Ground Beef Stew (With a Secret Ingredient)

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Overloaded with vegetables and with a juicy tomato base, you won’t believe the secret ingredient in this tender and rich ground beef stew recipe that adds a punch a flavor.

Ground Beef Stew

My Grandaddy loved stews and soups and this ground beef stew was one of his favorites. He had a special bowl that he liked to eat stew out of and Grandmama always served him in that bowl. 

Nowadays, I regularly make this stew for my own family. It lives up to its nickname, Poor Man’s Stew, as it’s fuss-free, economical thanks to the addition of ground beef, and not to mention delicious and incredibly flavorful! If you’ve ever had Cracker Barrel beef stew, this recipe is very similar and just as tasty.

It starts with a beef broth and tomato sauce, then it gets overloaded with tender ground beef and vegetables like potato, carrot, and green beans. I’ve included some variations below, but I love that stews are great and so easy to tweak and make your own. So play and have some fun with this stew recipe. Easily adapt it to what you have in your pantry and freezer, and include your favorite meat and vegetables.

But before we begin, I have one special ingredient that I do hope you’ll try though… Spicy Hot V8 Juice. This is what gives my hamburger stew such a full-bodied flavor without me having to cook it all day and add a gazillion different spices. Don’t worry though, it doesn’t make it hot at all – I promise!

Now, let’s get making this ground beef stew, which will warm you from the inside out (I just love stew and soup weather). And when you add Easy Yeast Rolls (Southern Family Recipe) you have the perfect dinner

Ingredients for Ground Beef Stew.

Recipe Ingredients

  • Potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Onions
  • Diced tomato can
  • Green beans
  • Beef bouillon cubes
  • Ground beef
  • Spicy Hot V8 Juice

Helpful Kitchen Tools

How to Make Ground Beef Stew

Dice carrots, potatoes, and onion and place in large pot.

Peel and dice your carrots, potatoes, and onion. Place in a large pot.

As a shortcut, you can use a 1-pound bag of frozen cubed hash browns for the potatoes.

Add tomatoes and green beans to pot.

Add the cans of tomatoes and the bag of frozen green beans to the pot.

Add beef broth to pot.

Add four beef bouillon cubes and two cups of water, or your preferred beef stock.

Add Spicy Hot V8 Juice to pot.

Next, add in the Spicy Hot V8 Juice.

I am using two cans in mine but you can use one and taste it to see if you want to use the second.

I used two and it still wasn’t hot, just very flavorful.

Bring your ground beef stew to a boil and then simmer until vegetables are tender.

Bring this to a boil and then reduce heat and cover and simmer for an hour or so, until vegetables are tender.

Add ground beef to pot.

Add ground beef to complete your ground beef stew.

Stir in a teaspoon of salt.

Stir in a teaspoon of salt.

You won’t need any black pepper because of the V8 Juice, but you should salt it to your personal taste. I like to salt it shortly before serving because that gives me a chance to taste the finished product and see how much it needs.

A large spoonful of ground beef stew.

Serve your ground beef stew with crackers or cornbread.

I hope you get to make this heartwarming meal soon! 


  • This stew tastes even better reheated the next day if you can believe it. I use those Rubbermaid sandwich-size containers for easy reheating as single meals. Store it in the fridge for up to 4 days and simply reheat it in the microwave or on the stovetop.
  • This ground beef stew freezes well too, so it’s still great to make if cooking for fewer people. Store it in the freezer for up to 3 months and thaw overnight before reheating as above.

Recipe Notes

  • You can use beef broth in place of the bouillon cubes, but I prefer them because they are less expensive and take up less space when storing them (a small container of these cubes makes about as much broth as 25 cans of beef broth).
  • You can also substitute some other bean of your preference for the green beans or add any number of other veggies. This might be celery, zucchini, frozen peas, bell pepper, or leek.
  • For the vegetables, you can use fresh or frozen ingredients. If using frozen, let them thaw briefly before adding to the stew.
  • You don’t have to peel your potatoes before you dice and add them to the pot.
  • My beef is already browned and waiting happily for me in the freezer to save making another mess. To see how I process large quantities of ground beef with ease, click here.
  • You can assemble your stew in the morning and put it in your slow cooker all day on low.
  • If using lean ground beef, there is no need to cook it ahead of time, just crumble it up or break off bite-size chunks and you can add it in raw. Otherwise, precook it and add-in afterward.

Recipe FAQs

What do you serve with ground beef stew?

Serve your hamburger stew as a main dish with a fresh dinner roll, homemade biscuits, crackers, or cornbread. You can also serve it over couscous or rice.

By the way, you may also like these super easy and tasty stew recipes:

Smoked Sausage and Beef Stew in the Crockpot

Our Family’s Southern Chicken Stew Recipe

Budget-Friendly & Delicious Lentil Stew

Shortcut Chicken Stew

Famous Alabama Camp Stew

Butter Stewed Potatoes

This ground beef stew recipe featured on Meal Plan Monday

Ground Beef Stew

Overloaded with vegetables and with a juicy tomato base, you won't believe the secret ingredient in this rich ground beef stew recipe.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: beef, stew
Servings: 4
Calories: 257kcal


  • 1-2 pounds ground beef, cooked and drained, or see note
  • 2-3 carrots, diced
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • 5-6 potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2-3 cups frozen green beans
  • 29 ounce can diced or crushed tomatoes
  • 1-2 cans Spicy Hot V8 Juice I use two 6-ounce cans
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 beef bouillon cubes or 4 cups of beef broth
  • 1 teaspoon salt more or less to taste


  • Place everything except the ground beef in a large pot. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer. Cover and cook for an hour or until vegetables are at the desired tenderness.
    2-3 carrots, diced, 1 onion, peeled and chopped, 5-6 potatoes, peeled and diced, 2-3 cups frozen green beans, 29 ounce can diced or crushed tomatoes, 1-2 cans Spicy Hot V8 Juice, 2 cups water, 4 beef bouillon cubes
  • Stir in ground beef and season with salt to taste. Serve hot with crackers or cornbread.
    1-2 pounds ground beef, cooked and drained, or see note, 1 teaspoon salt


  • This can be assembled in the morning and put in your slow cooker all day on low.
  • If ground beef is lean, there is no need to cook it ahead of time, just crumble it up or break off bite-size chunks and you can add it in raw. Otherwise, precook it and add-in afterward.
  • Freezes well. I freeze mine in sandwich-size containers for easy reheating as single meals.


Calories: 257kcal
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  1. I cheated this time around( was 2 save time); used canned vegetables.
    Sometimes I will add mild Italian sausage to go with the ground beef.
    Great soup to warm the soul.
    Thanks for sharing all your wonderful, tasty recipes

  2. Edit to previous question. Can I substitute Regular stewed tomatoes or Mexican style stewed tomatoes for the diced/crushed tomatoes that the recipe calls for? Also was wondering if a can of Rotel original flavor would be a good addition? Thanks.

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