You can't beat a tender and juicy instant pot beef stew recipe with deep meaty flavors and a rich texture that comes together in about 1 hour.
This is my homemade version of a beef stew with healthy ingredients, unique seasoning, and vegetables, but one that will leave you incredibly satisfied—leftovers taste even better.
This homemade meal is dairy-free, flourless, and can be paleo-friendly with the switch of just one ingredient.
And here are some great ideas for what to serve with beef stew.
- Easy instant beef stew
- What kind of meat for beef stew
- Trimming a chuck roast
- Should you sear the beef
- What vegetables to add
- How to cut the vegetables
- Do I need to thicken the stew
- Add the umami flavors—no tomato paste
- Don't forget the bouillon cubes
- Other seasonings
- How long to cook beef stew in an instant pot
- Serving suggestion
- More recipes you might like
- 📖 Recipe
Easy instant beef stew
I call this the modern version of a beef stew. I'll admit that I was a bit skeptical about cooking my homemade beef stew recipe in an instant pot.
Would the meat be tender? Would the flavors have enough time to develop?
After all, making warm, tender, home-cooked meals with well-developed flavors like short ribs, Italian meatballs, or a fall-off-the-bone poached chicken are usually cooked in my slow cooker or on the stove with ample time to simmer.
Since I got the instant pot, I've been trying to put it to good use. I even used it a few times to make my sweet potato and spicy chorizo stew.
But we're talking about beef here. And although the basic process of making this stew is straightforward, quick-and-easy rarely turns beef into tender, juicy, and flavorful.
So after a few tries and testing different approaches to making this homemade recipe, I finally got it down to an instant pot beef stew that's hearty, consistent in flavors and texture, and can be made in as little as 1 hour.
It's an easy version and one that won't disappoint.
Let's dig in!
What kind of meat for beef stew
Whether you use the instant pot or not, a good beef stew is all about the beef.
All the other ingredients are there to enhance or compliment its flavors. So, the meat you choose is essential.
I always go for a piece of boneless beef chuck (roast). ALWAYS.
It's one of the best-priced beef cuts, especially when on sale, and with the proper preparations turns into delicious tender stew meat.
Note: the best stew meat has a lot of connective tissue and enough fat for flavoring. Those tissues break down into gelatin turning meat into moist and tender bites after prolonged cooking time.
Trimming a chuck roast
- A boneless chuck roast has some distinctive pockets of fatty lines.
- Use a sharp knife to first cut through these lines and trim off any thick layers of fat in those large seams and any silverskin.
- Then cut approximately into 1 to 1 ½-inch cubes.
- Season with a few pinches of salt and black pepper.
Should you sear the beef
Yes! But not all sides need to be browned. I've tested both ways, and here are my findings.
- Not browning the meat resulted in an "okay stew," but without the satisfying deep meaty flavors. Instead, it was more of a vegetable stew, leaving you wondering what happened to the beef.
- A good sear creates beautiful rich meaty flavors with those caramelized brown bits stuck at the bottom of the pot for a good base—a small step worth the effort.
- You don't have to brown all sides of the meat. I sear only one side, saving time and still getting the most out of the flavors.
- Sear the beef in two separate batches. If you throw it all in at once, the meat doesn't have enough room to brown and releases too much moisture. So now you're not browning but steaming them in their juices.
- I use that searing time to prep the veggies and assemble the seasoning while keeping an eye on the beef. It's a win-win.
You want to ensure that one side is nicely browned, leaving meaty seared bits at the bottom of the pot, which we will use to develop an amazing base for flavor.
All browned beef is transferred to a plate to prepare vegetables and seasoning in layers before the meat is added again.
What vegetables to add
I didn't change anything to my original homemade recipe regarding vegetables. But here are a few notes:
- Garlic and onion are the first to go in some heated olive oil after searing the beef. I cook them for about 2 minutes until fragrant. It's important to scrape the instant pots' bottom to loosen all the browned bits from the meat.
- Potatoes: I use sweet potatoes, but add one Russet potato for an extra starchy component.
- Beet: Beef and beets melt together beautifully. It elevates the flavors of the beef while toning down the sweetness of the yams.
- Beet greens (optional): If you bought them with the beet still attached, add them to this stew because they are packed with a high amount of vitamins and nutrients—they turn slightly sweet flavorwise.
Note: Use only sweet potatoes for a Paleo-friendly beef stew.
How to cut the vegetables
Cut the root vegetables into larger chunks almost equal in size to the meat or even a bit larger.
If you chop them too small, they get too mushy and almost entirely fall apart. You want them soft but still hold some of their shapes.
Do I need to thicken the stew
I don't use any flour, cornstarch, or roux.
Starchy potatoes and beets will already naturally thicken the beef stew.
At first, some liquid will be visible in the pot, but the potatoes will eventually absorb most of it.
This is not a soupy stew but has the perfect consistency of a hearty, healthy hot pot!
Add the umami flavors—no tomato paste
I love a good tomato paste to add rich flavors to a stew. BUT...
This homemade recipe calls for umami-rich ingredients like anchovy paste, sweet-savory molasses, and a more acidic element of balsamic vinegar.
If you have been following my recipes, you know that I love to use anchovy as a base to add richness and deep flavors to dishes like my Italian-flavored mini frittatas (low-carb egg muffins) and my parsley and anchovy dip (it's good).
None of these recipes taste fishy, and they won't make this beef stew taste fishy.
A small amount is enough to highly boost the meaty flavors, and that's what we want.
Note: don't have any anchovy paste; replace it with anchovy fillets. Each fillet is equal to about ½ teaspoon of the paste. So you'll need 6 fillets. And used the rest to make my umami-flavored Italian egg muffins.
Another umami component, but this one has a savory-sweet flavor with a hint of spice. I use dark blackstrap molasses for a mild sweetness and a beautiful touch of dark color.
It's another ingredient rich in umami, but it also adds sweetness without sugar and a refreshing acidic element to help break down the meat's fat.
Don't forget the bouillon cubes
Good quality vegetable bouillon cubes are going to give your meat stew a lot of flavors.
Melt them directly with the anchovy paste, molasses, and balsamic vinegar to create an umami-rich layer of intensified flavors.
Dried oregano balances the sweet flavors, and hearty dried Rosemary just makes beef taste better.
They are added towards the end before the lid closes for pressure cooking.
How long to cook beef stew in an instant pot
- If you have the option choose the Meat/Stew setting.
- It's a pre-programmed setting equivalent to cooking at High Pressure for 35 minutes (it will take about 7 to 10 minutes for the instant pot to come to pressure).
No, you don't need any side dishes. It's filling, rich, with complex flavors, and incredibly satisfying.
If you have them, use fresh herbs like chopped cilantro or Parsley for garnish as a refreshing component.
Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days—reheated leftovers are even better the next day, and the stew will be thicker in texture.
Freeze for more extended storage.
No. I add enough water—about ½ cup—for the cooker to come to pressure. Anything more might result in a loss of flavor and a soupy texture. Remember, the vegetables will release some liquid as well.
More recipes you might like
- Polenta pizza recipes (one with beef topping)
- Juicy gourmet burgers (3 amazing flavors)
- Tender Italian meatballs in tomato sauce ( a must-make recipe)
- Sweet potatoes and spicy chorizo stew (with instant pot option)
- A hearty slow cooker bone broth
- Slow cooker sweet shallots chicken and potatoes
- Easy spicy beef short ribs recipe (slow cooker)
- Fall-off-the-bone poached whole chicken (great for meal prepping)
- Whole roasted chicken with Brie (Mediterranean-style)
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Instant Pot Beef Stew RecipeMariska Ramondino
- 3 - 3 ½ pounds boneless beef chuck roast 1.36 to 1.59 kilo
- Salt and pepper
- 3 tablespoons olive oil divided
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1 yellow onion about 250 grams, coarsely chopped
- 2 vegetable bouillon cubes
- 1 tablespoon anchovy paste*
- 3 tablespoons molasses
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 3 sweet potatoes 725 grams, coarsely chopped
- 1 Russet potato 225 grams, coarsely chopped
- 1 small red beet 180 grams, coarsely chopped
- Beet greens optional
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried Rosemary
- ½ cup water
- Chopped cilantro for garnish optional
- If you can, take the meat out of the fridge 30 minutes before prep time and let it come to room temperature.
- Then, dab the meat with a paper towel.
- Trim off any thick pockets of fat or silverskin.
- Cut the meat into about 1 to 1 ½-inch cubes. Season with a few pinches of salt and pepper; set aside.
- Turn on the instant pot or electric pressure cooker, press Sauté and adjust the button to the highest setting.
- Cover the bottom of the pan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
- When shimmering, add half of the reserved meat and sear undisturbed for about 5 minutes until browned at the bottom. Meanwhile, cut the vegetables while keeping an eye on the meat.
- Remove the meat using a kitchen tongue and transfer it to a plate.
- Add the second half of the beef cubes. Sear undisturbed for about 4 - 5 minutes, or until browned at the bottom. Continue to finish up cutting the vegetables.
- Then transfer the browned meat to the same plate containing the first batch of browned beef.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the garlic and onions—Cook and stir for 2 minutes until fragrant.
- Scrape any seared bits from the bottom of the pan while doing this.
- Stir in the bouillon cubes, anchovy paste, molasses, and balsamic vinegar. Cook and stir for about two minutes to dissolve the bouillon cubes and let the flavors come together.
- Add the potatoes and beet. Stir to combine. If you plan to add the beet greens, then stir them in at this point.
- Add the seared beef and any collected juices from the seared meat.
- Season with oregano, rosemary, and 2 teaspoons of salt and black pepper (about 15 turns with the pepper mill).
- Stir to combine.
- Add ½ cup of water.
- Secure the lid and ensure the valve is set to lock/seal. Make sure the Keep Warm button is off.
- Next, choose the Meat/Stew setting. It's a pre-programmed setting equivalent to cooking at High Pressure for 35 minutes (it will take about 7 to 10 minutes for the instant pot to come to pressure).
- When done, quickly release any pressure. If you want to keep the food warm, you can turn on the Keep Warm setting at this point.
- Carefully open the pressure cooker when ready to serve.
- Season to taste with more salt and pepper, if preferred.
- Garnish with chopped cilantro.
- While the beef is searing, save time by peeling and cutting the vegetables while keeping an eye on the meat.
- We are only searing one side of the beef, and I've noticed that it does not compromise the stew's flavors. It should only take about 4 to 5 minutes to sear one side, but depending on how hot your pot gets, feel free to sear it a bit longer until you get a beautifully browned crust on the bottom of the beef.
- Cut the root vegetables into larger chunks about 1 ½-inch in size. Otherwise, they will cook down too much and almost disappear.
- Initially, the stew will have some liquid (from the meat and vegetables). But as the stew settles, it becomes thicker in texture.
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Nutrition (% Daily value)
Disclaimer: This nutritional data is calculated using third party tools and is only intended as a reference.