This beef stew recipe is cozy, hearty, and filling with tender beef, carrots, and potatoes simmered in a rich and flavorful red wine sauce.
The coziest beef stew recipe
A classic stew is seriously the best kind of cold weather comfort food. Your kitchen will smell amazing as it slowly simmers away! That rich broth is *chef's kiss*. This is the perfect recipe for when you're in the mood to spend some quality time preparing a delicious meal from scratch. Add some wine to the stew, and enjoy the rest in your glass.
Beef stew might seem intimidating, but you can easily make it in your kitchen with this straightforward guide. It's a pretty hands-off stew once you get it going. Read on for success tips and everything you need to know to get this recipe right! I hope you will love this stove top beef stew recipe as much as I do.
What's the best cut of beef for beef stew?
- Cutting up a beef chuck roast will produce the most tender meat. Top or bottom round cuts or even short ribs will work too. You can use the pre-cut meat labeled "beef stewing cubes" or similar in your grocery store; just be sure that is has a decent amount of marbling (fat) and doesn't look too lean, or the meat will dry out and won't be as tender.
How to make beef stew
This is an overview with step-by-step photos. Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.
Coat the beef in flour, sear it in a pot or Dutch oven in two batches until it's browned, then transfer to a plate. In the same pot, sauté the onions and celery.
Stir in the garlic and tomato paste. Add in the broth, red wine, Worcestershire sauce, bay leaves, and Italian seasoning. Return the beef to the pot, bring the stew to a gentle boil, and then cover and simmer for 1 hour.
Add in the potatoes and carrots, and cook for another hour or until the potatoes, carrots, and meat are tender. Add in the peas if desired, and season to taste!
Tips for success
- The key to tender beef is cooking it slowly over a fairly low heat. If you boil the heck out of it or rush it, the meat fibers will be tough and chewy, so be mindful of the temperature of your stove. You can do steps 7-8 in the oven if you prefer. Try 325F, and the timing will be similar.
- If your bay leaves have been sitting in your pantry for years, it may be time to get a new jar as they do lose their flavor.
- You may need to skim a little fat off the surface of the stew prior to serving or when reheating. This is totally normal!
What kind of wine to use in beef stew
- You will taste the red wine in this stew, so ensure it's something that you'd enjoy drinking. Try a merlot, cabernet sauvignon, or pinot noir. Any red wine that's not sweet should be fine. Look for something that's full-bodied, and a little bit of fruitiness is good too. I highly recommend adding the wine as it makes the flavor so much richer!
Substitutions and variations
- Red wine substitute: If you decide to skip the wine and sub for the same amount of beef broth, I would then add a splash of balsamic vinegar or red wine vinegar since you'll be missing out on flavor. Try 1-2 tablespoons.
- Beef stew seasoning: I add such a small amount of Italian seasoning (or use Herbs de Provence) because I prefer my stew not to be overly herby, but you can definitely up the amount if you like a stronger herb flavor, or even use fresh herbs. Try adding a couple of sprigs of fresh thyme and/or rosemary along with the bay leaves. This is an old fashioned beef stew, so it's not jazzed up with tons of herbs and spices!
- Potatoes: Swap the Yukon Gold potatoes for red potatoes if you like. Only use Russets if you want a more fall-apart texture. You may need to add more liquid to compensate.
Leftovers and storage
- This recipe will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days in an airtight container.
- You can freeze beef stew. Either thaw in the fridge overnight, or warm in a covered saucepan over low heat from frozen, stirring occasionally. Keep in mind the texture of the potatoes may change over time.
Questions about this traditional beef stew recipe? Let me know in the comments below!
- 2 pounds cubed beef chuck or beef stewing meat see note
- Flour for dredging
- 2 tablespoons olive oil + more as needed divided
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 3 sticks celery chopped
- 6 cloves garlic minced
- 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
- 1 cup dry red wine
- 3 cups beef broth
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes peeled & diced
- 4 medium carrots peeled & sliced fairly thick
- 1 cup frozen peas optional
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Prep ingredients. I recommend peeling and cutting the potatoes and carrots just prior to step 8.
- Coat the beef cubes in flour, and shake off any excess.
- Add 1 tablespoon of the oil to a pot/Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, sear the beef in two batches until nicely browned (if you crowd the pot it won't brown). Don't move the meat around the pan... turn it with tongs after it's had a few minutes to sear. Add the remaining oil to the pot for the second batch. Transfer the meat to a plate after each batch.
- If the pot seems quite dry, add another teaspoon or so of olive oil, then add in the onions and celery and sauté for 5 minutes.
- Stir in the garlic and tomato paste and cook, stirring often, for 1-2 minutes.
- Stir in the wine, broth, and Worcestershire sauce. Scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pot.
- Add the beef back to the pot (and any juices on the plate) as well as the Italian seasoning and bay leaves. Bring the stew to a gentle boil, then reduce the heat, cover the pot, and simmer for 1 hour. Important: I recommend stirring it occasionally during this time to ensure nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pot and that the temperature is still correct. On my gas stove I cook this stew alternating between medium-low and low (I adjust as needed so it's bubbling fairly gently vs. full-on boiling).
- Stir in the potatoes and carrots, cover the pot again, and continue simmering for another hour or until the potatoes, carrots, and meat are nice and tender. As per the previous step, give it a stir occasionally to ensure nothing is sticking/scorching, and adjust the stove's temperature as needed so it maintains a simmer.
- Take the bay leaves out of the stew and stir in the frozen peas. Let them warm through.
- Season with salt & pepper as needed and serve.
- Cut up a nicely marbled chuck roast into 1.5" cubes for best results. Do not use a lean cut of beef or it'll be much tougher and more chewy.
- You can do steps 7-8 in the oven. Timing will be similar for each step. Try 325F for the oven temperature.
- You may need to skim a bit of fat off the top prior to serving or when reheating leftovers (this is normal).
- See blog post for more success tips, info on substitutions and what kind of wine to use, and step-by-step process photos.
- Other cooking methods: try my Crockpot Beef Stew or Instant Pot Beef Stew (recipes are similar to this one but not exactly the same).
- Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be construed as an estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary and Salt & Lavender makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.