Cozy Instant Pot Venison Stew

This easy venison stew is made right in your Instant Pot! Tender chunks of deer meat are cooked with red wine, potatoes, and carrots, then served over homemade mashed potatoes. The ultimate comfort food combo!

When the snow is falling and the wind is blowing, there’s nothing like a roaring fire and a cozy bowl of venison stew spooned over homemade mashed potatoes. Add a couple of slices of crusty bread slathered with butter and a glass of red wine? Heaven.

This venison stew is incredibly easy to make thanks to the handy-dandy Instant Pot. Last week we got over 20 inches of snow in a day and I wanted to make a comforting stew to warm our bellies after playing in the snow. But, I didn’t want to have to watch a pot on the stove because I too, wanted to build snowmen. My Instant Pot came to the rescue! After quickly searing the deer meat and cooking the onions, I just threw all the ingredients into the pot, sealed the lid, and headed outside to play while dinner cooked itself.

Venison stew in a rustic bowl

More About Venison

I realize that venison is not a common kind of meat to cook with – at least, not as common as beef. So I figured I’d answer a few questions that people have emailed me regarding my venison chili recipe. (Which is another comfort food fav!)

What Kind of Meat is Venison?

Venison is meat from any kind of deer. Where I live in the rural Northeastern United States, this usually means meat from a white-tailed deer. These deer are in season from October thru early December, depending on the hunting method.

Is Venison a Healthy Meat?

Deer meat is very healthy. According to Think Health, it has less cholesterol than chicken and less saturated fat than salmon. It is also richer in protein than any other kind of red meat. Since venison comes from wild game it also doesn’t have antibiotics or steroids like some commercially farmed meats.

Is Venison Tougher Than Beef?

In my experience venison is only tough if it is not cooked correctly. Since it is a leaner kind of meat, cooking it “low and slow” or in a pressure cooker (like an Instant Pot) tends to produce the most tender results.

What Does Venison Taste Like?

Deer meat has a rich and earthy flavor. It is similar to beef, except it has an undertone of acorns, herbs, and greens – basically the kinds of foods that a deer will eat during its lifetime. It has a firmer texture than beef as well.

Is Deer Meat Gamey?

Some people will describe venison as having a “gamey” flavor. I haven’t experienced this, but I also tend to cook venison in stews and chilis that have a lot of flavor and dimension. If you are concerned about it but still want to try cooking with deer meat, then you should try farm-raised deer vs. wild-caught.

A bowl filled with deer meat stew next to buttered slices of bread

What You’ll Need

Are you ready to make some stew? Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Olive oil
  • Venison stew meat
  • Veggies: Yellow onion, garlic, potatoes, and carrots.
  • All purpose flour: To thicken the stew.
  • Vegetable broth: You can also use beef or chicken broth.
  • Dry red wine: I like to use a good drinking wine so that I can also pour a glass and enjoy it with the stew!
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Dry herbs: Sage and thyme
  • Kosher salt & ground pepper

Where Can I Get Deer Meat?

This depends on where you live. In my area, deer hunting is fairly common so I usually get venison from friends who hunt or from the local neighborhood grocer. They have a “specialty meats” freezer where hunters with the appropriate licenses can sell deer, among other meats.

If you don’t live near a hunting community, then you can get venison from places like Fossil Farms. I have ordered game meat from them in the past when I couldn’t find what I needed locally and really had a hankering for something.

Can I Use Beef Instead?

Yes, you can use beef stew meat instead of deer meat in this recipe.

Two bowls of deer meat stew with mashed potatoes

How to Make Instant Pot Venison Stew

Prepare the meat. Season your stew meat with a few generous pinches of salt and a few generous shakes of pepper. Set aside.

Brown the meat. Set your instant pot to saute and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the stew meat and cook until browned on all sides. Be sure not to move the meat around too much, you want to give each side time to brown. Once the meat has browned but is not cooked through, remove and set aside.

Cook the onions and garlic. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the onion and cook, stirring often, until softened and translucent, about 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring often.

Add the flour and some of the broth. Add the flour and 1/2 cup of broth, stir well and then cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add remaining ingredients. Add the remaining broth, wine, Worcestershire sauce, sage, thyme, potato, carrots, and 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt along with a few shakes of ground pepper. Add the cooked meat back to the pot. Stir well.

Seal and cook. Add the lid to your Instant Pot, seal it, and set to cook at high pressure for 45 minutes.

Vent and adjust seasonings. When the Instant Pot timer goes off, carefully do a quick release. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper to taste. If you are not around to do a quick release you can also just let the Instant Pot do a natural release.

Cool. Let the stew cool for 10 minutes. It will be very hot! This cooling time also gives it a bit to thicken up.

Serve.

Tips for Success

  • Don’t skip browning the meat or cooking the onions. It is tempting to just throw everything into your Instant Pot without first browning the meat or cooking the garlic and onions. Technically I suppose you could do this, but taking the extra few minutes for these steps will result in a more flavorful stew.
  • The flour is important. Adding a bit of flour to the stew helps it thicken and get a stew-like instead of a soupy consistency. It is crucial that the flour is added at the right time though. You need to cook it a bit to remove the raw flour flavor and transform it into a mildly nutty flavor.
  • Let it cool. Give the stew time to cool. Not only will it be very HOT when it comes out of the Instant Pot, but giving it at least 10 minutes to cool gives the stew time to thicken.
Venison stew in a rustic bowl

Serving Suggestions

I like to serve this stew over a bed of creamy mashed potatoes. I also recommend adding a couple of slices of bread on the side, topped with a generous amount of butter. And don’t forget to serve the extra wine in glasses! Here are some more tasty ideas:

How to Store and Reheat Leftovers

Let your stew cool, then transfer it to an airtight container and store it in the fridge. It will keep for 3-4 days.

When you are ready to eat some of the extras, simply spoon the desired amount into a microwave-safe bowl and zap it until warmed through. You can also ladle it into a small pot and reheat it on the stove over medium-low heat until it reaches the desired temperature. (I prefer the stovetop method.)

Can I Freeze This?

Yes, you can freeze extras in airtight, freezer-safe containers for up to 3 months. Spoon the cooled stew into your containers and be sure to leave at least 1-inch of headspace to give the stew room to expand in the freezer. Thaw overnight in the fridge and reheat as outlined above when you’re ready to eat some of your stew.

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Cozy Instant Pot Venison Stew

Venison stew in a rustic bowl
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This easy venison stew is made right in your Instant Pot! Tender chunks of deer meat are cooked with red wine, potatoes and carrots.

  • Author: Rustic Family Recipes
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4-5 servings
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: American

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided use
  • 1.52lbs venison stew meat, cut into one-inch pieces
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups broth, divided use
  • 1 cup dry red wine (not sweet wine)
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry thyme
  • 1 large russet potato, peeled and chopped (2 cups total)
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and sliced into rounds (1 cup total)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • Ground black pepper to taste

Instructions

Prepare the meat. Season your stew meat with a few generous pinches of salt and a few generous shakes of pepper. Set aside.

Brown the meat. Set your instant pot to saute and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the stew meat and cook until browned on all sides. Be sure not to move the meat around too much, you want to give each side time to brown. Once the meat has browned but is not cooked through, remove and set aside.

Cook the onions and garlic. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and then onion and cook, stirring often, until softened and translucent, about 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring often.

Add the flour and some of the broth. Add the flour and 1/2 cup of broth, stir well and then cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add remaining ingredients. Add the remaining broth, wine, Worcestershire sauce, sage, thyme, potato, carrots and 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt along with a few shakes of ground pepper. Add the cooked meat back to the pot. Stir well.

Seal and cook. Add the lid to your Instant Pot, seal it and set to cook at high pressure for 45 minutes.

Vent and adjust seasonings. When the Instant Pot timer goes off, carefully do a quick release. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper to taste.

Cool. Let the stew cool for 5 minutes. It will be very hot! This cooling time also gives it a bit to thicken up.

Serve. Spoon over a bed of creamy mashed potatoes and serve with a thick slice of crusty bread.

Keywords: deer meat recipes, deer stew, game meat recipes, stew with red wine, deer meat for dinner

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