Beef Stew with Carrots & Potatoes

beef stew

We had the best snow day last week…school was cancelled, work wasn’t happening and the only thing to do was hunker down in the house or go outside to play. With little kids, we didn’t have much choice, so we dug our saucers and sleds out of the garage, bundled up and invited friends over for a day of sledding. Not surprisingly, the boys (and I’m including husbands in this category) took charge of the fun, creating a luge-like course on a steep hill in our backyard and risking life and limb to see who could get to the bottom the fastest. When we finally came back inside, it was almost dark and everyone was starving. By chance, I’d made a big pot of this beef stew the day before so we warmed it up in the oven for an impromptu dinner party. Everyone agreed, it hit the spot.

Mike and kids-1

It’s a classic French beef stew, otherwise known as Beef Bourguignon. The meat is seared in olive oil first, then slowly braised with garlic and onions in a wine-based broth.  After a few hours in the oven, the meat becomes meltingly tender and enveloped in a rich, deeply flavored sauce.

Beef stew 8

It takes some time to make (about an hour of active cooking), but I promise you it’s well worth the effort. Aside from being delicious, it’s a one pot meal that feeds a crowd. You can also make it a day ahead—in fact, you should because the flavor improves the longer it sits.

Beef stew 1

The most important thing is to start with the right cut of meat. You want to buy chuck roast that is well-marbled—that means it should have a good amount of white veins of fat running through it. Stay away from meat generically packaged as “stew meat,” especially if it looks lean. As someone who has fed an entire pot of leathery stew to her dog, I can guarantee you it will not get tender, no matter how long you cook it.

Beef stew 2

The first step is to season the meat generously with salt and pepper and brown it in batches in a large, heavy pot. This caramelizes the meat, which adds depth and dimension to the stew.

Beef stew 3

Next, add the onions, garlic and balsamic vinegar to the pot. The vinegar will loosen all the brown bits from the bottom of the pan and coat the onions and garlic.

Beef stew 15

Add the tomato paste, then toss the beef back into the pan with the flour. Pour the wine, stock, water and spices over the meat, then cover with a lid and braise in the oven for two hours.

Beef stew 10

Towards the end of cooking, add your carrots and potatoes (this prevents them from getting mushy)…

Beef stew 12

Cook an hour more, until the vegetables are cooked and the meat is almost falling apart.

Beef stew 13

Feel free to adapt the recipe to your liking. You can leave out the potatoes and serve it over buttered egg noodles, or toss in some frozen peas or sauteed mushrooms at the very end. Either way, serve it with a crusty bread to sop up all the sauce.

This is soul-satisfying comfort food for a cold night. Enjoy!

Beef Stew with Carrots & Potatoes

Print Recipe
Servings: 6
Total Time: 3 Hours 30 Minutes


  • 3 pounds boneless beef chuck (well-marbled), cut into 1-1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium yellow onions, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 7 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups dry red wine
  • 2 cups beef broth (I like the Pacific organic brand)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 4 large carrots, peeled and cut into one-inch chunks on a diagonal
  • 1 pound small white boiling potatoes (baby yukons), cut in half
  • Fresh chopped parsley, for garnish (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 325°F with rack in middle.
  2. Pat beef dry and season salt and pepper. In a large Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat until hot and shimmering. Brown meat in 3 batches, turning with tongs, about 5-8 minutes per batch, adding one tablespoon more oil for each batch. (To sear meat properly, do not crowd the pan and let meat develop brown crust before turning with tongs.) Transfer meat to a large plate and set aside.
  3. Add onions, garlic and balsamic vinegar; cook, stirring with a wooden spoon to scrape brown bits from bottom of pan, about 5 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook a few minutes more. Add beef with juices back to pan and sprinkle with flour; stir with wooden spoon until flour is dissolved, 1-2 minutes. Add wine, beef broth, water, bay leaf, thyme, and sugar; stir with wooden spoon to loosen any brown bits from bottom of pan and bring to a boil. Cover pot with lid, transfer to preheated oven and braise for 2 hours.
  4. Remove pot from oven and add carrots and potatoes. Cover and place back in oven for 50-60 minutes more, or until vegetables are cooked and meat is very tender. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary (freshly ground black pepper and a pinch of sugar go a long way). Let cool, then store in refrigerator overnight or until ready to serve. This stew improves in flavor if made at least 1 day ahead. Reheat, covered, over medium heat or in a 350°F oven. Garnish with fresh parsley if desired.



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  • I love beef and I love this recipe…

  • Mia

    Well timed recipe, thanks. And your family is just gorgeous!!!

  • Regina

    Gorgeous family! Thanks for sharing.

  • I can`t stop looking at this! It`s absolutely divine and I want to try this…

    Have a great time,

  • Judy

    Made this on Saturday to serve on Sunday. My son was crazy about it. Had two big bowls full and took some home with him. Definitely a hit. I brought some to work with me for lunch today! Thanks!

  • This made my mouth water. Your version looks much simpler then Julia Childs!

  • Beth

    Hey Jenn- I made this Saturday- awesome! thank you!

  • Kim McCary

    I have officially thrown out all my other beef stew recipes in favor of this one! Absolutely dreamy, and so easy! Thanks!

  • Cynthia

    This recipe looks delicious! I can’t wait to make this, but — I do not have a cast iron pot (or any large pot that can go into the oven). Do you have any suggestions on how to cook this solely on the stove, or do you believe that will change the flavor? Thanks!

    • Jenn

      Hi Cynthia, It is fine to simmer the stew on the stovetop. Just stir every so often so the bottom doesn’t stick and burn.

  • Best beef stew EVER. You are the cooking goddess!I love this website. I am a registered dietitian and I find myself bringing up your website on my cellphone to show to friends, relatives, and clients.

  • Judy Claggett

    Made this couple days ago-easy to make and soooo delicious–very tender, and my husband just could not get enough. Great heated up the next day. Yummy-the best beef stew we have ever had-thanks for sharing!

  • G046

    We made this recipe yesterday and I am glad we did! Best stew we’ve ever had :) Thank you for sharing the recipe.

  • When I asked my husband this week for dinner ideas, he suggested stew. “OH NO!” I thought…

    I found this recipe when browsing pinterest for ideas and decided to try it. This was THE BEST stew I have ever had, and I don’t even like stew! I will definitely pass this recipe on to friends.

    Thank you SO SO SO SO much for sharing and for changing the way I think about stew!

  • M&M

    Just made this for tomorrow night but after one bite my wife and decided we needed to check this out right away!

  • Jeannine

    I can’t have alcohal in my food, what should i replace it with??

  • Hi Jeannine, You can replace the wine with more beef stock. Hope that helps!

  • MickMil

    This makes me long for a heavy snowfall, but none yet here in L.A. Looks delicious+++++!

    Like the new website.

  • Liz

    I have made this at least five times since it was posted last winter. For years I prepared Julia’s beef burgundy, but this is now my family’s favorite. Used fingerling potatoes this week; you can’t go wrong. Amazing flavor, the BEST beef stew recipe ever!!! Thanks, Jenn!!!

  • [...] I actually found this recipe doing a Google search and it showed up in the top few results.  The Beef Stew with Carrots & Potatoes recipe from the Once Upon a Chef blog leveled whatever recipes I have in cookbooks, stuffed in [...]

  • Nick

    Added applewood smoked bacon for a refreshing smoky flavor. Overall solid recipe.

  • Melissa

    Made this today and my house never smelled so good!!! My family ate it for dinner tonight and LOVED it–even my 2yr old and 5yr old gobbled it up! So easy to make-Thanx!!

  • Susan Richards

    Thank you for the beef stew recipe, which is simple to make and tasty to eat. This dish is a keeper!

  • I love this recipe! It’s so easy to make and it’s perfect for the cold days in the winter. It certainly warms my tummy and my soul. I love the fact that, there are only a few ingredients and this dish turned so flavorful and hearthy. hm…I guess it would be perfect to cook in the Le Creuset Oval French Oven too. ;) Hope I can win one. Thanks for a chance to win.

    amy [at] utry [dot] it

  • Barbara

    I have never in my opinion made a beef stew that was a hit with the family. I will absolutely make this feel good recipe with the Le Creuset Oval French Oven if I win one in the sweepstakes! :)

  • Dale P.

    My husband’s favorite dish. I always put peas in (add some nice color) and sometimes I will include other vegetables I have on hand. Thanks for the great recipe.

  • This recipe had become my husbands favorite to eat and make! Of course the whole family enjoys it as well. Thanks!

  • Ada Howe

    This was one of the best stews I’ve made… and it was so simple! Thanks for a great recipe!

  • Heather

    This looks absolutely delicious and not too hard to make. I’ll be trying it out soon!

  • Meredith

    This is such a classic and delicious dish! A real crowd pleaser…even my 1 year old loves it!

  • I absolutely love this recipe! I have celiac, and the only thing I had to do is replace the flour with cornstarch. It was so delicious and I will be keeping it in my “make again!” box to enjoy every winter!

  • LaDonna Hopkins

    The only thing I would do differently is use my crockpot instead of the oven, mmm-mmm good!!!!

  • Tai

    I thought I had the best beef stew recipe already, but I was wrong. This is delicious!

  • cora

    Yummy and full of flavor!

  • Amy Bridgford

    Sounds SO delicious! I just have to get a pot I can throw in the oven first, and then I’m definitely making this.

  • LOVE stews…especally beef :) Thanks for the great recipe!

  • EJB

    I loved this recipe, I’ve made beef stew before but the meat came out rubbery, Thanks for the tip on not buying prepackages stew meat… What a differance it made… This is the perfect stew for cold rainy days…

  • Reed G

    This receipe is great. I always used stew meat in the my beef stew – that is why it always was chewy and not tender. Thanks for the tips!

  • carmen

    My daughter asked for this dish for her birthday dinner. It was delicious – a great Sunday meal.

  • Jennifer

    Had been wanting to make this recipe for a while and finally made it today! It is DELICIOUS! Thank you for sharing!

  • Lauren

    I made this last night and it was incredible! I usually do buy pretty lean meat so the marbling tip was a great one! Thanks!

  • Jennifer, RD

    I was thrilled to find your simplified, but just as fabulous, version of Julia Child’s classic Beef Burgundy. My family loved it & I may not go back to Julia’s recipe :)

  • Rebekah

    I made this stew several weeks ago for myself and a friend who just had a baby. My house smelled amazing all day!

    I usually make beef stew in a crockpot, but this method made a tastier stew. The beef was much more tender than it is after spending 8 hours in a crockpot, and I loved the idea of adding the veggies at the end so they didn’t turn mushy. I also added mushrooms and peas to mine. Delicious!

  • Angela

    I’ve made many stews but this is the only recipe I return to over and over again. It’s always so delicious, easy, and the house smells great while the stew braises!

  • Ellen

    I have tried and failed to make a beef stew that actually tastes/looks as good as it smells while being prepared. THIS recipe was the answer to my prayers! What a tasty dinner :)

  • Mary

    I have made this a few times now and it is a favorite, the beef gets so tender and the sauce is rich and very flavorful. Love it with your corn muffins or crusty bread or over egg noodles.

  • Lesley

    My kids love this stew! I made a huge pot and froze it in small containers.

  • Sherry

    What a fabulous recipe! A keeper :)

  • Kyle

    This recipe is great. It reminds me of my mother’s goulash soup she made when I was a kid!

  • Peter D

    Great recipe. I want to make some for St. Patrick’s Day – may add some Guinness to the mix!

    Cheers -

  • Carissa

    This was incredible!

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