How Can I Make My Stew More Flavourful?

In this article we will answer the following question: “How can I make my stew more flavourful?” and will explore the mistakes to avoid and the right way to balance the thickness of the stew. 

How can I make my stew more flavourful?

Here’s how you can make your stew more flavourful. Typically, stews are made with meat. Pick a good protein that thrives from lengthy, slow cooking, such as legs of chicken or the shoulder of beef or pork.

These cuts of meat disintegrate during cooking and contribute to the mouthwatering, obsequious sauce of your stew. 

When looking for vegetarian options, pre-soaked beans and other legumes are your best bets. They give your stew the body it needs to hold. You should, however, ensure that they are properly cooked before adding any acidic components to it. 

What do you need to prepare your stew?

Here are all the ingredients you need to prepare your stew.

  • 2 pound cut and diced stewing beef (or vegetables / a protein of your choice)
  • ½  tsp garlic powder
  • ½  tsp garlic powder
  • ½  teaspoon black pepper 
  • ½  teaspoon salt
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1 pound peeled and diced potatoes
  • 4 carrots, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • ¾ cup peas
  • 6 cups stock (of your choosing or just water will do)
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary or 1 sprig fresh
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp water

A step-by-step guide to making a stew

1. Dredge the meat pieces in seasoned flour to help thicken the stew later. Set aside the meat after searing it on both sides in a little oil, in the saucepan you’ll be stewing it in, until deep brown.

2. Cook the chopped veggies and dry herbs and spices in the same pan until golden brown. Then, using the liquid, deglaze the pan (beef stock, chicken stock or water as per your preference).

3. Return the meat to the pan. Bring to a simmer with just enough liquid to cover the meat (or vegetables) for an hour. Remember to check it at regular intervals.

4. Remove the saucepan from the heat (or oven) and skim any excess fat. If the liquid is too thin for your liking, thicken it with cornstarch mixed in cold water.

Note: Veggies in a long-cooked stew nearly always turn to mush, so consider adding fresh vegetables in the last 30 minutes or so of the cooking time.

Other FAQs about stew which you may be interested in

How to freeze stew? 

How to cook beef stew meat on the stove?

The secret to making a scrumptious stew: 

  • Use as much from the onion family like garlic, shallots, leeks. This will give your stew a rich flavour.
  • Brown your meat in batches to establish the flavour backbone of your stew. The browning at the bottom and sides of the pan is what defines it as a stew rather than a mishmash of items cooked in a thick sauce. 
  • When the last batch of meat has been done and taken from the pan, sauté it until it is nicely browned, releasing all of its flavours.
  • Once the browning is complete, return the contents to the saucepan, deglaze with a little liquid and scrape to add that nice brownness for an irresistible stew. 
  • You need enough liquid to cover the items for your stew, so either water or meat or vegetable stock will suffice.
  • Remember to add aromatic compounds, such as bay leaves or peppercorns, early on so that their essence can gently develop.
  • Always cook the stew on a low heat to prevent the meat from becoming rock hard. There should be enough liquid in the pot to keep it from drying out; make sure to check it every now and then.
  • When making a vegetable stew, make sure to account for the amount of time each ingredient takes to cook so that it doesn’t become mush. 
  • Lastly, fresh herbs and other seasonings should be added just before serving because they don’t take long to cook.

Mistakes you should avoid while making a stew

  • Using any random cut of meat 
  • Throwing in raw meat into the stew
  • Making too thick a stew
  • Throwing all the ingredients together at the same time
  • Leaving the fat in 
  • Overcooking the stew
  • Serving it by itself without accompaniments like bread

Final Thoughts

Nothing beats the smell of a stew cooking on the stove. However, despite being a household staple, this rich, substantial dish can occasionally fall short.

It can become too thin or too thick, the meat can go dry and stringy or worse, grey and flavourless, and the vegetables could turn overly mushy or undercooked. 

It’s a difficult balance to achieve, but this traditional meal should be prepared to perfection and yes, it can be done. 


In this article we have answered the following question: “How can I make my stew more flavourful?” and explored the mistakes to avoid and the right way to balance the thickness of the stew. 


Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.