Instant Pot Beef Stew

5 from 6 reviews




  1. BROWN: Check the stew beef over and trim off any large pieces of hard fat or silver skin. Make sure it’s chopped into even, bite size pieces. In a large skillet over medium, brown the stew beef (see notes). First, cook the beef until it has released it’s juices, then drain those and add them to the Instant Pot. Once drained, add the oil or fat of your choice and the salt to the skillet and toss the beef to coat. Continue to cook, stirring every few minutes so that the beef evenly browns on all sides. Once browned evenly, transfer the beef to the Instant Pot.
  2. LAYER: Add the broth, pumpkin or butternut puree, apple cider vinegar, garlic, rosemary and thyme to the Instant Pot. Stir through to combine. Add the carrots, parsnips and pearl onions to the Instant Pot.
  3. PRESSURE COOK: Close and lock the lid. Press the MEAT / STEW button and set cooking time to 35 minutes. Once the time is up, quick release the pressure carefully.
  4. THICKEN: Release and remove the Instant Pot lid. Turn on the SAUTÉ function. Taste and add additional salt, to taste, if needed. Mix the arrowroot starch up with a little water into a slurry and stir it through the stew. Cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, until the starch has thickened the stew, then turn off the SAUTÉ function. Remove the stainless steel insert from the Instant Pot and transfer it to a trivet to rest for a few minutes, then stir and serve immediately.


When it comes to browning the beef, you could use the SAUTÉ function of the Instant Pot, but I choose not to here for a few reasons:

1) Since this recipe uses 2 lbs of beef and the diameter of the Instant Pot insert is a little shy of 8 inches / 20 cm, you’d have to work in batches to get it all browned nicely. I find it much easier to throw everything into a large skillet than repeat the browning step multiple times in the Instant Pot, personally.
2) Stew beef gives off a lot of liquid that inhibits browning. Since we want both the flavor from the liquid, but also need a dry pan with plenty of fat to brown the beef, it’s easier to cook the beef in a large skillet, drain the liquid into the Instant Pot, then continue to brown and caramelize the beef in the skillet.

I’ve made this a few times and you can definitely tell when the pumpkin or butternut is left out: it adds a little extra savory flavor and helps to thicken things up a little. If you go for the larger amount of puree, then you may not want to thicken so much in the final step. Start with the smaller amount of arrowroot starch and then add extra if you think it’s needed.