Who says beef stew is boring? This stovetop beef stew recipe is rich, flavorful, and easy to make! Simple, real food ingredients shine in this hearty meal that is sure to be a family favorite!
Beef stew was a staple of my childhood and during the years when I was raising my family. It’s so easy to make, it’s healthy, and it is so satisfying, especially during the winter months.
I like to make my beef stew on top of the stove in a heavy-bottomed pot or in an enameled cast iron Dutch oven. I think making beef stew on the stove top allows to cook it to just the right point, where the meat is tender, and the vegetables are cooked yet hold their shape.
Some people think beef stew is a bland food. It doesn’t have to be! By cooking it this way and using seasonings, you get a more intense flavor and beautiful presentation.
Related: For a hearty one-pot meal, try our Vegetable Beef Soup too!
Why this is the BEST Beef Stew Recipe
There aren’t many ingredients to this recipe, yet I have a few tips that layer in some deep flavor and make it taste delicious.
- First, the meat is seasoned ahead of time and gets a chance to absorb some flavor before cooking.
- The meat is browned before the liquids are added.
- Second, the carrots are cooked separately, so that they retain their shape and color.
Doing this gives the stew a rich and delicious flavor. Cooking the carrots on the side lets them stay a beautiful orange and makes the stew look way more appealing.
Traditional Beef Stew Ingredients
- Beef — Boneless chuck roast is a top choice for beef stew because it is tender and retains its moisture during cooking
- Potatoes — 1 large or two medium (about 1 pound)
- Carrots — 4 large carrots should be plenty
- Onion — chopped
- Garlic — chopped
- Beef broth
- Italian seasoning
Can You Double this Recipe?
The recipe as written makes about 4 servings. However, you can easily double or triple the recipe to feed a crowd. Simply adjust ingredient amounts accordingly and use a larger pot.
How to Make Beef Stew on the Stovetop
Put the beef stew meat into a glass or stainless-steel bowl. Add 2 Tablespoons of cornstarch, 1 to 2 teaspoons of Italian seasoning, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Mix until all the beef is covered.
(I use Penzey’s and it does not have salt in it. If yours has salt, omit or reduce the salt above.)
I let the meat and cornstarch mix, sit on the counter for an hour. This allows the meat to come to room temperature and for the meat to absorb some of the spice flavor.
Heat your heavy bottomed pot on the stove. Add 2 Tablespoons of light or extra virgin olive oil to the pot. Let the oil warm up on medium heat.
Add the beef cubes to the pot and try not to crowd in too many. Let the cubes cook for a few minutes until the first side is browned. Give them a stir and brown all sides for a little bit.
Browning the meat adds another layer of flavor to the stew.
Remove the browned meat from the pot and set aside on a plate until you are ready to add it back to the stew.
Add the chopped onions to the drippings in the pot. Stir them over low to medium heat for about five minutes until they are soft.
Add the chopped garlic to the pot and stir for one minute.
Add the meat back to the pot. Add about 2 cups of the beef broth to the pot so that the meat is covered.
Bring the meat mixture to a low simmer, cover, and cook for an hour.
At the hour point, peel your potato and carrots. Chop them into uniform size pieces.
Add the potatoes to the meat mixture. Add more broth if necessary, so that the potatoes and meat are covered. Bring back to a simmer.
In a small saucepan, add the carrots and about ½ cup of water. Bring to a simmer and cook for about half an hour or until the carrots are cooked through.
Check to see if potatoes are cooked through. When they are, add the cooked carrots to the beef stew. Check the sauce for salt and pepper.
Turn off heat, serve, and enjoy!
What Order Do You Put Vegetables in Stew?
Cooking the vegetables in the stew from the beginning will results in an overcooked, mushy mess. The exception being onions, which add flavor to the soup and will cook in the broth the entire time.
Potatoes can be added after cooking the stew for about an hour. You could also add the carrots at this time too if you’d like to keep it a one-pot meal.
I cook my carrots separately because it allows them to retain their vivid orange color instead of turning brown. It also helps them keep their shape better.
Here’s a breakdown:
- Onions — Cooked in the beef drippings and will be in the stew the entire time
- Potatoes — Peeled, chopped and added to the stew at 1-hour mark
- Carrots — Peeled, chopped and cooked in water for 30 minutes, starting at 1-hour mark, added to soup at the end
Can You Make it Gluten Free?
Good news…this recipe already IS gluten free!
The two most popular choices for thickening beef stew are either flour or cornstarch. We use cornstarch because it is gluten free.
Most Italian Seasoning mixes are gluten free, even if they are not labeled as such. Check the ingredient list to make sure that there are no additives, only pure spices and/or herbs. To be labeled “gluten free” a product needs to pass certification, so your spice blend may indeed be gluten free (doesn’t contain gluten ingredients) but not be labeled as such.
Other than that, the recipe contains only real food ingredients: meat and vegetables.
Can You Make Beef Stew in the Slow Cooker?
You’d think that maybe it would be easier to prepare beef stew in a crockpot, and yes, you can make it this way. However, I prefer the stovetop method because I can control when I add each ingredient so that the veggies don’t overcook.
If you do use the slow cooker, season the beef cubes and allow to rest for an hour before cooking, as described in the original recipe. Add everything to your slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours.
Keep in mind that using a slow cooker will produce softer vegetables and the potatoes and carrots may absorb some of the brown coloring of the broth.
Using the stovetop method requires only 2 pots and is actually faster. The only reason I’d recommend slow cooker is if you need a “set it and forget it” recipe and won’t be able to time the adding potatoes and carrots.
Beef Stew Recipe (Printable Copy)
Easy Stovetop Beef Stew
- Dutch Oven or Heavy-bottomed pot with lid
- 1 pound chuck roast
- 1 pound russet potato
- 1/2 pound carrots
- 1/2 cup onion chopped
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
- 1-2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2-4 cups beef broth
- Place cubed stew meat into a large bowl. Add 2 Tablespoons of cornstarch, 1 to 2 teaspoons of Italian seasoning, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Mix until all the beef is covered.
- Allow meat and cornstarch mix to sit on the counter for an hour.
- Heat your heavy bottomed pot on the stove over medium heat. Add 2 Tablespoons of light or extra virgin olive oil to the pot.
- Once oil is warm, add the beef cubes to the pot. Cook until they start to brown, then flip. Brown on each side.
- Remove the browned meat from the pot and set aside on a plate until you are ready to add it back to the stew.
- Add the chopped onions to the beef drippings in the pot. Stir them over medium low heat for about five minutes until they are soft.
- Add the chopped garlic to the pot and stir for one minute.
- Add the meat back to the pot. Add about 2 cups of the beef broth to the pot so that the meat is covered.
- Bring the meat mixture to a low simmer, cover, and cook for an hour.
- At the hour point, peel your potato and carrots. Chop them into uniform size pieces.
- Add the potatoes to the meat mixture. Add more broth if necessary, so that the potatoes and meat are covered. Bring back to a simmer.
- In a small saucepan, add the carrots and about ½ cup of water. Bring to a simmer and cook for about half an hour or until the carrots are cooked through.
- Check to see if potatoes are cooked through. When they are, add the cooked carrots to the beef stew. Salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!
- Seasoning the meat before cooking gives it a chance to absorb more flavor.
- Brown the meat before adding liquids.
- Cooking carrots separately allows them to retain their shape and color.
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