There’s nothing better than a steaming rich and delicious beef stew on a chilly day. This Instant Pot Beef Stew is just what you’re looking for.
Beef stew is one of those comfort foods that you have to make at least once during the fall season. It’s packed with tender beef, carrots, and potatoes that just melt in your mouth. This one pot meal makes dinner a breeze, less dirty dishes and more free time. We also like this one pot Instant Pot Chili and Olive Garden chicken pasta.
I used to hesitate before making beef stew because of how long it takes to make on the stove top. It meant having to babysit it for hours as it developed flavor and transformed into tasty bits.
It’s always worth it in the end, but I wished it didn’t take so long. As soon as I got my Instant Pot, I rejoiced. Beef Stew in the Instant Pot only takes about an hour, compared to the 4 hours it takes on the stove top. Winning!
Why Use An Instant Pot
The Instant Pot is one of the most useful kitchen appliances you can buy, because it drastically cuts down on the cooking time for developing flavors in soups and stews, getting tough cuts of meat tender, and even baking a cheesecake. And there are many accessories that will help you get more out of your Instant Pot.
Without an Instant Pot, you can still make this recipe, but you’ll have to cook it on the stovetop. It’s all the same except the cooking time will be 4 hours on medium low heat. You can also make Slow Cooker Beef Stew. Set it to low for 6-8 hours or high for 4.
Who would’ve thought you could serve beef stew on weeknights? With the convenience of an Instant Pot, it can be on the table in just over an hour.
What You’ll Need
- Olive oil – Olive oil is widely used for it’s healthy fats. Olive oil is my cooking oil of choice, but you can use any other oil for this recipe. Make sure to choose good quality olive oil all the time to enhance the taste of your dishes. Canola oil works well too.
- Beef stew meat – You can usually buy packages of stew meat already cut into chunks. If not try cutting up a chuck steak or round steak. Don’t bother going to the store because you can buy your beef online.
- Potatoes – Yukon gold and Russet hold their shape well. The starch from the potatoes helps giving the soup the consistency you need. You can peel them, but for a more rustic stew, wash the potatoes thoroughly and leave the skin on.
- Carrots – Carrots are often a compulsory ingredient in stews. That’s because they are loaded with vitamins and adds to the heartiness of the stew. It’ll surprise you how much of it your kids are eating.
- Onion – I use a medium white or yellow onion, chopped. Some people caramelize the onions before adding them to the pot to add a bit of interesting sweetness to the mix.
- Garlic – Freshly cut cloves are best, but chopped garlic from the store will also work.
- Beef stock – Beef broth makes this soup rich and gives it a meaty flavor. If you don’t have stock, use bouillon cubes dissolved in water. That’s if you’re short on time. Otherwise, you can diligently wait for the beef bones to simmer for hours for the best flavor.
- Tomato sauce – The tomato sauce adds a depth of flavor to the stew. You can buy canned tomato sauce or a homemade mixture.
- Tomato juice – This adds flavor and extra moisture.
- Worcestershire sauce – This sauce has a very unique flavor and is used to give a little boost of savory, saltiness to many dishes such as stews and soups. The umami it adds to the stew will satisfy your family’s meal.
- Salt & pepper – To taste. Make sure to use freshly cracked black pepper for optimal flavor.
- Cornstarch – Mixed with water it makes a slurry that will help thickened the stew.
- Bay Leaf – This is optional, though it adds a unique depth of flavor to the stew.
How to Make Instant Pot Beef Stew
Start by heating half the oil in the Instant Pot on saute mode. Season the beef chunks with salt and pepper. Add beef in batches, so it’s not crowded and brown well on all sides. Remove to a plate. Repeat until you’ve browned all the meat.
Add the remaining oil to the Instant Pot and whisk the bottom of the pan to remove the brown bits. This will keep it from burning as you saute the onions, carrots, and potatoes. Cook for 2-3 minutes, making sure they don’t burn. I usually have to scrap the bottom a few times with a spatula.
Turn off saute mode. When it’s cooled down a bit, add the garlic. You don’t want to add the garlic when it’s still super hot, or it will burn. And there’s nothing worse than burned garlic.
Add the beef stock, tomato sauce, tomato juice, worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper and cooked beef to the pot. Stir it all up really well. Scrap the browned bits off the bottom of the pot.
Lock the lid and set the valve to sealing. Press the stew button, or set to pressure cook for 35 minutes. If you make a larger amount than what this recipe calls for, you’ll need to increase the time to 40 or 45 minutes.
Allow the steam to release naturally. It takes about 20 minutes. The stew will probably be a bit liquidy, so you’ll want to thicken it with the cornstarch. But first, strain off any fat that’s come to the surface, if there is any.
To thicken the stew, turn on the saute mode. Mix the cornstarch and water together in a small bowl. Add the slurry to the stew and stir until thickened.
Adjust salt and pepper to taste before serving.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is my stew meat tough?
Stew meat typically is a tougher cut of meat. It needs to be cooked a while to break down the connective tissue. Make sure to cut the meat into like sized pieces so they cook consistently. If you use the cooking time below the meat should come out nice and tender. If the meat is still tough cook for a few minutes longer, but beware, you run the risk of overcooking the vegetables.
Do I have to brown the meat first?
No, but we strongly recommend it. You get a lot of flavor from browning the meat and the brown bits left behind. You could skip this step if you are short on time.
How to Store Leftovers
If you happen to have some leftover stew, and I hope you do!, you can easily store it in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Make sure you’ve allowed the stew to cool completely before putting it in the refrigerator.
You can also freeze this stew. It makes a great fast meal, whether it comes from the fridge or freezer. To reheat it, the fastest method is in the microwave. You can also put it in a pot on the stove top to reheat, or put it back in the Instant Pot for 1 minute (fresh) or 4 minutes (frozen) on high pressure.
Be sure to check out our Instant Pot page for more great recipes!
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Instant Pot Beef Stew
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 pounds beef stew meat cut into chunks
- 1 pound potatoes peeled and cut into thick pieces
- 6 carrots peeled and cut into thick pieces
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 3/4 cup beef stock
- 10 ounces can tomato sauce
- 1/2 cup tomato juice
- 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons water
- Heat 1/2 tbsp oil in the Instant Pot on saute mode. Season the beef chunks with salt and pepper. Add beef in batches and brown well on all sides. Remove to a plate. Repeat with remaining beef.
- Add remaining oil and whisk the bottom of the pan to remove brown bits. Add onions, carrots, and potatoes. Cook for 2-3 minutes, making sure not to burn. Add the garlic. Turn off saute mode.
- Add beef stock, tomato sauce, tomato juice, worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Return beef to the pot. Mix well.
- Lock the lid and set the valve to sealing. Press the stew button, or set to pressure cook for 35 minutes. Allow the steam to release naturally.
- To thicken the stew, turn on the saute mode. Mix the cornstarch and water together in a small bowl. Add the slurry to the stew and stir until thickened.
- Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Serve.
Other Potato Main Dish Recipes To Try
- Pulled Pork Gnocchi
- Loaded Baked Potato Casserole
- Meatballs & Mashed Potatoes
- Instant Pot Potato Leek Soup
- Pulled Pork Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
- Creamy & Delicious Gnocchi Carbonara
Click for Even More Potato Main Dish Recipes
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Laura is a home cook, with 25 years experience behind the stove, who spends an extraordinary amount of time in the kitchen cooking. She loves making new recipes and finding wonderful new things to eat, both at home or abroad. She spends a lot of time researching, crafting, and perfecting her recipes and currently has a cookbook in development.