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Dutch Oven Beef Stew

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Dutch oven beef stew is a classic winter warmer. With tender beef, rich gravy, and hearty root vegetables, this is cold weather comfort food at its best! This is a traditional version, cooked on the stove top, and takes about three hours from start to finish.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 50 minutes
Close up overhead image of a pot of beef stew.

Hearty comfort food is a small pleasure in life. Whether it’s a bowl of homemade molasses baked beans, creamy pesto gnocchi, or Dutch oven beef stew, there’s just something so perfect about hot homemade food when it’s cold outside.

This is my mother’s recipe for beef stew. I’m thankful to have this recipe because she died suddenly in 2019. Eating this stew reminds me of her, and tastes like home.

The recipe itself is a fairly traditional take on beef stew. It’s made from scratch with potatoes, carrots, and lots of onions in one pot on the stovetop. I like to make a batch on Sunday afternoons. Our house smells amazing as it simmers through the afternoon.

Dried summer savory is the only herb seasoning in Mum’s recipe. If you can’t find it, dried oregano and/or dried thyme also work nicely. I hope you take as much comfort in this dish as I do.

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💞 Why You’ll Love This Recipe

✔️ It’s a thick, chunky dish that will warm and nourish you from the inside out.
✔️ This beef stew freezes beautifully!
✔️ Though it does take time to cook, it’s actually very easy to make.

📋 Ingredients

Ingredients to make Dutch oven beef stew.

Ingredient Notes

  • Vegetable Oil—Vegetable or canola oil works best for cooking at higher temperatures. Do not use butter as it will burn.
  • Beef Stewing Cubes—I usually buy pre-cubed beef at the grocery store, often labeled as “stewing beef”.
  • Flour—I use regular all-purpose flour.
  • Dried Summer Savory—I don’t know if it’s an East Coast thing, but we add dried summer savory to many supper dishes here, especially soups and stews. Most Maritimers have a bottle or package of Farmer John’s Summer Savory tucked away in their spice cupboards.
  • Beef Stock—I buy cartons of stock at the grocery store, however, use homemade beef stock if you want.

It’s important to note when making substitutions in recipes, the texture and flavor may be slightly different. However, these substitutes are the best options if you are looking to change the original recipe.

Ingredient Substitutions

  • Beef Stock—Try substituting the beef stock with the same amount of onion soup mix mixed with water. Consider cutting back on the onions a bit if you do.
  • Potatoes—If you want to make beef stew without potatoes, parsnips and turnips are great substitutes.
  • Carrots—Use baby carrots if you prefer.
  • Flour—Substitute the flour with cornstarch to make gluten-free beef stew.
  • Summer Savory—Dried or fresh thyme or oregano, alone or together, are terrific substitutes for summer savory.

Ingredient Additions

  • Add Wine Or Beer—For extra flavor, substitute a rich, robust red wine, or your favorite beer for ½ and up to 1 cup (125 ml to 250 ml) of the beef stock.
  • Other Vegetables—Mushrooms, frozen green peas, celery, cabbage, any root vegetables, and greens such as spinach or kale are wonderful additions to Dutch oven beef stew. I just eyeball the amounts and add them in with the dried herbs.
  • Add Heat—A sprinkle of hot red pepper flakes will add a touch of heat if you like that.
  • Herbs & Spices—Bay leaves, chopped garlic, and fresh rosemary are all tasty options to throw in the pot.
  • Tomatoes—If you like more of a tomato stew, add a 28-ounce (830ml) can of diced tomatoes when you add the summer savory.

Use the JUMP TO RECIPE button at the top of this post, or scroll to the bottom of the post, to see the PRINTABLE recipe card with ingredient measurements and complete instructions.

👩‍🍳 How To Make Dutch Oven Beef Stew

STEP 1—Preheat the oil in a cast iron Dutch oven. Whisk together the flour, salt, and pepper in a large bowl.

STEP 2—Add the beef stewing cubes to the bowl and stir well to coat.

STEP 3—Add the beef cubes to the pre-heated pot and cook until they are evenly browned.

STEP 4—Pour the beef stock into the pot. Use a spatula or wooden spoon to gently scrape and loosen the browned bits from the bottom of the pot.

STEP 5—Add the onions. Bring the mixture to a light boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 90 minutes.

STEP 6—The onions will have cooked soft and brown, and look almost like French onion soup.

STEP 7—Add the carrots and potatoes and stir. Raise the heat back to a light boil, then reduce and simmer the stew for another 45 minutes.

STEP 8—Add the summer savory and stir. Shake the cornstarch in a small jar with cold water. Add it to the pot and continue to cook until the gravy thickens, about 3 to 4 minutes. Serve hot with buttered bread, rolls, or biscuits.

🗣 Expert Tips

1. Some of the flour won’t stick to the beef cubes. This is totally ok, just make sure to add all of the flour to the hot pot when browning the beef.
2. For maximum flavor, scrape as much of the browned bits from the bottom of the pot as you can.
3. You must shake the cornstarch with cold water. If you use warm or hot water, the cornstarch won’t mix properly and will clump.

📝 Recipe Notes

  • You can either buy pre-cut beef stewing cubes or a small roast (chuck, round, rump, or pot roasts are all good options). Simply trim away any fat and gristle from the roast then cut it into (approximately) 1-inch (2 ½-cm) cubes.
  • Dried summer savory isn’t as hard to find as it once was. Check the spice aisle of any well-stocked grocery store or order it here from Amazon.
  • Store leftover stew in the refrigerator directly in the pot with the lid, or, transfer it to airtight containers with lids. The stew will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.
  • Dutch oven beef stew freezes beautifully! Cool the stew completely then transfer it to freezer-safe containers with tight-fitting lids for up to two months. Remove from the freezer and thaw in the fridge overnight before heating and serving.
A woman hands and wrists, wearing a fuzzy grey sweater, holding a bowl of beef stew with a spoon in one hand.

🙋‍♀️ Recipe FAQ

What to serve with beef stew?

Beef stew is not a light meal, so your best bet is to serve it with something small on the side like biscuits, buttered bread, soft dinner rolls, or something very light like a simple green salad.

How do you make the beef tender in a stew?

Because most beef sold for stew is tough, the secret to tender beef is cooking it low and slow on the stovetop, in the oven, or in a slow cooker.

What gives beef stew its flavor?

The answer to this is multi-faceted. Beef on its own doesn’t have a lot of flavor so stew relies heavily on herbs, spices, and other additions like carrots and onions. A good beef stock and the right amount of salt and pepper will wrap it all up into one tasty package.

Did you make this Dutch oven beef stew? Please rate the recipe and tell me how it went in the comments below. Also, stay in touch with me on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest to see more delicious food and recipes!

Printable Recipe Card

Close up overhead image of a pot of beef stew.

Dutch Oven Beef Stew

Author: Kelly Neil
Dutch oven beef stew is a classic winter warmer. With tender beef, rich gravy, and hearty root vegetables, this is cold weather comfort food at its best! This is a traditional version, cooked on the stove top, and takes about three hours from start to finish.
4.82 from 11 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 50 minutes
Course Family Meal Ideas
Cuisine American / Canadian
Servings 8 servings
Calories 355 kcal

Special Equipment

  • Large mixing bowl
  • Measuring cups and spoons or a digital kitchen scale
  • 6-quart Dutch oven preferably cast iron, enamelled or un-enamelled
  • Rubber spatula or wooden spoon
  • Sharp knife
Need Metric Measurements?Use the button options below to toggle between US cups and Metric grams.

Ingredients
 
 

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper, ground
  • 1 ½ pounds beef stewing cubes
  • 4 cups beef stock
  • 4 cups onions, peeled, sliced into ½-inch (1-¼ cm) thick wedges
  • 4 cups carrots, peeled, chopped into ½-inch (1-¼ cm) thick coins
  • 4 cups potatoes, skins on, chopped into 2-inch (5-cm) chunks
  • 1 tablespoon summer savory, dried
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons cold water

Instructions
 

  • Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a 4 to 6-quart (litre) enamelled cast iron Dutch oven.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and pepper. Add the beef stewing cubes to the bowl and stir until all of the beef is well coated. There will be some dry flour in the bowl that won’t adhere to the beef. This is fine.
  • Add the beef, along with any remaining flour, to the pre-heated pot. Cook the beef over medium-high heat until evenly browned, about 10 to 12 minutes. Stir the beef often to ensure even browning.
  • Pour the beef stock into the pot. Use a spatula or wooden spoon to scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pot. These little bits are called fond and they add extra flavor to the stew.
  • Add the onions to the pot and stir. Bring the mixture to a light boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low. If the mixture is still boiling after you have reduced the heat, lower it further until it sits at a gentle yet bubbly simmer. Simmer for 90 minutes.
  • Once the 90 minutes is up, add the carrots and potatoes. Raise the heat to bring the stew back to a light boil. Reduce the heat once again and simmer for another 45 minutes.
  • Add the summer savory. Stir to combine.
  • Place the cornstarch and cold water in a small jar with a tight fitting lid. Shake the jar until the cornstarch and water are well mixed then pour the mixture into the pot. Stir well to combine. Raise the heat once more, and bring the stew to a light boil. Continue to cook until the gravy thickens, about 3 to 4 minutes. Serve the beef stew hot with buttered bread, rolls, or biscuits.

Recipe Notes

  • You can either buy pre-cut beef stewing cubes or a small roast (chuck, round, rump, or pot roasts are all good options). Simply trim away any fat and gristle from the roast then cut it into (approximately) 1-inch (2 ½-cm) cubes.
  • Dried summer savory isn’t as hard to find as it once was. Check the spice aisle of any well stocked grocery store or order it here from Amazon.
  • Store leftover stew in the refrigerator directly in the pot with the lid, or, transfer it to airtight containers with lids. The stew will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.
  • Dutch oven beef stew freezes beautifully! Cool the stew completely then transfer it to freezer-safe containers with tight fitting lids for up to two months. Remove from the freezer and thaw in the fridge overnight before heating and serving.

Nutrition

Serving: 226gCalories: 355kcalCarbohydrates: 42gProtein: 26gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0.04gCholesterol: 53mgSodium: 938mgPotassium: 1356mgFiber: 7gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 11397IUVitamin C: 33mgCalcium: 122mgIron: 4mg
Did you make this recipe?Let me know on Instagram @kellyneildotcom or tag #kellyneil!

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6 Comments

  1. We made this tonight and it was delicious! So easy and very few ingredients. Ours was quite thick, so we did not have a need to add the cornstarch and water mixture. Will easily make this again! Thank you Kelly for sharing this great family recipe!

  2. Oh my goodness — what a wonderful and simple to make beef stew recipe from your Mom! I made it today and my husband said it was tasty and oh so good. I think the summer savory is what made the difference and we loved it (it took a bit running around to even find it). I also made dumplings (or dough boys) which thickened the stew up enough so I didn’t have to use the cornstarch. Thank you so much for posting this stew recipe. I know we will use it again and again …….

  3. Made this tonight and it’s so good! My husband and his brother devoured it and already want it again next week. I’m happy to have this new recipe as part of our dinner rotations.

    1. 5 stars
      Oh my goodness that is so awesome, thank you for letting me know Amanda! I was literally JUST looking at that recipe to make it for dinner!😍

  4. Hmm…summer savoury….interesting. Makes sense though …it has that thyme sage flavour. I have winter savoury in my cupboard, do I risk it.

    Dang it , why am I getting spell check on Savoury and Flavour, computer can’t spell..lol

  5. What a delicious recipe! My husband ate 3 bowls of it, and he is not a fan of beef stew.
    I used arrowroot powder instead of cornstarch but I really didn’t need to add it as the gravy was quite thick. I will definitely be making this dish again.
    Thank you for sharing.

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