Soups

January 5, 2021

Easy Instant Pot Beef Stew

Made with tender meat, soft vegetables, and a savory sauce, this Instant Pot Beef Stew is the perfect cozy recipe for cold winter nights, easy weeknight meals, or Sunday dinners. It's also naturally gluten free, dairy free, and high protein.

Even though today is the fourth of January, it actually feels like it's the "new year." Maybe because it's a Monday? And "real life" starts on Monday's?

Either way, it's officially time to welcome a month of cozy dinners and easy weeknight meals to the blog! I'm talking about casseroles, Instant Pot recipes, sheet pan dinners, and 30 minute meals.

Most importantly, each of these recipes needs to be healthy and nourishing to give your health goals a big boost of confidence, right?

That's why I released my New Year's Resolution Lean Green Smoothie last Friday! It's full of leafy greens, heart-healthy fats, and lean protein to power your mornings.

Now, for the second new recipe of January: this Easy Instant Pot Beef Stew!

Jam packed with protein and filled with soft stewed vegetables, this easy soup is perfect for hands-off cooking on those busy weeknights and lazy evenings!

A bowl of beef stew

Ingredients you'll need

  • Extra lean beef stew meat: tender and ideal for pressure cooking, stew meat literally falls apart with a spoon when cooked right. It also absorbs all the flavors and spices from the savory sauce. It's the perfect cut for this classic stew! If you can't find "extra lean," just trim your beef stew meat as best you can prior to cooking.
  • Red potatoes: these waxy potatoes are low in starch and perfect for stews because they hold their shape after cooking. I like to keep my skins on to retain as many vitamins and minerals as possible, but feel free to peel yours if you prefer your potatoes that way.
  • Peas and carrots: the traditional vegetables of choice for a hearty stew. Carrots are packed with vitamin A and peas are a great source of plant-based protein, fiber, and vitamin K. After pressure cooking in the Instant Pot, these vegetables are oh-so-soft!
  • Onions and garlic: the best flavor-boosters in my opinion! This recipe only calls for 3 cloves of garlic, but I always add a few more because garlic is amazing.
  • Pantry staples: here's where the magic happens! A unique combination of Worcestershire sauce, balsamic vinegar, beef broth, tomato paste, and mustard gives this Instant Pot Beef Stew the most rich and savory sauce you've ever had. I'm not kidding when I say this sauce is the star of the dish!
  • Fresh thyme: infused into the stew during cooking, fresh thyme rounds out the savory sauce and enhances the flavor of the tender meat and vegetables. Try your very best to find fresh thyme for this recipe!
  • Cornstarch slurry: stews are known for their thick sauce, and this Instant Pot Beef Stew is no exception! We need the sauce to start off on the brothy side to ensure the meat and veggies cook thoroughly, but once the cooking is done, stir in a simple cornstarch slurry and reduce the broth until a thick sauce forms.

A bowl of beef stew

How to make Instant Pot beef stew

The key to any homemade recipe is using fresh ingredients and not leaving out any spices, seasonings, or sauces.

Luckily, this Instant Pot Beef Stew uses basic pantry staples to create the most savory sauce, so you should only have to purchase fresh meat and veggies.

To ensure this dinner is feasible on busy weeknights, I've simplified the preparation process as much as possible and chosen fresh, affordable ingredients.

Start by dicing the fresh vegetables into large chunks, about 1" long. If you have little ones at home, I recommend 1/2" long.

As shown in the image below, I've kept the skins on my red potatoes, but you can peel the skins if you'd like. After preparing the vegetables, mince the garlic. For tips on mincing garlic, watch my quick tutorial here!

Red potatoes, carrots, and onions on a platter

Next, add the olive oil to the bottom of the Instant Pot and sear the beef and garlic. In most other recipes, you would coat the beef in flour prior to searing, but I've never been able to taste (or feel) the difference, so why bother with the extra calories or the extra work?

Searing the meat won't cook the meat all the way, just brown the outsides and add a boost of flavor to the beef (see the images below for reference).

Add all remaining ingredients except for the cornstarch slurry and the peas to the Instant Pot, mixing well to combine. Seal the lid and cook on HIGH pressure for 35 minutes, allowing for 10 minutes natural release.

Raw beef for stew in an Instant Pot
Beef stew in an Instant Pot

Remove the fresh thyme and mix the stew to ensure none of the food stuck to the bottom.

Finally, stir in the frozen peas and cornstarch slurry.

Switch the Instant Pot to "saute" mode and allow the stew to thicken. It will continue to thicken as it sits in the heated pot during dinner.

In total, this Beef Stew takes about 15-20 of actual work on your end, which means it's the best dinner for busy weeknights or lazy evenings! Not to mention it makes 8 hearty servings to enjoy for the next few days, too.

A bowl of beef stew

Frequently asked questions

How long does it take to make Beef Stew from scratch?

If you include chopping the vegetables and the pressurization time of the Instant Pot, it takes just over an hour from start to finish! Keep in mind that most of that time, you are out of the kitchen doing other things :)

What do I serve with homemade Beef Stew?

Since this meal is so hearty and calorie dense (470 calories with 58g of protein per serving!), a simple toasted garlic bread or my 90-Minute Dinner Rolls is all you'll need!

Is homemade Beef Stew gluten free?

My recipe is! There is no breading for the meat, and I use a cornstarch slurry to thicken the stew instead of a roux made of flour and butter. If you'd like to serve bread with this Beef Stew, make sure to choose a gluten-free bread.

Is this Instant Pot Beef Stew dairy free?

Yes! No cheese, milk, or cream here!

How do I store Beef Stew?

I like to keep leftovers in an air-tight glass container like these ones for up to 4 days in the fridge. Using glass instead of plastic keeps the stew fresh and flavorful for days afterwards!

Can I freeze my Beef Stew?

Yes you can! Allow the stew to cool to room temperature after cooking, then store in a gallon-size ziploc bag and freeze for up to 3 months. To eat, allow the stew to thaw at room temperature for an hour, then reheat on the stove.

Can I make Instant Pot Beef Stew on the stove?

Yes! If you don't have an Instant Pot, you can prepare the stew in a large soup pot on the stove. After searing the meat and garlic, add all remaining ingredients as directed and cook on low for at least 2 hours. Make sure to test the meat temperature and vegetable tenderness before serving. You can purchase an Instant Pot here on Amazon for a great price!

Can I make Instant Pot Beef Stew in a slow cooker?

Of course! Follow all directions for preparation, then cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours. This is a great option for Sunday dinners or family potlucks!

A man getting a spoonful of beef stew

I can't wait to hear what you think of this Beef Stew! It's easily become one of my favorite simple meals and the flavor is out-of-this-world! My husband is obsessed and I can see why.

If you make this Instant Pot Beef Stew, be sure to leave a star rating and review below so other viewers (and Google!) know how you liked it!

Easy Instant Pot Beef Stew

Made with tender meat, soft vegetables, and a savory sauce, this Instant Pot Beef Stew is the perfect cozy recipe for cold winter nights, easy weeknight meals, or Sunday dinners. It's also naturally gluten free, dairy free, and high protein.

Author:

Brooke Harmer

Prep:

15

min

cook:

60

min

total:

75

min

servings:

8

Ingredients

  • 2½ lbs stew beef, diced into 1" cubes (extra lean)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb red potatoes, diced into 1" cubes
  • 4 large carrots, sliced into coins
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cans beef broth, reduced sodium (about 28 oz.)
  • 3 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 3 oz tomato paste
  • ½ Tbsp mustard
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 5 sprigs fresh thyme (optional but recommended)
  • 3 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 3 Tbsp water
  • 12 oz frozen peas

Instructions

  1. Add olive oil to the bottom of the Instant Pot and press "saute" mode for 5 minutes. Sear the beef and garlic until the meat has browned on all sides.
  2. Add potatoes, carrots, onions, Worcestershire sauce, balsamic vinegar, tomato paste, mustard, salt, pepper, and beef broth to the Instant Pot. Mix until well combined, then add the fresh thyme on top.
  3. Close the Instant Pot lid, turn the valve to "seal," and cook on HIGH pressure for 35 minutes. (It will take about 20 minutes to pressurize.) Allow for 10 minutes natural release (the display should read L:10) then manually release until all steam is gone. Remove the lid and remove the fresh thyme sprigs.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and water until a slurry forms. There should be no clumps remaining.
  5. Switch the Instant Pot to "saute" mode for 7 minutes, then add the cornstarch slurry and frozen peas. Stir occasionally to allow the stew to thicken.
  6. Serve warm with these 90-Minute Dinner Rolls and enjoy!

Notes

Nutrition facts are a calculated estimate of approximately 1 1/2 cups of stew (3 ladles) and do not include additional toppings or side dishes.

Nutrition