Hearty Instant Pot Beef Stew with Bourbon

A black bowl of Beef Stew containing large chunks of beef, carrots, rutabaga, and peas in a rich beefy broth.

Hearty Instant Pot Beef Stew tastes like it’s been cooking all day. The tender beef melts in your mouth while the flavour of fresh herbs, root vegetables, and just a splash of bourbon infuse this classic dish.

Under pressure to get dinner on the table in record time? An Instant Pot dinner is the solution and I have a few great recipes for you to try. Choose from a classic and comforting Pork Medallions with Mushrooms or this spin on a Hungarian traditional Chicken Paprikash.

A black bowl of Beef Stew containing large chunks of beef, carrots, rutabaga, and peas in a rich beefy broth.

Instant Pot Beef Stew

Beef Stew in the Instant Pot is the quickest way to achieve the most tender, melt in your mouth stew beef. Add in some hearty root vegetables and this traditional stew is a wonderful one pot meal.

While many beef stews contain dark ales such as Guinness, this beef stew recipe contains bourbon. The bourbon really highlights the sweetness of the rutabaga and other root vegetables.

Great Vegetables to Use in Stew

During the long cold winters, root vegetables are king. They are readily available because they store well and contain starches that provide us with energy.

Beef stew often contains starchy root vegetables such as potatoes and carrots. However, there are many other root vegetables options to consider. Rutabagas, celeriac, parsnip, sweet potato, and turnips would also be lovely in this stew.

Regular chopped yellow or white onions add a depth of flavour to the stew, while pearl onions are also a wonderful addition.

A black bowl of Beef Stew containing large chunks of beef, carrots, rutabaga, and peas in a rich beefy broth.

What Cut is Beef Stew Meat?

Did you know that the best cut of meat for stew meat is also usually the least expensive? Beef Chuck comes from the shoulder area and contains plenty of collagen rich connective tissue. During cooking, the collagen breaks down into the sauce, giving it a rich mouthfeel.

You can also buy stew meat cut from the round (or rear of the animal) however, it has much less connective tissue and therefore is not as desirable for stewing.

There’s more than one way to turn cheaper cuts of beef into tender, melt in your mouth morsels. The time old tradition of slow cooking is not always an option these days. Enter the Instant Pot.

Why You Should Make Beef Stew in an Instant Pot

As many like to point out, pressure cooking has been around for at least a century. Many home chefs (myself included) have heard horror stories of exploding pressure cookers and just avoid pressure cooking altogether.

However, the invention of this counter top electric gadget has made pressure cooking accessible to the masses. It’s easy to use and takes the ‘guess work’ and resulting uncertainty out of pressure cooking.

Usually the only way to cook chuck stew meat is low and slow. However, pressure cooking forces the connective tissues within the stew meat to break down through heat and steam pressure.

The result is tender melt in your mouth beef in a fraction of the time it would take via the slow cooking method.

A black bowl of Beef Stew containing large chunks of beef, carrots, rutabaga, and peas in a rich beefy broth.

How to Make Beef Stew in an Instant Pot

The first step in making Instant Pot Beef Stew is dredging and browning the beef. This step enhances the stew’s beefy flavour and provides a base for a thick rich gravy.

Mix the flour, salt and pepper on a plate or in a plastic bag. Either roll the pieces of stew beef in the flour mixture or add it to the bag and give it a good shake. There should be a uniformly light coating of flour over all of the beef.

Next, heat the olive oil and brown the beef in batches. You can do this in the Instant Pot on saute setting or using a frying pan on the stove. Once all of the beef has browned, don’t let those browned bits go to waste!

Remove all browned stew meat and add the beef broth to insert/frying pan to deglaze. Scrape the pan with a spatula to grab all the tasty bits then add the bourbon and allow it to cook off for a minute.

Next add the tomato paste, garlic, fresh herbs, and onions. Allow them to simmer for a bit then add the beef back in. Wipe the Instant Pot rim clean, then cover with the lid and set the valve to ‘closed’.

On manual mode, set the Instant Pot to ‘high pressure’ and add 10 minutes to the timer. After ten minutes, release the pressure and check the beef. If it isn’t tender, give it another ten under high pressure.

Once the beef is tender, add the vegetables, bay leaves, and some extra herbs and cook on low pressure for another 12 minutes. Allow the pressure to naturally release (NPR), then check to make sure the vegetables are cooked through. Add more time if needed.

Storing and Reheating Beef Stew

Good news!! Like many slow cooked gravy rich meals, beef stew is always better the next day. This means that those leftovers are going to be even more delicious a day or even 4 days after it’s made.

This stew freezes well too. Freeze it in an airtight container for up to six months.

To reheat, simply thaw in the fridge overnight and slowly warm it in a covered saucepan over low heat. You may need to add a splash of water to loosen up the gravy. Stir once in a while to prevent scorching while reheating.

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A black bowl of Beef Stew containing large chunks of beef, carrots, rutabaga, and peas in a rich beefy broth.
Yield: 4 servings

Hearty Instant Pot Beef Stew

A black bowl of Beef Stew containing large chunks of beef, carrots, rutabaga, and peas in a rich beefy broth.

Hearty Instant Pot Beef Stew tastes like it's been cooking all day. The tender beef melts in your mouth while the flavour of fresh herbs, root vegetables, and just a splash of bourbon infuse this classic dish.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs (approx 1 kg) Stewing Beef
  • 2 slices cooked bacon; crumbled
  • 1/2 cup Flour
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Olive Oil
  • 1 medium rutabaga; peeled and cut into 2 cm dice
  • 4 carrots; peeled and cut into 2 cm dice
  • 1 medium onion; diced
  • 4 cloves garlic; minced
  • 1/2 cup bourbon
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • bunch of fresh thyme
  • bunch of fresh rosemary
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup frozen peas

Instructions

    1. Combine flour with salt and pepper on a plate.
    2. Pour 2 tbsp oil into the Instant Pot insert and turn on sauté.
    3. Dredge 1/3 stewing beef in the flour mixture and place in Instant Pot insert. Brown in batches, removing browned beef before starting the next batch. You can also use a separate stove top frying pan for this step.
    4. Remove all browned beef and add beef broth to insert/frying pan to deglaze. Scrape with a spatula to grab all the tasty bits.
    5. Add bourbon, garlic, tomato paste, 2 sprigs rosemary, 2 sprigs thyme, onions to deglazing pan. Leave to simmer for a few minutes. (Transfer to Instant Pot now if using stove method).
    6. Transfer all the beef to Instant Pot insert, wipe rim and fit lid on the Instant Pot, ensuring valve is set to ‘sealing’.
    7. On manual mode, set Instant Pot to ‘high pressure’ and add 10 minutes to the timer.
    8. After ten minutes, release the pressure and check the beef. If it isn’t tender, give it another ten under high pressure.
    9. Once the beef is tender, add the vegetables, bay leaves, and some extra herbs and cook on low pressure for 12 minutes.
    10. Allow the pressure to naturally release , then check to make sure the vegetables are cooked through. Add more time if needed.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving:Calories: 396Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 43mgSodium: 714mgCarbohydrates: 34gFiber: 6gSugar: 9gProtein: 20g

Nutritional calculation was provided by Nutritionix and is an estimation only. For special diets or medical issues please use your preferred calculator.

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15 comments

  1. chefkim1968

    Looks delicious, I cooked beef stew in my “knockoff” InstaPot today too! LOL! Great minds think alike!

    Reply

    1. dishnthekitchen

      yay! too bad it’s not Tuesday. We could call it ‘Stuesday’. #nerd

      Reply

      1. diversivore

        *snort* Stuesday. I’m on board for that.
        “Hey, what day is it today?”
        “S’Tuesday”

        Reply

  2. foodisthebestshitever

    See, pleasing everybody can be hard until you start throwing a little bourbon in your stew! Nice one B. I do love me a good stew 👌

    Reply

    1. dishnthekitchen

      I know right? Bourbon makes everything better…

      Reply

  3. MeaghanC

    Looks so good! Love the addition of bourbon instead of wine. Will definitely try next time I make stew.

    Reply

  4. aiming4simple

    Your photos are so lovely! I’ve never cooked with bourbon, but this is tempting me to try!

    Reply

  5. Teresa

    This looks terrific and you could be an InstaPot representative, for sure!

    Reply

  6. diversivore

    I love a good stew. Gotta say though, I’d never thought of putting bourbon in! I love the idea. I bet it works really well with the earthy sweetness of the root veggies.

    Reply

    1. dishnthekitchen

      yep, as mentioned in the post 🙂 It went especially well with the rutabaga!

      Reply

  7. chef mimi

    A lovely stew! And I know what you mean – I’ve got pescatarians in my family and it does create extra work – especially for major holidays!

    Reply

  8. Carnivore Confidential

    Hey there (thanks for stopping by my humble musings) … I too love a good stew (s’Tuesday … bwahahahaha) 🙂 but seriously, … please enlighten me on an “instant pot” … I feel kind of silly for asking but, I’m not familiar with that term … are you referring to a digital pressure cooker ??
    CHEERS and thanks for sharing … 🙂

    Reply

    1. dishnthekitchen

      Yes, for sure! It’s an electric pressure cooker. Canadian designed. They are quite popular right now because they are ultra quick and take most of the ‘danger’ away from stove top pressure cookers.

      Reply

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