This hearty Dutch oven beef stew recipe is the ultimate comfort food. With minimal effort, you can have mouthwatering, tender beef and vegetables every time. Multiple cooking methods included!
The meat is seared until it’s brown and caramelized. Then, a savory sauce is built for the meat and veggies to cook low and slow until every bite is succulent and fork-tender. The sauce thickens until it’s almost gravy, making it even more decadent.
Table of Contents
- A one-pot meal. Aside from one bowl to dredge the beef chunks, everything you’ll need to make this stew comes together in your handy Dutch oven.
- So comforting. Like my Mississippi pot roast, this stew has quickly slid into being a winter staple, perfect for those chilly nights!
- Multiple cooking methods. I love using my Dutch oven, but I’ve also tested this recipe using both an instant pot and a slow cooker.
- Inexpensive. The preferred cut for stew is beef chuck, which is generally quite cheap since it requires longer cooking times to become juicy and tender.
I turn to this hassle-free meal almost on a weekly basis. I know I can count on it when I need a simple yet sophisticated dinner that everyone in my family will love.
The ingredient list for this Dutch oven stew may look lengthy, but it’s mostly pantry staples and seasonings. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Beef chuck. Also known as beef stew meat or boneless chuck roast, it’s my preferred cut for slow cooking. Cut the beef into bite-sized cubes.
- Salt and pepper. To taste.
- All-purpose flour. To coat the beef and help it brown better. Use blanched almond flour or coconut flour to keep this recipe gluten-free.
- Butter. I used unsalted butter since we’re already adding salt to this stew, though olive oil could also be used.
- Onion and garlic. Essential aromatics.
- Tomato paste. Concentrated tomato flavor that’ll add richness to the sauce.
- Red wine. A secret ingredient to add depth of flavor. Use a dry red wine like Cabernet or Pinot Noir. To omit the alcohol, use extra beef broth.
- Balsamic vinegar. To tenderize the beef and to add acidity. White vinegar or apple cider vinegar will also work fine.
- Worcestershire sauce. A must for any slow-cooked beef recipe. Use gluten-free Worcestershire sauce if needed.
- Beef broth. I suggest using low-sodium broth if possible.
- Water. To thin out the sauce.
- Bay leaves. For extra flavor and aroma.
- Paprika. For a subtle sweet and peppery flavor.
- Carrots and potatoes. Stewing vegetables to add flavor and make for a more complete meal.
- Parsley. For garnish.
Find the printable recipe with measurements below.
How to cook beef stew in a Dutch oven
Step 1- Prep work. Preheat the oven to 320F/160C. In a wide bowl, combine the salt, pepper, and flour.
Step 2- Brown the beef. Dredge the meat in the flour mixture and pat the flour onto the meat. Heat butter in the Dutch oven over medium-high heat and sear the meat until browned on all sides, working in batches if necessary. Remove the meat and set aside.
Step 3- Cook onion and garlic. Add onion and garlic cloves to the Dutch oven and sauté until the onion becomes translucent, adding oil if needed. Add tomato paste and stir quickly, then add red wine and cook until the alcohol evaporates, about 3 minutes.
Step 4- Add the beef. Return the meat with its juices to the pot and stir to combine.
Step 5- Build the broth. Pour in the balsamic, Worcestershire, beef broth, and water. Cook until the liquid starts boiling. Season with bay leaves and paprika. Cover the stew with the lid and place it in the oven for 90 minutes.
Step 6- Add veggies. Remove the stew from the oven, add carrots and potatoes, then cook for 45 minutes or until the veggies become tender.
Step 7- Serve. Serve the stew warm with fresh parsley, and enjoy!
Alternative cooking methods
As mentioned earlier, I’ve tested this exact recipe in the Instant Pot and slow cooker so you have plenty of options (aka no excuses!) not to make this comforting stew. Here is how it is done:
Instant pot: Season and sear the beef in the instant pot, then add the rest of your ingredients. Secure the lid and pressure cook for 70 minutes. Then, allow the lid to naturally release for 15 minutes.
Slow cooker: Season and sear the beef on the stovetop, then add it, along with the remaining ingredients, to your crock pot. Simmer on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours.
Recipe tips and variations
- Don’t skip the sear! Trust me, this extra step adds SO much more flavor to the beef and makes for a richer stew.
- Preheat the pot before searing. Before browning the meat, make sure the oil is hot and covers the entire surface of the pot.
- Pat dry the meat. This will help the flour adhere to the meat and get even browner.
- Thicken the broth. When I tested this recipe, sometimes the broth was too thin. When this happens, make a cornstarch slurry using 3 tablespoons of cold water or broth and 2 tablespoons of cornstarch. Mix until thickened, then whisk it into the broth.
- No Dutch oven? No problem! Use an oven-safe deep skillet or cast iron instead.
- Cut the vegetables the same size. So they cook more evenly.
- Adjust to your taste buds. I’ve always tasted the dish when finished, then adjusted the seasonings as needed. Sometimes, I’ll even add extra fresh herbs, like thyme or oregano, depending on the flavor profile I’m aiming for.
To store: Allow the stew to cool completely, then store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
To freeze: Store the cooled leftovers in a freezer-safe container and freeze for 3 months. I like to freeze them in individual servings to make for quicker reheating. Let the leftovers thaw in the fridge before reheating.
To reheat: Reheat leftover stew on the stovetop over medium heat or microwave in 20-second intervals, stirring between each, until warm.
Frequently asked questions
Using a Dutch oven is the easiest way to guarantee low and slow cooking, which is key for tenderizing stewing meat and veggies.
My best-kept secret for tender stew is not to rush it! Slow cooking is essential for breaking down the muscle fibers in the meat and infusing it with the rich flavors of the broth.
This stew is a meal on its own, but you can definitely pair it with some bread to soak up the delicious gravy or a side of greens.
More mouthwatering beef dinners to try
- Salisbury steak– Seasoned ground beef patties bathed in a rich mushroom gravy.
- Garlic butter steak bites– An impressive appetizer or main course.
- Vegetable beef barley soup– The heartiest, most budget-friendly meal you can make.
- Round steak– Recreate this restaurant-favorite steak in minutes.
Dutch Oven Beef Stew
- 2 pounds Beef chuck cut into bite-sized pieces
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 large onion diced
- 4 cloves garlic crushed
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 cup red wine
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 cups beef broth
- 1 cup water
- 2 bay leaves dried
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 3 large carrots
- 2 large potatoes cubed
- Preheat the oven to 160C/325F.
- Combine salt, pepper, and flour in a wide bowl. Dredge the meat in the flour mixture and turn on all sides to coat.
- Heat butter in the Dutch oven and sear the meat until browned on all sides. Remove the meat and set aside.
- Add onion and garlic to the Dutch oven and saute until the onion becomes translucent, adding extra oil if needed.
- Add the tomato paste and stir quickly, then add the wine and cook until the alcohol evaporates, around 3 minutes.
- Return the meat to the pot and stir everything together. Pour in the balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, beef broth, and water, and cook until the liquid starts boiling. Season with bay leaf and paprika, cover with the lid, and place in the oven to cook for 90 minutes.
- Add carrots and potatoes and cook for 45 minutes, or until the veggies become tender.
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