How to Cook Beef Stew in the Electric Pressure Cooker

Beef stew is a staple at my house during the colder months. And my husband and I are all about comfort food, especially when it involves meat and potatoes.

Vertical image of white bowls filled with a soup with chunks of meat and vegetables on a striped napkin.

Making this stew is something I’m incredibly excited about as I write this. Being nine months pregnant has me moving very slowly, so I am all about using my Instant Pot to make my life easier.

The only food that I am craving at the moment is solidly within the category of comfort food. I’m talking about all the classics, from roasted chicken to biscuits and gravy to this flavorful and hearty stew.

Once the electric pressure cooker becomes a part of your life, you are sure to become totally addicted. Or maybe you’re here because that’s the case already.

Vertical image of white bowls filled with a soup with chunks of meat and vegetables on a striped napkin, with a large kitchen appliance in the background.

It’s so easy to use year round, but I especially love it in the winter because it cuts down the time it takes to cook so many of my favorite dishes.

Normally, you have to simmer beef stew on the stove for several hours. Our beef and barley soup is amazing, but when I want something faster, I turn to this recipe. With this simple method, you can get it on the table in under an hour.

Before you know it, dinner will be served! Here’s what we’ll cover in this how-to guide:

Tips and Tricks

The version I’ve outlined here makes enough stew to serve four people, though you may be able to stretch it to six if you are serving smaller portions.

Vertical image of white bowls filled with a soup with chunks of meat and vegetables on a striped napkin next to metal spoons.

It can be prepared in any type of electric pressure cooker that has six-quart capacity or more. I made mine in a six-quart Instant Pot, but there are no changes necessary if you are using a larger appliance.

When it comes to tips and tricks to make beef stew in the electric pressure cooker perfectly, here are my top three:

  1. Sear the meat. It’ll stay nice and tender, but this will also provide more flavor. Don’t skip this step! It takes a little extra time but it is well worth it.
  2. Let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes before quick-releasing the rest. This yields the best results, not only in terms of texture, but also to make sure the boiling hot liquid doesn’t come spewing out the release valve.
  3. Add the cornstarch slurry right away. The cold water and cornstarch thickening mixture works best when the stew is piping hot.

Every time I take a bite of this dish, I feel like I have been transported to a cozy room with a roaring fire beside me while the snow is falling gently outside.

Vertical image of a spoon holding some soup with chunks of meat and vegetables over a steaming pot.

I also happen to not be pregnant in this scenario, so I can enjoy a giant glass of red wine like merlot alongside my meal… Looking forward to that, and I’m sure I will appreciate it when the opportunity presents itself, after my son is born.

When you try this beef stew for the first time, you will forget all about making it on the stovetop ever again. While the enticing aroma may not linger in the house for hours, you can get dinner on the table much faster with the same amount of intense, delicious flavor.

How to Make Beef Stew in the Electric Pressure Cooker

Beef stew is a must-make, especially when there’s a chill in the air. The process is much easier with the help of this much-loved appliance.

Step 1 – Measure Ingredients and Prep Vegetables

To begin, you will need:

  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 3 medium Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 pounds beef stew meat
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 1/2 cups beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons cold water

Wash all of the vegetables well. Get out your cutting board, vegetable peeler, garlic press, and a sharp knife.

Peel and dice the onion. You should have 1 cup total.

Horizontal image of bowls of assorted prepped ingredients on a wooden surface.

Peel and chop the carrots. You should have 1 cup total.

Chop the potatoes, making sure they are of similar size to the carrots. You should have about 2 cups total. If you like, you can peel them first.

Mince the garlic, or use a pre-minced store bought variety.

Measure out all of the remaining ingredients. It’s fine if the peas defrost on the counter while the stew is cooking.

Step 2 – Saute

In the bottom of the electric pressure cooker insert, add 1 tablespoon of the oil, and heat it up on the Saute setting.

Horizontal image of browning chunks of meat in a pot.

Season the beef all over with salt and pepper. Once the oil is hot, shimmering but not smoking, add the beef and cook until it is browned on all sides, for about 5 minutes.

Transfer the beef to a plate and set it aside.

Horizontal image of browning chopped onions in a pot.

Add the remaining oil to the insert, and add the onion. Cook on the Saute setting, stirring occasionally until it has softened, for about 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds, until fragrant.

Add the Worcestershire sauce and beef broth. Use a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits that are stuck to the bottom of the insert. Turn off the electric pressure cooker.

Step 3 – Pressure Cook

Add the carrots, potatoes, tomato paste, thyme, oregano, and bay leaf. Stir until everything is combined well. Stir in the beef.

Horizontal image of stock, chunks of meat, and slices of vegetables in a pot.

Set to Manual and cook for 35 minutes on High pressure. Allow the pressure to naturally release for 10 minutes before manually releasing any remaining pressure. Enjoy that mouthwatering scent!

Remove the lid, and remove the bay leaf. Stir in the peas. Turn off the pressure cooker.

Step 4 – Thicken

In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and cold water until they are well-combined, to make a slurry for thickening the sauce.

Horizontal image of a spoon holding some soup with chunks of meat and vegetables over a steaming pot.

Set the pressure cooker to Saute and stir in the cornstarch slurry. Cook until the stew has thickened, about 2 to 3 minutes. Serve.

Let’s Talk About Storage

If you want to cut down on prep time the day you make this, you can chop the vegetables up to a day in advance and store them in separate airtight storage containers in the refrigerator.

Horizontal image of white bowls filled with a soup with chunks of meat and vegetables on a striped napkin.

Be sure to submerge the potatoes in water to prevent browning, or wait to prep those if you like.

To store any leftovers, simply let the stew cool completely, then pack it up in an airtight storage container and place it in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. To reheat leftovers, you can do so in a Dutch oven on the stovetop over medium-low heat, or in the microwave.

You can also freeze the stew in an airtight freezer-safe container for up to 3 months, making this a fantastic meal for any meal prep you might like to do. Let it thaw in the refrigerator before reheating.

Did you grow up eating beef stew, or is it something you discovered later on in life? Tell us in the comments below.

Want to learn how to make more meals in your electric pressure cooker? Read these helpful how-to guides next:

Photos by Meghan Yager, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. With additional writing and editing by Allison Sidhu.

About Meghan Yager

Meghan Yager is a food addict turned food and travel writer with a love for creating uncomplicated, gourmet recipes and devouring anything the world serves up. As the author of the food and travel blog Cake 'n Knife, Meghan focuses on unique foodie experiences from around the world to right at home in your own kitchen.

2 thoughts on “How to Cook Beef Stew in the Electric Pressure Cooker”

  1. Sure would like a print button with the recipe in words without the pictures. They make for a great introduction and how to but I have to print this out to take to the kitchen.

    • Thanks for your suggestion! A print button is available at the top of the recipe card in many of our articles, but since this one is more of a “how-to” tutorial to learn a cooking method it does not include a recipe card.

      If your browser offers a “simplify page” option in the print or reader view settings, or if you download a browser extension to remove images for printing, this option may be available to you!


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