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Meatball Stew

February 8, 2022

We’re patiently waiting for the sunshine to come back and warm us up. Until then, this hearty meatball stew recipe is here to keep you and yours cozy and toasty.


a bowl of homemade meatball stew with a spoon topped with parsley and a pice of bread beside it

Meatball Recipes 4Eva: Meatball Stew Edition

We love meatballs. We devoted an entire chapter of our cookbook to meatballs, for goodness sake! So yeah, we’re truly, madly, deeply into meatballs. You know this. We’ve made curry with them, we’ve made shakshuka with them, we’ve made classic meatballs subs with them. We make ‘em with chicken, we make ‘em with lamb, we make ‘em with pork. We’ve even made the best vegetarian meatballs you’ve ever tasted. And today, we’re making them the star of a hearty, meaty meatball stew! Think of this as a meatball-ified riff on old-fashioned, beef-and-potatoes beef stew. Nothing fancy, just super traditional, winter fare that’ll stick to your ribs and melt the snow right off your bone-cold bod.

potatoes, vegetables, ground beef, spices, olive oil and beef broth in bowls on the counter to make meatball stew
ground beef, seasonings, egg, bread crumbs, Worcestershire sauce and whole milk in a glass bowl for home made meatballs
ground beef, seasonings, egg, bread crumbs, Worcestershire sauce and whole milk mixed together in a glass bowl for meatballs
golf ball sized home made meatballs rolled on a baking sheet sitting on the counter

Your Meatball Stew Grocery List

Our meatball stew recipe is not a pantry recipe—you’ll probably need to hit the produce section this week and load up. But you’re going to the store anyway, right? The dream of skipping the store this week is an ever-elusive one, at least for us. The great news is, though, this recipe is major bang-for-buck! It’s really easy on the budget. Ground beef, carrots, onions—that stuff is super affordable, super flavorful and super filling. You know you always need olive oil, salt and pepper. But beyond that, here’s everything you’ll need to make our easy, beefy meatball stew:

  • Ground beef

  • Garlic powder

  • Onion powder

  • Italian seasoning

  • Egg

  • Breadcrumbs

  • Worcestershire sauce

  • Whole milk

  • Onion

  • Carrots

  • Celery

  • Garlic cloves

  • Yukon Gold potatoes

  • Green beans

  • Tomato paste

  • Fresh thyme leaves

  • Beef stock

  • Beef bouillon

  • Cornstarch

olive oil, onions, celery and carrots being cooked in a pot for meatball stew
onions, celery, carrots and garlic cooked in olive oil in a pot for meatball stew
cooked onion, celery, carrots and garlic being stirred with tomato paste and thyme in a pot
cooked vegetables, tomato paste, thyme, beef stock, beef bouillon and meatballs in a pot for meatball stew

How To Make Meatball Stew

Here’s the reason that this meatball stew rocks—UMAMI. Umami times a million. Umami is the so-called fifth taste, and essentially it means the taste of savorieness. While lots of things can create umami in a dish, this recipe includes a number of umami-giving heavy hitters. Tomato paste is a big umami deliverer, and the combo of beef stock and beef bouillon make for an insanely savory saucy stew base that’ll have you dreaming of seconds before you’ve even finished your first bowl. OK, now that you’re really dying for this stew, here’s how to make it:

  1. Mix all of the ingredients for the meatballs in a bowl. For the best, most tender meatballs, use your hands to mix and stop just when everything looks uniform. Overmixing leads to tough meatballs.

  2. Roll out 24 meatballs. Remember our best meatball-making trick: wet hands make for easier rolling.

  3. Brown the meatballs! They don't need to be cooked through—just nicely browned.

  4. Cook the onions, celery and carrots for a few minutes, then add the garlic. In goes the tomato paste and thyme, then the meatballs, beef stock and the beef bouillon.

  5. Get that stew base simmering! Add the potatoes and beans, simmer for a solid 20 minutes.

  6. Slurry! Cold water + cornstarch combine to make a thickening paste. Add it to the stew and simmer for another 5 minutes or so.

  7. Dig in!

cooked vegetables, tomato paste, thyme, beef stock, beef bouillon, meatballs, potatoes and green beans in a pot
homemade meatball stew with green beans, celery, carrots, onion, potatoes and ground beef in a pot on the counter
homemade meatball stew with green beans, celery, carrots, onion, potatoes and ground beef in a pot on the counter
a bowl of homemade meatball stew with a spoon topped with parsley and a pice of crunchy bread beside it

Tools You’ll Need

More Meatball Soup Recipes to Try

homemade meatball stew with green beans, celery, carrots, onion, potatoes and ground beef in a pot on the counter
homemade meatball stew with green beans, celery, carrots, onion, potatoes and ground beef in a pot on the counter
a bowl of homemade meatball stew with a spoon topped with parsley and a pice of crunchy bread beside it
a bowl of homemade meatball stew with a spoon topped with parsley and a pice of crunchy bread beside it

Meatball Stew, All Winter Long!

And if spring is cold, we’ll eat it till summer if we have to! This cozy bowl of goodness is meant to buoy you through the dreary months. We hope it is just what the doctor ordered! When you try it out, let us know! Share a photo and tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper so that we can see your stuff! Happy eating!

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Meatball Stew

  • Serves: 8
  • Prep Time:  20 min
  • Cook Time:  50 min
  • Calories: 426


For the Meatballs:

  • 1 1/2 lbs ground beef 80/20
  • 3/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 3/4 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup whole milk

For the Stew:

  • 3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced, about 1 cup
  • 2 large carrots, large dice, about 1 cup
  • 3 celery ribs, large dice, about 1 cup
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tsp leaves minced fresh thyme
  • 8 cups beef stock
  • 2 tsp beef bouillon or better than bouillon
  • 4 Small Yukon Gold potatoes, cut in 11/2” pieces
  • 1 cup fresh green beans, cut into 2" pieces
  • 3 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • Flat leaf parsley, for serving


  1. In a large bowl, mix together the ground beef, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, Italian seasoning, pepper, egg, bread crumbs, Worcestershire sauce and whole milk until fully combined. Mixing the meatball mixture with your hands will produce the best texture, but you can use a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment if you prefer.

  2. Form golf ball-sized meatballs—about 2 tablespoons each—and place them on a plate, about 24 total. Dampen your palms with a bit of water before rolling the meatballs to make rolling easier.

  3. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottom stock pot over medium high heat. Brown the meatballs on all sides, but don’t worry about cooking them through—they’ll finish cooking in the stew later. You may need to work in batches so as not to overcrowd the pan. Set meatballs aside and continue with remaining meatballs. Once the meatballs are browned, take them out of the pan and set them aside on a plate.

  4. Deglaze the pan with a few tablespoons of beef stock if necessary. To the same pot add the remaining tablespoon olive oil along with the onions, celery and carrots. Cook until vegetables are beginning to soften, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and continue cooking until fragrant, about 1 minute longer.

  5. Add in the tomato paste and thyme, stirring to combine. Add the meatballs back to the pot along with the beef stock and the beef bouillon. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to a simmer.

  6. Add in potatoes and green beans, cover with a tight fitting lid and simmer for 20 minutes until the vegetables are tender and the meatballs register 160°F on an instant read thermometer. If you like your green beans on the firmer side, you can add them in 10 minutes after you put in the potatoes.

  7. In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch and water together until smooth. Add the cornstarch slurry to the stew broth and stir over low heat until stew has thickened, about 5-7 more minutes.

  8. Serve the stew sprinkled with parsley with some good crusty bread or buttered egg noodles.

*This recipe yields 8 (2 cup) servings total.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories426
  • Protein23 g
  • Carbohydrates32 g
  • Total Fat23 g
  • Dietary Fiber3 g
  • Cholesterol84 mg
  • sodium1360 mg
  • Total Sugars4 g

Meatball Stew

Questions & Reviews

Join the discussion below.

  • Sherry

    Could this be made in an instant pot?

    Unfortunately, we have not tested this in an instant pot to confirm cook times.

  • Jen

    Wonder if you've ever tried this with a poultry or vegetable base. My dad doesn't eat red meat. I've only ever made red meat stews. Wondering if a thickened chicken stock base would be tasty or not...

    We have not tried it.

  • Helen

    I am very excited to make this recipe but I wondered, once the meatballs are browned and the sauce put together could one combine them and finish cooking the meatballs in a slow cooker and then simply remove the meatballs when ready to serve and stir the slurry into the sauce at the end?

    Let me know what you think.

    Hi Helen, in theory this should work ok. Once you add the slurry you need to let it thicken the stew over low heat for about 5-7 minutes. Not quite sure how long that would take to thicken in a slow cooker so you might want to add it back to a pot for that step.

  • MK

    I made this stew using Ground Beef and Pork Blend during the snow storm because that’s what I had in the freezer. The recipe was easy to follow and the result was incredibly scrumptious and comforting! The leftover was even better the next day and I can’t wait to make this again soon with ground beef. Thank you so much for yet another amazing recipe! I’m a self-taught home cook and I always turn to your recipes when I want something delicious and satisfying!

    Thanks MK, this is so wonderful to hear. We are so glad you loved it! Thank you for taking the time to write the review.

  • Sue

    This was very good, more like a soup than a stew. Will definitely make this again.

    Thanks Sue, so glad you love it!

  • Juses

    Made the recipe and my family LOVED IT, my kids want it again for next dinner!!
    Thanks for this amazing recipe!

    That is so great to hear! We are so happy the whole family loved it Juses!

  • Shannon

    This was a really good easy recipe. I didn’t have bouillon which I would say it does need but it was still great.

    Thanks Shannon, we are so glad you enjoyed it!

  • Jenn

    Absolutely Delicious, will definitely be making this again!

    Thanks Jenn, we are so happy to hear that!