(GUIDE) How To Cook Beef Stew In Pressure Cooker?

Beef stew is a classic comfort food that is hearty, flavorful, and perfect for those cold winter nights. Traditionally, beef stew requires a long cooking time to allow the flavors to meld together and the meat to become tender. However, with the help of a pressure cooker, you can achieve the same delicious flavors and tender meat in a fraction of the time.

Using a pressure cooker to cook beef stew not only saves time but also preserves the nutrients and flavors of the ingredients. The high-pressure environment of the cooker allows the meat to cook quickly while retaining its moisture, resulting in succulent and tender pieces of beef.

If you’re wondering how long to cook beef stew in a pressure cooker or how to prepare it, don’t worry. In this article, we will guide you through the steps of cooking beef stew in a pressure cooker, including preparation, cook times, optimal techniques, troubleshooting, and variations to add flavor to your stew.

Quick Answer: How Long To Cook Beef Stew In Pressure Cooker

When using a pressure cooker, the cooking time for beef stew can vary depending on the type of meat, cut size, and your desired tenderness. However, as a general guideline, 20 to 30 minutes of high-pressure cooking should be sufficient to cook beef stew in a pressure cooker.

Keep in mind that the actual cooking time will also depend on the pressure level of your cooker. If you’re using an electric pressure cooker or an Instant Pot, set the timer to 20 minutes. For stovetop pressure cookers, once the cooker reaches full pressure, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 20 minutes.


Before you start cooking your beef stew in a pressure cooker, it’s essential to prepare your ingredients and gather everything you’ll need. Here’s what you’ll need for a basic beef stew recipe:


  • 2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 carrots, peeled and cut into thick slices
  • 2 celery stalks, sliced
  • 4 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 cup red wine (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh herbs (such as thyme, rosemary, or parsley) for garnish (optional)

Once you have gathered your ingredients, it’s time to prepare your pressure cooker.

Pressure Cooker Basics For Beef Stew

Pressure cookers are versatile kitchen appliances that allow you to cook food quickly and retain the natural flavors and nutrients. Understanding the basics of using a pressure cooker for beef stew will help you achieve the best results.

  1. Choose the Right Pressure Cooker: Pressure cookers come in electric and stovetop models. Electric pressure cookers, such as the Instant Pot, are easier to use since they have preset cooking functions, timers, and pressure settings. Stovetop pressure cookers require you to manually control the heat and pressure level. Choose a pressure cooker that suits your needs and make sure it is in good working condition.

  2. Ensure Proper Sealing: Before you start using your pressure cooker, check the rubber gasket or sealing ring to ensure it is clean, flexible, and securely fits the lid. A proper seal is crucial to maintaining pressure during cooking. If the sealing ring is worn out or damaged, it should be replaced.

  3. Understand Pressure Release Methods: Pressure cookers have various methods for the release of pressure: natural release or quick release. Natural release allows the pressure to subside gradually on its own, while quick release involves manually releasing the pressure by turning a valve. Understanding when to use each method is important for achieving the desired results.

  4. Follow Safety Guidelines: Pressure cookers can be potentially dangerous if not used correctly. It is important to read the instruction manual provided with your pressure cooker and follow all safety guidelines. Never force open a pressure cooker or attempt to remove the lid while there is still pressure inside.

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Cook Times For Beef Stew In Pressure Cooker

The cooking time for beef stew in a pressure cooker depends on various factors, including the size of the meat cubes, the pressure level of your cooker, and your desired tenderness. Here’s a general guideline for cooking beef stew in a pressure cooker:

  • Small Cubes (¾-inch to 1-inch): Cook for 20 minutes on high pressure.
  • Large Cubes (1½-inch to 2-inch): Cook for 25 to 30 minutes on high pressure.

Keep in mind that these times are estimates and may vary. It is always recommended to check the meat for tenderness and adjust the cooking time accordingly. If the meat is not as tender as desired, simply return it to the pressure cooker and cook for an additional 5 to 10 minutes.

How To Cook Beef Stew In Pressure Cooker

Now that you have gathered your ingredients and understand the basics of pressure cooking, let’s dive into the step-by-step process of cooking beef stew in a pressure cooker:

  1. Heat the pressure cooker: Select the sauté function on your electric pressure cooker or heat the cooker over medium heat on the stovetop. Add the vegetable oil and heat it until shimmering.

  2. Sear the beef: Working in batches, add the beef cubes to the hot oil and brown them on all sides. This step adds depth of flavor to the stew. Remove the seared beef cubes and set aside.

  3. Sauté the aromatics: In the same pressure cooker, add the diced onion and minced garlic. Sauté until the onion turns translucent and the garlic becomes fragrant.

  4. Add the vegetables and liquids: To the pressure cooker, add the carrots, celery, potatoes, beef broth, red wine (if using), tomato paste, and bay leaves. Stir well to combine all the ingredients.

  5. Add the seared beef: Return the seared beef cubes to the pressure cooker, along with any accumulated juices. Give everything a good stir to ensure the meat is evenly distributed.

  6. Season and close the pressure cooker: Season the stew with salt and pepper according to your taste. Close the pressure cooker, ensuring it is properly sealed.

  7. Cook the stew: Set the pressure cooker to high pressure and cook for the recommended cooking time (20 minutes for small cubes or 25 to 30 minutes for large cubes). If using a stovetop pressure cooker, once the cooker reaches full pressure, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for the recommended time.

  8. Release the pressure: Once the cooking time is complete, release the pressure according to the method recommended for your pressure cooker. For natural release, allow the cooker to sit undisturbed until the pressure drops naturally. For quick release, follow the manufacturer’s instructions to manually release the pressure.

  9. Adjust the seasoning and serve: Open the pressure cooker and check the tenderness of the meat. If needed, return the stew to the heat and cook for an additional few minutes until the desired tenderness is reached. Adjust the seasoning if necessary. Discard the bay leaves and garnish the stew with fresh herbs if desired. Serve the beef stew hot with crusty bread or over mashed potatoes.

Optimal Pressure Cooking Techniques For Beef Stew

To ensure the best possible results when cooking beef stew in a pressure cooker, consider incorporating the following optimal pressure cooking techniques:

  1. Brown the meat: Before pressure cooking the beef cubes, take the time to brown them in the hot oil. This step adds depth of flavor and enhances the overall taste of the stew.

  2. Sauté the aromatics: Sautéing the onion and garlic before adding the other ingredients enhances their flavors, giving the stew a rich and aromatic base.

  3. Adjust thickness: If you prefer a thicker stew, you can dissolve a tablespoon of cornstarch in water and add it to the stew before pressure cooking. This will help thicken the stew as it cooks.

  4. Natural release vs. quick release: While the cooking times mentioned earlier recommend a quick release, you can also opt for a natural release for a few extra minutes to allow the flavors to meld together further. However, keep in mind that this may result in slightly softer vegetables.


Even with careful preparation and cooking, issues may arise when cooking beef stew in a pressure cooker. Here are some common troubleshooting tips to help you address any problems you may encounter:

  1. Tough meat: If the meat is not as tender as desired after the recommended cooking time, it may be because the meat cubes were too large or not cooked for a sufficient amount of time. Return the meat to the pressure cooker and cook for an additional 5 to 10 minutes on high pressure.

  2. Burnt bottom: If you’re using a stovetop pressure cooker, it’s important to ensure that there is enough liquid in the pot to prevent burning. If you find that the bottom is burnt, carefully transfer the contents of the pressure cooker to a new pot, leaving the burnt bits behind, and continue cooking.

  3. Thin broth: If your beef stew turns out too thin, you can thicken it by dissolving a tablespoon of cornstarch in water and adding it to the simmering stew. Cook for a few more minutes to allow the stew to thicken.

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Variations And Flavoring Options

While the basic beef stew recipe mentioned earlier is delicious on its own, you can also experiment with various flavoring options to customize the taste according to your preferences. Here are some variations and flavoring options to consider:

  1. Red wine: Adding red wine to the stew during the cooking process adds complexity and depth of flavor. Use a dry red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot, to enhance the richness of the stew.

  2. Beer: For a unique twist, substitute the red wine with beer. Beer adds a subtle hoppy flavor to the stew and pairs well with the beef and vegetables. Choose a darker beer, such as stout or porter, for a richer flavor.

  3. Spices and herbs: Experiment with different spices and herbs to enhance the flavor of your beef stew. Common choices include thyme, rosemary, bay leaves, paprika, or Worcestershire sauce. Use them individually or in combination to add depth and complexity to the stew.

  4. Vegetables: While the classic beef stew recipe includes carrots, celery, and potatoes, you can also add other vegetables to the mix. Consider adding mushrooms, peas, parsnips, or bell peppers for additional flavor and texture.

  5. Asian-inspired: Give your beef stew an Asian twist by adding soy sauce, ginger, and garlic. The soy sauce adds umami flavor, while the ginger and garlic provide a hint of freshness and spiciness.


Cooking beef stew in a pressure cooker is a fantastic way to enjoy this classic dish without spending hours in the kitchen. With the help of a pressure cooker, you can achieve tender and flavorful beef stew in a fraction of the time. By following the steps outlined in this article, you’ll be able to prepare a delicious beef stew that is sure to satisfy your taste buds. Experiment with different variations and flavorings to create your own unique twist on this comforting dish. So gather your ingredients, fire up your pressure cooker, and get ready to enjoy a bowl of homemade beef stew like never before.


How Long Does It Take To Cook Beef Stew In A Pressure Cooker?

The cooking time for beef stew in a pressure cooker can vary, but on average it takes about 45 minutes to an hour.

What Type Of Beef Is Best For Making Stew In A Pressure Cooker?

Generally, tougher cuts of beef such as chuck or round are best for stew as the high pressure in the cooker helps to tenderize the meat.

Do I Need To Sear The Beef Before Cooking It In The Pressure Cooker?

It is recommended to sear the beef first to add extra flavor and help seal in juices. This can be done in the pressure cooker itself or in a separate pan before transferring to the cooker.

How Much Liquid Is Needed For Cooking Beef Stew In A Pressure Cooker?

The amount of liquid needed will depend on the recipe, but as a general rule, at least one cup of liquid should be used to avoid burning or undercooking the stew.

How Do I Safely Release The Pressure From The Cooker After Cooking Beef Stew?

There are two methods for releasing pressure from a pressure cooker: natural release and quick release. Natural release involves letting the pressure naturally dissipate, while quick release involves manually releasing the pressure. Follow the instructions of your particular pressure cooker to ensure safe and proper pressure release.