Home Dinner Beef Old-Fashioned Beef Stew

Old-Fashioned Beef Stew

This Old Fashioned Beef Stew is cozy comfort in a bowl.

With tender chunks of beef, fork-tender vegetables, and a rich savory broth, it’s the ultimate cold weather meal.

Comforting Beef Stew with Vegetables and Bread
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When the weather turns cold, I immediately start craving the rich, meaty flavors of this classic one-pot dish.

Beef stew brings back fond memories of my childhood, when my mom would make a big batch on chilly weekends. The savory aroma would fill the whole house as the beef, vegetables, and broth simmered away in the slow cooker.

I’m going to share my recipe for old-fashioned beef stew. But you can make it on the stovetop OR in the slow cooker. It’s up to you! Both are rich, flavorful, and filling.

Serve it with some crusty bread and get ready to enjoy the ultimate comfort food. This beef stew is just like you remember from childhood, guaranteed to hit the spot.

Beef Stew Ingredients: Beef Stew Meat, Vegetables, Oil, Beef Bouillon, Seasonings, Vegetables and Corn Starch


One reason I love this recipe is that it’s easy to modify. Don’t have potatoes? Use pumpkin! Run out of parsley? Try a little thyme. 

That being said, it’s a classic for a reason. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Beef stew meat. The best option for stew is “chuck.” This usually means meat from the shoulder of a cow. 
  • Vegetable oil. Choose something that has a high-smoke temperature. Since you’ll brown the meat in the pot first, you don’t want something that could start to burn
  • Beef bouillon. Bouillon is a concentrated stock that will round off your stew with all that hearty beef flavor. 
  • Seasonings. This recipe uses rosemary, parsley, and black pepper for a wonderful herby note in the gravy. The truth is, you can modify these to your preferred taste. 
  • Vegetables. The most budget-friendly and classic veggie options have to be celery, carrots, onions, and potatoes. They’re the base of so many soups and stews for a reason: they just work. 
  • Corn starch. Without this, you will have a robust and savory stew. It will just be more soup-like than a stew. 

How to Make Old Fashioned Beef Stew

This recipe is so simple, yet tastes like you spent all day in the kitchen.

Here’s a basic rundown of the method. Don’t worry, you’ll find more details at the bottom of the post.

  1. Brown the meat.  Heat oil in a large pot, and brown meat on all sides. Then, add the beef bouillon and water. 
  1. Add the seasonings. Add the spices, and then bring the liquid to a boil. Once boiling,  reduce the heat to a simmer.
  1. Cook the meat. Once simmering, cook the beef for one hour. 
  1. Prep the veggies. As the meat cooks, peel, cut, and prep the veggies.
  1. Add veggies and cornstarch. Add the veggies and cornstarch slurry (water + cornstarch) to the beef, and mix well. 
  1. Continue cooking. Cook for another until veggies are tender. Serve, and enjoy!

How to Make Beef Stew in the Slow Cooker

Another great option is to use a slow cooker. In this case, you can throw it all in the pot before work and come home to the perfect meal.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Brown the meat in a large skillet, then add it to the slow cooker.
  1. Add the liquid and cook on low for about 6 hours.
  1. Add the veggies and cook for 2 more hours.
  1. Add the cornstarch slurry and cook for 30 minutes
Warm and Hearty Homemade Old-Fashioned Beef Stew with Vegetables and Bread

Tips for the Best Stew

As easy as this recipe is to make, there are a few things you can do to push it over the top:

  • Pick the right beef. Using chuck for this recipe is advised, due to the natural marbling and how tender it will become after slow cooking. 
  • Make a crust. Try combining the cornstarch with seasonings and tossing the meat in before browning. This will create an amazing crust on the outside that is bursting with flavor. 
  • Give the beef room. When browning the beef, give it room to breathe. You may have to do it in batches, but having too much in at once will lead to a lot of liquid, which will prevent a good crust on the outside. 
  • Don’t clean your pot. After you brown your beef, don’t rinse the pot. That’s where all the flavor lives! Adding a touch of red wine will not only add flavor, but it will also help to loosen all that flavor from the bottom of the pan.
  • Roast your veggies. For a real flavor kick, try roasting your vegetables before adding them to the pot. A great option here is to toss everything in tomato paste and cook until tender. It will add a real depth of flavor to the stew. 
  • Adjust the thickness. You can adjust the thickness of the sauce by either adding some extra liquid or more cornstarch toward the end of cooking. I like a nice and thick stew, while others like it a little more soupy. 
  • Try beer! Using a dark beer in place of some of the liquid will give a deep and caramelized flavor that will pair perfectly with the beef. 

What Vegetables Go Well in Beef Stew?

This recipe is a fantastic and budget-friendly option. Using just potatoes, carrots, celery, and onion, you can make a big batch without having to spend too much.

On the other hand, there are a number of great options if you want to try something new!

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  • Experiment with onions and garlic. Onion and garlic are a base that shouldn’t be skipped, but maybe try shallots or Cipollini onions for something different. 
  • Try different root vegetables. Root vegetables are another great way to bulk up the stew and add flavor. Anything from parsnips to squash will work well and not turn to mush after cooking. 
  • Mushrooms. If you’re looking for something different, maybe try adding in a selection of mushrooms. They will provide a different texture and an earthy flavor to go with the hearty beef.
  • Earthy greens. Adding greens, such as spinach and kale, will not only give your stew some color but will boost the nutrients. 
Warm and Hearty Old-Fashioned Beef Stew

Can Beef Stew be Made Ahead of Time?

If you’re looking to save some time, there are things you can do to prepare for this dish.

  • Prep the vegetables. Peel, cut, and chop your vegetables and store them in a Ziplock bag. You can even double the batch and freeze half for an even quicker prep next time.
  • Freeze onions and potatoes. Be sure to store your onions and potatoes in the freezer to stop them from browning.
  • Store beef in the fridge. If you purchased a roast, rather than pre-cut chuck, trim and portion it before storing it in a Ziplock bag in the fridge.

If you’re using a slow cooker, you can leave it cooking all day to be ready for dinner. But this stew is also great, if not better, when served the following day.

Making this recipe ahead of time will allow the flavors to marry and will make it even tastier after a night or two in the fridge. 

Old-Fashioned Beef Stew



Prep time


Cooking time





Old-fashioned beef stew is so thick and hearty, and bursting with flavor! It’s the ultimate comfort food with tender chunks of beef and hearty root vegetables in a rich gravy.


  • 2 pounds cubed beef stew meat

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 4 cubes beef bouillon, crumbled

  • 4 cups of water

  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary

  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 3 large potatoes, peeled and cubed

  • 4 carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces

  • 4 stalks celery, cut into 1-inch pieces

  • 1 large onion, chopped

  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch

  • 2 teaspoons cold water


  • Add the oil to a Dutch Oven, or a large, heavy-bottom pot.
  • Cook the beef in batches over medium heat until brown. Ensure to cook on all sides and move to a plate while cooking the rest. Be careful not to overcrowd the pot.
  • When the beef is all browned, dissolve the beef bouillon in hot water and then add to the pot.
  • Carefully place the beef back into the pot, with the liquid and seasonings.
  • Bring everything to a boil before reducing the heat to a low simmer and covering with the lid.
  • Leave the beef to simmer for an hour, checking occasionally and stirring to prevent anything from sticking.
  • While the beef cooks, wash, peel, and cut your vegetables. Be careful not to cut them too small, so that they keep their form after cooking.
  • In a small bowl, make a slurry using the cornstarch and 2 teaspoons of water. Mix it thoroughly until totally smooth.
  • After an hour, add in the vegetables and slurry, stirring everything through.
  • Cover the pot and let simmer for another hour, stirring occasionally.
  • Serve in a big bowl with crusty French bread.
Old-Fashioned Beef Stew

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author avatar
Kim - InsanelyGood
Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

5 thoughts on “Old-Fashioned Beef Stew”

  1. I must say that you have so many good recipes….I am going to try and make as many as I can. Thanks for sharing all of your great recipes with us !!

    • To cook this in the slow cooker, brown the meat first, then add it to the slow cooker. Add the liquid and cook on low for about 6 hours. Then, add the veggies and cook for another 2 hours. Lastly, add the cornstarch slurry and cook for a final 30 minutes. Hope that helps!


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