How to make Beef Bourguignon

Hi friends! I’m Julia and welcome to my food blog, Dinner with Julia. Today I’m sharing my family’s favorite cozy, comforting French classic – Beef Bourguignon. This beef stew braised in red wine is the ultimate cold weather meal.

Beef Bourguignon was one of the first dishes I learned to make when studying French cuisine. It remains a staple in my home to this day. While lengthy in preparation, the rich depth of flavor is so worth the time and care.

In this post, I’ll walk you through my easy-to-follow recipe for traditional Beef Bourguignon made in the oven. I’ll also share cooking tips, serving suggestions, alternate cooking methods and frequently asked questions about making the perfect Beef Bourguignon. Grab a glass of red wine and let’s get cooking!

Beef Bourguignon Recipe

Classic Beef Bourguignon | So Much Food
A hearty bowl of Beef Bourguignon, the perfect comfort food for a cold day.

Beef Bourguignon

And despite what those fussy-sounding French words for beef stew might make you think, this is not an expensive dish to prepare by any means. Even if you spring for grass-fed beef from Whole Foods as I did, the cost per person amounts to less than $10. Go ahead and invite some friends over for dinner.
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 3 hours
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 6 people
Calories 900 kcal


  • 1 paper towel 
  • 1 large bowl
  • 1 oven


  • 3 pounds beef {for best results choose rump, chuck roast, sirloin tip, top or bottom round}, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon crushed garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 3 cups drinkable but-under-10-bucks red wine
  • 3 cups beef stock
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 pieces chopped cooked bacon {roast on a baking sheet 15 minutes at 400 degrees}
  • 4 shallots thinly sliced
  • 1 pound crimini or baby bella mushrooms
  • 2 large carrots peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • Fresh chopped thyme and/or parsley for garnish


  • Pat the beef pieces with a paper towel to absorb excess moisture – dry beef browns better than wet beef. Toss the beef in a large bowl with the salt, pepper, garlic and thyme. Marinate at room temperature for about an hour, or cover and refrigerate overnight.
  • Heat oven to 325 degrees. Place a large, ovenproof casserole or Dutch oven on the stovetop over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and let it heat for a minute or two. Arrange a third of the beef in a single layer on the bottom of the pan and brown on all sides – this will take about 10 minutes. This is an important step; adding all the beef at once will steam rather than brown the meat. What you want is a nice dark brown color on the exterior of the beef, so try not to fiddle with it until you see the juices beginning to brown – be patient! Remove browned beef to a platter and repeat with the remaining beef.
  • Put all the beef back into the pot and sprinkle with flour, stirring to coat evenly. Cook for a few minutes to lightly cook the flour. Pour in the wine and enough stock to just barely cover the beef. Stir in the tomato paste and toss in the bay leaf and bacon. Lay a sheet of parchment paper {or aluminum foil} over the pot and top with the lid.
  • Transfer the whole thing to the oven and cook for 1 hour. Take a peek to be sure that the liquid is not boiling madly; it should be gently bubbling. Adjust the oven heat by 25 degrees as needed, up or down. Continue cooking another 2 hours or so, until the beef is very tender when you poke it with a fork.
  • While the beef is in the oven, sauté the shallots in a 10-inch skillet lightly coated with olive oil until they begin to brown. Add a pinch of salt and the mushrooms, stirring frequently, until mushrooms are softened. Set aside.
  • Put the carrots in the same skillet with ¼ cup water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a simmer and cover the pan. Cook until the carrots are tender, about 15 minutes. Drain the carrots and add to the mushroom mixture.
  • When the beef is ready, stir in the carrots and mushrooms. Taste the sauce and season with additional salt and pepper as necessary. Sprinkle with thyme and parsley to add some green. Serve in bowls with Garlic Mashed Potatoes and warm, crusty bread.



Or not...leftover beef bourguignon tastes even better.
Keyword Beef

Cooking Tips for the Best Beef Bourguignon

Beef Bourguignon Recipe
The rich, deep flavors of Beef Bourguignon come from slow-cooking in a red wine sauce.

After making this classic stew countless times, I’ve learned a few tricks along the way:

  • Choose the right cut of beef. Look for chuck, brisket or stew meat. The collagen in these cuts breaks down into tender gelatin.
  • Don’t skimp on browning the beef. Take the time to sear the beef properly in batches. This builds deep, rich flavor.
  • Use a full-bodied red wine. Splurge on a good Burgundy if you can. Otherwise, Cabernet, Merlot or Malbec work nicely.
  • Cook low and slow. Gentle braising coaxes out the most flavor and tender texture from the beef.
  • Sauté the mushrooms separately. Adding them partway through keeps their texture and flavor intact.
  • Skim excess fat. For a clearer sauce, skim off the fat that rises to the top before serving.
  • Adjust seasoning at the end. The long cooking time dulls flavors, so taste and add more salt, pepper or herbs as needed.

Serving Suggestions for Beef Bourguignon

Beef Bourguignon
Beef Bourguignon served over mashed potatoes – a classic French dish that’s a family favorite.

Beef Bourguignon is all about comfort, so keep the sides simple:

  • Buttery mashed potatoes
  • Wide egg noodles or pappardelle
  • A crisp green salad
  • Crusty bread for dipping
  • A hearty Burgundy wine

For special occasions, I’ll add a few elevated touches:

  • Top with crispy fried shallots
  • Garnish with fresh parsley or thyme
  • Swirl in crème fraîche or sour cream
  • Serve in shallow bowls with a Burgundy wine reduction

This stew is also delicious the next day. The flavors only improve with time. Simply reheat gently before serving.

Frequently Asked Questions

Beef Bourguignon (Julia Child Recipe) - Cafe Delites
Preparing Beef Bourguignon: browning the beef is a crucial step for maximum flavor
  • What if I can’t find pearl onions? Substitute 2-3 shallots, halved, or 1 cup frozen pearl onions.
  • Can I prepare this dish in advance? Yes! Make it 1-2 days ahead. Cool completely then refrigerate. Reheat gently before serving.
  • What if my stew is too thin? Simmer the stew uncovered for 10-15 minutes to reduce and thicken the sauce.
  • What if my stew is too thick? Add a splash of beef stock or wine to loosen the sauce to your desired consistency.
  • Can I make substitutions for the wine? While dry red wine works best, you can use reduced-sodium beef broth with a splash of red wine vinegar.

With meltingly tender beef, savory bacon, sweet onions and earthy red wine, Julia Child’s Beef Bourguignon is the ultimate cold weather comfort food. While it requires some effort, the soul-warming results are so rewarding. I hope you’ll give this French classic a try soon.

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