Best Cuts of Beef for Your Next Beef Stew Recipe

Unlock the secrets to stewing beef to perfection in a beef stew. From the best cuts to melt-in-your-mouth slow-cooked beef, explore classic beef stew recipes, and cooking techniques for a hearty meal.
min read

Beef stew has long been celebrated as a warming comfort food across cultures. What truly transforms a good stew into a great one, however, is the quality and type of beef used.

Beef stew has long been celebrated as a warming comfort food across cultures. What truly transforms a good stew into a great one, however, is the quality and type of beef used.

Table of Contents

Stewing Beef

Stewing beef refers to specific cuts of beef that are suitable for slow-cooking or braising until they become meltingly tender. The slow-cooking process allows tough connective tissues to break down, enhancing the meat's tenderness and infusing the stew with rich, complex flavours.

Characteristics of Stewing Beef

Stewing beef typically comes from the forequarter or upper arm of the beef, areas that contain generous collagen and connective tissue. This collagen is tough at first, but when cooked slowly over low heat, it transforms into gelatin, giving the stew its characteristic melt-in-your-mouth texture.

Marbling, or the distribution of fat within the meat, is also crucial. In the best cuts of beef for stew, marbling contributes to a moist and tender final product.

Comparison to Other Types of Beef

Stewing beef is different from other cuts like sirloin or tenderloin, which are tender enough to be cooked quickly. These cuts don't have the same level of connective tissue and collagen, making them less suitable for slow-cooking methods like stewing.

Cooking Methods for Beef Stew

There are several ways to cook a beef stew. The method you choose can significantly affect the stew's texture and flavour.

Traditional Stovetop Method

Begin by browning the beef on medium heat in a large Dutch oven. After removing the beef, add the onions and other vegetables like celery, and scrape up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Return the beef to the pot along with herbs like bay leaf and thyme, then add beef broth or beef stock. Simmer until the meat is tender.

Slow Cooker Method

If you're using a slow cooker or crockpot, simply add the beef, vegetables, herbs, and liquid, then let the cooker do the work. This method is perfect for those who don’t have a Dutch oven but still crave the best beef stew.

Pressure Cooker Method

For a faster stew, a pressure cooker or Instant Pot is a great choice. You can still brown the beef and add the same ingredients as with the other methods, but the cooking time is significantly reduced.

Mouth-Watering Beef Stew Recipes

Classic Beef Stew

This is your grandmother's comfort food recipe, showcasing a classic beef stew with hearty chunks of beef and a rich, thick sauce. Brown the beef and add Worcestershire sauce for an extra depth of flavour.

Beef and Vegetable Stew

This beef stew recipe has a healthy twist, with an abundance of veg. It’s a perfect way to satisfy your comfort food cravings while loading up on nutrients.

Beef Bourguignon

An exquisite French dish, Beef Bourguignon features slow-cooked beef in a luscious red wine sauce. Serve with fresh thyme for a rustic yet elegant meal.

Italian Beef Stew

This recipe presents a delicious stew with an Italian twist. The slow-cooked beef is tender and the sauce bursting with flavour from tomatoes, garlic, and Italian herbs.

Mexican Beef Stew

Infused with spices, this beef stew recipe is sure to tantalize your tastebuds. The stew meat becomes incredibly tender and is complemented by a spicy, rich broth.

Health Benefits

Aside from being delicious comfort food, beef stew also offers a good dose of nutrition per serving. Beef provides a high-quality source of protein, essential for muscle growth and repair. Stewing beef also contains a good amount of iron, a mineral important for producing red blood cells.

Recommended Cuts of Beef for Stew

Chuck Roast

Chuck roast, from the forequarter of the cow, is a cheap cut that's ideal for slow-cooking. It has plenty of connective tissue that transforms into gelatin during cooking, ensuring a tender and moist stew.

Round Steak, Shank, and Other Collagen-Rich Cuts

Round steak and shank are other excellent cuts for stewing. They are rich in collagen, which breaks down over slow cooking to create a rich, velvety texture in the stew.


Brisket is another good choice for stewing. Although it’s typically associated with barbecue, it’s also great in a slow-cooked stew.

Buying Tips for Stewing Beef

When shopping for beef, look for cuts that have good marbling. The distribution of fat within the meat will contribute to a moist and tender final product. Additionally, pre-cut stew meat can be a convenient choice for those short on time.

Storage Tips

Store raw stewing beef in the fridge and use it within a few days. Cooked stewing beef can last up to four days in the fridge. For longer storage, you can freeze it. Thaw frozen stew in the fridge overnight before reheating.

Serving Suggestions

Beef stew is a hearty dish that can be enjoyed on its own or paired with various sides. Good accompaniments include mashed potatoes, crusty bread, or a simple green salad. Leftovers can be creatively repurposed into pies, pasties, or a beef and veggie stir-fry.

Cultural Significance

Beef stew has been a staple in various cultures throughout history. From the French Beef Bourguignon to Hungarian Goulash, beef stew is a beloved dish around the world.


What are the best cuts of beef for stew?

The best cuts of beef for stew are collagen-rich cuts like chuck roast, round steak, and shank. They are perfect for slow-cooking and turn into melt-in-your-mouth morsels after stewing.

Can I make beef stew with pre-cut stew meat?

Absolutely, pre-cut stew meat is a convenient choice for a beef stew recipe. Look for a batch with good marbling to ensure a tender and flavourful result.

How can I make beef stew in a slow cooker or crockpot?

Making beef stew in a slow cooker or crockpot is straightforward. Brown your beef, add your veg, seasoning and liquid, then cover the pot and set it to slow cook. You’ll return to a classic beef stew that’s ready to serve.

What's the best way to thicken my stew?

The best way to thicken your stew is to dust your beef with plain flour after searing. It'll help to create a rich, thick sauce as the stew cooks.

Can I use an instant pot?

Yes, an instant pot can help you make beef stew quickly and easily. Use the sauté setting to sear the beef and then switch to the pressure cooking setting to stew the beef, creating a stew with meltingly tender beef.

How do I ensure a rich flavour?

Browning the beef before stewing, using a good quality beef broth, adding a splash of Worcestershire sauce, and slow-cooking the stew are all methods that contribute to a rich, flavourful beef stew.

What can I do with leftovers?

Leftover beef stew can be repurposed into a comforting casserole. Alternatively, it can be served over mashed potatoes or used as a filling for pies.

How should I store my stew meat before cooking?

Raw stew meat should be stored in the refrigerator, ideally on the bottom shelf to avoid any drips contaminating other food. You can also freeze the meat if you don’t plan on using it right away.

How should I store my leftovers?

Leftovers should be cooled as quickly as possible, transferred to an oven-safe container, covered, and then refrigerated or frozen. Remember to reheat thoroughly before eating.

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