Electric Pressure Cooker Hamburger Stew

from Crip Up the Kitchen

I associate hamburger soup and stew with my church’s monthly fellowship lunches and AGM lunches. It’s also a food I appreciate for being nutrient dense at an exceptionally low cost. I grew up in the United Church of Canada. A church women’s group – United Church Women or UCW – would produce recipe books as a way for congregations across Canada to raise funds, since each congregation is responsible for paying all the costs associated with running it. People from congregations across Canada would submit their family’s cornerstone recipe. These recipe books had a lot of recipes made popular on the prairies during the Dust Bowl and Great Depression. Every recipe book had multiple versions of hamburger soup and stew because they were low-cost dishes that sustained families through the difficult time in which they became popular.

My version of hamburger stew keeps this tradition. It’s also easy to alter. Simply remove or add vegetables to your preference. The cook time will remain the same. You can easily turn it from a stew to a soup by not adding the cornstarch at the end.

Prep: 20 minutes

Cook: 10 minutes

Natural release: 10 minutes

Total: 40 minutes

Cuisine: Canadian

Heat Index: Mild

Storage: Freeze or jar at 11 lb (76 kPo) of pressure for 75 minutes

Servings: 9 x 2 cups (500 mL)

Calories per Serving: 290 kcal 

Gather Equipment

6-quart (5.68 L) electric pressure cooker

Cutting board

Knife or food processor with dicing blade

Measuring cups and spoons

Wooden spoon

Can opener


1 tablespoon (15 mL) extra-virgin olive oil

900 g (2 lb) lean ground beef

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

1 tablespoon (15 mL) minced garlic

4 cups (1 L) no-salt-added beef broth, divided in 2

¼ cup (60 mL) Worcestershire sauce

4 medium carrots, chopped

3 stalks celery, chopped

2 large russet potatoes, cubed

2 tablespoons (30 mL) Italian herb seasoning, paste or dried

2 teaspoons (10 mL) salt (or to taste)

2 teaspoons (10 mL) black pepper (or to taste)

½ teaspoon (2.5 mL) dried thyme

½ teaspoon (2.5 mL) dried parsley

1 bay leaf

796 mL (28 oz) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, with liquid

¼ cup (60 mL) cornstarch

¼ cup (60 mL) cold water


Turn the electric pressure cooker on to Sauté. When it’s hot, add the olive oil. When the oil takes on a shimmering, ripply appearance, add the ground beef, onions, and garlic. Lightly season with salt and pepper. Sauté until the ground beef is broken up, about 2-3 minutes. Do not brown.

Add 2 cups (500 mL) of the beef broth. Deglaze the pot. Press Cancel.

Add the Worcestershire sauce, carrots, celery, potatoes, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, thyme, parsley, and bay leaf. Add the diced tomatoes on the top. Do not stir. 

Place and seal the lid. Cook at High Pressure for 5 minutes.

Natural-release pressure for 10 minutes, then quick-release any remaining pressure. 

Mix together the cornstarch and water.

Remove the lid. Turn on to Sauté. Add the remaining 2 cups (500 mL) of beef broth. Once it’s boiling, add the cornstarch-and-water mixture and stir until thickened.

Substitution: To make this dish vegetarian, replace the ground beef with the equivalent amount of your favourite ground plant-based product, like Impossible ground “beef,” substitute no-salt-added vegetable broth for the beef broth, and omit the Worcestershire sauce. The time under pressure remains the same.

Variation: If you’d rather make hamburger soup, drain the beef after step 1 to remove some of the fat and do not add the cornstarch-and-water mixture at the end. 

Nada’s Tips & Tricks: We all have our favourite stew recipe (I call it the “clean out the fridge” stew). This recipe is a good basic/starter for your stew experience. Feel free to substitute and add ingredients, depending on what you have available and people’s palates around the table (psssttt…I add molasses and hot sauce to mine). 

Contents and images used with permission by TouchWood Editions. https://www.touchwoodeditions.com/book/crip-up-the-kitchen/ Photography by Jules Sherred. https://julessherred.com/