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

Cooking stew meat in a pressure cooker is an excellent and efficient way to make a tender and flavorful stew. Pressure cooking uses steam and high pressure to cook food quickly, resulting in tender and delicious dishes. In this article, we will discuss how long to cook stew meat in a pressure cooker, the preparation steps, essential pressure cooker basics, optimal pressure cooking techniques, troubleshooting tips, and variations and flavoring options to enhance your stew meat.

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

The cooking time for stew meat in a pressure cooker can vary depending on the size and type of meat you’re using. However, as a general guideline, stew meat usually takes around 20 to 30 minutes under pressure to become tender and succulent. Keep in mind that this does not include the time it takes for the pressure cooker to come to full pressure or to release the pressure naturally. These additional steps can add around 15 to 20 minutes to the overall cooking time.


Before you start cooking your stew meat in the pressure cooker, it’s essential to prepare the ingredients properly. Here’s a step-by-step guide to preparing the stew meat:

  1. Selecting the Meat: Choose tough and flavorful cuts of meat that are suitable for stewing, such as chuck roast, beef brisket, or lamb shoulder. These cuts have enough marbling and collagen, which will break down during the cooking process, resulting in tender meat.

  2. Trimming and Cutting: Trim any excess fat from the meat using a sharp knife. Then, cut the meat into bite-sized cubes, approximately 1 to 2 inches in diameter. Ensuring even-sized pieces will help cook the meat uniformly.

  3. Seasoning: Season the meat with salt, pepper, and any additional spices or herbs of your choice. This step will help to enhance the flavor of the stew meat.

  4. Browning the Meat (optional): While not necessary, browning the meat before pressure cooking adds depth and richness to the stew’s flavors. To brown the meat, heat some oil in the pressure cooker over medium-high heat. Add the meat in batches and sear it on all sides until browned. Remove the meat from the cooker and set it aside.

Pressure Cooker Basics For Stew Meat

Understanding the basic operation of a pressure cooker is crucial for cooking stew meat to perfection. Here are a few key points to keep in mind when using a pressure cooker for stew meat:

  1. Liquid: Always make sure to add enough liquid to the pressure cooker before cooking stew meat. This liquid is necessary to create steam and build pressure inside the cooker. Generally, 1 to 1 ½ cups of liquid (such as broth, wine, or water) is sufficient for most stew meat recipes.

  2. Pressure Release Methods: There are two primary methods for releasing pressure in a pressure cooker – natural release and quick release. Natural release involves allowing the pressure to decrease naturally over time, while quick release involves manually releasing the pressure using the steam release valve. The appropriate release method will depend on the recipe you’re following.

  3. Pressure Levels: Most pressure cookers have two pressure settings – high and low. For stew meat, it’s recommended to use the high-pressure setting for faster and more thorough cooking.

Cook Times For Stew Meat In Pressure Cooker

As mentioned earlier, the cooking time for stew meat in a pressure cooker is around 20 to 30 minutes under pressure. However, the specific cooking time may vary depending on factors such as the size of the meat cubes, the type of pressure cooker, and personal preferences for meat tenderness.

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Here’s a general guideline for cooking stew meat in a pressure cooker:

  • Small-sized cubes (around 1 inch): 20 minutes
  • Medium-sized cubes (around 1.5 inches): 25 minutes
  • Large-sized cubes (around 2 inches): 30 minutes

Keep in mind that these times don’t account for the time it takes for the pressure cooker to reach full pressure or to release pressure naturally.

How To Cook Stew Meat In Pressure Cooker

Now that you have prepared the stew meat and understand the basics of pressure cooking, let’s go through the step-by-step process of cooking stew meat in a pressure cooker:

  1. Heat the pressure cooker: Place the pressure cooker over medium-high heat and add some oil or butter. Allow it to heat up.

  2. Sear the meat (optional): If you chose to brown the meat, add the cubes to the pressure cooker in small batches and sear them on all sides until browned. This step adds flavor to the stew.

  3. Add liquid and flavorings: Pour in the desired liquid (broth, wine, or water) to the pressure cooker, along with any additional flavorings, such as herbs, spices, or vegetables. Stir well to combine.

  4. Add the stew meat: Gently add the seasoned and browned meat to the pressure cooker. Ensure that the meat is submerged in the liquid.

  5. Close and lock the lid: Securely close the pressure cooker lid and lock it into place. Make sure the pressure release valve is closed.

  6. Cook under pressure: Set the pressure cooker to the desired pressure level (usually high) and start the cooking process. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions specific to your pressure cooker model. The cooking time will begin once the pressure cooker reaches full pressure.

  7. Natural or quick pressure release: After the cooking time is complete, you can either release the pressure naturally by allowing the pressure cooker to sit undisturbed until the pressure drops, or use the quick release method by manually opening the steam release valve. Follow the recipe instructions for the appropriate release method.

  8. Check the meat’s tenderness: Carefully open the pressure cooker lid once the pressure has been fully released. Check the meat’s tenderness by inserting a fork or a knife into a piece of meat. If it’s tender and easily falls apart, the stew meat is ready. If not, you can return the lid, bring the cooker back up to high pressure, and cook for a few more minutes.

  9. Adjust the seasoning: Taste the stew, and if needed, adjust the seasoning by adding salt, pepper, or any additional herbs or spices.

Your stew meat cooked in a pressure cooker is now ready to be served!

Optimal Pressure Cooking Techniques For Stew Meat

To achieve the best results when cooking stew meat in a pressure cooker, consider the following techniques:

  1. Browning for Flavor: While optional, browning the meat before pressure cooking enhances the flavors of the stew. It creates a rich and caramelized exterior, adding depth to the overall taste. This step is especially recommended if you have the time and prefer a more robust flavor profile.

  2. Natural Release for Tenderness: Allowing the pressure to release naturally after cooking gives the stew meat time to rest and reach its optimal tenderness. This slow decrease in pressure retains moisture in the meat and helps achieve a melt-in-your-mouth texture.


If your stew meat doesn’t turn out as tender as desired or doesn’t have the desired flavors, here are a few troubleshooting tips:

  1. Undercooked Meat: If the stew meat is not as tender as you’d like, it may need additional cooking time. Return the lid, bring the pressure cooker back up to high pressure, and cook for a few more minutes. Check the tenderness again and repeat if necessary.

  2. Overcooked Meat: Overcooking stew meat in a pressure cooker can result in mushy or dry meat. Be mindful of the cooking time and avoid excessive pressure cooking. If the meat is overcooked, you may add additional liquid or gravy to moisten it before serving.

  3. Lack of Flavor: If the stew doesn’t have enough flavor, double-check the seasoning before serving. Adjust the salt, pepper, spices, or herbs as needed. Additionally, consider adding more aromatics, such as garlic, onions, or bay leaves, to enhance the overall taste.

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Variations And Flavoring Options

While the basic method of cooking stew meat in a pressure cooker remains the same, you can experiment with various flavoring options to customize your stew. Consider the following variations:

  1. Vegetable Medley: Add a variety of vegetables to your stew, such as potatoes, carrots, celery, or peas. These vegetables will not only enhance the flavor but also add texture and nutritional value to your dish.

  2. Ethnic Flavors: Infuse your stew with specific ethnic flavors. For example, add soy sauce, ginger, and star anise for an Asian-inspired stew, or cumin, paprika, and coriander for a Middle Eastern twist.

  3. Tomato-Based Stew: Incorporate canned or fresh tomatoes to give your stew a rich and tangy flavor. You can also add tomato paste or tomato sauce for a more intense tomato taste.

  4. Wine or Beer: Replace some or all of the cooking liquid with your favorite wine or beer to add complexity and depth to the stew. Red wine pairs well with beef, while beer complements both beef and lamb.

  5. Fresh Herbs: Experiment with different herbs such as thyme, rosemary, oregano, or bay leaves to infuse your stew with aromatic flavors. Add the herbs before pressure cooking and adjust the quantity based on your preferences.

With these variations and flavoring options, you can easily customize your stew meat in a pressure cooker to suit your taste preferences and create a truly delightful meal.

In conclusion, cooking stew meat in a pressure cooker is a convenient and efficient way to create tender and flavorful stews. By following the preparation steps, understanding the basics of pressure cooking, and utilizing optimal techniques, you’ll be able to cook perfectly tender stew meat every time. Don’t forget to experiment with different flavors and variations to create your own signature stew. Happy cooking!


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

Tougher cuts of meat such as chuck or bottom round are ideal for stewing in a pressure cooker as the high pressure and heat help to break down the tough fibers, resulting in tender and flavorful meat.

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

The cooking time for stew in a pressure cooker varies depending on the type of meat and size of the pieces. Generally, it takes about 20-30 minutes for beef stew, 10-15 minutes for chicken or pork stew, and 25-30 minutes for lamb or veal stew.

Can I Use Frozen Meat For Stew In A Pressure Cooker?

While it is not recommended to cook frozen meat in a pressure cooker, it is possible with some adjustments. The cooking time will need to be increased by 5-10 minutes, and you may need to sauté the frozen meat first to ensure it cooks evenly.

Should I Add Extra Liquid When Cooking Stew In A Pressure Cooker?

Yes, it is important to add enough liquid (such as broth, water, or cooking wine) to cover the meat and vegetables in the pressure cooker. This will help to create the pressure needed for cooking and prevent the stew from drying out.

How Do I Release The Pressure From My Pressure Cooker When The Stew Is Done Cooking?

There are two ways to release the pressure from a pressure cooker – natural release and quick release. For stews, it is best to use the natural release method, which involves turning off the heat and allowing the pressure to release gradually on its own. This prevents the stew from becoming overcooked and also avoids the risk of hot liquid spurting out when using the quick release method.