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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.

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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    • — Clive on June 7, 2023
    • Reply
  • This was amazing! It is my new go-to recipe. It was easy and the cooking time was spot-on. Everyone loved it.

    • — Kenda on June 5, 2023
    • Reply
  • Hello, making this recipe and wondering when do you throw in the salt? Its part of the ingredient list but not anywhere in the method 🙂

    • — Simona on June 5, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Simona, You’ll season the beef with the salt and pepper (see the first sentence of the 2nd paragraph of instructions). Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on June 5, 2023
      • Reply
  • Hi Jen I’m elderly and find cooking for myself a bit taxing however I’ve chosen to cook a full recipe and freeze therefore giving me a cook free days. Beef stew is a go to however apart from the similar lamb recipe what would you suggest I add to my repertoire. Thank you for any advice you can give me much appreciated. Beryl

    • — Beryl Kerr on June 4, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Beryl, I think cooking larger recipes and dividing them into individual servings to freeze is such a great way to go if you’re cooking for only yourself. A few other options that come to mind are mini meatloaves, many of my soups like chickpea and lentil soup, and coq au vin. I’d encourage you to browse my freezer-friendly section of recipes where you will find many other options.

      • — Jenn on June 5, 2023
      • Reply
  • Layers of flavors. Absolutely delicious. Thanks for another good one, Jenn.

    • — Patticakes in Darien on June 4, 2023
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  • This recipe is literally not only the best thing I’ve ever made but the best thing I’ve ever eaten. Extremely impressed by the flavor, the smell of my house while cooking it and how much I’m looking forward to making it again! HIGHLY RECOMMEND!

    • — Heather C on May 31, 2023
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn!
    I’m excited to try this recipe. What size pot are you using when you make it? I’ve just purchased a 20cm Le Creuset and wonder if it might be too small. Thank so much

    • — Ali P on May 30, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Ali, Hi Ali, I suspect that will be too small. I use a 5.5-quart Dutch oven for it. Feel free to use a heavy soup pot. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on May 30, 2023
      • Reply
  • Hi, I have this beef cooking now my Questions are as I seldom have red wine but I do have Marsala could I use this and if so how much.
    As I’m elderly and only cook for myself recipes like this are for me batch cooking. I have noted the similar lamb recipe but would like to use chicken thighs what do you suggest. Thank you for very precise recipes and although my cooking is now a little limited I still keep up with your website.

    • — Beryl Kerr on May 26, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Beryl, I may be weighing in too late to help but I’ve never made this with Marsala, so I’d just use extra beef broth in place of the red wine. It will still be delicious (and so glad you like the recipes)!

      • — Jenn on May 30, 2023
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    I’m about to make this recipe. It sounds delicious. My one question is – Do I have to use sugar? I am trying to avoid all added sugar (and sugar substitutes), even in small quantities. And if I can take the sugar out is there something I should use to replace it or just don’t worry about it?
    Thanks in advance for your advice.
    Christine M

    • — Christine M on May 22, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Christine, you can just omit the sugar without adding an alternative ingredient. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on May 22, 2023
      • Reply
      • Hi Jen,
        Thanks for the advice. I did not put any sugar in & did not notice a lack in sweetness.
        The meat came out amazing!! My family loved it. Thank you for this great recipe.

        • — Christine M on May 25, 2023
        • Reply
        • So glad it came out well — thanks for taking the time to let me know!

          • — Jenn on May 25, 2023
          • Reply
  • I made this tonight and it was delicious. Full of flavor. I made very minor changes/add-ons that I don’t think changed the flavor much. I had a leek on hand that I needed to use so added that along with the onion. Added more tomato paste because I can never find the tubed tomato paste so I used the whole can of the 6-ounce paste and used fresh thyme. I will definitely make this again. My husband loved it and came back for a second heaping bowl.

    • — Aimee on May 16, 2023
    • Reply
  • I made this and it was delicious! My family loved it!

    • — Carol Elias on May 15, 2023
    • Reply
  • If using crockpot do you just sear meat then add everything else to crockpot? Or do you brown the onions, etc and follow the rest of the instructions in until you add all to crockpot?

    • — Lisa on May 11, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Lisa, for using a slow cooker, you go all through all the steps until you’re ready to add the water, wine, and broth. Add 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 May 12, 2023
      • Reply
  • This recipe was amazing! I made out the day before so I could just enjoy my company, and it was great. The only difficulty I had was I think I put it in the oven too long to heat it up and so the liquid portion got too thick. But, I just added some more beef stock and it was fine. Next time I make it I’ll not warm it up too long. Everyone LOVED it!! Thanks so much for sharing!

    • — Leslie on May 10, 2023
    • Reply
  • Perfect just as it states..
    I did have to make a sub…used cranberry mango juice ( 5 cal) for the wine and it was fine!
    My husband likes his think so added some cornstarch for his portion!

    • — Donna on May 10, 2023
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  • This is such a fab recipe, I would never have thought to put balsamic vinegar in, it gives it a lovely rounded flavour. Thank you!

    • — Isabel McMann on May 8, 2023
    • Reply
  • Slow cooker? I’ve made this before and really love the recipe. I have to be out of the house and was hoping to make this using a slow cooker — can you offer any guidance?

    • — Gena c on May 2, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Gena, Glad you like it! For a slow cook version, I’d sear the beef on the stove first as the recipe indicates and then put it in the slow cooker 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).

      • — Jenn on May 2, 2023
      • Reply
      • thank you so much Jenn! will be a lifesaver to do it this way! and happy to have a great dinner at the end of the day! so so good!

        • — gena c on May 3, 2023
        • Reply
        • I’d love to make this. Anything I can sub the red wine with, or omit it completely? Can we put celery too

          • — Sally on May 17, 2023
          • Reply
          • Hi Sally, you can replace the wine with additional beef broth and it’s fine to add celery. Hope you enjoy!

            • — Jenn on May 17, 2023
  • I have been making beef stew for years and everyone loves my recipe but I wanted to try yours. Just wow! Was delicious and perfect- whole family loved. It will be my go to recipe from now on. Thank you Jenn- can always count on you for great outcome in the kitchen!

    • — Annalisa on May 1, 2023
    • Reply
  • This is now my go-to beef stew recipe. I use cornflour and water on the stovetop at the end to make GF 😊

    • — Jack on April 29, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Jack! I’m looking to make this recipe GF, can you share how much cornflour and water you use and the method?

      • — Taylor on May 26, 2023
      • Reply
  • This turned out great on top of the stove in a Calphalon anodized aluminum pot that isn’t oven-safe. I bought a Dutch oven so that I could cook this (and other things) in the oven, but it’s cast iron with an enamel coating, and it’s very heavy! Is there any other type of Dutch oven that you would recommend? I notice the cast-aluminum, ceramic coated ones are much lighter, but I’m not sure how well they would work.

    • — Vicki Frederick on April 25, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Vicki, so glad you liked it! Unfortunately, I don’t know anything about cast aluminum Dutch ovens, so I can’t weigh in. BTW, it’s perfectly fine to continue to use your Calphalon pot on the stove; the stew turns out just as well if cooked on the stovetop!

      • — Jenn on April 25, 2023
      • Reply
  • I only have sweet red wine on hand. Could I use that in place of the dry red wine and omit the sugar? Or would I be better of substituting more beef broth (and maybe a splash of apple cider vinegar) for the dry red?

    • — LJ27 on April 25, 2023
    • Reply
    • Can you tell me more about your wine? When you say sweet red, is it just a bottled red that’s slightly more fruity than dry?

      • — Jenn on April 25, 2023
      • Reply
      • It’s very sweet and fruity. ☺️

        • — LJ27 on April 27, 2023
        • Reply
        • It’s hard to say for sure without tasting the wine, but if it’s very sweet, I think your best bet is probably to use beef broth in place of the wine. it will still be delicious. Enjoy!

          • — Jenn on April 27, 2023
          • Reply
  • Delicious! I have never made a beef stew that had dry red wine in it. So, I was hesitant. As many of the 4,000+ reviews said this is “the best ever stew”. I am in my 70s and have made beef stew my whole life and always thought it was good. I decided to give it a try since I had company coming and so very happy with the results. Everyone went back for seconds! I did add an extra hour for the carrots and potatoes cooking part of the recipe. Checked it at the one hour but wanted my veggies more tender. And, for dessert I made the French Apple Cake. This is an outstanding dessert that I have made many times. Easy and Delicious! Perfect ending to a meal. Jen thank you for making all of us better cooks!

    • — Diane Martin on April 24, 2023
    • Reply

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