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Best Beef Stew Recipe

I always find that when the temperature cools down, there’s nothing more comforting than a bowl of rich, homemade beef stew. With its tender chunks of beef, hearty vegetables, and a velvety broth, it’s a satisfying dish that warms the body and soul.

Preparing a beef stew from scratch allows for a personalized touch, whether that means selecting the perfect cut of meat or choosing which vegetables to include to create layers of flavor that are tailored to your taste.

Cooking beef stew is a process that brings together simple ingredients to create a meal that’s both filling and flavorful. Over the years, I’ve refined my method to get the meat just right—soft enough to fall apart under the lightest pressure.

I usually start by searing the beef to lock in its juices, then slowly simmering it with a mirepoix of onions, carrots, and celery. But the true key to a magnificent stew lies in the little additions that make it uniquely yours, like a splash of red wine for depth or a hint of rosemary for an aromatic lift.

Ingredients You’ll Need

When I make beef stew, I always gather my ingredients carefully to ensure a flavorful result. Here’s what you’ll need:


  • 2 lbs beef chuck roast, cut into 1-inch pieces


  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 large potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced


  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 1 cup red wine (optional, but recommended for depth of flavor)

Flour Mixture:

  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

Additional Flavorings and Spices:

  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp paprika (optional for a little smoky flavor)


  • 2 tbsp olive oil (for browning the beef)
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter (for sautéing the vegetables)

I like to prepare all the vegetables ahead of time, setting them aside, so they’re ready to use. The beef is patted dry before being tossed in the flour mixture to ensure a good sear. Remember to season as you go and adjust to your taste preference. If you’re looking to add a personal twist, feel free to include other herbs or root vegetables you enjoy. Happy cooking!

How To Make Beef Stew

When I make beef stew, I begin by selecting a suitable cut of beef. I prefer chuck roast for its rich flavor and tenderness after a slow cook. First, I cut the meat into cubes, aiming for a uniform size to ensure even cooking.

Here’s a simple set of steps for how to make a comforting, homemade beef stew:


  • Beef: Chuck roast, cubed
  • Vegetables: Carrots, potatoes, and onions
  • Broth: Beef broth, for depth of flavor
  • Seasonings: Salt, pepper, thyme, and a bay leaf


  1. I start with searing the beef to develop a deep flavor. In a hot pot, I add oil and cook the meat until it’s browned on all sides.
  2. I remove the beef, then sauté onions and garlic, which adds a savory base to the stew.
  3. I deglaze the pot with a bit of broth or red wine, scraping up the tasty bits at the bottom.
  4. I return the beef to the pot and add the rest of my broth, the bay leaf, thyme, salt, and pepper.
  5. Next, I bring the mixture to a gentle simmer, cover it, and let it stew slowly. This can take about 90 minutes on the stovetop.
  6. After the beef softens, I add carrots and potatoes, allowing them to cook until they are tender.
  7. If my stew needs thickening, I stir in a slurry of cornstarch and water during the last minutes of cooking.

For variations and additional cooking methods, like using a slow cooker or Instant Pot, I often refer to resources like Allrecipes or the New York Times for guidance and inspiration on enhancing my stew.

Using this approach results in a beef stew that’s hearty, flavorful, and perfect for a cozy meal.

Tips For The Best

When I make beef stew, I start by choosing the right cut of beef. Tougher cuts like chuck roast become succulent and tender with slow cooking. Make sure to cut against the grain for the best texture.

Here are the essentials for flavor and tenderness:

  • Searing the Meat: Brown your beef cubes on all sides; it’s not just about color—it’s flavor! Sear over high heat to develop a deep crust.
  • Seasoning: Generously season your beef with salt and pepper, preferably kosher salt for a robust flavor.
  • Aromatics: Don’t skimp on garlic, onions, and fresh herbs. They build a flavor foundation that brings the stew to life.
  • Deglazing: Use a splash of dry red wine to deglaze the pan and scrape up those tasty browned bits.
  • Thickening the Stew: A mixture of flour or cornstarch can create a rich texture, but don’t overdo it or you’ll end up with paste.

Vegetables matter too:

  • Root Vegetables: Carrots, potatoes, and parsnips should be chunky to withstand long cooking without falling apart.
  • Timing: Add delicate veggies like peas near the end to maintain their color and texture.

Lastly, let the stew simmer slowly; this enhances the flavors and ensures meat tenderness. Patience really is a virtue with stew!

What To Serve With

When I’m planning a meal around a hearty beef stew, I like to consider sides that complement its rich and savory flavors. A classic choice I often go for is a slice of crispy, warm bread; it’s perfect for sopping up every last bit of that delicious stew. My personal favorite is a thick slice of French baguette, but I’ve found that crusty homemade bread also works wonderfully for a home-cooked feel.

Here’s what else I typically serve with beef stew:

  • Starchy Sides: To balance the meal, starchy sides like creamy mashed potatoes or a scoop of nutty brown rice provide a satisfying base for the stew.
  • Healthy Greens: A green salad dressed with a simple vinaigrette or steamed vegetables like green beans add a refreshing crunch.
  • Roasted Vegetables: I also love roasted veggies, particularly seasonal options, which might include butternut squash in the fall or asparagus in the spring.

Here’s a quick list of sides:

  • Warm French baguette
  • Crusty homemade bread
  • Creamy mashed potatoes
  • Nutty brown rice
  • Refreshing green salad
  • Steamed green beans
  • Roasted vegetables

I always like to ensure there’s a nice balance of textures and flavors to complement the stew without overpowering it. And remember, the best side dishes are the ones that make your meal more enjoyable for you and your guests.

How To Store, Freeze & Reheat

Storing my beef stew properly is crucial to maintaining its flavor and freshness. After the stew has cooled, I transfer it to an airtight container, leaving a small gap at the top if I plan to freeze it since liquids expand when frozen. In the fridge, the stew keeps well for 3-4 days.

Freezing Beef Stew:

  • Preparation: Allow the stew to cool before freezing.
  • Containers: Use heavy-duty plastic containers or freezer bags.
  • Space: Leave ¼- to ½-inch of space at the top.
  • Duration: Stew can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  • Thickening: If my stew needs thickening, I add flour or cornstarch during reheating, not before freezing. This helps avoid separation after thawing.

Reheating Beef Stew:

  • Stovetop: In a pan, I add a splash of water, cover, and reheat over low heat until simmering.
  • Microwave: If I’m in a hurry, I place the stew in a microwave-safe bowl, cover it, and heat in intervals, stirring periodically.
  • Oven: For a larger batch, I reheat in an oven-safe dish, covered, at a low temperature until warmed thoroughly.

Pro Tip: To retain moisture and avoid drying out the stew, reheating slowly and gently is key.

Above all, taking care to properly store, freeze, and reheat beef stew ensures I can enjoy my hearty meal just as much the second time around!

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