Irresistible Instant Pot Beef Stew
Learn how to make the perfect instant pot beef stew in less than an hour and it tastes just like a Mississippi pot roast! The flavors of this meal make it taste like it’s been slowly simmered all day long. Serve it on a bed of egg noodles, with hot crusty bread, or over mashed potatoes!
A ladleful of instant pot beef stew on a chilly evening is actual perfection.
I have made this beef stew more times than I can count. Sometimes I’ll serve it with my cheddar mashed potatoes. Other times it’s over noodles, rice, or even crusty bread with a side salad. And honestly, is there a wrong way to eat stew? Nope. There isn’t.
This recipe started as a comfort food solution for busy days where you still want a warm and hearty home-cooked meal. So on days when you just don’t want to deal with cooking, you can easily pop all ingredients in the pressure cooker and let it cook itself. On days where you can spare an extra five minutes for dinner, sear the beef before you make beef stew. Either way, you’re left with tender chunks of beef and soul-warming gravy! Watch how the flavors dance on your tongue.
This homemade beef stew is straightforward. If you can dump a bunch of ingredients into the instant pot, you can make this meal. But if you don’t own an instant pot, I’ll show you how you can cook this nice and slow in the oven.
Ingredients for instant pot beef stew:
- Beef: You’ll want to use a large chuck roast for this that’s cut into 1½ inch pieces.
- Seasonings: You’ll need salt, black pepper, as well as a packet of ranch seasoning. If you happen to have homemade ranch seasoning on hand, just swap the packet for 2 tablespoons of homemade seasoning.
- Butter: We’ll use a couple of tablespoons of butter to sear the meat in before we cook it off.
- Garlic: I press the garlic cloves through a garlic press. But you can also mince them if you’d like.
- Mushrooms: I like to use mushrooms in the stew as it’s just another additional serving of veggies. Quarter larger mushrooms and half the smaller ones so that they cook in the same amount of time.
- Pearl Onions: These make the stew a bit fancier and cut down on prep time! I find them cleaned and ready to go in the frozen vegetable section of most grocery stores. If you remember to defrost them the night before, perfect. If not, simply place them in a colander and run them under cold running water for a few seconds before adding the drained onions to the stew.
- Celery: I keep these in about 1-inch pieces so that they don’t cook down too much.
- Carrots: Same as the celery, I peel and chop the carrots into 1-inch pieces.
- Pepperoncini: This is an unusual ingredient in my stew but it’s something that I love to add as pepperoncini work beautifully with beef. They cut through some of the fattiness and just meltdown. Make sure to use mild or tamed pepperoncini here so that you just get the tang without all that heat.
- Tomato Paste: Adds color and richness to the stew.
- Worcestershire Sauce: Adds umami flavor to the stew along with the other mushrooms.
- Cornstarch: Is a thickener for the stew instead of flour. I make a cornstarch slurry with the beef stock and add it right in with everything else.
- Beef Broth:Is the cooking liquid. I suggest using low-sodium beef stock or broth for this recipe so that it’s not too salty but the end. We’ll need a bit more liquid if you’re making the stew in the oven and a little less if you’re making it in the pressure cooker.
- Potatoes: These are optional. Usually, I prefer to serve the stew with mashed potatoes, so I omit the potatoes from the recipe. When I serve with rice, I’ll add some potatoes. You can use red potatoes or Yukon gold potatoes for this recipe. I suggest chopping the potatoes into roughly the same size pieces as the beef.
How to make the best beef stew in the instant pot:
- For the best flavor, sear the meat. You want to start by seasoning the beef stew meat with a generous sprinkle of kosher salt and black pepper. Set the pressure cooker on saute mode and toss in the butter. When the butter melts, you’re going to sear the stew meat in batches until it develops a crust on the outside. Remove the plate and repeat with the remaining meat. This step is optional when you’re making beef stew in the instant pot but it does provide additional flavor to the stew and only takes a few minutes!
- Combine the ingredients. In a glass measuring cup, stir together the beef broth and cornstarch until it dissolves. This works best if the broth is cold or at room temperature. The ingredients won’t really combine if you have warm broth.
- Pressure cook it all. Place the beef, mushrooms, pearl onions, celery, carrots, pepperoncini, tomato paste, sugar, ranch seasoning, Worcestershire, cornstarch broth mixture, and garlic in the instant pot. Cover with the lid and make sure the pressure cooker is on the sealed setting. Cook for 35 minutes. Once the stew is cooked allow it to rest for 10-15 minutes before doing a quick release. This allows the flavors to bloom further and the meat to relax.
- Check your gravy. When you open the instant pot, check to see if the gravy is thick to your liking. If you find it’s a little thin for your taste, you can dissolve another tablespoon of cornstarch in cold water, set the stew on the sauté setting, and when the stew is bubbling, stir in the slurry and allow it to thicken up.
FAQs about instant pot beef stew recipe:
- Is this recipe gluten-free? My beef stew recipe is entirely gluten-free if the ranch seasoning doesn’t contain gluten. You’ll also want to make sure you use a Worcestershire sauce that is certified gluten-free.
- Can I add additional herbs to this if I wanted to? Yes, fresh parsley, thyme, dried rosemary, or a bay leaf or two would add additional flavor to this if you enjoy a stew that‘s heavy on the herbs!
- Can I add frozen peas to this recipe? I find if you add the peas in with all the other ingredients, they do become a little mushy and lose their vibrant green color. If you were to add them, I suggest adding them once the meat is cooked, venting, and then pressure cook for 0-1 minutes.
- I don’t own an Instant pot, how can I make this? Most instant pot recipes can also be prepared in the oven or on the stovetop. I’ve tested the recipe at 325ºF in the oven and it takes about 3 ½ -4 ½ hours to cook the meat through. You will need a bit more broth if you make this in the oven. I found I needed roughly 2 cups of stock to make sure that there was still plenty of gravy to enjoy at the end.
- How do you suggest serving beef stew? I like to serve this over a batch of homemade cheddar mashed potatoes. But roasted garlic mashed potatoes would also work well. You can also serve this over rice or with a loaf of homemade no-knead bread and a salad. Buttered egg noodles also work well!
If you like this recipe, you might also like:
- Hearty Poblano Beef Stew
- Ridiculously Tender Beef Tips with Mushroom Gravy
- Chile Colorado
- Instant Pot Korean Beef Bowls
- Ranchers Texas Chili con Carne
Instant Pot Beef Stew recipe originally published September 2017, updated with new post, new images, and oven directions February 2022.
- 1¾-2 pounds beef (chuck roast, cut into 1 1/2-2 inch pieces)
- salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 8 ounces baby bella mushrooms, halved or quartered
- 14-ounce bag (~ 2 cups) pearl onions
- 3 stalks celery, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 4 large carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
- ½ cup pepperoncini, thinly sliced (mild)
- 1 tablespoon EACH: tomato paste and sugar
- 1 (1-ounce) packet ranch seasoning mix*
- 2 tablespoons: Worcestershire sauce
- 2-3 tablespoons cornstarch*
- 1¼-1½ cup low sodium beef broth*
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- OPTIONAL: season the beef with a big pinch of salt and pepper. Heat the butter in the instant pot on the saute setting. When the butter melts, sear the beef in batches, remove it to a plate.
- COMBINE: In a large measuring cup, mix the beef broth with 2 scant tablespoons of cornstarch until it dissolves.
- PRESSURE COOK: Place all the ingredients in the pressure cooker and select the meat/stew setting. Time the recipe for 35 minutes. Once the stew is cooked allow it to rest in the pot for 10-15 minutes before venting and releasing the remaining steam. This gives the meat a chance to really soak up all those flavors.
- SLURRY: If you feel the gravy is thin, dissolve the remaining tablespoon of cornstarch with a little water and add that in with the instant pot on the saute setting. Adjust salt and pepper to preference. Serve with rice, mash
- RANCH: If you use homemade seasoning, you'll need 2 tablespoons.
- OVEN DIRECTIONS: Preheat the oven to 325ºF. You will need to up the amount of broth in the recipe to 2 full cups as more liquid is needed for the oven. Follow steps 1 and 2. Place all the ingredients in a 5-quart dutch oven and bake for 3½ - 4½ hours, stirring once every hour. You can uncover the stew during the last 10 minutes to give it a little color if you'd like, I usually don't. Keep extra broth on hand just in case the stew thickens too much!
Update 10/17: Some readers mentioned the instant pot displaying a 'burn' notice. This occurs when there isn't sufficient liquid in the pot. After resting the recipe, I've upped the liquid to 1½ cups. If you made this without any issues, I suggest keeping the recipe with 1¼ cups. For first-timers, I suggest using 1½ cups of broth.