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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 red wine 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


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


  • 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)


  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 or in a 350°F oven. 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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  • The meat turned out dry and the vegetables did not take in the flavour. Very dissatisfied. Cooked exactly as directed too.

    • — Dave on October 3, 2023
    • Reply
  • Made this last night, let it sit overnight and enjoyed it with my husband this evening. Fabulous! Perfection! Thanks so much for sharing this recipe!

    • — Irene Kendig on October 2, 2023
    • Reply
  • Wow!! This is the best stew I have ever eaten! Even my daughter who rarely eats meat has two servings. Thanks for another great recipe!
    Liz Landa

    • — Liz landa on October 1, 2023
    • Reply
  • Could you use one large piece of chuck steak or should it be cut in pieces?

    • — Meredith on September 30, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Meredith, This should work with one large chuck roast but instead of adding the flour to the beef/onion mixture, I’d use a flour/butter mixture method like in this recipe (take the pot roast out of the pot as I do with the chicken before stirring in the paste). I’d love to hear how it turns out if you try it!

      • — Jenn on October 2, 2023
      • Reply
  • Made this twice so far and both times it has turned out amazing! Thank you!! Just wondering if this can be made gluten free by using pure corn starch in place of flour?

    • — Mandy on September 26, 2023
    • Reply
    • Glad you’ve enjoyed it! You could use gluten-free flour to coat the beef but if you want to use cornstarch, you’ll want to wait until the very end and then make a “slurry” by combining 2T cornstarch with 2T cold water; mix until completely smooth. Whisk half of the slurry into the stew and bring to a gentle boil on the stovetop and simmer until the broth is thickened and any starchy taste has been cooked away. If you want the broth thicker, add the remaining slurry and repeat. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on September 27, 2023
      • Reply
  • This stew is amazing. I make it all the time and it always turns out perfectly. I do not include sugar, in my opinion, you get enough natural sweetness from the onions and the red wine.

    • — Juliana on September 26, 2023
    • Reply
  • I may have already left a comment, but this recipe is worth a thousand stars. The first time I made it I took it on an extended family camping trip and everyone went crazy over it. It’s been requested many times since then. My daughter just had her first baby 2 days ago and I always make about a week’s worth of meals for any new mothers. This stew is the first meal she requested of me. Thank you for such a remarkable stew recipe. And not ONE thing needs to be changed. If you feel compelled to alter a recipe and then announce your “improvements”, keep it to yourself people! That’s so rude!!!

    • — Becky Wilson on September 25, 2023
    • Reply
  • This was fantastic! It was actually really easy to make and I had almost everything needed to make it already! Hardest part was browning the meat but actually even that wasn’t hard! Very delicious. No changes.

    • — Jane on September 24, 2023
    • Reply
  • I made this last night and it was EXCELLENT! I have made so many beef stew recipes and this is by far the best. The only tweek was I subbed one cup of water for beef broth. Thank you for the excellent directions. Very easy to follow. My husband said this was the best meal he had had in a long time. Thanks. Looking forward to trying more of your recipes.

    • — Cathy on September 22, 2023
    • Reply
  • Could this be made with lamb? If so, could I substitute beef stock for chicken stock?

    • — Meghna on September 20, 2023
    • Reply
    • Yes and yes! You may also want to take a look at this lamb stew recipe.

      • — Jenn on September 20, 2023
      • Reply
      • Absolutely DELICIOUS!!!
        It does take some patience and time to prep the ingredients and brown the meat, but once you have placed the stew in the oven, the magic happens!
        Kids and hubby LOVED it!
        I have since made this for company and is so easy to reheat as I made it the night before, which saves time. Served with thick slices of french bread and a green salad; the apple rum cake you have on this same website was our dessert. Our visitors claimed it tastes better than what a bistro serves! This is certainly a recipe everyone should try. Its a keeper in my books, Thanks!

        • — Jennifer on September 22, 2023
        • Reply
  • My husband LOVES this recipe!!! I have prepared it twice now. Thank you for great instructions also!

    • — Beth Hughes on September 19, 2023
    • Reply
  • Perfect. Tasty, tender and mouth watering. I served it for company and they raved.

    • — Bette S Levin on September 19, 2023
    • Reply
  • LOVE! This was fantastic- normally I do beef stew in the crock pot and its okay! Nothing to write home about. This was 1000x better than the crock pot! I used boneless short ribs cut into cubes and roasted my vegetables with olive oil and salt/pepper at 450F for 20 minutes first Then added them to my stew for an hour. I LOVED this stew! The sauce was fabulous- oh! I did add a handful of barley too when I added the veggies- that way the whole meal was covered. If your vegetables aren’t cooked all the way pre-cook them first or cut in smaller pieces you have to use a little common sense people! Every potato and carrot are different! I used fresh large carrots so I knew I either had to pre-cook or bake the stew longer! Baby carrots and small potatoes tend to cook faster.

    • — missy on September 15, 2023
    • Reply
  • I replaced water with more beef stock(4c rather than 2/2) and ended up making a slurry to thicken the gravy at the end. Recipe is absolutely tops and hands down the best stew recipe I have made in over 50 years of home cooking.

    • — Sue VanWassenhove on September 15, 2023
    • Reply
  • Is there a tried and true way to make this gluten free? I hate to mess with this recipe – it’s a family favorite… but we have some GF company coming and I’d love to make this for them

    • — Martha on September 15, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Martha, Yes you can omit the flour in the beginning and simply thicken the stew at the end with a cornstarch slurry, which is a mixture of equal parts cornstarch and cold water. I would make a slurry with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons of cold water. Bring the stew to a simmer and gradually pour in half of the slurry while stirring. Let it simmer for a few more minutes and see if it’s thickened to your liking. If you’d like it thicker, add the remaining slurry and simmer again. Keep in mind that the stew will thicken slightly upon cooling. (If you’ve thickened it too much, just add a bit of broth or water to thin it out.) Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on September 16, 2023
      • Reply
  • Lovely stew! If it helps anyone, instead of red wine, I used 1 cup dry Marsala and 3 cups beef broth. It turned out beautifully. I like the option of using marsala because you can stored an opened bottle for months and it doesn’t necessitate opening a bottle of wine. I highly recommend this option for those who have marsala on hand. I also added 1 t dried savory (an herb not much seen in recipes and similar to thyme) along with a fresh tied bundle of thyme. As I said, a lovely result. Thank you Jenn.

    • — Colleen on September 13, 2023
    • Reply

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