Beef Stew with Carrots & Potatoes

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This classic French beef stew is the ultimate cold weather comfort food. After a few hours in the oven, the meat becomes meltingly tender and enveloped in a rich wine sauce.

This classic French beef stew, otherwise known as Beef Bourguignon, is the ultimate comfort food. Chunks of well-marbled beef are seared in olive oil  and then gently braised with garlic and onions in a wine-based broth. After a few hours in the oven, the meat becomes meltingly tender and enveloped in a rich, deeply flavored sauce.

It takes some time to make but I promise it’s well worth the effort. Aside from being delicious — it is my all-time most popular recipe — it’s a one-pot meal that feeds a crowd. You can also make it a day ahead; in fact, you should because the flavor improves the longer it sits.

what you’ll need to make beef stew with carrots & potatoes

how to make beef stew

The most important thing is to start with the right cut of meat. You want to buy chuck roast that is well-marbled—that means it should have a good amount of white veins of fat running through it. Stay away from meat generically packaged as “stew meat,” especially if it looks lean (I can guarantee you it will not get tender, no matter how long you cook it).

For the wine, use any dry red (Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, etc.) that is inexpensive but still good enough to drink.

How To Make Beef Stew with Carrots & Potatoes

Begin by removing any large chunks of fat that are easy to get to (like the one my knife is pointing to below), but don’t overdo it with the trimming, as the fat helps make the beef tender.

how to make beef stew

Next, season the meat generously with salt and pepper.

how to make beef stew

Heat a bit of oil in a large soup pot and brown the meat in batches.

how to make beef stew

This step is a bit time-consuming but browning the meat adds depth and dimension to the stew. (Note: it’s important not to crowd the pan — if you try to brown all the meat at once, it will steam instead of sear and you won’t get all that lovely color and flavor.)

This step is a bit time-consuming  but browning the meat adds depth and dimension to the stew.

Remove the meat and add the onions, garlic, and balsamic vinegar to the pan. The vinegar will loosen all the brown bits from the bottom of the pan and add flavor.

how to make beef stew

Cook until the vegetables are softened, then add the tomato paste and cook for a minute more.

how to make beef stew

Add the beef back into the pan and sprinkle with the flour.

how to make beef stew

Stir until the flour is dissolved.

how to make beef stew

Add the wine, broth, water, thyme, bay leaves, and sugar.

how to make beef stew

Bring to a boil, then cover and braise in the oven for 2 hours.

how to make beef stew

After 2 hours, add the carrots and potatoes.

how to make beef stew

Return to the oven and continue cooking for one hour, or until the meat is fork-tender, the broth is thickened, and the carrots and potatoes are tender.

how to make beef stew

Feel free to adapt the recipe to your liking. You can leave out the potatoes and serve it over buttered egg noodles, or toss in some frozen peas or sautéed mushrooms at the very end. Either way, it’s soul-satisfying comfort food for a cold night.

beef stew

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Beef Stew with Carrots & Potatoes

This classic French beef stew is the ultimate cold weather comfort food. After a few hours in the oven, the meat becomes meltingly tender and enveloped in a rich wine sauce.

Servings: 6
Total Time: 3 Hours 30 Minutes


  • 3 pounds boneless beef chuck (well-marbled), cut into 1-1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium yellow onions, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 7 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups dry red wine
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 4 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks on a diagonal
  • 1 pound small white boiling potatoes (baby yukons), cut in half
  • Fresh chopped parsley, for serving (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F and set a rack in the lower middle position.
  2. Pat the beef dry and season with the salt and pepper. In a large Dutch oven or heavy soup pot, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-high heat until hot and shimmering. Brown the meat in 3 batches, turning with tongs, for about 5 minutes per batch; add one tablespoon more oil for each batch. (To sear the meat properly, do not crowd the pan and let the meat develop a nice brown crust before turning with tongs.) Transfer the meat to a large plate and set aside.
  3. Add the onions, garlic and balsamic vinegar; cook, stirring with a wooden spoon and scraping the brown bits from bottom of the pan, for about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook for a minute more. Add the beef with its juices back to the pan and sprinkle with the flour. Stir with wooden spoon until the flour is dissolved, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the wine, beef broth, water, bay leaf, thyme, and sugar. Stir with a wooden spoon to loosen any brown bits from the bottom of the pan and bring to a boil. Cover the pot with a lid, transfer to the preheated oven, and braise for 2 hours.
  4. Remove the pot from the oven and add the carrots and potatoes. Cover and place back in oven for about an hour more, or until the vegetables are cooked, the broth is thickened, and the meat is tender. Fish out the bay leaf and discard, then taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary. Serve the stew warm -- or let it come to room temperature and then store in the refrigerator overnight or until ready to serve. This stew improves in flavor if made at least 1 day ahead. Reheat, covered, over medium heat or in a 350°F oven. Garnish with fresh parsley, if desired.
  5. Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The stew can be frozen for up to 3 months. Just omit the potatoes because they don’t freeze well. If you’d like, boil some potatoes separately when you defrost the stew and either add them into the stew or serve them on the side. Before serving, defrost the stew in the refrigerator for 24 hours and then reheat on the stovetop over medium-low heat until hot.

Pair with

Nutrition Information

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  • Per serving (6 servings)
  • Calories: 539
  • Fat: 18g
  • Saturated fat: 6g
  • Carbohydrates: 32g
  • Sugar: 8g
  • Fiber: 4g
  • Protein: 54g
  • Sodium: 1189mg
  • Cholesterol: 143mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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Reviews & Comments

  • Lovely stew but doesn’t need the 480ml of water just the 480ml of wine and 480ml of stock is perfect. The extra water would make it weak. If it gets too thick you can always add a drop of water a little at a time. I added some fried chestnut mushrooms just before serving. Some nice fresh crusty French stick to mop up any sauce goes down well.

    • — Paul on August 26, 2021
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  • This turned out great! My teen has even asked to learn how to cook it.

    • — Jennie on August 21, 2021
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  • Made the beef stew yesterday. Absolutely beautiful. I added some celery and white beans as well. Definitely making it again. Thankyou.

    • — Paul Heald on August 19, 2021
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  • I had to estimate every ingredient because you only named them, you didn’t give an amount. Fingers crossed that my own estimations prove to be OK! Amounts, please!

    • — Merrion on August 14, 2021
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    • Hi Merrion, It sounds like you are just looking at the portion of the page that has the pictures with some instructions underneath. If you scroll down a bit to under the pictures, you’ll find the full recipe. Alternatively, at the very top of the page, under the recipe name, you’ll see an orange/red button that says Jump to Recipe – if you click on that, it will take you directly to the recipe. Hope that clarifies (and that the stew comes out okay)!

      • — Jenn on August 14, 2021
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  • Absolutely love this trusted recipe. It’s my go to when family visit. So comforting and a show stopper. I pair it with some Yorkshire puddings.

    • — Susan on August 13, 2021
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  • Made this for dinner last night, served with baguette and it was absolutely delicious. Everyone loved it.

    • — JB on August 13, 2021
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  • Does it have to be red wine?

    • — Vatina Mcqueen on August 11, 2021
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    • Hi Vatina, You can replace the wine with additional beef broth. Hope that helps and that you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on August 11, 2021
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  • Can you add chicken instead of meat?

    • — Isabell on August 9, 2021
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    • Hi Isabell, I don’t think I’d replace the beef with chicken as there are too many other things you’d need to change to make it work. Maybe you could try my coq au vin recipe if you’d like to use chicken. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on August 9, 2021
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      • Thanks, I’ll stick to meat then! The other recipe looks good as well, maybe I’ll try that one another time

        • — Isabell on August 13, 2021
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    • I tried this a while back and I’m still thinking about it, it was probably the best stew I have ever eaten. I didn’t use Red wine as I never drink it- am I able to substitute with white wine, or rosé? I am making it tomorrow and I want to try adding a bit of wine to see how it turns out. Either way even without the wine this stew will be flavorful, and you’ll regret not making w

      • — K on August 14, 2021
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      • So glad you enjoyed it! You could substitute with white wine but I don’t think I’d go with rosé here. You could experiment with 1 cup white wine and an additional cup of beef broth. Hope that helps! Please LMK how it comes out if you try it!

        • — Jenn on August 16, 2021
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  • Your recipe is good. Pretty traditional and fairly French in technique. But where did you get the idea that a cut of beef without fat won’t become tender “no matter how long you cook it”? That is a major inaccuracy. Lean old London Broil can actually be made into wonderful pulled beef sandwiches after a nice 6 hour braise in stock and beer.
    Fat is not essential to braising and slow cooking.

    • — michael on August 8, 2021
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  • It was the best I ever made! Merci. I feel totally like I just ate ate a French restaurant, in FRANCE!! Thank you so much!

    • — Lisa Creuzer on August 7, 2021
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  • Wow. This stew is just divine! It is so simple but the flavor is rich and delicious! I followed the recipe mostly, but instead of 2 cups of wine I used 1 and then made up the other cup with beef broth (3 cups total). I ended up waiting to put the potatoes in because I might freeze this! Thinking it might be super good served over mashed potatoes! The sauce turns out thick and wonderful! I’ll be making this recipe again and again.

    • — Liz on August 2, 2021
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  • Is this recipe able to be made with a slow cooker or completely on the stove? I do not have a dutch oven but this recipe looks divine.

    • — L on July 29, 2021
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    • Yes, you could go either way but I’d probably suggest the stove. Timing would be the same. Just give it a stir periodically so it doesn’t scorch on the bottom. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on July 30, 2021
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      • Thank you so much for getting back to me so quickly! I made it this morning on the stove and as far as I’m concerned it worked out magnificently. Thank you for replacing my old stew recipe, this is stupendous. Can’t wait to try it again tomorrow when it’s had some time to sit!

        • — L on July 30, 2021
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  • I added about two to four well let’s say six more cups of beef stock in addition to celery salt and celery seed I put in a little bit more black pepper and I boiled everything together covered for 3 not 3.5 hours but it was more like an hour and a half to two hours and the meat was just as tender and it was really really delicious. I ended up taking a third cup of water with about a tablespoon of cornstarch that I added that in and after cooking it for 20 minutes more it got really really thick and delicious. Everyone loved it. thank you for the recipe.

    • — Jason Robichaud on July 28, 2021
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  • I have made this beef stew a number of times. Always turns out delicious Making it again tomorrow ❤️

    • — Yanna on July 27, 2021
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  • So easy to make and delicious. I’ve made it several times and came out great. I’ve recommended this recipe to friends also and they love it.

    • — San Fran Girl on July 18, 2021
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  • Ew! More like soup than a stew. I mean, if you fancy a sloppy flavourless soup, then definitely try this recipe. But I recommend not using any water at all as it just ruins all the beautiful rich flavour that you should be able to achieve with just the wine and stock. Needs major improvement to pass as a stew.

    • — Sarah J on July 18, 2021
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  • I made this stew last night and it was absolutely stupendous. Followed the instructions completely, did not change a thing, and was told by my family that this recipe is the best stew recipe that I’ve made. The meat was tender melt in your mouth, and the sauce was rich and complex. And this is coming from a family who considers themselves “foodies!” I will double the recipe next time for an adult family of 5 to make sure there are plenty of leftovers for the next day!

    • — Lynn M on July 14, 2021
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  • I’ve tried lots of recipes for beef stew and this one is the BEST. The beef is tender and the gravy is rich and flavorful. I’ve been making this stew for 3 years now and the only change I’ve made over the years is adding the potatoes and carrots for the entire 3-hour cooking time. I thought they might get too mushy, but that’s not the case.

    • — Susan on July 13, 2021
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  • This was so delicious! Flavours super rich and splendid. But my stew was quite oily at the top 🙁 I didn’t chop off any fat from the beef chuck though at the start, could that be why ?

    • — Wendy on July 5, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Wendy, that could be why. If the beef has large chunks of fat that are easy to get to, it’s good to trim them (but if you make it again, don’t overdo it with the trimming, as the fat helps make the beef tender). Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on July 5, 2021
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  • I admit it, my first comment/thoughts were wrong. After I let this cook for about 7hr, the sharp wine flavor disappeared and the stew was quite good. Admittedly, when I tasted after 4hr, I added a couple of ounces of Teriyaki sauce and a good shake of Liquid Smoke but still had my doubts the final result would be edible. Turned out my friends enjoyed the stew although their grand-kids just ate the mac’n cheese I had fixed “just in case”.
    Glad I tried it but probably won’t make again.

    • — Dan on July 3, 2021
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  • Turned out beautifully. I reheated the next day with puff pastry as a pie and we loved it.

    • — Mel on June 28, 2021
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  • I adapted this somewhat for slow cooker by dusting beef in flour, cooking in batches in pan and then cooking off tomato paste, deglazing the pan with a bit of the wine/stock.

    I omitted the water but still found I needed to add a cornflour mix at end to thicken. Didn’t have a bay leaf at hand so used fresh sprigs of thyme and marjoram.

    I also didn’t put potatoes in, but did pop in a parsnip and celery as had them to hand, then served over mash.

    This was incredibly flavoursome and I could quite easily just drink the resulting liquid, it was so tasty!

    • — Jan on June 26, 2021
    • Reply
  • Would beef cheek work well in stew?

    • — Adam Tews on June 23, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Adam, I’ve never tried it so I can’t guarantee how it will come out. That said, one reader commented that he made this with beef cheeks and was happy with the results. Please LMK how it turns out if you try it!

      • — Jenn on June 24, 2021
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  • I have the luxury of having a good friend who sends me boxes of Moose and Musk Ox meat from Alaska. I have made this with the Chuck in the past and was absolutely fantastic. That being said with Moose and or Musk Ox it has a richness that is off the charts. Also use all homemade beef stock, no water, and a nice Oregon Pinot. Served with Polenta. Sooooooooo gooooooood!

    • — Jason on June 19, 2021
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  • After years of not being able to get my stew quite right, I have finally found the perfect recipe – yours! I add the sautéed mushrooms at the end as you suggested. Super yummy. My only problem is that my husband keeps asking, “How long til we can eat?”the entire time it’s cooking. Love, love, love this recipe.

    • — Barbara on June 17, 2021
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    • LOL — it’s an exercise in patience! Glad you both enjoyed it. 🙂

      • — Jenn on June 18, 2021
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  • This recipe made truly the best beef stew I and my family have ever eaten. I know you said not to use “stew beef,” but that is what I already had on-hand (from Costco). Despite that, the meat was tender and delicious due to the cooking method. Everyone raved. I highly recommend and will never use another recipe for beef stew. Thank you!

    • — Lisa D on June 12, 2021
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  • Delicious! I followed the recipe except for the sugar and red wine. I ran out of wine so I just used 1 cup. We try to avoid sugar in our cooking as much as possible and most of the time, its not necessary. Turned out super yummy. One of the best recipes I ever made. It’s a keeper.

    • — Jen on June 9, 2021
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  • Great beef stew with layers of flavors and rich broth. I froze half for another night and it was even better warmed up with some French bread on the side.

    • — Melissa M. on June 5, 2021
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  • This recipe was delicious! Thanks so much.

    • — Cathy Buchanan on June 2, 2021
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  • I made this recipe with just a couple spice tweaks and added potatoes after 1 hour and baked for another 30-40 minutes. Absolutely delicious. I paired it with the buttermilk biscuits as suggested. Fabulous rainy day meal. The house smells so good. Thank you.

    • — Sharon on May 29, 2021
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  • New to your site (and after this I will be sticking around)- this was absolute delicious!!!! I browned my meat and vegetables and then added it all to my slow cooker instead. I cut the wine down to 1/2 glass and it was still delicious!!!
    Will be making this one again for sure!

    • — StephM1321 on May 28, 2021
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  • This beef stew was awesome. The beef was super tender and the sauce was just so good. We will definitely be making again. It takes a little extra time so will be a weekend treat or might try to make it ahead of time for a week night.

    • — Jess on May 24, 2021
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  • I’ve made this Beef Stew probably 10 times, and it’s the BEST I’ve ever made. It never disappoints! My only alteration is to cut the wine to 1 cup, and use 5 cups of beef broth (no water). Definitely 5 stars!

    • — Jeannie Tomba on May 23, 2021
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  • Thanks for this beef bourguignon recipe Jenn.
    I am not an experienced cook at all. But have a little more time since retiring to “potter” in the kitchen.
    This recipe is my favourite from your site. (Though others in the family prefer others …)! 🙂
    I love your website. Recipes are so well presented and illustrated, that even I can create these dishes and receive compliments!
    Thankyou. 🙂
    Australia 🙂

    • — Richard Kempen on May 21, 2021
    • Reply
  • Oh, so delicious! I made some substitutions due to what I had on hand….still great! Thank you for all your wonderful directions and suggestions. Onward to try more dishes!!

    • — Amelia Finan on May 17, 2021
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  • Hi, this is so delicious. The meat is so tender and I added a cup of peas at the end and I also paired it with your artisan bread recipe and it turned out amazing. The whole family loved it. I will put this on my list of what to cook on weekdays. Thank you for these amazing recipes.

    • — Maricor on May 12, 2021
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  • Delicious stew, loved the smashed garlic. I added pumpkin and a splash of Worcestershire and will leave out the potato next time. Served with steamed veg and buttered French stick. Absolutely will make again

    • — Chels on May 11, 2021
    • Reply

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