Beef Stifado recipe (Greek beef stew)

Beef Stifado recipe (Greek beef stew)

Posted in ***Most liked recipes***, Advanced, Beginner, Boiled, Comfort food, Heartwarming dishes, Intermediate, Main Courses, Mainland Greece, Our hand picked recipes, Stews, Sunday family meal ideas, Weekend family meal ideas Originally published on Last updated on By

The perfect Greek beef stifado (Greek beef stew)!! Juicy and tender, melt-in-the-mouth beef stifado with a delicious, slightly sweet, intense tomato-based sauce…

Greek Beef stifado- How to make the perfect beef stew

Have you ever wondered how some stews have this melt in the mouth texture while others taste like chewing rubber? It’s all about choosing the right cut and cooking it the right way. For a Greek beef stifado (stew), you need to choose large cuts of good quality stewing beef or even better veal, which, when cooked for a long time, become fork tender. When cooking a Greek beef stifado, the meat is first browned and sealed to keep it nice and juicy, then added to a tomato-based sauce along with caramelised baby shallot onions and aromatic spices and herbs and cooked at a low temperature. This is the secret to achieve the melt in the mouth texture, that will make your beef stifado just perfect! Let your beef stifado simmer for a few hours to allow its flavours to mingle into something much much more!

How to serve your beef stifado the traditional Greek way

Traditionally Greek beef stifado is served with orzo pasta, rice, hilopittes (egg pasta) or chip  potatoes. For the cold winter days, serve with creamy mashed potatoes for a warming and hearty meal that will take the chill out of any evening. And of course with some crusted bread aside to dig into all this delicious tomato sauce. A very popular variation of this beef stew is rabbit stifado. So if you fancy experimenting, you can try swapping the beef with rabbit. Oh and you can always read this delicious recipe in Greek here Συνταγή για Μοσχάρι Στιφάδο που λιώνει στο στόμα.

Follow our instructions and cook the perfect beef stifado! Got any questions or comments? Feel free to add a comment in the section below and we’re more than happy to help! Also don’t forget to share with your friends on your favorite social networking site using the links above.


  • 1 kg good-quality stewing beef, cut into portions (35 ounces)
  • 1.5 kg baby shallot onions, peeled (60 ounces)
  • 1/4 of a cup olive oil
  • 3/4 of a cup red wine
  • 3 tbsps red wine vinegar
  • 1/3 of a cup cognac
  • 1 large, juicy ripe tomato, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp tomato purée
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3-4 allspice berries
  • a pinch nutmeg
  • salt and freshly ground pepper


  1. To prepare this delicious Greek beef stifado recipe, heat the oil in a saucepan, add the meat (in batches) and sauté, until browned on all sides. Do not add all the meat in the sauce pan, rather sauté in batches, so that the temperature of the oil remains high and the meat is sealed. When done, remove with a slotted spoon, place on a platter, cover and set aside.
  2. Carve the baby shallot onions crosswise, add in the same oil used to browned the meat, turn down to medium heat and sauté until the onions have softened, but not browned (about 10 minutes).
  3. Pour in the cognac, the wine and red wine vinegar, cover and let it simmer for 3 minutes.
  4. Pour the meat along with its juices to the saucepan, add the chopped tomato, tomato puree, bay leaf, allspice berries and nutmeg. Bring to a boil, turn the heat down and simmer the beef stifado for 1 1/2 hours or until the beef is tender and the sauce has thickened. While the beef stifado is simmering, check if it needs some water; you don’t want it to dry out. If it does, pour in half a cup of boiled water and stir. Towards the end of cooking time season well with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Serve beef stifado with pasta and grated cheese, or boiled new potatoes. Enjoy!

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  1. Annmarie Edmonds says:

    Lovely recipe, family enjoyed very much

  2. STIFADO is delicious with chunky style cinnamon coated chips. Cut up raw potatoes into large chips, par boil for ten minutes, then shallow fry in olive oil ( use the oil you cooked the shallots in) then sprinkle with cinnamon and salt and fry until crispy. That’s what I do here in Paphos Cyprus. Enjoy !

  3. Katrina Foster says:

    This site is making me miss my dad loads. You are also teaching me things about my heritage he did not share with us. I am half Cypriot and proud of it but feeling quite ignorant. Thank you for sharing xx

  4. Excellent simple recipe, did mine in slow cooker but then put in oven for another hour to thicken juices, served with steamed greens and carrots, and mashed potato

  5. Rorie Mackie says:

    This is great dish enjoyed it

  6. Which red wine is best?

  7. Connie Faurholt says:

    I would never put vinegar in Stifado. Brown the beef in olive oil, add red wine, onions, chopped tomatoes and the Herbs. Top up with Water to cover the beef and let it stir for 2 hours. Season with salt and pepper before serving.

  8. I also add tablespoon of Tomato Paste!!!!

  9. Had Stifado once around 22years ago in Cyprus have been dreaming about it ever since will need to try this recipe.

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  11. george paragioudakis says:

    Could you give me this recipe for 15 pounds of meat please????????????
    Thank you in advance!!!!!!

  12. Jennifer says:

    I had a recipe that called for cinnamon sticks (removed before serving). Does anyone know this one? I lost the recipe.

    • Christopher Coote says:

      Look for the Agni Travel recipe (Corfu) Jennifer. I have used it for 9 years and it never fails to deliver!

  13. Pamela Visocchi says:

    Yes the hairy bikers recipe calls for 3cm cinnamon stick

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  15. Made stiffado last night. I used more tomato than this along with oregano, cinnamon and cassia, cloves and garlic. Served it with orzo and pamesan.

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