Hearty Stews To Cook Up For Dinner

When it's cold and dreary outside, there's nothing more comforting to put on the dinner table than a rich, hearty bowl of stew. And there are more than a few kinds of stew to choose from! From classic beef stew to options with a bit more spice, stews with a base of broth or wine or even beer, there's a whole host of recipes out there to keep you warm and full.

Stews are often long-simmering dishes that get better with time, and that's a good thing! Consider making a big batch of stew on the weekend and freezing or refrigerating it for the week to come. Most stews include both meat and vegetables in one pot, so you won't even need to think about side dishes (save a crusty loaf of bread, perhaps?). And future you will thank past you on busy weeknights when all you need to do is reheat and tuck in! Now, let's go over some of the best hearty stew recipes you should be making.

A classic Irish stew for a dinnertime classic

When you think of stew, the first image that comes to mind is likely a combo of meat and potatoes, and this Irish stew recipe will not disappoint. Made with richly flavorful lamb and big hunks of Yukon gold potatoes, this stew simmers for nearly two hours so that it emerges richly infused with garlic and herbs. Serve it on its own or with a hunk of Irish brown bread to soak up all of that tasty gravy.

Guinness stew for the lucky is perfect for a rainy day dinner

The rainy weather on their native island has made the Irish stew masters, as this Guinness stew recipe shows all too well. This recipe sees beef chuck simmered with root veggies — like parsnips, carrots, and potatoes — all coated in a luscious Guinness gravy. A few unique ingredients like coffee, brown sugar, and soy sauce serve to heighten the natural flavors of the stout. After three hours smelling it simmering on the range, your whole family will be clamoring for a taste.

Quick beef stew for those busy weeknight dinners

If you want those classic beef stew flavors without all the hands-on work or waiting, it's time to put your Instant Pot to the test. This Instant Pot beef stew ticks all the boxes. There's not much slicing or dicing here: This recipe relies on baby carrots and stew meat you can ask your butcher to cut up for you. Tossed in the Instant Pot with potatoes, broth, onions, and garlic, it cooks in just fifteen minutes. It's hard to imagine a quicker stew than that!

This beef bourguignon will become your dinner préféré

Where the Irish go-to is beer, the French love their wine – and beef bourguignon is living proof. This classic French stew hails from Burgundy, a region famed for its pinot noir. It's no surprise, then, that the fruity varietal is the base for this stew, made by simmering beef, pearl onions, carrots, and potatoes in a bacon-infused wine gravy you'll be licking off your plate. Serve with mashed potatoes and crusty baguette. And don't forget to say bon appétit!

Ossobuco will conquer your heart at dinner

Italian stewed veal shanks are a specialty of northern Italy, where they're simmered in an aromatic white wine sauce and topped with an herbed gremolata. The tender meat and soft marrow within the bone are both considered delicacies. Often served atop polenta or saffron risotto, this ossobuco is definitely a special occasion dish, given the price of veal shanks. You can make a "poor man's" version by subbing less expensive (but equally delicious) beef or pork.

An American play on a Hungarian dinner classic

Fans of Hungarian goulash, a stewed beef dish flavored with paprika, will be hard pressed to recognize it in this American goulash, which is truly a horse of a different color. Made with ground beef sautéed with onions, peppers, and a rich tomato sauce, it's got macaroni stirred in for even more heft. Think of it more like a homemade Hamburger Helper that's eons tastier. 

However you frame it, this dish fulfills all of our stew needs: It's hearty; it's rich; it's flavorful. But it boasts one added benefit: At 35 minutes from start to finish, it's a lot quicker to make than some of the other stew recipes on this list.

You've never had a meatball dinner like this

The overlap between soup and stew can occasionally be complex (as Rachael Ray knows too well, addressing the conundrum with her portemanteau "stoup.") But while this dish is technically a chunky soup, we couldn't resist including this recipe for albondigas, a Latin American combination of spiced balls of rice and meat simmered in a veggie-rich and chile-spiked broth, in our list of stews. This dish is flavored with cumin, cilantro, and poblano pepper, but it's not terribly spicy, so it's perfect for palates that are sensitive to heat.

Brunswick stew is a Southern weeknight dinner go-to

A Southern staple with loads of flavor, Brunswick stew is a relatively quick stew relying on pre-cooked meat and frozen veggies, rendering it the ideal stew to whip up on a weeknight. It features not one but two different kinds of meat: pulled pork and pulled chicken. Simmered with corn, lima beans, and okra to thicken and seasoned with sweet barbecue sauce and umami-rich Worcestershire sauce, this stew is a stand-out sure to become a new staple.