When You Should Be Adding Vegetables To Beef Stew

You're running late to work but want to get a jumpstart on dinner. Beef stew is on the menu, so you add your chopped meat, veggies, seasonings, and broth to your slow cooker and set it and forget it as you head out the door for your day. Or perhaps you're meal-prepping on a leisurely Sunday and dump everything into a pot while you sit back and relax and enjoy the aroma of comfort emanating throughout your home.

One of the aspects that makes a stew a stew (and arguably the most important one) is that it "stews” for what is often an extended length of time. Once all the ingredients are incorporated and the stove is set to simmer, the flavors are given ample time to meld and mingle, per Culinary Scientist Jessica Galvin.

Dinner time comes around, and odds are you're indulging in some beautiful, complex tastes and tender meat, and ... mushy carrots and mealy peas. If this sounds all too familiar and you figured that's just how stew is, there are some simple measures you can take to maintain the integrity of your veggies. Read on before you slurp up the next spoonful of mushy mushrooms.


To keep all textures intact, the answer comes down to individuality. The timing of when you add vegetables to your stew depends on several factors. There is a correct order to drop in each chopped component on your cutting board, and it all depends on the vegetable as well as the texture and size of the dice.

Call it a hierarchy of heartiness; it comes down to common sense. The larger, thicker, and harder the vegetable is, the longer it will take to cook, so you put it in the pot not long after browning the meat. Something as delicate as a frozen pea will heat through within seconds and should be added at the end. It's the same method you apply to roasting — if you want to roast two-inch pieces of potato as well as some ½-inch pieces of zucchini, you will need separate pans for each as the potato will need a longer time in the oven. Different vegetables take different amounts of time to cook, whether it's in a pot or on a sheet pan (via Betty Crocker).

While this may add an extra step to your stewing process, as it would if you were to follow Martha Stewart's classic recipe, a toothsome bite of potato is worth it.