This recipe for Instant Pot Beef Stew uses apple cider to create a tasty and slightly sweet gravy for the tender chunks of beef and hearty vegetables. The apple cider adds a nice fall twist to traditional homemade beef stew. And since it is made in a pressure cooker it is ready to go in less than an hour!
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Many recipes for beef stew have a tomato based sauce, but this recipe goes in a different direction and uses seasonal apple cider to make a delicious homemade beef stew for the family to enjoy. It is a delicious dinner for a busy fall day. You can use either alcoholic or non-alcoholic cider to flavor your stew, whichever one you prefer or happen to have on hand. While traditional stew needs to simmer all day long with this easy pressure cooker recipe dinner will be ready in less than an hour.
Making the Instant Pot Beef Stew
The first step in making the Instant Pot Beef Stew is browning the meat. One of the nice things about the Instant Pot is that you can use the Saute function to brown the beef in the same pot that will be used to cook the stew. This saves having an extra pan to wash and I am always in favor of less dishes! It can be tempting to skip the browning step and save a little time, but it is important. Browning the meat improves both the flavor and appearance of the final stew so it is worth spending a few extra minutes.
After the meat is browned all the ingredients that will make up the stew gravy are added to the Instant Pot. In this recipe those ingredients are cider, broth, onion, flour, tomato paste and some spices. The flour and tomato paste will help thicken the stew so that is not a beef soup. While I rarely make a tomato based beef stew I still use tomato paste in all my beef stew recipes, because in addition to helping thicken the stew the tomato paste also enhances the flavor of the meat.
Should you use Alcoholic or Non-alcoholic Cider?
Personally, I prefer to use alcoholic cider in this pressure cooker beef stew recipe. I almost always use some kind of alcohol in my stew recipes, whether it is wine, sherry, beer or hard cider. The alcohol adds depth and complexity to the taste of the final dish. But if you prefer not to cook with alcohol there is a simple substitution you can do to enhance the taste of your stew. If you add a little bit of apple cider vinegar it will increase the acidity of the stew similar to what you would get from alcohol. If you are using hard cider you can skip the apple cider vinegar.
Don’t Overcook the Stew Vegetables
Once all the stew broth ingredients are added to the pressure cooker the Instant Pot is brought to pressure and the meat is cooked for 20 minutes, before the rest of the vegetables are added. If you add the vegetables with the broth they will be mushy, because they just don’t take as long to cook as the meat. With mushy vegetables the stew will still taste good, but if you wait to add the vegetables then you will have nice crisp carrots and potatoes and the stew will taste excellent!
After the meat and broth has cooked for 20 minutes I released the pressure and added the potatoes and carrots. Then I brought the Instant Pot back to pressure for a few minutes to cook the vegetables. Finally I stirred in some frozen peas after the stew is finished, which quickly thaw in the stew. The peas add color and a little bit of extra flavor to the Instant Pot Beef Stew.
Apple Cider Instant Pot Beef Stew
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound beef chuck, cubed
- 2 Tablespoon flour
- 1 onion, medium
- 1 teaspoon basil
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 cup apple cider (alcoholic or non-alcoholic)
- 1 Tablespoon cider vinegar (if using non-alcoholic cider)
- 2 Tablespoon Tomato paste
- 1 cup beef broth
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 potatoes
- 2 carrots
- 1 cup frozen peas
- Set the Instant Pot on saute and let it heat up.
- Put the oil in the Instant Pot and brown the beef cubes on all sides in the oil.
- After the beef is browned add the flour, onion, basil, oregano, cider, cider vinegar (if using non-alcoholic cider), tomato paste, broth, along with salt. Stir to mix.
- Put the lid on the Instant Pot and lock the lid. Switch it to the Stew/Meat setting and program it for 20 minutes.
- While the stew cooks peel and dice the potatoes and the carrots.
- When the 20 minutes is done release the steam using the quick release.
- Add the potatoes and carrots, and lock the lid back on the Instant Pot. Set it to the manual setting and program it for 8 minutes.
- Once the 8 minutes are up use either the quick release and then stir in the frozen peas. Let sit for 3 minutes or so and then serve.
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- If you are using frozen stew meat you should add about 5 minutes to the initial pressure cooking time, making it 25 minutes instead of 20 minutes.
- You could substitute a can of beer for the cider, for a slightly less sweet taste.