14 Uses For Stew Meat (Besides Beef Stew)

When you hear the phrase "stew beef," the first (and possibly only) dish that pops into your head is probably hearty beef stew. While this is certainly one way you can use stew beef, it's far from the only option. If you already have stew beef in the freezer, or want to take advantage of a sale at the grocery store and stock up, don't feel like you'll be forcing yourself to cook one batch of beef stew after the next to work through the meat. There are a lot of options out there — including many you might not have heard of.

What is stew beef, exactly? Stew beef is chunked meat — typically from round or chuck cuts of beef — that starts out very tough. This is due to the large amount of connective tissue that runs through it. However, when stew meat is slowly simmered for a long period of time, those tough connective fibers start to break down. This results in a tender and absolutely delicious meat that nicely complements a range of recipes. What recipes are we talking about exactly? Glad you asked. We're here to take a look at all the different things you can do with stew meat, besides the classic beef stew.

1. Give Korean tacos a kick

Using stew meat in place of chuck roast or other cuts of meat in Korean beef tacos can yield some seriously tasty results. This is especially true if you're planning to use your slow cooker, as it will give the stew meat plenty of time to cook and get nice and tender. Because you can make this dish in a slow cooker or a heavy-bottomed pot, it's an excellent and easy dinner option after a long and busy day at work or school. Plan to let the stew meat and other ingredients, including soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, rice vinegar, sesame oil, ginger, and diced onion, cook on low for about 10 hours for fork-tender results.

Using stew meat in these tacos is also wonderful in terms of versatility: You can serve the Korean beef mixture with some flour or corn tortillas and your desired mix of toppings. Some toppings that might work well with this recipe include lettuce, tomato, cabbage, peppers, radishes, cucumber salad, mango salsa, and cheese.

2. Marinate it in beer to add depth of flavor

A hearty beef and mushroom pie may be just what the doctor calls for on the next cold and blustery day. While recipes for this dish often feature hanger steak and other cuts of beef, there is absolutely no reason you can't substitute stew meat. For this type of pie, you'll want to plan ahead to leave time for the meat to marinate in some hearty Guinness stout. It will add unique flavor and really help pull the whole dish together.

Beef and mushroom pie features a golden and flaky puff pastry crust — don't forget to use an egg wash before baking the pie, to give it a deeper color. Part of the joy of making this recipe is breaking into that crispy crust to find the thick and juicy gravy, delicious beef, and chunks of tasty mushrooms. Beef and mushroom pie makes for an especially wonderful family dinner: Kids and adults alike enjoy this dish's rich mix of flavor and texture. And really, who doesn't like getting pie for dinner?

3. Cook up a classic

Beef Stroganoff is a simple, yet tasty, entrée you can make using stew beef. This dish features beef broth, sour cream gravy, mushrooms, and beef that traditionally top a bed of wide noodles. However, if you prefer, you can also serve it over different pasta, mashed potatoes, or even cauliflower, if you're looking for a lower-carb alternative.

When using stew meat to make beef Stroganoff, there are a few important things to keep in mind. Searing the meat before adding any other ingredients is key if you want your Stroganoff to be bursting with flavor. Searing helps to caramelize the meat's natural sugars and gives it a slightly crusty finish. Another important tip is to make sure you leave enough cooking time to let the stew beef simmer in the sauce. Remember, the connective tissue can make stew beef tough if it isn't given sufficient time to cook. Plan ahead to let it simmer for at least an hour and a half, if not two or more. You could also consider trying a slow cooker beef Stroganoff recipe, which would provide even more simmering time to really get the meat nice and tender.

4. Give goulash a go

Goulash, a flavorful stew made with beef and vegetables, offers some major inspiration if you're looking for unique ways to use stew meat. It features a tomato broth well seasoned with paprika and beautifully tender chunks of beef and veggies. To achieve this, you have to allow for plenty of simmering time. Once you've got that down, though, you're golden — this is a pretty hands-off dish. 

There are two main types of goulash recipes: Hungarian goulash and American goulash. While both of these dishes have a similar flavor, there are a few key differences in how they're made and served. Hungarian goulash is traditionally made with chunks of stew beef and served next to, or on top of, egg noodles. American goulash, in contrast, is traditionally made with ground beef. The noodles are also added directly into the pot, rather than being topped with the goulash. So, if you're planning to use stew beef and you're more of a rule-follower, try a Hungarian goulash recipe.

5. Make your chili super meaty

When you add beef to chili, you most likely use ground beef. While that may be the traditional ingredient, it's far from the only option you can choose from when it comes to this classic dish. If you want to make a hearty chili that will really stick to your ribs, consider using stew meat instead of ground beef.

You can make chili in the slow cooker or on the stovetop — it's up to you, your preferences, and whether you'll be home long enough to let the mixture simmer together. This isn't optional: It helps the flavors mesh and gives the stew meat time to get fork-tender. When choosing a chili recipe, it's also important to consider your heat tolerance. If you enjoy really spicy foods, consider adding some jalapeño peppers to the recipe. Prefer a more mild chili? Opt for slightly more subtle seasonings, such as onion powder, chili powder, and cumin. Either way, stew meat provides a wonderful base for an ideal chili.

6. Recreate Chinese takeout classics

If you're craving Chinese food but don't want to spend the money on delivery or takeout, try making your own beef and broccoli. Flank steak is commonly used in this savory dish, but you can substitute stew meat instead and still achieve results that will satisfy your taste buds. If you don't regularly cook Chinese cuisine, there are a few specialty items that you'll want to make sure to grab at the store, such as soy sauce, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, and ginger. Luckily, all of these comestibles are easily found at most major grocery stores.

When following a beef with broccoli recipe and using stew meat, remember to give the meat a little extra time to cook and simmer, to ensure it turns out tender. You may need to slightly revise the directions you're following to allow for this. Also, be careful not to add the broccoli right away — it won't need as long to cook, and you don't want it to get too soft. Beef and broccoli pairs nicely with white or brown rice. You could even try to make your own wonton or hot and sour soup to serve with this dish.

7. Slow-cook a creamy curry

Using stew meat to make Indian beef curry can be the ticket to an unforgettable dinner. Though the complex flavors at work in this dish might seem intimidating to create, it's all just a matter of gathering the right spices and giving it time. Dressed up in traditional Indian seasonings like turmeric and coriander, stew meat becomes a marvel of flavor. It's all thanks to a long simmer in the pot, which will make the beef delectably tender. This dish pairs nicely with some naan and rice, and is certain to become a weekly favorite.

Another option is to make a coconut beef curry with stew meat. This satisfying dish is made using coconut milk, curry powder, ginger paste, garlic, sliced onion, and other toothsome ingredients. You can also add some chunks of potatoes along with more sauce to make it into an even heartier dish.

8. Craft affordable kebobs for cookouts

If you're planning to fire up the grill some time soon, consider adding beef kabobs to your menu. You can definitely use stew meat when making your beef kabobs — all you have to do is make sure to trim it into evenly-sized cubes that will cook at the same pace. 

Don't forget about adding a marinade or dry rub to the meat before grilling it, either. Leaving the meat to marinate for a minimum of one hour (and up to a day or two) is critical to producing the very best kabobs. This long period of absorption gives the meat unbeatable tenderness and absolutely jaw-dropping flavor. You can choose any marinade or rub that you like, but some especially good choices for stew meat include a soy sauce, garlic, and honey blend, or a smoky dry rub. A wide and delicious variety of vegetables taste great when stacked with beef on a kabob, with mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, red peppers, and zucchini serving as particular stand-outs.

9. Simmer and shred it for a new taco take

While beef tacos are traditionally made using ground beef, there's no rule saying you're not allowed to use other cuts. If you're looking to give Taco Tuesday an upgrade and serve a uniquely hearty and filling variation on the classic dish, consider using stew meat to make some delicious cowboy tacos. These tacos will be both flavorful and satisfying — so much so that they might just become your go-to recipe.

The secret to making stew beef tacos is to give the beef ample time to simmer, so it will get tender. Here's another key tip: Instead of simply browning the meat in the pan and serving it right away, try adding a little tomato paste, beer, and vinegar after you've seared the stew meat. Let all of these ingredients simmer for a few hours before serving. Not only will your stew beef be tender, it will also have more time to absorb all the flavors in the pan. Once cooked, it's divine atop soft flour or corn tortillas.

10. Use it as a substitute for beef tenderloin

If you're going to get technical, beef tips are made from the tips of beef tenderloin. However, you can easily substitute cubes of stew meat while making the classic recipe. Sure, it won't technically be beef tips, but you might discover you don't care — it's just that delicious. These beef tips are simmered in a sumptuous gravy, which renders the meat enviably tender and utterly delectable. When you combine the beef with the gravy and ladle it over a bed of egg noodles, mashed potatoes, rice, or biscuits, the result is a hearty and satisfying meal.

Rich, filling, and flavorful beef tips are classic comfort food. They're also easy to make and relatively inexpensive, making this dish an all-around winner. Want to stretch the recipe to make more portions? If so, you can even consider adding some veggies to it, which become tender alongside the beef during the long simmering process. 

11. Use it in place of short ribs

Beef Bourguignon is a traditional French recipe that originated in Burgundy, France. As you can probably guess by its name, it requires beef and red wine (traditionally Burgundy). It also includes some hearty vegetables (carrots, onions, and mushrooms, typically), bacon, and beef stock. Despite the fact that many recipes call for beef short ribs or chuck roast, you can absolutely substitute stew meat when making this dish. Like the traditional cuts, it's well-suited to simmering, and easily becomes infused with deep flavor. It also takes well to a slow cooker.

Traditionally, beef Bourguignon is served with a few slices of crusty French bread. However, it also tastes nice served over egg noodles, pasta, rice, mashed potatoes, or roasted potatoes. Guests will be impressed by how tasty and fancy this recipe is, but in truth, it's quite easy to make. You'll feel as accomplished as Julia Child, watching your friends and family chow down — but only you'll know how simple it truly was to throw together.

12. Make your fave sweet and sour beef

Sweet and sour beef is another magnificent recipe you can easily make using stew meat. Sure, it's tempting to leave this dish to restaurants you can order from — but wouldn't it be great to have a recipe for it in your back pocket? Save your money and whip up this delicious meal, which stew meat makes positively simple. The key to perfecting this dish is all in the tangy and sweet sauce. Made with vinegar, brown sugar, soy sauce, cornstarch, and water, this potent sauce really ups the flavor of the beef. It works especially well with stew meat, which soaks up its vibrant taste like a sponge.

Because we want the beef to get as tender as possible, you'll want to allow for significant cooking time — a slow cooker works particularly well with this recipe. Moreover, before you add the beef to the slow cooker, pot, or Dutch oven you're using, be sure to take a few minutes to brown it on the stove. This added flavor is well worth taking the time to create. Consider adding pineapple, bell peppers, or other bright produce, to make this a heartier and healthier meal: They go brilliantly with the sauce, and add new notes of texture. Once cooked, sweet and sour beef can be served with white rice, brown rice, or some ramen noodles. The sky is pretty much the limit with this adaptable meal.

13. Swap the chicken for beef in pot pies

Is it a cold and dreary day? Are you looking for a stew meat recipe to warm you up from the inside out? If so, then you'll definitely want to make a beef pot pie. Not only is beef pot pie comforting and delicious, with its decadently warm filling and irresistibly flaky crust, it's actually a whole lot easier to make than you may think.

When making beef pot pie, you have to remember that the vegetables are almost as important as the beef. They add heaps of flavor, texture, and heartiness to the finished dish. You can choose any vegetables that you'd like, but mushrooms, pearl onions, carrots, and peas are traditional choices, which pair nicely with the thick beef. You can top your beef pot pie with a store-bought pie crust, or, if you're feeling a bit more adventurous, whip up your favorite pie crust recipe. This adaptability is key to the dish's appeal: It's only as complicated as you want it to be. Using stew meat makes it even simpler.

14. Create a filling casserole

If you or the other members of your household are tired of having plain old beef stew but still hankering for something just as filling, consider making beef stew casserole. It may be just the change everyone is looking for, while still offering the comfort and appeal of a beloved favorite. As you might imagine, beef stew casserole combines the ingredients of your favorite beef stew recipe with tender egg noodles, thus putting a new spin on a classic dish. You'll be surprised at how much of a difference this makes, and how appealing such a simple change truly is.

Beef stew casserole is a particularly good dish to bring to a potluck or family gathering. While eating a bowl of beef stew while standing up and mingling with others isn't so easy, a heartier casserole can be easily enjoyed from a sturdy plate. A casserole dish is also a whole lot simpler to transport than a steaming pot of soup. Plus, you'll more easily be able to make enough to feed a crowd.