The Best Beef Dishes of All Time

The Best Beef Dishes of All Time

Beef dishes are often nostalgic. Whether it’s a cultural classic like steak frites that will transport you to France, Mom’s secret meatloaf recipe, or a hearty stew you grew up with, beef plays a pretty large role in countless cuisines. While you can gussy up the meat with a lavish sauce or seasoning, one factor remains consistent — beef recipes rely on the quality of the cut.

Photo by Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Lydia Pursell

Start here, and then take your pick of cooking style based on what you have in your kitchen. Whether you have the time to let your beef sit and simmer throughout the day or prefer a fresh-off-the-grill filet, here are the best beef recipes to add to your repertoire, with commentary from chefs on each classic dish.

Beef Bourguignon

“My go-to beef dish is beef bourguignon. Bacon and mushrooms are always a fan favorite, and everyone can relate to French pot roast.” — Jeb Aldrich, chef of Brasserie la Banque in Charleston, South Carolina

Chloe Crespi Photography

Shepherd’s Pie

“Ground beef or leftover pot roast can all be made into a delightful pie. Load it up in a casserole dish with a bunch of vegetables, top it with mashed potatoes, and bake it. My mom used to have one of these loaded up in the freezer for a quick, hearty dinner during the winter. The best part is that once you have the process down, the possibilities are endless.”Victor King, executive chef and co-owner of The Essential in Birmingham, Alabama

Photo by Caitlin Bensel / Prop Styling by Christina Daley / Food Styling by Ali Ramee

Beef Wellington

“Beef Wellington is the ultimate elegant dish. It’s not nearly as difficult to make as people think, and it’s always a showstopper at a dinner party.” — Colt Taylor, chef of The Essex in Old Saybrook, Connecticut

Photo by Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Melissa Gray / Prop Styling by Heather Chadduck Hillegas

Braised Beef Short Ribs

“Everything can be prepped ahead of time in stages, if needed, and then put into a Crockpot or Dutch oven. You can walk away from it for several hours, and when you return you have succulent, tender beef ribs sitting in their own sauce. It’s a comforting dish to prepare on a lazy, cold day off.”Rob McDaniel, executive chef and owner of Helen in Birmingham, Alabama

© Christina Holmes


“The pot-au-feu is a French classic and you can cook it for a big table — it is a dish to share.” — William Becquin, chef of Le Tout-Paris at Cheval Blanc Paris

© P-A Jorgensen

Masala Kheema

“Everyone should know how to make Indian-style masala kheema. It’s a flavorful minced beef curry that resembles a chili, and it’s a perfect cold winter meal over rice, roti, or even tortillas. It’s a very common dish in the Indian subcontinent, especially in the state of Kashmir. The flavorful masala is made with caramelized onions, ginger, garlic, and tomatoes. It’s flavored with roasted cumin, ground fennel seeds, and tomatoes. I use the classic 80/20 meat-to-fat ratio to make this dish.” — Hari Nayak, executive chef of SONA in New York

© Jonny Valiant


“A good meatball for a comforting, family-friendly dish to eat with pasta.” — Vincent Gomis, chef de cuisine of Le Barthélemy Hotel & Spa (which includes Amis St. Barth) in St. Barts

© James Baigrie

Beef Stew

“Everyone should know how to make a braised beef stew dish. It can be any kind, from any culture, but understanding how to break down a tough, inexpensive cut of meat with slow cooking techniques and transform it into a cozy, heart-warming meal that can feed a lot of people is a beautiful thing.” — Melissa King, chef, entrepreneur, advocate, Top Chef: All Stars winner, and Top Chef judge

“Everyone should have the recipe for beef stew à la Niçoise, accompanied by creamy polenta or panisses (chickpea fries). The Niçoise-style beef stew is prepared with onions, carrots, tomatoes, garlic, a bouquet garni of thyme and bay leaf, and a little grated parmesan or lemon juice.” — Arnaud Faye, Meilleur Ouvrier de France and chef of the Christopher Hotel on St. Barts

Greg DuPree

Steak Tartare

“Steak tartare — no cooking required! Tasty and mustardy with cornichons, capers, shallots, fresh herbs, egg yolk, Tabasco, and Worcestershire. It is delicious on a good, toasted sourdough. I love it cut into a small dice with crushed potato chips on top.” — Daniel Boulud, chef and restaurateur in New York City

“It may sound pretentious, but I have a deep appreciation for this classic raw beef preparation. I’ve done countless riffs on beef tartare, but a good, classic tartare is one of my all-time favorite dishes. It’s also great with egg yolk and parm!” — Joey Edwards, executive chef of Three Sisters at Blackberry Mountain in Tennessee

Greg DuPree

Chicken-Fried Steak

“I love taking a steak that doesn’t get as much love as other cuts and giving it some attention. Sirloin steak is my favorite for chicken-fried steak, and it doesn’t get any more Texan than chicken-fried steak! A dish made out of necessity from the cattle drives is now a staple in many small towns across Texas.” — Nick Fine, chef and partner of Wild Oats in Houston, Texas

© Antonis Achilleos

Steak Frites

“A simple steak frites, either on the outdoor grill or in a cast-iron pan.” — Scott Conant, James Beard Award-winning chef and author of Peace, Love, and Pasta

© Con Poulos

Beef Stock

“Learn to use bones and shanks, roast them, and make a rich beef stock. Your pho will thank you.” — Andrew Zimmern, chef and host of Magnolia Network series Family Dinner

Photo by Greg DuPree / Food Styling by Torie Cox / Prop Styling by Missie Crawford

Braised Oxtail

“Oxtail was long considered a cheap off-cut, with larger, more tender cuts getting the glory at butcher shops and grocery stores. In Caribbean and Black culture, however, it’s been a centerpiece of stews, curries, and braises for generations. At Red Rooster Overtown, we take it up a notch and serve a whole oxtail that has been braised and fire-roasted over a three-day process. It’s served with maduros (sweet fried plantains), Bibb lettuce that we grow on-site, and freshly shaved truffle.” — Tristen Epps, executive chef of Red Rooster Overtown in Miami

Victor Protasio

Braised Brisket Tacos

“Smoking is a delicious way to start a braise for beef brisket (or beef cheek) barbacoa tacos. Cut brisket in manageable pieces, season well with salt and toasted ground black pepper, smoke for a few hours, and finish in a rich broth of puréed dried chiles with canela, allspice, and clove.” Jeff Hundelt, executive chef of Summer House on Music Lane at Hotel Magdalena in Austin, Texas

© Abby Hocking

Beef Tenderloin

“My favorite beef recipe is a beef tenderloin, Rossini-style. One of the classics of French cuisine, I love this dish made with pan-fried foie gras, thin slices of black truffle, and Madeira sauce.” Jean-Denis Rieubland, chef of Royal Champagne Hotel & Spa in France

© Tina Rupp

Steak au Poivre

“It’s such a classic yet simple sauce, and can be used with a porterhouse or grilled filet. Brined green peppercorns are key to me, and unlike traditional recipes, mine doesn’t use cognac or brandy but white wine to make it a little lighter.” Ashley Rath, executive chef of Saint Theo’s in New York City

© Fredrika Stjärne


“I think everyone should learn how to make one perfect meatloaf. If you want it light and fluffy, make sure you add a lot of minced mushrooms and onions that are fully cooked and some nice, soaked breadcrumbs.” — Michelle Bernstein, chef and owner of Cafe La Trova, La Cañita, and Michelle Bernstein Catering in Miami

© Con Poulos

Oxtail Stew

“There’s nothing better than a slow-cooked rabo guisado, better known as oxtail stew. Cubans were influenced by Spain when they rewrote their version of rabo encendido, which is complex and spicy due to the hot chilies. In Basque Country, though, they use peppers that are mild and sweet, but the chore of the preparation is similar!” — Mikel Goikolea, executive chef of LEKU in Miami

“Oxtail has to be my favorite beef cut to cook with, and I think it is one of the most underrated cuts in the culinary scene. Oxtail offers high versatility and can be used in all kinds of scenarios as a lifesaver recipe — even for last-minute dinner parties. Some of my favorite applications include a simple stew, which enhances its robust, beefy flavor. You can even play with serving it on the bone or pulling off the meat. Pro tip: Don’t feel shy freezing the bones and saving them for future beef broths.” — Tim Elmore, executive chef of Klaw Miami

Johnny Miller

Reverse Sear Standing Rib Roast

“This is the boss of all the roasts, in my opinion, and if you can nail it for your guests or a group of loved ones, it’s just that much better. This is a method I’ve been doing for the last six years, and it never gets old. The perfect pink color goes all the way out to the crust just like a prime rib you would find at a steakhouse, and you can do it in your home with just your oven and a little bit of tin foil.” — Nathan Hood, executive chef of Post House in Charleston, South Carolina

Cara Cormack

Pot Roast

“Tender, fall-off-the-bone pot roast is something everyone should have in their repertoire. It’s such an easy, delicious comfort meal for fall and winter. I honestly get more excited about what to make with the leftover pot roast than the initial meal itself.” — Lauren Gustus, chef of Sweet Chick

“I grew up in the Midwest, and pot roast was always something my grandmother made when the family got together. The biggest issue with pot roast is that it can become dry very quickly. Ensuring that you have the right amount of moisture and that you’re not overcooking are the two biggest things to remember with this dish. Worst comes to worst, if you dry it out, you make a great gravy with the pan drippings and then all will be forgiven.” — Brandon Collins, mustard sommelier for Maille and former executive chef of The Roundhouse in Hudson Valley, New York

© Con Poulos

Prime Rib

Photo by Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Lydia Pursell

“At my house, a classic prime rib was always a celebratory meal reserved for graduations, birthdays, and anniversaries. For those special occasions, we prepare it with a thick kosher salt crust along with rosemary and cracked black pepper. Put it into the oven low and slow for hours, and make sure to save the pan drippings for au jus or pan gravy.” — Christian Brassfield, executive chef of Waldorf Astoria Chicago

Churrasco Steak

“In Latin America, churrasco is a term used to define a thin, boneless cut of meat that cooks quickly on the grill. Most often, we’re talking skirt steak. It is marbled with fat, giving it huge, meaty flavor and lots of juiciness. Churrasco steak is usually served with chimichurri, a classic vinegary parsley-garlic-oregano sauce. I give it a twist at CHICA by adding candied peppers for a tangy-sweet-sour kick.” —Lorena Garcia, executive chef and partner of CHICA

© Chris Court

Beef Stroganoff

“Beef Stroganoff is one of my favorite beef recipes to make, and I enjoy it any time of year. It packs so much flavor, and has that ‘wow’ factor while still being a comfort food.” — Ralph Scamardella, chef and chief culinary officer of Tao Group Hospitality

Diana Chistruga

Rib Eye

“Whether you’re grilling over an open flame or searing it in a cast-iron skillet, it’s important to make sure the steak is at room temperature before you start cooking so you can ensure it is cooked evenly. Given its generous fat content, rib eye is the most tender and flavorful steak. All it needs is some garlic butter and a finish of fleur de sel. But if you’re looking to indulge in more robust flavors, serve it alongside a sauce au poivre (peppercorn sauce) or blue cheese sauce.” — Jeoffrey Offer, chef and owner of Butcher’s House Brasserie in Costa Mesa, California

“A dry-aged rib eye is a great steak to layer flavor onto. It requires just a simple dry rub of granulated sugar, salt, and pepper. I prefer cooking over charcoal, but a wood chip smoker box with hickory or cherry wood on a gas grill brings even more complexity.” — Brian Beadle, head chef of higher education at ethical foodservice company Genuine Foods

Christopher Testani