Instant Pot Beef Stew
See my guide on how to use an Instant Pot.
This Instant Pot Beef Stew is filled with tender pieces of beef, potatoes and carrots in a rich and flavorful broth. This pressure cooker beef stew is a quick and easy twist on the classic recipe!
When you’re craving a warm, hearty meal, there’s nothing like a comforting bowl of beef stew. Once you try making beef stew in your Instant Pot, you’re not going to want to make it any other way!
The Instant Pot develops rich flavors in a fraction of the time. With a busy schedule, it can be hard to find the time to cook the classic recipes that you crave. Instant Pot recipes change all that because you can make a wholesome, satisfying meal without devoting a whole afternoon to cooking. My Instant Pot Beef Chili, Instant Pot Beef Stroganoff, Instant Pot Ribs and my one pot Instant Pot Pasta are more delicious examples of hearty meals made easy in the Instant Pot.
This Instant Pot stew tastes as if it simmered for hours on the stove. The beef is melt in your mouth tender and the broth is thick and flavorful. It reminds me a bit of one of my other favorite Instant Pot beef recipes, Instant Pot Pot Roast. The difference is that this beef stew cooks more quickly and has a thick, brothy base surrounding the meat and vegetables.
If you’re new to Instant Pot cooking, my Instant Pot guide will tell you everything you need to know to get started today. If you don’t have an Instant Pot but want one, I can help you decide which Instant Pot to buy.
For a delicious slow cooker version of this recipe, try my Slow Cooker Beef Stew.
How to Make the Best Instant Pot Beef Stew
Making beef stew in your Instant Pot is easy! My simple tips will help you to make the best beef stew.
1. Brown the Beef: I’m always tempted to skip this step because it does take more time. But browning your meat until it has a golden crust is so worth it. This simple step adds so much flavor to the finished dish.
You’ll brown the beef right in the Instant Pot, in some olive oil. Sauté mode is one of my favorite features of the Instant Pot! Season the beef with salt and pepper for another layer of flavor. After the meat is browned, transfer it to a clean bowl so that you can sauté the onion and garlic in the Instant Pot.
2. Deglaze the Pot: This step is important to make sure you don’t get that infamous Instant Pot burn message. When you brown the meat, some small bits may get stuck to the bottom of the pot. You’ll pour in some broth and use a spoon or spatula to scrape up those bits. They’ll come up easily if you deglaze while the pot is still warm. Those browned bits are going to add so much flavor to your beef stew!
3. Cut your Veggies into Big Chunks: You’ll want to cut the carrots into 1-inch pieces on the diagonal, and the potatoes into approximately 1 1/2-inch chunks. If you cut the veggies too small, they may overcook and turn to mush while the stew pressure cooks.
4. Use a Natural Pressure Release: After the pressure cook time ends, allow for the Instant Pot to release naturally for 10 minutes. This natural release will make the beef more tender. There will probably still be some steam and pressure to be released after 10 minutes, so you’ll use a quick release to finish releasing the pressure.
5. Thicken the Broth: This is optional, but I like to use a cornstarch slurry to thicken the broth on sauté mode. You’ll whisk together 2 tablespoons each of cornstarch and water and stir this mixture into the stew. You can either remove some of the meat and vegetables to make it easier to stir, or just stir gently so that the veggies don’t break down. The broth will thicken quickly – mine took just 2 or 3 minutes.
Serve your Instant Pot beef stew with some crusty bread and a green salad for a complete, warm-you-from-the-inside-out meal.
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about making this Instant Pot beef stew recipe:
What kind of beef to use for stew?
You can make beef stew with either a boneless chuck roast or beef stew meat. If you use a chuck roast, cut it into 1 1/2 to 2-inch cubes. Beef stew meat is sold already cut into chunks and is notorious for being tough, but I’ve found that the Instant Pot works wonders for turning it tender. If you have time to cut up the beef yourself, a boneless chuck roast may be your best option. If time is limited, already cut stew meat will save you a few minutes.
What kind of potatoes should I use for stew?
Yukon gold potatoes are a hearty potato that will withstand 35 minutes of pressure cooking without turning to mush. I recommend using Yukon golds, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces. You don’t need to peel the potatoes. Small creamer potatoes or baby potatoes are more tender and may become too soft. Russet potatoes are less firm and may fall apart.
How long will it take to make beef stew in an Instant Pot?
From start to finish, this pressure cooker beef stew takes about 1 hour and 25 minutes to make. This may sound like a long time – not really “instant,” right? Compared to using a slow cooker or simmering your stew on the stove, the Instant Pot is faster. Most of the time is inactive time, when you can be making a salad, playing with your kids, or reading a book. Here’s how the time breaks down:
- Prep ingredients and brown the beef: 20 minutes
- Instant Pot pressurizes: 15 minutes
- Cook time: 35 minutes
- Natural pressure release: 10 minutes
- Thicken the stew: 5 minutes
Should I use the Instant Pot stew program?
You can, but there’s no need to. Using the Meat/Stew setting will set the pressure cook time to 35 minutes if you choose the “Normal” setting. You’ll get the same result as if you were to press the Manual/Pressure Cook button and set the cook time to 35 minutes.
How to freeze beef stew
This stew freezes well for a quick meal later on. Let it cool completely and then freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Try to use a container that has just enough room for the stew plus a little extra room for it to expand as it freezes. You want to minimize exposure of the food to air to prevent freezer burn.
Cooking Tips for Pressure Cooker Beef Stew
- Brown the beef using your Instant Pot’s sauté mode for maximum flavor. Let the beef brown, without moving the pieces, for about 4 minutes per side. You’ll know that the beef has developed the perfect golden crust and is ready to flip when it releases easily from the bottom of the pot. I use these kitchen tongs to easily turn the pieces of meat.
- You can save prep time by peeling and chopping the carrots while the beef browns. Scrub and chop your potatoes while you sauté the onion.
- Try adding other veggies, such as sweet potato, parsnips or peas to your stew. Sweet potato and parsnips should be cut into large chunks and added before pressure cooking. Stir peas in after pressure cooking, when you thicken the broth.
Instant Pot Beef Stew
- 2 pounds boneless beef chuck roast, or beef stew meat
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 cups unsalted beef stock, or low sodium beef broth
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces on the diagonal
- 1.5 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, about 4 medium, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons water
- If using chuck roast and not already cut stew meat, cut the beef into 1 1/2 to 2 inch cubes.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in the Instant Pot using saute mode. When the pot is hot, add half of the beef in a single layer. Sprinkle the beef with half of the salt and pepper.
- Brown the beef on the first side, without moving it, for 4 minutes or until it is browned and releases easily from the bottom of the pot. Flip the beef pieces and brown on the second side for about 4 minutes more. Remove the beef to a clean bowl.
- Add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil to the pot. Brown the second half of the beef, seasoning with the remaining salt and pepper, about 4 minutes per side. Remove the browned beef to the bowl with the first half of the beef.
- Add the onion to the Instant Pot and saute for 2-3 minutes, until it begins to soften. Add the garlic to the pot, press cancel to turn off the heat, and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds.
- While the Instant Pot is hot, deglaze the pot by pouring in 1 cup of the beef broth and scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Pour in the remaining 2 cups of broth.
- Add the tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, Italian seasoning, thyme and bay leaf and stir to combine. Add the beef back to the pot, along with any juices from the bowl. Place the carrots and potatoes on top of the beef. Do not stir.
- Close the Instant Pot lid and turn the steam release valve to the sealing position. Press the Manual/Pressure Cook button and set the cook time to 35 minutes at high pressure. The Instant Pot will take 10-15 minutes to reach pressure and then the cook time will begin counting down. When the cook time ends, allow the pot to naturally release for 10 minutes by leaving the Instant Pot alone. Then quick release any remaining pressure by carefully turning the steam release valve to the venting position using the handle of a long spoon.
- Open the Instant Pot lid. Remove the bay leaf.
- Thicken the stew by stirring together 2 tablespoons cornstarch and 2 tablespoons water in a small bowl. Pour this mixture into the Instant Pot and turn on saute mode. Allow the stew to simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened. Be careful to not break up the vegetables as you stir.