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Beef Stew with Carrots & Potatoes

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This classic French beef stew is the ultimate cold weather comfort food. After a few hours in the oven, the meat becomes meltingly tender and enveloped in a rich wine sauce.

Beef Stew with Carrots & Potatoes

With over 4,000 5-star reviews, this classic French beef stew is the all-time most popular recipe on my website. It is the ultimate cold weather comfort food. Chunks of well-marbled beef are seared in a hot pan, then gently braised with garlic and onions in a rich wine-based broth. After a few hours in the oven, the meat becomes meltingly tender and enveloped in a deeply flavorful sauce. It takes a few hours to make, but the recipe is mostly hands-off. Go ahead and make it a day or two ahead of time; the flavor improves the longer it sits.

This stew is part of my classic French recipe collection, which includes similar slow-cooking comfort food recipes, like coq au vin and braised short ribs, and impressive main courses, like steak au poivre or roast beef tenderloin with red wine sauce.

what you’ll need to make beef stew with carrots & potatoes

how to make beef stew

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 (I can guarantee you it will not get tender, no matter how long you cook it).

For the wine, use any dry red (Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, etc.) that is inexpensive but still good enough to drink.

How To Make Beef Stew with Carrots & Potatoes

caroline.r.baines@gmail.com

Begin by removing any large chunks of fat that are easy to get to (like the one my knife is pointing to below), but don’t overdo it with the trimming, as the fat helps make the beef tender.

how to make beef stew

Next, season the meat generously with salt and pepper.

how to make beef stew

Heat a bit of oil in a Dutch oven or large pot and brown the meat in batches.

how to make beef stew

This step is a bit time-consuming but browning the meat adds depth and dimension to the stew. (Note: it’s important not to crowd the pan — if you try to brown all the meat at once, it will steam instead of sear and you won’t get all that lovely color and flavor.)

This step is a bit time-consuming  but browning the meat adds depth and dimension to the stew.

Remove the meat and add the onions, garlic, and balsamic vinegar to the pan. The vinegar will loosen all the brown bits from the bottom of the pan and add flavor.

how to make beef stew

Cook until the vegetables are softened, then add the tomato paste and cook for a minute more.

how to make beef stew

Add the beef back into the pan and sprinkle with the flour.

how to make beef stew

Stir until the flour is dissolved.

how to make beef stew

Add the wine, broth, water, thyme, bay leaves, and sugar.

how to make beef stew

Bring to a boil, then cover and braise in the oven for 2 hours.

how to make beef stew

After 2 hours, add the carrots and potatoes.

how to make beef stew

Return to the oven and continue cooking for one hour, or until the meat is fork-tender, the broth is thickened, and the carrots and potatoes are tender.

how to make beef stew

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 sautéed mushrooms at the very end. Either way, it’s soul-satisfying comfort food for a cold night.

beef stew

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Video Tutorial

Beef Stew with Carrots & Potatoes

This classic French beef stew is the ultimate cold weather comfort food. After a few hours in the oven, the meat becomes meltingly tender and enveloped in a rich wine sauce.

Servings: 6
Total Time: 3 Hours 30 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds boneless beef chuck (well-marbled), cut into 1½-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
  • 1½ tablespoons tomato paste
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups dry red wine
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1½ teaspoons sugar
  • 4 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks on a diagonal
  • 1 pound small white boiling potatoes (baby yukons), cut in half
  • Fresh chopped parsley, for serving (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F and set a rack in the lower middle position.
  2. Pat the beef dry and season with the salt and pepper. In a large Dutch oven or heavy soup pot, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-high heat until hot and shimmering. Brown the meat in 3 batches, turning with tongs, for about 5 minutes per batch; add one tablespoon more oil for each batch. (To sear the meat properly, do not crowd the pan and let the meat develop a nice brown crust before turning with tongs.) Transfer the meat to a large plate and set aside.
  3. Add the onions, garlic and balsamic vinegar; cook, stirring with a wooden spoon and scraping the brown bits from bottom of the pan, for about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook for a minute more. Add the beef with its juices back to the pan and sprinkle with the flour. Stir with wooden spoon until the flour is dissolved, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the wine, beef broth, water, bay leaf, thyme, and sugar. Stir with a wooden spoon to loosen any brown bits from the bottom of the pan and bring to a boil. Cover the pot with a lid, transfer to the preheated oven, and braise for 2 hours.
  4. Remove the pot from the oven and add the carrots and potatoes. Cover and place back in oven for about an hour more, or until the vegetables are cooked, the broth is thickened, and the meat is tender. Fish out the bay leaf and discard, then taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary. Serve the stew warm -- or let it come to room temperature and then store in the refrigerator overnight or until ready to serve. This stew improves in flavor if made at least 1 day ahead. Reheat, covered, over medium heat. Garnish with fresh parsley, if desired.
  5. Note: If you don’t have a Dutch oven or covered pot that is appropriate for the oven, the stew can be cooked on the stove. The timing will be the same and it should be cooked over the lowest setting.
  6. Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The stew can be frozen for up to 3 months. Before serving, defrost the stew in the refrigerator for 24 hours and then reheat on the stovetop over medium-low heat until hot.

Pair with

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (6 servings)
  • Calories: 539
  • Fat: 18g
  • Saturated fat: 6g
  • Carbohydrates: 32g
  • Sugar: 8g
  • Fiber: 4g
  • Protein: 54g
  • Sodium: 1189mg
  • Cholesterol: 143mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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Comments

  • I made it and it was wonderful. I made one change. I included the carrots ito the onions with the balsamic vinegar with a small amount of the wine at the beginning and let them soften for about 10 minutes. My family gobbled it up in no time. My son asked me to make it again this week.

    • — Annette Margaret Wilt on February 26, 2024
    • Reply
  • By far the best beef stew recipe I’ve tried.

    • — Tara on February 25, 2024
    • Reply
  • This was the most incredible stew I have ever had! Followed the recipe to a T and it was absolutely perfect. So much so, that I felt compelled to write a review (my first review in 20 years of cooking recipes from the internet). No wonder there are over 5,000 5-star reviews for this recipe. Can’t wait to try more from your site now!

    • — Michelle on February 25, 2024
    • Reply
  • We have made this beef stew as a family for Christmas 3+ years in a row – the recipe is so simple and tasty and easy to do, even as a beginner for cooking something so elaborate. Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe, and keep it up!

    • — Aashna S on February 24, 2024
    • Reply
  • I should have read the comments first because I agree it is way too watery. Also too sweet. Just leave out the sugar. I added four tablespoons of tamari sauce and one tablespoon of Spike seasoning as well as a teaspoon more saltto give it that umami flavor. Probably won’t use this recipe again.

    • — Rena on February 24, 2024
    • Reply
  • Best stew I’ve ever made. Followed the recipe it as directed, it came out nice and thick, veggies cooked all the way through and meat was tender and flavorful. It’s interesting how different people get different results. I will never use the croc pot to make stew again. Doesn’t even compare.

    • — Lady yum yum on February 24, 2024
    • Reply
  • This was fantastic! Another delicious recipe. Followed as written – didn’t change a thing. Was extremely satisfying. The addition of frozen peas as you suggested was a great touch.

    • — Kathryn on February 21, 2024
    • Reply
  • I WAS WONDERING IF YOU COULD COOK THIS IN THE SLOW COOKER?

    • — BARBARA on February 21, 2024
    • Reply
    • Sure, for a crockpot you’ll need to go all through all the steps until you’re ready to add the water, wine, and broth. At that point, you add everything to the slow cooker and cook for 4 – 5 hours on high (and you can put the carrots and the potatoes in with the meat– you don’t need to wait). Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on February 22, 2024
      • Reply
  • This has been my go to stew recipe for the last couple of years. All our family love it. I add celery and mushrooms at the frying stage (and anything else that needs using up). I throw it in the slow cooker and leave on low all day while I’m at work. Just prepped one tonight to go on when I get up in the morning. Will just throw a cornflour slurry and some dumplings in when I get home. Can guarantee I’ll be getting texts from my son an hour before I leave work asking if he can eat it yet, hahaha…

    • — Sarah on February 20, 2024
    • Reply
  • My husband said it was the best stew that he has ever eaten. By the way he is 90 years old and very strong. Bowls twice a week in a league. I am sharing this recipe with my friends. Thanks so much.
    Dolly

    • — Dolly on February 19, 2024
    • Reply
    • Glad the stew was a hit and I’m very impressed with your 90-year-old husband! 😊

      • — Jenn on February 20, 2024
      • Reply
  • I made this for dinner tonight and it was excellent! At the end of cooking I added more salt and pepper to taste, and my husband added butter, which was just perfect. It is restaurant quality. Make it!

    • — Suzan Campbell on February 18, 2024
    • Reply
  • Made tonight. So delicious. Served over Yukon gold mash. Creamy deliciousness. So basic and simple. But perfect.

    • — Susan Crane on February 18, 2024
    • Reply
  • I am using your recipe to make a nice meal for the homeless. We usually have around 30 people come for the meals we serve. What is the best way to determine the amount needed for each ingredient for that many people?

    • — Kate Holmes on February 18, 2024
    • Reply
    • Hi Kate, what a labor of love — I’m sure they’ll enjoy the heartiness of the stew. For that many servings, you’d need to multiply all the ingredients by 5. ❤️

      • — Jenn on February 19, 2024
      • Reply
  • Amazing recipe!!! I have made it three times now. My family and dinner guest all agree that it is the best beef stew they have ever tasted. I followed the recipe with the exception of using only 1.5 cups of wine, adding 1/2 cup of broth and a few more carrots & potatoes. The sauce is always thick and so delicious!! Thank you for sharing.

    • — Tonya on February 18, 2024
    • Reply
  • This is the only recipe I use. It comes out great everytime!!!

    • — Laura Turner on February 18, 2024
    • Reply
  • Was extremely watery and I had to add a flower water mixture 3 times.
    The cook time at 325 for carrots is way to low. I had to take it out and boil it for another 30min.
    The wine was waste of money.
    I will avoid this site from now on, giving 5 stars to this.

    • — Dave T on February 17, 2024
    • Reply
  • I made this and the only thing I changed was adding an extra cup of wine and broth to replace the water. The end result has a vinegary taste. I’m guessing from the balsamic? Is there anything I can do to save it?

    • — Lisa on February 17, 2024
    • Reply
    • Hi Lisa, I’m sorry you’re finding it to have a vinegary taste. I’d try adding a pinch or two of sugar and taste again.

      • — Jenn on February 18, 2024
      • Reply
      • I decided to trust the process and let the stew sit overnight in the fridge. The next day, the flavor had totally changed into what I could only describe as heaven! My family loved it. Thanks so much for this!

        • — Lisa on February 25, 2024
        • Reply
        • Glad it came out well after that rest in the fridge — I think this is always better the second day!

          • — Jenn on February 26, 2024
          • Reply
  • I halved this recipe because there are only two of us. Added additional beef broth as needed. I made dumplings using a boxed biscuit mix, adding parsley and grated cheese. Cooked as directed. This stew was wonderful!!!

    • — Gretchen on February 16, 2024
    • Reply
  • Although I altered a little bit the recipe is awesome. Instead of tomato paste I skipped that step and put 2 15 oz drained cans of whole tomato, and after the last hour I had to add a little slurry to thicken. The family thought I got this from a restaurant because the depth of flavors. We loved it.

    • — Patrick on February 16, 2024
    • Reply
    • Wow what a great recipe. Followed it to the letter and it turned out amazing. Fed it to my coworkers and they called it restaurant quality. To address the complaints about it being to watery: Flour, Corn starch people.

      • — Fred on February 16, 2024
      • Reply
  • Delicious easy to follow recipe!
    I did make 2 modifications by adding thawed leftover stew gravy instead of water and oven braised for 4 hours at 275 F which makes for much more tender and juicier beef rather than boiling at 375 F.

    • — Don Dewar on February 15, 2024
    • Reply
  • Followed the recipe to a tee. It was so easy & delicious. My kids & husband were blown away. Definitely making this again. Yum!

    • — Ashley on February 15, 2024
    • Reply
  • Jenn
    I know you don’t need another 5 star rating on
    French beef Stew but I’m going to do it anyway.
    It is over the top ,best recipe i have ever tried for a
    slow braise beef stew. We had 9 meals from it.Would
    have had more if wifey didn’t fill her plate so high.
    Absolutely the best !
    Ron
    Vancouver BC

    • — ron vaage on February 13, 2024
    • Reply
  • Seriously delicious! The best stew I’ve ever made. Came out just like in the picture and my teenage kids were fighting over the last bit . An absolute success . Will certainly make again ! Cat in London

    • — Cat Falk on February 13, 2024
    • Reply
  • All I can say is WOW! This has to be the worst beef stew recipe I’ve ever tried. Just like other commenters have said…it was completely watery even after I simmered on the stovetop and added a cornstarch slurry. I’m not a beginner in the kitchen and my instincts told me there was TOO MUCH LIQUID to start, but I trusted the recipe. Big mistake. I’ve just wasted the entire afternoon, not to mention all the ingredients. This recipe is a fail in my book and I seriously can’t understand how there are so many 5 stars.

    • — Julianne on February 11, 2024
    • Reply
  • I’ve been making beef stew for a long time and this is THE BEST I’ve ever made. I’ll never make another!

    • — Michelle on February 11, 2024
    • Reply
  • Quick question please. Can I use gluten free flour?

    • — Alexandra on February 11, 2024
    • Reply
    • Sure!

      • — Jenn on February 12, 2024
      • Reply
  • This stew was amazing, my husband and 1 year old both ate it! We didn’t put as much wine and left out the bay leaves but it was still delicious Will definitely save and make again.

    • — Elle on February 11, 2024
    • Reply
  • I absolutely love this recipe and have been making it for years. Unfortunately, I do not have a Dutch oven large enough to do the whole recipe! I use a kilogram of beef, half a bottle of wine, leave out the water, and leave everything else the same. I also like it with peas.

    • — Natasha on February 10, 2024
    • Reply
  • This is my go to recipe for beef stew!

    • — Kate on February 10, 2024
    • Reply
  • Perfect. Foolproof. Deeply Satisfying.
    Recipe is wonderful as is, but for my family, we omit the sugar and add a cup frozen peas a few minutes before serving.

    • — Lisa on February 8, 2024
    • Reply
  • I made this recipe exactly as the instructions dictates. It is absolutely delicious.

    • — Edward Ball on February 6, 2024
    • Reply
  • Follow the directions and you can’t go wrong, really delicious !

    • — Donald on February 5, 2024
    • Reply
  • Excellent beef stew, I live in Egypt and decided to give my Egyptian friends something different then kofta etc , they loved it beyond what can be imagined, I also loved it, im Irish and used to making Irish stew but this meal had the wow effect, thank you 🌷

    • — George Richter on February 5, 2024
    • Reply
  • I really liked it. I added some bone in short ribs, along with my pieces of chuck roast. I took it out of fridge the second day, skimmed fat and slowly heated it. The meat fell off the bones- had thickened well and was great.

    • — Paula S on February 5, 2024
    • Reply
  • Jenn, magnifique, and I prepared this according to your instructions. Only minor substitutions depending on what I had on-hand. Yeah, use Chuck Steak, trimmed appropriately, but I had Parker Ranch Black Label Chopped Steak and it worked fine. They have Chuck Steak which I’ll use next time. Why not a splash of Worcestershire Sauce? All other ingredients were perfect.
    John/Big Island North

    • — John on February 4, 2024
    • Reply
  • OH MY GOD DELICIOUS!! Even my son (who is very picky) loved it! I thought I’d try it but figured I’d have to add some spice, but so glad I didn’t because it’s perfect and now my favorite beef stew ever!! Thank you for sharing it with all of us!

    • — Karen Roche on February 4, 2024
    • Reply
  • Hi Jen,
    I made this stew yesterday for tonight’s dinner for 4. It was to die for!! The beef was melt in your mouth and we went through a whole baguette sopping up that amazing sauce!! I used a San Giovese wine but followed the recipe exactly. (I did omit the sugar as we don’t like sweet with meats). Amazing!
    Thank you for you recipes that are always a hit with family and guests! Your beef tenderloin with red wine sauce and French apple cake are two other favourites!
    Success & Smiles!

    • — Laura on February 4, 2024
    • Reply
  • Delicious flavors and the meat turned out excellent, but there was WAY too much liquid, it really did not thicken/cook down in the allotted cook time. I wound up having to add flour slurry to thicken it. The potatoes & carrots also did not cook through in the time allotted (1hr), I had to cook for an extra 30 minutes to soften them.

    • — Lila on February 4, 2024
    • Reply
    • Hi, I always leave out the water when I make this recipe. Try again, it is so good. 😊

      • — Natasha on February 10, 2024
      • Reply
  • Off the scoreboard . My husband loves stew and he said this was the best one
    that I have ever cooked

    • — Dolly Wapelhorst on February 3, 2024
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn
    Just put this in the oven today and the kitchen smells wonderful. First time making this and it makes a lot. I’m wondering if you have ever frozen this and if so, how it re-heated. Potatoes tend not to freeze well in my experience. Thank you for responding.

    • — Susan Goodman on February 3, 2024
    • Reply
    • Hi Susan, I have frozen the stew a number of times, and it freezes and reheats beautifully. I know potatoes don’t typically freeze well, but for some reason, they freeze nicely here. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on February 5, 2024
      • Reply

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