Tomato Beef Stew is an easy weeknight dinner that’s full of flavor! Hearty, comforting, and great with a piece of crusty bread for dipping!
I’ve been making beef stew for years. It takes some time to prepare but it is SO worth it. Since stew is one of our favorite cold-weather comfort foods, I wanted an easy weeknight version I could make too.
What’s a TLC recipe? A dish that takes some love and time. A recipe I’d normally save for Sunday when I can cook all day and not stress about school, work, and then dinner.
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This stew beef recipe is sort of a semi-homemade short cut meal. My trick for this recipe is using a pre-made pasta sauce to get lots of flavor into the stew without simmering for hours and hours.
The pasta sauce is already slow simmered to add layers of flavors, and it helps thickens up the stew more quickly. The total cooking time goes down by about half for a weeknight win!
Ingredients for Beef Stew
- Vegetable oil or olive oil
- Stew beef
- Yellow onion
- All-purpose flour
- Pasta sauce
- Beef broth or beef stock
- Salt & pepper
If you can’t find pre-cut stew meat, you can take a chuck or bottom round roast and use about half of it. Then cut up the other half into stew meat and freeze it for later. I love to do this when these cuts are on sale!
This stew was really good. Really really good.
For anyone thinking it’s going to taste like spaghetti because of the pasta sauce, stop. Stop it right now. The beef broth and juices from the stew meat tame the sauce. It’s a pot of beefy-tomato happiness with some built-in seasonings.
Add some potatoes and carrots and you are in business! I served our stew up with some crusty bread for dipping and my boys gobbled it up.
How to Make Beef Stew
- Place a large dutch oven or pot on your stovetop over medium-high heat. Add the oil to the pot and let it get hot. Then, add the stew beef and cook it until all sides are seared and browned. Use a spoon to transfer the beef to a bowl and set it aside.
- Reduce heat to medium and to the same pot, add the onion and garlic. Cook them for about 5 minutes or until the onions are softened. They’ll turn brown from the beef residue in the pan. Be sure to stir often so the garlic doesn’t burn.
- Add the beef (and any juices in the bowl) back to the pot. Sprinkle the flour over the veggies and beef, and then stir to coat everything in the flour.
- Pour in the pasta sauce and beef broth, then stir everything together.
- Next, add in the potatoes and carrots. Make sure the veggies and meat are submerged as possible in the cooking liquid.
- Cover and cook the stew for 1 hour. The stew should be stirred occasionally, every 20 minutes or so, tThat way nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot.
- Once your cooking time is up, check that the vegetables are tender (use a fork, it should go right in) and the beef is tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve warm in a bowl with some crusty bread for dipping.
The beef will not be crazy tender. It’s going to have some texture still since we’re only cooking for an hour. See my notes below if you want your meat more tender.
How do you make stew meat tender?
Stew beef is tough when it hasn’t cooked long enough.
This is a 1-hour recipe, so the beef isn’t going to fall apart on your tongue. Searing the meat well before stewing it helps. Be sure that the meat is submerged in the cooking liquid and you should be good to go.
You can always cook this stew longer if you want your meat more tender!
Do you need tomato paste for beef stew?
Nope. You can use diced tomatoes, pasta sauce (like I did here), tomato paste, or even whole canned tomatoes for your stew. Just be sure to break the whole tomatoes up while the stew cooks.
If you go with tomato paste, diced or whole tomatoes for this recipe, you’ll need to add seasoning since they were all in the pasta sauce.
What can I add to beef stew?
Typically potatoes and carrots are mainstays for beef stew. That being said, you can add all kind of veggies too!
- Green beans
It’s really up to you and your tastes. I keep it simple and stick to root vegetables, but make this stew how you like it!
Try some of our other favorite beefy dinners!
- Instant Pot Old-Fashioned Pot Roast
- Baked Beef Taquitos
- Skillet Sloppy Joe Cornbread Casserole
- Crock Pot French Dip
- More beef recipes
Love soups and stews? Me too!
- Simple Broccoli Cheese Soup
- 30-Minute Bacon Chicken Chili
- Potato Leek Soup
- Bacon Bean Soup
- More dinner recipes
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1.5 pounds stew meat
- 1/2 yellow onion, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 1/2 tablespoons flour
- 24 ounces pasta sauce, (I used Ragu Chunky Sauteed Onion & Garlic)
- 3 1/2 cups low-sodium beef broth
- 2 large carrots, peeled and rough chopped
- 5 red potatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces
- Salt and pepper
- Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add beef and cook until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes.
- Remove meat from the pot and set aside in a bowl. Add garlic and onion to the pot. Cook until the onions are soft, about 4 to 6 minutes. Stir often to prevent the garlic from burning.
- Add meat back to the pot and sprinkle flour over meat and veggies. Stir until coated and cook for 1 minute.
- Pour in the pasta sauce and beef broth, and stir to combine. Add your potatoes and carrots, then give one more stir.
- Cover and simmer over medium heat for about 1 hour. Stirring every 20 minutes.
- Uncover and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm.