or high for 5 hours. Meat should be fork tender.
  • In a small bowl, mix the corn starch with 1 tablespoon of cold water to make a slurry. Pour it into the hot stew and stir until thickened.
  • Stir in frozen peas until heated through. Serve and enjoy!
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Nutrition

Calories: 322kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 52mg | Sodium: 544mg | Potassium: 1146mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 15773IU | Vitamin C: 20mg | Calcium: 80mg | Iron: 4mg

Natalie Monson

I'm a registered dietitian, mom of 4, avid lover of food and strong promoter of healthy habits. Here you will find lots of delicious recipes full of fruits and veggies, tips for getting your kids to eat better and become intuitive eaters and lots of resources for feeding your family.

Learn More about Natalie

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15 Comments

I have been searching for the right beef stew recipe for the crockpot. Thanks for sharing this :}. I have also been getting some wonderful tips and recipes from Holly Clegg’s trim&TERRIFIC KITCHEN 101: Secrets to Cooking Confidence, which has offered me ways to make healthy dishes from the ingredients that I already have in my kitchen. I highly recommend this one :}. http://www.hollyclegg.com

I just made this and wow! It is delicious! Unfortunately I had to use my stove instead of my crockpot because when I went to pour everything in, it didn’t fit. I have a three year old and a three month only baby and time is hard to come by so I had to skip browning the beef and it still came out superb.

I’m not sure exactly why but this blog is loading incredibly slow for me.

Is anyone else having this issue or is it a problem on my end?
I’ll check back later on and see if the problem still exists.

Fantastic post however I was wondering if you could write
a litte more on this subject? I’d be very grateful
if you could elaborate a little bit further.
Appreciate it!

Here is the original recipe:

1 1/2 pounds beef stew meat (cut into 1 inch cubes)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 clove garlic (minced)
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
1 beef stew seasoning packet
1 can diced tomatoes (with juice)
2 cups beef broth (2 cups water + 2 tsp beef bouillon paste or cubes)
2 medium onions (chopped)
3 medium potatoes (diced)
4 carrots (sliced)
4 stalks celery (chopped)

Place meat in a large plastic bag. Measure flour and pour into the bag with the meat, and shake to coat.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add stew meat, and cook until evenly browned on the outside. Transfer to a slow cooker along with the carrots, potatoes, celery, garlic, and onion. Add tomatoes.
In a bowl, stir together 2 cups of boiling water, 2 tsp of bouillon paste, and 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce; pour into the slow cooker.
Cover and set the crockpot to Low, and cook for 8 hours, or high for 5 hours. Meat should be fork tender when done.

5 stars
This is delicious and easy! I think next time I might add some mushrooms. I doubled the corn starch and water thickening.
Thanks!