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Now that it’s off their menu, you can make Cracker Barrel’s beef stew at home!
Thank Goodness For Copycat Recipes!
About a month ago, my neighbor and I took a trip to Cracker Barrel because we wanted to treat ourselves (and not cook that evening LOL). Both of us had our favorites that we looked forward to eating.
However, it’s been a long time since we visited. We were disappointed to learn that many of the dishes we liked were removed from the menu. Needless to say, we were not happy campers.
Then a couple of weeks ago, a reader emailed me with a request for Cracker Barrel’s beef stew. I learned from him that this, too, was removed from the menu. I told him of our experience and he understood full well how we felt. In fact, he told me he nearly cried when they took the strawberry shortcake off the menu. I honestly wonder why very popular items disappear from a restaurant’s offerings. My idea is that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it–especially when stuff is popular.
So here is a credible copycat that I adapted from Noshing With The Nolands, for their stew! Now you can make it forever at home!
Beef Stew In The Summer?
You bet! Comfort food really knows no season.
You can easily convert this to make it in the slow cooker and even better in the Instant Pot or any pressure cooker. The Instant Pot is a better choice in my opinion because you can also brown the meat in it. And in the same pot so no extra dishes to wash!
Don’t Skip The Browning!
Although you may be tempted to bypass this step–don’t do it.
If you think the flour should be reduced–again, don’t do it.
These two things are absolutely essential for the proper flavor. The combination of the browned bits and the slightly “toasted” flour are the key to the great taste of this stew.
Copycat Cracker Barrel Beef Stew
- 1 pound stewing beef in medium sized chunks
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil divided
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 onion chopped
- 4 medium potatoes cut into chunks
- 5 carrots peeled and cut into chunks
- 2 large turnips cut into chunks
- 1 quart beef stock high quality see NOTES
- 1 beef bouillon cube like Herb-Ox
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme or 1/4 tsp dried
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 1 cup peas
- Mix the flour with salt and pepper to taste, and toss with the meat.
- Add 2 tablespoons of oil to a large pot and over medium high heat brown beef in flour, add all the flour.
- Stir often so the flour and meat doesn't burn, but browns nicely. Remove meat to a plate.
- Add the last tablespoon of oil and saute the onion until translucent scraping up an browned bits from the meat.
- Transfer the meat back to the pot, add the potatoes, turnips and carrots. Add the stock, thyme and ketchup. Stir well to combine.
- Simmer over low heat, stirring often for 1 1/2 hours. Adjust seasoning. Remove thyme sprigs if using fresh.
- Add frozen peas just before serving. Stir to defrost and serve.
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**Adapted from Noshing With The Nolands
I make this in my Power Pro XL pressure cooker and have no trouble at all browning the meat. (I don’t like Instant Pots because they are not real pressure cookers to me – and yes I can slow cook, can and use mine as a rice cooker too. The 6 quart size has a saute icon on it and on the 8 and 10 quart you just press the soup/stew icon and use that to saute (brown) the meat prior to adding the rest of the ingredients.) I also use Better than Bouillon Beef Base but use 1 teaspoon per cup of water. So for this recipe I would use 4 teaspoons of Better than Bouillon Beef base and 4 cups of water to equal 1 quart. I really liked this recipe – just exchanged the peas for finely diced green beans.
Judith Hanneman says
I had an “instant pot” for ages only it was called a Wolfgang Puck 7-in-1 pressure cooker LOL. Like they say, everything old is new again. For the Better Than Bouillon–start out with what you said, but then taste the mixture. That’s what I do. With the pressure cooker, the gravy will be more flavorful than stovetop cooking, but if the flavor seems a bit “thin” to you after cooking, you can add more to taste. I like the green beans since I’m not much of a lover of peas (take ’em or leave ’em) but love green beans.
I love beef stew. This is a great recipe!
Judith Hanneman says
I don’t care for it really but this I liked!!
I beg to differ that the Instant Pot is not a “true” pressure cooker. The operative word is “pressure” and there is no difference in the pressure abilities of the 2 cookers. The PPXL is set to operate at 7.2 psi on all of its cooking buttons and its canning button uses a max 12 psi. The IP offers options for pressure cooking with settings of low pressure which is 5.5 to 7 and high pressure which is 10 to 12. So they cook using the same psi pressure. (One note as to the PPXL canning button. The USDA warns against using electric pressure cookers for canning foods under pressure. Only a stove top canner/cooker should be used for canning foods. The reason being that electric pressure cookers varies its pressure whereas stove top cookers maintain pressure. Electric pressure cookers can be used for foods which are safe to water bath can.)
If interested this is a link to a comparason of the features of the two cookers.