This recipe for homemade beef stew is made with fresh ingredients and is full of all-natural flavor. Roasted garlic and caramelized onions combined with beef slowly simmered with vegetables until tender make a stew that is melt-in-your-mouth delicious.
This stew is simplified by using homemade beef stock or broth that is made ahead of time or by using a good quality store-bought brand. If you want to try to make your own here is my homemade beef stock recipe.
Ingredients For Beef Stew:
- 2-3 lbs beef stew meat
- 8-10 cups beef stock – (or enough liquid to cover all the ingredients)
- Yellow onions
- Worcestershire sauce
- Rosemary, Thyme, and Parsley fresh or dried.
What kind of beef is best for beef stew?
Beef stew meat that you find in most grocery stores is the easiest type of beef to use since it comes already cut and needs little preparation.
You can also use any beef roast such as a shoulder roast, or round roast. Any inexpensive tough cut of beef that slowly simmers for a couple of hours will tenderize perfectly.
steps to make this homemade beef stew recipe
Beef stew needs to simmer long enough for the meat and vegetables to become tender and for the flavors to mingle. The length of cooking time will be determined by the method you choose. This recipe is made on the stovetop or in a slow cooker.
Step 1: Coat the stock pot with olive oil on medium-high heat. Coat the beef in flour and sear in the preheated pot. The flour from the beef will help thicken the beef stew liquid. Sear the meat in batches and do not overcrowd the pot. Once the meat is seared on all sides set it aside on a plate.
Step 2: Roast the remaining vegetables, onions, and garlic. (you may need additional olive oil) Roasting the vegetables with onions and garlic will result in better flavor.
Step 3: Add the rest of the ingredients, liquid, and seared beef, and bring it to a simmer. reduce heat to low and let it continue to simmer for at least 1 1/2 – 2 hrs. The longer everything simmers, the more tender the beef and the more flavorful the broth will be.
Step 4: While it simmers continuously skim the top of the liquid for any foam that may form on the top.
Step 5: After about 2 hrs check the meat for doneness. If it falls apart easily it is ready. Taste the broth and add salt to taste and more pepper if needed.
Making beef stew on the stovetop
This recipe can easily be made on the stovetop in a large pot or dutch oven. You will first want to sear the meat that is coated in flour and roast the vegetables, garlic, and onions. Then add the stock and the rest of the ingredients and bring it to a simmer on medium heat, then reduce the temperature to low to maintain a low simmer.
You need to continue to simmer until the meat, potatoes, and other vegetables are tender. The meat will take the longest, depending on the cut of beef it usually takes 1 1/2 -2 hrs.
The beef stew can also simmer in the oven in an oven-safe pot or dutch oven. Once you have seared the vegetables and added the rest of the ingredients, bring them to a simmer on the stovetop then transfer the pot to the oven. Set the temperature to a low 250-275 degrees F. to keep the liquids at a low simmer. YOu may have to adjust accordingly since ovens vary.
Making Beef stew in a slow cooker
The longer the beef simmers the more tender it will be. Using a slow cooker will allow the stew to simmer longer without it having to be constantly monitored which works if you don’t have a lot of time. This also gives more time for the flavor to marinate as they cook together.
To use a slow cooker method, once you have seared the meat and the vegetables on the stovetop, transfer them to a slow cooker. Add enough broth to cover the ingredients, leaving a little room at the top to avoid overflowing.
Set the temperature to high to bring the liquid to a slight simmer. Once it comes to a simmer, turn the temperature to low to maintain a low simmer. Once you see a low simmer you can continue on with your day. Let it simmer on low for 6-8 hrs or longer and you will have a delicious stew waiting for you.
What ingredients can be substituted?
Beef stew meat: You can use any steak meat or roast you have on hand, especially a beef roast with a tough cut that will benefit from cooking for a long period of time. My go-to is beef stew meat since it is already cut up and tenderizes perfectly after simmering for a long cook time.
Onions: Yellow onions cut lengthwise were tested in this recipe. Although, red, yellow, or sweet onions can also be used for beef stew. You can also use shallots, green onions, or any variation with or along with the onions. Switching it up and using what you have on hand make it your own and will help prevent waste.
Garlic: Use fresh garlic if you can.
Vegetables: Any of your favorite vegetables can be swapped out for carrots and mushrooms. Parsnips or any root vegetables will do well. Even fresh spinach or zucchini would work, if you use a softer vegetable add them to the pot within the last 20-30 minutes of cooking.
Potatoes: Choose your favorite potato or use any you have on hand since any type of potato will work for this recipe. Keep in mind, red potatoes will hold their shape the best. Yellow or russet are more starchy and have great flavor.
Beef broth or stock: This recipe calls for beef broth or stock, if you do not have enough to cover all of the ingredients you can add water. As it simmers you may want to add more seasonings such as extra carrots, celery, or herbs if you added more water.
Herbs: Fresh is best when it comes to using herbs but dried herbs will work well too. Add dried herbs 1 teaspoon at a time and use them more sparingly since they can have a stronger flavor.
Ingredients to Avoid:
Peppers: Bell peppers or sweet peppers can leave a bitter taste.
Garlic or Onion Powder: Try to avoid this if possible and use fresh garlic or onions. If you are out of fresh, add in small amounts and taste the results before adding more.
How to store beef stew
Chill in the refrigerator. You can store beef stew in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Package up the remaining stew before it cools completely to prevent bacterial growth.
Keep frozen in the freezer. You can store beef stew in an airtight container in the freezer for 4-6 months. TIP: Refrigerating the leftover stew in the refrigerator overnight will allow the fat to rise to the top, making it easier to remove it off the top before storing it in the freezer.
Homemade Beef Stew Recipe
- 2-3 lbs. beef stew meat
- 6-8 cups beef stock enough to cover all of the ingredients
- 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 3 large potatoes
- 3 carrots sliced
- 1 cup sliced mushrooms
- 1 onion sliced lengthwize
- 1 head garlic
- 1 tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary (or 1 tsp dried)
- 1 tbsp. chopped fresh thyme (or 1 tsp dried)
- 1 tbsp. chopped fresh parsely (or 1 tsp dried)
- 1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
- In a medium bowl add flour and a dash of salt and pepper and whisk.
- Place a large pot or dutch oven on the stovetop and add 2 tbsp of olive oil and set to medium heat.
- Coat the stew meat in the flour and then add the stew meat (or beef cut of choice chopped) in small batches to the pan to sear on all sides. Do not over crowd the pot. Once the meat is seared pn all sides remove from pan and set aside.
- Once the meat is done, add the onions, garlic, and vegetables and and cook until they are softened.
- Turn the heat to medium-low and add the beef stock and stir in the seared meat, herbs, Worcestershire sauce, and pepper.
- Bring the liquid to a low simmer and then reduce the temperature to low, cover, and let simmer for at least 1 1/2 -2 hrs.