15 Super-Hearty Winter Stews to Make Right Now

updated Jan 13, 2023
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earth day gumbo in bowl
Credit: Courtesy of Anna Jones

Is winter over yet? Perhaps it’s just me (although I have a hunch it’s not), but I’m getting to that time of year when I feel like the cold winter days will never end. Here’s what I do to make it more bearable: Put a delicious, hearty stew on the stove and let it simmer away. It’s one of the best meals to eat right now. While some can be pulled off on a weeknight after work, most are best saved for the weekend, when the stew can simmer while you hang out inside. So pull out your Dutch oven, Instant Pot, or slow cooker (we’ve got recipes for them all!), and let’s get cooking. Here are 15 of our most comforting winter stews to try right now.

1 / 15
Guinness Beef Stew
This stew is simmered low and slow in a Guinness-spiked sauce.
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2 / 15
Lemon, Chickpea and Green Herb Stew

This lemony coconut and herb-topped stew has an irresistible freshness, and it is hearty and filling at the same time.

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3 / 15
Instant Pot Bò Kho Recipe (Vietnamese Beef Stew)
This warming beef stew is ultra fragrant thanks to lemongrass, star anise, ginger, and cinnamon.
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4 / 15
Instant Pot Beef Stew

Consider this beef stew, with thick chunks of carrot, potatoes and peas, an Instant Pot winter essential. The Instant Pot can get you from pulling ingredients out of the refrigerator to sitting down to dinner in just about an hour.

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5 / 15
Vegetarian Mushroom Stew

Once you’ve eaten it in a bowl with crusty bread, serve it again atop polenta or as an open-faced sandwich melt once the coconut-tomato broth thickens for an entirely different dinner.

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6 / 15
Root Vegetable Beef Stew with Mushroom and Spinach Polenta

Classic beef stew is all about, well, the beef — with a few basic veggies thrown in for good measure. But this version takes the opposite approach. You're still treated to chunks of super-tender chuck roast swimming in gravy, but the heart and soul of this stew is the medley of seasonal vegetables, like petite carrots, parsnips, and rutabaga. If you have a winter squash lying around, consider adding it.

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7 / 15
Slow Cooker Beef and Kabocha Squash Stew

If there's a soft spot in your heart for winter squash, you cannot let the season pass by without trying this stew. An Italian twist on the classic, this recipe skips the traditional vegetables in favor of winter squash, adds in sun-dried tomatoes, woodsy herbs, plus a splash of Marsala wine, which lends a tiny punch of tang. If you can't get your hands on kabocha squash, go ahead and substitute an equal amount of butternut squash.

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8 / 15
Curried Vegetable and Chickpea Stew

The beauty of this hearty plant-based stew is that it comes together largely with pantry ingredients and is incredibly versatile. It's the kind of dish where it's easy to make swaps based on what you already have on hand. Serve the stew on its own, ladle over a bed of rice, orzo, or grains, or keep a piece of crusty bread on the side for dipping.

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9 / 15
Pork, Poblano, and Pumpkin Stew

Pumpkin can be hard to come by after the fall months, but butternut or kabocha squash work just as well. In fact, I prefer to use butternut squash since I can buy it already cut, which minimizes the prep time on this already weeknight-friendly stew.

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10 / 15
Tofu-Miso Stew
It tastes and feels like a chicken pot pie, but instead it's a pile of veggies doused in a rich miso gravy.
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11 / 15
Kale and Cannellini Bean Stew

The Parmesan-garlic broth that’s the base of this wholesome stew is going to be your new BFF when you need deep flavor but don't want to add meat. If you're not already stashing Parm rinds in the freezer, this is the best reason to make it a new habit.

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12 / 15
Chile Verde Stew

While the salsa verde requires a little prep work up front, the rest of the cooking is hands-off, thanks to the trusty slow cooker. This is a perfect dish to perfume your house on a cold winter day.

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13 / 15
Slow-Cooker Beef and Barley Stew with Mushrooms

On the next snow day, this is the stew to make. Taking inspiration from beef and barely soup, this winter essential is the best of both worlds.

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14 / 15
Coconut Chicken and Sweet Potato Stew

You'll want to stick with boneless thighs over breasts here. Not only are they more flavorful, but they hold up better and are less likely to become dry.

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15 / 15
Slow Cooker Pork & Cider Stew
Pork and apple is such a classic pairing, and this slow cooker stew gets not one, but two doses of apple mixed in.
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