Old-Fashioned Beef Stew

Old-Fashioned Beef Stew

The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 105 mins
Total: 2 hrs 5 mins
Servings: 6 to 8 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
625 Calories
31g Fat
34g Carbs
47g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 to 8
Amount per serving
Calories 625
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 31g 40%
Saturated Fat 11g 56%
Cholesterol 141mg 47%
Sodium 886mg 39%
Total Carbohydrate 34g 12%
Dietary Fiber 4g 15%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 47g
Vitamin C 13mg 65%
Calcium 81mg 6%
Iron 6mg 32%
Potassium 1344mg 29%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This is a basic beef stew that's a favorite winter meal. This hearty dish is easy, delicious, and inexpensive to make. While there are hundreds of variations of traditional beef stew, it’s hard to improve on this version’s savory and comforting goodness.

For even better flavor, make this dish the day before you plan to serve it and reheat for a one-pot meal. For a feast, serve alongside crusty bread or rolls. Beef stew makes delicious leftovers, and you can double this recipe if you have a big enough pot.


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"This stew was excellent, with rich beef flavor. I’d recommend sprinkling the beef lightly with salt and pepper, then seasoning more as needed before serving. If your beef broth contains salt, you might not need much more salt. The recipe made about 12 cups of stew, and it was fantastic with crusty French bread." —Diana Rattray

Old-Fashioned Beef Stew Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 3 pounds boneless chuck roast (cut into 2-inch pieces)

  • 1 to 2 teaspoons salt (or to taste)

  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (or to taste)

  • 2 medium yellow onions (cut into 1-inch chunks)

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

  • 3 cloves garlic (minced)

  • 1 cup red wine

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary

  • 1 medium dried bay leaf

  • 3 cups beef broth (low-sodium)

  • 3 large russet potatoes (peeled and cut into eighths)

  • 2 stalks celery (cut into 1-inch slices)

  • 4 medium carrots (peeled and cut into 1-inch slices)

  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley, garnish

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Old-Fashioned Stew Ingredients

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  2. On medium-high heat, add the vegetable oil to a large heavy pot (one that has a tight-fitting lid).

    Vegetable oil poured into a pot

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  3. When it begins to smoke slightly, add the beef and brown on all sides. Do so in batches if necessary. Add the salt and pepper as the beef browns.

    Meat added to the pot

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  4. Once browned, remove the beef with a slotted spoon or tongs and set aside.

    Removing the meat from the pot

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  5. Add the onions and sauté for about 5 minutes, until softened.

    Onions added to the pot

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  6. Reduce heat to medium-low and add the flour. Cook for 2 minutes stirring often. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.

    Flour added to the onions in the pot

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  7. Add wine and deglaze the pan, scraping any brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. The flour will start to thicken the wine as it comes to a simmer.

    Red wine added to the onion mixture in the pot

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  8. Simmer the wine for 5 minutes and then add the beef, thyme, rosemary, and bay leaf. Top with the broth. Bring back to a gentle simmer, cover, and cook on very low for about 1 hour.

    add the broth, beef, thyme, rosemary, and bay leaf to the onion mixture in the pot

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  9. Add potatoes, celery, and carrots and simmer, covered, for another 30 minutes, or until the meat and vegetables are tender. Taste and adjust seasoning.

    Add vegetables to the beef mixture in the pot

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  10. Turn off the heat and let sit for 15 minutes before serving. Garnish with the fresh parsley if desired.

    Old-Fashioned Beef Stew in a pot

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

How to Store and Freeze

  • Beef stew will keep for 3 or 4 days in an airtight container in the fridge. Reheat on the stovetop or microwave for a delicious, quick meal.
  • To freeze beef stew, add it to an airtight freezer-safe container or heavy-duty zip-top bag, leaving about an inch of headroom. Freeze for up to a month. Defrost in the fridge before reheating.


  • The stew includes some flour, but If you'd like to thicken it more, make a slurry using 1 or 2 tablespoons of flour and just enough water to make a thin paste. Add to the stew and simmer until thickened.
  • If the stew is too thick or you would like more liquids, add extra beef broth.
  • Make sure the beef is very tender before you add the potatoes, carrots, and celery.
  • Always reheat leftovers to at least 165 F, the minimum safe temperature for leftover food.

Recipe Variations

  • To add more flavor to beef stew, try adding a tablespoon or two of tomato paste after deglazing the pan. You can also add a splash of red wine vinegar after cooking or more dried herbs.
  • Feel free to use your favorite winter vegetables like parsnips and rutabaga.
  • Thawed frozen peas or cut green beans may be added a few minutes before the stew is ready.

How Do You Make Stew Meat Tender?

The key to tender stew meat is low and slow cooking in liquid. For beef stew, make sure the meat is becoming nice and tender before adding the vegetables.

Should I Brown Stew Meat First?

Browning or searing stew meat before cooking low and slow adds tons of meaty flavor to a dish like beef stew. Once liquid is added, deglazing the pan retrieves any flavorful stuck bits from the bottom and makes for a tasty sauce. The crusty caramelization on the beef adds texture to the dish as well.