How to Braise Beef: A Step-by-Step Guide

Braise beef to make it incredibly tender and flavorful. Braising is a moist heat cooking method that involves searing beef and then slowly simmering it in liquid. Follow this step-by-step guide to learn how to braise different cuts of beef to perfection.

What is Braising?

Braising utilizes both dry heat and moist heat to break down tough cuts of meat and infuse them with flavor.

  • Dry Heat: Browning the beef over high heat to caramelize the exterior and develop rich, browned flavors.

  • Moist Heat: Slowly simmering the browned beef in a small amount of liquid like broth, wine, or sauce. The gentle simmer partially immerses the beef to make it tender.

Braising times vary from 1-3 hours depending on the size and toughness of the cut. Chuck roast, brisket, and short ribs are common braising cuts.

Tips for Braising Beef

Follow these tips to braise beef successfully:

  • Use a heavy pot with a tight-fitting lid like a Dutch oven. The thick, heavy material distributes heat evenly.

  • Pat beef dry before searing to help it brown properly.

  • Sear beef pieces individually in batches to maximize browning.

  • Deglaze the pot with wine or broth after searing beef to pick up browned bits.

  • Add vegetables towards the end so they don’t overcook.

  • Check tenderness periodically and add more liquid if needed.

  • Let braised beef rest before serving so juices redistribute.

Ingredients for Braising Beef

  • Beef: Choose well-marbled cuts from the chuck, brisket, round, or short plate.

  • Liquid: Broth, wine, juice, or water. Wine and broth add the most flavor.

  • Aromatics: Onion, celery, carrots, garlic, herbs.

  • Fat: Oil for searing, butter.

  • Seasonings: Salt, pepper, dried herbs like thyme, bay leaves.

  • Thickeners (optional): Flour or cornstarch to thicken the braising liquid into a sauce.

How to Braise Beef Step-By-Step

Follow these simple steps for braised beef that’s fall-apart tender.

1. Prep the Beef and Ingredients

  • Cut beef into 2-4 inch pieces depending on size. Pat dry. Season all over with salt and pepper.

  • Chop aromatics: onion, celery, carrots, herbs. Mince garlic.

  • Measure out liquid ingredients.

  • Mix together any spices or herb seasoning blends.

2. Brown the Beef

  • Heat oil in a heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat.

  • Working in batches, add beef pieces and brown well on all sides, about 2 minutes per side.

  • Transfer browned beef to a plate. Pour off most of the fat from pot.

3. Sear the Aromatics

  • If desired, add more oil and sauté aromatics like onion and garlic for 1-2 minutes.

  • Add herbs or spices and cook 1 minute more.

  • Deglaze pot with a splash of wine, scraping any browned bits from the bottom.

4. Braise the Beef

  • Return beef and any accumulated juices to the pot.

  • Add enough liquid to come about 1/3 to 1/2 way up the beef.

  • Bring to a simmer, then cover with lid slightly ajar.

  • Cook at a gentle simmer, turning beef occasionally, until fork tender, 1-3 hours.

5. Finish the Braise

  • Transfer beef to a platter and tent with foil.

  • Simmer braising liquid to reduce and thicken slightly, about 5 minutes.

  • Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

  • Pour sauce over rested beef and serve.

Best Cuts for Braising Beef

The best beef cuts for braising are:

Chuck Roast

  • Well-marbled for tenderness
  • Excellent braised in red wine or balsamic vinegar


  • Leaner with lots of connective tissue
  • Takes well to smoky barbecue flavors

Short Ribs

  • Super tender and meaty when braised
  • Amazing braised in a bold, tomato-based sauce

Round Roast

  • Leaner, slightly tougher cut
  • Benefits from long, slow braising

Flank Steak

  • Thin cut braises quickly
  • Pairs well with Asian flavors like soy, ginger and garlic

Recipe Ideas for Braised Beef Dishes

Here are some delicious braised beef recipes to try:

  • Classic Pot Roast: Chuck roast braised with onions, carrots, celery, herbs and broth.

  • Red Wine Braised Short Ribs: Beef short ribs braised in a red wine sauce.

  • Barbecue Braised Brisket: Smoked brisket braised in a tangy barbecue sauce.

  • Flank Steak Ropa Vieja: Spicy Cuban flank steak braised in tomatoes, peppers and garlic.

  • Balsamic Braised Roast: Beef round roast or chuck roast braised with balsamic vinegar.

  • Asian Braised Beef: Flank steak or brisket braised in soy sauce, garlic and ginger.

With the right cut of beef and a few simple ingredients, you can make amazingly flavorful braised beef dishes. Follow this step-by-step guide to braise beef perfectly every time.

How to Braise Meat Like a Pro | Food Network


What does it mean to braise beef?

braising, the cooking of meat or vegetables by heating them slowly with oil and moisture in a tightly sealed vessel. Braising differs from stewing, in which the food is immersed in liquid, and from covered roasting, in which no liquid is added. Braising is a combination of covered roasting and steaming.

How do you braise meat to make it tender?

Add stock or water halfway up the meat you’re braising and bring to a boil, then immediately lower to a simmer. Once it’s simmering, you can add in aromatics. Cover and keep it at a low simmer on the stovetop or in the oven at 350 degrees F. Cooking low and slow breaks down the tough meat so it’s tender and delicious.

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