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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

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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 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 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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Comments

  • This stew is a long time family favorite. I am wondering if I can make it on Sunday night and deliver it to family friends their dinner on Wednesday. Safe? Alternatively, would it work to cook it for 1 1/2 hours on Monday night and 11/2 on Tuesday night? Thank you for this wonderful recipe!

    • — Jacquie Rohricht on January 29, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Jacquie, I think it should be fine to make it on Sunday as long as they have it for dinner on Wednesday.

      • — Jenn on January 30, 2023
      • Reply
  • This is the best beef stew I have ever made and eaten. Though time consuming, it is easy to prepare and worth the time. Delicious.

    • — Cynth on January 28, 2023
    • Reply
  • Question: I am not an expert with cuts of meet. Will a sirloin tip roast work for this?

    • — Sophie on January 27, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Sophie, I worry a sirloin roast will be too lean and won’t get tender. Sorry!

      • — Jenn on January 30, 2023
      • Reply
  • I made the recipe with leftover smoked brisket. Obviously I didn’t have to brown the meat and added it in for the last 20 minutes. Otherwise followed the recipe and it was delicious! I’ll be making it after every smoked brisket!

    • — Tom on January 26, 2023
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn. I’m making this for Sunday dinner and can’t wait. I’d like to add some frozen pearl onions – at what point in the recipe should they go in? At the same time as the potatoes and carrots?

    Thank you!

    • — Hella on January 25, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Hella, You can add the pearl onions close to the end of cooking time, just to give them time to get heated through. Hopde you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on January 26, 2023
      • Reply
  • Can this be done in a crock pot? If so, high or low and for how long?

    • — Kat Kirchner on January 25, 2023
    • Reply
    • I haven’t made it in a crock pot, but a number of readers have successfully. I’d sear the beef first as the recipe indicates and then cook it in the crockpot 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 January 25, 2023
      • Reply
  • This is the best tasting beef stew recipe I’ve ever made. The only thing I might do differently next time is leave out the sugar. Was a tad sweet. But truly a delicious dish. House smelled amazing!! For reference next time, I used a merlot, but a Cabernet would be great, too.

    • — Kathy on January 25, 2023
    • Reply
  • Hey Jen, any chance a round or rump roast would work in this soup? Any help would be appreciated!

    • — Staci on January 25, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Staci, I wouldn’t recommend it here — sorry!

      • — Jenn on January 25, 2023
      • Reply
  • This is delicious! I have made it twice, both times canned some of my batch.
    My broth does not thicken as much as we would like just using the directions. Shall I take a. tbl. spoon of broth with flour method?

    • — Claudia N. on January 24, 2023
    • Reply
    • Glad you’ve enjoyed it! To thicken it, you can mash 2 tablespoons of softened butter with 2 tablespoons of flour; whisk it into the simmering stew little by little until the stew is thickened to your liking. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on January 24, 2023
      • Reply
    • I love this recipe for its use of balsamic vinegar and wine. It has a “tang” or bite. Rich tasting without being spicy. Also, not too many ingredients; just the ones that really make a difference. I am avoiding gluten, corn, and tomatoes, so I drop those and use rice flour to thicken. It’s still great! I like to make it in my Instant Pot, but it’s kind of tricky (but delicious!). I would really enjoy seeing this recipe with Instant Pot directions.

      • — Daniel Wiggins on January 28, 2023
      • Reply
  • I made this exactly as written. I did add the sautéed in butter baby Bella mushrooms (quartered). When it came out. It not only made my entire house smell amazing, it tasted amazing!! It was perfect. There are three of us we had it for dinner two nights in a row. I froze the rest. I made sliced garlic Italian bread, toasted, on the side to scoop up the best stew I ever made. Thank you for this recipe.

    • — Nikki on January 23, 2023
    • Reply
  • Oh my! What a divine recipe! Followed the recipe to T and glad I did. Not rich or heavy, and the base is incredibly flavorful and silky smooth. It’s a hug in a bowl! Thank you for another delicious recipe.

    • — Tammie Farley on January 22, 2023
    • Reply
  • Best beef stew ever! The beef is so tender. Make extra, because it is even better the next day.

    • — Cathy on January 22, 2023
    • Reply
  • My husband thought the stew was too fatty. Should I have wiped the pan after browning the meat. I cut away the big pieces of fat from the meat.

    • — Fjg on January 20, 2023
    • Reply
    • No, I wouldn’t wipe the pot after browning the meat as there’s a lot of good flavor in there. If it is really fatty, you can refrigerate the stew, let the fat rise to the top, and then scrape that top layer of fat off before serving it. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on January 21, 2023
      • Reply
      • Thank you. The stew tasted so much better the second day!

        • — Fjg on January 21, 2023
        • Reply
    • Can you substitute cubed sweet potatoes for baking potatoes? I tend to have sweet potatoes on hand more often and was going to try them. Let me know if you have any suggestions.

      • — Summer Bryan on January 26, 2023
      • Reply
      • Sure, cubed sweet potatoes will work here as well. Enjoy!

        • — Jenn on January 26, 2023
        • Reply
  • i MADE THIS RECIPE IT WS WONDRFUL

    • — SUE COLE on January 20, 2023
    • Reply
  • I made recently and it is a ‘keeper.’ Everyone always tweaks. I cook w/leek, not onion. I also found the cooking time for each ‘layer’ a bit too long. I reduced the meat braising, veg braising by 1/2 hour per. I added quick sauteed baby bella mushroom halves at the end.

    • — jay levine on January 19, 2023
    • Reply
  • I can’t wait to make this stew, unfortunately I picked up an eye of round roast this week at the market. Do you suggest I use this piece of meat for a different recipe, or will it work for the stew?
    Thank you!

    • — Anne Woods on January 18, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Anne, Unfortunately, the eye of round won’t work for the stew — sorry!

      • — Jenn on January 24, 2023
      • Reply
  • So much better than stew recipes that I’ve made in the past. The meat is so tender and the flavor outstanding!!! Once Upon a Chef never disappoints. Consistently great recipes?.

    • — Judi on January 18, 2023
    • Reply
  • I made this recipe in a smaller batch the first time round since it’s just myself and my partner. The second time I made the full recipe because we absolutely LOVED and and I want left overs for my freezer. I made no changes and followed the recipe exactly as written – it is absolutely delicious.

    • — Brenda Moore on January 18, 2023
    • Reply
  • I make this often because living in New York equates to freezing weather! I also make the following changes: add celery when I add the carrots (extra nutrition), use fresh thyme, instead of salt I use “Smack Ya Momma” seasoning salt and Adobo, and I go add extra golden potatoes. My husband and I love this stew and have made it in the dutch oven on the stove, braised in the oven, and in the pressure cooker. Always comes out great.

    • — Angelique on January 18, 2023
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn can i make this today and it still be good for thursdays dinner?
    Thank you so much
    Melissa

    • — Melissa on January 17, 2023
    • Reply
    • Sure, Melissa, that’s fine. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on January 17, 2023
      • Reply
      • I need to make this in my slow cooker. How long do you think?

        • — Mary Place on January 24, 2023
        • Reply
        • Hi Mary, After you’ve seared the beef on the stove, I’d cook 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). Enjoy!

          • — Jenn on January 24, 2023
          • Reply
  • This is the best stew I have ever eaten! And it was easy enough that I could make it myself! You can’t go wrong with this one, this recipe will be in our regular rotation during the cold weather months for sure!

    • — Damon on January 15, 2023
    • Reply
  • Absolutely loved this recipe 😍 I add more stock as we are a family that loves gravy .

    • — Sarah on January 15, 2023
    • Reply
  • Could you make this in the slow cooker? Thanks! Lisa

    • — Lisa P on January 15, 2023
    • Reply
    • Yes – 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). Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on January 16, 2023
      • Reply
      • Doesn’t get too cold in Arizona but today it’s cold and rainy. This definitely hit the spot. Easy to make, cheap, and very hardy.. thank you for sharing this. It’s worth making and is great with a nice hot loaf of fresh bread.

        • — Patrick on January 16, 2023
        • Reply
  • Delicious dinner! I made it exactly the way your recipe called for to make. Only thing I did was add fresh mushrooms I had on hand. I could eat this every week! Thank you! It’s one of our favorites now!

    • — Marie R on January 14, 2023
    • Reply
  • I’ve made this before but this time I doubled the recipe. Does the cooking time in the oven double too?

    • — Michelle on January 14, 2023
    • Reply
    • No, the oven time can remain the same. 🙂

      • — Jenn on January 16, 2023
      • Reply
      • This is a keeper for sure!!! Doesn’t get too cold in Arizona much but on a rainy cold day like today this hit the spot!!! Easy to make, cheap and very hardy! Thank you for sharing.

        • — Patrick on January 16, 2023
        • Reply
  • I made this recipe a couple of weeks ago – followed recipe exactly – DELICIOUS!! making again tonight -husband excited! i’ll adjust amounts a bit this evening because i bought a 3.75lbs chuck roast —you know, a little more of everything — this is a GREAT recipe – Thank You!

    • — Lisa Barlow on January 14, 2023
    • Reply
  • Very good. Wasn’t sure what kind of wine to use as I don’t drink much wine at all. I chose a Shiraz and did use the entire 2 cups. I would make this again.

    • — Tish on January 14, 2023
    • Reply
  • Made this with chicken thighs because my husband needs to cut back on the red meat. It was Fabulous!

    • — Sue on January 13, 2023
    • Reply
  • Unfortunately, I don’t have a working oven at the moment. Will this turn out as well if I just do it all on the stove? Any modifications I should make? Thanks!

    • — Nicole on January 12, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Nicole, it’s perfectly fine to cook it on the stove. You’ll keep the timing the same and should cook it over low heat. Just give it a stir periodically so it doesn’t scorth on the bottom. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on January 13, 2023
      • Reply
    • Hi Jen! I’m making the stew right now and noticed I accidentally bought low sodium broth! I’m thinking I can add more salt when I add the carrots and potatoes. Is that a good idea and how much salt do you think? Thank you!

      • — Ling on January 13, 2023
      • Reply
      • Hi Ling, I’m probably weighing in too late to help (sorry!) but I’d wait till the stew is done cooking and add salt to taste at the end.

        • — Jenn on January 18, 2023
        • Reply
      • Hi Ling, Yes that’s fine and I would just season to taste at the end. You shouldn’t need more than 1/4 teaspoon.

        • — Jenn on January 30, 2023
        • Reply
  • OMG, this was SO good. I had a roast, but felt like a stew. The meat was SO tender, very very good.

    • — Deby Brown on January 11, 2023
    • Reply
  • I’m making this for a large crowd. Using around 20lbs of meat, 6 to 7 times the recipe, should I multiply all the ingredients equally?
    Thanks

    • — Robin Greenspan on January 10, 2023
    • Reply
    • Yep!

      • — Jenn on January 10, 2023
      • Reply
  • We made this last week when the weather here turned bitterly cold. This stew was just wonderful. Warming. Satisfying and quite tasty. Thoroughly enjoyable, especially when dunking challah rolls into the broth/gravy. So Yummy.

    The only change that was made was adding 1 tablespoon of Black Strap Molasses when the wine was added. That added just a touch of sweetness.

    We will definitely be making this recipe again.

    • — Martin J Robinson on January 9, 2023
    • Reply

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