Hearty Beef Stew

As a kid, we ate a lot of beef stew. In fact, this recipe was our standard Sunday dinner. Everything would go into the Dutch oven and then into the oven before we went to church and when we got home 3 hours later, it would be ready. We ate it with whole wheat bread and butter and it felt warm and homey. I’ve changed the old standard a little–added some (a lot of) garlic, substituted V8 for tomato juice and beef bouillon instead of just salt. But really, it’s all the same: something easy, nourishing, and delicious that just about everybody loves.

Ingredient Notes

  • The Basics – You’ll find a lot of the usual players here: carrots, celery, an onion, baby (or chopped) potatoes, fresh garlic, and some dry spices.
  • The Additions – Good old concentrated canned tomato soup and some V8 (found on the juice aisle) provide a delicious tomato base. A couple of bouillon cubes or a couple of teaspoons of beef base are added in as well.
  • Stew Meat – You’ll also need some lean stew meat. You may need to cut some of the pieces into something a little more bite-sized.


  1. Preheat oven to 300 F. Cut the veggies–I usually make the potatoes on the large side of bite-sized, the carrots and celery on the small side of bite-sized, and then the onions chopped pretty small because I don’t like them in chunks. But you can do it however you like! Combine all the ingredients in a large Dutch oven or other heavy oven-safe dish with a tight-fitting lid.
  1. Pop that in the preheated oven for 3 hours, and that’s it!

Serving Suggestions

Serve with a side salad and really any type of warm bread with butter. Here are a few of my favorites:

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can I make this ahead of time? Yes! Soups and stews are often even better when reheated and usually freeze really well. You can prepare the stew and reheat as needed, or freeze individual portions in silicone muffin tins or Souper Cubes for an easy lunch or dinner.

Did You Make This?

I’d love to hear from you! Snap a picture and tag me on Instagram, then come back and give this recipe a rating!

Sunday Beef Stew

5 from 1 vote
A hearty, comforting, and EASY beef stew recipe perfect for cozy nights inside!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Servings8 -10


  • 1 pound baby potatoes cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 4-5 medium carrots peeled and chopped
  • 4 stalks celery chopped
  • 1 large or 2 small onions chopped
  • 5-6 cloves garlic minced
  • 3 cups vegetable juice cocktail like V8 or Bloody Mary Mix
  • 1 10- ounce can condensed tomato soup
  • 10 ounces water just use empty soup can to measure
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • 2 beef bouillon cubes or 2 teaspoons beef base
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2-3 pounds lean beef stew meat cut into smaller cubes if necessary


  • Preheat oven to 300 F. Combine all the ingredients in a large Dutch oven or other heavy oven-safe dish with a tight-fitting lid. Cook for 3 hours.


I haven't had great luck making this in the slow cooker or the pressure cooker--the recipe seems to rely on a little evaporation and when I've made it using these methods, the stew ends up a little soupy/watery. If you'd like to try it either of these ways, I would recommend reducing the water and possibly the V-8. This has not been tested, so just know you'll be in uncharted territory!
Author: Our Best Bites
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Meet The Author

Sara Wells

Sara Wells co-founded Our Best Bites in 2008. She is the author of three Bestselling Cook Books, Best Bites: 150 Family Favorite RecipesSavoring the Seasons with Our Best Bites, and 400 Calories or Less from Our Best Bites. Sara’s work has been featured in many local and national news outlets and publications such as Parenting MagazineBetter Homes & GardensFine CookingThe Rachel Ray Show and the New York Times.

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Questions & Reviews

  1. Spencer Family–Just toss 'em in and you're good to go! 🙂 You don't have to worry about any boiling/mixing/whatever…

  2. I am making this for dinner tonight–sounds so good! I did have one question though. Do I just throw the two bouillon cubes in the crockpot or do I boil them in a cup of water? Thanks!

  3. Jimi, I would say about 8-10 servings. 8 is generous with seconds for average appetites, 10 is probably for smaller eaters.

  4. Can you tell me about how many people this will serve? Love your recipes and can't wait to try this one!

  5. Totally one of my favorite books too! My sisters and I spent many, many, many (too many?) hours "being" the Boxcar children. Oh my…such memories!

    The stew looks delicious!

  6. Adriann, you are officially THE pickiest eater I know! That's okay, though, because I still love you… 🙂 I also am missing you these days–Louisiana just isn't the same without you!

  7. Do we always have to agree on books? The Boxcar Children were my FAVORITE series growing up. They way surpassed Nancy Drew and The Babysitters Club for me. Thanks for taking me back down memory lane. Don't agree about the food though, sorry but even thinking about stew makes me want to … you get the idea.

  8. All time favorite childhood book. Thanks for a walk down memory lane! 🙂

    The stew looks GREAT, I'll be making it this week!

  9. We made this for dinner tonight and I thought it was perfect. Our house smelled AMAZING all day!

  10. This is my first recipe I've tried from your site and I LOVE it! Super yummy…I'm always up for good comfort food. I'm looking forward to trying more of your recipes!

  11. Can I tell you , since I don't usually have time to, how much I love your blog!! ThaNK YOU!

  12. Oh I loved the Boxcar Children!!! I read the entire series as a child. It was such an adventure. Hardly anyone else has ever heard of them. I love this site. Thank you so very much. I usually fix at least one of your recipe every weekend.

  13. Cherie–Those are indeed pearl onions! I only had one onion handy and I had a bag of frozen pearl onions, so I used about 1/2 a bag, maybe a little more, in place of the second onions. They were really good, but I think they were a little controversial texture-wise–some people loved them and some people hated biting into a whole onion, so I left them out in the instructions. But you could certainly use a standard bag of frozen pearl onions in place of the two onions.

  14. I LOVE The Boxcar Children!!! I read it (and all of the rest in the series) over and over again!

  15. Is it just me or it looks like from the picture that there are pearl onions in the stew?

  16. I loved The Boxcar Children and my children have too!

    Your stew looks delicious! This would be perfect for a chilly afternoon of football!! Thanks for another winning recipe!

  17. ved Box Car Children also and the way life seemed so adventurous and simple. I love the memory of reading them aloud with my Dad and brother. I LOVE your site and love that the recipes are all yummy and inspiring! I have yet to meet a recipe of yours that our family didn't LOVE to eat. What a pleasure it is to cook!
    Funny that I remember similar changes in my house as a kid when my mom died and my dad remarried…pot roast or stew every Sunday after church.
    Thanks to both of you for all you share with us about food and your life experience. We are huge fans!

  18. I had an ancient copy of The Boxcar Children when I was a kid, and I felt the same way about their "playing house!" Another one I loved was Mandy, by Julie Andrews Edwards, where the little heroine finds a tiny English cottage and sets up house.

    I am always up for a new beef stew recipe, thanks for sharing yours!

  19. I love that book. I do have to say, however, that the most memorable part for me was how they put the milk in the rock behind the waterfall so it would stay cold. Simply brilliant.

    I'm psyched for this stew. Great fall food as we try and transition from Arizona (wonderful) to Chicago (freezing).

  20. Everything I know about The Boxcar Children I learned from a video reenactment my brother did in the 6th grade, lol. Strangely I remember a LOT from that!

    The stew looks great. I just got 30lbs of potatoes from my husbands Grandma so I think I'll be putting this on my menu for Sunday!

    Shelly, popcorn kernels are all different. Sometimes mine are big and fluffy and sometimes they are small and dinky. I think it's just the luck of the draw. Also, sometimes the sugar comes out darker and that's just fine. Depends on the heat, the pan, etc. The batch I photographed for that post was unusually light! Make it a few times and you'll get the feel of how it's supposed to look at feel, etc.

  21. That was my FAVORITE book when I was a kid too! I read it over and over. And the stew looks fantastic, if I hadn't made beef stew recently I'd put it on the menu for tonight!

  22. I absolutely loved the Boxcar Children books. They were my favorite! This stew looks delish.

    I made the kettle corn yesterday and the popcorn was really small fluffs. They didn't get very big. Then the surgar part got a little darker thatn yours. It was yummy and I still ate. Just wandering why my kernals didn't pop very big. Is that normal?

  23. Boxcar Children was one of my favorite childhood books. It's funny that the same scenes stood out in my memories- polishing silverware, building the pool, stew… remember the shelf with all their treasures on it? This recipe just makes me want to go check out the book from the library and read it all in one day while my stew bubbles away in the stove.
    I really think part of the joy of using recipes from your website is the stories and "piece of your heart" that you both share. Thank you for not only preparing such wonderfully tasty food but also for making cooking a personal and comforting experience.

  24. I LOVED the Boxcar Children! I had totally forgotten about it until you just mentioned it..wow. We actually read those in school. Then I got hooked on the Little House Books and then The Black Stallion..growing up I wanted to live in a boxcar,on a prairie with a black stallion:)

  25. The stew looks fabulous, I love stew, the best comfort food 🙂 I never read Boxcar Children but have definitely herd of it, what a fun memory!

  26. Yes! I had the EXACT same reaction to The Boxcar Children. For me, though the books that really awakened me to food were Heidi (I still want to try toasted goat cheese spread on freshly-made bread) and the Little House books.

    This is basically my stew recipe, down to the V-8, except I throw in a bay leaf.

    I have really been loving your site since my friend Brenda (SAJ) introduced me to it a while back! I've made several of your recipes and have yet to find a bad one. Please keep up the great work! 🙂