The Best Instant Pot Beef Stew Recipe

The Best Instant Pot Beef Stew Recipe

Instant Pot Beef Stew is hands-down one of the easiest, most flavorful beef stews you will ever enjoy! Made with tender beef, potatoes, carrots, and a rich, flavorful broth, this Instant Pot Beef Stew recipe delivers classic beef stew in record time!

Bowl of instant pot beef stew topped with parsley.

Nothing hits the spot like a bowl of rich, hearty beef stew. And this recipe for Instant Pot Beef Stew delivers the classic flavors in record time.

This Instant Pot Beef Stew is everything you crave in beef stew and more. The potatoes and carrots are fork-tender and the beef is tender it practically melts in your mouth. They are all enveloped in an incredibly rich sauce that is rich, velvety, and perfectly seasoned with red wine, Worchestershire, and horseradish.

This recipe, like my recipe for Instant Pot Pot Roast, has been inspired by my Papa’s recipe for Beef Stew. His secret to the BEST beef stew (and pot roast) is horseradish. The horseradish adds a subtle flavor to the stew but also works to tenderize the beef, resulting in fall-apart tender beef.

Not only does this recipe for Instant Pot Beef Stew have spectacular flavor, but thanks to the magic of the electric pressure cooker, you can have this comfort food on your table in just over an hour.

Notes on Ingredients

Ingredients for beef stew labeled on counter.
  • Beef: You can purchase pre-cut stew meat from your grocer, or cut up a chuck roast, top-round roast, or sirloin roast yourself into 1-inch cubes.
  • Beef Stock: Use low-sodium beef stock to control the overall sodium in the stew. For a thicker stew, use 3 cups of beef stock. For a thinner beef stew that is more like a hearty soup, use 4 cups of beef stock.
  • Horseradish: This recipe uses prepared horseradish, not horseradish sauce. Prepared horseradish is simply grated horseradish, vinegar, and salt and you can often find it in the refrigerated deli section of your local grocery store.
  • Red Wine: Use a dry red wine, such as Merlot or Cabernet. If you do not drink alcohol, feel free to use additional beef stock in place of the wine.
  • Worcestershire Sauce: Just like the horseradish, the Worcestershire Sauce adds incredible depth of flavor. It is salty and rich and finishes off this stew perfectly. A little bit goes a long way!
  • Thyme: Thyme really enhances the flavor of the stew and pairs nicely with the rich beef flavor. Use either fresh thyme or dried thyme leaves. Do not use ground thyme as the flavor is overwhelming.
  • Potatoes: Use whole bite-sized new potatoes, quartered red or new potatoes, or peeled russet potatoes, cut into 2-inch chunks.
  • Carrots: Use either baby carrots or large peeled, carrots that have been cut into large chunks.
  • Cornstarch Slurry: Most recipes for beef stew use flour to thicken the braising liquid in the stew. That is a no-no when pressure cooking, so instead a mixture of cornstarch and water is added after pressure cooking to thicken the stew.

How to Make Instant Pot Beef Stew

Step One: Sear the Beef

A key to developing great flavor in any beef stew is to begin the recipe by searing the meat. This step helps to caramelize the natural sugars in the meat and form a nice crust on the meat that helps to amplify the texture and flavor in the stew. While you can skip this step, it only takes a few minutes and the results are well worth the added effort.

  • Turn the Instant Pot to saute, add in the oil, and let the oil heat.
  • While the oil is heating, use that time to season the beef liberally with salt and pepper. It is important to season as you go for the best flavor.
  • Once the oil is heated, add the seasoned beef and minced onion to the inner pot. Saute, stirring frequently, until the meat is nearly browned and the onion has begun to soften.
  • Add in garlic and saute for just another minute to toast, but we do not want to burn the garlic.
Side by side photos of inner pot with onions and beef inside inner pot before and after sauteeing the beef.

Step Two: Deglaze

Whenever you saute anything in the instant pot, it is crucial to remove any browned bits off the bottom of the inner pot before pressure cooking. This is crucial for preventing a burn notice.

  • Add in the red wine, or stock if not using wine, and scrape up any browned bits off the bottom of the inner pot.
  • Allow the wine to cook for 1-2 minutes, just to cook off the alcohol. Then turn the Instant Pot Saute function off.
Seared beef and red wine inside inner pot.

Step Three: Layer Ingredients

Now it is easy as adding the ingredients to the inner pot. I do recommend adding the crushed tomatoes last. Even though we are stirring everything together, if you added the tomatoes before the broth, they may not fully incorporate into the broth and can cause a burn notice if your unit is finicky.

  • Add in beef stock, potatoes, carrots, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, thyme, a pinch of salt, crushed tomatoes, and bay leaf.
  • Give everything a stir just to incorporate.
Ingredients in the inner pot for Instant Pot Beef Stew.

Step Four: Pressure Cook

While this stew has a cooking time of just 30 minutes, keep in mind you will need to account for the time it takes to come to pressure and for pressure to release which can add another 10 minutes to the total time.

  • Secure the lid on the instant pot and ensure that the vent knob is pointed towards sealed, not venting.
  • Cook on HIGH pressure for 30 minutes.
  • Once the cooking time has elapsed, allow the pressure to release naturally for at least 15 minutes. This will keep your meat TENDER and keep the hot liquid from spewing out of your vent knob. DO NOT be tempted to release pressure sooner.
Instant Pot with beef stew prepared in it.

Step Five: Thicken Stew

It is not necessary to thicken the stew, but for a classic texture, thickening the stew with a cornstarch slurry is recommended.

  • After you remove the lid, turn the pressure cooker back to saute (hit the cancel/off button then saute button again) and let the mixture come to a boil.
  • While the stew is coming to a bubble, whisk together cornstarch and water together in a small bowl until very well combined.
  • Once the broth is bubbling, whisk in the cornstarch slurry, and whisk continually until the liquid has thickened. This will take 3-5 minutes.
  • Once thickened, turn off the saute function. The stew is now ready to dish out.
Ladle of beef stew coming out of Instant Pot.

Serving Suggestions

Instant Pot Stew is a hearty meal that can stand as a one-pot meal. That said, I love serving this beef stew with Dutch Oven Bread, Homemade Wheat Rolls, or Italian Bread to soak up all the delicious, rich broth.

Bowl of instant pot beef stew topped with parsley next to sliced bread.

Storage

Once cooled slightly, store leftover Instant Pot Beef Stew in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. While you can opt to freeze leftover beef stew in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months, keep in mind that the texture of the potatoes does not hold up well to freezing, and they will become mushy once defrosted.

More Instant Pot Comfort Food Recipes

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Bowl of instant pot beef stew topped with parsley.

Instant Pot Beef Stew

This Instant Pot Beef Stew is made with tender beef, potatoes, and carrots that are enveloped in a rich, flavorful broth that is seasoned to perfection. 

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Course: Main Course

Cuisine: American

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Pressure Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Servings: 8

Calories: 256kcal

Prevents your screen from going dark while preparing the recipe.

Instructions

  • Turn the Instant Pot to Saute, add the oil, and let heat.

  • While the oil is heating, season the beef on all sides liberally with salt and pepper. 

  • Add the seasoned beef and chopped onion to the Instant Pot and saute until the beef is browned on all sides and the onion has begun to soften. Once the meat is nearly fully browned, add in the minced garlic and saute for 1 minute longer, being careful to not burn the garlic.

  • Add in red wine (or additional beef stock if not using wine) and scrape up any browned bits of liquid on the bottom of the inner pot. Allow the alcohol to cook off for 1-2 minutes, then turn the saute function off.

  • Add the beef stock, potatoes, carrots, crushed tomatoes, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, bay leaf, fresh thyme, and a pinch of salt. Stir to incorporate the ingredients.

  • Place lid on instant pot and be sure vent knob is closed to seal in pressure. 

  • Set to manual pressure for 30 minutes. To do this, hit pressure cook or manual and adjust cook time using +/- buttons. If you have the Ultra model, hit ultra and then adjust to high pressure, and then set cook time to 30 minutes.

  • Once cook time has elapsed, allow the pressure cooker to release pressure naturally or for AT LEAST 15 minutes.

  • Once pressure has been released, open up pressure cooker, remove bay leaf and thyme sprigs. Hit cancel on pressure cooker (to turn off keep warm function) and turn back to saute. 

  • Whisk together the water and cornstarch and then whisk into beef stew once bubbling. Allow to bubble and thicken to desired consistency, whisking constantly. Taste and season with salt if needed.

Notes

Storage: Leftover beef stew can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. You can opt to freeze the stew as well, but the texture of the potatoes may be altered after freezing. 
Beef: You can purchase pre-cut stew meat from your grocer, or cut up a chuck roast, sirloin roast, or top-round yourself into 1-inch cubes. 
Using Frozen Beef: As your beef is already cubed, like stew meat, you can use frozen beef. Skip searing the meat and add 5 minutes to the cooking time. 
Red Wine: A dry red wine such as Merlot or Cabernet is best. Of course, if you do not drink alcohol, feel free to use additional beef stock in place of wine.
Horseradish: Be sure to use prepared horseradish, not horseradish sauce. (The ingredients are just grated horseradish, salt, and sometimes vinegar.)
Potatoes: Use whole bite-sized new potatoes, quartered red or new potatoes, or 2 inches cubed, peeled russet potatoes
Crushed Tomatoes: In place of crushed tomatoes, you can use tomato sauce. 
Gluten-Free Modifications: To keep this Instant Pot Beef Stew gluten-free, use gluten-free Worcestershire Sauce, and be sure your beef broth is gluten-free.
Consistency: For a thicker stew, use 3 cups of beef stock. For a thinner beef stew, use 4 cups of beef stock. 

Nutrition

Calories: 256kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 35mg | Sodium: 353mg | Potassium: 869mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 5410IU | Vitamin C: 17.2mg | Calcium: 54mg | Iron: 2.6mg

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This post was originally published in 2019 but was updated in 2022 with new photos and a new video.