14 Hearty Stew Recipes For A Comforting Dinner

When you think of the phrase "homestyle cooking," a lot of different foods may come to mind. For some, it's a Sunday night lasagna with family, while others go for an outrageously creamy plate of macaroni and cheese from the Thanksgiving table. But in many homes, it's all about stews and their unbreakable connection to the dinner table. 

Stews are typically made up of a combination of ingredients that have been cooked for long periods of time in their own gravy. As a result, all of those individual components, like steak, root veggies, and more, absorb the flavors of the sauce and become soft. Although meat and potatoes may be at the forefront of most recipes (especially those made in America), there are countless variations that derive umami-rich flavors from plant-based sources, or use unique regional ingredients. Here are some of the best and most filling stew recipes you can cook up at home. 

1. Old-Fashioned Beef Stew

When you first think of the word "stew," there's a strong chance your brain automatically associates it with rich, flavorful beef. This recipe holds true to that. It's made with beef chuck supplemented with hearty veggies like carrots, Yukon gold potatoes, and thick-cut bacon. 

Although stew might be associated with a laborious, day-long endeavor, this recipe comes together in just about three hours, and is the perfect dish to make as a meal prep for the week. In fact, it's even better on the second day — or the third, if there's any left. 

Recipe: Old-Fashioned Beef Stew

2. Spicy Harissa Eggplant Stew

Stew doesn't have to be especially heavy, as is the case with this Mediterranean-inspired eggplant stew. Besides the nightshade, it's loaded with fiber and protein-dense chickpeas and gets its special zingy flavor from fresh herbs like parsley and harissa, a delicious North African paste. We recommend pairing a bowl of this vegan stew with a couple of pieces of crusty bread, or a side salad that highlights the vegetal flavors. 

Recipe: Spicy Harissa Eggplant Stew

3. Venison Stew with Guinness and Pickled Walnuts

While most beef stews go for a red wine, this gamey take packs in the flavor with Guinness. Slow-cooking the venison with the beer helps soften its flavor profile, which is complemented by an array of root vegetables and store-bought pickled walnuts. If you don't have access to venison, you can make an easy swap with your favorite chuck roast.

Like other stews, this is a great meal to make for a blustery winter evening. You can save the leftovers in an airtight container for up to three days.

Recipe: Venison Stew with Guinness and Pickled Walnuts

4. Cinnamon Apple Cider Beef Stew

Although cinnamon and apples famously make for a great apple pie, they're also pivotal ingredients in a warming beef stew. This recipe also derives delicious autumnal flavors from fresh cranberries. 

This stew utilizes cider to deglaze the pan, while the cinnamon helps complement aromatic additions of chili powder, thyme, and rosemary. It's a beef stew that can be eaten as a whole meal, thanks to the addition of barley. But you could also swap it out with another grain and serve the stew with bread for good measure. 

Recipe: Cinnamon Apple Cider Beef Stew

5. Hearty Mushroom Stew

If you want the umami without the meat, turn to mushrooms. These fungi are packed with flavor, especially the dried porcini, crimini, and white button mushrooms used in this stew. Besides the richness of these mushrooms, you'll also find a burst of vegetal flavor from the carrots, frozen peas, and chopped green beans. 

We recommend serving this stew atop a pile of mashed potatoes. You can also make this stew in advance and pop it in your fridge for up to five days, or your freezer for up to three months.

Recipe: Hearty Mushroom Stew

6. Aromatic Garlic-Ginger Beef Stew

Beef stew craves aromatic elements to help uplift its flavors. That's where garlic and ginger come in. 

This recipe takes a bit of inspiration from Asian flavors and includes ingredients you can find at your local Asian market, like Chinese five spice, star anise, and soy sauce. The umami profile is rounded out with a bit of tomato paste and a hefty portion of beef stock. This recipe uses beef shin (also known as shank), but you can swap it with chuck, or even oxtail.

Recipe: Aromatic Garlic-Ginger Beef Stew

7. Kimchi Sundubu Jjigae (Korean Tofu Stew)

This Korean tofu stew may not be a dish that's already on your radar, but after you taste it, you'll realize it should be. It incorporates tons of umami flavors with the help of dried kelp, dried anchovies, gochujang, miso, and two different kinds of mushrooms. This stew also leans towards the acidic end of things, but if that's too much for you, it can be easily corrected with a bit of sugar. 

The soft, spongy tofu in this recipe makes it difficult to freeze, but you can enjoy the leftovers from your fridge for a couple of days. It will wake up your sinuses and your palate with every bite. 

Recipe: Kimchi Sundubu Jjigae (Korean Tofu Stew)

8. Slow-Braised Oxtail Stew

Oxtail is finally getting the recognition it deserves. Its high collagen levels make it an ideal component for stews because the slow cooking allows the collagen to break down, thickening the gravy and blending with all the other flavors present.

This delicious stew will need to cook for upwards of three hours, but we can assure you the result is well worth it. Once the meat has been slowly braised, it can be served with or without the bones and will really shine when paired with a bright plate of greens. 

Recipe: Slow-Braised Oxtail Stew

9. Warming Spicy Bean Stew

Stews don't have to be heavy, and this bean stew recipe proves it. It can be made with canned cannellini and black beans, as well as chopped tomatoes and boxed vegetable stock. You don't get much more inexpensive than that. 

Compared to other stews, this recipe is done and ready to serve in the blink of an eye. The beans and veggies make a great pairing for a bowl of rice, and a lime wedge adds a welcome acidic touch. 

Recipe: Warming Spicy Bean Stew

10. Beef Irish Stew

Irish stew is traditionally made with mutton or lamb. But this version keeps it simple with beef — and a cup of stout. It's a particularly great recipe to make for a St. Patrick's Day celebration, or for when you need a boost of nutrients to get you through winter shoveling. The slow-cooked beef, combined with the potatoes and the carrots, makes for a flavorful meal everyone can appreciate, even if they're not Irish. 

Recipe: Beef Irish Stew

11. Burmese Breakfast Stew

Although most people think of stew as a nighttime meal, there's no reason you can't eat it in the morning. This Burmese breakfast stew embraces the flavors of the Southeastern Asian nation with ingredients like lemongrass, garlic, ginger, and fish sauce. It's incredibly balanced, between the catfish and the rice noodles, and makes for a filling start to your day. Serve each bowl with a lime wedge and fresh cilantro.

Recipe: Burmese Breakfast Stew

12. Moroccan Chickpea Stew

Chickpeas are the perfect vector for flavor, and this heavily-seasoned stew is proof. The spice blend used is simple and relatively easy to make, and includes spice rack staples like cinnamon, ginger, and cumin. You can also substitute the chickpeas for black beans or lentils if you desire. 

This stew is especially filling when paired with couscous, fluffy quinoa, or freshly baked naan bread. From start to finish, it will only take you about 30 minutes to make, which is perfect for when you're craving a quick, plant-based, and satiating meal. 

Recipe: Moroccan Chickpea Stew

13. Simple Rabbit Stew

Rabbit isn't as common as other animal proteins, so this is a perfect recipe to try if you're looking to branch out. You can find rabbit at a specialty grocer, or you can ask your butcher for help sourcing it. 

This stew pairs rabbit with punchy ingredients like red wine, capers, bacon, and Dijon mustard to help round out the flavor. It's especially excellent served with a glass of red wine and a good piece of bread. Prepare to become a fan of rabbit — this dish is just that memorable.

Recipe: Simple Rabbit Stew

14. Korean Beef Stew

Mastering the flavors of Korean cuisine is positively easy with this beef stew recipe. You can source most of the ingredients from your local grocery store, including the diced lean steak, sesame oil, ginger, and carrots. Plus, the cook time is only about 30 minutes, which means you can have a quick and flavorful dinner on the table in a short amount of time. 

Rice is the ideal pairing for this stew, because it will soak up all of its delicious flavors. Your leftovers can be saved in an airtight container for several days, or frozen for even longer. 

Recipe: Korean Beef Stew