Instant Pot | May 17, 2017

Instant Pot Beef Stew

There’s nothing like a big pot of stew for dinner on a cold day.  Instant Pot Beef Stew is a meal everyone can make. If you can chop, you can make this recipe!

Instant Pot Beef Stew

Whenever I read a recipe for “easy” beef stew, I wonder, is there any other type of stew? Stew has been around for ages and is basically meat, vegetables, seasonings and  liquid. Want to learn how to make the best pot of Instant Pot Beef Stew you’ve ever eaten? You’ve come to the right place.  Let’s get started!

Instant Pot Beef Stew
Instant Pot Beef Stew

Instant Pot Beef Stew in minutes, instead of hours

The beauty of this recipe for Instant Pot Beef Stew is instead of cooking for 6-8 hours in a low oven or slow cooker, it cooks up start to finish in about an hour and 15 minutes. Side note: I try to be realistic about cooking time on the Instant Pot. Many will tell you it takes 25 minutes in the pot. Which is true, but you have to factor in the heat up and natural pressure release time.  If this is confusing to you, take a look at my Instant Pot, Now What? post. Back to the cooking time… we are talking about  60-75 minutes instead of 6-8 HOURS.  Boy Scout Stew used to be my go-to recipe for stew. The downside of slow cooker  recipes? Unless you remember to throw together dinner early in the day, it’s 6 pm and you’re thinking- ugh! drive thru line, again.

Instant Pot Beef Stew

Key ingredients

There are a few key ingredients to any pot of stew. Meat. You can make a stew meatless, but then it’s really just a vegetable soup, thickened. Stew is traditionally cooked low and slow as we discussed above. The slow method is to tenderize the meat (which is most often an inexpensive cut, best cooked in liquid on a low setting) but also to allow the vegetables in the dish to break down and season the dish with natural flavorings. The vegetables and meat also tend to break down and serve as a thickening in the stew. I usually start with about 2 lbs of stew meat. You can buy stew meat already packaged, which is the easiest option. Anything around 2 lbs per package is perfect. I look for “Chuck Shoulder” if I am purchasing a piece of meat to cut up. It is usually not expensive and has enough collagen to break down while cooking and allow the meat to have a moist and tender texture after being pressure cooked or slow cooked. For vegetables, I use potatoes, carrots ( I like baby carrots because they are simple), sweet or yellow onions, fresh garlic and celery. A word to the wise. many people, especially little people,  don’t love celery. I personally love it. When I’m making stew for a family with young children, I leave the celery out and add more carrots or potatoes. You’ll  also need a little broth, flavoring, thickening, which can be either cornstarch or flour and I love a bit of Worcestershire as well.

Instant Pot Beef Stew

To brown or not to brown?

I you have the time, brown the stew meat before cooking. The drippings left in the pan will lend a nice flavor to the stew. I have made stew using the Instant Pot with frozen stew meat, unthawed, and had amazing results. If your meat is frozen, follow the directions in the “notes” section of the recipe, you will still be able to have stew on your table in a little over an hour!  Whenever I make stew in the Instant Pot and am not in a huge hurry, I brown the meat before pressure cooking. I toss flour (about 1/4 cup) on the meat while it is browning on the sauté setting. The flour helps to thicken the stew.

A little seasoning goes a long way toward flavorful stew…

This recipe is really so simple, as I said earlier, a stew recipe should be and usually is one of the most basic and simple dishes you can make as a cook! I believe a few herbs and seasonings set this stew apart from the rest. A little dried thyme, oregano and parsley.  Fresh (instead of dried) is great too, but I usually just throw in dried when I’m in a hurry! I also add a little fresh garlic, and a generous amount of good old salt and pepper. I also like a bit of color and a tart flavor so I like to use Worcestershire sauce which is made of malt vinegar, shallots, garlic, onions. It adds a rich flavor as well as color to the stew.  These ingredients all seem like small additions, which you may be tempted to leave out, but they make all the difference in a bland vs a WOW stew.

Instant Pot Beef Stew

Cooking in stages for best results

I experimented several times using the Instant Pot to make this dish and found the best method was to saute the meat first, turn on the pressure setting and when the meat was finished pressure cooking, add the vegetables and steam for 5-6 minutes and then manual release the steam. This allowed the meat to cook for enough time to tenderize, but not cook the vegetables to the mush stage! I like the veggies to break up and meld into the stew, but mashed potato consistency is not what we are looking for in stew! Better to take the extra step and steam the veggies after the meat is cooked. Oh and don’t forget the biscuits. Every pot of stew should have a pan of biscuits served on the side!

It is May 17. Yes, May 17 here. I was going to wait until fall to post this recipe, since we are supposed to be on the verge of summer!  I woke up this morning to snow.  What better time to make Instant Pot beef Stew?? Turn on the fireplace and get cozy. It’s stew time.

4.95 from 19 votes
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Instant Pot Beef Stew

Servings 8 -10 servings
Author Si Foster, A Bountiful Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs beef stew meat
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper to season meat
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1-2 cloves garlic chopped
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken or beef broth
  • 1 large onion 2 cups chopped, 1 inch pieces
  • 2 stalks celery- 1 cup chopped into one inch pieces
  • 1 lb bag baby carrots
  • 2 lbs potatoes red, white or russets, cleaned, cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 14 oz can chopped tomatoes or 2 cups chopped tomatoes with juice
  • 1 tablespoon Knorr beef seasoning or 2 beef bullion cubes I look for no MSG included
  • 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon each dried thyme and oregano
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch optional

Instructions

  1. Turn the Instant pot to the saute setting.
  2. Pour olive oil into the pot. Place the meat into the pot, season generously with salt and pepper (this is in addition to the salt and pepper added with vegetables). Add flour to the meat and saute on high until the meat is browned a bit. This takes about 2-3 minutes. Toss meat around so the flour is not visible and the meat browns.
  3. Add Worcestershire sauce, garlic, and broth. Turn the pot to the manual setting and use the up arrow until the display shows 20 minutes. Place the lid in the locked position with the seal in place and the vent to the closed position. Start the pot.
  4. While the meat is cooking, Chop the veggies. You should have about 10 cups total of any combination of vegetables listed in the recipe.
  5. When the timer goes off and the meat is finished cooking, let the pressure naturally release for about 10-15 minutes. Release any remaining pressure using the pressure release valve.
  6. Add the vegetables to the Instant Pot, along with the canned or fresh tomatoes, beef flavoring, salt and pepper and dried herbs. No need to mix yet.
  7. Set the lid on the Instant Pot and using the "steam" setting, set the steam for 6 minutes. Lock the lid in position and turn the pot on.
  8. After the vegetables have steamed, manually release the pressure and give the stew a mix. If it is not as thick as you'd like, Remove some of the liquid from the pot (about 1 cup) and place in a cup.  Add the tablespoon of cornstarch to the liquid and whisk. Add liquid back to the pot and stir gently. Leave the pot on the warm mode and it will come to a boil, stir until thickened, then turn off pot to serve.

Recipe Notes

-If your meat is frozen, or you don't have time to brown the meat, add the meat to the pot and omit the browning step. Do not add the flour. Simply add the meat and follow directions for adding rest of ingredients Worcestershire, garlic, salt, pepper and broth and cook.

81 thoughts on “Instant Pot Beef Stew

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  1. When my boys were little they hated onions and celery in stew. So to get the flavor and not the chunks, I would put them in a food processor and chop them very small. This way you get all the flavor and vitamins without them knowing it. Can’t wait to try this recipe in my instant pot. Sounds SO delicious!

      1. My husband hates celery. Recently, he made some soup and said it was missing something in the flavor. I told him it was celery. He was adamant that celery could NOT be the missing flavor. Since it was too late to add fresh celery to the soup, I had him add a little celery salt to it. He was amazed that it made such a difference. He no longer fusses if I add celery to a dish. He still eats around it and adds it to the vegetable wall around his plate, but admits it’s an essential element to some recipes

        1. Michele,
          Celery does add a unique and subtle flavor to lots of dishes. I think it is wonderful in stew, but others don’t care for it! I agree even a little bit of celery seed or salt helps!Thanks for reading ABK!
          xo
          Si

  2. 5 stars
    Wow! I am a life long beef stew hater but your pictures made it look so good that I thought I would at least try it. Anyway, this recipe is going to convert me into a beef stew lover! This was hands down the best stew… tender beef, juicy vegetables, and the broth was seasoned just right! Love it!!! As a side note, I didn’t have any potatoes so I stirred in leftover mashed potatoes at the very end and it gave it the perfect thickness and creaminess.

    1. Trish, I was a beef stew hater too. But I love this recipe! Glad you feel the same way. Love your addition of mashed potatoes. Good to know! Thanks for reading ABK <3

  3. I have an 8 quart instant pot. I would love to double the recipe. Do you think I need to increase the cooking time? If so, how long would you suggest? Thanks in advance – I am an IP newbie!

    1. Hi Jill,
      No you should not have to increase the time, the time on the recipe should be sufficient! Hope you love your IP!
      thanks for reading ABK!
      Si

      1. Hi there! Going to try this in the crock pot this week as I don’t have an instant pot. Assuming I can just brown the meat in a pan with the flour/oil/salt&pepper, then put that along with all other ingredients into the crock pot and set on low for 8 hours? Just want to clarify. I was tempted to make your boy scout stew, but prefer these ingredients 🙂 Thanks in advance!

  4. It’s Halloween and I’m so excited to try your beef stew recipe! Can I keep the stew on warm for an hour or more once it’s ready? Should I do anything different so the vegetables won’t get mushy?

    1. Dear Anne,
      I hope your Halloween was a great one. This Beef Stew Recipe is perfect to warm up the trick-or-treaters!
      The vegetables could be cooked for half the time on “Steam” setting if you are keeping the stew warm for a few hours. How did the recipe work for you? Don’t miss out on my other Instant Pot Recipes.
      Thanks for reading ABK!
      xo,
      Si

  5. 5 stars
    We loved this beef stew! Meat was very tender with nice, flavorful gravy. Veggies were cooked perfectly using the steam function. Quick and easy meal.

    1. I just had the same problem, too. I re-started it on manual for 6 minutes and gave it another shot, then did it two more times and it did NOT build pressure or have any pressure to release at the end of the 6 minutes. After that I selected meat/stew for 6 minutes…twice. Even changed the seal. Still not coming up to pressure even though the countdown timer has started each time I’ve tried. Guess it’s going to have to finish up slow cooking.

      1. Debra,
        I’m sorry this didn’t work out for you. Did you press the “Steam” button for the vegetables? Did you make sure the release valve was closed?
        I hope you enjoyed this flavorful stew when it finished cooking.
        Thanks for reading ABK!
        xo,
        Si

  6. 5 stars
    Si, thank you so much for this recipe AND for the tip about cooking the veggies after the meat. Love my Instant Pot, but don’t like mushy veggies. Blessings!

    1. Jody,
      Thank you for the positive feedback! I agree with you- mushy veggies are awful. Now that you’ve got the veggie tip mastered, you are set.
      Thanks for reading ABK!
      xo,
      Si

  7. 4 stars
    3 days with the new Instant Pot. French Toast casserole was great. Family loved the rice pudding.
    Today’s adventure is this stew. Thanks so much for the great recipe and detailed instructions! Can’t wait to eat the stew!

    1. Kelly,
      Good for you! So many people are afraid to take it out of the box and give it a try. You’re tackling a recipe a day! I’m so glad you’ve seen success so far, let me know how the stew works for you. Keep up the good work!
      xo,
      Si

  8. 5 stars
    I just finished eating a bowl of this, and it is absolutely delicious. This is the 4th recipe I’ve made in my brand-new IP! I put rather a lot of pepper on the meat when I browned it, so it’s got quite a kick! I didn’t mean to do that, but turns out I like it that way. 🙂

    I only put 2 cups of broth in, because my measuring cup is only 2 cups, and I forgot the extra half-cup, but it didn’t hurt anything, thank goodness!

    I was skeptical about the potatoes being cooked after only 6 minutes on Steam, but they turned out PERFECTLY. I know I’m going to be making this stew a lot; thank you!

    1. I’m SO glad to have confirmation on the potatoes cooking! I read the recipe and couldn’t believe that the potatoes cook in such a short amount of time, I’ll give this a shot now that I know.
      Thanks!

  9. 5 stars
    This stew was the best I ever made. Absolutely delicious! We ate it 2 nights in a row.
    Next time I make it I will add 2 cups of beef broth instead of 2 1/2 cups so it is less like soup and more like stew.

    1. Don’t you think stew gets better as it sits? I am not much of a stew fan, but this recipe has changed that for me! Thanks for reading ABK and Happy New Year!
      xo
      Si

  10. I’m making this tonight for dinner, but using frozen boneless Mock short ribs. Should i increase the time to 24 or 25 minutes?

    1. Shira,
      20 minutes should be enough time to cook your short ribs. The note at the bottom of the recipe states:
      “If your meat is frozen, or you don’t have time to brown the meat, add the meat to the pot and omit the browning step. Do not add the flour. Simply add the meat and follow directions for adding rest of ingredients Worcestershire, garlic, salt, pepper and broth and cook.” Please remember to omit the flour and not brown the meat if you decide not to thaw your meat first.
      Let me know how this recipe works for you!
      xo,
      Si

  11. 5 stars
    My husband has a slight obsession with anything you post..he’s even made those large cookies and swig cookies by himself! So I knew this soup wouldn’t disappoint! Seriously so easy and sooooo incredibly delicious! Thank you!!

    1. Jana,
      Well, I’m flattered and impressed! I know many women who would love come home to a husband baking cookies! I’m so glad you love this stew recipe. It’s an easy go-to that will make the entire family happy.
      Thanks for reading ABK!
      xo,
      Si

  12. Maybe a silly question, but the last step, is the lid on or off the pot, and how long does it take to come to boil on the keep warm setting? I’ve never done that before.

    1. Hi Esther,
      Not a silly question! In step 8, leave the lid off while thickening the stew. Hope this helps!
      thanks for reading ABK,
      Si

  13. 5 stars
    Hey Si,
    I made your instant pot beef stew
    Tonight. Curtis and I both loved it!
    I knew it would be good coming from you! Love my instant pot too!
    Thanks for all the recipes!
    Stephanie

    1. Thanks Steph! Glad you are loving the IP! Thanks for always being such a great supporter of ABK.
      Love to your family,
      xo
      Si

    1. Thanks Rebecca! I have also made this recipe using wild game and had great success. Thanks so much for reading ABK
      xo
      Si

  14. This stew is fabulous! I’m not a stew person but the rest of my family is. On a whim, I made it and I’m glad I did. Yum.

    The first time I made it, my meat was defrosted. If I choose to not defrost it, do I pressurize it for longer than 20 minutes shown in Step 3 of the directions?

    1. Melissa,
      I prefer the flavor from browning the meat, but if your meat is frozen, or you don’t have time to brown the meat, add the meat to the pot and omit the browning step. Do not add the flour. Simply add the meat and follow directions for adding rest of ingredients Worcestershire, garlic, salt, pepper and broth and cook. I’m sure you’ll be pleased with the results.
      Thanks for reading ABK,
      xo,
      Si

      1. Thank you for your reply but the question has not been answered.

        Is the pressure cooking in STEP 3 still 20 minutes for frozen beef?

  15. We just made the stew and when I opened it to add veggies after meat and broth cooked for 20min there was no broth left, so after adding veggies and rest of seasoning I added another 21/2 cups, do you know why that could be? Only my second time using the instapot since I got it for Christmas. Still turned out delishious so just curious what I may have done wrong, as I’ve made a few of your recipes and they always turn out correctly during the steps, maybe just cause I’m new to the instapot game?

    1. Chandra,
      I haven’t experienced having the broth cook out before. What size is your IP? I’m so glad the recipe turned out well for you. Stay in the Instant Pot game and keep keep trying new recipes – you’ll love it!
      xo,
      Si

  16. In order to make this thicker, can I not just edit the liquid portion of the recipe by 1 cup maybe? I am new to instant potting but find most recipes call from 2 or more cups of liquid and wondering why less can’t be used for thicker results. Thank

    1. Karen,
      I’m afraid if you remove liquid from the stew, you will end up with less broth and your result will be less of a stew, and more like cubes of meat and veggies. Try this: After the vegetables have steamed, manually release the pressure and give the stew a mix. If it is not as thick as you’d like, Remove some of the liquid from the pot (about 1 cup) and place in a cup. Add the tablespoon of cornstarch to the liquid and whisk. Add liquid back to the pot and stir gently. Leave the pot on the warm mode and it will come to a boil, stir until thickened, then turn off pot to serve. Hope this works for you!
      xo,
      Si

  17. This was fantastic! I had frozen stew meat but nothing thawed and didn’t want to have to buy an unhealthy fast food dinner on the way to a show tonight – everything turned out perfectly and in just the right amount of time!

    1. Heather- I love being able to throw frozen meat in the IP and have dinner prepared in record time!
      This recipe is a great go-to on a busy night.
      Thanks for your comments!
      xo,
      Si

  18. Hi! I am SO excited to try this recipe. I have ALWAYS been a beef stew lover and i love that denty Moore stew but it’s got so much sodium in it. Can’t wait to make this tomorrow. But my instant pot is the biggest one I think and I don’t have a button that says manual… to do the manual setting. What does that mean?

    1. Hi Kelli, I’m so glad you’re trying this recipe, I know you’ll love it! Does your IP have a “pressure cook” button? If it does, just use that and cook for 20 minutes. The “manual” setting means you are cooking at a high pressure for the amount of time you set the IP for. Hope this helps and thanks for reading ABK,
      xo
      Si

  19. 5 stars
    This was so good! I made it with frozen sirloin tip steak and then cut it up after the veggies were cooked. It turned out great, following the recipe times as listed.

    1. That sounds delicious, Amy! I’m glad you enjoyed it, I love making this stew this time of year. Thanks for sharing,
      xo
      Si

  20. 5 stars
    Wow!! So tasty and sooo easy!! Thank you so much! The beef was so tender at the end and the flavors are amazing. My husband who hasn’t loved beef stew in the last, loved this! Thanks again!

    1. Thanks Briana! I made this as well a few days ago. I’m not a huge stew fan either, but I love this recipe. Thanks for your feedback, and thanks for reading ABK,
      xo
      Si

  21. 5 stars
    I received an instant pot from my father in law for Christmas. This was the first recipe I tried in it. It made a believer out of me! I used venison rather than beef because I have a freezer full and it was absolutely delicious.

    1. Venison would be perfect for this recipe, I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Amy! The Instant Pot is a life saver. Thanks for sharing,
      xo
      Si

  22. 5 stars
    Hi,
    I used your idea of thickening with the sauce and it was so good. I put in semi frozen meat that was thawed enough to sauté. We used wine and beef broth and deglazed before steaming after sautéing onions and garlic. The 20 minutes at full pressure cooked the meat perfectly. I added the vegetables (carrots, diced celery and bay leaf) with the tomato paste. The meat was so tender I could pull it apart with my fingers. Thank you for a great start to the new year!!!

    1. Thanks for sharing, Barbara! I love hearing how different variations to the recipe, and this sounds delicious.
      xo
      Si

  23. 5 stars
    Dear Si,
    THANK YOU so much for this AMAZING and EASIEST beef stew! I LOVE steaming the veggies so they don’t get mushy. I’m gonna try making curry in the instapot the same way. Nobody has time for mushy veggies.
    My husband ate this two days in a row and sent me an email saying “The beef stew is still AMAZING…so freaking good!”
    I agree 110%.
    Thank you for making my husband love me over and over again with all of you delicious recipes ❤️

    1. We all know the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach sometimes! This recipe is so easy and I’m so glad you enjoyed it. Definitely one of my favorite meals to make for the family. Thanks for sharing, Heather,
      xo
      Si

  24. 5 stars
    All 4 of my kids loved this soup, which is rare for them all to agree on a meal! Even my husband, who is skeptical of the IP, loved it! He was like, “now THAT was good stew!”

    1. It’s hard to beat a good soup/stew during this time of year. And this recipe is great for even picky eaters! Thanks so much for sharing, Heather.
      xo
      Si

  25. 5 stars
    I finally decided to make this tonight as I was sitting in the grocery store parking lot, needing a quick but GOOD dinner for company. Thank goodness I did! Everyone raved about it!! Even my picky 16 month old inhaled it. I will be making this again and again.