how long should you cook beef stew

Cook over medium-high heat, scraping the pan with a wooden spoon to loosen any browned bits. Add the beef, beef broth and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a slow simmer. Cover and cook, skimming broth from time to time, until the beef is tender, about 1½ hours.

I have something slightly controversial to say but I’m just going to say it: I dislike — nay, loathe — chunky beef stew.

The aversion is a result of being served a few too many pot roasts with dry meat and soggy vegetables as a kid (sorry Mom!) Unfortunately beef stew became guilty by association and was lumped into the “hard pass” recipe category for many years.

Thrilled to say we’ve got a work around and that the ingredients in my Stove Top Beef Stew are not only easily scooped up with a spoon (keep your knives, pot roast!) but melt in your mouth tender. This version of beef stew is really a beef and vegetable-studded gravy that’s perfect for draping over a bowl of creamy mashed potatoes.

Get ready to replace your old beef stew recipe with this new go-to that’s cooked on top of the stove instead of in the oven!

Beef Stew Seasoning Mix

how long should you cook beef stew

The seasonings include rosemary, thyme, marjoram, paprika, salt, and freshly ground black pepper. This mixture of dried spices adds a flavor component to the stew that takes me home! In addition to adding flavor, the paprika does a nice job of adding rich color to the stew.

The rest of the prep is minimal and once you get it going, the process is mostly hands-free.

How Long Does it Take Stew Meat to Get Tender on the Stove?

While classic Beef Stew is braised in the oven we actually like being able to stir and monitor and fuss over the beef stew on the stove top. I say “fuss” with my tongue in my cheek because beef stew is about as unfussy as it gets.

It’s just kind of fun to pour a couple of glasses of wine and hang out in the kitchen stirring a pot of stew on a lazy Sunday.

We simmer the stew on the stove top for 2 hours with the lid on, stirring occasionally, then remove the lid and simmer for another 1-1/2 hours, or until the beef is fall apart tender and the gravy is nicely thickened.

The secret to tender beef stew is to keep the pot at a gentle simmer the entire time so the connective tissues in the beef have a chance to break down and soften.

Aside from the stew meat, the remaining ingredients for Stove Top Beef Stew are ones I always have on hand. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Dried herbs: dried thyme and rosemary infuse a drizzle of oil before sauting the vegetables inside.
  • Vegetables: small chopped carrots, celery, and onion or shallot practically melt into the sauce.
  • Mushrooms: button mushrooms are a nod to the quartered mushrooms many classic beef stew recipes call for, but are thinly sliced instead of being left in bigger pieces.
  • Garlic: minced garlic brings lots of cozy flavor.
  • Butter: softened butter mixed with flour helps gives the stovetop beef stew a luxurious thickness. Feel free to use vegan butter for dairy allergies/intolerances.
  • Flour: we use a gluten free flour blend to thicken the stew, though you can use all-purpose if you don’t need to eat gluten free.
  • Stew meat: this is an economical cut of beef from the shoulder / chuck roast.
  • Beef broth: feel free to use beef stock if you prefer.
  • Bay leaves: add another layer of flavor to the slowly simmered stew. Remove before serving.
  • Frozen peas: add these at the end, before serving, to warm through.
  • Prepared mashed potatoes: we love scooping the Stove Top Beef Stew over a bowl of buttery mashed potatoes. Homemade is great, though we love Simply Potatoes brand mashed potatoes as an easy, convenient option!

The Best Stovetop Beef Stew

There are so many methods out there for creating beef stew but I believe it’s important to start at the beginning. This classic beef stew recipe is made the old-fashioned way, cooked slowly in one pot on the stove until the sauce is rich and thick and the beef and veggies are fork tender.

If you’ve tried my Instant Pot Pot Roast you know I do something a bit unique with the seasonings which makes a huge difference in the result. I do something similar in this recipe. And, if you love your pressure cooker, you can try my Instant Pot Beef Stew.

how long should you cook beef stew

The ingredients are the usual suspects – beef chuck roast, baby potatoes, celery, carrots, frozen peas, onion, garlic, and a little fresh Italian parsley. You’ll also need an assortment of dry seasonings (detailed below).

Cook over medium-high heat, scraping the pan with a wooden spoon to loosen any browned bits. Add the beef, beef broth and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a slow simmer. Cover and cook, skimming broth from time to time, until the beef is tender, about 1½ hours.

FAQ

How long to cook stew beef to get it tender?

We simmer the stew on the stove top for 2 hours with the lid on, stirring occasionally, then remove the lid and simmer for another 1-1/2 hours, or until the beef is fall apart tender and the gravy is nicely thickened.

How long can beef stew cook?

There isn’t a specific limit to how long a stew can cook, but generally speaking, most stews are cooked for 1-3 hours. Cooking a stew for an extended period of time can help to develop flavors and tenderize tougher cuts of meat. However, overcooking can lead to mushy vegetables and meat that falls apart.

Does stew taste better the longer it cooks?

This resulting gelatin will give your stew a creamier consistency. Not only that, but any liquid that remains in slow-cooked dishes is likely to be soaked up by any starchy ingredients, creating more nuanced, developed flavors.

Can you slow cook beef stew too long?

Yes, it is possible to overcook beef stew in a slow cooker. If the stew is cooked for too long, the meat can become dry and tough, and the vegetables can turn mushy.

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