Is the cold weather sapping your cooking mojo? Get your groove back with this simple, hearty, and Whole30-friendly Instant Pot beef stew.
Hearty and Easy Instant Pot Beef Stew!
If you’ve got an Instant Pot (or any other pressure cooker), this comforting and umami-packed beef stew can be ready in about an hour, and you only have to futz with it for about 15 minutes at the start. Plus, there’s nothing weird in it—unless you think of fish sauce as “weird,” and you shouldn’t. If you’re gonna cook along with me, fish sauce is something you should always have stocked in your pantry.
Feel Free to Experiment!
Use this recipe as a foundational beef stew. You can throw it together with pantry basics and tough ’n cheap beef cuts like chuck roast, boneless short ribs, and brisket. No beef in the house? You can also substitute cubed lamb shoulder or pork shoulder roast for the beef. As long as the meat is cut into 1½- to 2-inch cubes, the cooking time will remain the same—even if you increase the amount of meat. Also, feel free to vary the vegetables depending on what’s in season. To change things up, I love adding cabbage, kale, or collard greens to the stew to sneak in some leafy greens.
Slow Cooker or Crock Pot Instructions
No Instant Pot? You can make this stew in a slow cooker! All of the sautéing steps can be done in a large skillet and then the ingredients get transferred to a slow cooker or Crockpot. Cook the beef stew on low for 8 to 10 hours, adding the root vegetables in the last hour.
This Instant Pot beef stew tastes even better the next day, so if you like to plan ahead, make it up to 4 days in advance and keep it in your fridge. You can also freeze the stew in a sealed container for up to 4 months. When you’re ready to reheat the dish, discard the hardened fat cap (optional), dump the stew in the Instant Pot, and cook for 5 minutes under high pressure. If you’re adding extra vegetables, pressure cook them with the stew and you’ll end up with a complete meal.
Instant Pot Beef Stew Leftover Makeover!
When I have leftover beef stew—but not quite enough for a family meal—I transform the stew into a hearty beef and vegetable soup! I typically bulk up the stew with a quart of chicken broth and a bunch of vegetables that are getting wilt-y in the fridge. Then, I cook it in the Instant Pot for three minutes under high pressure. Voila! New meal and minimal food waste!
Time to make Whole30 Instant Pot Beef Stew!
- 3 pounds beef chuck roast, boneless short ribs, or beef brisket cut into 1½- to 2-inch cubes
- Kosher salt (Diamond Crystal brand) or Magic Mushroom Powder
- 1 tablespoon ghee, avocado oil, or fat of choice
- 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
- 1 pound cremini mushrooms, cleaned, stemmed, and quartered
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 6 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
- 2 tablespoons coconut aminos (or gluten-free tamari if you tolerate fermented soy)
- 1 teaspoon Red Boat Fish Sauce
- 2 fresh thyme sprigs (or 1 teaspoon dried thyme)
- 1 dried bay leaf
- freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ cup Italian parsley, roughly chopped
- 3 large carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 pound Yukon Gold or Russet potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
- All my favorite tools are listed here. This is my favorite Instant Pot model.
In a large bowl, toss the cubed beef with 1½ teaspoons of Diamond Crystal kosher salt. (Psst! You can use Magic Mushroom Powder in place of salt and it will taste umami-riffic!)
Press the “Sauté” button on your Instant Pot and when the metal insert is hot, add your preferred cooking fat. Once the fat’s melted, add the onions and mushrooms and a ½ teaspoon Magic Mushroom Powder or Diamond Crystal kosher salt.
Sauté until the onions are softened, about 5 minutes.
(If you’re using a stovetop pressure cooker, melt the fat over medium heat and sauté the onions and mushrooms.)
Stir in the tomato paste and garlic, and cook for 30 seconds or until fragrant.
Toss in the salted beef, coconut aminos…
…thyme, and bay leaf.
Give everything a good stir to combine all the ingredients. (No, you don’t need to add any extra liquid to the Instant Pot ’cause the onions and beef will release plenty of liquid! However, if you’re using an older stovetop pressure cooker, you may need to add ½ cup of broth or water.)
Press the “Keep Warm/Cancel” button on the Instant Pot and cover and lock the lid. Next, program the Instant Pot to cook for 35 minutes under high pressure. Once the pot is programmed, walk away.
(If you’re using a stovetop pressure cooker, you won’t have all those buttons to press. Just cook on high heat until high pressure is reached. Then, reduce the heat to low to maintain high pressure for about 30 minutes.)
When the stew is finished cooking, the Instant Pot will switch automatically to a “Keep Warm” mode. If you’re using a stovetop pressure cooker instead, remove the pot from the heat. In either case, let the pressure release naturally (about 15 minutes). If the pressure hasn’t released completely after 15 minutes and you’re impatient, you can manually release the pressure by turning the valve at the top to venting.
Fish out the thyme and bay leaf…
..and check that the meat is fork tender. If not, cook for another 10 minutes under high pressure.
Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
If you’re eating the stew right away, you can skim the fat off the top of the stew. Braising cuts like chuck roast and short ribs are fattier, but that’s why they taste so good!
Ladle out the stew…
…and adorn with some chopped Italian parsley.
I love to make this stew ahead of time and store it in the fridge or freezer to reheat later. The stew will keep in the fridge for up to 4 days and in the freezer for up to 4 months. It’s like a gift to your future, busy self!
Wish there were some root veggies in your beef stew? You can certainly plop them in at the start of this recipe, but they’ll melt into the stew. If that floats your boat, go ahead and do it. Personally, I like to add root vegetables after the stew is cooked or when I reheat the stew in the pressure cooker.
Here’s how to add root vegetables to the stew:
Before I reheat the stew, I scoop off the hardened fat layer on top…
…and dump the stew in my Instant Pot or stovetop pressure cooker.
I like to toss in carrots and cubed potatoes…
…and stir ’em in.
Then, I pressure-cook everything for 5 minutes under high pressure.
I manually release the pressure right away, stir, and adjust for seasoning.
Shazam! Dinner’s ready in a flash.
Break out your pressure cooker, folks. You’ll be happy you did!
(Psst! Bookmark this post because it’s my ever-growing list of Instant Pot/pressure cooker recipes!)
[Originally posted on December 27, 2016. Updated with new details and photos on October 11, 2020.]
Looking for more recipe ideas? Head on over to my Recipe Index. You’ll also find exclusive recipes on my iPhone and iPad app, and in my cookbooks, Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2013), Ready or Not! (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2017), and Nom Nom Paleo: Let’s Go! (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2021).
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For more information please see the list of Instant pot beef and mushroom stew