Instant Pot Beef Stew

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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.

Try this stew recipe with the Slow Cooker or Stovetop for alternative cooking methods.

Bowl of Instant Pot beef stew served over mashed potatoes.
Table of Contents
  1. Choosing the right  kind of meat
  2. Sear the beef
  3. How to make beef stew in the instant pot
  4. How long to pressure cook beef stew
  5. Serve this with
  6. More Instant Pot recipes
  7. Instant Pot Beef Stew Recipe

This Instant Pot beef stew recipe is the answer to any dinnertime conundrum. Tender pieces of meat simmered with nutritious vegetables in a savory and rich sauce should satisfy all cravings. It’s a simple yet flavorful dish I grew up eating and always turn to for a comforting meal.

Using the multi-cooker, you skip the hours-long process of simmering the stew on 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.

Seasoned pieces of beef placed in a bowl.

Choosing the right  kind of meat

Avoid purchasing precut packages of “beef stew meat” from the grocery store. It seems so convenient, but it often becomes a lean cut that gets dried out quickly. Plus, you don’t know what primal cut it’s coming from. I recommend using larger subprimal cuts from the shoulder area called beef chuck roast. Cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes, then season with soy sauce, salt, and pepper to enhance the savory taste.

These beef cuts contain more connective tissue and fat. They are also labeled as:

  • Chuck eye roll (first choice!)
  • Chuck roll under the blade
  • Chuck tender steak
  • Chuck tender roast
Beef that has been sautéed in the Instant Pot.

Sear the beef

The advantage of using the Instant Pot is that you can brown the meat using the saute function. I always sear the meat before pressure cooking to encourage Maillard browning reaction on the surface for new flavor generation. Cook the pieces in hot olive oil for a few minutes until a golden crust is formed, then remove them from the pot.

The browned bits of meat and juices on the bottom of the pot are deglazed with onions, garlic, and balsamic vinegar. This ensures a more flavorful sauce and prevents the ingredients from burning on the bottom of the insert.

After browning, these cuts of meat require slow cooking or braising with moist heat cooking. This converts the collagen to gelatin for a tender and juicy product. This is where pressure cooking comes in.

Ingredients for beef stew placed inside an Instant Pot.

How to make beef stew in the instant pot

Once the beef is seared, and the pan is deglazed, it’s time to cook the stew. I use a 6-quart Instant Pot to make a large batch. To withstand the high pressure, hearty root vegetables that hold their structure are added, like celery, carrots, and potatoes. Yukon gold all-purpose potatoes are my top choice for their buttery taste and waxy texture.

Beef broth or stock is added to make the sauce and help the system pressurize. 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 recipe. Additional soy sauce and salt enhance the umami taste of the beef. Worcestershire sauce would be a nice addition for a more tangy taste.

Cover and lock the lid on the Instant pot. Then manually pressure cook on high pressure for 20 minutes. Natural release for 15 minutes prevents the liquid from spraying out of the pot. To thicken the braising liquid, a cornstarch slurry is simmered, which thickens in less than 2 minutes. Delicate peas are stirred in just before serving to warm the legumes.

Close up photo of beef stew served over mashed potatoes in a black bowl.

How long to pressure cook beef stew

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 and vegetables to become more tender but not mushy.

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 between 239 to 248ºF (115 to 120ºC) and 10 to 12 psi (pounds per square inch). It’s amazing how it can cut the traditional stove top or oven method for making beef stew down to just 35 minutes of pressure cooking.

Serve this with

More Instant Pot recipes

How to thicken the 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 needed for the cornstarch slurry to thicken the liquid in under 2 minutes. Make sure to stir the sauce as the slurry is slowly added to allow the starch granules to disperse, absorb and swell. If there is no agitation, the starches will clump together and become lumpy.

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Instant Pot Beef Stew

Save time and make Instant Pot beef stew with a hearty mix of potatoes, carrots, celery, and onions all thrown together in your electric pressure cooker.
4.96 from 177 votes
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time35 minutes
Total Time45 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Course Entree
Cuisine American

Ingredients 
 

  • 1 ½ pounds beef chuck eye roll, or chuck tender roast, 1 ½" cubes
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce, divided
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 ½ cups red onion, 1" dice
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 pound yukon gold potatoes, 1 ½" dice
  • 2 cups carrots, 1" pieces
  • 1 cup celery, ½" dice
  • 3 cups unsalted beef stock
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup cilantro leaves
  • ½ cup peas, fresh or frozen, defrosted

Instructions 

  • Season the Beef – In a medium-sized bowl, combine cubed beef, ½ teaspoon salt, pepper, and 1 tablespoon soy sauce.
  • Heat Instant Pot – Select "Saute" on the Instant Pot. Allow the device to heat up. It will indicate "Hot" on the display when ready.
  • Sear the Meat – Add 2 tablespoons olive oil. Once hot, add the beef and brown on one side for 2 minutes, flip and brown for another 2 minutes. Transfer to a clean plate, the meat will not be fully cooked.
  • Saute the Aromatics – Add 1 tablespoon oil and onions, and 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 to remove any browned bits.
  • Add the Ingredients – Add the potatoes, carrots, celery, browned beef, beef stock, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, and ½ teaspoon salt, and stir to combine.
  • Cover the Instant Pot – Press "Keep/ Warm/Cancel" on the Instant Pot. Make sure that the release valve is in the "Sealing" position. Place the lid on, turn and lock.
  • Pressure Cook – Press the "Manual" button on the Instant Pot on high pressure, and then set the timer to 20 minutes using the "+" or "-" buttons. The pot will take about 15 minutes to heat up and build pressure. You will see some steam release from the lid, and then the time will start on the display.
  • Release the Pressure – Once cook time is complete, allow the pressure to naturally release for 15 minutes.
  • Open Lid – Use an oven mitt or towel to slowly and carefully twist the steam release handle on the lid to the "Venting" position. The initial release will spray some moisture around the pot, so be careful. Remove the lid, opening the top away from you as steam will be released.
  • Thicken the Stew – 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 and stir for 60 to 90 seconds, and turn off the heat once thickened. Add the peas and cook, for 2 to 4 minutes.
  • To Serve – Garnish with cilantro and serve hot with rice or mashed potatoes.

Equipment

Notes

  • Make it Gluten-Free: Use coconut aminos or gluten-free tamari instead of soy sauce.
  • Make it Whole-30: Substitute soy sauce with coconut aminos. Substitute cornstarch with 3 tablespoons arrowroot flour (starch/powder) Bob’s Red Mill is recommended, mixed with 6 tablespoons water to make a slurry. 
  • Storing: Cool and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Freeze in a resealable plastic bag for 3 months. Defrost before using. 
  • Reheating: Cover and reheat in the microwave on high setting in 30-second increments, stirring in between, until hot. Heat on the stovetop or medium heat until hot. Add more beef stock if needed. 
Nutrition Facts
Instant Pot Beef Stew
Amount per Serving
Calories
366
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
17
g
26
%
Saturated Fat
 
2
g
10
%
Sodium
 
1192
mg
50
%
Potassium
 
1226
mg
35
%
Carbohydrates
 
46
g
15
%
Fiber
 
9
g
36
%
Sugar
 
9
g
10
%
Protein
 
11
g
22
%
Vitamin A
 
10910
IU
218
%
Vitamin C
 
33.3
mg
40
%
Calcium
 
564
mg
56
%
Iron
 
17
mg
94
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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78 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Ruben J. Hernandez says

    Made this for the family tonight and they loved it. First time using an Instapot and you made me a hero! Thank you ?

  2. Jovina says

    I made this for Easter Sunday with my new instant pot 6qt DUO and my huge family loved it! I lessened the amount of balsamic vinegar and the last part of soy sauce though because when my coworkers made this at work (yes at work; our boss bought an instant pot for the office kitchen) the vinegar or soy was quite strong. It was still yummy. Obviously, my family didn’t have anything to compare the stew to but they all loved it and I paired it with french bread. Tonight I’m going to make this again because my husband asked. 🙂

  3. Kathy says

    I made this tonight in my 8 quart PC and because I like really tender meat I set it to 25 minutes instead of 20. My potatoes were pretty small so they pretty much melted in to the sauce when I stirred the cornstarch but the entire meal was amazing and I will definitely stick to the 20 minutes next time. Thank you for this recipe.

  4. Jean says

    Wow was this delicious. I am relatively new to Instant Pot cooking and made one beef stew previously and the flavors were just not to my liking. I discovered this recipe and made it tonight and my family loved it. Thank you Jessica, so much. I will be following you and your recipes now!! Made pretty much exactly as written but i did double the corn starch. I also added green beans (steamed and then added them in as I wasn’t sure how long to cook them for using the instant pot) LOVE this recipe and now gaining a little more confidence in using the instant pot.

  5. Rob says

    I made this as a first try with my instapot. It was so delicious and so flavorful. The recipe was so easy to follow. This has now become my familys favorite sunday dinner.
    Thank you

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