Julia Child’s Boeuf Bourguignon

Julia Child’s legendary Boeuf Bourguignon is a classic dish that deserves to be enjoyed at least once each fall or winter. This savory, delectable beef burgundy stew is rich and layered with tender chunks of braised beef, caramelized pearl onions, and sautéed mushrooms a spectacularly silky red wine sauce. This is Julia Child’s Beouf Bourguignon from her infamous tome, Mastering The Art Of French Cooking.

a copy of Julia Child's Mastering The Art of French Cooking.

As long as I can remember, Julia Child has held a position of reverence in our family. My mother was obsessed with her PBS cooking series, The French Chef, her approachable demeanor, and no-apologies matter-of-factness.

Mom had her own copy (it’s a two book set) of Julia’s first incredible cookbook, pictured above, and cooked from it regularly, as evidenced by the worn jacket and pages inside.

She gifted the books to me, and while I’m not as obsessive as Julie Powell was when she cooked her way through every recipe in both volumes of MTAOFC, I’m every bit as devoted and starry eyed about Julia Child and her importance to the cooking world.

Julia’s recipe for Boeuf Bourguignon doesn’t take shortcuts and neither did I, however, I do have a few options for braising your beef burgundy in other cooking vessels including the Instant Pot and Crock Pot.

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  • Beef Chuck Roast – this cut of meat requires a slow braise in order to be tender and it’s perfect in stews like Julia Child’s Boeuf Bourguignon.
  • Bacon – This key ingredient flavors the beef burgundy in layers. We use the rendered fat for searing the meat and sweating the vegetables and the crispy bacon makes a delicious garnish.
  • Olive Oil – also for searing and browning.
  • Carrot – adds sweetness to the boeuf bourguignon.
  • Onion – I used yellow onion for this, but you can use white or red onions as well.
  • Flour – I use all purpose, unbleached flour to thicken the burgundy gravy.
  • Red Wine – (full bodied, like Burgundy) it doesn’t need to be an expensive wine, just something drinkable.
  • Beef Stock or Broth – you can use homemade or store-bought, but ensure it’s a low-sodium broth so that as the
  • Tomato Paste – is concentrated to add umami richness to the beef burgundy gravy.
  • Garlic – adds aromatics to the slow-braised French stew.
  • Thyme – you can use fresh or dried thyme.
  • Bay Leaves – have a menthol quality that is very subtle in the stew, but is a standard ingredient in many stews.
  • Pearl Onions – You can use fresh pearl onions, but as a time-saver I used frozen Bird’s Eye pearl onions.
  • Mushrooms – You can use button mushrooms, cremini, chanterelles or other wild mushrooms.
  • Butter – to add richness to the pearl onions and mushrooms.
  • Parsley – for a fresh green garnish.
crisping the bacon and browning the beef for the stew.

Real beef burgundy from scratch is worth the time

This beef burgundy recipe isn’t difficult to make, but it does take time. I suggest making this on a rainy or nasty day when the thought of leaving the house doesn’t even enter your mind. Give yourself over to the process and I promise you’ll be rewarded with the most amazing flavors and life-affirming accolades.

How to make Boeuf Bourguignon like Julia

  1. Crisp the bacon in a heavy pot and transfer to a paper towel lined dish.
  2. Dry the chunks of beef and brown it in the bacon fat. Transfer to another dish.
  3. Add the onions and carrots to the pot and cook until tender and browned, stirring occasionally.
  4. Return the beef to the pot and sprinkle with flour, stirring to coat.
  5. Transfer the pot to a 450° oven for 4 minutes to give the meat a nice crust.
  6. Add wine, beef stock, tomato paste, garlic, thyme and bay leaves.
  7. Cover the pot and braise in 325° oven for 3-4 hours until the meat is tender.
  8. While the beef burgundy braises, caramelize the onions and sauté the mushrooms separately.
  9. After the meat is tender, use a slotted spoon to transfer the chunks of beef to a plate and strain the vegetables and sauce through a mesh sieve.
  10. Transfer the beef back to the pot and add the strained burgundy wine sauce, onions and mushrooms. ( I also added the simmered carrot to the pot, because I love carrot).
  11. Heat through and serve.
Sauteing vegetables, coating beef chunks in flour and adding the wine, broth and herbs to braise the bourguignon.

What’s the best pot or vessel to make Julia Child’s boeuf bourguignon in?

Well, if you want to do it like Julia, you HAVE TO use an enameled dutch oven. Dutch oven’s are one my favorite cooking vessels too, as they go seemlessly from the stovetop to the oven and finally, to the table. They keep the meal warm (even at the table) because they’re made of cast iron which holds heat remarkably well.

Some dutch oven brands can be prohibitively expensive (Le Creuset and Staub come to mind). However, you can buy off-brand varieties at Homegood’s, Marshall’s and TJMaxx for a fraction of the price — and come to think of it, keep your eyes peeled, because they sometimes have those fancy brands too.

How to make beef burgundy in the Instant Pot

Making the beef and wine stew is a no-brainer for the Instant Pot. In fact, this is one area where it really excels.

You’ll still need to follow all of the steps, but instead of placing the flour coated beef in the oven to crisp, just set the Instant Pot to sauté and cook, stirring occasionally, until it starts to create a fond (those crispy, caramelized bits).

Then, instead of slow braising the boeuf bourguignon for 3-4 hours, cook the beef for about 1 hour at high pressure. When the meat is tender, continue to follow the rest of the recipe.

How to make beef burgundy in a Crock Pot or slow cooker

Slow cookers are wonderful for evenly braising tougher cuts of meat and works brilliantly on the chunks of chuck roast called for in Julia’s Boeuf Bourguignon recipe.

The only difference is that you’ll need to start with another skillet over the stovetop to crisp the bacon, brown the beef and sauté the carrots and onions.

Once that’s done, transfer everything to your slow cooker and braise on high for 3 hours or low for 6-8. Then follow the rest of the recipe as written.

caramelizing the pearl onions.

These are two steps that I initially thought were superfluous. My efficient-minded brain couldn’t understand why you wouldn’t just add the pearl onions and mushrooms to the pot to cook alongside the beef. However, reason is perfectly clear once you’ve done it.

Braising pearl onions & sautéing mushrooms

Pearl onions and mushrooms have way different cooking times than the beef for this bourguignon. The onions need to simmer for about half an hour to 40 minutes. Mushrooms can be ready in half that time.

Where Julia goes the extra mile is by lightly browning the onions in butter, and then simmering them with fresh herbs, a bay leaf and beef broth, until they reach the perfect level of tender, but not mushy, doneness. They are golden, richly caramelized and ethereal.

Additionally, she cooks the mushrooms in foamy butter until they’re rich and browned, but haven’t shrunk down to nothingness.

These (seemingly excessive) steps make so much more sense when you put it into that context. I mean, look at the glistening, golden pearl onions (below) after they’ve simmered. I don’t know about you, but I could dive into this pot as is and be perfectly happy.

This is the difference between a “good enough” beef stew and authentic boeuf bourguignon. Yep, I was schooled by Julia.

pearl onions after braising and caramelizing.

What to serve with Julia’s boeuf bourguignon

  • Boiled Potatoes – This is the way Julia recommends serving with her beef burgundy stew.
  • Buttered Noodles are another good option. I would go with wide egg noodles and spoon the beef burgundy and sauce over them.
  • Steamed Rice – Julia offered this as a suggestion, but I have to disagree here. In my mind rice and stew have nothing in common. I’d save the rice for a beef stir fry.
  • Mashed Potatoes – This is definitely my choice. Create a well in a mound of mashed potatoes and spoon the beef, vegetables and wine sauce into and over the spuds. Bliss.
  • Cauliflower Purée – If you’re cutting back on carbs, a good cauliflower mash is a great substitute for potatoes.
  • Creamy Polenta – I know that Julia’s recipe is a classic french stew, so polenta might seem an odd choice, but soft cooked cornmeal, with plenty of butter and cream will go perfectly alongside this boeuf bourguignon recipe.
  • French Bread – from a good French bakery
  • Buttered peas – Julia recommends serving peas on the side, but in all honestly, if you want peas, I’d just mix a cup of frozen peas into the bourguignon right before serving.
  • Green Salad – I always like to serve a green salad with rich hearty stews like this. A good vinegary dressing and vibrant greens are a great palate cleanser between indulgent bites of the burgundy stew.

You should also have a good of red wine to enjoy alongside the beef bourguignon. Julia recommends “a full bodied young red wine such as Beaujolais, Côtes du Rhône, Bordeaux St.-Émilion or Burgundy. I’ll add to that a fruity Pinot Noir, like Meiomi is one of my favorites.

a pot of boeuf bourguignon after braising for hours.

More hearty braises and stews you’ll love:

A serving of Julia Child's boeuf bourguignon in a shallow bowl.

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A serving of boeuf bourguignon in a dish with red wine.
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4.10 from 126 votes

Julia Child’s Boeuf Bourguignon

What makes Julia Child’s Boeuf Bourguignon the best? Is it the rich, silky burgundy wine sauce? The tender chunks of braised beef or the golden, caramelized pearl onions and mushrooms? All of that PLUS the love you put into making this classic recipe.
Author: Lisa Lotts
Course Main Course
Cuisine French
Keyword beef, red wine, stew
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 4 hours 30 minutes
Servings 6


For the Beef

  • 6 ounces bacon sliced crosswise 1/4″ thick pieces
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2-3 pounds beef chuck roast cut into 2 inch cubes
  • 1 carrot peeled and sliced
  • 1 small onion peeled and sliced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • cups red wine full bodied
  • 2-3 cups beef stock or low sodium broth
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 cloves garlic mashed
  • 5-6 sprigs thyme tied in kitchen string
  • 2 bay leaves

For the Onions

  • 6-7 ounces pearl onions from freezer section (thawed)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 sprigs parsley
  • 3-4 sprigs thyme
  • ½ bay leaf
  • ½ cup beef broth or stock

For the Mushrooms

  • 1 pound white mushrooms stems removed, quartered
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil


  • chopped parsley


  • Preheat the oven to 450°.
  • In a large dutch oven, heat the olive oil until glistening over medium high heat. Add the bacon and cook for several minutes until lightly browned and fragrant. Scoop the bacon with a spoon, tilt against the side of the pan to drain excess grease and transfer to a large, shallow bowl.
  • Use several paper towels to dry the pieces of beef (if they’re not dry, they won’t brown) and add them in batches to the dutch oven to brown. Brown the beef on all sides and then transfer the pieces to the bowl with the bacon. Continue until all the beef has been browned.
  • Add the onions and carrots to the dutch oven and brown them, stirring occasionally.
  • Return the beef, bacon and any drippings to the dutch oven. Add the salt and pepper and stir to combine. Sprinkle with the flour and stir until the meat and vegetables are well coated. Put the dutch oven uncovered into the hot oven and cook for 4 minutes. Stir the contents of the pot and continue to cook for an additional 4 minutes. (this will give the meat a nice crust).
  • Reduce the oven temperature to 325°.
  • Add the wine to the pot and add enough beef stock to barely cover the meat. Stir in the tomato paste, garlic, thyme and bay leaves. Cover the pot tightly with a lid and place back in the oven. Braise for 3-4 hours or until the beef is tender.
  • While the beef is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms.

For the onions

  • Tie the parsley and thyme into a bundle with kitchen string. In a large enameled pan, heat the butter and olive oil over medium high heat until the foam has subsided from the pan. Add the onions and cook until they are lightly browned. Add the herbs, bay leaf and beef stock and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to a medium low, cover and cook for 30-40 minutes — until most of the liquid has evaporated. Transfer the onions to a bowl and set aside.

For the mushrooms

  • In a large skillet heat half the olive oil and butter until the foam from the butter begins to subside. Add half the mushrooms to the pan and cook until browned. They will first absorb the oil, and then begin to brown… do not crowd the mushrooms in the pan. Transfer cooked mushrooms to the same bowl as the onions. Continue with the remaining mushrooms, by heating the oil and butter until the foam subsides, adding the mushrooms and then browning them evenly. Transfer mushrooms to the bowl and set aside.
  • When the meat is tender, use a slotted spoon to transfer it to a bowl — Set a strainer over a medium bowl and strain the vegetables and broth through the strainer. Press lightly on the vegetables to get as much sauce from them as possible without pushing through the solids. Transfer the beef back to the pot and pour the sauce over the beef. Add the mushrooms and onions (I saved a few carrots too, because I love them).
  • Heat the contents through on the stove top and serve with crusty bread and a good red wine.


This is even better the second day, if you can stand to wait that long.


Calories: 650kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 37g | Fat: 41g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Cholesterol: 138mg | Sodium: 1018mg | Potassium: 1202mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 2065IU | Vitamin C: 9.1mg | Calcium: 62mg | Iron: 4.9mg

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  1. Are there any considerations to be made when doubling the recipe? Having a dinner party for a major contributor and cannot screw it up! Serving 10.

    1. I don’t think you need to worry about doubling the recipe — just make sure you have a large enough pot.

  2. 5 stars
    Hi again Lisa, so just to clarify. For the night before, strain the sauce, pour back over meet, cool then refrigerate? Next day warm meat and then do mushrooms/onions the day we will eat ? Thanks!

  3. Hi, I am planning to make this for my wife’s 50th. If I do this the day before, do I still follow the straining and simmer part. Then do I pour gravy over meat and then refrigerate?
    Also is 1 carrot really enough to serve 6?
    Thank you!

  4. Kara Sherk says:

    5 stars
    This was delicious! But I must be slow because it took me double the preparation time—cutting up the meat, vegetables, braising, etc…

    It’s definitely a labor of love!

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed it. Yes, there’s definitely some prep involved, but worth it, I think.

      1. 5 stars
        Worth every second. It’s a simple recipe and I’m sure Julia could do it in her sleep. Guests and family may not realize how much love you put into the dish but who cares? I know and YOU know. I find it very gratifying and make it often. One of my supreme comfort foods.

  5. Douglas Koch says:

    What is the reason for all of the straining ? Only to put the liquid back in the pot ultimately….??

    1. JOHN GOFF says:

      5 stars
      I’m a fan of not straining. It makes it more rustic and hearty. The original onions largely dissolve into the sauce.

    2. “Detritus”! So much classier then “debris”!

  6. I’m not a mushroom person – so do you think it would be okay to leave out that step, or put them in and just eat around? The mushrooms are the only reason I have not made this yet. Thoughts?

  7. Hans Mach says:

    I just want to say I’m very impressed with the way you explained the recipe and showed a lot of pictures throughout this page! I’ve made this many times, but happy to come across a page with pictures and a great story! (I lived in Phoenix as a child but have lived in Northern Illinois most of my life – so a cold front is very different up North hahahaha!)

    I saw some questions about wine – I personally prefer to cook this recipe with a younger wine like Pinot Noir and have a Merlot when its time to eat it. As was mentioned you can usually get good bottles like $10-12 – definitely worth spending the money for a good one when cooking in my opinion.

    Thank you for having something for me to follow when cooking this amazing meal this evening! I really appreciate it!

  8. I am making this for a post Christmas meal. What would you suggest to use in place of the red wine in this recipe for those who cannot consume alcohol?
    Thank you

  9. Elizabeth says:

    How large is an average serving? Trying to plan my side dishes. Thank you kindly.

  10. 5 stars
    I’m not a Winer so when you mention rich bodied wine, what exactly is that kind of wine. Thank you I can’t wait to make this. Looks beautiful.

    1. I usually go with a Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon or even a Merlot for around $10-$12.

  11. Look at that beautiful fond! Fantastic recipe.

  12. 5 stars
    Awesome. I only changes I made were adding garlic at tail end of onions and carrots browning. Think garlic should have 30-60 secs cooking in oil to bring out flavor. Also added herbs with flour for same reason. Also liked idea on adding carrots later with pearl onions. Those at the beginning add flavor, but are pretty mushy after being brazed for so long. Like carrots and a minor bit of crunch is good. But this true to best of this recipe. Some recipes skip the step, but I think cooking beef mix and flour for 8 minutes before adding liquids helps a bunch. Love meals that taste better the day after.

  13. 5 stars
    Hi, wonderfully detailed recipe! What adjustments do you recommend if I need to use a slow cooker? Thank you!

    1. I would braise the beef in your slow cooker 3-4 hours on high after searing it in a separate skillet.

  14. Donna Tomko says:

    What size Dutch Oven or stockpot is best to use? I am serving 12 people so will need to make 2 batches.


    1. At least 5-6 quart, but go with the largest you have.

  15. Brigette Zavala says:

    Haha. I can appreciate the weather reference… I live in Phoenix, AZ. I will turn my A/C WAY down just to cook a meal like this. For effect, of course. I have never made Julia’s Beef Bourguignon but it is on my list. Perhaps this weekend! Great post!

    1. If you’re from Phoenix, then you know what I’m talking about… Let me know if you make the stew!

  16. Shannon M Fuller says:

    5 stars
    Just wondering, if you ever thought of layering the flavor with salt and pepper? I’ve been doing that, as I feel it adds to the overall depth of flavor.

    1. Thanks for your question! Regarding seasonings, you’re right, layering the food with salt and pepper can bring a deeper flavor to the end dish. I sometimes add pinches of salt and pepper throughout my cooking, but not overly so — as it has a direct correlation to high blood pressure, so I try to be cautious about how much I use. I actually prefer fresh herbs and spices, but sometimes a dish just needs salt. I get it.

  17. Shannon M Fuller says:

    5 stars
    We made it again! Twice in a month!!!

  18. 5 stars
    Oh my…so good! Perfection!!! We made it the same way and it turned out beautifully! Thanks for recipe!

  19. 5 stars
    I’m attempting this today. Can’t wait to see what happens! I used to live in Florida. I live in California, now. But in the valley. The high is 57° and low is 36°! I could use some Florida weather right now.

    1. You’d enjoy it — it was mid-70’s all day today. Windows open!
      Hope you enjoy the Boeuf Bourguignon!

  20. Rebekah Elliott says:

    I just watch the movie Julia and Julia it’s inspiring to want to to cook french cuisine bon appetit!!

    1. One of my favorite movies! Especially since I’m a food blogger!