Instant Pot

Instant Pot Beef Bourguignon

September 20, 2019
4 Stars
Photo by Ty Mecham. Food Stylist: Amelia Rampe. Prop Stylist: Amanda Widis.
Author Notes

My husband bought me an Instant Pot on Amazon Day three years ago, after I had dropped hints that I may need to get an electric pressure cooker at some point. The type of food I prefer to cook and eat at home consists largely of stews, after all. There is for me something so satisfying about putting a whole bunch of things into a single pot, letting it simmer for the better part of an afternoon, and then returning to the stove to find something magical.

The only problem with this method of cooking is that it requires a lot of time. If I try to rush a Creole Peruvian stew, for instance, the flavors just won’t develop and dinnertime will be disappointing. These slow-cooked dishes really aren’t made for households in which everyone works outside the home. It seems as if the only way you can consistently put out bowls of fork-tender oxtails or fall-off-the-bone short ribs every day and maintain an active personal life is to be a witch or a wizard with magical powers.

Otherwise, you may find yourself in my situation: You set dates on weekends or holidays for making your favorite stews. You text your partner: “Honey, I’m not leaving the house this Saturday. We’re having goat stew for dinner.” Or you don’t bother making these dishes at home and just enjoy them at restaurants.

Or you get a pressure cooker.

My husband, John, always thinks about my safety and, in particular, my propensity for getting into kitchen accidents (you can read about my mandoline saga here). In his mind, old-school stovetop pressure cookers were just a catastrophe waiting to happen in my clumsy hands. John also has a passion for technology; meanwhile, I’m still learning to live with a food processor (I still hand-grate bread for bread crumbs).

The Instant Pot seemed to offer the solution: It was a pressure cooker, it was safe, and it was the latest in convenience-appliance technology.

While you’ve probably come across countless recipes that detail the innovative things you can do with an Instant Pot, I find that this 21st-century kitchen essential (let’s be truthful here) is your best tool for cooking old-school classics like the ones Abuela made. In my kitchen, this means that I am able to make Peruvian dishes that ordinarily take forever, like beef trotters in peanut sauce or braised tripe in turmeric and mint sauce—on a weeknight, no less. Pre-Instant Pot, I would have had to make plans well in advance for this kind of involved slow cooking.

And that brings me to the best part about having an Instant Pot: I can indulge in more impulse cooking. If my local Latin grocery has a sale on turkey necks, for instance, I can grab them and cook them that very day knowing it will take me less than an hour with a pressure cooker versus four times as long on the stove. And because the best meat for stews is typically the most inexpensive (with a few exceptions), I end up saving on groceries too.

One day, my local Latin grocery had a sale on veal stew meat. The styrofoam package contained gristle, bony chunks of pale pink meat with a lot of fat (stuff that would have ordinarily been thrown out in most mainstream grocery stores). I put the package of veal in my basket and grabbed some carrots, mushrooms, and a bottle of red wine. When I got home, I threw everything into my Instant Pot with some herbs, red wine, and a spoonful of tomato paste, and set it for 45 minutes. By the time John got home, we had a soul-warming pot of veal bourguignon waiting for us, Carlos-style.

I later found that the same approach works beautifully with other tough cuts of meat, including stew beef. This is my own rendition of beef bourguignon, a traditional French stew in red wine sauce. Everything goes into a pressure cooker and takes only 45 minutes to cook (versus several hours the traditional oven or stovetop way). You can use any type of meat you wish in this recipe. Just make sure that it’s not too lean and that it contains a lot of connective tissue and even some bones, if you can. This will give your stew more body due to the release of collagen as well a deeper, richer flavor. —Carlos C. Olaechea

  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 55 minutes
  • Serves 4
  • 1 pound stew beef, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 large bay leaf, fresh or dried
  • 2 large garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 yellow onions, cut into half-inch slices
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 8 ounces button mushrooms, cleaned
  • Red wine, enough to cover meat (see directions)
In This Recipe
  1. Pat the beef dry and set aside. In a bowl, add the flour, salt, and pepper and stir to combine. Add the meat and toss to coat (it's okay if it's a little sticky).
  2. Turn the Instant Pot onto the medium Sauté setting and add 1 tablespoon olive oil. When the oil is hot, add a single layer of meat. Wait for it to brown on one side, and then turn over. When browned on both sides, remove and place on a plate. Repeat with the remaining meat until it is all browned. Set browned meat aside.
  3. Add butter to the Instant Pot. When it is melted and foaming, add bay leaf and fry until fragrant. Add the onions and stir until translucent. Stir in garlic and carrots and fry for about 3 minutes. When garlic is no longer raw, add tomato paste and mix with the vegetables. Fry for 1 minute. You can add a little bit of wine if things start to brown too quickly. Stir in the mushrooms and cook for about 2 minutes.
  4. Add thyme, meat and enough wine to just cover all the solids. Turn the Instant Pot off. Place the cover on the Instant Pot, making sure to turn the knob to the Pressure Cook setting. Cook on high pressure for 45 minutes.
  5. When finished cooking, release the pressure and uncover pot. Turn on the sauté setting to high and reduce until you reach the desired consistency (and to cook off any alcohol). Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve with a baguette, egg noodles, or roasted potatoes.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Jaxmccaff
  • IWearTheHat
  • Robert Lafferty
    Robert Lafferty
  • Mon-Cherie Castillo
    Mon-Cherie Castillo
  • Lorraine Purcell
    Lorraine Purcell
I was born in Peru to a Limeño father and a Texan mother. We moved to Miami when I was five, and I grew up in the "Kendall-suyo" neighborhood—often called the 5th province of the Inca Empire because of its large Peruvian population. I've been writing about food since I was 11 years old, and in 2016 I received a master's degree in Gastronomy from Boston University. A travel columnist at Food52, I'm currently based in Hollywood, Florida—another vibrant Peruvian community—where I am a writer, culinary tour guide, and consultant.

22 Reviews

Jaxmccaff March 27, 2021
Made this exactly as directed. I did use a high quality bottle of wine and served with roasted potatoes. It turned out very well with excellent flavor. I will make this again.
Willow450 January 27, 2021
It turned out way too soupy. I tried to thicken it up and the carrots turned to mush. Not my best effort. Probably my fault as I probably added too much liquid, but won’t try again
IWearTheHat November 26, 2020
I cooked this last night. Overall it was very good (we used dark bread and butter with the meal) but the wine flavor was so strong it left a slightly tangy taste for me. I think next time I will use 2/3 or 3/4 wine and and 1/3 or 1/4 beef broth to cover everything. I also used three instead of two carrots and it worked fine. I was impressed with the multi-cooker method (I have a Fagor LUX multi-cooker) and will try this with potatoes or egg noodles next time.
Marguerite October 20, 2020
The promo on Facebook said that this recipe and method would yield a Boeuf Bourguignon with a “deeper and richer flavor.” And it doesn’t, not at all. It’s just a faster method.
I’ve been making Boeuf Bourguignon for years. I’ve tried several variations over the years, all excellent. But there is nothing new or better about this recipe. It is just easier - NOT better tasting. Pressure cookers have been around for more than 80 years. The Instant Pot is simply an electric, programmable one. That false ad bragging about deeper and richer flavor was just stupid click bait.
Robert L. May 19, 2020
made this on May 19 with instant pot i borrowed from my daughter. No tomato paste so I roasted some cherry tomatoes an mushed them. No button mushrooms so I reconstituted dried Porcini, added the broth & chopped them up. Sauteed meat, & stuff, dash Worcestershire for some reason. OMG, all I can say. For a first exposure to pressure cook, very impressed, as opposed to a five hour braise. BTW, used Baldor Beef during this pandemic. Excellent. Thanks to the author for a no forget formula. Oh yes, egg noodles on side. Life's good, feelin lucky tonight.
Sheila M. March 4, 2020
Great meal. I made this last night in my 8 quart instant pot. I multiplied the ingredients by 1.5 since I had extra beef. We thoroughly enjoy
It. Great flavor and wonderful left over. I served it over wide flat noodles and a baguette on the side. I used Malbec wine and really enjoyed it. I used my large cast iron skillet to brown the beef since it was more efficient than the instant pot sauté in batches. Great hearty meal.
Beth M. February 17, 2020
I made this recipe double. I used herbes de Provence instead of just thyme. My family loved it and I did too. I did boil the stew after releasing the pressure for at least 10 minutes to reduce the sauce. It was excellent and complex. We ate it with potatoes the first night but I'm sure my husband will love the leftovers with noodles tomorrow night when I'm out. I think it's an excellent recipe and will definitely make it again.
Mon-Cherie C. November 8, 2019
5 Stars! It was a perfect 1st recipe I made in my new instant Pot, it was very easy and it was amazing, even the next morning with a sunny side egg on it. I will definitely be making this again.
Author Comment
Carlos C. November 12, 2019
Thanks so much for the glowing review. I am so glad you liked it.
Kathy C. October 24, 2019
After done cooking, throw the egg noodles in, stir a bit, cover and pressure cook another 5 minutes! Amazing! Noodles are just the right consistency and soak up some of the extra juice. I love my Insta Pot too!!
Lorraine P. September 29, 2019
Family loved the recipe - just as written. No changes or substitutions. Served over wide noodles. Won over my husband (who had a mother who made traditionally every month during his childhood). I used a lighter cabernet sauvignon (Dark Myth from Paso Robles 2018). I tasted before using - almost more like a Merlot. Thank you for the recipe.
Eric K. September 30, 2019
I'm so glad, Lorraine.
Author Comment
Carlos C. October 1, 2019
I'm so glad you enjoyed it, Lorraine. Great tip on the wine
Jennifer K. September 26, 2019
(1) The type of wine makes a big difference. It said "red wine," and I used red wine, and it was...meh. The wine was overwhelming. But when I've made boeuf bourguignon with a burgundy, it is much better.
pjcamp September 27, 2019
Burgundy is a Pinot Noir so you can substitute if you can't find actual Burgundy or don't want to spring for the cost.
Eric K. September 30, 2019
Thanks for the tip!
memarq0 September 23, 2019
If you let the liquid cook down after releasing the pressure, it's lovely - you just need to commit to that additional time. While this instant pot recipe is good and flavorful, it's not "instant".
Author Comment
Carlos C. September 27, 2019
They never are instant, but it still takes a lot less time than doing it the traditional way.
pjcamp September 21, 2019
Oh my god, this is awful! And in retrospect, I know exactly why. A pressure cooker is airtight. There's no place for the alcohol to go so it stays right there in the pot. So it ends up a bunch of unmelded flavors swimming in a boozy jus. The taste is quite harsh and really not good at all. I did, by the way, follow the recipe exactly.
Author Comment
Carlos C. September 22, 2019
Oh dear! I'm sorry it didn't turn out well for you. I know what you mean about pressure cookers being airtight, which is why I instructed to turn on the sauté function to reduce the sauce. BTW, I try to avoid following a recipe exactly. Always trust your instinct. There are so many famous authors and chefs who may instruct you to cook something in a way that is not to your liking or just plain wrong. I'll never forget the recipe for rice pilaf from Ottolenghi's Jerusalem cookbook. I cackled reading his instructions for cooking rice, because I knew it would turn out like mush, so I made it the way I knew to make it but added the ingredients he recommended. Several months later, I tried someone else's rendition that followed the recipe to the letter, and it was terrible. Always trust your intuition, regardless of who wrote or published the recipe. Recipes are not commandments.
pjcamp September 23, 2019
Thank you for a very nice reply. I may try it again and see what happens.
Author Comment
Carlos C. September 27, 2019
perhaps cook off the alcohol first and then set the pressure cooker