Bison Stew Recipe

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This delicious bison stew recipe is perfect for a chilly evening. It’s a hearty stew that can be made in a slow cooker, or on the stove top in a large heavy pot.

The great thing about this thick soup is that you can put it in a crock pot and forget about it. There is minimal time in front of the stove. Total prep time is 20 minutes at most, and then you can walk away and do other things while it cooks.

An overhead view looking down into a slow cooker filled with this Bison Stew Recipe.


How To Cook Bison Meat

Bison meat is not very different from beef. You can treat a slab of bison the same way you would treat beef. Make a steak, barbecue it, cook it in soup or stew, such as this. Even the flavorings are pretty similar. Changes are, if something will taste good on or with beef, it’ll taste good on or with bison too.

What To Do With Bison Stew Meat

As with beef stew meat, it’s always best to brown your bison stew meat first. Regardless of the seasonings you add, browning it first will give the bison depth of flavor.

Where To Buy Bison Stew Meat

While bison isn’t as readily available as beef, it is becoming more common as people recognize its good flavor and healthier attributes more and more.

I get my bison at Whole Foods. But if you call around, chances are you’ll eventually find a store that carries it.

A white bowl with a silver spoon, picking up some of the bison stew from the bowl.

Bison Stew Ingredients

1 ½ lb. bison meat – Top round London broil, but into 1 or 2 inch cubes.

4 cups vegetable stock – no sugar added. You can also use beef stock if you prefer.

1 lb. baby carrots – You can use any type of carrot you like. I just used baby carrots for ease of use.

1 cups red chopped onions – Yellow onions work well too.

4 stalks celery  – sliced chunky, unless you like your celery on the thinner side.

2 large portobello mushrooms – chop them as thick or thin as you like.

¼ cup whole wheat pastry flour – For a gluten free option, try making a slurry with arrowroot powder or cornstarch and use that instead.

½ cup balsamic vinegar – This can be red or white. You can also use a dry red wine if you prefer.

2 tbsp. honey – You can use any sweetener you prefer. But honey does add a nice flavor to this dish.

½ tsp. ground black pepper – A fine grind works best, but use what you have.

1 tbsp. garlic powder – Or you can use 6-8 medium cloves garlic. Do not use garlic salt, as this can over-salt your soup. Add any salt separately after cooking.

2 small bay leaves – Be sure to remove each bay leaf after cooking – do not eat.

1 tsp. paprika – Don’t use smoked paprika. You want the regular stuff for this.

2 tbsp. olive oil – You can also use coconut oil.

Bison Stew served in a white bowl.

Optional Additions

While I did not use these, any of these would be a lovely addition if you wish to use them.

  • Red chile – minced
  • 2 small rosemary sprigs – Toss the entire sprig in, then pull it out before eating.
  • 2 small sprigs thyme – Toss the entire sprig in, then pull it out before eating.
  • 2 -4 medium potatoes – Russet potatoes work best here, but Yukon gold will work well too. Chop them into chunks.

How To Make Bison Stew

Cut celery, onions mushrooms and baby carrots on a white plate.

Prepare your veggies by chopping them all into bite size chunks (Don’t chop the carrots, you can put those in whole).

Put all your veggies in a large pot with 1 tablespoon olive oil, and all your spices. Cook until onions begin to get soft. Stir constantly. Once finished, pour the veggies into your crock pot. Keep that pot handy for the bison.

Raw bison stew meat in a white bowl.

Place the bison on a stable work surface. Cut into bite sized chunks. Put the bison in the same pot you just cooked your veggies in (Don’t wash the pot first as this will help to add some flavor to the meat).

Browning the bison in a pot.

To the meat, add 1 tablespoon olive oil, flour, vinegar and honey. Cook, stirring constantly until most of the meat is browned. Remember, you’re not trying to actually cook the meat here. Just get the outside a bit brown. It will cook completely in the slow cooker.

Place your brown bison stew meat in the slow cooker (make sure to get all the browned bits!) with your veggies. Add the veggie broth, and turn on your slow cooker.

The Bison Stew cooking in a slow cooker.

If using fresh herbs, place rosemary or thyme on top of your stew. Cover and cook on low heat for a total time of 6-8 hours. Allow to cool a bit, then serve.

A ladle holding some of the Bison Stew Recipe up to the camera.

Note: Get to know your slow cooker! Some newer models will cook in shorter time allotments, while older models tend to need more time (up to 1-2 hours!) Adjust cooking times appropriately.

Instant Pot Bison Stew

Brown the meat using the sauté function on your Instant Pot.

Follow the recipe up to putting everything into a slow cooker. Instead, simply add everything else to the stew meat in the Instant Pot.

Cook at high pressure for 35 minutes. Allow for a 15 minutes natural release.

Stove Top Bison Stew

Follow the recipes as states, but instead of putting everything in a slow cooker, add the remaining ingredients to a large pot.

Bring to a boil at medium-high heat, (increase heat to high if you are in a hurry) then reduce heat to a medium heat or lower to simmer the stew. Cook until everything is cooked through. The bison should read at 165 F. when it’s finished. This can take anywhere from 20-40 minutes. So keep an eye on it.

Need Supplies?

More Healthy Stew Recipes

Hearty Bison Stew Recipe

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A white bowl with a silver spoon, picking up some of the bison stew from the bowl.

Slow Cooker Bison Stew

If you love beef stew, give this healthier bison version a try!
3 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 20 minutes
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 199kcal
Author: The Gracious Pantry

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ lb. bison (top round London broil)
  • 4 cups vegetable stock (no sugar added)
  • 1 lb. baby carrots
  • 1 cups red onion (chopped)
  • 4 stalks celery (sliced)
  • 2 large portobello mushrooms (chopped)
  • ¼ cup whole wheat pastry flour (amazon affiliate link)
  • ½ cup balsamic vineger
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • ½ tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp. garlic powder
  • 2 small bay leaves (remove after cooking – do not eat)
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil

Instructions

  • Prepare your veggies by chopping them all into bite size chunks (Don't chop the carrots, you can put those in whole).
    Put all your veggies in a large pot with 1 tablespoon olive oil, and all your spices. Cook until onions begin to get soft. Stir constantly. Once finished, pour the veggies into your crock pot. Keep that pot handy for the bison.
    Cut celery, onions mushrooms and baby carrots on a white plate.
  • Place the bison on a stable work surface. Cut into bite sized chunks.
    Raw bison stew meat in a white bowl.
  • Put the bison in the same pot you just cooked your veggies in (Don't wash the pot first as this will help to add some flavor to the meat).
    To the meat, add 1 tablespoon olive oil, flour, vinegar and honey. Cook, stirring constantly until most of the meat is browned. Remember, you're not trying to actually cook the meat here. Just get the outside a bit brown. It will cook completely in the slow cooker.
    Browning the bison in a pot.
  • Place your meat mixture in the slow cooker with your veggies. Add the veggie broth, and turn on your slow cooker.
    The Bison Stew cooking in a slow cooker.
  • Cook on low for 7-8 hours. Allow to cool a bit, then serve.
    Note: Get to know your slow cooker! Some newer models will cook in shorter time allotments, while older models tend to need more time (up to 1-2 hours!) Adjust cooking times appropriately.
    A ladle holding some of the Bison Stew Recipe up to the camera.

Notes

Please note that the nutrition data below is a ballpark figure. Exact data is not possible.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 199kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 39mg | Sodium: 394mg | Potassium: 343mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 5650IU | Vitamin C: 1.6mg | Calcium: 32mg | Iron: 2.3mg

Recipe from the Gracious Pantry® archives, originally posted 6/28/2010.

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34 Comments

  1. Looks delicious! I always miss stews, soups and the like around summertime.
    And I’ve only ever cooked with ground bison, so it’s cool to see a recipe that calls for a specific cut. 😉

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Mo –

      There’s no reason to miss stews in the summer. Break out the crock pot and let her rip!

  2. Hi Tiffany (waves)
    I’ve been reading for a while, first time commenting.
    I’m in OZ and we are freeeeeezing down here at the bottom of the planet so this post if very timely. I can’t get bison here – I’ve substituted buffalo in other reciepies and it worked well, fingers crossed it works here too. Any other suggestions, other than beef?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Hi Jo! Happy to have your comments!

      Buffalo can be a substitute for bison. While they are definitely NOT the same animal, many folks confuse them. I admit, I’ve never had buffalo. But I imagine it would substitute just fine. You could certainly use a lean cut of beef for this recipe as well. Outside of that, I can’t really think of any other meats that would achieve something similar to the bison. I would go ahead and try the buffalo. I’d be willing to bet you’d end up with a very similar stew to what I made here.

      Let me know how it turns out for you!

  3. trude wofford says:

    very good, we loved it! thanks for the recipe

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Trude – Yay!! Thanks for trying the recipe!

  4. Dora Bonebrake says:

    We tried your Bison Stew on a cool, rainy day here in the south. Unfortunately, I have been unable to find Bison around here so I just used lean beef. It was so delicious! I almost dug into the veggies before they made it to the crock pot! Surprisingly, the kids and hubby liked it, too. Thank you so much for all you do!

  5. trude wofford says:

    it is about 15 degrees here in my corner of Montana, perfect weather for stew. I really like this recipe Thanks Tiffany!!!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Trude – Yes! At that temp, I can imagine stew would be perfect! We are enjoying some beautiful weather here in CA, so I can only try to imagine 15 degrees! Brrrr!

  6. I tried this recipe this past weekend and was dissapointed. The vinegar left it tasting sour. Is there something else that could be used instead??

    1. graciouspantry says:

      What kind of vinegar did you use? It should have actually left more of a sweet flavor.

  7. Just a quick question…just curious as to the need to cook the veggies in the pot prior to placing them in the Slow Cooker? Won’t that lead to extra mushy veggies, couldn’t one just place the chopped veggies in the Slow Cooker, brown the meat, then cook everything in the Slow Cooker for 7-8 hours? Just wanted to ask before I tackled this. 🙂 Thanks!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      If you prefer to do it that way, you certainly can. But I do still recommend sauteing the onions first to get more flavor out of them.

  8. Well I tackled it, though I’m sad to say I found out the hard way that my local Trader Joe’s doesn’t carry bison, I used organic beef instead. So that being said I followed the recipe with the exception of cooking the veggies first. IT STILL TURNED OUT YUM-TASTIC! The broth is so sweet thanks to the balsamic vinegar! MMMmmm tasty.
    I’m slowly starting out on the clean eating journey, gradually weeding the “dirty” food out of my pantry mainly for cost reasons and also because my boyfriend’s palette is like a picky 8 y/o boy but with an adult attitude (meaning he doesn’t (*think*) he’s a picky eater…For the love…He has to blend up salsa because even a chunk of tomato grosses him out. Mushy veggies are a no go (hence my concern at pre-cooking them)…He thought this was delicious. Served over quinoa.
    And let me add to my novel by saying I’m really enjoying your site, it’s been one of the best and most practical clean eating resources I’ve found. Seriously, I do wonder that some of these other clean eating and whole30 bloggers don’t have anything else to do but stare at labels and find really random exotic ingredients that you need a sherpa and a private jet to locate. Your site provides a practical approach for those of us who have a life that’s not only ful-filling but filled with selective eaters. Thanks a bunch.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Thanks so much Tanya! I’m glad it all worked out. 🙂

  9. Yummy! I’ll be using some of the 300 lbs of moose meat in my freezer to make this!

  10. I really enjoyed the flavour, but it is very thin like soup, not thick like stew. I used a roux to thicken it up abit.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Erika – Hmmm. It was thick for me. Did you make any changes at all?

  11. Trying this tomorrow and it will be my first time using a crock pot! Couldn’t find bison so I am using beef as well!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Giuliana – Great! You may want to check it a little before the cooking time is up. Every slow cooker is different. Some cook hotter, some cooler. You’ll get to know how it cooks over time. Let me know how it turns out! 🙂

  12. Made the recipe tonight and it was great!!my husband and I LOVED it!!
    Making the chicken tortilla recipe tomorrow ! Love this site and all of your recipes!!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Giuliana – Thank you! So glad you both enjoyed it! 🙂

  13. Three things: 1. yummy flavor 2. it took 11 hours on low 3. it didn’t thicken so it was like soup.
    1/4 c. flour wasn’t enough for 4 c. of liquid. Does ww pastry flour act differently than ww flour?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Alicia – Yes, it typically does. This isn’t a very thick stew where the liquid is concerned either. Sorry.

  14. the bag of carrots- what size is it referring to?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Jennifer – Sorry, I buy them in 1 pound bags.

  15. Sounds wonderful I have a 3 lb roast of bison awaiting a stew, for a cross country ski trip with 5-6 couples. Was hoping to add a rich red wine for the gravy? What are your thoughts? Definitely want a thick rich gravy. Thanks for your recipe unlike any I have found so far.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Marg – Well, if you aren’t too concerned with keeping the recipe perfectly clean, you could certainly add wine. You may have to whisk together a roux or add a bit of cornstarch for a lot of thickness.

  16. Nice recipe, thank you. I can never follow one, so I used it as inspiration (added other veggies that were starting to spoil in my fridge). It tastes great.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Anna – Wonderful! I’m so happy you enjoyed it!

  17. 5 stars
    Thank you so much for this recipe! I’ve made this many times now (I use buffalo) and it’s always delicious. I skip the celery bc I don’t like it, and sometimes add green beans or peas.

  18. Tabitha Sipler says:

    1 star
    The vinegar is absolutely overwhelming and ruined the whole thing. I was shocked to only see one comment about the vinegar being an issue. It is so sweet and overpowering.

    1. Tabitha – I’m so sorry you didn’t care for it. I will make the recipe again to see if any adjustments are needed. Thanks for the feedback.

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