Have you made beef stew in the past and found that it just didn’t come out as you had hoped or how it looked in the cookbook photograph? Don’t feel bad. It happens to the best of us!

Today, I am going to help you put those less than stellar beef stews behind you. I share the 5 most common mistakes that home cooks make when it comes to beef stew. And once you avoid these 5 mistakes, you’ll make the best beef stew ever!

Watch the How to Make Beef Stew video

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The 5 Mistakes When It Comes to Beef Stew

In my recipe video, I go into detail as to what the five mistakes are when it comes to making beef stew, but I’ll quickly review them here:

  1. Picking the wrong cut of meat
  2. Not browning the meat
  3. Adding the vegetables too soon
  4. Not simmering the stew long enough
  5. Not serving the soup with the right accompaniment

I can’t stress enough how important each one of these is, but if I had to pick one, I would say that not browning the meat is such a common mistake! If you made beef stew in the past and instead of the stew having a rich, beautiful brown color, it more resembles a grey concrete mixture…well, you probably didn’t brown the meat. (Watch my recipe video to learn how to best brown your stew meat.)

But from now on, if you avoid that mistake, as well as the others listed earlier, you’ll make a delicious stew that friends and family alike will inhale and ask for seconds!

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Choose Inexpensive Meats for a Budget-Friendly Meal

If you have been with me for a while, you know that I often talk about staying “in the budget”—specifically, the grocery budget. And that is why I love making beef stew because it is such a budget-friendly meal. Why? Because the good news is that to make a great beef stew, you want to buy the cheapest cut of meat you can find. The cheapest? You heard me right!

Save your money and buy an inexpensive chuck roast (preferably bone-in if you can find it) instead of a sirloin. If you try to make a beef stew with an expensive sirloin, you will turn it into shoe leather, and your good hard-earned money will go down the drain!

But a chuck roast, which is a tough cut riddled with fat, is going to be cooked low and slow to soften the meat and melt all the fat. This process makes the most delicious beef stew since the cubes of cooked meat will melt in your mouth!

Add Extra Nutrition to Your Beef Stew

Here are a few options to add extra nutrition to your beef stew, depending on what ingredients you have.

Option 1: Bone-in Chuck Roast

If you are lucky enough to find a bone-in chuck roast, throw that bone into the stew as you cook it. The bone will add nutrition to the stew gravy.

Option 2: Beef Bone Broth

If you can’t find a bone-in chuck roast, don’t worry. Try using beef bone broth as the liquid for your stew. The bone broth will enhance the flavor, and it will increase the nutrition and digestibility of the stew, thanks to all the gelatin in the bone broth.

Option 3: Fortified Wine or Apple Cider Vinegar

If you have neither a bone nor beef bone broth on hand, you can still increase your stew’s nutrition by adding a bit of wine, fortified wine, or a touch of apple cider vinegar to your stew when you are cooking it. The acid in these liquids will help pull out the collagen in the meat and release it into the stew gravy.

Now, you might wonder why you should pull out the collagen from the meat if you are already eating the meat? Well, gelatin is cooked collagen. When cooking releases the collagen from meat and bones, it is easier for our bodies to digest the liquid collagen. This collagen (or gelatin) helps us assimilate all the nutrients in a meal when we digest our food.

When Life Gives You Bones…Make Bone Broth!

If you have a collection of beef bones, be sure to try making Beef Bone Broth. Choose the video that uses the vessel (slow cooker, stovetop, or Instant Pot) that you’d like to use to make beef bone broth:

The following videos help you learn more about the best bones for making beef bone broth and why gelatinous bone broth is so important.

You can even dehydrate your bone broth, if you are tight on space or if you’d like to create a shelf-stable bone broth that you can store in your extended pantry. (Not sure what else to include in your pantry? Be sure to download my free 36-page pantry list.)

And if you’re a member of our Traditional Foods Kitchen Academy, watch this video for a complete bone broth class. (The link also includes information on how you can become a Kitchen Pioneer.)

US Wellness Meats Discount Code

If you can’t find the cuts of meat that you want from your local grocery store or if you’re looking for particular bones to make a gelatinous beef bone broth, check out US Wellness Meats to get beef, poultry, pork, and other meats to create a nutrient-dense meal for you and your family.

Use promocode MARYNEST and my US Wellness Meats link to save a one-time 15% off regular-priced items in your order.

Curious how US Wellness Meats packs their orders? Watch the following unboxing video to see the items that I purchased from them.

More Dinner Recipes

Ready for more dinner recipes perfect for these cooler months? Be sure to watch the following recipe videos to learn how to make wonderful comfort food dishes.

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Beef Stew

5 from 2 votes
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 2 hours
Total: 2 hours 15 minutes
Yield: 8 servings
Learn how to make the best Beef Stew ever.


  • Large Dutch Oven


  • 1/2 cup Beef tallow You can use another fat, including butter, ghee, or a combination of butter and olive oil.
  • 2 pounds Chuck meat, cut into approximately 1" cubes
  • 2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Black pepper
  • 1/2 cup All-purpose flour (See ingredients below for the additional flour that you will need.) Use Wondra flour, if available.
  • 1 cup Wine, fortified wine, or 1/2 apple juice and 1/2 water mixed, or water with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
  • 8 cups Beef bone broth Substitutions include beef broth or water.
  • 4 Bay leaves
  • 1 1/2 pounds Baby potatoes If using larger potatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces.
  • 1 1/2 pounds Baby carrots or carrots that have been cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 1/2 pounds Button mushrooms, sliced You can substitute canned mushrooms, but add them toward the end of the cooking time simply to warm through.
  • 1 1/2 pounds Frozen, pearl onions, thawed If using large onions, peel and quarter and add to the mixture when adding the carrots, potatoes, and mushrooms.
  • 1 pound Frozen green peas, thawed
  • 1 bunch Flat leaf parsley, optional
  • 1 tbsp All-purpose flour Used for thickening the stew.
  • 1 tbsp Butter Used for thickening the stew.
  • 1 package Egg noodles, cooked according to package directions. Optional. Sourdough bread is another option for serving with the stew.


  • Season flour with salt and pepper in a large bowl.
  • Dust each cube of meat thoroughly with the seasoned flour. Set aside.
  • Melt beef tallow or another fat in a large heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over medium heat.
  • Brown the meat in the fat. This process will take approximately 2-3 minutes until the cubes take on a golden brown color. (See video.) Do this in batches. Do not crowd the meat.
  • Once all the meat is browned, return all the browned meat to the Dutch oven and pour in the wine, fortified wine, juice, or vinegar water. (See the list of ingredients.) Deglaze the bottom of the Dutch oven.
  • Next, add the bone broth, broth, or water to the Dutch oven. Also, add in the bay leaves. Stir well and bring the mixture up to a boil. Cover the Dutch oven, turn the heat down to low, and allow the meat to simmer for 1 1/2 hours.
  • After 1 1/2 hours, remove the lid from the Dutch oven. Add the carrots, potatoes, and mushrooms to the Dutch oven. Stir well.
  • If you are using large onions that have been quartered instead of pearl onions, add these to the mixture at the same time you add the carrots, potatoes, and mushrooms.
  • Bring the mixture up to a boil, and return the lid to the Dutch oven. Turn the heat down to medium-low, and allow the mixture to simmer for 30 minutes.
  • After 30 minutes of allowing the vegetables to simmer along with the meat, remove the lid from the Dutch oven.
  • Mix the 1 tablespoon of flour with the butter to form a ball. Add this ball to the stew and raise the heat to bring the mixture up to a boil, stirring constantly as the ball melts and thickens the stew. (See video.)
  • Once the stew has thickened, lower the heat to medium and add the pearl onions and the peas. Stir well. The stew is done once the onions and peas are warmed through.
  • Once warmed, the stew is ready to serve. If you want, place the egg noodles in a bowl and ladle the stew on top of the egg noodles. Top with a bit of chopped fresh parsley. Alternatively, you could serve the stew with thick slices of sourdough bread.
  • Leftovers will stay fresh in the refrigerator for 3-4 days or up to 3 months in the freezer.



Find this recipe and video at https://marysnest.com/how-to-make-the-best-beef-stew-and-avoid-5-common-mistakes/
Copyright © 2021 Mary’s Nest, LLC, All Rights Reserved


Calories: 821kcal | Carbohydrates: 84g | Protein: 47g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 128mg | Sodium: 865mg | Potassium: 1725mg | Fiber: 12g | Sugar: 16g | Vitamin A: 15334IU | Vitamin C: 62mg | Calcium: 124mg | Iron: 7mg
Course: Soups & Stews
Cuisine: Americana
Calories: 821
Keyword: Beef Stew, Stew
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  1. Mary Moon says:

    5 stars
    This is a fantastic recipe, and the beef tallow (if you can get it) makes a huge difference in flavor. I found beef kidneys at our local Publix that were very fatty and rendered the fat down to get fresh tallow. I printed this recipe out and it’s one of our “go to’s” on the fridge. Mary has never steered me wrong!

    1. Mary's Nest says:

      Hi Mary,

      Thanks so much for your kind comment. I’m glad you were able to enjoy a delicious beef stew and get fresh tallow too!

      Love and God bless,

  2. john enns says:

    5 stars
    Hi Mary. I would like to make your Beef Stew. However my wife is a gluten-free person, is there a substitute you can suggest for the flour you use?
    Thanks a bunch.

    1. Mary's Nest says:

      Hi John,

      Thanks for your comment and for being a subscriber. Instead of flour, you can experiment with using tapioca powder, arrowroot powder, or cornstarch to see if they provide you with the taste and texture that you and your wife would enjoy.

      Please let me know what substitute ingredient worked out the best for you.

      Love and God bless,

  3. Marlene Winter says:

    Love this recipe!!!

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