Old-Fashioned Beef Stew Recipe (2024)

By Molly O'Neill

Updated Feb. 29, 2024

Old-Fashioned Beef Stew Recipe (1)

Total Time
2 hours 45 minutes
Prep Time
15 minutes
Cook Time
2 hours 30 minutes
Read community notes

This classic stick-to-your-ribs stew is the ideal project for a chilly weekend. Beef, onion, carrots, potatoes and red wine come together in cozy harmony. If you are feeding a crowd, good news: It doubles (or triples) beautifully. For additional variations on the recipe, you might also enjoythis video.

Keys to This Recipe

How to Make Beef Stew: Beef stew is made in different ways across cultures, but at its core, it is simply tough cuts of meat slowly cooked with vegetables in liquid. Over hours of simmering, all the flavors meld together and the ingredients soften to tenderness.

How to Thicken Beef Stew: Starches, like the flour and potato in this recipe, thicken beef stew. Here, beef cubes are coated in flour, then browned, leaving flour in the pan while sealing flour to the meat. When the meat is later simmered, that flour thickens the liquid as do potatoes, which release their starches as they cook.

How to Make Beef Stew on the Stove: It's important to cook stew slowly over low heat. High heat will cause the meat to tighten and toughen, while low heat allows the meat to become fall-apart tender. Simply cover the pot and keep the heat as low as it goes.

What to Serve With Beef Stew: The best accompaniments to beef stew can soak up the sauce. A crusty baguette works well, as does rice. A beef stew is hearty enough to be a one-pot meal, but you can make a salad with some crisp, fresh vegetables.

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Yield:4 servings

  • ¼cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1pound beef stewing meat, trimmed and cut into inch cubes
  • 5teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 2tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1cup red wine
  • cups beef broth, homemade or low-sodium canned
  • 2bay leaves
  • 1medium onion, peeled and chopped
  • 5medium carrots, peeled and cut into ¼-inch rounds
  • 2large baking potatoes, peeled and cut into ¾-inch cubes
  • 2teaspoons salt

Ingredient Substitution Guide

Nutritional analysis per serving (4 servings)

496 calories; 12 grams fat; 3 grams saturated fat; 0 grams trans fat; 7 grams monounsaturated fat; 2 grams polyunsaturated fat; 54 grams carbohydrates; 5 grams dietary fiber; 7 grams sugars; 34 grams protein; 1609 milligrams sodium

Note: The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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Old-Fashioned Beef Stew Recipe (2)


Make the recipe with us

  1. Step


    Combine the flour and pepper in a bowl, add the beef and toss to coat well. Heat 3 teaspoons of the oil in a large pot. Add the beef a few pieces at a time; do not overcrowd. Cook, turning the pieces until beef is browned on all sides, about 5 minutes per batch; add more oil as needed between batches.

  2. Step


    Remove the beef from the pot and add the vinegar and wine. Cook over medium-high heat, scraping the pan with a wooden spoon to loosen any browned bits. Add the beef, beef broth and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a slow simmer.

    Old-Fashioned Beef Stew Recipe (3)
  3. Step


    Cover and cook, skimming broth from time to time, until the beef is tender, about 1½ hours. Add the onions and carrots and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Add the potatoes and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes more. Add broth or water if the stew is dry. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Ladle among 4 bowls and serve.

    Old-Fashioned Beef Stew Recipe (4)



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Cooking Notes

Roseanne L.

I like to use the paper bag method for dusting meat.
Put flour and seasonings and meat, chicken, etc in paper bag, fold closed and shake. One less utensil to clean and even coating.


Tablespoon of herbs de Provence and 2 Tablespoons tomato paste will give it some flavor.


After browning the beef sauté the onions. Then add about 1 to 2 tablespoons of tomato paste and continue to cook until the color starts to go from bright red to rust. Then deglaze with the wine and vinegar. Add one tall spike of fresh rosemary (leaves removed and chopped) and three to four sprigs of thyme. Follow the recipe and finish with two cups of peas two to three minutes before serving.


Okay People, this is "Old Fashioned Beef Stew" and it's exactly how my Mom made it and How I've made it for 45 years. Flouring your meat before browning actually adds flavor to the stew. There are tons of beef stew recipe out there, but this is authentic "Old Fashioned"!


If you're complaining about blandness, red wine, a bit of Worcestershire or even some harissa can help liven it up. Also, homemade peasant bread or even some store bought parker house rolls are a wonderful accompaniment. This is exactly my mother's go-to recipe for beef stew. She's gone now, but I would give anything to eat this with her one more time.

Lisa Conn

This was delicious. I cubed a chuck roast which was cheap and flavorful (removing all excess fat). I added some worchestershire sauce and ketchup at the end to add umami (flavor). After cooking I separated the solids and boiled the liquid a bit to reduce and concentrate, then whisked in a slurry of flour and water to thicken before recombining with meat and veggies. This stew is a one pot meal. It doesn't require rice or noodles because of the large amount of potatoes.

Jack Wilson

I think many of the negative comments were from people who have no idea what an old time stew tasted like. They probably have McDonald's taste buds and there is no changing that. This was a wonderful stew. With that said I also added to it. My choice was worcester sauce from my Brittish background. Adapting a recipe to fit your own taste is a normal procedure. Perhaps if some of these who commented threw in a Quarte pounder they would have felt differently.

Bob davison

Two great Irish cooks rated this the best beef stew they ever tasted. It's a keeper in our home.


Julia Childs recommends just browning the meat in oil without flour. Then make the stew as shown here. She thickens the gravy at the end by adding miller's butter (half butter and half flour) rolled into little balls, one at a time, until it's as thick as you like. I agree with her.

Marjorie Och

Excellent. Added thyme. Sauteed the chopped onions. Used olive oil. Substituted gold potatoes for the bakers. Added about 1/2 t. Worcestershire sauce and some ketchup...good additions. Should include a beef bone in the cooking.


Sautéed onion and a shallot, added to deglazed pot with browned meat and a few sprigs of thyme. Added 2 T tomato paste, more pepper, shot of Worcestershire sauce and peas at the last...as my mother always did. Excellent stew. I will make it again.


For this stew (and all others I've made), I like to use beef shank - lots more marbling than chuck, and just melts in one's mouth after an hour or so of slow simmering. I also throw the bones in (along with marrow) to add flavor. If you're making a big pot, shank is about half the price of chuck!


This was delicious, though I made a few alterations. Like others, I added more herbs (thyme, rosemary, herbs de Provence, Basil, ground all spice). I chopped up the onion & along with a few table spoons of oil and tomato paste,I microwaved it with the herbs in a bowl for about 1 minute on high (a trick I learned from Cooks Illustrated slow cooker recipe book) & then I added this mixture to the pot at the start of step 2 above. Cooked the meat much longer, a/b 5 hrs before adding veggies.

Fast Marty

save money and use beef chuck instead of ribeyes/filets. get an intact chuck roast from the butcher, not pre-cubed "beef for stew". Cut the meat up yourself into small cubes. Ribeyes are for grilling, or broiling, not stew. The collagen breaks down nicely and the chuck meat transforms wonderfully. Of course, if you're wealthy, do as you wish.


Loved this. Doubled the wine & reduced the beef broth. Sprinkled in Herbes de Provence as per another review's suggestion. I'm normally a high-intensity spice seeker but found this dish flavorful and tender in its classic-ness.

Tom Riccardi

Great recipe, I also add celery and fresh mushrooms. I put the flour in a large baggie and shake the flour in the bag, it's a lot faster A big hit everytime!


Doubled this and it was enough for 4 nights!


Fantastic. I have been making stew for more than 60 years and this is THE best recipe.A little Alzheimer's moment sent me to search a recipe and I am so glad I founds this one. Never going back.

New England Katie

This is my moms recipe. Mmmm, home!

New England Katie

Tho mom added 1 package Lipton onion soup mix. Upped the flavor immensely.


Made this the first time following the recipe to the letter and it was fabulous. Exactly like my grandma's! The second time, I used a shallot/red onion combo and small tri color potatoes because I was out of regular onions and potatoes. It was fine but not as good by any stretch. I also think I used a better wine the first time. The wine quality is not mentioned really in the many comments here about variations and I think that's key.


This very similar to the beef stew my mom used to make in the 1960's-1970's. Basic, but bland. Dad always passed around the ketchup to add some flavor. Tasted great when I was a kid.


This was the most delicious beef stew I have ever eaten! I made some minor changes. I reduced the salt by half. I added celery & garlic. I swapped parsnips for potatoes. It was more soup-like without the potatoes even with added stew meat & extra simmering. What a beautiful color this had.

beef stew

Less onion. Less liquid

Naomi Jones

So delicious. I make it at least once a month.

Naomi Jones

I usually make 50% more and add a couple of cloves of garlic and a tablespoon of ketchup.


I browned the onions with tomato paste and added a generous sprig of rosemary and some thyme per another commenter's suggestion. I also added several cups of quartered mushrooms, a yellow pepper, some fennel rounds, a parsnip I had, and 7 oz of cipolline onions when I added the carrots. Very happy making.


absolutely delicious - added a couple dashes of worsheshire at the end of browning the beef and added (chai pani) garlic seasoning, pollo bouillon, and pinch of salt towards the end about 15min after adding potatoes. I also did end up letting it simmer for an additional 30min towards the end to get the softness i wanted in the potatoes/carrots


Added 4-5 cloves of minced garlic, fresh minced rosemary and thyme. Cooked these with the onions before deglazing the pan. Great flavor and delicious.


Love the suggestion to use whole chuck and cut yourself. Makes sense. I have for years used this recipe but in the flour I add cinnamon, nutmeg, pinch cloves or allspice (to taste), additionally use V-8 or tomato juice with beef stock. Rich gravy with lovely spicy aroma- flavorsome. Ramps up flavor and gets rave reviews. I just serve with Grands or peasant bread.

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Old-Fashioned Beef Stew Recipe (2024)
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