Beef Stew made in an Instant Pot! 6 ingredients, 45 minutes, SO EASY.
- 2 lbs beef, chuck roast, fat trimmed, cut into 1-2-inch chunks
- 1 medium onion, sliced thinly
- 2 stalks celery, sliced diagonally in thick pieces
- 6 carrots, sliced diagonally in thick pieces
- 2 tablespoons small tapioca – see notes
- 1/2 cup tomato juice
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
Instant Pot Instructions: Place everything in the Instant Pot. Select the stew/meat setting (about 35 minutes, high pressure). After it’s done, let everything mellow out for about 10 minutes before releasing the steam. Technically at this point, it’s done. But I recommend finishing with a quick browning session in the oven (see notes below).
Traditional Oven Instructions: Preheat oven to 320 degrees. Place all ingredients in a baking dish – it can be glass or ceramic (we use a round casserole dish – something between 8×8 and 9×13). Cover with foil and bake for 3-4 hours. If the gravy dries out, you can add a little water to the gravy to loosen it up before serving. See notes below for additional modifications/instructions.
Finishing in the Oven: Whether you make this in the oven or in the Instant Pot, I recommend finishing by giving it about 10-20 minutes in a hot oven (400-ish degrees), uncovered, before serving. It gets the meat nice and caramelized on top and helps the gravy thicken up.
Alternatives to Tapioca Pearls for thickening:
- Just leave em out. Your gravy may be a little less thick, but it will still be delicious.
- Toss the beef in 1/3 cup flour, shake off excess and add to the Instant Pot as normal. If you do this and you have a newer Instant Pot, you will likely need additional liquid (I’ll often do a second can of tomato juice) to avoid the burn warning on the Instant Pot.
- Make a slurry of 2 tablespoons corn starch and 1/4 cup water. Add the slurry to everything in the Instant Pot after it’s cooked.
As written, this is more like a traditional saucy beef stew. If you want it to be more like a soup, just add a second can of tomato juice and an extra pinch of salt and sugar.
The biggest challenge people have when baking this in the oven is that the sauce/gravy dries out. I would suggest adding a little bit of water (1/4 cup or so) before baking, and then periodically throughout baking as needed. The browned gravy will be really delicious, and a little water mixed in will easily bring it back to life.
Another comment we often get is that the tapioca can sometimes still be visible in very small specks, which is okay. It’s so small and it should be extremely soft after cooking in the Instant Pot, so it’s never interfered with my love of this beef stew. It just looks like part of the gravy. But if that bothers you, just try one of our other tapioca-less methods listed above.