Hearty Beef Stew – Slender Kitchen

This hearty beef stew with potatoes and carrots is the ultimate comfort food. It’s easy to make, full of fresh ingredients, and has all the flavors you look for in this classic dish. Jump to Recipe


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Packed full of vegetables, potatoes, and beef in a savory broth, this hearty beef stew will fill you up and nourish your body at the same time. It’s a great and comforting dinner meal for a cold, winter night!

There is something extremely comforting about beef stew on a cold night. Maybe it’s the steamy broth that warms you up from the inside out or maybe it’s the chunks of potatoes that melt in your mouth with the savory bits of beef.

No matter which part of beef stew you like the most, there is no denying how it just hits the spot sometimes!

This recipe for healthy beef stew is incredibly nourishing for your body. It might appear daunting at first because of the long list of fresh ingredients, but don’t let that scare you. It’s actually super-easy to make!

Keep reading and discover how to make some of the best stew that’s so good for you you’ll enjoy that second bowl.

Hearty beef stew with potatoes and carrots in a rich beef broth with onions in a large Dutch oven with a wooden spoon.

Ingredients and Easy Swaps

Here is a bit more information about the ingredients I used, along with any replacements or substitutions you can make.

  • Beef stew meat: Use lean stewing beef and make sure to cut it into small chunks. The best size is about an inch. You can also use beef chuck roast, a beef roast, or almost any cut of beef. Since beef stew is cooked for a long time, normally cheaper cuts of beef are used that become fork tender when cooked for long periods of time.
  • Carrots: Slice or chop up some carrots. Make sure all pieces are about the same size so they all cook consistently. Normally I peel the carrots but some people like to leave the skins on for a more rustic feel.
  • Parsnips: The parsnips are optional but add lots of gut-healthy fiber to the stew! They also add some subtle sweetness. Swap in extra carrots or leave these out if desired.
  • Potatoes: Use yellow or red potatoes and leave the skin on them. Russet potatoes will work in a pinch, but red potatoes will have the best texture as they cook and won’t break down as much.
  • Celery Ribs: Celery always tastes fantastic in soups and stews. Chop them so that they are all the same size and cook evenly. For extra flavor, add the celery leaves as well.
  • Onion: Any onion will work, so just use your favorite variety. Normally I reach for yellow or white. For a sweeter flavor, use a sweet onion like a Vidalia. 
  • Worcestershire Sauce: This adds that savory, umami flavor to the beef stew. If you are trying to watch your salt intake, use less added salt in the recipe if you use this sauce since it can be salty. If you don’t want to use it, you could add some soy sauce or just add extra salt and pepper.
  • Beef broth and red wine: This combination gives the beef stew its rich flavor. Beef broth or beef stock will both work, just choose one with good flavor. You could also use beef bouillon with water.  When it comes to the red wine, almost any variety will work – cabernet, pinto noir, or malbec are my personal favorites. 
  • Garlic: I used fresh garlic cloves because they gave the stew the best aroma and flavor. In a pinch, you could swap in jarred minced garlic or garlic powder.
  • Spices: Bay leaves are optional, but infuse the stew with amazing taste. I also use kosher salt, black pepper, smoked paprika, and allspice! You can use any combination of spices you like.
  • Fresh herbs: If you want to add some herbal notes to the stew, you can add a bundle of fresh herbs like rosemary and thyme to really dress up the stew and add a sweet overtone to the entire dish.

What To Serve With Beef Stew

This stew has everything you need to be a complete meal. If you want to serve something with it, I suggest adding something green on the side. Here are some tasty salads, healthy rolls, and easy vegetables to add on the side.

Add Veggies to Your Beef Stew!

This is the classic version of beef stew that contains carrots, celery, and potatoes. However, there are so many more vegetables you can add to make your beef stew more nutritious and tasty. 

  • Mushrooms: I love mushrooms in beef stew. It’s the perfect texture and flavor for a hearty stew. Both sliced mushrooms or halved mushrooms will work. 
  • Green Peas: For a burst of brightness and some green, add some frozen peas right to the beef stew before serving. They will cook in just a couple of minutes in the hot stew.
  • Butternut squash: The sweetness and earthiness of butternut squash is a perfect addition to beef stew. You can add it in addition to the potatoes or as a replacement. Then just let it simmer with until they are fork-tender.
  • Bell peppers: Although not traditional, sometimes I love to add a diced bell pepper along with the onions and garlic. It adds a touch of sweetness. Chopped roasted red peppers can also be really delicious since they have some smoky flavor.
  • Pearl Onions: For some extra onion flavor you could add some pearl onions to the stew. These are normally found precooked in the frozen food section, so just add them along with the potatoes. If they are uncooked, add them with the beef to ensure they cook completely and become tender.
  • Diced tomatoes: Add some richness and acid to the stew with diced tomatoes. Any canned variety will work, drain them so the stew stays nice and thick. Another option to add richness is tomato paste. You can add 1-2 tablespoons to the stew after cooking the onions and garlic. 

Recipe Tips and Ideas

Follow these tips to make sure that this stew turns out perfectly savory every single time!

  • Wrap fresh herbs in cheesecloth. Don’t just throw sprigs of fresh herbs into your stew. The cheesecloth will allow the flavor of the rosemary and fresh thyme to seep into your stew without the pungent leaves falling into it.
  • Brown the beef before adding it to the stew. This will give it the caramelized outer texture as it cooks slowly and tenderizes. It also kicks up the flavor in the entire stew. Those delicious little browned bites really do add a ton of flavor to the stew.
  • Cook the stew meat slowly. Since stew meat is a tougher cut of meat, it needs to cook longer in order for it to become more tender.
  • Try using sweet potatoes or butternut squash instead of white potatoes. Swap out veggies and use your favorites!
  • When stirring those little browned bits on the bottom, add a splash of balsamic vinegar to the pan. Not only will it help you scrape up those browned bits, it also adds a rich flavor to the stew. This is a great option as well, especially if you are skipping the red wine.

A ladle full of beef stew with fork tender beef, potatoes, carrots, onions, and celery.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some questions I frequently get asked about by some readers…

Can I make this stew in the slow cooker?

Yes, this hearty beef stew is really easy to make in a slow cooker. First, brown the beef on all sides. Then, dump all the ingredients (except the potatoes and root vegetables) into the slow cooker. Let it cook for 4-6 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low. Then, add the potatoes and root vegetables to the slow cooker an hour before it is done.

Can this beef stew be made in the Instant Pot?

Sure! Follow the same directions for browning the beef, sauteing the onions, and deglazing the pot with red wine. Then add all the remaining ingredients to the Instant Pot, except for the cornstarch slurry. Close the Instant Pot and set it on Manual mode for 40 minutes. Let the pot come to pressure (takes about 10 minutes) and then let the pressure naturally release at the end, another 10-15 minutes. Then add the cornstarch slurry to thicken up the stew. Season and serve.

How do you store leftover beef stew?

The best way to store leftover beef stew is in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Beef stew is also really easy to store in the freezer. Keep it in a resealable freezer-safe bag, and it will stay fresh in the freezer for up to 6 months. When you are ready to enjoy it again, let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight and then reheat it on the stove in a dutch oven or large saucepan.

How do you make homemade beef stew seasoning?

My beef stew seasoning is slightly sweet with a great balance of heat and zest. The entire recipe for my seasoning is in the printable recipe card just below. I think the smoked paprika gives it the perfect amount of spice, and then the allspice really rounds it out. 

How to thicken beef stew?

This beef stew is thicker with a slurry of cornstarch and water that is added to the stew towards the end of cooking to thicken up the broth. Another option for making a thicker stew is to coat the beef in a few tablespoons of flour before browning it in the pan. This flour will thicken the whole stew as it cooks.

What can I do with beef stew leftovers?

If you are lucky enough to have leftovers, there are lots of ways to use leftover beef stew. Consider taking one batch of leftover stew and drain off some of the broth. Then serve the beef stew over cooked egg noodles. Another option is combining the leftover stew with cooked brown rice and using it as a filling for stuffed peppers. Make a protein-rich “corn beef hash” by chopping the beef stew into small pieces and cooking them until crispy in a skillet. Then serve with eggs. 

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