Beef stifado recipe

(2695 ratings)

Beef stifado is a rich slow cooked Greek meat stew which is under 600 calories per portion

Beef stifado
(Image credit: Future)
Preparation Time3 hours 5 mins includes marinating time
Cooking Time2 hours 30 mins
Total Time5 hours 35 mins
Cost RangeMid
Nutrition Per PortionRDA
Calories566 Kcal28%
Sugar6.8 g8%
Fat17.7 g25%
Saturated Fat4.3 g22%
Salt0.54 gRow 4 - Cell 2
Protein38.5 g77%
Carbohydrates58.9 g23%
Salt0.54 gRow 7 - Cell 2

Our beef stifado recipe is slow cooked to produce tender meat with a rich sauce. It can be prepared in big batches and frozen if you want to be efficient with your time.

Bursting with rich Mediterranean flavours, this Greek beef stew can be enjoyed with crusty bread, rice, potatoes or pasta. We recommend preparing it ahead in big batches so you’ll only cook once and thank yourself when you can pull a portion from the freezer. 


For the marinade:

  • 2-3 sprigs rosemary
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 2tsps dried or 2 tbsps freshly chopped oregano
  • 125ml red wine
  • 2tbsps red wine vinegar
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 3-4 cloves
  • 1-2 cinnamon sticks, broken into large pieces

For the beef:

  • 750g-1kg  diced beef
  • 6tbsps light olive oil
  • 500g shallots or small onions, peeled
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 2tbsps tomato purée
  • 1 beef stock cube
  • Orzo pasta, to serve
  • Oregano leaves, for garnish




  1. Make the marinade for the beef by combining the rosemary, bay leaves, oregano, red wine, red wine vinegar, garlic and cinnamon in a large bowl. Add the diced beef and mix with your hands to ensure everything is evenly coated. Cover the bowl and ideally leave to marinate overnight in the fridge, or at least a couple of hours.
  2. Turn the oven to 180C (160C fan, Gas 4). Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large pan and cook the shallots, or small quartered onions, for 7-10 minutes, until they start to turn golden, then remove them from the pan and set aside. Drain the beef as well as possible, reserving the marinade juices.
  3. Heat 2 more tbsp of oil and cook half the beef until it's seared on all sides and starting to turn brown, then transfer it to a casserole dish. Heat the remaining oil, cook the rest of the beef and add to the casserole.
  4. Pour the marinade into the pan and add the chopped tomatoes, tomato purée, the stock cube and 100ml water. Bring the mixture to the boil, then pour it into the casserole over the beef. Season. Cover the dish with a lid or tightly with foil and cook in the oven for 1 hour.
  5. Add the shallots or onions to the casserole, re-cover and cook for a further hour, or until the meat is tender. Serve with extra oregano leaves, if you like.

Top tip for making beef stifado

When searing meat, don't turn it too much as that reduces the temperature of the pan. Allow one surface to brown, then turn, until seared all over. It’s also very important not to overcrowd the pan as you reduce the temperature of the pan and the meat tends to steam rather than sear. 

What do you serve with beef stifado?

This rich beef stew can be enjoyed with mashed potatoes or rice but also tastes delicious with pasta. You could opt for thick ribbons of fresh pappardelle or orzo works nicely with it too. You could also serve the stifado with some warm crusty bread and a salad if you want lighter options. 

What is the meaning of stifado?

Stifado translates to Greek stew in English. It usually includes beef with a mixture of onions and tomatoes. 

How to store leftover beef stifado?

Once cooled, leftovers can be stored in an airtight container. Consume within a couple of days and make sure you reheat it thoroughly. You could freeze the stifado in portions and then defrost for future dinners. 

Can I cook beef stifado in a slow cooker?

Instead of cooking the stifado in a casserole dish in the oven, you could sear the meat and onions and then add everything to your slow cooker. Cook covered on high for 3-4 hours or on low for up to 10 hours. 

It’s more energy efficient to cook using a slow cooker compared to your oven and this beef stifado is a perfect recipe to make this way. Read food editor Jessica Dady’s Crockpot 3.5L Sizzle & Stew Manual Slow Cooker review if you want more reasons to invest. 

Crockpot Sizzle & Stew Slow Cooker 3.5L - View at Amazon

Crockpot Sizzle & Stew Slow Cooker 3.5L - View at Amazon

With a capacity big enough to batch-cook meals for four people, food editor Jessica Dady said there was still plenty of room in the pot when she cooked her classic chilli recipe which serves four adults with leftovers. The Crockpot Sizzle & Stew slow cooker comes with dishwasher-safe parts and is easy to use if you’ve never used a slow cooker before. 

For more comforting dinner ideas, try James Martin’s beef stew with dumplings or our beef hotpot. You might also like this simple beef cobbler which is perfect served with some sautéed cabbage or steamed green beans.

Jessica Ransom
Senior Food Writer

Jessica is a freelance food writer, stylist and recipe tester. She previously worked as Senior Food Writer at Future. While at Future Jessica wrote food and drink-related news stories and features, curated product pages, reviewed equipment, and developed recipes that she then styled on food shoots. She is an enthusiastic, self-taught cook who adores eating out and sharing great food and drink with friends and family. She has completed the Level 1 Associate course at the Academy of Cheese and is continually building on her knowledge of beers, wines, and spirits.