This beef stew with cranberries starts with cubes of beef, that are braised with red wine, beef broth and cranberry sauce, cooked until fork tender and full of flavour. A great use for left-over cranberry sauce!

braised beef with cranberries on plate with mashed potatoes

I think most people have enjoyed cranberries in or with savoury dishes. They pair beautifully with turkey, of course. And I’ve cooked them up several times with pork. So it shouldn’t really be surprising that beef with cranberry sauce is lovely too. (But it was just a little ;)

This time of year, there is nothing nicer than braised beef over mashed potatoes. In this case, the beef and cranberry stew combines with beef broth, red wine and cranberry sauce. Yes, cranberry sauce. So if your Thanksgiving is still ahead of you, tuck this easy recipe away to use up your left-over cranberry sauce!

Ingredients and Substitutions

Beef – you can start with stewing beef cubes or a steak or roast that you cut into cubes yourself. You don’t need an expensive cut of beef, as the low and slow braising process will soften any beef cut.

Red Wine – any red wine that you would drink it fine here. If you don’t have or prefer not to use wine, simply omit and add a bit more broth.

Broth – beef broth will provide a nice, rich beef flavour, but you can also use chicken broth if that’s all you have on hand.

Cranberry Sauce – if you happen to have left-over cranberry sauce, you’re all set. If you don’t have cranberry sauce at hand, use my super quick and dead easy recipe for cranberry sauce below an you’ll be ready to go in no time! And yes, you could also used canned whole berry cranberry sauce, but honestly, if you can get your hands on fresh (or frozen) cranberries, my homemade sauce is almost as quick and easy as opening a can. Really!

Braised Beef Stew with Cranberries

How to Serve Cranberry Beef

I love to pair the braised beef and cranberries with horseradish mashed potatoes. Simply stir 1-2 teaspoons of horseradish (or more, if you dare) in to your regular mashed potatoes. The flavour combination with the beef and cranberries is a little bit of perfection.

Add a green vegetable, such as broccoli or green beans to complete the meal!

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cranberry beef stew on plate with mashed potatoes

Get the Recipe: Braised Beef Stew with Cranberries

Delicious cubes of beef, braised in red wine and flavoured with cranberries. A great use for left over cranberry sauce (or quickly make some from fresh cranberries!)
5 stars from 3 ratings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 5 minutes
Yield: 6 servings


Homemade Cranberry Sauce (or use left over cranberry sauce):

  • 1 /2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries

For the stew:

  • 3 Tablespoons Cooking oil, divided
  • 2 lbs stewing beef cubes
  • 2 small onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/4 cups red wine
  • 1 1/4 cups beef or chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup cranberry sauce
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, or 1/2 tsp. dried thyme leaves
  • 1/2 cup cranberry sauce
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch, for thickening, if necessary
  • Fresh chopped parsley, for garnish


  • For the cranberry sauce (if not making your own): Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan and stir well. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring regularly, then reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until most but not all of the cranberries have burst and the sauce has thickened. Remove to a bowl. Cover and refrigerate if not using immediately. (Left-overs can also be frozen).
  • For the stew: cut the stewing beef in to 1-inch chunks if not already that small. In a large, heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, heat 1 Tbsp. oil over medium heat. Add 1/2 of the beef cubes. Cook, stirring, until evenly browned on all sides. Remove to a plate. Add another 1 Tbsp. oil to the pan and the remaining beef cubes. Cook until browned and remove to the plate.
  • Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in same pan. Add the onions and cook, stirring regularly until golden. Return the beef to the pan. Add the wine, stock and 1/4 cup of cranberry sauce. Bring to a boil, stirring well with a wooden spoon to scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and cook covered at a gentle simmer for 1 1/2 hours.
  • Remove the cover at 1 1/2 hours and check that the meat is tender (if not, cover and cook a bit longer). If so, add a further 1/2 cup of cranberry sauce. Stir to combine. Taste and add more salt and pepper, if needed. If the cranberry taste seems too subtle, add a bit more and stir in. Cranberry taste should be present, but not over-powering the beef. Simmer for a further 5 minutes. If sauce needs thickening, spoon out 3 Tbsp. of the stew broth and combine with 2 tsp. cornstarch. Add mixture a bit at a time back in to stew and cook, stirring, until sauce reaches desired thickness.
  • Serve with a sprinkling of chopped fresh parsley. Especially nice over mashed potatoes. If desired, flavour mashed potatoes with a few teaspoons of horseradish for a lovely complement to the stew.


Be sure to read the notes above this Recipe Card, for more tips, options, substitutions and variations for this recipe!
Cuisine: American, Canadian
Course: Main Course
Serving: 1serving, Calories: 469kcal, Carbohydrates: 39g, Protein: 41g, Fat: 11g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 117mg, Sodium: 264mg, Potassium: 467mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 32g, Vitamin A: 135IU, Vitamin C: 6.8mg, Calcium: 21mg, Iron: 4.1mg
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