Perfect Instant Pot Beef Stew

It’s about time we had a perfect Instant Pot beef stew recipe, don’t you think? No fuss and completely delicious, this stew is packed with flavor (and tender, fall-apart meat), and it is easy as can be to make.

A ladle full of beef, potatoes, carrots, peas, and stew broth.

Instant Pot recipes are a tricky thing.

I, for one, love my Instant Pot (ahem, both Instant Pots) with all my heart and soul.

I’ve become a crazy woman wondering, dreaming, thinking, and testing what recipe I can convert over to the IP! I’ve had some successes…and some pretty bad flops (creme brulee, I’m looking at you).

It’s a life-changing machine and truly has made my every day dinner-making life so much easier.

{Sidenote: my recommendation for the best size/type of Instant Pot is down below!}

However, I know not everyone has an Instant Pot, many have no plans to ever get one, and some of you probably haven’t even taken yours out of the box yet!

A bowl full of stew filled with cubes of beef, carrots, peas, and potatoes.

It leaves me wondering sometimes if I’m alienating readers by posting Instant Pot recipes.

And because I worry about everything (got a problem? let me know and I’ll do the worrying for you), these are the types of things that keep me up at night.

That’s why, where possible, I also try to include slow cooker or stovetop directions with Instant Pot recipes.

But this perfect Instant Pot beef stew definitely falls into an Instant Pot- (or other pressure cooker-) only category. There are no alternate directions because it’s lifechanging in the IP.

It’s definitely one of those landmark recipes that makes an Instant Pot a valuable (necessary??) asset.

If you only ever made this perfect Instant Pot beef stew in the miracle appliance, it would be worth it.

A ladle full of beef, potatoes, carrots, peas, and stew broth being poured into a bowl.

The good news for non-Instant Pot fans/owners: this Instant Pot version is based on the delicious slow cooker hearty beef stew recipe that’s been on my site for years. 

So if you don’t have an Instant Pot, there’s still an amazing crockpot version at your fingertips.

Even though Instant Pot/pressure cooker recipes might be slightly polarizing, I’m afraid I can’t be stopped.

I have several more groundbreaking Instant Pot recipes up my sleeve to share this month – seriously, some of the best Instant Pot recipes yet to come.

But, never fear, if I haven’t convinced you to get an Instant Pot yet, in most of those cases, I’m including slow cooker and/or stovetop directions.

I don’t know about you, but I’m sitting here contemplating whether life and dinner really existed before the Instant Pot.

A bowl full of stew filled with cubes of beef, carrots, peas, and potatoes.

This perfect Instant Pot beef stew couldn’t be easier. And it’s one of my kids’ favorite, favorite, favorite meals of all time.

Once I figured out the trick to fall-apart tender meat without overcooking the vegetables, my stew-loving life was complete.

There’s nothing quite as wonderful as a warm, flavorful bowl of home cooked beef stew. Comfort food at its finest.

As with many other Instant Pot recipes, this beef stew has me saying: I’ll never cook beef stew another way!

An Instant Pot bowl full of stew, with a ladle pulling a scoop of beef, potatoes, carrots, peas, and stew broth out.

And since I get asked a lot, here are a few quick notes about what Instant Pot I have and which one I recommend

All of my Instant Pot/electric pressure cooker recipes are written for the popular 6-quart model (I have the older 7-in-1 which is no longer available thanks to the recently introduced 9-in-1)

I also have the 8-quart Instant Pot (again, I have the older 7-in-1 model that is no longer available)

I use the 6-quart Instant Pot 85% of the time for my family of seven. The other 15% of the time when I am serving company, cooking in bulk to freeze, OR because I need to cook simultaneous Instant Pot recipes (like, rice in one and smoky chicken in another), I pull out the 8-quart. It is as amazing as the 6-quart…just a little bigger.

The 8-quart, thanks to its larger size, does take noticeably longer than the 6-quart to heat up and naturally release pressure, but other than that, it functions just the same as smaller models

Keep in mind that you can always cook small (very small) batches in a large pressure cooker, but you can’t cook double or larger batches in a smaller pressure cooker (especially observing safety guidelines about not filling it up more than halfway for foods like beans and rice).

Ultimately, I recommend the 6-quart Instant Pot to just about everyone (unless their family is larger than 7-8 people or they enjoy making enough food to feed an army on a daily basis).

Which Instant Pot do you have? Do you love it or am I just a crazy, obssessed person?

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Three Years Ago: Chocolate Covered Strawberries Tuxedo-Style
Four Years Ago: Cinnamon and Sugar Breadstick Twists
Five Years Ago: Cheesecake Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Perfect Instant Pot Beef Stew

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Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped yellow or white onions
  • 6 ounce can tomato paste
  • 3 cups low-sodium beef broth
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce (see note)
  • 2 tablespoons instant/minute tapioca (see note)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper (I use coarsely ground)
  • 2-3 pounds stew meat (or a chuck or arm roast, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes)
  • 2 to 2 1/2 cups chopped carrots, about 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 to 2 1/2 cups peeled and chopped potatoes (any variety), about 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 cups frozen peas

Directions:

  1. Select the Saute function on the Instant Pot (use the + or – button to adjust the heat to the normal setting). Add the oil and onions, and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring often, until the onions start to turn translucent. Add the tomato paste, stirring it into the onions, and cook for 1-2 minutes.
  2. Add the beef broth, soy sauce, tapioca, bay leaves and black pepper. Whisk or stir to combine.
  3. Add the stew meat and give a quick stir. Secure and lock the lid with the vent in the closed position. Cook on high pressure for 18 minutes (select “manual” or “pressure cook” and dial up or down to get to the right number, the IP will start on its own).
  4. When finished cooking, let the pressure release naturally for about 10 minutes and then quick release the remaining pressure. Add the carrots and potatoes. Wipe the seal and inside of the lid dry and make sure the ring is pressed down all the way (if the ring is out of place or too wet, the IP may not come back up to pressure). Secure and lock the lid with the vent in the closed position. Cook on high pressure again for 3 minutes.
  5. Quick release the pressure (or naturally release for 10 minutes and then quick release the rest). Take out the bay leaves. Stir in the frozen peas to heat through, and add additional salt and pepper to taste, if needed. The stew will thicken a bit as it cools.

Notes:

FYI: Sometimes I replace half of the soy sauce with Worcestershire sauce. Also, maximize time by getting the first round of ingredients cooking in the pressure cooker and using that time to chop the carrots and potatoes.

Instant tapioca is sometimes called “granulated tapioca” – small or large pearl tapioca is not the same. It thickens the stew without any odd textures or flavors (I haven’t tried subbing tapioca flour, cornstarch or flour, but you could definitely experiment!).  

Also, when I want an even more minimally fussy meal, I nix browning the onions in the oil and skip the oil and onions altogether and use 1-2 teaspoons onion powder, adding it with the tomato paste, beef broth, etc. There’s probably a slight difference in depth of flavor, but it’s still delicious. Just an option for all you looking for an even easier option. 

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Recipe Source: Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

Disclaimer: this post contains a few affiliate links for products I’ve purchased from Amazon.