Pressure Cooker Curry Beef Stew (An Instant Pot Recipe)

4.91 from 11 votes
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The easiest and quickest pressure cooker curry beef stew recipe that yields the best results. Simply dump everything into the pot and you’ll have melt-in-your-mouth beef smothered in a rich, thick sauce. So irresistible! {Gluten-Free adaptable}

Two bowls of pressure cooker curry beef stew with rice

I have to admit that in the past I’ve had my doubts about pressure cooker recipes. Especially for braised dishes and stews, I’ve sometimes found that the flavor falls flat compared to the stovetop method.

Pressure cooker mysteries debunked

The first time I used a pressure cooker was back in 2008, when I was living in Japan. I was so excited to cook my favorite Japanese beef curry in it because it took a third the time of the traditional method. But I was disappointed when the curry ended up quite watery and the beef was bland. I had to keep simmering it for another hour on the stove to thicken the sauce.

My latest experiments totally changed my mind about pressure cooking. I discovered that the biggest mistake that I used to make was – using the same amount of liquid when converting a recipe to the pressure cooker version. This is a big no-no. Since the pressure cooker seals so well and very little liquid evaporates during cooking, using too much liquid results in watery food that is not well seasoned.

On the other hand, if used properly, a pressure cooker can tremendously reduce your prep and cooking time and generate awesome results.Pressure cooker curry beef stew close up

Why pressure cooker curry?

(1) You don’t need to pre-boil or brown the beef

When I make braised meat or stew on stovetop, I usually brown the meat to seal the juices and make the meat taste richer. This is not the case when using the pressure cooker.

The pressure cooker raises the boiling point of the water in the pot. The extra-high heat not only speeds up the cooking process, but also promotes caramelization and browning in a different way. Yes! Your beef will be caramelized in the liquid. Your beef curry will have a deep and complex flavor without browning the meat.

(2) Creating tenderer and juicier meat

The increased pressure forces the cooking liquid and moisture to enter into the food. It turns tough cuts of meat very tender and juicy, very quickly.

(3) Shortened prep time and cooking time.

You only need 5 minutes of prep time. Remember how we don’t need to brown the meat? Yep! Simply dump everything into your pressure cooker and that’s it.

You might argue that a pressure cooker requires time to release the pressure, so the cooking time does not indicate the real time needed to get your meal ready. This is correct. However, even if we add 15 minutes for natural release of pressure, the total cooking time for a perfect beef stew is still as low as 45 minutes. And the 45 minutes is 100% inactive cooking time. A stovetop stew requires 2 hours to simmer the meat. And you probably need another 15 minutes to brown the beef, which is active cooking time. The pressure cooker still wins by cutting cooking time to one-third and cutting active cooking time to zero.

Pressure cooker curry beef stew in black bowl

More cooking notes

(1) You don’t add any liquid to the pressure cooker curry?

Since we are using a combination of canned tomatoes, liquid seasonings, and onions as a bed, the meat won’t scorch on the bottom. Plus, the beef will release juice during the cooking process. At the end there will be enough liquid to cover the beef.

(2) Do not use fast release

Make sure you use the natural release method when cooking curry or any starchy dishes, such as congee. Fast release might cause splatter, and the starch in the hot liquid could clog the pressure cooker valve.The natural release process will also cook the meat a bit more, resulting in a tenderer texture.

(3) Beef curry, Chinese style

The seasonings in this dish might look different from those commonly found in an Indian or Japanese curry dish. It is adapted from a family recipe that I ate growing up. Yes, Chinese cooking uses curry powder too, but in a different way.

Try out this dish and be surprised at how good the results are. The buttery beef is so juicy and tender, smothered in a rich, complex tomato curry sauce. Simply top it with steamed rice, and your dinner will be delicious, nutritious, and healthy.

Pressure cooker curry beef stew topped on rice

More soup and stew recipes

If you give this recipe a try, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it (once you’ve tried it), and take a picture and tag it @omnivorescookbook on Instagram! I’d love to see what you come up with.

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The easiest and quickest pressure cooker curry beef stew recipe that yields the best results. Simply dump everything into the pot and you’ll have melt-in-your-mouth beef smothered in a rich, thick tomato curry sauce. So irresistible! #GlutenFree #beef #instantpot #recipes

Pressure Cooker Curry Beef Stew (An Instant Pot Recipe)

4.91 from 11 votes
The easiest and quickest pressure cooker curry beef stew recipe that yields the best results.
Author: Maggie Zhu
Course: Main
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: pressure cooker
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 4 servings


Bottom layer

Middle layer

  • 1/2 medium-sized yellow onion , sliced
  • 1 lbs (450 g) beef chuck roast , cut into 1” (2 cm) cubes (*Footnote 1)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste

Top layer

  • 3 tablespoons curry powder (I used Madras curry powder)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt


  • Chopped cilantro or green onion for garnish
  • 1 cup frozen green peas or chopped green beans (Optional)


  • Add all the ingredients listed under “Bottom layer” above into the Instant Pot. Stir to mix well.
  • Spread the onion into a single layer on top of the Bottom layer. Add the beef chunks on top of the onion without overlapping. Smear tomato paste onto the beef as evenly as possible.
  • Sprinkle all the “top layer” ingredients onto the beef as evenly as possible.
  • Seal the Instant Pot. Set on Manual at high pressure for 30 minutes. Use natural release when done. (*Footnote 1)
  • Taste the beef and adjust seasoning by adding more salt if needed. Remove the bay leaves and the chili peppers and discard them. Stir everything to mix well. You can store the beef curry in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 to 4 days, or serve directly. (*Footnote 3)
  • (Optional) To add veggies to your curry, simply microwave some frozen green peas or green beans in microwave and add them into the curry. You can also turn on the saute function of your Instant Pot, add the veggies, and cook until they are done.
  • Serve hot over steamed rice.


To make the dish gluten free, replace the soy sauce with tamari and use dry sherry instead of Shaoxing wine.
  1. Do not cut off and discard the fatty bits from the beef. Fat keeps the meat juicy while cooking and will melt into the sauce to create that velvety texture.
  2. Do not use quick release because it might cause splatter. The natural release process will also continue to cook the meat.
  3. The dish tastes wonderful when it’s fresh, but it tastes even better the day after, once the spices incorporate further into the sauce. It’d be a great idea to cook it on the weekend and use it as meal prep for the following week.


Serving: 4g, Calories: 481kcal, Carbohydrates: 14.9g, Protein: 32.4g, Fat: 32.6g, Saturated Fat: 12.7g, Cholesterol: 117mg, Sodium: 774mg, Potassium: 722mg, Fiber: 3.7g, Sugar: 7.6g, Calcium: 50mg, Iron: 5.8mg
Did You Make This Recipe?Don't forget the last step! Leave a comment below, and tag me @OmnivoresCookbook and #OmnivoresCookbook on Instagram!
The easiest and quickest pressure cooker curry beef stew recipe that yields the best results. Simply dump everything into the pot and you’ll have melt-in-your-mouth beef smothered in a rich, thick tomato curry sauce. So irresistible! #GlutenFree #beef #instantpot #recipes

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Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. Stine Mari says:

    This looks really yummy and hearty, although I do not have a pressure cooker!

  2. Karly says:

    This looks delicious! Love how easy it is ! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Sophia says:

    5 stars
    I made this last night for my husband who loves anything curry. He said it was perfect in taste and texture! I loved that I did not have to brown the beef, and it came out browned! Thank you for the recipe! (Followed the recipe except used a marbled rump, 20 mins high pressure and NR, then added potatoes and carrots and high pressure for another 4 mins, NR)

    • Maggie says:

      Hi Sophia, I’m so glad to hear you tried the recipe and enjoyed the dish! Good idea about adding potatoes and carrots! It makes the dish so healthy and colorful. I’d love to try that out the next time myself.
      Thanks so much for sharing!

  4. VI says:

    I’m obsessed with your website, everything I have tried so far has been delicious!
    This one also went on the “to try” list, I am just curious though: how comes the curry powder goes on the top layer and not mixed in the cooking liquid? Thanks!

  5. Kimberly says:

    Made this dish and it was full of flavour. The family loved it.

  6. Allison says:

    5 stars
    First time I have used my pressure cooker for anything other than stews and have to say this has turned out really well! Depth of flovour is amazing and it was so quick and easy to prep. Thanks so much for the recipe!

  7. Clinton says:

    Hi Maggie
    Trying this recipe tonight. Are your tablespoons 15 mm or 20 mm?

    • Clinton says:

      Sorry, obviously I meant are your tablespoons 15 ml or 20 ml (not mm).

  8. Elaine Cook says:

    hi if I want to feed 8 people I’m happy to double everything, but would it really need 6 T of curry powder if I double the recipe?

    • Maggie says:

      Pretty sure the recipe would work for 4 Tablespoons curry powder. I used quite a bit because I prefer to have a very spicy dish and intensive curry flavor. If you use 6 T the dish will be quite spicy.

  9. Clinton says:

    Hi Maggie
    Do you use 15 ml (3 tsp) tablespoons or 20 ml (4 tsp) tablespoons, please?

  10. Paul Glaz says:

    5 stars

    Lovely recipe. How long should you cook for if you use a faster, stovetop pressure cooker (13 psi)?

  11. Richard vom says:

    5 stars
    Skeptical making this as there were no previous reviews. So glad I did. What a super delicious hearty meal! Looking forward to making it again soon

    • Kate says:

      5 stars
      Delicious! We made 8 servings in our 6 qt pot. My kids loved it too. We ran out of tomato paste so only used half of the called-for amount and I had to sort of stack the beef – but it tasted great. Thank you so much.

  12. Joan says:

    5 stars
    I was very wary of trying this but had to write and say it was excellent.
    I had to use a mixture of mirren and Rice wine vinegar as I did not have the recommended wine or dry sherry, and stevia instead of sugar.
    I served it with cauliflower rice and broad beans.
    Everything you said about the meat not needing fried and the sauce consistency was correct. I rarely write food reviews but felt you deserved praise. SO 5 OUT OF 5 from me, and grateful thanks for the education about using an instant pot. I have only had mine a short while.
    Kind regards Joan.

  13. Maurice McNelis says:

    This meal was a real winner with my family, everyone loved it
    Thank you.

  14. Elle L says:

    This is honestly the best instant pot recipe ever – I’ve made this many time and the beef is juicy, tender, and flavorful every time. I love this recipe and return to it time and time again when I need something easy and delicious for the week (it also stores really well).

  15. Sally says:

    Hi from Australai.
    This was tonight’s dinner, and it was delicious! Thx for sharing the recipe. I used my Baccarat pressure cooker.

  16. Lily says:

    5 stars
    SO easy and delicious! Love the convenience! No need to marinate or brown. I used blade roast (Canadian hehe) which I highly recommend over stew meat. Thanks Maggie!

  17. george a eifler says:

    Hi Maggie,
    I am really surprised that you have as much liquid in your finished pot with so little called for in your list of ingredients. I understand there is an amount in the canned tomatoes and the 4 TBS of sauce and wine. I realize there will be a little in the tomatoes themselves but given what will escape through the steam it seems like too little. This, especially if I want some liguids to add flavor to my rice.
    Thank you for your good work.

    • Maggie says:

      Hi George, actually the beef and onion also release a lot of liquid after cooking so you will have enough sauce. I wouldn’t add more liquid because it will dilute the broth too much and you will end up reducing the broth after the pressure cooking.

      • george a eifler says:

        H Maggie,
        Thank you for your informative reply.

  18. Peter Beckles says:

    4 stars
    Is it 1 + 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt or just one half-a-teaspoon of fine sea salt? I followed the recipen exactly but found that 1 + 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt was a bit much.
    Other than that the colour and flavours were magnificent. My sides were Broiled Broccoli with Spicy, Sesame-Scallion sizzle (from Alexandra’s Kitchen). and baked potatoes.

    • Maggie says:

      Hi Peter, I’m glad to hear you like the dish! Yes, I did use 1 + 1/2 teaspoons salt in the recipe. I make a dish on the saltier side when I serve them over the rice. Also, if you used salted Shaoxing wine, the dish will come out saltier because I use the unsalted wine in all my recipes. Please feel free to reduce the salt according to your personal taste the next time 🙂

  19. Jennifer says:

    5 stars
    This was amazing!!! We followed your recipe except for adding half the salt and using red chili flakes instead of the pepper. Thank you so much for sharing! Can’t wait to try the other recipes on your site.

  20. Sophia says:

    Any tips on how to make this without the pressure cooker? I want to make this sooooo bad

    • Maggie says:

      Hi Sophia, I’m afraid you cannot directly translate the recipe onto a stovetop version. I extremely simplified the cooking process due to the high pressure. For the stove top version, you will need to saute the aromatics to release fragrance and use beef stock to add liquid for the longer braising time.

  21. My says:

    5 stars
    I had pork butt in my freezer and wanted to make something different. Saw this recipe and beautiful pic. Wow … it was great .. full of flavor, prep was easy and quick. Amazed how it turned out … lots of gravy. I substitute Pork butt 1 1/2 lbs .. that’s all I have. I only used 1 tsp himalayan salt but next time I would use lesser and I used pepper flakes. There were plenty of liquid. I saw your note … don’t add any liquid bec it would dilute the flavor. I cooked brown rice and Yu choy stir fry with ginger, garlic , red bell pepper, sugar, oyster sauce. Delicious meal. Thank you.

    • Maggie says:

      So happy to hear you like this recipe! Pork butt is definitely a great cut for this dish. Can’t wait to try it out myself the next time.
      Thanks for leaving a positive review and can’t wait to hear what you cook the next 🙂

  22. Eva says:

    5 stars
    This recipe is outrageously delicious and so easy to make! This, along with several of your other recipes, will join our collection of favorite teams rotations.

  23. Kevin says:

    I did not have any chinese wine on hand so I susituted in a Tbsp of chinese black vinegar for a similar bit of acidity. I skipped the dried chilli peppers because I like a mild curry. The blackpepper gave just enough heat I also used 1tspn of salt insead of the recomended 1.5tsp – I’m glad I did. Even with that change the curry beef was rather salty alone but was just right with some rice.

  24. Karen says:

    Loved this! How do I triple the recipe please?

    • Maggie Zhu says:

      I think you can double the recipe, but not sure an Instant pot will hold triple the amount.

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