Instant Pot beef stew will provide you with winter comfort food in a fraction of the time. Made with protein-rich beef and lots of veggies, it will be satisfying on cool nights.
What is beef stew meat?
When you buy meat labeled stew meat at the store, it is usually chuck or round. These are tough cuts but will become tender and moist the longer they are simmered.
Just don’t use top round. There is not enough fat to create the rich taste for the stew.
Generally, stews are cooked on a low temperature for a long time to allow the meat to become tender like in my Slow Cooker Beef Stew Recipe and Healthy Slow Cooker Beef Stew. In this recipe, we take advantage of the power of the Instant Pot for breaking down the tough meat in no time.
Is it necessary to brown meat before stewing?
Your beef will not be undercooked if you don’t brown it before setting the Instant Pot. However, this extra step is worth the effort because of the big change in flavor it creates.
- Brown the meat in batches so you don’t over crowd it in the pan. Giving it space will ensure that all of the edges get the crisp texture you are looking for.
- By browning, the edges of the meat caramelize, creating a rich, deep flavor.
- I toss the beef chunks with arrowroot flour prior to browning them as well. This is a gluten free way to add body to the stew broth.
- Using beef broth and tomato paste will give the meat better flavor than using water as well.
Is it possible to overcook stew?
While the meat needs plenty of time to get tender, the vegetables do not. Twenty minutes in the Instant Pot is the sweet spot. Your meat will be juicy and moist. Your vegetables will not have disintegrated to mush.
As an extra precaution, do a quick release of the pressure to stop the cooking process right at 20 minutes.
How to make Beef Stew in the Instant Pot
- Beef stew meat — cut into bite-sized pieces
- Arrowroot flour — this is a thickening agent and gluten-free flour. If you do not need this to be gluten-free, you can use another thickener.
- Salt and black pepper
- Olive oil — or an oil of your choice.
- Garlic — minced.
- Onion — finely chopped.
- Carrots — cut into bite-sized pieces, be sure to peel them first.
- Celery ribs — chopped
- Baby potatoes — cut in half. You do not have to peel them, just get them a thorough washing beforehand.
- Mushroom — sliced. You can use your mushroom of choice but white or baby Bella mushrooms will work just fine.
- Tomato paste — this adds body and more meaty taste to your beef stew. Don’t skip it!
- Beef broth — use a whole30-friendly beef broth.
- Dried herbs — I used dried thyme, dried parsley, Italian seasoning, and dried bay leaves.
- Fresh parsley — chopped, for garnishing.
Prepare the Beef
- Place the beef in a large bowl and then add in the arrowroot flour, salt, and pepper. Mix everything well and until beef is coated in the flour.
- Set the instant pot to the sauté setting and add olive oil. Once the pot is hot (about 2 minutes), add half of the beef cubes and sear until all the sides are golden brown. Set aside on a plate and repeat the process again until you sear all the meat. Set aside all the meat.
Make the Stew and Pressure Cook
- Add in the Instant Pot, minced garlic, and sauté the garlic until fragrant. Add beef broth to loosen the pan of bits. This is important to avoid getting the burn notice in your IP!
- Add the remaining ingredients, stir everything together and close the lid.
- Set the instant pot to manual high pressure for 20 minutes. Once it’s finished, carefully quick release the steam.
- Remove the bay leaves and garnish with fresh parsley before serving.
What can I add to Instant Pot Beef Stew for flavor?
The classic beef and veggies is a fall and winter staple. But adding some other flavors and textures makes this meal stand out.
- Italian seasoning
- Bay leaves
- Cayenne pepper
What vegetables go in Instant Pot Beef Stew?
Traditionally, beef stew contains potatoes and carrots. These vegetables hold up well despite being cooked for several hours. Using the Instant Pot increase the range of vegetables you can use since they will only cook for 20 minutes.
Try using up things in your refrigerator. Some that I really like are:
- Green beans
- Sweet potatoes (like in my Instant Pot Sweet Potato Kale Beef Soup)
- Cabbage (like in my Cabbage and Sausage Stew)
- Don’t be tempted to skip the bay leaf! The bay leaves add a lighter note to the healthy slow cooker beef stew and help the other flavours shine. It’s a small step and a single ingredient but it does a lot.
- Did you know you could freeze tomato paste? I find that I always open a can of tomato paste and then it ends up in my fridge for a while and sometimes ends up going bad because the recipe doesn’t use the whole can. Freeze it and thaw it whenever you need some!
- Everything is cut into 2 inch/bite-sized chunks so they can cook evenly in the pressure cooker together. If you cut them into larger chunks or smaller chunks, you’ll have to adjust the cooking time. If you have larger baby potatoes, you might have to cut them smaller so they’ll cook through.
- Don’t skip searing the meat as it adds so much more flavour to the beef stew.
- If you’ve forgotten about the stew, it’s fine if it natural pressure releases for a few minutes!
- Refrigerate stew in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. You can reheat it on the stove, in the microwave, or using the saute function in the Instant Pot.
- You can freeze beef stew for up to 3 months. Be sure to use a freezer-safe bag or container. Leave space when freezing as liquid expands in the freezer.
More Instant Pot Recipes to Try:
- Instant Pot Vegetable Beef Soup
- Instant Pot Carnitas Meal Prep Bowls
- Instant Pot Mediterranean Chicken Recipe
Instant Pot Beef Stew Recipe (Whole30 & Paleo)
- 2 pounds beef stew meat - cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1/4 cup arrowroot flour
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2-3 cloves garlic - minced
- 1 medium onion - finely chopped
- 2 cups carrots - cut into bite-sized pieces
- 2 celery ribs - chopped
- 1 lb baby potatoes - cut in half
- 1 cup mushroom - sliced
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 4 cups beef broth - whole30-friendly beef broth
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 3 dried bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley - chopped, for garnishing
- Place the beef in a large bowl. Add in the arrowroot flour, salt and pepper. Mix everything well and until beef is coated in the flour.
- Set the instant pot to the sauté setting and add olive oil. Once pot is hot (about 2 minutes), add half of the beef cubes and sear until all the sides are golden brown. Set aside on a plate and repeat the process again until you sear all the meat*. Set aside all the meat.
- Add in the Instant Pot, minced garlic and sauté the garlic until fragrant. Add beef broth to loosen the pan of bits. Add the remaining ingredients, stir everything together and close the lid.
- Set the instant pot to manual high pressure for 20 minutes. Once it’s finished, flip the toggle to do a quick release.
- Remove the bay leaves and garnish with fresh parsley before servng.
If you make this recipe, follow @primaverakitchen on Instagram, snap a photo and hashtag it #primaverakitchen. I'd love to see what you're making!