Instant Pot Beef Stew is a classic, comforting stew recipe that’s cooked to perfection in no time thanks to the pressure cooker! This soul-warming winter dish is loaded with tender beef, potatoes, carrots, and onions in a flavorful beef sauce.
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I grew up eating beef stew, so I have an emotional connection to this dish just as much as the flavor. My mom used to make it at least once a month because it’s so easy to make, it’s filling and delicious, and holds up great in the fridge. You can make a batch to last several days and not worry about dinner during a busy workweek.
I like to stick to the classic ingredients. Beef, potatoes, onions, and carrots are the main ingredients in the beef stew that will keep you warm, fuzzy, and happy. Beef and vegetables become very tender after stewing for a long period of time and very flavorful from the tomato and beef based broth and generous seasoning. It’s the ultimate comfort dish with every bite!
Thanks to the Instant Pot, making classic recipes that normally should take hours now take no time at all. The invention of the pressure cooker changed my life when it made it possible for me to have all the wonderful dishes that normally take hours in about an hour!
Beef – The best meat to use for beef stew is chuck roast. It’s inexpensive, tough, and has lots of marbling and connective tissue. Not a cut that you want to cook quickly, but it’s perfect for slow cooking (and pressure cooking in this case) and very flavorful. This cut of beef is also very good at soaking in flavors that it’s cooked in.
Potatoes – I love using fingerling potatoes or other small potatoes because of how well they hold their shape and stand up to pressure cooking. Cut potatoes can be too soft after pressure cooking, especially the starchy kind. So use fingerling or other small potatoes and leave them whole, with skin on. If a few of your fingerling potatoes are too large, you can cut them in half or so.
Beef Stock – I like to use my favorite Homemade Beef Stock when I have it on hand! Of course, store-bought is always fine as well. If using store-bought, I recommend using “low-sodium” or “no salt added ones.”
Seasonings – I like to use a simple, yet flavorful blend of salt, pepper, paprika, and dried herbs like parsley, thyme, and bay leaves.
See the recipe card below for the full list of ingredients and instructions.
Other Vegetables to Use in Beef Stew
Peas are a very popular addition so if you like peas, add a small bag of frozen peas to your stew.
Try adding fresh green beans, leek instead of onions, and even frozen sweet corn.
How to Cook Beef Stew in the Instant Pot
Prepare. First, before starting to cook, cut your vegetables and then whisk beef stock, tomato paste, and seasoning together. If you got a whole piece of beef chuck, cut it into about 1-inch chunks. Personally, I hate large pieces of fat so I cut those off and discard them. You can choose to discard large pieces of fast as well or leave them in. Season the meat generously with salt and pepper all around.
Sear the meat. Next, set your Instant Pot to the “sear” setting and let it heat up. Add some oil and throw in meat chunks. Let the meat sear for a few minutes before you start to mix it. (1)
Add the veggies, stock and bay leaves. Once you have some sear marks on the meat, add chopped vegetables (2) and mix it together. Pour in the beef stock mixture and add bay leaves. (3)
Pressure cook the stew. Close the lid and make sure it is latched all the way. Turn the valve to “seal” and set the pressure cooker to cook on “stew” setting for 40 minutes. Pressure cooker will take about 15 minutes to build the pressure inside first, before it starts cooking.
Release the pressure. Once time is up, let is do a natural release for about 10 minutes and the carefully do a quick release.
PRO TIP: If you don’t have a “stew” setting, set it to pressure cook on high pressure for 45 minutes. Consult your pressure cooker manual for exact proper operations.
How to Thicken Beef Stew
When using Instant Pot to cook the stew, you will want to thicken it with a cornstarch mixture. As soon as it’s done cooking and you take off the lid, mix together cold broth and cornstarch and stir the mixture into the stew (5).
Turn on the sear setting and slowly stir until the stew thickens (6). This will only take a couple of minutes and once thickened, turn off the pressure cooker.
Luckily, using the Instant Pot is absolutely perfect for tough meats because it tenderizes the meat in a short amount of time. Tough meats, like one used in Pot Roast and beef stew, need to be cooked for a long period of time in order to be soft and tender.
The slow cooker and Instant Pot are great tools to use here. Personally, I prefer Instant Pot because I find the texture of the meat and overall flavor to be better. Also, it takes such a short amount of time to get these results!
Beef chuck and shoulder cuts are perfect for stews. This meat cut is lean with a high concentration of collagen, and still has some fat marbling. Brisket, shank, and neck are also good cuts to use that will give you a lot of flavor but they are not good for quick cooking.
Beef stew is a hearty, comforting dish all on its own, but you can also serve it with sides. Consider serving it with Mashed Potatoes to make sure not a drop of that delicious sauce goes to waste! Many people also prefer beef stew over pasta, like macaroni.
You serve it with a lighter side like Mashed Cauliflower if desired. Of course, Potato Rolls also do a great job of soaking up the sauce.
How to Store Beef Stew
Make sure to let the stew cool to room temperature before storing it. Store it in a food storage container with an airtight lid, in the refrigerator. Properly stored, it should last for 4-5 days. Make sure the lid is closed nice and tight and use a clean and dry ladle each time you get some stew out of the container.
How to Freeze Beef Stew
Okay, there’s actually some debate surrounding freezing cooked beef stew. Cooked potatoes, especially the starchy kind, tend to break up when frozen and turn into mush after being defrosted.
You have a couple of options if you made too much or simply want to freeze some for later. You can freeze cooked stew without the potatoes. Once thawed, you can cook some more potatoes in the stew while reheating.
Another option is to use waxy potatoes like red potatoes and fingerling potatoes and try to freeze it with the stew. Waxy potatoes stand up to freezing much better and are not as bad once thawed.
Don’t freeze potatoes that are high in starch, like Idaho and Russet potatoes.
Make sure to cool your stew to room temperature first! You can freeze it in freezer friendly zip-top bags or in air-tight freezer storage containers. Get as much air out as you can, label, and freeze for up to 2 months.
More of the Best Instant Pot Recipes
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Instant Pot Beef Stew Recipe
- I use 6 quart pressure cooker
- 3 lb beef chuck roast
- 2 tbsp canola oil
- fresh cracked black pepper
- 24 oz fingerling potatoes
- 1 large yellow onion
- 12 oz carrots
- 6 garlic cloves
- 3 cups beef stock
- 6 oz tomato paste
- 3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tbsp dried parsley
- 2 tsp paprika
- 3 bay leaves
- fresh cracked black pepper
- 2 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
- 2 tbsp cold beef stock
- Cut your vegetables and set aside.
- Whisk beef stock, tomato paste, and Worcestershire sauce, thyme, parsley, paprika, salt, and pepper together and set aside.
- Cut beef chuck into about 1-inch chunks. (Discard large pieces of fat if desired.)
Cooking Beef Stew:
- Set your Instant Pot to a “sear” setting and let it heat up. Add some oil and throw in meat chunks. Let the meat sear for a few minutes before you start to mix it.
- Once you have some browning on the meat, add chopped vegetables and mix it together.
- Pour in the beef stock mixture and add bay leaves.
- Close the lid and make sure it is latched all the way. Turn the valve to “seal” and set the pressure cooker to cook on “stew” setting for 40 minutes. (If you don’t have a “stew” setting, set it to pressure cook on high pressure for 40 minutes. Consult your pressure cooker manual for exact proper operations.)
- NOTE: Pressure cooker will take about 15 minutes to build the pressure inside first, before it starts cooking.
- Once time is up, let is do a natural release for about 10 minutes and the carefully do a quick release.
- Discard bay leaves.
Thickening Beef Stew:
- In a small bowl, combine cornstarch and cold beef stock and mix it together.
- As soon as you open the lid on pressure cooker, pour in the cornstarch mixture and slowly stir.
- Turn on the sear setting and slowly stir until the stew thickens. This will only take a couple of minutes and once thickened, turn off the pressure cooker.
- Storing: Make sure to let the stew cool to room temperature before storing it. Store it in a food storage container with an airtight lid, in the refrigerator. Properly stored, it should last for 4-5 days. Make sure the lid is closed nice and tight and use a clean and dry ladle each time you get some stew out of the container.
- Other Veggies: Peas are a very popular addition so if you like peas, add a small bag of frozen peas to your stew. Try adding fresh green beans, leek instead of onions, and even frozen sweet corn. In the fall, I like to add hearty squash and pumpkin to my stew.
Originally published on Will Cook For Smiles in January, 2020.