Freezer Meal Beef Stew Recipe - Skillful Cook
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Freezer Meal Beef Stew

9 reviews / 4.8 average

Is there really anything better than pulling a ready-to-go Freezer Meal Beef Stew out of the freezer on a cold winter night and having dinner ready in just over an hour? I THINK NOT.

Oh, wait, yes there is - it's that same situation + a piece of crusty bread for dunking into the stew, and a good TV show to catch up on, and a pair of really comfy sweatpants. There it is. That's the dream right there.

I am not a huge beef eater, but I really, really, really love this recipe. It couldn't be easier and it freezes perfectly, not to mention cooks up in a flash if you're using the Instant Pot.

It's saucy, savory, and texturally somewhere between a soup and a thick gravy, like a good stew should be.

How To Make Freezer Meal Beef Stew

Okay, first, I recommend using fresh veggies for this recipe. You want your veggies to have that nice diagonal cut to them, so slice them up and toss them into a freezer container with your beef, salt, sugar, and tomato juice.

Beef stew ingredients in a plastic bag.

When you're ready to make this beauty, just take it out of the freezer and transfer it to your Instant Pot. After it's done cooking (which happens remarkably fast), add a little cornstarch slurry to get it thickened up a bit.

A pot with a beef stew with vegetables in it.

And there it is. The easy, ridiculously delicious, Freezer Meal Beef Stew of your dreams!

Beef stew with onion in a bowl and a spoon.

Check Out Our Video For How To Make Freezer Meal Beef Stew:

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Beef stew with onion in a bowl and a spoon.

Freezer Meal Beef Stew

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x


Freezer Meal Beef Stew! Served with crusty bread and a green salad? YES. just 6 ingredients, 45 minutes, and done.




  • 2 lbs. beef chuckfat trimmed, cut in small-ish pieces
  • 1 medium onionsliced thinly
  • 6 stalks celerysliced diagonally
  • 6 carrotssliced diagonally
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 cans tomato juice (about 1 cup)


  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch in 2 tablespoons water


INSTANT POT: From frozen, 30 minutes on high pressure + 10 minutes natural release. 

SLOW COOKER: From thawed, 5-6 hours on high. 

FINAL STEP: After cooking in Instant Pot, turn on saute function. Add cornstarch slurry. Cook for a few minutes until slightly thickened. (If using a slow cooker, add cornstarch when it’s done and let thicken for 30 minutes.)


You can freeze the tomato juice with the rest of the ingredients or add it right before cooking. Both ways work great! 

This recipe takes up quite a bit of space, so it works best when divided between two 7-cup glass containers, or stored in a plastic bag.

  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 40 mins
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Pressure Cook
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: freezer meal beef stew, beef stew recipe, freezer meal beef recipe

View original recipe here.

You might also like our freezer meals post.

Frozen meals stored in bags.

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  1. Skillful Cook Logo

    Lindsay, where does all the sodium come from? I would love to make this but alas the mean ol doctors have restricted my salt intake. Any suggestions for reducing that 1137.2 mg of sodium?

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Hey Bob, I know you didn’t ask me, but to reduce the salt, get salt-free tomato juice. The regular stuff is packed with salt, and likely is where the bulk of the sodium is coming from (aside from the 2 tsp of salt, of course).

      Good luck with reducing your sodium intake!

  2. Skillful Cook Logo

    how long would you cook this in the instant pot if NOT starting from frozen, but rather from…fresh? 🙂

  3. Skillful Cook Logo

    This stew was perfect! My wife and I just had a baby and we froze this meal ahead of time. We followed the directions for the instant pot and it was exactly what we needed. Thanks so much!

  4. Skillful Cook Logo

    I would like to know if I can make this meal in the slow cooker? Or in an electronic pressure cooker ( I have the Bravetti platinum pro); it is small but I just wanted to ask you which of these will be best, to make sure the beef thaws in a safe way to be within safety food guidelines. Or do you thaw the package of meat and veggies before you put it in your instant pot? Thank you in advance and looking forward to make this recipe and many freezablea you have in here! 🙂

  5. Skillful Cook Logo

    Hey Bob, I know you didn’t ask me, but to reduce the salt, get salt-free tomato juice. The regular stuff is packed with salt, and likely is where the bulk of the sodium is coming from (aside from the 2 tsp of salt, of course).

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      What a great recipet, never thought of this being freezer friendly. I usually am not a fan of beef, but this recipe reminded me of my grandmother’s scrumptious beef stew, so I tried it. My husband and I were in stew heaven (our young children will learn the love of stew soon I hope). It is a very giving recipe as well. I tried it adding red wine, thyme and bay leaf and it came out swoon worthy.

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      I want to echo Sean’s question – do you add any liquid for Instant Pot prep, or do you just drop the frozen bag contents in the pot and go? (I’ve only used my IP a few times, so I don’t have a lot of experience from which to draw.) I have my ingredients ready to go, waiting in the freezer, and I’m hoping that this will be a solution for those busy nights where I’m otherwise tempted to stop by and get takeout. Thanks for the website – I love all your other recipes I’ve tried!

      1. Skillful Cook Logo

        Okay, I answered my above question – the answer is that you can go directly from the freezer to the Instant Pot (just be careful to not allow the frozen bag length to extend too far above the top of the IP pan – I had to break mine up a bit…maybe I will not lay the bag flat to freeze next time, instead setting the bag upright next time.

        It was a solid hit with my family. I was a little dubious because the ingredient list was so simple, but it had a very good, savory flavor. I know, stew is not your typical summer food. But I look forward, now, to the flexibility that having a complete meal which I can drop in my Instant Pot when busy school/activity schedules intensify in the fall.

        Thanks so much, ladies! You are a dependable source of wonderful and healthy recipes!

  6. Skillful Cook Logo

    So I made your Life Changing Beef Stew last night and looking at this recipe today have noticed that the amount of some ingredients are different. In this recipe there is more celery and more tomato juice. Is there a reason for this? Thank you!

  7. Skillful Cook Logo

    Hi, looks wonderful! Do you know if adding barley in place of potatoes would be a better option for freezing?
    Many thanks!

  8. Skillful Cook Logo

    Just FYI when you use the ingredient multiplier on these recipes there seems to be a big. It doesn’t multiple the first ingredient of each section.

  9. Skillful Cook Logo

    I am trying several of your freezer meals but I am confused because the “freeze together” section doesn’t match what is shown in the video? For example, the tomato juice is separate? So for clarification the stuff that is added after freeze in the videos is what I should be following ?

  10. Skillful Cook Logo

    Thoroughly enjoyed and so glad I found this frozen meal guide a few weeks before my due date! Did not disappoint

  11. Skillful Cook Logo

    Amazing stew!! I was pretty excited about digging in so forgot to add cornstarch at the end, but still good! Melt in your mouth beef, so flavourful…I’ll make this again! Definitely freezer staple!!! And super easy…bonus.

  12. Skillful Cook Logo

    How would the cooking time change if I don’t freeze the ingredients? I just want to throw them in fresh.

  13. Skillful Cook Logo

    Any suggestions for replacements for the tomato juice, could I use a marinara sauce instead?

  14. Skillful Cook Logo

    Made this before having our second baby so we would have quick meals when the time came. Just made it in my IP from frozen and 30 minutes wasn’t quite long enough because the beef was still chewy. Added an extra 7 minutes and that did the trick. Great flavor, just needs extra time for the meat to become tender.

  15. Skillful Cook Logo

    This stew is EVERYTHING. I made it 4 times last winter and have already made it once this fall. So hearty and so good. It goes great with the miracle no knead bread too ❤️.

  16. Skillful Cook Logo

    Hello! Is there a way to cook this on the stovetop from the freezer? Thank you.

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Hi Tiffany! We haven’t tried making this stew on the stovetop, but the original recipe here uses the oven. If you’re looking for a stovetop beef stew, we think this recipe would be great. We’d suggest defrosting the ingredients before using in either version.

  17. Skillful Cook Logo

    Hi! I halved this recipe and froze it in 2 bags. Just wondering, would it still need the same time in the Instant Pot if I’m just defrosting one bag?

    Thank you! Very excited to try this recipe ☺️

  18. Skillful Cook Logo

    Hi there I’m wondering for your beef stew freezer meal do I add one cup of tomatoe juice to the recipe or is it two? You said two cans on the site but I wanna make sure it’s not two cups. Thanks.

  19. Skillful Cook Logo

    I love that this is so easy and quick to both prep and cook. If you miss potatoes like I do in beef stew, here’s what I do (because potatoes aren’t the best at freezing). I prep and freeze according to recipe, but when I thaw and add to slow cooker, I add a little beef stock (1/2-1 cup) and small red or white potatoes.