Skip to Content

Instant Pot Beef Stew

Full of super tender meat and veggies in a thick and flavorful gravy, this Instant Pot Beef Stew tastes like you cooked it all day, yet it only takes about 90 minutes from start to finish! It’s comfort food at it’s finest!

Even though I don’t love the cold weather, I do love when it gets cold outside for the simple reason that it means it’s time to cook my favorite comfort foods: soups and stews.

And there’s nothing quite as comforting and satisfying as a warm bowl of beef stew on a chilly day!

It used to be that, to make a really good beef stew, you had to cook it for hours on the stove top or in the oven to get the meat tender and develop the flavor. Growing up, my mom only made beef stew on the weekend because it took so long to make.

How lucky are we that we have the Instant Pot?

Now I can make beef stew any day of the week, and it tastes like I cooked it all day long. It’s so easy and so delicious, I don’t think I’ll ever go back to making it the old-fashioned way!

I tried quite a few recipes with different levels of success before I finally settled on this one, which is adapted from Pinch of Yum’s Life Changing Beef Stew. Lindsay’s recipes are always awesome, and with a name like that, you know it’s going to be fabulous!

pot of instant pot beef stew with a ladle full of stew being taken out

INGREDIENTS YOU NEED TO MAKE INSTANT POT BEEF STEW:

  • Olive oil
  • Beef stewing meat (round or chuck)
  • Onions
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Tomato sauce
  • Beef stock or broth
  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • Tapioca

SPECIAL EQUIPMENT NEEDED:

  • Instant Pot

HERE’S A QUICK LOOK AT HOW TO MAKE INSTANT POT BEEF STEW:

three photos showing steps to make instant pot beef stew with text that says brown the beef in olive oil using the saute function, add onions, carrots, celery, tomato sauce, broth, salt, and sugar, stir to combine
three photos showing steps to make instant pot beef stew with text that says sprinkle the tapioca on top, do not stir it in, cook at high pressure for 35 minutes, natural pressure release for 10 minutes, then quick release the rest
two photos of steps to make instant pot beef stew with text that says stir, enjoy

I have browned the meat in batches, and I have browned it all at once. It takes just as long either way, so I just do it all at once.

At first, the meat will release a lot of liquid, and you’ll think it’s not going to brown. Just be patient. Eventually, the liquid will evaporate, and the meat will brown nicely. It takes about 20 minutes.

By the way, the browning step is totally optional – you could just add the meat to the pot along with the veggies – but it adds a ton of great flavor, so I definitely recommend it!

WHAT ABOUT THE POTATOES?

So…you may have noticed that there are no potatoes in this beef stew.

Why? Because, after 35 minutes at high pressure, they turn to mush. This stew is excellent even without potatoes (and it’s lower in carbs and calories too). In fact, you may not even miss them.

Since the sauce can get rather thick by the time the stew is done cooking, the Instant Pot may have a difficult time coming back up to pressure if you wanted to add potatoes at that point. So my answer (because I almost always want potatoes with my beef stew) is to consider these two simple options:

Option #1: Boil some cubed potatoes separately on the stove just until fork-tender. Drain and add to the stew when it is done cooking. Easy! I have done this lots of times.

Option #2 (my favorite): Make some mashed potatoes while the stew is cooking. Serve the stew over the mashed potatoes (I especially like garlic mashed potatoes with this stew – YUM!), like this:

two bowls of instant pot beef stew served over mashed potatoes with a dish of rolls in the background

So, so, so good! Plus, it looks fancy. Totally dinner-party-worthy. Your friends and family will be impressed. This is my new favorite way to eat beef stew…and it might just become yours too!

COMMON QUESTIONS:

  • Can I use something other than tapioca to thicken the stew? You sure can! Go ahead and make the stew as directed without adding the tapioca. After the cooking has finished, turn the Instant Pot to the Saute function. Once the stew is simmering, add a cornstarch slurry (2 tablespoons of cornstarch mixed with 3 tablespoons of cold water). Cook for a minute or two, stirring occasionally, until the stew has thickened.
  • Do I have to brown the meat? No, you don’t HAVE to, and you will still get a yummy stew if you skip this step. BUT there is just something awesome that happens when you do. You get so much more flavor. It’s worth it! Please try it.

Be sure to serve this stew with some buttered crusty bread for mopping up all that delicious gravy – because you won’t want to leave a single drop in the bowl!

I hope you try this recipe for Instant Pot Beef Stew and love it as much as I do. Thanks for visiting today!

michelle signature
graphic that says if you make this recipe, please leave a star rating and comment below thanks
instant pot beef stew in a white bowl

Instant Pot Beef Stew

Full of super tender meat and veggies in a thick and flavorful gravy, this Instant Pot Beef Stew tastes like you cooked it all day, yet it only takes about 90 minutes from start to finish! It’s comfort food at it’s finest!
3 from 1 vote
Print Pin Save Rate & Comment
Author: Michelle | Now Cook This!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Servings: 5 Servings
Estimated Calories: 393

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 pounds cubed stew meat, round or chuck
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 3 cups carrots, sliced 1/2″ thick
  • 1 cup celery, sliced 1/2″ thick
  • 1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup beef stock or broth
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3 tablespoons tapioca

Instructions

  • Turn the Instant Pot on to the SAUTE function and adjust to the highest heat setting. When the pot is heated (it will say HOT), add the olive oil and the stew meat. Cook the meat until it is nicely browned. Press CANCEL to turn the Instant Pot off.
    Note: this step will take about 20 minutes. At first, the meat will release some liquid, and it will seem as though it's not going to brown. However, as it continues to cook, the liquid will evaporate away, and the meat will then brown nicely. This browning step is optional but recommended for added flavor. If you'd rather not brown the meat, just add it to the pot first (you can omit the oil), and then proceed with the recipe.
  • Add the onions, carrots, celery, tomato sauce, beef stock or broth, salt, and sugar. Stir to combine and scrape up any browned bits off the bottom of the pot from the browning step (this will ensure that you don't get a burn notice on the Instant Pot).
  • Sprinkle the tapioca on top. Do not stir the tapioca in.
  • Place the lid on the Instant Pot, lock it in place, and set the steam release value to SEALING. Depending on the model Instant Pot you have, use the STEW/MEAT button, the MANUAL button, or the PRESSURE COOK button and set the time to 35 minutes at high pressure. (Note: It will take about 10 minutes for the Instant Pot to come to pressure).
  • Once the cooking has finished, turn off the Instant Pot and allow the pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes. 
  • Turn the steam release knob to VENTING (take precautions to avoid the very hot steam that will be released) and quick-release the remaining pressure.
  • Stir, adjust seasoning if needed, and enjoy!

Notes

  • The tapioca is used to thicken the gravy. If you don’t have any tapioca, you can thicken the stew after the pressure cooking is complete. Make a cornstarch slurry with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch mixed with 3 tablespoons of cold water. Turn the Instant Pot on to the Saute function. When the stew is simmering, add the cornstarch slurry, stir it in, and cook for a minute or two, stirring occasionally, until the stew has thickened. 
  • Excellent served over mashed potatoes!
  • If you want potatoes in your stew, boil some cubed potatoes until fork tender while the stew is cooking and stir them into the stew when it’s done (I have found that potatoes cooked in the Instant Pot with the stew turn mushy after 35 minutes).
  • Leftovers freeze well.
Did you try this recipe? I’d love to see it!Share it on Instagram, tag @nowcookthis and use the hashtag #nowcookthisrecipes. Thanks!

Recipe slightly adapted from Pinch of Yum.

Recipe Rating




YtheWait

Monday 19th of October 2020

Delicious!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!