Closeup of black bear meat stew
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The Best Black Bear Stew Recipe

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The Best Black Bear Stew recipe

Fall is time for hunting in the United States, and at this time of year we find ways to cook up different game animal dishes according to what we are blessed with!

This season we were were gifted some wild bear meat!

bear stew on a spoon in a mug

Here is our great friend Josh Caple from his black bear hunting adventure this year and the bear he harvested.

It was after quite a few bear hunts that he was able to finally be one of the successful bear hunters that brought home the bear!

Josh Caple with the bear he hunted

He processed the meat into bulk meat for stews and also went all out making breakfast sausage from the ground bear meat!

Since the fat content was higher, being a fall bear, the sausage turned out great!

From my research I have found that a fall bear tastes different than a spring bear in that the bears of North America have used up their fat layers over the winter hibernating, so the spring bear is less greasy, and a lot less fatty than a fall bear.

You can imagine where a fattier meat would come in handy for sausages and bear burgers.

At first I thought, oh my, really, not sure how that will taste, but I will be adventurous and give it a try!

It is great to try new things and this is our families first time getting to experience the taste of bear meat!

When I first thawed the meat it looked a lot like beef stew meat.

raw bear stew meat ready to cook

I turned to my one favorite recipe using stew meat, beef stew!

Although it is bear meat, subbing it into the right recipe, like with beef recipes, is an easy way to get great flavor and avoid a gamey taste!

I found that a stew in the instant pot would be the most familiar way I could cook it up so my family would eat it!

They technically knew it was bear meat, but were still excited about dinner time.

One thing about cooking bear meat is that you have to follow certain steps to make sure it is fit to eat.

This is not the time to skimp on prepping your meat, it must be browned before putting into your stew.

browning bear stew meat in my cast iron skillet

Yes, I know some recipes call to add it right in, I chose to take the safe route, and the more tasty route by browning the meat ahead of time in my cast iron skillet THEN put my stew together in my electric pressure cooker.

You can of course modify this recipe and cook in a slow cooker if you wish, but do not skip the browning step.

This bear meat comes from a black bear that lived near our home.

picture of the mountains where the bear lived

It is filled with beneficial nutrients from the plants that grow around us.

Black bear meat is a healthy and delicious source of protein along with iron, phosphorus, and vitamins B1, B2, and B3.

nutrition facts for bear meat

A 3 oz portion of bear steak contains 20 grams of protein and 8 grams of fat.

Since wild game, like bears, are carriers of trichinella spiralis, it is imperative that you cook the thickest part of the meat to reach an internal cooking temperature of at least 165F for at least 3 minutes.

Older bears will be more likely to have the parasites, BUT you always cook the meat properly so you do not get sick!

This bear is one of the younger bears, but wild game meat should be prepared properly always before consuming!

The most important thing to remember is to heat the meat to an internal temperature of 170F. This is an easy way to ensure that it is thoroughly cooked.

Cook until there is no trace of pink meat or fluid.

In my stew recipe, I cook the pieces until no longer pink and it goes quickly. In the case of a roast, you will need to check the temperature.

Let’s prep the ingredients for the stew!

Start out with a wooden cutting board and a very sharp knife.

I am suggesting a wooden cutting board as it is easier to clean from the raw meat than a plastic one is.

The bulk chunks we were gifted only had one stripe of fat in it.

I believe our friend trimmed off the excess bear fat to use in the ground meat or bear sausage he made!

Now with your piece of meat before you, start by cutting it up into 1-inch cubes or bite size pieces.

Set it aside on a flat pan or plate so it is easy to handle for browning.

Pre-heat your skillet to medium-high heat.

The best way to properly brown your meat for the stew is to have your skillet pre-heated so when the meat hits the pan it gets a wonderful sear!

The prep of cutting up the bear roast into the bite size pieces takes about 20-25 minutes of prep time.

Once you have all of the ingredients prepped it goes a lot faster!

Sprinkle the pieces of meat with a little salt, black pepper, onion powder and garlic powder.

I used bacon grease as my oil in the preheated pan, but you could also use olive oil too!

I laid each piece down into the skillet as to not overlap them or crowd them in the pan.

If I were to just throw all of the pieces in the pan they would be partially browned and partially steamed.

Taking the time to do this also ensures all of the meat is seared properly and does not have any pink left in it.

I just worked in batches. I browned one batch for a few minutes on each side paying close attention that I did not burn them.

Then I set it aside on a paper towel lined plate, and then proceeded with the rest until they were all browned.

browned bear stew meat on a plate to the side

Your meat should be browned and sitting aside on a plate.

Now saute the chopped onion in the skillet to create a great base of brown bits for the best flavor!

onions and herbs sauteed in cast iron skillet for stew

Prep your additional ingredients for your stew!

I will roughly chop up 3 carrots, and 1 large baker potato for the stew.

I just do not serve up the potatoes for myself when dishing it up to avoid the carbs.

You could also add any of the following to the stew, just keep to a 3-4 cup maximum!

  • fresh parsley
  • leeks
  • celeriac root
  • chopped celery
  • mushrooms
  • small red potatoes quartered
  • chopped leeks
  • minced parsley
  • oregano
  • fresh minced garlic cloves
  • a peeled clove of garlic

Prepare your electric pressure cooker or crock pot.

Now everything will go quickly from here! It is just dump and go.

These instructions are universal for either appliance, it just differs in the time it takes to cook.

Start out by adding in the beef broth to the skillet after you have softened the onions.

If you desire, add in 1/3 cup of red wine and let it simmer for a few minutes.

This gives it a great depth of flavor, plus the simmering will burn off the alcohol so it will not be in your final product.

Then scrape all of the bits and pour it all into the bottom of the cooker.

If you do not have a deep skillet, you can always do the meat browning and onion sauteing in a large dutch oven.

Now you will add in all of the spices and additional ingredients.

I added in a bay leaf, paprika, tomato paste and worcestershire sauce to the broth then whisked it up.

If you do not have worcestershire sauce you can easily substitute in some soy sauce without much of a taste difference.

soy sauce being poured into a spoon

Now add in the meat with the veggies on top.

At this point you would then put on the crock pot lid and set to cook on LOW for 8-10 hours.

I do not recommend at any rate to cook it on HIGH in the crock pot or slow cooker.

If you are using an Instant Pot or electric pressure cooker like me, then close the lid and set the valve to “SEALING” or “SEALED” and cook on HIGH pressure for 35 minutes.

It will take 10 minutes for the Instant Pot to come to pressure so figure that into your timing.

Once the countdown is done, let the pressure release naturally for 15 minutes.

Now you will give it a good stir and then sprinkle on 1 tsp of glucomannan or xanthan gum while whisking.

Let it sit to thicken 10 minutes before serving. Replacing the lid while thickening will help to keep it warm.

Bear meat stew in instant pot

If you do not mind having extra carbs, alternately put 2 tbsp of tapioca starch or corn starch in a small bowl and add in 2 tbsp of cold water.

Whisk it up well THEN add it to the stew and let it sit to thicken for 10 minutes.

As you see here, it turned into a nice consistency and is the perfect stew!

My overall opinion of the bear stew is that it is very tasty!

My kids loved this preparation so much they fought over the last of the stew!

Closeup of black bear meat stew

The Best Black Bear Stew Recipe

Follow along as I show you how to cook up some black bear meat like how I cook up beef and turn it into the best stew you have ever had! All the protein and vitamins, you cannot go wrong with this wild game meat recipe!
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 50 mins
Total Time 1 hr 20 mins
Course Dinner, instant pot, keto stew
Cuisine Country Style
Servings 5 people


  • 2 lbs bulk black bear meat, cubed
  • 2 tbsp bacon grease or olive oil
  • 1 medium onion diced small
  • 3 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 6oz can tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp worcestershire sauce or soy sauce
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 4 cups rough chopped veggies carrots, celery, potatoes, radishes etc.
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • 2 tbsp tapioca starch or corn starch alternately use 1 tsp glucomannan
  • 1/3 cup dark red wine optional add in at broth step for flavor


  • Start by preheating a skillet over medium heat.
  • Lay bear meat out onto a plate in one layer.
  • Sprinkle with salt & pepper.
  • Put bacon grease or olive oil in preheated skillet.
  • Sear meat chunks in skillet not touching each other. Do this in batches if you need to.
  • Once meat is all browned, add the chopped onion to the skillet and cook until softened and the browned bits have come up.
  • Whisk in the beef broth and wine, if using, and cook till simmering and all browned bits have come up from the bottom of the skillet.
  • Pour all from skillet into your electric pressure cooker or crockpot.
  • Add in the spices, worcestershire sauce or soy sauce and tomato paste at this time and whisk to mix up. Save the glucomannan or starch for the end of the recipe.
  • Pour browned meat over the top and stir.
  • Now add the roughly chopped veggies over the top of the meat and stir once more.
  • If cooking in the ELECTRIC PRESSURE COOKER, cook on HIGH for 35minutes. If cooking in the SLOW COOKER, cook on LOW for 8-10 hours.
  • With the ELECTRIC PRESSURE COOKER, after time has expired, leave it alone for 15 minutes which is called a natural release.
  • With the SLOW COOKER, after time is up, do a quick stir and proceed.
  • With either method, once cook time is up, take the 2 tbsp starch and mix with 2 tbsp cold water with a whisk.
  • Now stir into the stew. With the ELECTRIC PRESSURE COOKER, turn to SAUTE mode for 5 minutes until it simmers, then it is done.
  • With the SLOW COOKER, turn to HIGH and let it cook 10 minutes until small bubbles appear and it thickens to your liking.
  • Serve up hot!
  • Leftovers keep well. 5 days in the fridge or 2 months in the freezer.
Keyword bear meat, bear meat stew, black bear stew, crockpot stew, dairy free, dairy free stew, instant pot, instant pot stew, keto, low carb stew, stew, wild game, wild game meat
the best bear stew recipe close up

PIN this recipe to your Pinterest board by hoovering over the picture until the “P” pops up and then pin.

Also you can print this recipe directly from the recipe card.

Try some of my Keto 5 Ingredient Biscuits with a bowl of this stew!

5 ingredient keto biscuits pin

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