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The Best Venison Stew Recipe is very similar to Beef Stew with the use of vegetables and cubed meat for the ultimate comfort food. A quick sear in the Dutch oven on the stove top will bring these simple flavors together for a big impact. If you’re looking for a cold weather comfort food, this hearty stew made completely “of the land” is where it’s at!
The Best Hearty Venison Stew for Hunters
A stew is one of the best ways to prepare venison. If you normally shy away from deer meat because of the gamey taste, that’s not what you’re going to get in this recipe! This scratch-made venison stew uses the freshest of the land between the forest harvest and garden vegetables. It’s both quick and easy to bring together, and fall apart tender from this seared and braised meat.
Mixed with hearty vegetables, like carrots, celery, and potatoes, and bathed in a herb-infused broth, venison stew is rich, complex, and flavorful. If cooked the right way, this meat is actually fall-apart tender!
The only downside is how good your house will smell while it cooks away! But for your patience, you’ll be rewarded with leftovers that taste just as good (maybe even better) as eating them straight out of the pot.
Which cut is best for venison stew?
For stew, cuts like tenderloin or backstrap aren’t the most ideal as they’re already quite tender and don’t require a slow cooking process.
Instead choose the round, shoulder, or shank for venison stew since these aren’t prime cuts and are often tougher. Slow cooking them not only makes them soft and tender, but it allows you to utilize every part of the animal.
Top Tip for Wild Game
My secret, top tip for non-gamey wild game, is to use fresh garlic instead of garlic powder. Garlic powder will bring out the metallic taste in wild game. Fresh garlic sautéed with the seared meat is what will provide the perfect garlic infused flavor to your dish, no matter the cut.
Ingredients you’ll need for venison stew
This venison stew is full of hearty and satisfying ingredients! Here’s what you’ll need:
- Venison – I’m using venison round for this stew, but as I mentioned, you can use one of the other cuts listed above. Since it is leaner and gamier than beef, you may want to soak it in brine or buttermilk for a few hours up to 1-2 days in the fridge. This will reduce the gamey flavor and help tenderize it. If you don’t have venison on hand, replace it with an equivalent amount of beef.
- Onion, garlic – Every great stew begins with onion and garlic for a savory, comforting, and aromatic element. You’ll need yellow onion and freshly minced garlic cloves.
- Vegetables – What could be heartier than chunky potatoes, carrots, and celery? I prefer Yukon Gold potatoes, but other waxy varieties, like white or red, also work.
- Stock – Ideally use homemade venison stock or broth. But you can also substitute this with homemade or store-bought beef broth or stock.
- Seasonings – I love the combination of Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. It’s simple, but it adds just the right amount of savory, herbaceous flavor to balance out the venison. I’m using dried herbs, but you can always use fresh herbs if you have some on hand.
- Balsamic vinegar – Deepens the flavor while imparting a slightly acidic component. No balsamic on hand? Use red wine vinegar, red wine, or more broth instead. But, it really does make a difference.
How to make venison stew with video
Don’t feel intimidated by cooking with venison! It’s incredibly straightforward. Check out this detailed collage and printable instructions if it’s your first time making venison stew.
- You’ll need at least a 5-quart Dutch oven for this recipe. Heat it over medium-high heat with a Tablespoon of olive oil. Then add the cubed venison stew meat in small batches. Brown it for about 5 minutes, then add the salt and black pepper, stirring to combine.
- Add the carrots, celery, and onion to the Dutch oven and sauté them for about 10 minutes. The vegetables will release a lot of liquid, which will then begin to evaporate. As the liquid evaporates, add the garlic and sauté it for another minute to release the oils.
- Add the venison stock (or your stock of choice), Italian seasoning (or only thyme if you don’t have Italian seasoning), and diced potatoes. Ensure the potatoes are fully covered so they cook properly.
- Top the Dutch oven with a fitted cover, then cook the stew at 350F for 20 minutes.
- Lastly, pour in the balsamic vinegar or worcestershire sauce and give everything a stir. Serve your venison stew immediately while it’s hot.
Note this venison stew recipe doesn’t use all purpose flour, making it gluten-free! You could add a bay leaf to the stew while it simmers for added flavor, but remember to remove it before serving.
See the quick video below when I made this for dinner.
Tips and notes
Pat the meat. Before you sear the meat, thoroughly pat it dry before browning. This will help create a better sear on all sides of the venison.
Sear it well. Browning the venison is an important step in developing more flavors in the stew. Don’t forget this critical component of the recipe, and try not to rush the process! It’s also best to sear the meat in batches so it properly browns. If it isn’t spaced out enough, the meat will steam rather than sear.
Deglaze the dutch oven with a bit of venison or beef stock to loosen the browned bits at the bottom of the pan before adding in the rest of the stock. That way all of the flavor is in your stew and not just your pan.
Tenderize your venison. To reduce the gamey flavor and tough texture of venison, soak it in salted water, vinegar water, or buttermilk in the fridge for up to a few days. You can even use citrus fruits to help tenderize it.
Instant Pot is Venison’s Best Friend. Obviously I love the Dutch oven. But if your meat is frozen and you need dinner on the table quickly, grab and Instant Pot. Throw everything in except for the balsamic vinegar, and pressure cook on high for 25 minutes. Natural release for about 10 to allow the meat to gently relax.
Crockpot Venison Stew can be made by combining all of these ingredients into a slow cooker and allow to cook on low all day, about 8 hours. Tough meat does best low and slow for a more tender bite.
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How to store venison stew
The best part about making stew is having leftovers for the days that follow. I think venison stew tastes even better the next day after the flavors have had a chance to meld together. Here are some general storage tips to keep in mind:
- Fridge: Once cooled, add your stew to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 4-5 days.
- Freezer: If you’re not going to eat all the leftovers within a week, it’s best to keep them in the freezer. Add portions to freezer-safe bags or containers, and store them this way for up to 3-4 months. If you’re making it with freezing in mind, you may want to omit the potatoes and add them later on since they can turn a little mushy when thawed.
- Reheating: Thaw frozen venison stew in the fridge overnight, and reheat it in a cast-iron pot over medium heat until warmed through. Meat always tastes better when warmed up the old-fashioned way, so I don’t recommend microwaving this one.
Common Questions About
What to serve with venison stew
Venison stew is the perfect dinner to feed a hungry family. Here are a few serving options to add a little more bulk to your meal:
- Rustic Dinner Rolls
- No Knead Dutch Oven Bread
- Roasted Garlic Italian Herb Focaccia Bread
- Cranberry Walnut Stuffing
- Brown Sugar Cornbread
Venison Stew Recipe
- Cutting board
- vegetable peeler
- 5 quart dutch oven
- wooden spoon
- 2 pounds venison round thawed
- 1 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 3/4 cup carrots diced
- 1/2 cup celery diced
- 1 cup onion, yellow diced
- 3 cloves of garlic minced
- 4 cups stock or broth venison preferred or beef
- 1 Tablespoon Italian Herb Seasoning dried
- 4 potatoes
- 1/8 cup balsamic vinegar about 3 Tablespoons
- To a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat (5 quart or larger), add the cubed venison stew meat. Brown for about 5 minutes then add the salt and pepper, stirring to combine.
- Add the carrots, celery, and onion to the Dutch oven and saute for about 10 minutes. The vegetables will release a lot of liquid and then the liquid will begin to evaporate. As the liquid begins to evaporate, add the garlic and sauté for a minute to release oils.
- Add the stock of choice, Italian seasoning, and diced potatoes. Ensure the potatoes are fully covered.
- Top the Dutch oven with a fitted cover and cook at 350F for 20 minutes.
- Lastly, pour in the balsamic and stir. Serve immediately.