by Olena

Instant Pot Beef Stew (Video)

by Olena

4.7 from 18 reviews

Instant Pot Beef Stew is one pot dinner with fall apart beef and lots of veggies cooked in delicious gravy sauce. Like my Ukrainian grandma used to make. Her 2 secret ingredients at the end make this stew the best! Serve with simple lettuce salad and whole grain bread.

As a true Ukrainian, I love my stew. Check out my Instant Pot chicken and potatoes. It’s similar and is to die for! And if potatoes are not your thing, try quinoa beef stew.

Instant Pot Beef Stew

Pressure Cooker Beef Stew

Easy instructions and simple ingredients will blow your mind in this most flavorful pressure cooker beef stew recipe on the web. No browning the meat.

This Instant Pot stew was the recipe that convinced my husband, Alex, that Instant Pot is the thing. It was his turn to cook. He pulled out a huge chunk of frozen deer meat, cut it up and it was enough for 4 stews. Since then we have perfected this recipe over 20 times.:)

Looking for more dinner ideas? Check out my most popular collection of 30 healthy Instant Pot recipes.

What Are Instant Pot Stew Ingredients?

My simple Instant Pot beef stew recipe has minimum ingredients and maximum flavor. The way I remember my grandma cooked in Ukraine 30 years ago. I met you, my American and Canadian friends, in the middle and added your stew’s staple, peas, at the end.

  • Beef stew meat
  • Onion, celery, carrots and potatoes
  • Tomato paste and stock
  • Oregano, thyme, bay leaves, peppercorns, salt and pepper
  • Fresh dill and garlic (do not skip!)

No paprika, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, apple cider vinegar, red wine etc. Save your money and time, seriously.

onion, carrots, celery, potatoes, peas, stew meat, tomato paste and dill ingredients for instant pot stew

What Is the Best Beef Stew Meat?

Beef is expensive. I use chuck roast or any other cheap roast. Affordable roast turns into tender beef in Instant Pot. Just slice it into 1 inch pieces and you are good to go. Organic or grass fed is a bonus but as you can tell doesn’t happen here always.

Game meat. I have used cubed venison and moose many times. Delish! Same cooking time. My mom hunts.

Do I Have to Brown The Meat?

I do not brown meat when pressure cooking. Simply because food cooked under high pressure is more flavorful than using a stovetop method. The whole point of using Instant Pot is to save time and not hover over the stove. I also feel like stainless steel pot with high walls doesn’t exactly brown the meat. It steams it more. There is no that brown char.

Tip: But hey, if you got time and think you should brown meat – go ahead. You will make Instant Pot stew only better.:)

instant pot beef stew frozen meat

Can I Use Frozen Meat?

You can use frozen cubed meat. Just make sure pieces are not more than 2-3 stuck together. As for cooking time, I show you in the video how I added some frozen meat along with fresh and it cooked perfectly all at same time. When cooking frozen meat in Instant Pot, it just takes longer to build up pressure as liquid is cooler. Cooking time is the same as with fresh meat. And while I am 99% confident in that, I will say that you can add 10 minutes to cooking time when making Instant Pot beef stew with frozen meat.

Tip: Thaw frozen meat a bit in water or on a counter (if have time) and separate.

What Are Best Potatoes to Use?

  • Yellow potatoes, yellow flesh or red potatoes cut into 2″ pieces.
  • I like to use baby potatoes because a) pre-washed b) Costco always has them c) barely any cutting.
  • Russet potatoes if you like fall apart potatoes in a stew.

Tip: According to Organic Facts, potatoes contain a lot of potassium especially in the skin and right underneath it. For this reason, I do not peel potatoes, only Russet.

How Long to Cook Beef Stew in Instant Pot?

30-35 minutes on high pressure. Those 5 minutes do not make or break the deal. But the longer any stew or soup cooks or sits (especially under pressure and steam), the more flavor it develops.

Nothing is sauteed, no unnecessary ingredients, no “burn” message. The best pressure cooker stew recipe on the net. I mean it. Go Google yourself and I will see you in 5, you’ll be back.

…Welcome back!

how to make Beef Stew in instant pot step by step

Do I Have to Stir the Stew?

No need to stir before cooking most Instant Pot recipes. The reason is because heating element is located at the bottom, some ingredients like canned tomato products, ground turkey or lack of water can cause dreaded “burn” message. Just add ingredients in the order listed in the recipe: vegetables, meat, tomato paste, spices and broth. Don’t stir and you are good to go.

My Instant Pot stew will never give you a “burn” message.

Instant Pot Stew

Natural or Quick Release?

Doesn’t matter much.

With kids sports, business, house renos I am always running everywhere. I do not have time to wait for Instant Pot to bring pressure down naturally. I need to feed everyone and go. I use natural release and vent outside…

Venting pressure right after Instant Pot has finished cooking is a very messy process. Liquids are still bubbling because of high pressure. So, to avoid cleaning countertops and house smelling like stew for days, it’s much easier to vent outside.

Easy Instant Pot Beef Stew venting outside

What Makes This The Best Beef Stew?

After venting pressure out, open the lid and “oh, yeah, baby!”. Add frozen peas and my 2 secret flavor boosters – fresh garlic and dill. It is one thing to cook garlic. And it is completely different experience to eat a dish with freshly grated garlic.

And fresh dill. You have never tried dill in a stew? Try and you will be blown away, pinky promise!

Tip: I don’t recommend to use dried dill. If you are not a fan of dill or don’t have any on hand, add fresh parsley.

pressure cooker beef stew

How to Thicken Instant Pot Beef Stew

If you like thick gravy beef stew, you can make a slurry and thicken the stew. Switch electric pressure cooker to Saute. In a small bowl, whisk 1/4 cup cold (!!!) water + 4 tbsp cornstarch, add to the pot and stir gently. Cook for a few minutes until thickened.

Tip: If you made a slurry beforehand, make sure to stir it right before adding to the pot. Cornstarch settles fast. 

instant pot Beef Stew recipe

What Instant Pot Size Can I Use?

I have included Instant Pot beef stew recipes for 2 sizes: 6 quart Instant Pot (the most popular) and 8 quart. If you have 3 quart one, cut 6 quart ingredients in half but use same cooking time.

If you are new to pressure cooking, check out my Instant Pot guide. It explains what happens, why and how to avoid failures. If you don’t have an Instant Pot yet but are thinking about buying one, I explain which Instant Pot to buy in my humble opinion.

More Healthy One Pot Instant Pot Dinners

Now, did I make you open that box finally?! Good! Go try my other Instant Pot recipes and keep being blown away how easy it is to cook healthy and delicious meals:

Watch Olena Make Beef Stew in Instant Pot

And don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube Channel for weekly cooking videos!

It’s my Ukrainian heritage recipe that is neither thick nor soupy, and packs so much flavour, even if you hate cooking, you will want to cook this easy Instant Pot stewing beef recipe. I still have a few tricks under my belt.

Print

Instant Pot Beef Stew

4.7 from 18 reviews

Instant Pot Beef Stew is one pot dinner with fall apart beef and lots of veggies cooked in delicious gravy sauce. Like my Ukrainian grandma used to make. No Burn message too. Pinky promise, you will love it!

  • Author: Olena of ifoodreal.com
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 7 (6 Qt.), 11 (8 Qt.) servings 1x
  • Category: Soup and Stew
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: Ukrainian
Scale

Ingredients

6 Quart Instant Pot

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 large carrots, chopped
  • 2 small celery stalks, chopped
  • 3 large garlic cloves, grated & divided
  • 2 lbs potatoes, cubed
  • 1.5 lbs chuck or any cheap roast beef, cubed into 1” pieces
  • 6 oz can tomato paste, low sodium
  • 1 bouillon cube
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tsp oregano, dried
  • 1 tsp thyme, dried
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 5 peppercorns
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1/23/4 cup fresh dill, finely chopped

8 Quart Instant Pot

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 large carrots, chopped
  • 4 small celery stalks, chopped
  • 4 large garlic cloves, grated & divided
  • 3 lbs potatoes, cubed
  • 2 lbs chuck or any cheap roast beef, cubed into 1” pieces
  • 6 oz can tomato paste, low sodium
  • 2 bouillon cubes
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 1/2 tsp oregano, dried
  • 1 1/2 tsp thyme, dried
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 7 peppercorns
  • 2 cups frozen peas
  • 1 cup fresh dill, finely chopped

Slurry

  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 4 tbsp cornstarch or arrowroot powder

Instructions

  1. In Instant Pot, add onion, carrot, celery, 2 garlic cloves, potatoes and beef as you are cutting them. Then add tomato paste, bouillon + water or stock, oregano, thyme, salt, pepper, bay leaves and peppercorns. No need to stir, just flatten tomato paste with a spoon.
  2. Close the lid, set pressure vent to Sealing and press Pressure Cook on High for 30 minutes. Display will say ON, Instant Pot will take about 20 minutes to come to pressure, you will see a bit of steam coming out from a valve, then float valve will rise and countdown from 30 minutes will begin.
  3. When display says OFF, stew is ready. Now your Instant Pot needs to bring pressure down before you can open it, which will be indicated by a dropped down float valve. You can let it do it on its own which will take about 15-20 minutes – Natural Release. OR you can do Quick Release by turning pressure valve to Venting position, which takes 2-3 minutes. I recommend doing so outside to avoid countertop mess and house smelling like stew for days.
  4. Open the lid, add peas, remaining 2 cloves of garlic and dill. Stir.
  5. To thicken beef stew: Switch electric pressure cooker to Saute. In a small bowl, whisk cold water with cornstarch, add to the pot and stir gently. Cook for a few minutes until thickened.
  6. Serve hot.

Store: Refrigerate in an airtight container or inner Instant Pot pot with a fitting glass lid for up to 5 days.

Freeze: I have not tried to freeze the stew as there are never leftovers and I question how well potatoes would thaw.

Notes

You can use frozen cubed meat. Thaw it a bit in water or on a counter (if have time) and separate into blobs of 2-3 pieces. Add 10 minutes to cooking time.

Replace bouillon cubes + water with any stock. I just like to keep dry cubes instead of open carton going bad in the fridge.

If you made a slurry beforehand, make sure to stir it right before adding to the pot. Cornstarch settles fast.

I don’t recommend to use dried dill. If you are not a fan of dill or don’t have any on hand, add fresh parsley.

 Did you make this recipe? Please give it a star rating in the comments.

olena osipov in the studio

Hello and welcome to iFOODreal.

My name is Olena Osipov. I'm a mom to 2 boys and a wife to Alex. And this is our healthy family recipes blog. I grew up in Ukraine on real food. As an adult, I tried many diets without results. Now for over 10 years, I cook quick and easy healthy meals for my family. I can help you with “What’s for dinner?” too.

What You Will Find Here

Healthy family recipes with simple ingredients. Many are inspired by my Ukrainian heritage. I share mostly dinner recipes because it just never ends... I’m obsessed with healthy freezer meals. And more than in love with my Instant Pot.

A Little More About Me

Originally from Ukraine, I now reside on magic Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada with my family. I started this blog in 2012 when I ended up at home with 2 small kids unemployed and a wee bit chubby.

52 comments on “Instant Pot Beef Stew (Video)

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  1. Might be a meaningless question but curious:

    You mention the 2 bouillon cubes & 3 cups water with the addendum to substitute broth, if you so choose.

    I intended to use 3 cups beef broth instead of water. Since I have no bouillon cubes, would I sub that with 2 cups broth as well? Bringing my total to 5 cups?

    1. The total of liquid should be 3 cups no matter what you choose. Otherwise will be a soup. I dilute 2 dry cubes in 2-3 cups water depending on size of instant pot I or you use. But 3 cups is total max for 8 quart. Cubes flavor water. They add no volume. Does this help?:)

  2. I have a question on Step 1 of the recipe… the last instruction is to “stir.” But from my understanding having meat or tomato at the bottom will cause the burn message. Do you stir everything to combine before cooking or just leave it layered the way you show in the pictures and then just stir at the end?

    1. Yes, it’s true tomato products cause “burn”. However, 1 small can of tomato paste with this particular recipe doesn’t do that because there are many other ingredients. You don’t have to stir but you can. Meat at the bottom is actually the best to prevent “burn”. Unless it’s ground meat but pieces should be fine.

  3. The 6 qt. recipe works for the mini instant pot as well.
    We enjoyed the stew, but found it to be very “wet” and more like a hearty soup. I would cut down on the liquid next time and would also thicken the remaining liquid a little so that the consistency was more like gravy. I found that the frozen peas cooled down the mixture, so turned on the sauté function for a few minutes to bring the temperature back up. Thank you for the recipe. It was tasty and was a good choice for a cold winter evening.

  4. This was a great stew recipe however I found the thyme very overwhelming. Next time I will cut the thyme measurement in half. I love that I didn’t have to brown the meat first. Very easy and quick to make!

  5. Great recipe! My SO said it was my best instant pot meal so far. I would leave out the dill next time, but that’s just a personal preference.

  6. Hi, I have an 8 qt instant pot but there are only two of us. Can I make the 6 qt recipe or will I get the burn notice? Thanks!

    1. Hi Amanda. Yes, for sure. Use 6 quart recipe in your 8 quart IP. It just makes less. You won’t get a burn notice.:) The problem is when you overstuff 6 quart with 8 quart amount of ingredients – IP won’t come to pressure – too full.

  7. Dill is an interesting addition. I only had dried on hand and used a little too much for my liking this time but will try again only next time, a little less!

    1. Yes! Dried dill is completely different “animal” compared to fresh. You have to use very little and it has very different flavor from fresh. I personally do not like dried dill. I would rather use nothing.

  8. First time using my InstantPot and I made this beef stew. Did not have frozen peas or dill, but hands down, this was delicious!! I have some picky teenagers in my house including one that will not eat a vegetable even if I paid her; she cleaned the bowl and LOVED it. Thanks for making the recipe easy to follow (including settings for the IP as it was the first time I made anything in it) and including step-by-step pics. Did not tenderize the meat ahead of time, or even mix the ingredients…still amazing and can’t wait to have as left overs!

    1. That is so awesome! I’m a true believer you can convert picky eaters with good recipes. Just saying.:) Yes, you don’t stir anything in IP barely ever FYI. It causes burning sometimes, especially of tomato and meat products.

  9. Although the flavors were there I personally like to brown and caramelize my meat and vegetables. It adds another depth of flavor which was missing here. It’s all about layering. I used real broth instead of bullion. I like the use of dill and adding the garlic last. I also added fresh parsley as well.

  10. I didn’t have the green peas or the fresh dill but the recipe was still fantastic. I layered everything in the pot, including the raw meat and put it on stew for 30 min. I didn’t even brown the meat. I left to pick up my wife from work and when we got home it had been kept warm for 18 minutes. It tasted great and the meat was as tender as you could ask for. I’ll be trying more of your instant pot recipes in the future.

  11. Just acquired an instant pot. This is the second recipe that I have tried. Outstanding!
    Browned the meat and then veg on saute setting. Cooked for 35 minutes. Super tender and yummy!

    Only 35 minutes…

    Looking forward to trying more recipes.

  12. So, so good! And so easy! This was the first recipe I made with my Instant Pot, (ha ha, Olena, how did you know I still had it in the box???) I am a convert, thanks for this great recipe 🙂

  13. The cooking times are listed both as 30 mins and 35 mins and I’d like clarification. In your very well done steps with pictures, no. 6 states: Close the lid, set pressure vent to Sealing and press Stew for 35 minutes. The picture of the Instant Pot also shows 00:35 and that is the default time for Meat/Stew. You don’t indicate to reduce the time to 30 minutes.
    But in the printable recipe the Cook Time is 30 minutes. And in the instructions (no. 2) you indicate 30 minutes twice.
    If you could advise and correct the website that would be great. Then I’ll try the recipe….looks delicious.
    Thank you.

    1. This recipe has been tested so many times that’s why different times. Honestly it doesn’t matter. 30-35 mins. If you like more thick consistency and fall apart potatoes do 35 mins. Either way it will be ready. Don’t worry. .:)

      1. Thank you for the quick response. I didn’t see your reply right away and went ahead with 30 mins. which I found to be perfect to my liking. I look forward to trying more of your recipes. Keep up the good work!

  14. I can’t tell if this is using frozen meat or not. That’s what I searched for and what brought me here, but I’m thinking this is using thawed meat.

    It sounds delish, so please confirm!

  15. When I was a kid my mom used to make beef stew so regularly that I ended up growing up to hate it. I haven’t had it in probably over 10 years because of it. But after seeing these pictures of this beef stew, you’re really making me reconsider. You’re also making me wonder if maybe my mom’s beef stew was just bad and that’s why I ended up hating it, lol.

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