Stew beef is often a butcher's special at the grocery store, but if you're not in the mood for stew, you may bypass it for a pricier cut. But don't — there are a lot of great stew meat recipes other than stew that you can make, and you'll save money, too.
When looking for stew meat in the grocery store, you may not know what type of meat you're getting. Ask the butcher or meat manager for help. The stew meat you want is beef chuck — it has a connective tissue that breaks down and gives you a tender, delicious finish.
Video of the Day
This type of cut is often used in slow cooker recipes, where it's cooked low and slow to help get the meat tender and soft. You can then use the tasty, high-protein meat to make recipes with stew meat like soups, tacos, burgers and, of course, stew.
When you get home, trim any excess fat from your stew meat — a little fat is good, but too much leads to a greasy meal and too much saturated fat. This will ensure you get the most out of your budget-friendly protein.
Beef Stew Meat Recipes That Aren't Stew
There are many ways to get creative with unique, crowd-pleasing recipes that use stew beef cubes. Sure, traditional stovetop beef stew is great, but it's not the only meal you can make with cubed (or ground) chuck. Here are some beef stew alternatives to make with stew meat.
1. Slow Cooker Beef Carnitas
- Calories: 216
- Protein: 28.7 grams
These tacos are an easy, high-protein weeknight meal. You can use the stew meat as a salad topper or in a grain bowl, so make a large batch to keep on hand for its versatility and flavor. If you go with the greens, it'll be paleo-friendly! Let the meat simmer in the slow cooker for about four to five hours.
Get the Slow Cooker Beef Carnitas recipe and nutrition info from One Lovely Life.
2. Classic Hamburger Recipe
- Calories: 465
- Protein: 25 grams
A burger is an easy and quick high-protein meal, and you can save time in the kitchen by cooking a large batch at once as you meal prep for the week. What's more, it requires only four ingredients and is ready in 30 minutes total. Burgers are hearty beef stew alternatives you wouldn't think to make with stew meat, but you'll be glad you did.
Get the Classic Hamburger Recipe recipe and nutrition info from Spend With Pennies.
3. Beef Tips With Gravy
- Calories: 448
- Protein: 53 grams
The tips of chuck roast, known as "beef tips," taste great when served with a beef bone broth-based gravy over noodles or mashed potatoes. The net carb count of this recipe with stew meat is low, at just 11 grams per serving.
Get the Beef Tips With Gravy recipe and nutrition info from Spend With Pennies.
4. Slow Cooker Cheesesteak Recipe
- Calories: 350
- Protein: 31 grams
A Philly cheesesteak sandwich is a comforting, classic recipe with stew meat that's fit for any outdoor summer barbecue or game day. This slow cooker recipe uses beef chuck, which is nice and tender when cooked overnight (it takes a little over eight hours!). Cut against the grain and brown the meat before putting it in the slow cooker to enhance its flavor.
Get the Slow Cooker Cheesesteak recipe and nutrition info from Spend With Pennies.
5. Slow Cooker BBQ Beef Sandwiches
- Calories: 190
- Protein: 15 grams
Serve this beef stew alternative at your next outdoor barbecue, as it's bound to be a hit. The stew meat is tender and pulled, and there's a balance of sweet and savory in the sauce. There isn't much fiber (just 1 gram), so add a side salad or serving of green vegetables, like broccoli or Brussels sprouts. Or swap the bun for a lettuce wrap, instead!
Get the Slow Cooker BBQ Beef Sandwiches recipe and nutrition info from Spend With Pennies.
6. Slow Cooker Pot Roast
- Calories: 608
- Protein: 47 grams
Sliced and served with potatoes and carrots, this pot roast recipe is relatively low in carbs (it has 19 net grams) and high in protein to keep you fuller longer. Carrots have antioxidant carotenoids, which benefit eye and heart health and are linked to a lower risk of various cancers, per the American Institute for Cancer Research.
Get the Slow Cooker Pot Roast recipe and nutrition info from Jessica Gavin.
7. Slow Cooker BBQ Beef (Whole30)
- Calories: 384
- Protein: 35 grams
This barbecue beef recipe uses chuck roast for an affordable cut and the slow cooker keeps the meat flavorful and moist. On its own, the meat is tender and low in carbs and sugar, but it lacks fiber so stuff it into a baked sweet potato along with veggies or slaw. Sweet potato is rich in beta-carotene, which can support eye health, according to a June 2019 study in Food Science & Nutrition.
Get the Slow Cooker BBQ Beef (Whole30) recipe and nutrition info from The Real Food Dietitians.
8. Instant Pot Vegetable Beef Soup
- Calories: 410
- Protein: 28 grams
Use stew meat as a rich protein source in this veggie-dense soup, which is also high in fiber from potatoes and green beans. Opt for olive oil as it's linked to a lower risk of heart disease, as shown in a March 2020 study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
Get the Instant Pot Vegetable Beef Soup recipe and nutrition info from The Real Food Dietitians.