Healthy Instant Pot Beef Stew tastes just like the classic beef stew but is ready in under an hour with the power of pressure cooking from the Instant Pot. Jump to Recipe
Everyone's favorite comfort meal made in under an hour. This Instant Pot Beef Stew is healthy, delicious, and couldn't be easier.
I had a love/hate relationship with beef stew until I broke down and bought an Instant Pot. Now that I can cook it in under an hour, it's all love. My problem with beef stew in the past was that it took hours to cook and whenever the craving struck, it was already too late to start the process. You know the kind of day I mean. You come home from work and really crave something comforting like beef stew, only to realize there is no way that you can make it unless you want to eat at midnight. Luckily the Instant Pot solved that problem.
Now when it comes to the beef stew, I am a bit of a traditionalist and like to stick to the basics - beef, carrots, potatoes, celery, and onion. Now you could definitely jazz things up and throw in some mushrooms, peas, parsnips, sweet potatoes, or any other hearty vegetable you like. I also stick to a pretty traditional spice blend but you could definitely kick that up as well. Add some allspice, cinnamon, curry powder, or chili powder to take your stew in a different direction.
What Goes in Instant Pot Beef Stew?
What you find in a beef stew will vary with regional preference, with some making it very thick and having it on rice, while still others add peppers to spice it up.
This particular beef stew recipe is just about as traditional as it comes though. It has stewing beef, beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, bay leaves, paprika, pepper, thyme, carrots, potatoes, onion, celery, salt, and sugar. Vegetable oil and flour are also used in the recipe to help with cooking the meat.
Where does Beef Stew Come From?
The origins of Beef Stew are a little bit hard to pin down, partly due to its culturally ubiquitous nature. The oldest evidence of stew hails from 16,000 years ago, from the Jōmon period in Japan.
However, for the origins of our beef stew, we most likely need to turn our gaze towards Ireland and their Irish Stew. Irish stew shares a composition base with beef stew, using lamb or mutton in place of beef. Knowing that, it makes it quite likely that just similar to corned beef and cabbage, beef stew evolved in the United States in the Irish immigrant population. French influence can be felt in the dish, thanks to the use of wine, and the presence of Mirepoix, a flavor base consisting of onions, carrots, and celery.
With this little lesson in traditional tracing, you can see it’s difficult to draw a straight line to any one country. In my opinion, it could be argued that due to its French and Irish heritage, it is a uniquely American dish!
How to Sear Your Meat
There is one small step in making beef stew that is completely optional, but doing it will give your stew more flavor and give your beef a wonderful texture.
What might that step be, you ask?
Browning your beef chunks. Now, not everyone does this, and I’ll admit that even I don’t do it all the time –
But, if I have time and I’m feeling a little bit fancy I’ll spend the extra few minutes it will take.
Simply cook the edges of your beef in a pan until they are brown. Do this for all the sides of your beef. When done, throw all the beef into the instant pot along with any of the juices from the beef that are in the pan. That’s all flavor and you don’t want to throw that away.
You can also sear your meat in your Instant Pot if you like – instructions for that are in the recipe below.
Vegetables That Are Great in Beef Stew
If you’re looking to bulk out your beef stew – or you just want to get some more vegetables in your diet – here is a list of some (potentially un)usual vegetables that would work wonderfully in beef stew:
- Acorn Squash
- Butternut Squash
- Collard Greens
- Sweet Potatoes
- Swiss Chard
Can Beef Stew Be Frozen?
One of my favorite things to do when I’m making beef stew is doubling the recipe to freeze half of it for some point in the future when I'm low on energy and the will to cook. Stew is incredibly easy to freeze and easy to heat. To freeze beef stew, first cool it to room temperature, then put it in a freezer safe container and pop it in the freezer. Remember, only fill the container part of the way because the fluid in the stew will expand when it freezes!
My favorite is putting it in a Ziploc bag so the stew can freeze in a single sheet and it’s easy to stack.
However, as a caution, if I’m going to do this then I will absolutely double up the Ziploc bags, just in case the inner one bursts.
What to Pair with Beef Stew
You can easily eat beef stew completely on its own and feel satisfied, but if you're like me, then you like to have a choice of side. So, knowing that, I’ve put together a list of foods that go wonderfully with this beef stew recipe:
- Serve it with some Mashed Cauliflower for a light side dish that is delicious with beef stew. Mashed butternut squash is another delicious option.
- Serve the beef stew with some roasted vegetables as a light and healthy side dish.
- Lighten things up with a green salad on the side. Include crispy vegetables like Romaine lettuce, cucumbers, and carrots to add some texture and crunch to the meal.
More Instant Pot Recipes
Healthy Instant Pot Beef Stew (or Slow Cooker)
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- 1 1/2 lb lean stewing beef, cut into 1 inch chunks
- 2 tbsp flour
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 3 cups beef broth
- 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 3 U garlic cloves, minced
- 2 U bay leaves
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1/2 tsp thyme
- 1 lb carrots, chopped
- 1 lb potatoes, chopped
- 1 U onion, diced
- 2 U celery ribs, chopped
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Add the remaining ingredients and stir. Add the lid and close the steam valve. Press the "meat/stew" button or set the timer to 35 minutes on high pressure. After the 35 minutes, let the pressure release naturally. Once the pressure is released, release the steam valve and open the lid carefully. Season with salt and pepper if needed.
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.
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