Easy stovetop beef stew is a classic meal that's filling, comforting, and perfect for a chilly day. Beef, potatoes, carrots and onions are coated in a flavorful sauce. The entire dish comes together on the stovetop in a single stock pot.
If you're looking for a comforting, simple, yet flavorful meal, there's nothing better than a warm bowl of beef stew.
This stovetop beef stew is made with simple, easy to find ingredients. And yet, the flavor is astounding. It will become a fast favorite in your winter recipe collection.
Plus, this meal is made entirely in a single pan on the stove top. This dish takes a few hours to cook, so it's ideal for a weekend dinner.
Beef stew is a reader-favorite recipe in the colder fall and winter months. Serve this tender beef stew on its own, or with some garlic bread or biscuits for a heartier meal.
Ingredients and substitutions
- Stew meat - Can be substituted with cubed chuck roast. The ideal meat for a beef stew should be marbled with fat. Lean cuts of meat will dry out during the longer cooking time of a stew.
- Salt & pepper - Enhances the flavor of your stew. Keep in mind that the beef broth and worcestershire sauce also add salty flavor, so it's best to taste first, then add more salt as needed.
- Oil - Olive oil can be substituted with any neutral cooking oil you have on hand.
- Onion and garlic - Add depth of flavor to your stew. Two cloves of garlic can be substituted with ½ teaspoon of garlic powder if needed. I do not recommend using jarred garlic, it often has a strong, harsh flavor. Fresh minced garlic is best.
- Tomato paste - Adds a savory, umami flavor to your stew. I don't recommend skipping it, but if you need a substitute, tomato sauce will add the same flavor. Substitute tomato paste with tomato sauce at a 1:3 ratio (1 part tomato paste to 3 parts tomato sauce). Ketchup is an ingredient that most have on hand in their refrigerators. While not an ideal substitution, it adds a milder, slightly sweeter flavor.
- Beef broth - Enhances the flavor of your beef stew and adds enough liquid for your ingredients to simmer on the stovetop. If using a low-sodium broth for health reasons, consider adding a bit of your favorite savory herbs for extra flavor (like ¼ teaspoon of thyme, oregano, or sage).
- Potatoes - I suggest yukon gold potatoes, especially if you'd like your potatoes to hold their shape after cooking. Russet potatoes can work in a stew, but do tend to fall apart slightly when cooked.
- Carrots - Can be substituted with baby carrots to reduce your prep time slightly.
Best meat for beef stew
Stew meat is pre-cubed beef that's packaged by the grocery store, intended for stewing.
The downside to stew meat is that you don't know exactly what cuts of meat are in there. It could be a combination of different cuts that each have different 'ideal' preparations.
The upside - It's inexpensive, and easy to grab for a weeknight meal.
If you'd like to cube your own beef for stew, I'd suggest using a boneless chuck roast. Simply slice into bite size cubes and you're ready to go.
Searing your beef
There is one important step in this recipe that shouldn't be skipped. Searing your beef. Searing gives your beef a dark brown and caramelized crust that adds extra flavor and depth to your stew.
Make sure not to crowd the pan with too much beef, or it won't sear properly. Brown half of your beef at a time if needed.
How to thicken beef stew
As written, this beef stew is made with a thin broth. If you'd like to thicken your sauce, you can make a slurry to stir in toward the end of cooking.
To make a slurry, combine 1 tablespoon of cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of water. Whisk until the cornstarch is completely dissolved.
Slowly stir your slurry into your beef stew and stir until incorporated. Your broth should thicken after a minute or two of cooking.
Beef stew with mashed potatoes
If desired, you can omit the potatoes from the recipe and serve your beef and carrots over mashed potatoes or egg noodles instead.
Easy Stovetop Beef Stew
- 1 pound stew meat, or cubed boneless chuck roast
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 ounces tomato paste
- 32 ounces beef broth, (4 cups)
- 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
- 2 pounds yukon gold potatoes, cubed
- 3 carrots, sliced into discs
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
- Season beef with salt and pepper. In a stock pot over medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Once heated, add cubed stew meat. Sear on all sides. If needed, sear meat in two batches - do not overcrowd the pan. Remove beef and set aside.
- Reduce heat to medium. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to stock pot. Add diced onion and cook for 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 additional minute. Add tomato paste and stir to coat onions and garlic. Then, add beef broth and worcestershire sauce. Using a whisk, scrape the bottom of the pan to deglaze and incorporate any browned bits into the broth.
- Add beef back to pot. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for about 60 minutes (or until beef is tender).
- Add cubed potatoes and carrots. Cover and simmer for about 20-25 minutes, or until potatoes and carrots can easily be pierced with a fork.
- Uncover and remove from heat. If you'd like a thinner stew, add more beef broth as desired. Top with fresh parsley and serve immediately.
- Beef can be cooked for longer than 60 minutes if using a tough cut of beef. Beef will continue to get tender the longer it cooks.
- Potatoes can be omitted from recipe and beef stew can be served over mashed potatoes instead.
- Sliced carrots can be substituted with baby carrots.
- Leftovers will keep for 3-4 days in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator.
I had some extra veggies that needed to be used before they went bad so I substituted white potatoes for sweet potatoes, added celery, mushrooms, a bag of spinach and cilantro. It is amazing! I really think you could add any vegetable to this and it would be great!
It takes a much longer time to cook the veggies
Hi, could I make this in the crock pot?
I haven't tried this recipe in the slow cooker, so I couldn't say how it would turn out. You'd be missing out on the added flavor from searing the beef and browning the onions and garlic by preparing it in a slow cooker.
I do have a slow cooker beef roast recipe that uses several similar ingredients:
Yum! My stew didn't thicken for some unknown reason and it was too late to bother with an extra step, but it's tasty, as is!
Used stewing beef from local cow we had butchered this summer. A 900 ml box of Campbell's beef broth with wine. Potatoes and peas from my garden. Snuck in 2 stalks of celery that needed using up. Added 2 bay leaves and a dash of Spike seasoning.
Served with bread and butter because: childhood. 😊
We LOVE this recipe in our family!! I double it for our family of seven and then we have a little for leftovers 😍 Have you ever tried freezing this recipe?
Hi Brittany, potatoes don't freeze and thaw particularly well, they end up with a bit of a grainy texture. However, the rest of the beef stew would freeze well and keep for up to about 3 months.
Can I use tomato sauce instead of paste? Wanna try this out today!
Tomato sauce should work if you don't have tomato paste on hand. let us know how it turns out!
Couldn't find the stew recipe I've used before so I tried this one. No tomato paste, so I used some ketchup; no worcestershire sauce (I never use it, so just don't have any around), so I substituted with a couple of shots of Dale's Steak Seasoning. added some SPIKE (my favorite multi-spice seasoning for everything), and we had a rich tasting, hearty stew. The only thing I'll change next time is to do one more cup of broth (or just add a cup of water), as I wanted more broth than there was with the additional veggie (possibly).
How many people will this recipe feed?
This recipe makes four servings. If you scroll up to the recipe card and look at the serving size, you can hover over it and adjust it to make as many servings as you'd like!
If I don't have tomato paste what else could I use or do I really need it?
The tomato paste will thicken your sauce slightly, but it's mostly there for savory flavor. If you don't have any on hand it can be omitted (but your stew will have less flavor).
I just used some ketchup. Worked fine.
Super easy & delicious! Used half sweet & half white potatoes. Added mini button mushrooms in the last 15 mins of cooking. Next time I'll do a slurry to thicken - there def will be a next time! Thank you!
Mushrooms sound like a great addition - glad you enjoyed it!
Add a pinch of sage and if using a fatty cut of meat add a splash of red wine vinegar. Perfecto!
trying this today
Hope you enjoy it, Beverly!