Instant Pot Beef Stew For Nights When You're In A Hurry

There's nothing quite like the stick-to-your-ribs comfort of a nice, warm bowl of beef stew, but with hours of simmering required, beef stew can be quite a time commitment. That's what inspired food blogger Laura Sampson of Little House Big Alaska to make this quick and easy Instant Pot beef stew recipe for when you're in a hurry. 

She says, "Beef stew is so tasty, but it can take all day for that home-cooked flavor to come through." This Instant Pot recipe is so fast that it turns an all-day recipe into an easy weeknight meal. Sampson even uses baby carrots to make this Instant Pot recipe even quicker and easier.

If you don't have an Instant Pot and want to make this stew the old fashion way, in addition to giving yourself some extra time, you're going to have to add a little extra water when cooking it on the stove-top. Be careful with adding too much broth, however, because broth tends to have a high salt content and will leave you with an overly salty stew.

Prep the meat for the Instant Pot beef stew

Let's start with the star of the show: beef! Cut one pound of stew meat — usually chuck, bone-in short ribs, or oxtail — into cubes. Set your Instant Pot to sauté and mix ½ cup of all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon garlic granules or garlic powder, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon black pepper together in a bowl. Dredge the cubes of beef in the flour mixture, and set the leftover mixture off to the side.

Add one tablespoon of cooking oil to the Instant Pot. Once the oil is hot, add half of the stew meat cubes. Make sure to brown the meat on all sides, and then remove the first batch of beef from the pot. Add one more tablespoon of oil and add the rest of the beef, turning and browning on all sides. 

Set all the beef aside and add the remaining flour mixture to the pan, lightly toasting it in the oil. While most stew recipes add flour as a thickener after liquid has already been added, Sampson likes to "brown the flour" first in the leftover oil before adding broth: "It gives it a better taste."

Now it's time to add the broth for Instant Pot beef stew

Start by pouring a cup of broth into the Instant Pot. Sampson warns that this is when things can get a little steamy, though, so stand back! Gently scrape the flour and browned beef bits off the bottom of the Instant Pot, and as you add the rest of the broth, try to go slowly to avoid lumps. If you see lumps, a whisk can help break them up. If you've ever made a roux as a base for a cream sauce or ended up with a lumpy pudding, you know that floury lumps can really spoil a dish. 

Even though this is a recipe for when you're in a hurry, this is the one part when you might need to slow down a little bit – it's worth it in the end! Once the bottom of the pot is cleaned up, you should have added up to six cups of broth.

It's veggie time for the Instant Pot beef stew

Next up: it's time to add your vegetables. Put one pound of round, waxy potatoes, one pound of baby carrots, and a cup of chopped onions in the instant pot. Add the browned beef, as well. If needed, add some additional broth to cover the vegetables and beef. Sampson suggests using baby carrots to save on prep time, but of course, you can use regular carrots — just make sure to give yourself enough time to peel and slice. If you want to use fresh garlic instead of garlic powder, add fresh minced garlic now.

What exactly are "waxy" potatoes? Potatoes can be starchy, floury, or waxy. Waxy potatoes have relatively high levels of moisture and low levels of starch, which means that their cells stay intact after boiling. You'll want to use waxy potatoes, such as new potatoes, and not starchy potatoes, such as russets, in this beef stew so that they'll maintain their shape under the intense heat of the Instant Pot.

Let the Instant Pot get to work cooking the beef stew

Now it's time to let the Instant Pot work its magic. While this stew takes slightly longer than an "instant" to prepare, the cooking process is impressively low-stress, low-effort, and fast. First, press the "off" button, and then turn the Instant Pot to "manual." Set the Instant Pot to "high pressure" and the cooking time to 15 minutes. After it's done, let the pot sit without venting for an additional 15 minutes. Once the time is up, you can carefully release any remaining steam. 

If you're a new Instant Pot user, be careful to never put your face near the steam release valve while the Instant Pot is on, and food blogger Kristine's Kitchen suggests toggling the release valve with a long-handed wooden spoon.

If your stew is not as thick as you'd like, you can set the Instant Pot to sauté to thicken it up. If it's a little too thick, add extra broth.

Consider your Instant Pot beef stew seasoning

This Instant Pot beef stew recipe keeps the seasoning pretty simple: garlic powder, salt, and pepper. But you can jazz this simple beef stew up to your heart's content with any extra seasonings you may like. Sampson says that she likes to keep things pretty simple, but, "Bay leaves would be great, a pinch of cinnamon is wonderful, a splash of beer or wine makes a perfect finishing touch."

Instant Pot Beef Stew For Nights When You're In A Hurry
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Beef stew is the ultimate comfort food, and this Instant Pot recipe is perfect for a busy weeknight dinner. With simple ingredients, 40 minutes, and an Instant Pot, you'll have a delicious, one-pot dinner.
Prep Time
10
minutes
Cook Time
15
minutes
Servings
6
Servings
Photo of a bowl of beef stew
Ready in 25 minutes
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon garlic granules or powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 pound stew meat, cubed
  • 1 pound round waxy potatoes
  • 1 pound baby carrots
  • 1 cup chopped white onion
  • 6-8 cups beef broth
Directions
  1. Set the instant pot to sauté.
  2. Mix the flour, salt, and garlic powder together in a bowl. Dredge the cubes of stew meat in the flour mixture. Add 1 tablespoon of oil to the Instant Pot. Once the oil is hot, add half of the beef cubes and brown the meat, turning and browning on all sides. Remove the browned beef from the pot, add the remaining tablespoon of oil, and repeat with the rest of the beef cubes.
  3. Add 2 tablespoons of the left over flour mixture and lightly brown it in the hot oil.
  4. Slowly pour 1 cup of beef broth into the pot. As you pour, gently scrape the browned flour and leftover pieces of browned beef from the bottom of the pot. Continue to add broth and keep scraping the bottom of the pot.
  5. Add the browned beef, carrots, potatoes, and onions. Stir to combine. If necessary, add more broth to cover the vegetables and beef.
  6. Close your Instant Pot and press the "off" button. Then press "manual" and then set the pot to high pressure. Set the cook time to 15 minutes. After the pot is finished cooking, let it sit without venting for an additional 15 minutes.
  7. Carefully release any additional steam. Salt and pepper to taste.
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