Beef Stew

Making a hearty beef stew the traditional way, in a cast iron Dutch oven, does take a lot of time, but it will make the house smell terrific and you'll reap the rewards at dinnertime.

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Classic Beef Stew

This recipe for Beef Stew does take a little time, but it’s mostly unattended time and a great meal to make on those rainy or cold days when you’re staying inside.  Here’s the quick summary of how you’ll make this great meal:

  • Cut up all your ingredients, including beef chuck, leaving the beef cubes bigger than you think (they will shrink in the stew).
  • Brown the beef in batches, taking care not to overcrowd the pot and setting the browned beef aside.
  • Add chopped onion, garlic and tomato paste to the pot and toast for a few minutes.
  • Deglaze with red wine, spices, Worcestershire sauce and beef stock, return the browned beef and simmer for an hour.
  • Add the potatoes and carrots and continue to simmer for another hour.
  • Brown some pearl onions in a skillet on the stovetop and add them to the stew. Simmer for 30 minutes.
  • Add frozen peas and warm them through for a few minutes. Toss in parsley, season to taste and serve.

Sure there are several steps to making this stew, but every step is very easy and a delicious bowl of classic beef stew is well worth it!

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Beef Stew

  • Prep Time: 30 m
  • Cook Time: 2 h 30 m
  • Total Time: 3 h
  • Servings:


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 pounds beef chuck cubed (2 -inch cubes)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 onion chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup red wine
  • ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 1/2 cups beef stock
  • 8 small red potatoes halved or cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 3 carrots peeled and sliced on the bias
  • 1 cup pearl onions defrosted if frozen
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 275˚ F.
  2. Heat a large Dutch oven or stockpot over medium heat. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil and working in batches so you don’t overcrowd the pan, brown the beef cubes, seasoning with salt and pepper – about 8 minutes per batch. Set the browned meat aside.
  3. Add the onion to the pot and cook until browned - about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for another minute or two. Then add the red wine and deglaze the pan by scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the Dutch oven with a wooden spoon. Bring the liquid to a boil and let it simmer for a minute or two. Add the dried rosemary, dried thyme, bay leaf, and Worcestershire sauce and stir. Add 2 cups of the stock and return the liquid to a simmer again. While this comes back to a simmer, return the browned beef to the Dutch oven. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and transfer the Dutch oven to the oven for one hour.
  4. Remove the pot from the oven and add the potatoes and carrots. Return to the oven for another hour, adding another cup of stock if necessary.
  5. Meanwhile, heat a skillet on medium-high heat. Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and cook the pearl onions until lightly browned.
  6. Remove the Dutch oven from the oven and add the browned pearl onions. Return to the oven for another 30 minutes. Stir in the peas and heat through for 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the parsley and serve.
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Comments (28)Post a Reply

  1. 5 stars
    I haven’t made beef stew in a long time as my family wasn’t too crazy about it. This recipe is the exception! I did all the prep work on the grill side burner outside and then transferred to the oven for the baking. The smell of this as it cooks is heaven! The meat was tender, as were the carrots and potatoes. The sauce/gravy is rich and has several layers of flavor. The browned pearl onions are the perfect finishing touch. I am so glad I decided to make this!

  2. Hi Meredith. I love beef stew, and I plan to use this recipe but I was reading the recipe, and I saw the total cooking time listed at the top is 1 hour and 50 minutes. However, in #3 it says to cook for one hour; in #4 it says to cook for another hour; then, in #6 it says to cook another 30 minutes. That’s 2.5 hours cooking time. I just wanted to verify which one is correct?
    Thank you!

    1. Hi Helen. Thanks for catching that. The recipe is correct. My recipe application just didn’t add things up correctly. I’ve fixed it now.

  3. 5 stars
    Ditto everything Bruce B said except for the part about my family not being crazy about. Mine wants beef stew all the time! It was this recipe in my email that nudged me to do it . I made it tonight and it was a huge success. It’ll be my go to recipe for beef stew from now on. It was easy to follow and perfectly cooked.

  4. I can’t find a way to print after the recipe comes up. If I copy it and paste to word, it breaks up into a mess. There seems to be no print icon to actually print once the recipe is ready. Help!

    1. Hi Gloria. There is a “Print Recipe” button just below and to the right of the recipe title. When you click on that, you will get a new window with a nicely formatted recipe ready to print.


  5. 5 stars
    OMG, this recipe is amazing!! Very minimal tomato-ey flavor, which is what I like in a beef stew, and the overall flavor is soooo good, subtle but rich. I had to customize a bit for my hubby’s pickiness, LOL….so I used grape juice instead of red wine, left out the pearl onions, peas and parsley. Oh, and I halved the recipe, since it’s just the two of us. This recipe is a keeper for sure, totally love it! The broth has a bit of substance due to the starch of the potatoes….it’s not a thick broth, of course, but it’s not as thin as broth, if that makes sense. It’s just perfect! Thanks!

  6. 5 stars
    This looks amazing, but no peas for us. We only have a countertop oven. A Dutch oven won’t fit in it. Can I brown in a Dutch oven then transfer to a slow cooker?

    1. Sure Heather, browning on the stovetop and then transferring to the oven is definitely a possibility, but I would add the vegetables at the beginning with the beef if you are using a slow cooker. Another alternative would be to just turn the heat down on the stovetop to a very low simmer and let the stew continue to cook on the stove instead of in the oven.

  7. Absolutely fabulous recipe and an amazing crowd-pleaser! The house is filled with the wonderful aroma of slow-cooking food, and in these days when we are spending more time inside and dedicating ourselves to the domestic arts, this dish is a joy to prepare! Thank you, Meredith.

    1. Yes, definitely. The challenge comes in when to add the vegetables, but you can make a delicious tender beef stew in a pressure cooker – high pressure for 20 minutes with a full natural pressure release (no quick releasing or the beef will toughen). If you leave your veg in large pieces and like them soft when you eat them, you can add them at the beginning. Otherwise, remove the beef cubes after fully cooking and then pressure cook the vegetables in the broth for 8 minutes, quick release, add the beef back and you’re good to go.

  8. 3 stars
    I made this….the flavor was wonderful but the meat was so tough I couldn’t chew it. Went exactly by recipe and cooking times. Used boneless chicken roast???

    1. Hi Carol. I’m sorry the meat was tough. There are a couple of reasons why this might have been the case. 1) It’s important to use the right cut of beef – chuck roast. I prefer to cut a chuck roast into pieces myself so that I control how big the pieces are and so I know that it is indeed beef chuck. 2) It’s important to have some good fat marbling in the beef. Fat is what helps make the meat flavorful and also tender. If you happened to pick up a chuck roast that was particularly lean, or used meat that was so trimmed of fat that there was not much left when you cooked it, that can cause the meat to be tough. 3) The meat might not have cooked for long enough (but you said you followed the right timing). 4) the meat cooked for TOO long. I know this sounds strange, but at some point in cooking stew, the meat will become tough again. How long depends on the size of your beef cubes and the temperature of your oven. It can be a little tricky and the only way to guard against cooking it too long is to test the meat as it cooks. Poke it with a knife after an hour, after two hours, etc.. It will be tough at first, then tender, then… tough again. 5) The meat wasn’t seared well enough. Searing is actually an important step to seal in juices and help keep the meat juicy. So, I recommend giving this another try, especially if you liked the flavor. Pick up a chuck roast with good marbling, cut it into cubes yourself and give it a go.

    1. Hi Amy. I always use dried thyme leaves. Ground thyme tends to age and lose its flavor faster than dried leaves. Because it is ground, you’ll also use less of it in a recipe. For every 1 teaspoon of dried thyme leaves, use ½ teaspoon ground thyme.

  9. 5 stars
    I made this last night for supper and we throughly enjoyed it! This will definetly be my go-to recipe for Beef Stew from here on!

  10. 5 stars
    This was SO good. Followed instructions and it came out perfect. Just the meal for a night when it’s single digit temperatures out there! Thank you Meredith!

  11. Hi!
    Hoping to make this soon, but first:, what do you recommend as a substitution to wine, to deglaze the pan? I don’t cook with alcohol.

    1. You could use red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar, cranberry or pomegranate fruit juice, or you could just use extra beef stock.

  12. My family has always had dumplings with beef stew. Can you give me any instructions on how to do that with this recipe.

    1. Yes, 275 degrees is correct. Beef stew is a braised dish that you want to cook low and slow for tender results.

  13. 5 stars
    I am making this beef stew for the 3rd time today. I really like it. I did change up a couple things…. of course, don’t we all?!

    I dusted the beef with flour seasoned with salt and pepper before browning. I just like the flavor and it helps to thicken the gravy just a bit in the end.

    I added a spoonful of Better than Bouillon beef base with the stock. It probably isn’t necessary but I do like the depth it adds to the flavor.

    I suggest you choose your wine carefully. Nothing close to sweet. I’ve used a zinfadel, a blend and today I’m using a cabernet. So far the blend was the best. It was a full bodied, robust blend. The wine should appeal to you enough that you will drink the leftover wine.

    All in all this recipe will remain a go to for me!

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