This post may contain affiliate links. Read our disclosure policy here.
This Instant Pot beef stew is a rich and hearty comfort meal in less than 90 minutes. To get that complex beefy flavor, we’re adding a secret ingredient: porcini powder. More on that below the recipe…
Also, make sure to sear the beef chunks in 2-3 batches to avoid overcrowding the pot, that way the meat will brown quickly with a deep sear on the outside, which adds amazing rich flavor to the stew.
Instant Pot Beef Stew
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, or any kind of oil
- 2 lbs chuck roast or stew meat, cut into 1-1.5inch cubes
- 3 tablespoons porcini powder, Note 1
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 4 cups beef stock, or water, or combination of two (Note 2)
- 4 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1 lb small potatoes, cut in half
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped, optional
- 5-7 garlic cloves, smashed
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 bay leaf
- 2-3 thyme sprigs, ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- Brown the meat: Set Instant Pot to “sauté” on high heat.
- Once the Instant Pot display reads “HOT”, add oil and heat it for a minute.
- Working in batches, add beef chunks in one layer and brown the meat on all sides, 3-4 minutes, removing the seared meat onto a clean plate and continuing with the remaining beef.
- Once all the beef is browned, return all the meat back into the Instant Pot.
- Add porcini powder, flour, salt, and pepper. Stir well and cook for 2 minutes.
- Pour in the stock.
- Deglaze the pan: Using a wooden spoon, deglaze the pan by scraping the bottom of the pan really well. (TIP: You don’t want anything stuck on the bottom, or you’ll get a “BURN” notice and the pot won’t come to pressure.)
- Hit the “cancel” button to turn off the “Sauté” function.
- Now, stir in carrots, potatoes, onion, garlic, bay leaf, and thyme.
- Add balsamic vinegar and mix everything well.
- Pressure cook: Cover the pot, make sure the valve is set to “sealing” and set the Instant Pot for Manual/Pressure Cook for 25 minutes on high. (NOTE: It took about 11 minutes for my Instant Pot to come to pressure.)
- Once the time is up, allow the pressure to release naturally for at least 15 minutes, and then carefully turn the valve to venting. Once the pin drops, carefully open the lid.
- Serve: Garnish with fresh thyme, if desired, and serve along with bread to soak up all the gravy.
This Instant Pot beef stew is a rich and hearty comfort meal in less than 90 minutes and very minimal hand-0n time! The secret ingredients makes this stew extra-hearty!
Instant Pot Beef Stew Ingredients
Simple ingredients with one exception.
Porcini powder, the secret ingredient in my beef stew recipe, is what makes this stew rich and hearty without any tomato paste and/or wine. You can read my best beef stew recipe (<- oven method!) for more detailed information on how and where to get porcini powder.
And few notes on other stew ingredients:
- Beef – I prefer to use chuck roast to make beef stew over stew meat for better flavor.
- Vegetables – Any root vegetable is great for beef stew. Omit potatoes, if you’re making a big batch and planning to freeze. Carrots are staple in our family, but here’re other root vegetables you could include: rutabaga, turnips.
- Flour – It’s my go-to thickening agent for stews. Sautéing the meat with flour and seasoning removes raw flour taste and makes the gravy nice and flavorful.
- Seasonings – Garlic, onion, fresh herbs and bay leaf are all here to add great flavors. We don’t consume much onion due to personal reasons, so often times I don’t add onions and we don’t miss it.
- Balsamic vinegar – A splash of vinegar brightens the flavors in this rich beef stew. Because we aren’t using wine here, it’s important to add a little vinegar!
- Liquids – While you can use water, I find beef broth or even chicken stock adds great flavor. Instead of using rich bone broth, I simply opt for beef stock base, like Better than Bouillion.
How to cook Instant Pot Beef Stew
It’s insanely easy to make this Instant Pot beef stew. While browning the meat is not required, it adds ton of flavor if you take your time to do so!
- Step 1. Brown the meat in a few batches to develop a nice sear right in your Instant Pot. Deglaze the pan with a little bit of water.
- Step 2. Then add all the meat back into the pot and sauté for a minute or two with flour and the seasonings.
- Step 3. Add the remaining ingredients and set the pot for 25 minutes on high, followed by 15 minutes NPR.
TIP 1: Make sure to sear the beef chunks in 2-3 batches to avoid overcrowding the pot, that way the meat will brown quickly with a deep sear on the outside, which adds amazing rich flavor to the stew.
- Overcrowding the pot will prevent searing, and instead, your meat will simply steam, which won’t add additional flavor.
TIP 2: Make sure to deglaze the pot well before closing the lid. If any brown bits stuck on the bottom, it may trigger the burn notice and the pot won’t come to pressure.
Now that we know how to cook a perfect Instant Pot beef stew, let me answer a few frequently asked question.
How long do you cook beef cubes in a pressure cooker?
Since the beef is cut into smaller pieces, it doesn’t take long time to cook them. I usually cook my beef stew for 25 minutes in Instant Pot, followed by 15-minute NPR (natural pressure release).
Now, keep in mind that NPR is part of cooking time, as it continues to cook the food. And it’s especially important to release the pressure naturally when cooking meat to avoid drying it out.
How do you thicken stew?
There’re number of ways to thicken the stew:
- Flour or roux – Typically, flour is added at the beginning of cooking. I like to lightly roast the flour with beef before adding the liquid to remove raw flour taste.
- Cornstarch slurry – It’s added at the end of cooking stew. In order to activate the thickening agent in cornstarch, it needs to be added to a boiling liquid and boiled for a few minutes.
How do you tenderize stew meat in the Instant Pot?
It only takes 25 minutes of cooking beef chunks in Instant Pot to produce melt-in-your-mouth tender meat. And because meat is cooked under pressure, it’s basically equivalent to over an hour of cooking on stovetop/oven.
Does meat get more tender the longer you pressure cook it?
I don’t believe it does. The cooking time depends on how big your meat pieces are. And because we cut the beef into small stew-meat sizes, it only need 20-25 minutes to get nice and tender.
I hope you love this recipe as much as I do! Let me know once you’ve tried it by leaving a comment below or sharing a photo and tagging @busy_cooks on Instagram!