Old Fashioned Beef Stew is likely the first thing you imagine when you think of “comfort food.” And for good reason!! From totally tender beef to healthy, delicious vegetables to that incredibly thick, rich broth, there’s not a single person at your table that’ll have a drop left in their bowl!
This is my mom’s recipe for beef stew and the one I grew up on. My entire family loved it then and still loves it today.
If this is your first time trying stovetop beef stew, don’t skip the video at the bottom of the post!
Old Fashioned Beef Stew
What is the secret to good, tender beef stew?
Well, there are a couple of secrets – the perfect cut of meat for melt-in-your-mouth bites, wholesome veggies cooked to perfection, and a curated collection of spices and seasonings for a savory, soulful broth!
And the best hearty stew recipe comes together in less than an hour… Just like this one does!!
I’ve compiled my absolute favorite comfort food dinner ideas into this list of 30 minute recipes you can make any day of the week.
The only thing missing is some bread to serve on the side – good thing I have a recipe for that, too!
Ingredient Notes & Substitutions
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil – The oil is used to sear the meat, so there’s room for substitutions.
I like the flavor and aroma of extra virgin olive oil, but you could use vegetable or canola oil instead with little to no effect on the recipe!
- Tomato Sauce – A bit of acidity is really needed here, or else the whole recipe just sort of falls flat.
A bit of tomato paste can be used as a substitute, though you’ll need to water the stew down a bit to compensate for the lack of liquid.
- Beef Cubes – Boneless beef chuck or bottom round are my recommendations for old fashioned beef stew.
For a little more information on your best choices for hearty beef stew, check out the FAQ below!
- Red Potatoes – You’d be hard-pressed to find a comfort food recipe without potatoes – they’re filling, satisfying, and always tasty.
The best kinds of potatoes for beef stew are waxy and substantial. While I personally prefer using red potatoes, Yukon Gold work well too!
Tips for the Best Stovetop Beef Stew
- Deglaze the Pot – Once the beef is all browned, add a bit of the beef broth to the pan before returning the cooked meat and other ingredients to the pot.
This will release the meat that’s seared onto the bottom of the pot and helps capture all of the juices that may have otherwise cooked away.
- Do It In One Dish – Working off of the tip above, we want to relish every last bit of flavor that the meat gives us!
So be sure to do your searing and stewing in the same pot.
- Make The Most Of Your Veggies – While they’re not in the base recipe, onions and garlic cannot be underestimated!
If you have some extra time on your hands, take a few minutes to cook these two flavor machines in the olive oil before adding the beef.
Storing and Reheating Leftover Stovetop Beef Stew
Keep leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days in the fridge. You can also freeze any remaining stew for up to 3 months!
Reheat right on the stovetop on medium-high heat, stirring regularly until warmed through. No need to thaw frozen stew – drop it right in the pot and heat it up!
Old Fashioned Beef Stew FAQ
Browning the beef before adding the broth and other veggies adds a HUGE flavor boost. The addition of flour, while also thickening the broth, browns and bolsters the flavors in our stovetop beef stew as well.
Acidic ingredients like tomato paste or wine are necessary for dimension and brightening an otherwise dull set of ingredients, and the sweetness found in the carrots and GravyMaster round the whole stew out for a wonderful balance!
Basically, all of the ingredients we have here work together to make the ultimate flavorful old fashioned beef stew!
Lean cuts of beef are best for making a hearty stew recipe, particularly if you’re looking for a faster cook time. My top two options are chuck and bottom round, but short rib and sirloin are a couple of other great choices.
Whichever cut you go with, be sure to chop into bite-sized pieces!
Celery, peas, and onions are among the most common veggies found in old fashioned beef stew!
In addition to these, and the potatoes and carrots already found in our stew, mushrooms and turnips are terrific for adding body and texture.
There’s really no limitation on stew veggies, but you do need to keep in mind when you’re adding these vegetables to the mix. Leafy greens will wilt if added too early, and potatoes take far longer to soften than, say, peas. Timing is key!
With love, from our simple kitchen to yours.
Other Comfort Food Dinners
Nana’s Old Fashioned Beef Stew + Video
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper, divided
- 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
- 2 pounds boneless beef chuck, or bottom round, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 8 ounces tomato sauce
- 1 pound red potatoes, diced small
- 1 pound baby carrots, cut into halves
- 4 cups beef broth, or up to 6 cups as needed, to cover beef in the pot
- 1 tablespoon Gravy Master
- In a gallon size resealable bag, combine flour, ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon pepper and all paprika. Set aside.
- In a large heavy bottom pot, heat oil over medium heat. While the oil heats, add beef pieces, one handful at a time, to the bag with seasoned flour. Shake to coat beef with flour. Remove beef from flour and shake gently to remove loose flour. Place coated beef in the hot pan, and cook for 1-2 minutes per side, to brown on all sides. Continue adding beef and turning cooked pieces. Remove any pieces that are fully cooked and place them in your upside down pot lid or on a plate.
- When all beef is browned, return it all to the pot. Add tomato sauce, potatoes, carrots, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and Gravy Master. Add 4 cups of beef broth to the pot, adding more as needed to cover the beef and vegetables.
- Cover pot with the lid and cook for 25-30 minutes, until stew is thick and veggies are tender.
- Serve and enjoy!
All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.
Originally published September 2012, updated and republished November 2022.
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