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.
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.
Tips and tricks
Sear the meat - 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.
Low and slow is best - When using tough, fatty cuts of meat, it's best to cook them low and slow. Doing so breaks down the tough connective tissue and the collagen between the muscle fibers. This results in a juicy, fall-apart tender meat.
Frequently asked questions
"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 is 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.
As written, this beef stew has 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 2-3 tablespoons of water. Whisk until the cornstarch is completely dissolved. Slowly stir your slurry into the beef stew and stir until incorporated. Your broth should thicken after a minute or two of cooking.
Yes! If desired, omit the potatoes from the recipe and serve your beef and carrots over mashed potatoes or egg noodles instead.
Tomato paste may not be a common ingredient in your pantry. It adds a savory, umami flavor to the beef stew and I don't recommend omitting it. However, if you're in need of a substitute, tomato sauce can be substituted at a 1:3 ratio (1 part tomato paste to 3 parts tomato sauce). Readers have had success using ketchup as well, which adds a milder, sweeter flavor.
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
- 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.