Sweet Potato Beef StewSweet Potato Beef Stew

Growing up, on the rare occasion that my parents went out for the evening, my brother and I would always eat canned beef stew for dinner. We rarely had those kinds of processed foods growing up, so opening up a can of beef stew for dinner felt very novel. I remember thinking it was pretty much the tastiest thing on the planet.

It’s weird how the grass is always greener on the other side. As a kid, I was obsessed with processed food—because it was something I never had. So whenever I’d go over to a friend’s house and they’d have pizza rolls or chips or whatever other food that never made an appearance in my parents’ kitchen, I’d be all over it. Then, I moved away to college, and all I really ate was processed food, and all the novelty quickly wore off. I started to desperately miss the home cooking I grew up with. I think I even tried a can of stew in college and took one bite before throwing it in the trash—it definitely wasn’t the tasty treat I remembered from my childhood.

Sweet Potato Beef Stew

The first time I made beef stew at home as a newlywed, I realized, “Oh hey! This is what beef stew is supposed to taste like!” And I haven’t bought the canned stuff since. Beef stew sounds like one of those foods that would be complicated and difficult to make, but it’s actually incredibly easy. The key is slow-cooking—either in the actual slow-cooker or on the stovetop. Low and slow cooking gives the stew a roasted flavor and makes sure the meat and veggies are fall-apart tender. And it cooks the gravy up into a thick and smooth sauce that is what dreams are made of. Beefy, gravy dreams.

Sweet Potato Beef Stew

I tend to swap out the new potatoes that you’ll usually find in beef stew for sweet potato chunks because not only do I like the festive orange color (perfect for October), but I think the touch of sweetness is a really nice balance to the richness of the beef. Sweet potatoes and red meat work incredibly well together.

Sweet Potato Beef Stew

I personally think beef stew should be served with a slice of sandwich bread slathered in butter—it’s perfect for sopping up all that leftover dreamy gravy. My Canadian husband says the right way to serve stew is with biscuit-style dumplings plopped in it (which sounds delicious, although I’ve never tried it). Whatever you do, promise me you’ll have some sort of bread vessel to scoop up all that leftover deliciousness, okay? No gravy left behind.


Sweet Potato Beef Stew

Sweet Potato Beef Stew

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes

Sweet potato beef stew is a healthy twist on a classic cold weather dish. Serve this up with bread to make sure you get all the delicious gravy!


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 pounds beef stew meat
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 medium onions, chopped into bite-sized chunks
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups dry red wine
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into bite-sized chunks
  • 4 large carrots, peeled and chopped into coins
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Heat the butter in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Dredge the stew meat in the flour. Brown the stew meat, working in three batches, for just a few minutes until the sides of the meat are brown and crisp. Remove meat from pot and set aside.
  2. Add in the onions and garlic, and cook until just fragrant and tender, about five minutes.
  3. Add in the wine and scrape the bottom of the pan to deglaze. If cooking in a slow cooker, transfer the wine, beef, and all remaining ingredients in a slow cooker and cook for 4-6 hours on high or 6-8 on low. If cooking on the stove, add in the beef and all remaining ingredients to the Dutch oven, bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 90 minutes to 2 hours, or until the meat is very tender and the gravy is thick and smooth.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1 serving
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 474Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 160mgSodium: 515mgCarbohydrates: 20gFiber: 3gSugar: 6gProtein: 52g

At Wholefully, we believe that good nutrition is about much more than just the numbers on the nutrition facts panel. Please use the above information as only a small part of what helps you decide what foods are nourishing for you.

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  1. I made this in the slow cooker. We ate it, but didn’t love the recipe. Two cups of wine was too much—the stew had a strong wine flavor that my family didn’t care for. I worried about the sweet potatoes getting over cooked and that’s what happened. They should be added part way into the cooking. I ended up pureeing some of the broth, onions, and sweet potatoes to give it a slightly thicker consistency, and that worked out well. It tasted a bit oily; I think it will be better the next day (as with any stew), with some of the grease removed.

  2. Very good! I threw in a few chopped mushrooms at the outset because I had some on hand. And I ended up adding a bit of tomato paste (from a tube) at the end because I like tomato in beef stew (or maybe to balance the mushrooms). It’s meat heavier than I’m used to, so I also tossed in some baby greens at the very end that I also had on hand (I had a bag of baby spinach, kale and chard), Anyway, thanks for the recipe. Very tasty!

  3. This was totally delicious the original way, but when I made it a 2nd time I left out the flour and I added hot Italian sausage to give it some heat. I also threw in 3 cans of kidney beans and that thickened the sauce up nicely. That was a trick my mom used to use. I put in some green peppers just because I had them on hand and some chili powder to give it a little kick. Hmmmm… I guess I changed it a lot, but I tend to do that. It was fantastic and my husband kept sneaking bowls of it out of the kitchen 🙂

  4. Bleh. I was thinking while reading the recipe that thyme and deglazed meat drippings with red wine don’t exactly sound like they would blend well together. They dont. At all. Flavor was just a mess.