Basic Beef Stew

Basic Beef Stew – Stew Basics Never Change!

Beef stew recipes are a dime a dozen but Basic Beef Stew never changes. Meat and vegetables. Most often beef and root vegetables.


Carrots and potatoes lead the root vegetable race.

I’m calling this a basic beef stew. It may not be YOUR basic beef stew! There are so many variations that most people can’t even agree on what’s basic.

This is an excellent stew recipe, however. It can be used as a starting point. Just the basics that you can add to or subtract from based on the tastes of your family.

If you’ve never made a beef stew before I encourage you to follow this recipe exactly before you branch out on your own.

It will warm your heart and soul!

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Basic Beef Stew
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
1 hr 25 mins
Total Time
1 hr 55 mins

This recipe is for basic beef stew. Make it yours by adding things that you like!

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Basic Beef Stew
Servings: 6
Calories: 365 kcal
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 lbs stewing beef cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 8 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme leaves or 1 sprig fresh
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 lb peeled carrot cut in large pieces
  • 3 potatoes diced
  • 1 10 ounce package frozen peas
Cornstarch Slurry
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch mixed in
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  1. In a large Dutch oven heat the oil over medium heat. Add the stew beef and brown well. Add the onion and garlic and saute until the onion is transparent.

  2. Add 4 cups of water and the tomato sauce. Add the bay leaves, thyme, salt, and pepper.

  3. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer 45 minutes.

  4. Add the carrots, potatoes, and peas. Cover and cook 30 minutes on medium-low or until the vegetables are tender.

  5. Add the corn starch slurry if the sauce is too watery. After adding the slurry bring the stew to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil 1 minute.

Tips and Tidbits

For a much richer stew use beef broth instead of the water. You can also add some red wine after the meat is browned. The wine adds depth of flavor.

If you’re watching the fat in your diet reduce the amount of meat and add some roughly chopped baby Portabello mushrooms. Portabello has a meaty mouthfeel and you won’t even notice the meat reduction.

This dish is ideal for leftover veggies. Almost anything you have in your fridge can be used as an ingredient for beef stew! Very frugal.

Up Next: 

Versatile and Easy Beef Machaca

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Recipe adapted from one by PanNan
Photo by PanNan