Beef stew is a classic comforting dish perfect for colder weather. Simple combination of tender beef, potatoes, carrots, onions, tomato flavored beef broth, and seasoning come together in this soul-warming winter dish. Normally, beef stew takes hours to cook to get the beef nice and tender but in an Instant Pot, the whole dish will take about an hour and a half.
INSTANT POT BEEF STEW
Can you think of many dishes that are more comforting than a big bowl of homemade Beef Stew? Well, yes, there are many dishes that are comparable and just as comforting, like Pot Roast and Chili, and I would put them all into the same “heartwarming” category.
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.
There are many versions of beef stew, especially in the countries around the world, but I like to stick to the classic ingredients. Beef, potatoes, onions, and carrots are the main ingredients you 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 infused broth and generous seasoning. It’s the ultimate comfort with every bite.
Ever since Instant Pot entered my life, making classic recipes that normally should take hours became so much easier. I am not a patient person, so slow cooker was never a very close friend to me. I love the idea of soft and tender pulled pork, shredded chicken, and salsa chicken but waiting on a slow cooker each time is just excruciating for me. Instant pot changed my life when it made it possible for me to have all the wonderful dishes that normally take hours in about an hour.
INGREDIENTS IN A BEEF STEW
Let’s start with the most important ingredients, the beef! 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.
Start with the basics: potatoes, carrots, onion, and garlic. Celery is another great basic to add to a beef stew.
I love using fingerling potatoes or other small potatoes because of how well they hold the 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 you still want to use large potatoes and cut them, use waxy potatoes like red potatoes.
What Other Vegetables Can I Add?
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. You can check out another recipe for Winter Beef Stew here.
You will need beef stock, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, and seasoning to mix it all together with beef and potatoes. Seasoning that I use is a very simple combination of salt, pepper, paprika, and dried herbs like parsley, thyme, and bay leaves.
HOW TO COOK IT IN INSTANT POT
Did I mention yet that this is a very easy dish? Well it is!
There is one extra step besides throwing everything into the Instant Pot and cooking and that is searing the meat. Don’t skip this step because browning meat is not just an important step of the braising process, it also adds great flavor.
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.
Next, 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 sear marks 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 45 minutes. Consult your pressure cooker manual for exact proper operations.) 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.
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, stir in the mixture of cornstarch and cold beef broth. 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.
Make sure to let the stew cool to room temperature before putting in into the refrigerator. Store it in a food storage container with an air-tight lid, in the refrigerator. Properly stored, it should last for 4-5 days. Make sure the lid is air-tight and use a clean and dry ladle each time you get some stew out of the container.
Can I Freeze Beef Stew?
Okay, there is actually some debate surrounding freezing cooked beef stew. Cooked potatoes, especially the starchy kind, tend to break up when frozen and turn into inedible 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.
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Instant Pot Beef Stew
- 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.