Poor Man’s Stew

A hearty and filling stew with minimal ingredients and cost. Frugal eating never tasted so good with this poor man’s stove top stew!

two bowls of stew next to a red pot

Poor Man’s Beef Stew

Making beef stew is a great way to make a traditional soup during the colder nights when you want something filling. Unfortunately, the cost of stew beef cuts can sometimes range far out of budget. That or a trip to the store is entirely out of the question.

That’s alright though! This is where this frugal soup comes in handy! With just a pound (or even a cup of leftover ground beef) and a few of the cheap veggies, you can have a pot of delicious stew that tastes like it should cost a fortune more.

With this easy stove top beef stew recipe, you’re going to get a flavorful and thick broth packed with veggies, meat, and bowl-licking goodness.

ingredients needed for poor mans stew

Ground Beef Stew Ingredients

Ground Beef: While ground beef is preferable, you could use any ground meat (cooked or uncooked) that you may have on hand.

Carrots: Large carrots are far cheaper than baby carrots, but use what you have on hand.

Celery: We just need some green in here, and the celery also adds a light crisp to every bite that helps offset the heartier potatoes.

Onion: One chopped onion will help to add aroma and more flavor to the pot!

Potatoes: I personally prefer Russets because they’re cheaper, but golden potatoes work great too and don’t get grainy when cooked.

Flour: This is the soup thickener and helps to give a thicker broth that fills tummies.

Seasonings: We need a combination of salt, black pepper, Italian seasoning, and garlic powder. I always buy whatever seasonings I can at my local Dollar Tree before paying supermarket prices.

Tomato Paste: Just a small 6 ounce can of tomato paste helps to add flavor and the red color we expect from stews. I have also had success using leftover spaghetti sauce instead- turned out incredible!

Beef Broth: A 32 ounce carton of beef broth is enough, but you could also do water and bullion.

What you’ll need to make this recipe

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three bowls of stew

Tips for making stove top beef stew

I’ve been making this beef stew for a long time, in fact, I prefer it over more traditional beef stews because the meat is smaller and less chewy!

Some great tips to note are that it doesn’t taste great too soon after combing together. The flavor is very tomato-based. Give it a while to simmer and blend flavors together and the overwhelming tomato flavor goes away and you’re left with something incredible. Promise.

A good way to determine if the stew is ready is to take a large potato chunk from the soup and place it on a cutting board. With the back of a fork, press down to mash it. If it can be easily mashed, then you know they’re cooked and the soup is good.

If there’s resistance, wait a little longer. You could also simply stab the potatoes and carrots with a fork but I find that depending on the potato type you choose, there may be some resistance in a stab that you wouldn’t get from a mash, making the mash technique more reliable.

a bowl of stew with spoons and empty bowls to the sides

FAQs About Poor Mans Stew

What is Poor Man’s Stew?

It’s a low-cost soup that tastes great! Made with cheap veggies like onion, celery, carrots, and potatoes, and ground beef instead of a pricier cut this soup packs a lot into every heart-warming bowl.

Can Beef Stew Be Frozen?

Yes, after allowing the soup to cool completely, store it in a freezer bag or other freezer-friendly container for up to three months. Thaw and reheat before eating.

Do You Need Oil to Cook Ground Beef?

No, ground beef will naturally produce it’s own grease and oils as it cooks. Drain excess grease for better tasting (and slightly healthier) soup.

How to Make Poor Man’s Stew

Brown your ground beef in a large pot over medium high heat and drain excess grease.

Add in the celery, onion, and carrots. Stir and then cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add in the potatoes and stir to combine.

Add in the flour, salt, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and black pepper. Stir to combine and coat everything.

Add in the tomato paste and stir until well combined.

Add in the beef broth and stir until well mixed.

Bring the pot to a boil and then reduce heat to medium/low and let simmer for 45 minutes. It’s ready when the potatoes and carrots are fork tender

a bowl full of soup and a spoon to the side

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a bowl full of soup and a spoon to the side
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Poor Man’s Beef Stew

A hearty and filling stew with minimal ingredients and cost. Frugal eating never tasted so good with this poor man's stove top stew!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 15 mins
Course: dinner, Soup
Cuisine: American
Keyword: ground beef stew, poor man’s stew stove top, poor mans stew
Servings: 8
Calories: 197kcal
Author: Beeyond Cereal


  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 med. potatoes (gold or russet work best!), chopped (roughly 1 lb.)
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 6 oz tomato paste (small can) *See Note
  • 32 oz Beef Broth


  • In a large pot over medium high heat, brown your ground beef and drain excess grease.
  • Add in celery, carrots, and onion. Stir and let cook for 5 minutes.
  • Add in potatoes and stir to combine.
  • Add in flour, salt, garlic powder, italian seasoning, and black pepper, stirring to combine and coat well.
  • Add in tomato paste and stir until everything is well coated.
  • Add in beef broth and stir until well mixed.
  • Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium/low and let simmer for 45 minutes until potatoes and veggies are fork tender.
Tried this recipe?Mention @BeeyondCereal or tag #BeeyondCereal!


Note: Tomato paste can be substituted for 1-2 cups of leftover spaghetti sauce.


Serving: 1bowl | Calories: 197kcal | Carbohydrates: 27.8g | Protein: 17.6g | Fat: 2.1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.7g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 33.9mg | Sodium: 642.9mg | Potassium: 957.8mg | Fiber: 3.6g | Sugar: 5.5g | Vitamin A: 256.7IU | Vitamin C: 12.7mg | Calcium: 52.3mg | Iron: 3.3mg

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