Slow-cooked in the oven, this homemade beef stew recipe is jam-packed with tender beef, hearty root veggies and earthy mushrooms all bathed in a rich, savoury broth. So incredibly comforting and delicious, this Dutch oven stew pairs so well with a thick slice of homemade bread for dunking.
There’s nothing quite like a slow-cooked stew to give you all the comfort food feels, am I right?
As much as I love quick and easy meals, some days (particularly on the weekend), I really take pleasure in preparing something that takes a little extra time to make.
I definitely don’t mind a meal that takes hours to cook because the end result is worth it, especially when you’re talking about something as delicious as this homemade beef stew.
Even though it takes about four hours to make, most of the work is actually done by the oven, with very little hands-on time. That means you can sit back, read a book and relax while your stew is cooking, filling your home with the most amazing aroma.
- Beef roast: You don’t need anything expensive for stew. A boneless shoulder, blade or chuck roast works great.
- Avocado oil: For browning the chunks of beef. You can substitute with canola oil if you wish.
- Tomato paste: Helps thicken the stew and adds some acidity and flavour.
- Worcestershire sauce: Adds yummy umami flavour.
- Herbs: Rosemary, thyme, parsley and bay leaves.
- Salt and black pepper
- Beef Broth: I prefer to use a no salt added beef broth, that way I can better control the salt content. It doesn’t have to be homemade (though that would be great), just pick your favourite store-bought variety. I’ve even made this stew with half beef broth and half mushroom broth (made with dehydrated mushrooms). Talk about yummy!
- Veggies: Baby potatoes, carrots, pearl onions, mushrooms and garlic. I used baby potatoes and left them whole (without peeling). You can use a larger variety, just cut them into bite-sized pieces. Same goes for the onion (though, you definitely want to peel those).
- Balsamic vinegar: With all the rich, savoury flavours going on, the acidity of the balsamic vinegar really brightens the stew.
- Cornstarch and water: Mixed together, this cornstarch slurry helps thicken the stew. You can skip this if you don’t want your beef stew extra thick.
How To Make Beef Stew
Here is an overview of how to make this Dutch oven beef stew (full details are in the recipe card below):
- Pat the chunks of beef dry of excess moisture and season with salt. Then heat some avocado oil in a large, heavy-bottomed, oven-safe pot and brown the chunks of beef (in batches), removing each batch from the pot when done. Once all the beef has been browned, return it to the pot.
- Stir in tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, rosemary, thyme, bay leaves and black pepper, cooking for about a minute to get the flavours going.
- Deglaze with some broth (or wine), scraping the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to loosen all those brown bits (so much flavour in those!). Then stir in some more beef broth. Cover with the pot lid and bake.
- Carefully remove the pot from the oven and add veggies, salt, black pepper and more beef broth. Cover and place the pot back into the oven and continue to cook until the beef and veggies are tender.
- Once done, carefully remove the pot from the oven and stir in more rosemary, more thyme and balsamic vinegar. Remove and discard the bay leaves at this point too.
- If desired, stir a cornstarch slurry into the stew and cook on the stovetop for a tad to thicken. There ya have it, easy homemade stew ready to be enjoyed!
Thickening the Stew
Stew is quite a bit thicker than soup. I mean, there’s hearty veggies and chunks of beef. Having said that, I like to thicken the stew even further by mixing in a cornstarch slurry once everything is cooked.
Cornstarch slurry is simply a mixture of equal parts cornstarch and cold water. I like use 2 tablespoons of each, stirring into the stew once everything is cooked and the pot is out of the oven. Then it’s just a matter of allowing the cornstarch slurry to do its thing by cooking it out on the stovetop for a couple of minutes or so once the stew starts to simmer (it needs heat to properly thicken). If you want a thicker consistency, you could use more cornstarch slurry.
Adding a thickener is not necessary, but it’s something that I particularly enjoy. I love the broth to be a gravy-like consistency, nice and thick. You can skip if you prefer.
What To Serve With Stew
Honestly, homemade beef stew is super hearty and delicious served all on its own. However, I absolutely love to serve it with a thick slice of homemade bread for dunking. And after the bowl of stew is finished, I mop up all that delicious broth left on the bowl with the bread. It’s too good not to.
If you do want to serve the stew with something else (and to make it go further to feed more people), you can serve it over egg noodles, creamy polenta or mashed potatoes. Even though there are potatoes in the stew, it pairs so well with a good, creamy mash. Another delicious option is to serve the stew with a simple, crispy green salad on the side.
Tips for Making the Best Stew
- Pick a good stewing roast: You don’t have to go all out and buy an expensive roast of beef. Actually, more budget-friendly roasts work best. Because you are slow-cooking the stew in the oven, opt for something like a blade, shoulder or chuck roast. They turn out beautifully in stew, especially when they’re slow cooked for a long time.
- Brown the beef: Of course, you don’t have to brown the chunks of beef, but I totally recommend it. Browning the beef before oven cooking gives it a lovely caramelized colour which ultimately makes your stew tastier. I like to pat the chunks of beef dry of excess moisture, season and then cook in a little avocado oil. Do this in batches (with enough room around each piece) so the chunks of beef brown up nicely. If you overcrowd the pot, the beef will essentially simmer in their own juices rather then get that nice caramelized colour on the outside.
- Don’t add your veggies too early: The beef needs lots of time to cook so it turns out perfectly fall-apart tender. The veggies don’t need as much time as the beef does, so I like to add them when there’s about an hour or so left.
- Add herbs throughout: I love adding herbs at the beginning of cook time but also at the end for an extra punch of herbaceous flavour.
- Balance with a splash of balsamic vinegar: With all the rich, savoury flavours going on, a splash of balsamic vinegar at the end of cooking really brightens the beef stew and brings it together.
- Season as necessary: Depending on the salt content of your broth and your preference, you may want to add more (or less) salt and black pepper. And, if you feel like you’d like a little more rosemary or thyme, go for it!
Leftovers and Storing
Properly store leftover beef stew in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 to 4 days. Reheat before enjoying.
To reheat leftover stew, place whatever portion you are reheating in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until heated through.
Tip: If the stew is too thick, add a splash of beef broth to the saucepan to thin it out.
More Comfort Food Recipes
If you make this oven baked stew recipe, be sure to leave a comment below!
Beef Stew (Rich and Flavourful!)
- 1 (3.5-pound) boneless blade, shoulder or chuck roast, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1.5-inch chunks
- 2 teaspoons salt, divided (plus more to taste if necessary)
- 3 to 4 tablespoons avocado oil, approximately (or more as necessary to brown the chunks of beef). You can use canola oil instead of avocado oil if you wish.
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves, divided (or about 2 teaspoons of dried rosemary)
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves, divided (or about 1 teaspoon of dried thyme)
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided (plus more to taste if necessary)
- 6.5 to 7 cups no salt added beef broth, divided (you can substitute ½ cup of broth for red wine if you like)
- 1 pound baby potatoes, leave whole if they are tiny or cut into bite-sized pieces if they are larger
- 3 large carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
- 1 (10-once) package golden pearl onions, or 1 large yellow onion peeled and chopped
- ½ pound cremini or white button mushrooms, halved or quartered depending on their size
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 to 4 tablespoons cornstarch, optional
- 2 to 4 tablespoons cold water, optional
- Fresh chopped parsley, garnish to taste
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Meanwhile, pat the chunks of beef dry of excess moisture with some paper towels (this helps for a better browning of the meat). Then season them with 1.5 teaspoons of salt.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of avocado oil in a large, heavy-bottomed, oven-safe pot over medium-high heat (I like to use a large enameled cast-iron Dutch oven, something around 6-quart).Note: Use an oven-safe pot with a lid that's also oven safe (the lid will be used shortly).
- Place one-third of the chunks of beef in the pot (with space around each piece so they're not crowded) and cook until the beef is nicely browned all over, about 5 to 8 minutes in total per batch (you should hear a sizzle when you place the beef in the pot, letting you know the oil is ready). As each batch is done, transfer to a plate. Add more avocado oil to the pot (if necessary) between batches and continue to brown the remaining chunks of beef.Note: We're not fully cooking the chunks of beef at this point, just browning to add a little colour to it.
- Once all the beef is browned, return it to the pot (along with any juices that have accumulated onto the plate). Stir in tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, 1 tablespoon of fresh rosemary (or 1 teaspoon of dried rosemary), ½ tablespoon of fresh thyme (or ½ teaspoon of dried thyme), bay leaves and ½ teaspoon of black pepper. Cook for 1 minute, giving everything a nice stir to get the flavours going.
- Pour in ½ cup of beef broth (or use red wine) to deglaze the pot, using a wooden spoon to loosen any brown bits that have accumulated in the bottom of the pot. Then stir in 3 more cups of beef broth. Cover with the pot lid, transfer to the oven and bake for 2 hours.
- After two hours, carefully remove the pot from the oven and add the baby potatoes, carrots, onions, mushrooms, garlic, remaining ½ teaspoon of salt and remaining ½ teaspoon of black pepper. Pour over another 3 cups of beef broth, stir, cover and place the pot back into the oven and continue to cook for another 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes or until the beef and veggies are tender.Note: The veggies will release lots of water/moisture into the pot as they cook. If you need to thin out your broth after everything is cooked, you can easily add more broth later as necessary.
- Carefully remove the pot from the oven, stir in remaining 1 tablespoon of fresh rosemary (or remaining 1 teaspoon of dried rosemary), remaining ½ tablespoon of fresh thyme (or remaining ½ teaspoon of dried thyme) and balsamic vinegar. Remove and discard the bay leaves.
- If you want to further thicken the stew (which I like to do), then mix together an equal amount of the cornstarch and cold water in a small bowl (I like to use about 2 tablespoons of each but you could use more if you like your stew thicker). Stir into the pot of stew. Place the stew on the stovetop over medium heat, bring to a simmer, and cook until thickened, about 2 to 3 minutes.Note: You can easily adjust the consistency of the stew by adding more of the cornstarch and water mixture (cornstarch slurry) or broth. For example, if you want a thicker consistency, add more cornstarch slurry and heat through. If you want a looser or thinner consistency, stir in the remaining ½ cup of beef broth (or more if you like).
- Taste the stew for seasoning and add more salt and black pepper, if desired.
- To serve, ladle the stew into bowls and garnish to taste with parsley. Enjoy!
- I used a no salt added beef broth. If you use another variety, such a reduced sodium, you may want to add less salt to your stew.
- Even though you can substitute with dried herbs in this stew (by using less dried herbs than fresh), if you can get it, I’d recommend going with fresh herbs because it gives a better overall flavour to this beef stew.
A note on times provided: appliances vary, any prep and/or cook times provided are estimates only.
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