Old-Fashioned Beef Stew Recipe (2024)

By Molly O'Neill

Updated Feb. 29, 2024

Old-Fashioned Beef Stew Recipe (1)

Total Time
2 hours 45 minutes
Prep Time
15 minutes
Cook Time
2 hours 30 minutes
Read community notes

This classic stick-to-your-ribs stew is the ideal project for a chilly weekend. Beef, onion, carrots, potatoes and red wine come together in cozy harmony. If you are feeding a crowd, good news: It doubles (or triples) beautifully. For additional variations on the recipe, you might also enjoythis video.

Keys to This Recipe

How to Make Beef Stew: Beef stew is made in different ways across cultures, but at its core, it is simply tough cuts of meat slowly cooked with vegetables in liquid. Over hours of simmering, all the flavors meld together and the ingredients soften to tenderness.

How to Thicken Beef Stew: Starches, like the flour and potato in this recipe, thicken beef stew. Here, beef cubes are coated in flour, then browned, leaving flour in the pan while sealing flour to the meat. When the meat is later simmered, that flour thickens the liquid as do potatoes, which release their starches as they cook.

How to Make Beef Stew on the Stove: It's important to cook stew slowly over low heat. High heat will cause the meat to tighten and toughen, while low heat allows the meat to become fall-apart tender. Simply cover the pot and keep the heat as low as it goes.

What to Serve With Beef Stew: The best accompaniments to beef stew can soak up the sauce. A crusty baguette works well, as does rice. A beef stew is hearty enough to be a one-pot meal, but you can make a salad with some crisp, fresh vegetables.

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Yield:4 servings

  • ¼cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1pound beef stewing meat, trimmed and cut into inch cubes
  • 5teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 2tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1cup red wine
  • cups beef broth, homemade or low-sodium canned
  • 2bay leaves
  • 1medium onion, peeled and chopped
  • 5medium carrots, peeled and cut into ¼-inch rounds
  • 2large baking potatoes, peeled and cut into ¾-inch cubes
  • 2teaspoons salt

Ingredient Substitution Guide

Nutritional analysis per serving (4 servings)

496 calories; 12 grams fat; 3 grams saturated fat; 0 grams trans fat; 7 grams monounsaturated fat; 2 grams polyunsaturated fat; 54 grams carbohydrates; 5 grams dietary fiber; 7 grams sugars; 34 grams protein; 1609 milligrams sodium

Note: The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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Old-Fashioned Beef Stew Recipe (2)


Make the recipe with us

  1. Step


    Combine the flour and pepper in a bowl, add the beef and toss to coat well. Heat 3 teaspoons of the oil in a large pot. Add the beef a few pieces at a time; do not overcrowd. Cook, turning the pieces until beef is browned on all sides, about 5 minutes per batch; add more oil as needed between batches.

  2. Step


    Remove the beef from the pot and add the vinegar and wine. Cook over medium-high heat, scraping the pan with a wooden spoon to loosen any browned bits. Add the beef, beef broth and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a slow simmer.

    Old-Fashioned Beef Stew Recipe (3)
  3. Step


    Cover and cook, skimming broth from time to time, until the beef is tender, about 1½ hours. Add the onions and carrots and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Add the potatoes and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes more. Add broth or water if the stew is dry. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Ladle among 4 bowls and serve.

    Old-Fashioned Beef Stew Recipe (4)



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Cooking Notes

Roseanne L.

I like to use the paper bag method for dusting meat.
Put flour and seasonings and meat, chicken, etc in paper bag, fold closed and shake. One less utensil to clean and even coating.


Tablespoon of herbs de Provence and 2 Tablespoons tomato paste will give it some flavor.


After browning the beef sauté the onions. Then add about 1 to 2 tablespoons of tomato paste and continue to cook until the color starts to go from bright red to rust. Then deglaze with the wine and vinegar. Add one tall spike of fresh rosemary (leaves removed and chopped) and three to four sprigs of thyme. Follow the recipe and finish with two cups of peas two to three minutes before serving.


Okay People, this is "Old Fashioned Beef Stew" and it's exactly how my Mom made it and How I've made it for 45 years. Flouring your meat before browning actually adds flavor to the stew. There are tons of beef stew recipe out there, but this is authentic "Old Fashioned"!


If you're complaining about blandness, red wine, a bit of Worcestershire or even some harissa can help liven it up. Also, homemade peasant bread or even some store bought parker house rolls are a wonderful accompaniment. This is exactly my mother's go-to recipe for beef stew. She's gone now, but I would give anything to eat this with her one more time.

Lisa Conn

This was delicious. I cubed a chuck roast which was cheap and flavorful (removing all excess fat). I added some worchestershire sauce and ketchup at the end to add umami (flavor). After cooking I separated the solids and boiled the liquid a bit to reduce and concentrate, then whisked in a slurry of flour and water to thicken before recombining with meat and veggies. This stew is a one pot meal. It doesn't require rice or noodles because of the large amount of potatoes.

Jack Wilson

I think many of the negative comments were from people who have no idea what an old time stew tasted like. They probably have McDonald's taste buds and there is no changing that. This was a wonderful stew. With that said I also added to it. My choice was worcester sauce from my Brittish background. Adapting a recipe to fit your own taste is a normal procedure. Perhaps if some of these who commented threw in a Quarte pounder they would have felt differently.

Bob davison

Two great Irish cooks rated this the best beef stew they ever tasted. It's a keeper in our home.

Marjorie Och

Excellent. Added thyme. Sauteed the chopped onions. Used olive oil. Substituted gold potatoes for the bakers. Added about 1/2 t. Worcestershire sauce and some ketchup...good additions. Should include a beef bone in the cooking.


Julia Childs recommends just browning the meat in oil without flour. Then make the stew as shown here. She thickens the gravy at the end by adding miller's butter (half butter and half flour) rolled into little balls, one at a time, until it's as thick as you like. I agree with her.


Sautéed onion and a shallot, added to deglazed pot with browned meat and a few sprigs of thyme. Added 2 T tomato paste, more pepper, shot of Worcestershire sauce and peas at the last...as my mother always did. Excellent stew. I will make it again.


For this stew (and all others I've made), I like to use beef shank - lots more marbling than chuck, and just melts in one's mouth after an hour or so of slow simmering. I also throw the bones in (along with marrow) to add flavor. If you're making a big pot, shank is about half the price of chuck!


This was delicious, though I made a few alterations. Like others, I added more herbs (thyme, rosemary, herbs de Provence, Basil, ground all spice). I chopped up the onion & along with a few table spoons of oil and tomato paste,I microwaved it with the herbs in a bowl for about 1 minute on high (a trick I learned from Cooks Illustrated slow cooker recipe book) & then I added this mixture to the pot at the start of step 2 above. Cooked the meat much longer, a/b 5 hrs before adding veggies.

Fast Marty

save money and use beef chuck instead of ribeyes/filets. get an intact chuck roast from the butcher, not pre-cubed "beef for stew". Cut the meat up yourself into small cubes. Ribeyes are for grilling, or broiling, not stew. The collagen breaks down nicely and the chuck meat transforms wonderfully. Of course, if you're wealthy, do as you wish.


Loved this. Doubled the wine & reduced the beef broth. Sprinkled in Herbes de Provence as per another review's suggestion. I'm normally a high-intensity spice seeker but found this dish flavorful and tender in its classic-ness.


This was the most delicious beef stew I have ever eaten! I made some minor changes. I reduced the salt by half. I added celery & garlic. I swapped parsnips for potatoes. It was more soup-like without the potatoes even with added stew meat & extra simmering. What a beautiful color this had.

beef stew

Less onion. Less liquid

Naomi Jones

So delicious. I make it at least once a month.

Naomi Jones

I usually make 50% more and add a couple of cloves of garlic and a tablespoon of ketchup.


I browned the onions with tomato paste and added a generous sprig of rosemary and some thyme per another commenter's suggestion. I also added several cups of quartered mushrooms, a yellow pepper, some fennel rounds, a parsnip I had, and 7 oz of cipolline onions when I added the carrots. Very happy making.


absolutely delicious - added a couple dashes of worsheshire at the end of browning the beef and added (chai pani) garlic seasoning, pollo bouillon, and pinch of salt towards the end about 15min after adding potatoes. I also did end up letting it simmer for an additional 30min towards the end to get the softness i wanted in the potatoes/carrots


Added 4-5 cloves of minced garlic, fresh minced rosemary and thyme. Cooked these with the onions before deglazing the pan. Great flavor and delicious.


Love the suggestion to use whole chuck and cut yourself. Makes sense. I have for years used this recipe but in the flour I add cinnamon, nutmeg, pinch cloves or allspice (to taste), additionally use V-8 or tomato juice with beef stock. Rich gravy with lovely spicy aroma- flavorsome. Ramps up flavor and gets rave reviews. I just serve with Grands or peasant bread.

Jen C.

I made this last night and followed the recipe exactly, which I rarely do. Absolutely comforting and delicious.


Delicious!! Wish I had found this recipe 30 years ago. I followed the recipe as given -yes, adding the onion towards the end. Counterintuitive to what I have always done. The onion flavor and texture was lovely. I used a Cotes Du Rhone and will use again. Easy, and So good!


I LOVE this recipe AS IS! Personally I don't think there is any need to doctor this. Made it for friends, it was a hit. Now a standard in our house.

Cookin’ RAF

Added parsnips and turnip

Marlene schilling


Name Beth Bochnak

Doubled the recipe this time. 3.5 hours too long to cook the meat (standard beef stew meat). I’d say 2.5 would be better. Also lots of thyme plus Worcestershire sauce not sure what else. Disappointed that the meat was so dry.

Anne K

Almost 50 years ago, my mother-in-law shared her recipe for Gaston stew. Actually she didn’t give me the recipe, But I just watched her make it, and then replicated it. I mistook the peppercorns for Juniper berries. The juniper berries were genius. They added this lovely, aromatic piny taste that just elevated the stew, which was also seasoned with rosemary thyme the usual suspects.Anyway, I still make it this way with Juniper berries. Sometimes the best dishes come from mistakes.

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Old-Fashioned Beef Stew Recipe (2024)


What is the secret to good beef stew? ›

Start with leaner meat.

For a rich, succulent stew, resist the instinct to buy the gorgeously marbled piece of meat you would want for a steak or roast. Look instead for cuts with cartilage, tendons and (at least a few) bones: Chuck, brisket, oxtails, cheeks and shin are ideal.

What can I add to beef stew to make it taste better? ›

Vegetables: small chopped carrots, celery, and onion or shallot practically melt into the sauce. Mushrooms: button mushrooms are a nod to the quartered mushrooms many classic beef stew recipes call for, but are thinly sliced instead of being left in bigger pieces. Garlic: minced garlic brings lots of cozy flavor.

What is the basic stew formula? ›

The Ideal Stew Ratio: Two Parts Meat, One Part Vegetable

Most meat-based stews call for tough, inexpensive cuts of meat, while vegetarian recipes include the same onions, carrots, and celery typical of a beef stew. Two parts meat to one part vegetables is the perfect ratio for a meaty stew.

How to make the perfect beef stew and the common mistakes to avoid? ›

The Five Most Common Beef Stew Mistakes
  1. Choosing a meat that's too lean. Stew is not meant for all cuts of meat. ...
  2. Putting too much flour on the stew meat before sautéeing them. ...
  3. Not using wine. ...
  4. Putting the meat and vegetables together in one pan. ...
  5. Not cooking it enough.
Jun 28, 2020

Why put tomato paste in beef stew? ›

A bit of tomato paste amps up the flavor of beef stew, giving it a richness and a punch of umami that makes the stew truly memorable.

Should you simmer beef stew covered or uncovered? ›

Simmering and Boiling

In the event that your goal is to keep moisture in—like when your pot of soup, stew, or sauce is already at the right consistency, but you want to keep cooking the vegetables and melding the flavors—leave the lid on to keep any more liquid from evaporating.

How to make stew taste richer? ›

If so here are some tips for making your stews tasty and have your family begging you for more!
  1. Choose your ingredients wisely. ...
  2. Start off with a good flavour base. ...
  3. Add vegetables. ...
  4. Add flavourings to taste. ...
  5. Add Herbs and/or Spices. ...
  6. Spices: (Optional) ...
  7. Add stock or wine/beer. ...
  8. Add thickeners.

What are the best vegetables to put in beef stew? ›

Root Vegetables

Carrots are a go-to for stews and braises, but look beyond them to parsnips, turnips, rutabaga, celeriac, and sweet potatoes. Be sure cut them on the larger size so they don't dissolve into mush.

What is the most flavorful meat for stew? ›

For example, chuck is a lean and tender cut of beef that works well in stew. However, if you would prefer a thicker and more flavorful stew, short ribs or oxtail may be better choices for you. To make a delicious stew, choose good-quality ingredients.

What is the traditional stew made of? ›

A stew is a combination of solid food ingredients that have been cooked in liquid and served in the resultant gravy. Ingredients can include any combination of vegetables and may include meat, especially tougher meats suitable for slow-cooking, such as beef, pork, venison, rabbit, lamb, poultry, sausages, and seafood.

What is the liquid in stew called? ›

Broth is a thin soup made of the water in which flavor-enhancing ingredients like meat, vegetables, and herbs and spices have been simmered. The liquid is strained after cooking to remove the flavoring ingredients. The broth can be served on its own or used as the base for a heartier soup or stew.

How much liquid should be in a stew? ›

The Broth – We usually use about 4 cups of broth and then top it off with just enough water to cover the meat and veggies. Our favorite ratio is 2 cups of beef stock and 2 cups of chicken stock – we find all beef stock to be a little intense and all chicken stock to be a little thin, so we split the difference.

When should I add potatoes to stew? ›

Your onions will be fine, but mushy potatoes and carrots are a no-no. Instead, add them about 20 minutes before the end of cooking. When they're tender, the stew is done.

When should celery be added to stew? ›

Once the meat is tender - but not falling apart, add the potatoes, celery, carrots and butternut squash. Pour over another 2 cups of beef broth and enough water to cover the vegetables. Raise heat and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer partially covered for about 30 minutes - until the vegetables are tender.

Do you put tomato paste in stew? ›

Add the onion and cook, stirring, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, until lightly browned, about 1 minute more.

How to make stew nice and thick? ›

The flour helps to thicken a stew as it cooks. Whisk a teaspoon of flour in a little cold water to make a slurry, then stir into the stew as it's cooking. Don't add dry flour directly to the stew as it may clump. After adding the slurry, bring the stew to boil.

What is the best thickening agent for beef stew? ›

instead of a roux or flour use cornstarch or arrowroot . equal parts water to cornstarch and arrowroot. mix that up and then you add it to simmering sauce or whatever. you're trying to thicken, it's called a slurry.

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