Make the BEST Instant Pot beef stew with tender beef and hearty vegetables in a rich, flavorful, herby sauce. All the flavor of day-long simmering, but in a fraction of the time!
Where slow cooker beef stew allows you to slowly simmer meat all day, just in time for dinner, this Instant Pot beef stew recipe is the quickest way to achieve the same “slowly simmered” full-body flavor, in record time. The resulting stew is rich, savory, hearty, and a crowd-pleasing weeknight meal whenever you crave cozy, comforting food.
With a combination of melt-in-the-mouth tender beef, hearty vegetables like carrots, potato, and onion, and a rich, velvety, herb-infused sauce, this pressure cooker stew has a deliciously complex and full-bodied flavor with only simple and inexpensive ingredients.
Best of all, this quick and easy beef stew is really simple to prepare. Just chop the ingredients, brown the beef, sauté the veggies, add the remaining ingredients to the Instant Pot, and cook for just 35 minutes until perfectly tender and flavor-packed to satisfy your taste buds. It’ll taste even better on day two, so be sure to save leftovers!
Table of contents
Make the best beef stew recipe with just inexpensive, pantry-friendly ingredients.
- Beef stew meat: Pressure cooker beef stew is perfect for low-cost, tough cuts, like boneless beef chuck roast (my preferred option), brisket, or meat labeled “stew beef” (least preferred).
- Garlic: For aromatic depth. Adjust the amount to taste.
- Vegetables: I’ve used a fairly classic stew combination of:
- Carrots – use regular or baby carrots,
- Onion – use yellow or white,
- Potatoes – waxy potatoes, like new potatoes, red potatoes, or Yukon Gold potatoes will hold their shape best when pressure cooked.
- Beef broth: Use rich beef broth (or chicken stock) or high-quality beef broth powder + water. Use a low-sodium version for more control over the sodium levels.
- Tomato sauce: This adds a rich, acidic, umami-rich depth. Alternatively, use passata or 1/3 the amount of tomato paste.
- Worcestershire sauce: Just a little of this acidic, tangy, umami ingredient adds brightness and creates a full-bodied flavor in the Instant Pot beef stew.
- Olive oil: Or another neutral cooking oil to sear the meat and sauté the veg.
- Seasonings: I used a simple combination of Italian seasoning, sea salt (or soy sauce for added umami), and black pepper. If preferred, use single herbs (like rosemary or thyme) instead of the Italian seasoning.
- Cornstarch slurry: (Optional) Combining cornstarch (or arrowroot flour) and water creates a slurry to thicken the stew if needed.
How to Make Instant Pot Beef Stew
Prepare the Ingredients: First, if it isn’t already, cut the beef down into 1-inch chunks, removing any excess fat. Also, roughly chop (or mince for more robust flavor) the garlic, dice the onion, and chop the potatoes and carrots into 1 ½-2-inch pieces.
Par-cook the Meat and Vegetables: Set the Instant Pot to the sauté method and add the olive oil. Once hot, add the beef and sear until brown on all sides (1-2 minutes per side). Then, add the onion, garlic, spices, and Worcestershire sauce, and saute for a few minutes until fragrant.
Pressure Cook the Beef Stew: Add the broth and use a spatula to scrape the bottom of the pot to get all the flavor into the liquid. Then add the tomato sauce, carrots, and potatoes, and stir. Close the lid and turn the steam valve to the sealing position, then cook the beef stew on manual HIGH pressure for 35 minutes.
Once ready, allow the pressure to naturally release for 10 minutes before carefully (using the back of a wooden spoon or a kitchen towel) opening the pressure release valve to release the remaining pressure.
How to thicken Instant Pot beef stew?
The starches in the potato and the cooking time will naturally thicken the beef stew. However, if you prefer it thicker, prepare a cornstarch slurry by combining equal parts starch and water into a lump-free paste/liquid (use just 1-2 tablespoon of each). Pour that into the stew and return it to sauté mode, stirring constantly until thickened (3-5 minutes).
Other ways to thicken beef stew include mashing or pureeing some vegetables or using flour instead of cornstarch.
How to serve
Enjoy this comfort food warm in a bowl, optionally garnished with fresh parsley, and served alone or with side dishes like:
- Bread (dinner rolls, crusty loaf, garlic bread, focaccia),
- Mashed potatoes,
- Rice or quinoa,
- Cooked green veggies (broccoli, cabbage, green beans, Brussels sprouts, spinach, etc.)
- A simple leafy green side salad.
How to store
Allow the stew to cool first (for no longer than 2 hours), then store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days or in the freezer (spread flat in Ziplock bags) for up to 3 months.
Allow it to thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating it in the microwave (about 2 minutes) or on the stovetop over medium-low heat. Note that the vegetables will become more soft/mushy after freezing and thawing.
It’ll taste even better on day 2 or 3, so I highly recommend making enough for leftovers.
More Instant Pot recipes
If you try this easy Instant Pot beef stew recipe, let me know how it goes in the comments below. I’d appreciate a recipe card rating and would love to see your recipe recreations – tag me on Instagram @Alphafoodie!
Instant Pot Beef Stew – Fast and Very Tasty!
- 1 lb beef use low-cost, tough beef, like boneless beef chuck, brisket, or meat labeled "stew beef" (least preferred)
- 2 potatoes medium-sized waxy potatoes, like new potatoes, red potatoes,or Yukon Gold
- 2 carrots medium-sized or baby carrots
- 2 onions small heads
- 3 garlic cloves large
- 2 cups water or broth
- 1 cup tomato sauce or 1/3 the amount tomato paste
- 1.5 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or another cooking oil
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning or thyme/rosemary
- 1 teaspoon salt or soy sauce for added umami
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1.5 tablespoon cornstarch to thicken, optional
- 1.5 tablespoon water for the cornstarch
Prepare and par-cook the ingredients
- If it isn't already, cut the beef down into 1-inch cubes, removing any excess fat.
- Roughly chop the garlic (or mince it for more robust flavor), dice the onion, and chop the potatoes and carrots into 1 ½-2-inch pieces.
- Set the Instant Pot to the sauté method and add the olive oil. Once hot, add the beef and sear until brown on all sides (1-2 minutes per side).
- Add the onion, garlic, spices, Worcestershire sauce, and sauté for a few minutes until fragrant.
Pressure cook the beef stew
- Add the broth and use a spatula to scrape the bottom of the pot to get all the flavor into the liquid. Then add the tomato sauce, carrots, and potatoes.
- Close the lid and turn the steam valve to the sealing position, then cook the beef stew on manual HIGH pressure for 35 minutes.
- Once ready, allow the pressure to naturally release for 10 minutes before carefully (using the back of a wooden spoon or a kitchen towel) opening the vent knob to release the remaining pressure.
To thicken the stew
- The starches in the potato and the cooking time will naturally thicken the beef stew. However, if you prefer it thicker, prepare a cornstarch slurry by combining the starch and water into a lump-free paste/slurry. Pour that into the stew and return it to sauté mode, stirring constantly until thickened (3-5 minutes).Other ways to thicken beef stew include mashing or pureeing some vegetables or using flour instead of cornstarch.
- Use the right meat: Avoid already tender, flavorful cuts when stewing beef. Instead, use tough meat with lots of connective tissue. The pressure cooker will break those down to transform the meat into tender, flavorful morsels.
- Brown the meat: This step only takes a few minutes but adds a ton of flavor depth for a richer stew.
- Deglaze the Instant Pot: After browning the meat and sautéing the veg/aromatics, flavor/browned bits are usually stuck to the bottom of the pot. Using the beef broth, pour a little into the pot and use a wooden spoon or spatula to scrape up all the brown bits to get all the flavor in the stew. It also helps prevent the “burn notice.”
- Adjust the cooking time: For 1-inch pieces of beef chuck, the cooking time is around 35 minutes. However, if you’re using larger or tougher (or both) cuts, you may need to increase the time slightly.
- To avoid mushy vegetables: Pressure cook the beef first to 90% done, then add the vegetables and pressure cook with the vegetables for 5-7 minutes.
- Adjust to taste: Taste and adjust any seasonings/flavorings (including Worcestershire, salt, etc.).
- To make it in advance: Chop the ingredients, brown the beef, and even par-cook the veggies 1-2 days in advance, then throw in the Instant Pot with the remaining ingredients when needed.
- Red wine: Replace between 1 and 2 cups of the broth with a dry red wine (like Merlot or Cabernet) for a super-rich beef stew. Use the wine to deglaze the pot, allowing it to cook off for a few minutes before adding the broth.
- Acidic ingredients: Add just a little lemon juice, lime juice, or apple cider vinegar before serving for bright flavor and to bring all the flavors alive.
- Bay leaves: 1-2 for extra depth.
- Butter: Stir in a little cold butter when serving for a silky-smooth, buttery flavor.
- Other veggies: i.e., parsnips, winter squash, turnip, swede, celery, green beans, mushrooms (fresh or dried), peas (added at the end), etc.
- Greens: Chard, collard greens, or spinach can be added at the end (then return the lid for several minutes) for a nutrient boost.
- Pulses: Increase the protein and fiber with a can (or two) of white beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, or lentils.