My beef stew recipe uses carefully selected ingredients and techniques for the BEST flavor, ever! This stew can be made in the oven or slow cooker and includes instructions for both. Recipe includes a how-to video!
Beef Stew With Carrots and Potatoes
I’m taking a break from cupcakes and cookies today to share what I hope will become one of your go-to dinners this winter: beef stew! Not only is this beef stew recipe super cozy and hearty, it’s also the perfect make-ahead meal. Once prepped, this stew cooks in the oven for several hours until incredibly tender and flavorful–it’s the ultimate cold weather comfort food (tuck it away for a snow day!).
Every step of this stew is all about maximizing flavor. As with my beef ragu (coming soon!), searing the beef before nestling it in for a long slow-cooking session is critical.
Coating the meat in flour and searing adds incredible color and flavor to the beef, which is then infused throughout the stew. It also creates browned bits on the bottom of the pan, and when we deglaze those with red wine, it takes the flavor to new heights. Can you tell I’m excited about this one?
Why you’ll love my beef stew recipe:
- No fancy ingredients–red wine is as complicated as it gets.
- Cooks until the meat just falls apart (without the veggies becoming mushy!).
- Pairs perfectly with crusty bread, like my soda bread or my biscuits.
- Carefully designed to be as flavorful as absolutely possible!
What You Need
A good beef stew recipe doesn’t need a ton of fancy ingredients to be tasty. Instead, you just need to focus on the basics, including:
- Beef. Use a chuck roast and make sure to cut it into 1.5 inch pieces. Do NOT use pre-cut beef, sometimes sold as “stew meat” (don’t let the name fool you, it’s just not ideal). I talk more about the best beef for beef stew in the FAQ section below.
- Veggies. Including carrots, celery, and gold potatoes. Cut them all into 1″ pieces for the most even cooking. And yes, you can leave the skin on your potatoes!
- Aromatics. Like rosemary, thyme, and bay leaves. The base of the stew also uses onion and garlic for the best depth of flavor. I prefer to use fresh herbs when I can (though I haven’t been able to find a fresh bay leaf in years), but include notes in the recipe to substitute dried herbs.
- Wine. Use a dry red wine, I always opt for an inexpensive Merlot. And inexpensive is worth emphasizing, while with some recipes you want to make sure you’re using a wine you wouldn’t mind drinking, that’s not at all critical here. Bottom-shelf is totally fine. As with my French onion soup, most (if not all) of the alcohol cooks off, so you don’t have to worry about serving this dish to children. Finally, I absolutely recommend using wine for the best flavor, but if you’re out or just don’t keep wine in the house, I would just substitute with another cup of broth.
- Salt. Lack of salt is the number one way to kill the flavor of just about anything, but especially beef stew. When you taste your stew before serving, if it tastes bland or underwhelming at all, simply add more salt until it has a rich, deep flavor. I tried my best to list the exact amount of salt you need, but because of differences in ingredients (such as beef broth), there will always be some variation. Always add salt to taste as needed!
SAM’S TIP: While some beef stew recipes thicken the broth solely by adding hefty spoonfuls of flour, this didn’t give me the smooth, velvety mouthfeel that I was looking for. Tossing the meat in flour (and then adding just a bit more flour later on) is how I developed a thick base for this stew. The resulting broth isn’t quite as thick as a gravy, but it’s definitely thicker than a traditional broth.
Remember, this is just an overview of the ingredients I used and why. For the full recipe please scroll down to the bottom of the post!
How to Make Beef Stew
- Coat the meat – Combine the flour and seasoning in a ziploc bag, add the cubed meat, and toss/shake until the meat is coated.
- Sear – Add olive oil to a large pot and heat over medium-high. Once hot, sear the meat in batches, cooking until brown before flipping and repeating on the other side (you don’t have to sear all sides!). Remove to a plate.
- Cook the onion and garlic – Add the butter. Once melted, toss in the onion and cook until softened, then add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds.
- Stir in tomato paste – Add the tomato paste and stir until browned.
SAM’S TIP: Don’t over-crowd the beef when searing, or it will end up steaming instead due to lack of space. If this happens, your beef will turn gray instead of a deep brown, and it also won’t be as flavorful. This is why I cook the meat in batches!
- Add the flour – Sprinkle in the flour and stir until absorbed, then cook for one minute.
- Deglaze the pot – Slowly drizzle in the wine, scraping any brown bits off the bottom of the pot as you do. Cook for a few minutes until the wine is reduced and thickened, it should have a glossy, velvety appearance.
- Return the beef – Add the Worcestershire sauce and beef broth, then add the beef and any juices from the plate. Don’t discard the juices, they also add flavor!
- Add the veggies – Stir in the remaining seasoning, vegetables, and herbs.
- Bake for 2-3 hours – Place the lid on the pot slightly offset and bake in a 325F oven for 2 hours. If the meat doesn’t fall apart after 2 hours, cook for up to 1 additional hour, until tender.
- Season and serve! Remove the herbs from the pot and adjust the seasonings to taste.
SAM’S TIP: If your stew isn’t as thick as you’d like after baking, you can simmer it on the stove (uncovered) until it reaches your desired consistency.
Frequently Asked Questions
Using the right type of beef, searing the meat before cooking, deglazing the pan, cooking for several hours, and using plenty of salt all make a huge difference in the flavor of your beef stew. I carefully designed this beef stew recipe to be as flavorful as possible, and if you follow all of my tips, your stew will taste incredible!
Yes! You will want to do all of the searing/cooking steps before transferring to the slow cooker. It will cook for 8 hours on low; I provide detailed instructions for this in the recipe notes below.
Chuck roast is the number one beef I recommend for my beef stew recipe. Skip the pre-cut “stew meat”; while it may save you a few seconds of cutting, the quality can be unpredictable and it could end up diminishing your end results . I recommend using a chuck roast that has some nice marbling for the best flavor. Serious Eats has a helpful resource on selecting other good beef cuts.
My beef stew recipe tastes great served as is, but some people like to serve it over mashed potatoes (and what isn’t better with mashed potatoes?). 😋
Let’s bake together! I’ll be walking you through all the steps in my written recipe and video below! If you try this recipe, be sure to tag me on Instagram, and you can also find me on YouTube and Facebook
Beef Stew Recipe
- ½ cup all-purpose flour (63g)
- 1 ½ teaspoon table salt divided
- ¾ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 ½ lbs chuck roast cut into 1 ½” cubes (1.13kg)
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil divided
- 1 Tablespoon salted or unsalted butter or use additional olive oil
- 1 cup yellow onion diced (about 1 medium-sized onion) (130g)
- 1 ½ Tablespoons minced garlic
- 1 cup dry red wine I use Merlot (236ml)
- 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 4 cups beef broth (946ml)
- 1 ½ lbs gold potatoes cut into 1” pieces (I use small potatoes that I can just cut in half, but unpeeled Gold potatoes are a great alternative) (680g)
- 1 lb carrots cut into 1” pieces (453g)
- 2 stalks celery cut into 1” pieces
- 3 dried bay leaves
- 5 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 small sprig fresh rosemary or ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
- Additional salt and pepper to taste
- Dutch oven with lid
- Arrange rack to center of your oven and preheat oven to 325F (160C).
- In a large paper or Ziploc bag, toss together flour, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. Add cubed meat and toss until all of the cubes have been coated with flour.
- Heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Working in batches, remove the meat from the bag and lightly shake off any excess flour (do not discard flour). Sear meat in batches, allowing space between each piece (otherwise it won’t brown properly, I usually do 3 batches). Cook for about 3 minutes or until deep golden brown on one side, flip and sear the opposite side until deep golden brown, then remove to a plate while you cook the next batch. Add additional oil between batches as needed.
- Reduce heat to medium, toss a Tablespoon of butter into the pot and once it’s melted add onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened (about 3 minutes).
- Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant/30 seconds.
- Add tomato paste and cook, stirring, for about a minute or until browned in color.
- Measure out 1 Tablespoon of flour from your earlier flour mixture (if you tossed this just measure yourself a fresh Tablespoon of flour) and sprinkle over the pot. Cook, stirring, until flour is fully absorbed then cook another minute.
- Very slowly, drizzle in wine, scraping the bottom of the pot to deglaze it and work any browned bits into the stew. Cook until wine is slightly reduced, slightly thickened, and glossy in appearance (several minutes).
- Add worcestershire sauce and slowly drizzle in beef broth and stir well.
- Return beef to the pot (including any juices that collected on the plate), and add remaining ingredients (remaining ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon black pepper, potatoes, carrots, celery, bay leaves, thyme, and rosemary).
- Stir and ensure that the beef and veggies are mostly covered by the broth (and the herbs are completely submerged, or they’ll burn). Slightly offset the lid from the pot, transfer to center rack of 325F (160C) oven and bake for 2-3 hours. Check stew at 2 hours and add more time as needed, cooking until beef is tender enough that it falls apart with a fork.
- Once meat is tender, discard bay leaves and thyme/rosemary stems. Check the consistency and taste of the soup. If you’d like it a bit thicker, simmer uncovered on the stovetop until thickened. Taste-test and add salt and pepper as needed (if the soup tastes anything less than supremely flavorful, it likely needs a bit more salt to bring out the flavors of the soup).
Chuck roastChoose a chuck roast that is well-marbled for best flavor. Avoid pre-cut “stew meat”.
StoringStore in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. The flavor of the stew develops as it sits and some people even say it’s better the next day. This stew may also be frozen.
Slow CookerTo use a slow cooker, follow steps 1-10 then transfer ingredients to basin of a slow cooker. Cook on low for 8 hours. Note that the broth does not become quite as thick when prepared in a slow cooker, to help thicken the stew, remove the lid after 8 hours and cook on high, stirring occasionally (or return to a large pot on the stovetop and simmer, uncovered, until thickened).
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered an estimate only. Actual nutritional content will vary based upon brands used, measuring methods, cooking method, portion sizes, and more.