This easy-to-make Pressure Cooker Beef Stew is the perfect cold-weather comfort food. You can have this hearty stew on the table in under an hour from start to finish, but it’ll taste like you let it simmer all day.
This Pressure Cooker Beef Stew is a classic, old-fashioned recipe, based on a stovetop version my mom cooked for me growing up.
Best thing is that you can make it any time you’re craving something warm and hearty, since this Instant Pot Beef Stew recipe has just a 12 minute cook time and will be on your table in under an hour.
Update: This was my most popular recipe I created in 2019, so I wanted to update it with new pictures and a video to show how easy it is.
How to Make Beef Stew in the Instant Pot or Any Brand of Electric Pressure Cooker
This Pressure Cooker Beef Stew recipe works in ANY brand of electric pressure cooker, including the Instant Pot, Ninja Foodi, or Power Pressure Cooker XL.
I took my mom’s original recipe and simplified it a little. I prefer to use small new potatoes to skip the peeling and dicing, and I cut my carrots and celery into larger pieces.
What Meat Is Best for Beef Stew?
I often use chuck roast for beef stew recipe, though I’ll also use a round steak or rump roast if it’s on sale. Both cuts are fairly inexpensive, trim up easily, and result in tender beef stew meat.
Really it’s about personal preference:
➡️ Chuck roast has a little higher fat content than rump roast, which gives you a more flavorful stew.
➡️ Round roasts or rump roasts have less marbling, which can make it easier to trim up each bite to discard the meat.
Whatever type of roast you use, be sure to dice it into uniform-sized pieces for even cooking.
How to Make a Flavorful Beef Stew in the Pressure Cooker
The #1 thing you can do for a flavorful stew is to brown the beef! Especially when you’re in a hurry, it can be tempting to just throw everything in the pot to cook. However, you miss out on so much flavor this way!
After you brown the beef and saute the onions, you’ll add beef broth to the pan. Then give the bottom of the pot a good stir to loosen all of the browned bits from the bottom of the pot. The more browned bits, the more flavorful the stew will be!
💡 TIP: If the browning is moving too quickly, add oil or broth. if you’re near the end of the browning process, just add the broth. If you still have a good amount of beef to brown, add another tablespoon of oil and adjust your Saute setting to a lower heat level.
Don’t Flour Your Beef Before Cooking
In traditional stew recipes, it’s common for the uncooked stew meat to be dredged in flour and browned before adding the liquid.
DON’T DO THIS IN YOUR PRESSURE COOKER!
Flouring the beef before cooking in the pressure cooker can lead to a thick, flour-y build up on the bottom of your cooking pot—resulting in a Burn notice and a ruined stew.
How to Cook Stew with Frozen Beef
To make Pressure Cooker Beef Stew with frozen beef, you’ll need to add at least 5 minutes to the High Pressure cook time.
Ideally, you’ll want your cubed beef to be frozen flat and evenly. If it’s frozen in a big clump, it’s much, much harder to ensure the outside and insides are cooked evenly, and you’ll need to add more minutes to the cook time.
Since frozen beef doesn’t brown as evenly, I just skip that part.
After pressure cooking, you can use an instant-read thermometer and test a few pieces to ensure they’re above 160°F. If not, return the lid and cook at High Pressure a few minutes more.
Do not add the veggies until AFTER the meat is cooked through.
What to Do If the Meat Isn’t Tender Enough?
The meat in Pressure Cooker Beef Stew should be cooked tender by the time the first 10-minute cook time ends. If you like a fork-tender beef, you may want to add a few extra minutes to the cook time.
I recommend tasting the beef to ensure it’s cooked as tender as you like it.
If your meat seems a little chewy after pressure cooking, return the lid and cook at High Pressure for another 3 to 5 minutes before adding the vegetables.
(Once you add the veggies, you’re limited on how long you can pressure cook things before the veggies turn to mush.)
Should I Use Flour or Cornstarch to Thicken Beef Stew
You can use either flour or cornstarch in this recipe! Whichever way you choose to go, be sure to mix it with cold water first to avoid clumps. And ALWAYS add the thickener after pressure cooking.
Since I grew up eating stew thickened with flour, that’s how I wrote this recipe. Stir together the flour and cold water into a slurry. Stir the flour mixture until smooth, add a little of the warm broth from the stew to the flour slurry, and stir some more until smooth. Then pour this whole mixture back into the pressure cooking, again stirring constantly.
However, if you prefer cornstarch thickeners, go for it! (Bonus: it makes the stew gluten free!) Start with 2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons cold water and add to the cooking pot. Select Saute and simmer until the stew thickens.
Remember, the stew will thicken as it cools, so you don’t want to overdo it.
Adding Red Wine to the Beef Stew
In traditional stews, acidic red wine is used to flavor and tenderize the stew meat during the hours it simmers on the stove.
Substitute ½ to 1 cup of red wine for the same amount of beef broth. (If you’re interested in a recommendation, Cook’s Illustrated recommends a $10 bottle of Côtes du Rhône instead of traditional cooking wine in this recipe.)
What Potatoes Should I Use?
I love to use little new potatoes because they keep their shape and have a smooth texture when cooked. Even better, there’s no need to peel them and there’s minimal chopping!
However, you can use russet potatoes without any change to the cook time. Substitute about 2 cups of chopped russet potatoes in this recipe.
How Long Can You Store Leftovers?
Leftover stew can be stored in your fridge for three to four days. If you’d like it to keep longer, you’ll need to freeze it. I prefer to freeze soups and stews in individual portions for a quick and easy meal.
I’d love to know—what are your favorite winter-time comfort foods?
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Looking for more pressure cooker comfort foods to fend of the winter blues?
If you like mushrooms, you have to try my Beef and Wild Mushroom Stew. This is my pressure cooker version of Deer Valley’s beef stew, and it features a rich sauce made with white wine, heavy cream, and mushroom stock.
Shepherd’s Pie is another meat-and-potatoes food I love in the winter time. I often use ground beef since it’s inexpensive and I generally have it on hand.
My Beef Stroganoff uses inexpensive round steak to create a flavorful gravy that I’ll serve over egg noodles or mashed potatoes.
Think you hate meatloaf? Then you haven’t tried my BBQ Bacon Meatloaf. Even my pickiest eaters will ask for seconds on this one. (I recently cooked it in the pressure cooker and finished it on the smoker—it was awesome!)