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Beef Apple Stew

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This beef apple stew is perfect for the fall season. A comforting stew loaded with meltingly tender beef, apples, and carrots smothered in a rich, creamy sauce.

apple beef stew in a white dutch oven with a spoon in it.

I cannot even tell you how much we all love this beef apple stew. It’s perfect: the beef pieces are incredibly tender, the sauce is creamy, the apples are tart, and they almost dissolve into the gravy, adding a luscious note to the entire dish.

Beef stew is a classic dinner staple all over the world. We all know and love a rich French Red Wine Beef Stew or the amazing Hungarian Beef Goulash, but why not try this autumnal version enriched with apples and cream? I bet you will love it!

And if you would like to try more savory apple recipes, check out Roast Chicken with Apples, Rhubarb Chicken Curry, Braised Fennel with Apples, or learn How to Cook Liver (with Onions and Apples).

Recipe ingredients

listed ingredients for making stew with beef, apples, and carrots.
  • Beef: Lean, lightly marbled beef chuck or stewing beef (See Recipe FAQ).
  • Apples: Two medium tart apples.
  • Beef stock: Preferably low-sodium stock to ensure that the dish will not be too salty after cooking. Chicken stock is a good substitute.
  • Vegetables: Onions, garlic, carrots.
  • Herbs: Thyme and marjoram (fresh or dried) and bay leaves.
  • All-purpose flour to flour the meat pieces before searing and to thicken the gravy.
  • Dairy: heavy cream thickens the sauce, making it exceptionally creamy and comforting.
  • Honey to balance the tartness of the apples.

How to make beef apple stew?

  • Prepare beef: Cube the meat and dry the pieces with paper towels. Toss them into 1 tablespoon of flour and remove excess flour by patting the meat pieces with your hands (1).
floured stewing beef in a white bowl.
  • Sear the meat in batches, adding a bit of oil in between the batches when necessary. You will need about 5 minutes per batch. Turn the pieces of meat with tongs so that they brown all over (2,3).
collage of two pictures of searing stewing beef in a dutch oven.
  • Chop the onions and the garlic cloves while the meat is searing (4).
  • Brown onions: Leave the last batch of meat in the pot and add the onions and the garlic. Let them get a bit of color, then add the rest of the browned meat (5).
collage of two pictures of chopped onions and garlic and adding them to a pot with beef.
  • Simmer: Add the bay leaves. and enough beef stock to cover the meat (6). Place the lid on top, bring the stew to a boil and simmer for 60 minutes (7).
collage of two pictures of stew in a dutch oven during cooking.
  • Add the sliced carrots and simmer for another 15 minutes.
  • Add the peeled and chopped apples and simmer for another 15 minutes (8).
beef stew with apples being cooked in a white dutch oven.
  • Adjust the taste: Taste and add 1 or 2 teaspoons of honey, depending on the tartness of the apples. Add one teaspoon of balsamic vinegar and check the taste again.
  • Thicken stew: Whisk the heavy cream and one tablespoon of flour (9).
  • Whisk the slurry into the apple beef stew and simmer gently for about 1 minute (10). Season with salt and pepper to taste.
collage of two image of cream flour slurry and thickened stew.

Expert Tips

  • Dry the meat pieces with paper towels and flour them lightly. Don’t skip these steps; they are essential for getting that nice, brown crust on the pieces of meat. The flour also plays a role in thickening the stew.
  • Sear the meat in batches, don’t overcrowd the pan. If you do that, the beef will release too much juice and start cooking in its own juices instead of searing.
  • Scrape the bottom of the Dutch oven very well when you add the chopped onions; those slightly burnt bits will add flavor to the apple beef stew.
  • Use good quality beef stock, preferably low sodium. It is better to use something slightly less salted for making the stew and add more salt at the end of the cooking process, if necessary. The stock will reduce, and the whole dish might be too salty if the stock is too salty.
  • Honey: When adjusting the taste of the beef stew with apples, only add a little honey at first. Stir to dissolve it in the gravy and then taste again. The amount you need greatly depends on the tartness of the apples.
close up of a spoon and pot full of stew with beef, carrots and apples.

Recipe FAQ

What is the best beef for stew?

Cubed lean beef with a bit of marbling (which is excellent for flavor). It’s also sold under the name of stewing or stew beef. It can come from different cuts of beef, such as chuck, round, shoulder, or sirloin cuts.

What is the best pot for making stew?

I love using a Dutch oven for making beef apple stew or any other stew. If you don’t have one, use a thick-bottomed pot with a tight-fitting lid.

Can I use milk instead of heavy cream?

Theoretically, you could, but the cream adds richness and smoothness that’s hard to achieve with just milk. You might try evaporated milk which usually has a fat content of about 7%.
The heavy cream also helps make the gravy thicker; if using milk or evaporated milk, you might need a bit more flour.
Or leave the flour and thicken the gravy with a cornstarch-water slurry.

How to store?

Refrigerate in an airtight container for 3-4 days. Reheat on the stovetop. If the sauce is too thick after refrigeration, you can loosen it with a bit of broth or milk. Reheat on low heat, often stirring.
Freeze the beef stew with apples in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Defrost in the fridge and reheat before serving.

spoon lifting pieces of beef and carrots from a pot of stew.

How to serve?

Serve the beef apple stew with any side dish you would serve with a classic beef stew.

  • The simplest and quickest choice is some hearty, crusty bread.
  • We also love it with boiled or mashed potatoes or Air Fryer Baked Potatoes; pasta (or Spätzle) is also a great alternative.
  • German potato or bread dumplings also make a perfect side dish for the beef apple stew.
  • Or make these fluffy Homemade Yeast Rolls.

More stews in the Dutch Oven

Do you like this recipe?

Please leave a good rating in the recipe card below. Stay in touch through social media: Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram. Don’t forget to tag me #whereismyspoon when you try a recipe!

pinterest image of a pot with meat stew.
apple beef stew in a white dutch oven with a spoon in it.

Beef Apple Stew

This beef apple stew is perfect for the fall season. A comforting stew loaded with meltingly tender beef, apples, and carrots smothered in a rich, creamy sauce.
5 from 4 votes
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Course: Stews
Cuisine: German
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours
Servings: 4
Calories: 682kcal
Author: Adina

Equipment

  • Large Dutch oven or thick-bottomed pot

Ingredients 

  • 900 g stewing beef chuck 2 lbs, Note 1
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 2-3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 large onions
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 500 ml beef stock low-sodium, 2 cups, Notes 2, 3
  • 250 g carrots 9 oz, 4-5 medium
  • 2 sprigs thyme or ½ teaspoon dried
  • 2 sprigs marjoram or ½ teaspoon dried
  • 2 apples medium, tart
  • 1-2 teaspoons clear honey to taste, Note 4
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar more to taste
  • 200 ml heavy cream ¾ cup
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • fine sea salt and black pepper

Instructions

  • Prepare beef: Cut the meat into bite-sized cubes and dry the pieces with paper towels. Place them in a large bowl and toss them into 1 tablespoon flour. Remove excess flour by patting the meat pieces with your hands.
  • Brown the beef: Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in the pot. Sear the meat in 2 or 3 batches (Note 5), adding a bit of oil in between the batches when necessary. You will need about 5 minutes per batch. Turn the pieces of meat with tongs so that they brown all over.
  • Chop the onions and the garlic cloves in the meantime.
  • Add onions: Leave the last batch of meat in the pot and add the onions and the garlic. Brown them lightly while stirring often.
  • Add the rest of the browned meat, the bay leaves, and beef stock. You should add enough stock to almost cover the meat.
  • Simmer: Place the lid on top, bring the stew to a boil and simmer for 60 minutes.
  • Add the sliced carrots and simmer for another 15 minutes.
  • Add the peeled and chopped apples and simmer for another 15 minutes.
  • Adjust the taste: Taste and add 1 or 2 teaspoons of honey, depending on the tartness of the apples. Add one teaspoon of balsamic vinegar and check the taste again.
  • Thicken stew: Whisk the heavy cream and one tablespoon of flour in a small bowl. Whisk the slurry into the stew and simmer gently for about 1 minute. Adjust the taste with salt and pepper again.

Notes

  1. Cubed lean beef with a bit of marbling, sold under the name of stewing or stew beef. It can come from different cuts of beef, such as chuck, round, shoulder, or sirloin cuts. I prefer chuck.
  2. You can use chicken stock instead. It is better to use low-sodium stock and add more salt at the end of the cooking process if necessary. The stock will reduce, and the whole dish might be too salty if the stock is too salty.
  3. How much honey and balsamic you need depends on the tartness of the apples.
  4. Don’t overcrowd the pan, or the beef will release too much juice and start cooking in its own juices instead of searing.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/4 of the dish | Calories: 682kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 56g | Fat: 37g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 0.05g | Cholesterol: 196mg | Sodium: 438mg | Potassium: 1443mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 19g | Vitamin A: 11258IU | Vitamin C: 14mg | Calcium: 131mg | Iron: 6mg
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Recipe Rating




mjskit

Friday 16th of October 2015

Oh to have all of those apple to eat and cook with...I'm jealous. :) You created a really interesting and tasty dish here. I've not eaten a lot of goulash in my life so I'm not that familiar with it, but I love this recipe. In addition to the use of apples, I love the use of flank steak. I'll be making this soon!

Adina

Friday 16th of October 2015

Thank you, MJ. I really hope you'll make this and I would be super happy to hear how it was. I suppose goulash is something quite European (original Hungarian, but now at home quite everywhere here), I didn't realise it wasn't so well known in America.

rachel @ atheltic avoacdo

Thursday 15th of October 2015

i love how you added your own twist to goulash by adding apples! This sounds wonderful!

Adina

Thursday 15th of October 2015

Thank you, Rachel! :)

grace

Thursday 15th of October 2015

i'm thinking hard, but i don't believe i've ever had apples with beef! with pork, yes, all the time, but never with beef--how silly of me! this sounds comforting and delicious. :)

Adina

Thursday 15th of October 2015

It was the first time for me too, combining apples with beef and it was really delicious. :)

Angie@Angie's Recipes

Thursday 15th of October 2015

It's rainy, cloudy and cold...I wish I was holding that bowl of stew! This looks really cozy, warming and delicious, Adina.

Adina

Thursday 15th of October 2015

We have the same weather, I wish I had some goulash too now...

Adina

Thursday 15th of October 2015

Apples are indeed great, and I think I have never tried so many savory recipes with apples as I did this year. I used to envy all your avocado recipes, avocado is here sometimes expensive and I end up throwing a lot of it away because I just cannot find the right moment to slice them open, they are either to hard or already spoilt.