African Beef Stew Recipe

Published on Feb 24, 2016

  by   Kristina Stosek

55 reviews

Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 140 minutes Serves: 4 - 6
Add a Rating
​This post may contain affiliate links, please see our privacy policy for details

From the savory depths of tender beef to the aromatic spices, this slow-cooked African Beef Stew is just the perfect hearty, cozy dinner to make when craving comfort food. This hearty stew is a culinary masterpiece, enjoyed for its bold flavors, intricate spice combinations, and the use of wholesome ingredients. Instant pot method included.

african beef stew with a side of rice

The Flavors in African beef stew

African beef stew is a flavorful and hearty dish that varies in taste depending on the region and local ingredients used, but it generally features a rich and complex flavor. Here’s a description of the flavors typically found in African beef stew:

Umami-rich Beef: 

The base of the stew is usually made with tender chunks of beef, which provide a deep, savory, and meaty flavor. The meat is often browned before simmering, adding a caramelized taste to the stew.


African cuisine is known for its vibrant and aromatic spices, crucial in the stew’s flavor. Common spices include cumin, coriander, paprika, ginger, cinnamon, curry, black pepper, cloves, and cardamom. These spices contribute layers of warmth, earthiness, and a touch of heat to the stew.

Chilies and Heat: 

Many African beef stews incorporate chili peppers or hot sauces to add heat and a spicy kick. The level of spiciness can vary widely depending on regional preferences, but it often adds a bold flavor.


Fresh herbs like cilantro, parsley, and thyme are frequently used to provide a refreshing and herbaceous note to balance the richness of the stew. These herbs can be added at the end of cooking or as a garnish.


Tomatoes, whether fresh, canned, or paste, are a common ingredient in African beef stew. They contribute a slightly tangy and sweet taste that complements the spices and helps create a thick and luscious sauce.


Various vegetables like onions, carrots, bell peppers, and potatoes are often included in African beef stew. These vegetables add their unique flavors and enhance the dish’s overall depth and texture.

Broth or Stock: 

Beef or vegetable broth can be used as the cooking liquid, infusing the stew with additional meaty and savory flavors. The slow simmering of the stew allows the flavors to meld and intensify.

Coconut milk: 

Depending on the region, coconut milk is used in many recipes, adding creaminess to the dish.


Some African beef stews may incorporate sweet elements like dried fruits (such as apricots or raisins) or honey to balance the spiciness and add a touch of sweetness to the dish  

serving suggestions for African beef stew

  • Rice: Fluffy white rice, aromatic basmati, or even fragrant jasmine rice makes an excellent base for serving African beef stew. The rice’s mildness balances the stew’s bold flavors
  • Flatbreads: Various African flatbreads, such as chapati, roti, gluten free naan, or pita, can be used to scoop up the stew. They provide a different texture and can be a fun way to enjoy the dish.
  • Rolls: Serve this flavourful beef stew with gluten-free pull-apart soft rolls or the delicious gluten-free artisan crusty rolls.
  • Pickled Vegetables: Pickled vegetables or relishes, such as South African atchar or Moroccan preserved lemons, can add a tangy contrast to the stew’s richness.
  • Yogurt or Sour Cream: A dollop of plain yogurt or sour cream can provide a cool and creamy contrast to the stew’s spiciness, especially in North African dishes.
  • Fresh Herbs: Garnish the stew with fresh herbs like cilantro, parsley, or mint to add a burst of freshness and color.
  • Chutneys and Sauces: Consider serving the stew with a side of chutneys, hot sauces, or sambals, which can add extra layers of flavor and heat.
  • Nuts: Crushed or chopped nuts, such as peanuts or almonds, can provide a crunchy element and a nutty flavor that complements some African beef stew recipes.

African beef stew with veggies in a bowl

African beef stew: stove top method

When it comes to African beef recipes, it is all about spices. So the first thing to do is season the beef with curry powder, paprika, a generous amount of black pepper and cinnamon. Cinnamon is aromatic and has a sweet and savoury flavour that sets this stew apart from most.

Sear the beef 

Once the beef is generously seasoned, it is seared. The beef stew flavour will intensify by searing the meat. So sear the meat well. 

Add veggies, tomatoes and coconut milk

Next, add some of the veggies like the onions, garlic, bell peppers, tomatoes, tomato paste and coconut milk. Slowly simmer the stew for about ninety minutes

Add remaining veggies

Now add the remaining vegetables such as carrots, potatoes and cabbage, and finish cooking the stew until the meat is fork tender and the vegetables are just right. The reason the vegetables are added at the end as not to overcook them or they become mushy.

Another popular beef stew recipe you may enjoy is the Instant Pot Spiced Beef Stew with Mung Beans. A little different but so good! 


African Beef Stew the Instant Pot Method


raw seasoned beef in a bowl

Season the beef


searing beef in a cast iron skillet

Sear the beef in a skillet. I used a cast iron skillet.


Deglaze the skillet with 1/4 cup of water and add it to the instant pot with seared beef and remaining ingredients. Stir to combine. Close the lid. Cook on manual for 35 minutes, then release steam naturally. Enjoy!


Best Falafel Burger

Moroccan-Style Baked Lamb Casserole

Baked Yams Stuffed with Roasted Spiced Veggies

Yam And Sweet Potato Mash With Coconut Milk

Instant Pot Somali Lentil Stew

Saffron Rice With Mint

Moroccan-Style Yogurt Cake – Grain Free


Recipe Review

This African beef stew recipe is such a simple dinner to throw together, it is wholesome, flavorful and hearty. Cooking with ethnic spices adds diversity and uniqueness to our food, such as in this beef stew recipe. The precise flavor of African recipes can vary greatly from one to another, reflecting the diverse culinary traditions across the continent. It’s a bold flavored dish that combines various spices, herbs, heat, and nutritious ingredients, making it a beloved comfort food in many African households.

Let’s Connect!

Be sure to FOLLOW US on FACEBOOK and PINTEREST. And don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter. We always have something new and exciting for you! 

Many thanks!

Kristina xx

Leave a Comment


Absolutely amazing flavour


thank you Tom for sharing

Nosiphiwe Tom

The best stew ever, my family loved it


thank you for sharing Nancy!


Omg! This recipe is of the charts so sooo good; thanks for the delicious recipe , this one is my favorite beef stew recipe


Ashley, I am so happy to hear that, thank you


my husband loved this beef stew, thank you.


I am so happy to hear that Ambrosia, thank you


I’m always trying to find new ways to feed my family. This stew is so good, it was unreal. My husband liked it so much he asked for it again next week!




sounds delicious! Could this be done in the instant pot?


Made this a few times now, it’s so GOOD!!!!


I am happy to hear you enjoyed it Roger

Roger D.



I love the flavours in this stew, OMG soooo good!!!


The best stew EVER!

Kristina Stosek

Thank you for pointing this out! Please see revised instructions


The ingredients call for a pepper and tomato paste when do they go in?

Add a Rating

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *