This beef stew without wine is loaded with tender beef, potatoes, carrots, onion, and celery bathing in a luxurious seasoned broth. Best of all, you can make it on the stovetop or in the slow cooker.
Somewhere in everyone's childhood, there is a memory of mom making classic beef stew for dinner. And if your mom was like my mom, it was made without wine because this was a no-fuss meal loaded with simple ingredients. Heck, I think this beef stew is even more quintessentially American than apple pie and baseball. It is the busy mom's original one-pot meal.
Beef stew is the perfect hearty comfort food meal to serve a family on a chilly evening. Not only will this simple meal stick to your ribs (what does that even mean?), it contains the entree and sides all in one dish for a complete meal. Oh, and that broth! Is there anything better than sopping up the broth with freshly baked bread?
What cut of beef should you use in beef stew?
Chuck roast is the best beef stew meat. Not only is this cheaper cut of meat easier on your wallet, but it contains a little more fat than most other cuts. This fat melts out of the beef during the long cooking time and blends itself with the beef stock to create a luxurious broth. Adding a little flour to the slow cooker gives an extra boost to thickening the broth. If you are looking for a little healthier beef stew feel free to substitute a leaner cut like rump/round roast.
Beef Stew Ingredients
Any classic beef stew needs to contain beef, potatoes, onions, carrots, and celery. Many classic beef stew recipes call for red wine for a more gourmet flare, however, I stick to beef stock for this easy homemade stew. If you wish to add some acidity without wine, I recommend adding a dribble of balsamic vinegar or a dollop of tomato paste.
- Beef chuck roast
- Vegetable oil - This is only needed for searing beef if cooking on the stovetop.
- Beef stock - Beef broth can also be used.
- Russet potatoes
- Celery stalks
- Garlic (minced)
- All purpose flour
- Worcestershire sauce
- Fresh herbs - Thyme & Bay leaf
- Salt and black pepper
If making slow cooker beef stew, I recommend using a 5 or 6 quart crock pot for this recipe. I never purchase overly fancy slow cookers. Instead, I simply want one with a high, low, and keep warm setting. As an added bonus I like if they have a locking lid for transporting food to events.
When making beef stew on the stovetop I use a large Dutch oven, but any large pot you have on hand will work. You could use a large skillet to brown the beef, but that just creates more mess to clean up since the stew cannot be simmered in a skillet. Using a proper pot makes everything easier.
How to make beef stew in the slow cooker
Transforming this beef stew recipe into a slow cooker recipe is exceedingly easy. Once all of the meat and vegetables are chopped into bite-size pieces everything gets added to the slow cooker and simmered on high for five hours. Alternatively, you can simmer on low for up to ten hours. Yep, that's it! I told you the slow cooker version is easy!
How to make beef stew on the stove top?
Using the stovetop is my preferred method. The biggest advantage to cooking your beef stew on the stovetop is you have the ability to properly sear your beef to develop a nice brown crust. Browning beef adds a lot of flavor and is well worth the effort. For best results, you will need to brown the beef roast with vegetable oil in a pot set over medium-high heat.
Once the meat is browned the flour can be added and stirred in with a wooden spoon to coat the beef. This helps cook out the raw flour taste and spreads the flour out so clumping isn't an issue, allowing it to work as a thickening agent more easily.
Next, the beef stock and all remaining ingredients can be added. Make sure to scrape any brown bits off the bottom of the pot so they incorporate into the stew. Let the stew simmer uncovered for 2-3 hours until you have deliciously tender chunks of beef.
Tip: If too much liquid evaporates from your pot while simmering you can add more. Water is the easiest liquid to add, but it dilutes the flavor of the stew because it doesn't actually add any flavor of its own. Adding more beef stock or broth is the best option.
Can I make beef stew in advance?
Yes! My beef stew recipe without wine is perfect to make in advance because the flavors will continue to meld while it sits in the refrigerator overnight. Make sure to use an airtight container for storage though. The leftovers can be reheated the next day in the microwave or in a saucepan on the stovetop!
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Beef Stew without Wine
- 2 pounds chuck roast
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (for searing beef on stovetop)
- 3 cups beef stock
- 1 ½ lbs russet potatoes (approx 3 medium potatoes)
- 5 carrots
- 1 medium onion
- 2 stalks celery
- 3 cloves garlic (minced)
- ⅓ cup flour
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme (approx 1 ½ teaspoon of leaves)
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- fresh ground pepper to taste
Slow Cooker Beef Stew
- Chop beef and vegetables into bite-sized pieces, roughly 1" cubes.
- Add all ingredients to slow cooker and cook on high for 5 hours, or until beef is tender. Alternatively, you can cook on low 8-10 hours.
- Taste for salt and adjust as needed.
- Serve in bowls with rustic bread for dipping.
Stovetop Beef Stew
- Chop beef and vegetables into 1" cubes.
- Brown beef with oil in a large pot or Dutch oven set over medium high heat.
- Once beef is browned reduce heat to medium low, sprinkle in flour and stir to coat beef.
- Add all remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer.
- Simmered uncovered for 2-3 hours or until thickened to your liking and beef is tender. More liquid can be added if too much evaporates before the beef is adaquately tender.
- Taste for salt and adjust if needed.
- Serve with dinner rolls for dipping.