Beef Stew with Butternut Squash (Instant Pot, Slow Cooker, or Stovetop)

Food

This homemade beef stew features tender chuck roast paired with hearty veggies and is made extra fast and easy in the Instant Pot or Slow Cooker.

instant pot beef stew in white bowl with forkinstant pot beef stew in white bowl with fork

The hype around the Instant Pot may have subsided, but my love for this appliance is still strong. I’ve got several Instant Pot recipes, like my Instant Pot oatmeal, my creamy chicken and wild rice soup, and my fettuccine alfredo. Plus, it cooks hard boiled eggs that peel like a dream every.single.time. It saves me valuable time in the kitchen, helped minimize my collection of duplicate appliances, and its capabilities know no bounds. And, it’s even made meal planning a habit I’m actually becoming a fan of. What can’t this workhorse of an appliance do? 

I made this traditional beef stew with a slew of nutritious veggies in my cooker on the pressure cooking setting, and the whole stew was cooked and ready to eat in just 40 minutes. Compare that to 2 hours or more on the stove top and you’ll know why I’m such a fan. BUT! If you don’t have an Instant Pot, this beef stew is just as easily prepared on the stovetop, or in the slow cooker, with directions for both below.

The game changer for me is the ability to sauté and brown right in the cooker. That means if you’re slow cooking or pressure cooking, there’s no need for dirtying up extra pans in the cooking process, and all of the browned flavor tidbits stay in the pan to add more flavor and depth to whatever you’re cooking.

best beef stew ingredients laid out on countertopbest beef stew ingredients laid out on countertop

What’s in Beef Stew

The classic beef stew combination of carrots, potatoes, celery, and onion are all represented here but I chose to add mushrooms—because we love ’em—and butternut squash because beef and butternut squash together simply make magic. It doesn’t matter if you’re making Instant Pot beef stew or using your slow cooker, the ingredients list doesn’t change.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Flour
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • Garlic salt
  • Beef chuck
  • Vegetable oil
  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Celery
  • Red wine—if wine isn’t your thing, I recommend red wine vinegar which will still impart the flavor that red wine brings. But if you don’t have any, you can just use extra beef broth
  • Beef broth
  • Beef base
  • Carrots
  • Mushrooms
  • Butternut squash
  • New red potatoes
  • Bay leaves
  • Thyme

pressure cooker beef stew in Instant Potpressure cooker beef stew in Instant Pot

How to Make Instant Pot Beef Stew

The steps for making Instant Pot stew and slow cooker beef stew are very similar. I walk you through both in the recipe card below, but here’s an overview of the cooking process if you’re making Instant Pot beef stew:

  1. Place the beef cubes, flour, kosher salt, garlic salt and black pepper in a freezer bag and toss to coat.
  2. Brown the beef in the Instant Pot along with the garlic. Transfer to a separate bowl.
  3. Add more oil to the Instant Pot and sauté the onion and celery until softened. Add to bowl of beef.
  4. Add red wine to the Instant Pot and bring to a boil.
  5. Add everything into the Instant Pot, set to the stew setting, and let cook for 30 minutes.
  6. Use natural release, then serve.

How to Make Slow Cooker Beef Stew

Making slow cooker beef stew is very similar to making Instant Pot beef stew. The main difference is that you brown the beef and sauté the veggies in a dutch oven, then transfer everything to the slow cooker insert and cook.

Slow cooker beef stew needs to cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours.

How to Make Beef Stew On the Stovetop

Brown the beef and sauté the veggies in a dutch oven, add the rest of the ingredients and cover tightly with a lid. Simmer for 2 hours or until the beef is tender and vegetables are cooked.

ladle of instant pot stewladle of instant pot stew

How Do you Make Beef Stew Tender?

It’s all about the cut of meat. Please don’t use stew beef here. Beef chuck roast is just the right cut for this type of stew thanks to its marbling that adds flavor and tenderness in a shorter amount of cooking time. Better flavor, better texture, better stew. Bam.

What Gives Beef Stew its Flavor?

There are so many flavor carriers here, and they all play together so nicely. Browning the beef is number one here. That’s essential for giving this stew the wonderful umami flavor it’s known for. Beef broth and beef base are supporting cast members in this department, followed by a healthy dose of garlic, thyme, bay leaves, and veggies. Deglazing the pan with the red wine also adds incredible depth to the stew.

Should Beef Stew Be Soupy?

Beef stew can be as thick as you would like it to be. In addition to flour, the starch from the potatoes naturally thicken the stew. Mine is a touch on the thicker side, but it’s not a gravy. If you want it even thinner, you can omit the flour, and if you want it thicker, you can make a slurry, but this would be more conducive to the stovetop cooking method. You can also just use less liquid.

instant pot beef stew in ladleinstant pot beef stew in ladle

Tips for Making the Best Beef Stew

Save even more time by chopping up all of your veggies in advance, and storing them in Tupperware containers in the fridge.

Choose a bottle of wine for this Instant Pot stew that you’d enjoy drinking on its own. You don’t want to skimp on flavor with a cheap bottle that adds skunk instead of spunk. Again, you can always sub red wine vinegar if you don’t have wine or would rather omit it.

If you don’t have butternut squash on hand, swap in cubed sweet potatoes instead. Both are quite sweet, so I think this pairing would be delicious too.

We love eating this beef stew with some crusty bread, but sometimes serve it over egg noodles or creamy polenta. If you want to serve it over mashed potatoes, that would definitely not be a bad idea (you can never have too many potatoes).

two servings of best beef stew in white bowlstwo servings of best beef stew in white bowls

More Beef Dinners Recipes to Try

If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating on this recipe below and leave a comment, take a photo and tag me on Instagram with #foodiecrusheats.

Print

#wprm-recipe-user-rating-1 .wprm-rating-star.wprm-rating-star-full svg * { fill: #ffac33; }#wprm-recipe-user-rating-1 .wprm-rating-star.wprm-rating-star-33 svg * { fill: url(#wprm-recipe-user-rating-1-33); }#wprm-recipe-user-rating-1 .wprm-rating-star.wprm-rating-star-50 svg * { fill: url(#wprm-recipe-user-rating-1-50); }#wprm-recipe-user-rating-1 .wprm-rating-star.wprm-rating-star-66 svg * { fill: url(#wprm-recipe-user-rating-1-66); }linearGradient#wprm-recipe-user-rating-1-33 stop { stop-color: #ffac33; }linearGradient#wprm-recipe-user-rating-1-50 stop { stop-color: #ffac33; }linearGradient#wprm-recipe-user-rating-1-66 stop { stop-color: #ffac33; }

Beef Stew with Butternut Squash (Instant Pot, Crock Pot or Stove Top)

Tender chuck roast beef pairs with classic stew vegetables plus butternut squash for extra nutrition in this velvety sauced stew with instructions for making in the Instant Pot, slow cooker, or stovetop.

Course Main Course

Cuisine American

Keyword stew

Prep Time 10 minutes

Cook Time 45 minutes

Total Time 55 minutes

Servings 6

Calories 422kcal

Equipment

  • I use a 6QT Instant Pot for this recipe, or a traditional slow cooker, or Dutch oven if making on the stovetop.

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour divided
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 ½ teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 pounds beef chuck cut into cubes
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil divided
  • 4 cloves garlic pressed or minced
  • 1 large onion chopped, about 2 cups
  • 3 ribs celery chopped, about 1 cup
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon beef base
  • 2 cups chopped carrots
  • 1 pound cremini or brown mushrooms quartered
  • 12 ounces butternut squash cubed
  • 2 cups quartered new red potatoes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 thyme stems

Instructions

  • Place 2 tablespoons flour, kosher salt, garlic salt and freshly ground black pepper in a gallon freezer bag and toss to mix. Add the beef chuck cubes to the freezer bag and toss the cubes in the flour mixture to coat.

Instant Pot or Pressure Cooker:

  • Press sauté and heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add half of the floured beef cubes to the oil and brown the beef on all sides. Transfer the beef to a bowl. Add another tablespoon of oil to the pot and brown the rest of the meat on all sides. Add the garlic to the beef and cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute or until garlic becomes fragrant. Add this beef to the bowl.

  • Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the pot and cook the onion and celery for 4-5 minutes or until softened, then add to the bowl with the beef.

  • Add the wine to the Instant Pot and bring to a boil, scraping the bits from the bottom of the cooker. Add the beef broth and the beef base to the Instant Pot and mix with the remaining 2 tablespoons of flour.

  • Add the browned beef and sautéed veggies, along with the butternut squash, carrots, red potatoes and mushrooms to the pot with the bay leaves and thyme.

  • Seal the Instant Pot and set to the Stew setting and cook for 30 minutes. Natural release, remove the bay leaves and serve.

Slow Cooker:

  • In a large dutch oven over medium high heat, warm 1 tablespoon of the oil and add half of the floured beef cubes, then brown the beef on all sides. Transfer the beef to the slow cooker. Add another tablespoon of oil to dutch oven and brown the rest of the meat on all sides. Add the garlic to the beef and cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute or until garlic becomes fragrant. Add to the slow cooker.

  • Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the pot and cook the onion and celery for 4-5 minutes or until softened, then add to the slow cooker with the beef.

  • Add the wine to the Dutch oven and bring to a boil, scraping the bits from the bottom of the pot. Whisk the 2 remaining tablespoons of flour into 2 tablespoons of the beef broth, then mix into the rest of the liquid and beef base and add to the slow cooker with the beef, vegetables, bay leaves, and thyme.

  • Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours. Remove the bay leaves and serve.

Stove Top:

  • In a large dutch oven over medium high heat, warm 1 tablespoon of the oil and add half of the floured beef cubes, then brown the beef on all sides. Transfer the beef to the slow cooker. Add another tablespoon of oil to dutch oven and brown the rest of the meat on all sides. Add the garlic to the beef and cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute or until garlic becomes fragrant. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

  • Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the pot and cook the onion and celery for 4-5 minutes or until softened, then set aside with the beef.

  • Add the wine to the Dutch oven and bring to a boil, scraping the bits from the bottom of the pot. Whisk the 2 remaining tablespoons of flour into 2 tablespoons of the beef broth, then mix into the rest of the liquid with the beef base. Add the reserved beef, vegetables, bay leaves, and thyme.

  • Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, cover tightly and cook for 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until the beef is tender. Remove the bay leaves and serve.

Nutrition

Calories: 422kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 35g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 104mg | Sodium: 1246mg | Potassium: 1348mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 13239IU | Vitamin C: 22mg | Calcium: 97mg | Iron: 5mg

instant pot or slow cooker beef stew in white bowlinstant pot or slow cooker beef stew in white bowl

More Instant Pot Dinners to Try

We send good emails. Subscribe to FoodieCrush and have each post plus exclusive content only for our subscribers delivered straight to your e-mail box.

Follow me on InstagramFacebook, Pinterest and Twitter for more FoodieCrush inspiration.

As always, thank you for reading and supporting companies I partner with, which allows me to create more unique content and recipes for you. There are affiliate links in this post of which I receive a small commission. All opinions are always my own.

Leave a Reply