This Hearty Beef Stew is a classic beef stew recipe. It’s full of fall-apart tender beef in a hearty gravy. Featuring chuck roast, tons of vegetables, and a tomato-based sauce, it’s just as comforting as it is delicious! Oven and slow cooker instructions included.
Hearty Beef Stew
I am digging this wonderful recipe up from deep within the archives. It needed a total makeover!! I remember eating this frequently growing up.
Both my Mom and Grandma would make this comforting dish on cold days, and it’s the perfect stick-to-your-ribs kind of meal to warm up with.
This hearty beef stew couldn’t be an easier recipe. Just place everything in the pot and cook away.
You can sear the meat to add more flavor, and be sure to deglaze the pan with a little beef broth or red wine even to get all those flavorful bits up.
Browning the meat will also make the sauce a deeper and slightly browner color. Not a bad thing — just more flavor is all it means.
I am putting the recipe I grew up eating in the recipe card, but I will also put in the instructions for making it in the slow cooker. And in the notes, I will add the extras I put in the stew!
Why You’ll Love This Hearty Stew
- Perfectly comforting
- Simple ingredients
- Wonderful for chilly nights
- Easy to make in the oven or in the slow cooker!
Key Ingredients to Make This Hearty Beef Stew Recipe
- CHUCK ROAST – I like chuck roast best for beef stew — it’s also a very affordable cut of meat. Make sure to trim yours and cut it into 1 1/2-inch chunks before getting started. See my notes below on some other cuts to try.
- ONION – For added savory flavor.
- VEGETABLES – Like any good hearty stew recipe, mine is full of celery, carrots, and potatoes.
- TOMATO JUICE – I personally grew up eating beef stew in tomato sauce — the tomato adds so much flavor and color. I opted to use tomato juice to get the same effect!
- QUICK COOKING TAPIOCA – Works as a thickening agent. You can find it in the baking aisle of your local supermarket. It’s typically near the pudding.
- SUGAR – For just a touch of sweetness, and to balance out the other savory flavors in this hearty beef stew recipe.
- SALT AND PEPPER – To taste.
Instructions to Make Hearty Beef Stew
RECIPE PREP: Preheat your oven to 250 degrees F.
ASSEMBLE THE HEARTY BEEF STEW: Add the beef to the bottom of a large pot with a tight-fitting lid, then layer the vegetables on top.
In a medium-sized bowl, mix the remaining ingredients together and pour the mixture over the meat and veggies. Cover the pot with the lid.
COOK: Place the pot in the oven and bake for 5 hours. DO NOT open the lid to check on it as it cooks. Seriously…not even once!
Slow Cooker Method
ASSEMBLE THE HEARTY STEW: Place the beef and vegetables into a 6-quart slow cooker.
Mix the other ingredients for this hearty stew recipe together in a medium-sized bowl, then add them to the slow cooker. Cover with a lid.
COOK: This hearty beef stew recipe takes about 8-10 hours to cook on Low in a slow cooker.
What to Serve with This Hearty Stew Recipe
- Bread: I love toasting up thick slices of bread with a little butter and garlic. Or make some fresh bread crumbs in your food processor and add them to a skillet with melted butter and some chopped garlic. Cook until lightly browned and fragrant, then sprinkle over your beef stew. YUM!!!
- A simple side salad.
- Rice: If you want to bulk up this meal even more, serve some white or brown rice on the side!
If you want really tender chunks of meat, choose a nice chuck roast. It’s marbled, and when cooked slowly, the marbling will melt into the meat making it oh-so tender. Also, cooking it low and slow is the way to go for tender meat.
Some nice cuts would be chuck, chuck shoulder, or chuck eye roast. You can also use round roast in a pinch. It’s not as marbled, but it will still be tender.
Also, if you find stew meat — which is either chuck or round — it’s a great replacement. And the work of cutting up the meat is already done for you!
Some recipes include them (like my beef stew in tomato sauce that you just learned about!), while others omit tomatoes completely. It truly is all about preference, so if you don’t typically like beef stew in tomato sauce, you can feel free to replace the tomato juice with beef broth.
Consider adding some extra ingredients! Mushrooms are a popular choice, as they do boast a rich and earthy flavor. Browning the meat and then deglazing the pan with red wine before adding it to the rest of your hearty stew ingredients is another idea. You could also add some of the extra seasonings that I map out on the recipe card below!
The low and slow method is key! When you cook meat slowly it becomes perfectly tender — to the point where it almost melts in your mouth! Alternatively, cooking quickly over high heat will give you chewy results. Have some patience as your hearty beef stew recipe cooks… it’s so worth it!
More Stew and Soup Recipes To Try
Thanks so much for reading! Let me know what you think about this hearty stew recipe!
Hearty Beef Stew
- 2 pounds (916g) chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2″ chunks
- 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
- 2 stalks celery, cut into large chunks
- 6 carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
- 2 pounds (933g) potatoes, cut into large chunks
- 2 cups (475ml) tomato juice
- 2 tablespoons quick cooking (minute) tapioca
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 250 degrees F (121 degrees C).
- Place meat in bottom of a large pot that has a tight fitting lid. Layer vegetables over meat.
- In a medium bowl combine remaining ingredients and pour over meat and vegetables. Cover with lid. Bake for 5 hours and most importantly DO NOT PEEK!! Not even once!!
SLOW COOKER METHOD:
- Place meat and vegetables in a 6 quart slow cooker.
- In a medium bowl combine the remaining ingredients and pour over meat and vegetables. Cover and cook on LOW for 8-10 hours.
- This recipe will freeze well for up to 3 months. Thaw and reheat as needed.
- Quick cooking or Minute tapioca can be found in the baking aisle next to the pudding.
- Some additions I like to make to the stew are:
- Brown the meat and deglaze the pan with a little red wine. This will really add a lot of beef flavor to the sauce. It will also make the sauce a richer color.
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- A dash of soy sauce
- If you don’t have tomato juice a great substitution is 1 (15oz) can tomato sauce and 2 cups beef broth. I do this almost everytime because I don’t have tomato juice on hand.
- Can also substitute potatoes with sweet potatoes.
What to serve with Hearty Beef Stew:
- Bread. I love toasting up thick slices of bread with a little butter and garlic. Or make some fresh bread crumbs in your food processor and add them to a skillet with melted butter and some chopped garlic. Cook until lightly browned and fragrant. Sprinkle over your beef stew, YUM!!!
- A simple side salad.