Instant pot beef stew is the ultimate one-pot comfort food using high-pressure cooking. The meat tenderizes with a hearty mix of potatoes, carrots, celery, and onions for a delicious complete meal.
Beef stew is the answer to any dinnertime conundrum. Tender pieces of meat, simmered with nutritious vegetables in a savory and creamy sauce should satisfy all cravings. It’s a simple, yet flavorful dish that I grew up eating and always turn to for a comforting meal.
By using the Instant Pot, you get to skip the hours-long process of simmering the stew over the stovetop. Electric pressure quickly elevates the meal to the right temperature making it ready to eat faster! The Instant Pot also has a saute function to create a fantastic sauce near the end of cooking that even grandma would be proud to serve.
Choosing the right kind of meat
Under no circumstance will you ever need to buy “stew meat” from the grocery store again. It seems so convenient, but it often ends up being a lean cut that gets dried out quickly. Plus, you don’t know what primal cut it’s coming from. I recommend using subprimal cuts from the shoulder area.
I recommend beef cuts with more connective tissue and fat such as:
- Chuck eye roll (first choice!)
- Chuck roll under blade
- Chuck tender steak
- Chuck tender roast
I always sear the meat first before pressure cooking to encourage Maillard browning reaction on the surface for new flavor generation. These cuts of meat require slow cooking or braising with moist heat cooking to convert the collagen to gelatin for a tender and juicy product.
Since the electric pressure cooker requires at least 1 cup of liquid to function, the steam and moisture make the right conditions for cooking this beef stew. If you aren’t sure, don’t be afraid to ask the butcher for their advice to pick the right meat.
Key ingredients for Instant Pot Beef Stew
Once the beef is selected, it’s time to add in the vegetables and flavoring agents to the stew.
- Soy sauce boosts the umami taste.
- Balsamic vinegar enhances the flavor of the sauce with naturally occurring acids.
- Yukon gold all-purpose potatoes hold their structure under high pressure.
- Carrots, celery, and onion create the “holy trinity” flavor base.
- Cornstarch adds as a gluten-free thickening agent for the sauce.
How long to pressure cook beef stew
The Instant Pot is a unique multi-cooker that uses pressure and heat to create superheated steam. This process cooks the food in the enclosed vessel at the high pressure setting anywhere between 239 to 248ºF (115 to 120ºC) and 10 to 12 psi (pounds per square inch).
Because multiple types of ingredients are cooking, I found that 20 minutes at high pressure, followed by releasing the steam naturally for 15 minutes works well. This method allows the beef to tenderize and vegetables to become more tender but not mushy.
When I served this dish to my family, it disappeared quickly with no leftovers for the next day. It is by far one of my favorite Instant Pot recipes to make. I serve this meal with homemade mashed potatoes, but cauliflower rice makes for a tasty low carb option too. Let me know what you think in the comments section below!
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How to Thicken Beef Stew
Using the saute function on the Instant Pot at the end of the cooking process has been a game changer. It rapidly brings the sauce to a boil, which is what is needed for the cornstarch slurry to thicken the liquid in under 2 minutes. Make sure to stir the sauce as the slurry is slowly being added to allow the starch granules to disperse, absorb and swell. If there is no agitation, the starches will clump together and become lumpy.
Instant Pot Beef Stew
- 1 1/2 pounds beef chuck eye roll or chuck tender roast, (681g) 1 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce , (30 ml) divided
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, (45ml) divided
- 1 1/2 cups red onion, (165g) 1-inch dice
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic, (10g)
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, (60ml)
- 1 pound yukon gold potatoes, (454g) 1 1/2-inch dice
- 2 cups carrots, (280g) 1-inch pieces
- 1 cup celery , (122g) 1/2-inch dice
- 3 cups unsalted beef stock, (720ml)
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch, (20g)
- 1/4 cup water, (60ml)
- 1/4 cup cilantro leaves, (4g)
- 1/2 cup peas, (58g) fresh or frozen, defrosted
- In a medium-sized bowl combine cubed beef, 1/2 teaspoon salt, pepper and 1 tablespoon soy sauce.
- Select "Saute" on the Instant Pot. Allow pot to heat, it will indicate "Hot" on the display when ready.
- Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to the pot, once hot add beef and brown on one side for 2 minutes, flip over and brown the beef another 2 minutes.
- Transfer beef to a clean plate, it will not be fully cooked.
- Add 1 tablespoon oil and onions, saute for 1 minute.
- Add garlic and saute for 30 seconds.
- Add balsamic vinegar to deglaze the bottom of the pot for 3 minutes, stir and scrape the bottom to remove any browned bits.
- Add the potatoes, carrots, celery, browned beef, beef stock, 1 tablespoon soy sauce and 1/2 teaspoon salt, stir to combine. Press "Keep/ Warm/Cancel" on the Instant Pot.
- Make sure that the release valve is in the "Sealing" position.
- Place the lid on the Instant Pot, turn and lock the lid.
- Press "Manual" button on the Instant Pot on high pressure, and then set the timer to 20 minutes using the "+" or "-" buttons.
- It will take about 15 minutes for the pot to heat up and build up the pressure. You will see some steam release from the lid, and then the time will start on the display.
- Once cook time is complete, allow the pressure to naturally release for 15 minutes.
- Use an oven mitt or towel to slowly and carefully twist the steam release handle on the lid to "Venting" position. The initial release will spray some moisture around the pot so be careful.
- Carefully remove the lid, opening the top away from you as steam will be released from the pot.
- In a small bowl combine cornstarch and water to make a slurry.
- Select "Saute" on the Instant Pot, once the stewing liquid begins to boil add the cornstarch slurry.
- Cook, stirring until the liquid is thickened, 60 to 90 seconds, turn off the heat once thickened.
- Add the peas and allow to heat until cooked through 2 to 4 minutes.
- Garnish stew with cilantro and serve hot with rice, cauliflower rice or mashed potatoes.
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