This Midwestern-style beef and noodles recipe is easy to make with a small list of ingredients and always so flavorful and comforting.
Now that we’re back living in the Midwest again, I’ve found myself revisiting many of the comfort food classics I grew up with here. And when it comes to comfort food, it doesn’t get more nostalgic for me than my grandma’s homemade beef and noodles. ♡
This simple, flavorful, no-frills dish was a staple at her farmhouse during all of our huge family gatherings growing up. And even though I was her picky-eating granddaughter who avoided just about anything with veggies growing up, my grandma always knew that I would be the first one darting back into the kitchen to scoop up seconds and thirds whenever it was beef and noodles day. I absolutely loved her beef and noodles. And now that our toddler is equally as noodle-obsessed as I am, this winter seemed like the perfect time to introduce him to the family tradition.
Sadly, I missed the opportunity to get my grandma’s exact recipe from her before she passed. But after some tinkering around with ingredients over the years, I’ve landed on a recipe that tastes as close to the original that I remember. It’s intentionally very simple — basically just a tender cut of beef browned and simmered with onion, garlic, bay leaf and thyme until ultra-tender, then cooked with egg noodles to saucy, delicious, cozy perfection. You can either slow cook the beef on the stovetop or in a Crock-Pot, or speed things up with an Instant Pot if you’d like. And if you feel like tossing in some extra veggies or greens, you’re more than welcome to add some in too.
So for any of you fellow Midwesterners out there who might also be craving this throw-back dish, or any of you who could just use a cozy bowl of noodles, round up these simple ingredients and let’s make some beef and noodles together.
Beef and Noodles Ingredients
Here are a few quick notes about the ingredients you will need to make homemade beef and noodles:
Beef roast: I recommend using either beef chuck roast or sirloin, both of which are marbled with fat and become extra-tender when slow-cooked. We’ll first cut the beef into 2-inch chunks, season generously with salt and pepper, toss with flour, and briefly brown in olive oil until the edges are caramelized.
Egg noodles: My grandma always made this dish with homemade egg noodles (similar to this recipe), but I recommend store-bought wide egg noodles if you’re looking for an easy shortcut.
Onion and garlic: Fresh onion and garlic serve as the base aromatics for this recipe, enhancing the flavor of the beef stock.
Beef stock: I recommend picking up a good-quality beef stock (beef bone broth) for this recipe, as it will be used for the base of our sauce to cook the beef and noodles.
Fresh thyme and bay leaf: Finally, we’ll use fresh thyme and a bay leaf as the simple seasonings for this dish.
How To Make Beef And Noodles
Full instructions for how to make beef and noodles are in the recipe below. (Stovetop/oven, pressure cooker, and slow cooker options are all included.) But here are a few additional quick tips to help make this recipe a success!
Choose the proper cut of beef: It’s important to choose a good cut for stewing, such as chuck roast or sirloin, which will become extra tender when slow-cooked.
Brown the beef: This step is optional if you’re in a hurry, but that extra browning and caramelization of the beef adds so much rich flavor to the dish.
Use good-quality beef stock: Since this dish calls for so few ingredients, the beef stock that you choose here can really make a difference. I used Kitchen Basics Organic Beef Broth in my batch, which was delicious.
Don’t rush the beef. It’s important for the beef to have ample time to slow cook so that it’s perfectly tender. (Unless you choose the Instant Pot method, of course, which will dramatically speed up the process!) The beef should be cooked until it can be easily shredded with two forks.
Season well. Once the noodles have cooked, give the dish a taste and season generously with salt, pepper and/or extra thyme and Worcestershire as needed. The saltiness will vary here according to what type of beef stock that you use.
Adjust the broth as needed. If the dish is too brothy/watery once the noodles have cooked, you’re welcome to stir in a few teaspoons of cornstarch slurry (equal parts cornstarch and cold water whisked together until smooth) to thicken up the broth. Or if the noodles seem too try, you’re welcome to add in some extra beef stock.
Here are a few more variations that you’re welcome to try with this homemade beef and noodles recipe:
Add cream: Stir a splash of heavy cream into this dish to make the sauce nice and creamy.
Add extra veggies: Sauté extra veggies along with the onion, such as mushrooms, carrots or celery.
Add greens: Wilt some fresh baby spinach or chopped kale into the dish just before serving.
Add different herbs: Add some finely-chopped fresh rosemary, sage, oregano or tarragon in with the thyme, to taste.
Add cheese: Stir some freshly-grated Parmesan cheese into the dish just before serving and/or use it as a garnish.
More Nostalgic Noodle Recipes
Looking for more homestyle noodle recipes to try? Here are a few of our throw-back favorites:
This Midwestern-style beef and noodles recipe is easy to make with a small list of ingredients and always so flavorful and comforting. See notes below for Crock-Pot or Instant Pot options!
2 pounds beef chuck roast, cut into 2-inch pieces
fine sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 large white onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
8 cups beef stock, divided
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 large bay leaf
12 ounces wide egg noodles
Brown the beef.Add the beef to a large mixing bowl and season generously with salt and pepper. Add the flour and toss until evenly combined. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add half of the beef and cook, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides. Transfer the beef to a clean plate. Repeat the process with an additional 1 tablespoon oil and the remaining beef, then transfer the beef to a clean plate.
Sauté the veggies.Add the remaining oil and onion to the stockpot. Sauté for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Add 6 cups of the beef stock and the cooked beef and stir to combine.
Simmer.Continue cooking until the broth reaches a low simmer. Reduce heat to low (or whatever temperature is needed to maintain a low simmer), cover, and simmer for 2.5 hours or until the beef shreds easily with a fork.
Shred the beef.Carefully transfer the beef to a clean plate and use two forks to shred it into bite-sized pieces. Remove and discard the bay leaf and thyme sprigs.
Cook the noodles.Add the remaining 2 cups of beef stock to the pot and increase heat to high. Once the stock begins to boil, add the egg noodles and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente.
Season.Remove the pan from the heat and stir the shredded beef back in. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if needed.
Serve.Serve immediately, garnished with a few extra twists of black pepper, and enjoy!
Instant Pot (Pressure Cooker) Instructions: Use the “Sauté” function to brown the beef and sauté the veggies in the Instant Pot as described in steps 1 and 2 above. Once you have returned the beef stock and cooked beef to the pot, cover with a lid and seal. Pressure cook on high for 60 minutes, followed by a quick release. Continue on with steps 4 through 7 in the Instant Pot.
Crock-Pot (Slow Cooker) Instructions: Complete steps 1 and 2 as described above in a separate sauté pan, then transfer all of the ingredients (minus noodles) to a large Crock-Pot. (Or you can skip steps 1 and 2 and just dump everything into a Crock-Pot.) Cover and slow-cook on high for 4-5 hours or on low for 7-8 hours until the beef is tender and shreds easily with a fork. Continue on with steps 4 through 7 in the Crock-Pot.