Old-fashioned beef stew recipe is the perfect cool-weather comfort food. Tender chunks of beef simmered in a rich flavorful gravy, and of course, loaded all the right vegetables.
This is the classic recipe my Grandma taught me to make. No wine!! (This is American beef stew, not French). Just incredible, thick brown gravy. And, as an added bonus, the house smells amazing while this pot of amazing stew simmers away.
Stew is one of the best autumn dinners. Whether you have something unique like Brunswick stew or chicken stew, or a quick meal-saver like Instant Pot beef stew, the end result is always the same: satisfied appetites, happy family!
Let’s make some stew!
Some dishes are so timeless that just the thought of them spurs nostalgic happiness! This recipe is a winner of a dinner that will make your whole family swoon.
- Hearty, tender beef
- Perfect rich gravy
- Warms you through and through
- Ultimate cold-weather meals!
Low and slow is the rule for every beef stew recipe — but what ingredients you use to decide whether your low and slow efforts are worthwhile!
- Beef: For stew in general, chuck roast is a perfect choice. It creates a rich mouth-feel and becomes meltingly tender during the long, low cooking process.
- Aromatics: As with most beef stew recipes, you can’t skip sautéing the aromatic vegetables before adding them!
- When these veggies are raw, they contain compounds that are pungent and sulfurous—not what you want in your soup. But when those same vegetables are heated, the compounds change, evolving into something sweet and wonderful!
- Brown Bits: When you brown the beef in the oil, you create brown bits, called fond, at the bottom of the pot. These are flavor gold.
- You want to make sure there’s enough oil and that you moderate the heat while browning so the fond becomes deeply colored but does not burn.
- In many recipes, the liquid is added and brought to a boil after the browning to release the fond from the pan so it can be incorporated into the sauce. In this recipe, I sauté the onions and garlic instead. The vegetables release their natural liquids and do a perfect job of loosening the brown bits.
- Don’t be alarmed when the onions take on a deep brown color. It’s just the fond goodness coating them.
- Garlic: I like to rough chop garlic rather than mince it. Because the pieces are larger, I sauté them with onions without worrying they’ll burn. If you prefer minced garlic, add them to the onion for the last few minutes of the sauté and stir frequently.
- Potatoes: I always make this beef stew recipe with russets. What’s the difference between russet potatoes and other kinds? Russet potatoes have some of the highest starch content, which means they break down very well when cooked in soups and help further thicken the broth.
How Long Can You Keep This In The Fridge?
Like any traditional beef stew recipe, you MUST cool your leftovers before storing them! Don’t pop steaming hot stew in the fridge — not only will it raise the temp of everything else stored in there, but it’ll bring about watery condensation that’ll ruin your stew flavor.
Once cooled, your beef stew recipe leftovers will store in the fridge for three to four days.
Can You Freeze This?
My homemade beef stew recipe freezes wonderfully! Let it cool, store it in an airtight container, and pop it in your freezer for four to six months.
When you want to reheat, let it thaw in the fridge overnight, then reheat on the stove!
Make Ahead Tips
The best way to whip this beef stew recipe out even faster is to transfer the whole recipe into a Crockpot or Instant Pot.
And don’t worry — even though this is beef stew with potatoes, because we use russet (a heartier potato — see above!), your potatoes will still retain their shape, even with lots of cooking!
The only way to serve my beef stew recipe is with lots and lots of delicious, fluffy, homemade BREAD!
Lion house rolls are a classic and always a winner. I can never make enough to satisfy my family’s cravings!
But if you’re new to bread making and want something easier, go for my magically simple no-knead bread. You get a delicious crispy crust with perfectly fluffy insides, all without having to stress over bread making!
What variations can we get with this beef stew recipe? Plenty!
- Make a hamburger version: If hamburger is more your thing, then you can tweak this recipe to use ground beef or just make my hamburger stew. That recipe is a huge reader favorite so I know you’ll love it.
- Make a goulash instead. If you want a stew that has some delicious pasta in it, then beef goulash is the recipe for you. For a speedy version, you can’t beat my Instant Pot goulash!
Want even more beef soup recipes to bring some heartiness to your dinners? Here are my favorites!
Beef Stew Recipe
- 3 pounds beef chuck, cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 3-4 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 cups yellow onions, chopped
- 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 6 cups low sodium beef stock
- 1 heaping tablespoon Better Than Bouillon, beef flavor
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon thyme leaves
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 4 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
- 2 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
- Remove any excess moisture on beef cubes with paper towels. Place in a large mixing bowl and toss with salt and black pepper.
- In a large heavy-bottom pot, over medium-high heat, heat 2 tablespoons of oil until it shimmers. Brown the meat in 3 batches on all sides, about 5 minutes per batch. (Do not crowd the pan or the beef will simmer rather than brown and you won't create any fond.) Remove browned beef to a plate; set aside. Repeat with the remaining beef, adding more oil as needed.
- Add onions and garlic to the pot and saute until almost soft, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle flour over the top of the vegetables and continue to cook for 1-2 minutes to reduce the flour flavor.
- Add beef stock, better than bullion, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, bay leaves, paprika, thyme, and sugar. Return browned beef and any juices that have accumulated on the plate to pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and gently simmer until the beef is tender about 1 1/2 hours.
- Add the carrots and potatoes and simmer until tender. Add the peas, remove from the heat, cover, and let sit 5-7 minutes. Adjust seasoning, garnish with parsley or fresh thyme, and serve.