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Instant Pot Chinese Five Spice Beef and Vegetable Stew

Instant Pot Chinese Five Spice Beef and Vegetable Stew

We bought an Instant Pot! After hearing about the virtues of the Instant Pot from friends and family and seeing so many fantastic recipes from my fellow food bloggers, my husband (Scott) and I decided to buy one of these popular devices during a pretty darn good sale. If you know me, I appreciate a good sale.

Since we purchased our Instant Pot over a month ago, we’ve been trying out different recipes.

It’s a really handy kitchen gadget, but I didn’t know if I should post any recipes that I’ve been tinkering with since it’s a specialized piece of kitchen equipment.

Then I was reminded that slow cookers (aka crock pot) recipes have been around for decades and plus everyone I seem to know has been picking up and Instant Pot or is going to receive one for Christmas!

So why not? These recipes are quick and easy… just what my site is about.

In addition, the food coming out of it is so tasty! So without further ado, my first Instant Pot recipe on Yay! For Food: Chinese Five Spice Beef and Vegetable Stew!

Hold on… What is Chinese Five Spice?

If you’re not familiar with Chinese five spice, it’s most commonly used in Chinese and other Asian cuisine. The flavours in this spice mix is said to encompass diverse, but balanced flavours that include sweet, bitter, pungent, salty, and spicy tones.

Traditionally, the spices that go into Chinese five spice are star anise, cloves, cassia (Chinese cinnamon), fennel, and Szechuan peppercorns, but other ingredients such as turmeric, star anise powder, ginger, orange peel, or cardamon can also be found in five spice mix as well.

For this recipe, I used a pre-made blend (I prefer to steal my dad’s five spice blend if I can), but ideally, you can make your own so the mix will be fresh and to your taste.

DIY mix: A basic recipe is measuring each of the five common ingredients in equal amounts and then grinding everything up using mortar and pestle, a spice grinder, or coffee grinder.

An overhead view of Instant Pot Chinese Five Spice Beef and Vegetable Stew with sliced basil on top.

What else is in this beef stew?

This is one hearty and filling stew with tender beef pieces that can be shredded easily with a fork.

Tip: Make sure you get beef that is good for stewing such as chuck roast (preferred), round roast, or pot roast. These cuts are said to be the tough cuts of meats, but as they cook, the fat and connective tissue in these cuts will render and become so tender and flavourful.

Then there are the vegetables that include chopped onions, potatoes, carrots, and celery along with cannellini beans for extra fiber.

Healthy, colourful, sweet and savoury flavours that help bulk up this comforting stew. A few extra components ramps up the taste too.

A plate of sliced stewing beef that has been browned in the pot.

Browning the beef gives it a nice colour, better texture and flavour.

Two glass bowls filled with garlic, onions, carrots, potatoes, and celery.

The vegetables are chopped up and ready to be added to the pot.

A top view of Chinese Five Spice Beef and Vegetable Stew with green basil on top in the Instant Pot.

This comforting Instant Pot beef stew is ready! Top it with fresh basil if you like!

An side view of a bowl of Chinese Five Spice Beef and Vegetable Stew with fresh basil on top.

I like to ladle this stew into a big bowl and eat it as is, but it would be awesome served with crusty bread or even served over white rice.

I hope you enjoy this recipe!

A filled bowl of Chinese Five Spice Beef and Vegetable Stew with sliced basil on top.

Did you make this Instant Pot Beef Stew recipe? Leave me a rating and comment down below or tag me on any of my social media. I’m @yay_for_food on Instagram. Please share your recipe pictures!

Instant Pot Chinese Five Spice Beef and Vegetable Stew

Instant Pot Chinese Five Spice Beef and Vegetable Stew

Yield: 8
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

A hearty beef and vegetable stew featuring the robust savory flavour of Chinese five spice. Quick and easy to prepare with the Instant Pot!


  • 2 lb. stewing beef (like chuck roast), cut into 1 - 1½ inch cubes
  • ¼ cup all purpose flour
  • 1½ tbsp Chinese five spice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ cup dry red wine
  • 2 medium red (or white) potatoes (13 oz), chopped
  • 3 carrots (11 oz), chopped
  • 3 celery sticks (7 oz), chopped
  • 540 ml can of cannellini beans (2 cups), drained and rinsed
  • 4-5 cups beef broth (I used low sodium)
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tsp worcestershire sauce
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Optional: fresh basil, chopped


  1. In a large ziploc bag, add the stewing beef, flour, and Chinese five spice then seal and shake the bag until the beef is well coated.
  2. Using the “saute” function on the Instant Pot, add one tablespoon of olive oil and brown beef on all sides (you may need to do this in batches). Remove the beef and set aside.
  3. Pour another tablespoon of olive oil into the Instant Pot and add the onion, stirring until soft and brown, about 4-5 minutes. Add in the garlic and stir for another 30 seconds, until the garlic starts to brown.
  4. Add red wine to deglaze* (see first note), stirring and scraping the bottom of the pot to remove/dissolve the brown bits and allowing the wine to be absorbed into the onions. Press “cancel” to turn off the Instant Pot.
  5. Add back in the beef as well as the potatoes, carrots, celery, beans, beef broth, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, and salt and pepper to taste. Give the ingredients a good stir to distribute the ingredients throughout the vessel** (see second note). Place a bay leaf on top.
  6. Seal the Instant Pot and cook at high pressure (“manual”/"pressure cook" function) for 25 minutes. After the stew is ready, allow natural pressure release for at least 15 minutes before quick pressure release to completely depressurize (until floating valve drops).
  7. Open the Instant Pot, remove the bay leaf and give the stew a stir. Taste for additional salt and pepper and top with fresh basil if you like. Best served hot.


  • *If you prefer not using red wine, you can deglaze with two tablespoons of beef broth or balsamic vinegar.
  • **The beef broth should cover the top of the ingredients. Add more beef broth (or water) if necessary.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 428Total Fat: 23gCarbohydrates: 29.1gProtein: 27.6g

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Friday 24th of January 2020

It looks delicious so my wife ask me to make it for her last night. I switch the 5 Chinese spices to Bo Kho Ingredient.

Marie | Yay! for Food

Friday 24th of January 2020

So glad you like this recipe!


Sunday 1st of April 2018

I modified this to a crockpot since my instantpot is busy with you ginger butternut squash.. (theres a carolina pork in small crockpot). Its simmering now, 6 hours on low, so Im hoping for a delightful dish for dinner tonight! It smells divine 5 hours in.

Marie | Yay! For Food

Sunday 1st of April 2018

HI Tam! Your house must smell amazing with all the tasty foods you are cooking today! :) I've actually never attempted to make Carolina pork before, but I love the flavours. I need to add that to my list of recipes to try. :)Please let me know what you think of my recipes! I appreciate all types of feedback.

Jessica Robinson

Thursday 21st of December 2017

This hearty soup looks perfect for a cold winter's night. Thanks so much for sharing!

Marie | Yay! For Food

Friday 22nd of December 2017

You're welcome! :)

heather (delicious not gorgeous)

Tuesday 19th of December 2017

oooh this sounds so cozy! my parents were just talking about doing ngau lam (5 spice beef) in their new instant pot, too. great minds think a like (;

Marie | Yay! For Food

Tuesday 19th of December 2017

For sure! Chinese 5 spice has such great flavour!

Thao @ In Good Flavor

Saturday 16th of December 2017

I have not ventured into the world of pressure cooker or Instant Pot. The latter is becoming more and more appealing because of its multi functionality. This beef stew look delectable! The color is so deep and rich. I make my mom's Vietnamese beef stew, which uses star anise as the main flavoring agent, but five spice with more complex flavor profile sounds wonderful too!

Marie | Yay! For Food

Saturday 16th of December 2017

So many people have been praising the Instant Pot so I had to get my own! :) Beef stew with star anise as the main flavouring agent sounds lovely too.

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