Perfect Beef Stew can be made from scratch in your slow cooker or on your stove top! This beef stew recipe is thick, hearty, and packed full of tender beef!
This beef stew is a total classic, perfectly cozy on a chilly night! I know you’ll love how easy this dish is to make. The best part about this stew is that it’s so thick, beefy, and rich with tons of flavor! The beef cooks down at a slow simmer in your crockpot or on the stove top, depending on your preference! When it’s finished, it simply melts in your mouth! We do have a very quick/easy Instant Pot Beef Stew that is one of our most popular recipes on the blog! But, this one is the ultimate, from scratch, like grandma made that you just can’t beat. When making/testing this one, I have to say it truly doesn’t take much longer at all than the instant pot version, and you could make this one in your IP too if you wanted!
Making Beef Stew Meat Tender:
Beef stewing meat is generally found at any grocery store/butcher pre-cut into chunks. It can come from many different cuts of beef, but most often it’s going to be a tougher cut of meat like beef chuck. If you can’t find pre cubed, you can simply purchase a chuck roast and cut it into bite sized pieces. A tough cut of meat is perfect for beef stew! It has lots of connective tissue that really melts right into the meat making it amazingly moist and tender. The key to having a super tender beef stew, is really to be patient! On the stove top, this stew needs to simmer for about 1 1/2 hours total. In the slow cooker, it will go for a good 6-8 hours.
Perfect Stew From Scratch:
- The first step is to cut up your beef into bite sized chunks (if they aren’t already), then throw them in a bowl with flour, salt, and pepper and stir to make sure all of your meat is well coated.
- You’ll want to use a large heavy-bottom pot or dutch oven and heat up 2 Tablespoons of oil to start. You’ll need to brown your beef in 3 batches so that you don’t overcrowd your pan. That way, each piece of meat can get a nice sear on it. This will take about 3-5 minutes per batch. Make sure to drizzle more oil in the pan if needed between batches. This portion is the “longest” the rest of this recipe is super hands off.
- Once all of your meat is browned you’ll set it aside. Next, we use butter and cook our onions and garlic for just a couple of minutes until softened. Stir in your tomato paste for about one minute to break it up.
- Then, use the wine (or broth) to deglaze the pot and get up all of the tasty bits that will give this stew even more flavor! After this, it’s basically “dump and go” because you will add in all of the rest of your ingredients to the pot, or dump everything right into your slow cooker. Let everything simmer to perfection!
Beef Stew Tips and Notes:
This recipe calls for red wine, and you can use whatever wine that you like best. I used a Pinot Noir. Whatever you do, don’t use the stuff labeled “cooking wine” that you can find at the grocery store by the vinegars. It does not taste good! If you prefer, you can skip the wine and just use more broth, but, the wine adds some really great depth of flavor! Don’t skip the tomato paste in this recipe and don’t substitute it! You need this to add flavor to the base. You can often find tomato paste in tubes instead of cans. I love purchasing it in the tube because I use what I need, then store it right in the refrigerator for later. Let’s talk veggies! I LOVE mushrooms in my stew, it’s not the same without it for me! But, if you are not a fan, you can leave them out if you wish. Also, I know some people like peas in their stew, no problem, you can stir in about 1 cup of frozen peas in the last 10 minutes of cooking time. Lastly, don’t skip the vinegar if you don’t have balsamic, red wine vinegar works too, and make sure that you add that pinch of sugar! It doesn’t make the stew sweet AT ALL but it helps to balance out the flavors.