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.

This classic French beef stew, otherwise known as Beef Bourguignon, is the ultimate comfort food. Chunks of well-marbled beef are seared in olive oil  and then gently 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.

It takes some time to make but I promise it’s well worth the effort. Aside from being delicious — it is my all-time most popular recipe — 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.

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

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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 large soup 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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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 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
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1-1/2 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 or in a 350°F oven. Garnish with fresh parsley, if desired.
  5. Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The stew can be frozen for up to 3 months. Just omit the potatoes because they don’t freeze well. If you’d like, boil some potatoes separately when you defrost the stew and either add them into the stew or serve them on the side. Before serving, defrost the stew in the refrigerator for 24 hours and then reheat on the stovetop over medium-low heat until hot.

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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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Reviews & Comments

  • I have made several really good beef stew recipes over the years but this is the BEST! Like all of the recipes on this site, the directions are well written and the results are outstanding. Thank you!

    • — Melissa panaggio on April 8, 2021
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  • I made this for a campfire outing on a slightly chilly night. Every single person was RAVING. I did not change a single thing. Especially important (in my opinion) is browning the meat as described. I can’t WAIT to make this again. It is DELICIOUS!! Thanks foe sharing your expertise!

    • — Rebecca Wilson on April 3, 2021
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  • My Husband made this for me. It is the most flavorful stew I have ever eaten. He did add 1/8 cup Worcestershire sauce. Great supper.

    • — Elizabeth H. on March 31, 2021
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  • Another great recipe. This made the house smell awesome and the meat just fell apart. Your instructions are so clear and easy to follow and you are making me look like an expert. Thank you! I will try your chicken tacos tonight on my husband.

    • — Judy Sand on March 30, 2021
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  • Delicious however, I bought the right meat but unfortunately, I trimmed way too much of the fat off and some of the meat was chewy and tough. I’ll know next time! Thank you again for a delicious meal!

    • — Lorraine Rossi Marier on March 28, 2021
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  • Cooked this a few times now. I have done a casserole like this many times but there is something about this recipe that just takes to another level. Great for switching items in and out of.

    • — Damian D on March 28, 2021
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  • My meat turned out extremely tough. What did I do wrong?

    • — Sara on March 28, 2021
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    • Sorry to hear that Sara! The meat should definitely be tender. Did you buy something that was labeled as “stew meat?” If so, it won’t be nearly as tender as beef chuck.

      • — Jenn on March 28, 2021
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      • Hi Jenn, yes I bought stew meat! Maybe it was too lean?

        • — Sara on March 28, 2021
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        • It’s possible. Was it well-marbled (with white “veins” of fat running through it)? Also, did you cook it for the full cooking time? If the answer is yes to both of these, it could be that you just got a bad cut of beef which does happen occasionally. 🙁

          • — Jenn on March 29, 2021
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  • This is the best beef stew that I ever made! This is so delicious and flavorful! I absolutely love it! Thank you, thank you, thank you for this lovely recipe!

    • — Lisa Marie on March 25, 2021
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  • Recipe was DELICIOUS! I am planning to make it again tomorrow night for a Friday night special. I followed the recipe to the letter (except added some string beans in addition) and it was outstanding.

    • — Nicole Steffens on March 25, 2021
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  • OMG OMG OMG Best thing I ever ate!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • — mike on March 25, 2021
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  • Made this recipe a few times now, and it’s turned into a simple go-to cold weather dish. The instructions are easy to follow, the prep is minimal, and the finished product makes you feel like a 5-star chef.

    I changed a few things up to get the dish to my liking. First, I do not add sugar. It’s a personal preference, and has nothing to do with the above recipe. I’ve considered substituting honey, however, I like the taste with no added sweetening element. If I try subbing honey I’ll make sure to edit this review.

    Second, after the 3 hour cooking time, I take the pot out of the oven and place it on the stove and bring it to a low simmer (uncovered) for about 20 minutes. This allows the stew to thicken up even more. Again, this was a personal preference as I like a thick-gravy like stew.

    I highly recommend making the full serving this recipes offers (or more!) because it makes for incredible leftovers… in-fact I truly believe this stew is even better the next day!

    • — Tyler on March 23, 2021
    • Reply
  • This is delicious! How many cups in a serving? Im trying to convert it to WW points.

    • — Lyn Walls on March 22, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Lyn, So glad you like this! I’m not 100 percent sure, but I’d guesstimate that a serving is about 1-3/4 cups.

      • — Jenn on March 22, 2021
      • Reply
  • This recipe is FREAKING DELICIOUS and so forgiving to adapt to your kids’ tastes (my four year old currently won’t eat anything without peas). My teenage daughter says this is the best stew I’ve ever made, and requests it every time I have the nerve to suggest chicken noodle soup. 😆 The balsamic vinegar really adds something I never knew I was missing.

    • — Melissa on March 21, 2021
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  • I’ve now made this stew 3 times and really love it. I’ve never drank alcohol so the wine content was a flavor change but I added some beef base and it made the difference. I’ve also made the beef barley soup and love that as well. I’m a 70 year old widower of 12 years so I’m a little bit slow on learning new recipes but I’m making progress. Thank you for your detailed recipes!

    • — Richard Kwast on March 20, 2021
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  • This is so worth the time it takes! This is not quick, but so very enjoyable to make and just the most amazing dish. Start early, put on some great music, take your time chopping, slicing, searing and stirring- it all adds to the immense amount of pride and enjoyment you’ll take away from this delicious meal! I usually add, subtract, amend every recipe I have, but this one is just spot on for flavor and balance and texture (I have a culinary background, too ;)). I’ve made this a few times now- today I only had a generic red cooking wine from our local grocery store to use (all the rest was too nice to not savor and sip) and it still was perfection. Please, if you do anything, make sure to take Jenn’s advice and take your time browning the meat- I even did four batches today for about 5 minutes each and it’s always well worth the effort 🙂

    • — Devon on March 17, 2021
    • Reply
    • Jenn,
      The beef stew was amazing. After hours of filling the house with delicious smells, the whole family and guests enjoyed it. I liked it so much I went and bought your cook book! Thank you!

      • — James Q on March 21, 2021
      • Reply
      • Glad you enjoyed it and thanks for your support with the cookbook – I hope it becomes an often-used tool in your kitchen! 🙂

        • — Jenn on March 22, 2021
        • Reply
  • Absolutely delicious!! I added mushrooms and topped with dumplings. This is a 5 star recipe.

    • — Debbie Reynolds on March 15, 2021
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  • Just made this dinner and it was a hit! We will definitely make this again! Thank you for the delicious recipe!

    • — Helen on March 14, 2021
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  • I have made this recipe several times now and I absolutely love it. I am passing the recipe along to my friends.

    • — flytech on March 11, 2021
    • Reply
  • I made this last night – easy and delicious!

    • — Flo on March 11, 2021
    • Reply
  • Love your recipes. The beef stew looks good; can you provide a recipe for 2 persons? Bob

    • — Robert on March 11, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Robert, You could cut the recipe in half, but this freezes beautifully in case you want to make the full recipe and pull it out to thaw for some easy weeknight dinners.

      • — Jenn on March 11, 2021
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn!!

    Made this today and it was delicious! The beef was melt in your mouth tender! I used cooking wine. A sherry and a red, one cup of each. The flavor was very, very good. It is the best stew recipe I’ve ever made. I was quite proud, actually! 🙂

    I also made the biscuits you recommended. My husband loved them and said they were nice and flaky. I don’t care much for biscuits so I was glad he thought they were great.

    Thanks again for another success!!

    • — Kim on March 9, 2021
    • Reply
  • This is by far the best home beef stew recipe I’ve made. Thank you for sharing! The first part is time-consuming, but the end result is delicious and savory. Not just for cold winter nights, I make it whenever my family asks.

    • — Teri Schulz on March 9, 2021
    • Reply
  • Great Recipe. I used organic beef base in place of the beef stock. Replaced one onion with a few small Shallots. Added dried oregano (still used thyme and bay leaves) when sautéing the onions. Also, a la Ina Garten, to save myself some time and energy I browned the beef in the oven on a sheet pan at 425 for 15 minutes and poured the juices back into the dutch oven. Stewed the beef for first two hours with parsley stalks and fished them out with the bay leaves before adding veggies. Had brussels sprouts and celery in the fridge so added that too. Did last 30 mins uncovered to reduce.

    • — Benjamin on March 8, 2021
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  • DELICIOUS!! I followed the recipe with the exception of one thing. I did not have thyme or a bay leaf so I just added some dried rosemary. I also used the low sodium beef Better then Bouillon (about 2 1/2 tsp). I tend to over salt but the low sodium keeps everything in check. Thank you Jen! Excellent recipe:)

    • — MaryAnn on March 8, 2021
    • Reply
  • Made this for Sunday dinner with daughter and son in law. I was bored with my normal beef stew recipe and looked around at alternatives and settled on this. Recipe was clear and pictures looked delicious. Wasn’t hard to make and everyone loved it! Very tasty! Will be my go to stew for the future. Thank you!

    • — Cathy sweeney on March 8, 2021
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  • For those wondering if this can easily be made gluten free, the answer is YES. I made the recipe as directed and used Cup4Cup flour. It turned out incredibly.

    • — T Karwell on March 8, 2021
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  • I didn’t have carrots and potatoes on hand, so used sweet potatoes and small cremini mushrooms halved. The stew was really delicious. My husband was in heaven.

    • — May on March 7, 2021
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  • I would like to adjust the recipe using 1lb of beef

    • — DEBBIE on March 5, 2021
    • Reply
    • You can, but if possible, I’d make more as you’ll go through that really quickly (and this freezes nicely). That said, if you want to make it with one pound of meat, cut all the other ingredients by 2/3. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on March 6, 2021
      • Reply
  • I have a question if I have a pound and half of the stew meat can I just cut the recipe in half?

    • — Alyse on March 5, 2021
    • Reply
    • Sure, that would work. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on March 5, 2021
      • Reply
    • 6 cups of liquid is was too much. 1 cup wine, water & beef broth would be plenty. Wouldn’t make again.

      • — Carolyn k on March 8, 2021
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      • Lol, you’d have to cut the whole recipe in half, not just the dry ingredients and meat! One of each wine, broth and water should have been used!

        • — Tracy on March 30, 2021
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  • I made this recipe exactly as written and loved it. As a person who really feels overwhelmed just at the idea of cooking I must say it was fairly easy.
    One thing I did forget was to taste for seasoning before serving. It did need a little more salt.

    • — Loretta on March 3, 2021
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  • Can I make this completely on the stove top in my dutch oven? I’m having problems with my regular oven and can’t use it until repaired.

    • — Michelle on March 3, 2021
    • Reply
    • Sure — just give it a stir periodically so it doesn’t scorch on the bottom. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on March 3, 2021
      • Reply
      • Hi there! I made the stew a month ago and LOVED it. However, also having issues with my oven. It sounds like the stove top could work (with stirring), but I wondered: is it for the same amount of time? Thanks!

        • — Courtney on March 4, 2021
        • Reply
        • Yes, I would count on the same amount of time (and glad you liked it)! 🙂

          • — Jenn on March 4, 2021
          • Reply
  • I’m so excited to try making stew for the first time. The reviews here have made me feel confident that I can do it.
    Jenn for some reason I thought celery was an ingredient so I bought it. If I added it with the carrots and potatoes do you think it will taste good?

    • — Loretta Flaherty on March 3, 2021
    • Reply
    • Sure – hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on March 3, 2021
      • Reply
  • So very good!

    • — Patricia on March 1, 2021
    • Reply
  • This was a first time Beef Stew recipe for me and it was delicious. I particularly liked the red wine gravy and I also added two cans of Pennsylvania Dutchman canned mushrooms stems and pieces at the end of the recipe. Awesome!!!

    • — Gene M on March 1, 2021
    • Reply
  • Made this this afternoon and it turned out exactly like Jenn’s photo. I’ve made Julia Child’s Boeuf bourguignon recipe and find Jenn’s recipe to be less complicated and more tasty.
    I skipped the wine and instead added 2 cups of chicken broth to the 2 cups of beef broth. Also included the 2 cups of water. After two hrs braising I added the potatoes and carrots. Added uncooked cremini mushrooms 45 mins later and 1 cup frozen peas at the three hour mark. Continued to cook in the oven for another 15 mins. Delicious. Thx Jenn.

    • — Debbie-Ann on February 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • Great for a family Sunday lunch, everyone enjoyed it! The steps are so easy and clear, leaving no room for mistakes. Next time I will try adding mushrooms. Thank you for replying on other reviews, it helps a lot having your input and suggestions.

    • — Maria on February 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • Great beef stew, I don’t normally change anything but if my kids are having this i decrease the wine and increase the beef broth.

    Thanks!

    • — Stephanie Clunis on February 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • Is there a substitution for the wine if you don’t have wine? I have made other stews that are good using Garden Vegetable Cocktail drink however I want to try this recipe from you as I love all of your recipes that I have tried so far?

    • — Carolyn Cartmill on February 28, 2021
    • Reply
    • Sure, Carolyn, you can replace the wine with additional beef broth – hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on March 1, 2021
      • Reply
  • I am so thankful to have found you! This beef stew was amazing. It made the house smell like a home!

    • — Rosemarie on February 26, 2021
    • Reply

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