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Instant Pot Persian Beef and Celery Stew (Khoreshe Karafs)

A hearty Persian Beef and Celery Stew recipe (Khoreshe Karafs) is quick and easy to make in the Instant Pot! This budget-friendly stew uses just 1 pound of meat for 4 servings.

3/4 view of 2 bowls of Instant Pot Persian Beef and Celery Stew (Khoreshe Karafs) with mast-o-khiar over dill rice next to an Instant Pot.

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Did you know that October is National Cookbook Month?

It’s the perfect excuse to dust off the cookbooks you have hanging out at home and get in the kitchen! It’s also a great excuse to head over to your local library for some cookbook inspiration!

Visiting my local library and checking out is how I’ve found some of my very favorite cookbooks! It’s a great way to “try before you buy”, and you can’t beat the variety!

Side view of a stack of cookbooks

This stack of cookbooks (from way back in 2013!) is from a post I did with cookbook recommendations for the holidays. Most of these cookbooks are ones that I checked out from the library, cooked from, and decided to buy them for my own home collection.

It’s a really great way to try out a few recipes, or at least read through them, to help with your purchasing decisions.

And if you’re looking for cookbook recommendations, I’m constantly updating the Cookbooks section of my Amazon shop with new selections.

And speaking of libraries and National Cookbook Month – I’m going to be doing an Instagram Takeover of the Ossining Public Library’s account on Friday, October 26th, 2018 to share some of my top picks. Be sure to follow along there for the (delicious) fun!

Overhead view of a bowl of Instant Pot Persian Beef and Celery Stew (Khoreshe Karafs) with mast-o-khiar over dill rice.

This recipe is a twist on one from one of my all-time favorite cookbooks (seen on the top of that stack above). My friend Megan gave it to me as a gift yeeeeears ago. She knew that I was getting into cooking at home and thought I’d like to learn more recipes from my Persian roots.

In a Persian Kitchen: Favorite Recipes from the Near East by Maideh Mazda is a prime example of a cookbook that doesn’t need photos to seriously deliver on flavors.

I’ve been making recipes from this cookbook for over a decade now, and have never been disappointed.

One thing to note – the recipes in this Persian cookbook can be misleading if you judge them by their title. For instance, a recipe called “Mushroom Sauce” calls for 1 and a half pounds of beef or lamb. It’s basically a meat stew with mushrooms, but it’s not listed under the meat section – it’s a sauce for pilaf.

Overhead view of 2 bowls of Instant Pot Persian Beef and Celery Stew (Khoreshe Karafs) with mast-o-khiar over dill rice next to an Instant Pot.

Similarly, the dish that I adapted to make this Instant Pot Persian Beef and Celery Stew recipe is called “Celery Sauce”(Khoreshe Karafs). As you can see, there is a lot of celery in the dish, but Americans would more likely call it a Beef and Celery Stew.

This Persian stew recipe is a great one because it only calls for 1 pound of beef stew meat. The bulk of the recipe comes from 4 cups of chopped celery.

And because you cut the meat up into small pieces, it doesn’t feel like you’re getting shortchanged in the meat department while eating this comforting stew.

Overhead view of ingredients in the Instant Pot for Persian Beef and Celery Stew (Khoreshe Karafs).

Stews are a perfect candidate for Instant Pot cooking. Yes, I’m still absolutely LOVING my Instant Pot. I use it several times per week, and I’m pretty sure that if I had a bigger kitchen, I’d own two of them.

When converting this recipe for the Instant Pot, I wanted to make a few changes. Firstly, I wanted to reduce the amount of butter. The original recipe calls for a full stick of butter, divided between the beef and the veggies. That’s a lot of butter.

Secondly, the recipe called for stewing the meat separately from the celery and parsley. It instructs you to add the sautéed veggies into the meat later on.

I decided to split the difference and used just 1/2 a stick of butter for browning the meat and onions, then stirred the celery and parsley in before adding the water and letting my Instant Pot do its thaaaaang.

A ladle of Instant Pot Persian Beef and Celery Stew (Khoreshe Karafs) being lifted from the Instant Pot.

The stew comes together quickly, and with just a handful of ingredients. You do need to account for a bit of time for your Instant Pot to come to pressure, as well as some time for it to naturally release. But that’s all hands-off time that you don’t need to be in your kitchen for.

There’s quite a bit of liquid in this recipe, which is delicious when spooned over rice. There’s enough that you could certainly add some extra meat to make more if you want to feed a larger group.

Be sure to taste and season your stew at the end. A little extra lemon juice and salt really brighten the dish and bring it to life.

Overhead view of 2 bowls of Instant Pot Persian Beef and Celery Stew (Khoreshe Karafs) with mast-o-khiar over dill rice.

I served this over steamed basmati rice that I stirred quite a bit of dried dill into (and dyed some of it yellow with some saffron that my grandmother sent to me from Iran). I also like dusting ground sumac over any meaty Persian meal. It’s totally optional but a very nice addition. Note that some brands add salt in with their sumac, so taste it before you decide how much to use.

I always serve Persian dishes with mast-o-khiar, which is basically a mix of plain yogurt, cucumber, dried mint, lemon juice, and salt.

You can always just use plain yogurt, or yogurt with some dried mint and salt stirred in. There’s also a variation of Mast-o-Khiar with Walnuts and Raisins.

Overhead view of a bowl of Instant Pot Persian Beef and Celery Stew (Khoreshe Karafs) with mast-o-khiar over dill rice.

I hope you give this Instant Pot Persian Beef and Celery Stew a try! It’s a fun change of pace from the standard types of beef stew we tend to eat in the U.S. The cinnamon and nutmeg really make it feel special – perfect for the crisp fall weather we’ve been having here in New York lately.

Looking for more of our favorite soups and stews? Check out these 5-star recipes:

Recipe for Instant Pot Persian Beef and Celery Stew (Khoreshe Karafs)

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3/4 view of 2 bowls of Instant Pot Persian Beef and Celery Stew (Khoreshe Karafs) with mast-o-khiar over dill rice next to an Instant Pot.

Instant Pot Persian Beef and Celery Stew (Khoreshe Karafs)

  • Author: Big Flavors from a Tiny Kitchen - Ashley Covelli (adapted from In a Persian Kitchen by Maideh Mazda)
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes (plus time for building/releasing pressure)
  • Yield: 4 Servings 1x
  • Category: Soups and Stews
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: Persian


A hearty Persian Beef and Celery Stew recipe (Khoreshe Karafs) is quick & easy to make in the Instant Pot! This budget-friendly stew uses just 1 pound of meat.


  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 pound beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 4 cups diced celery (about 68 stalks)
  • 1 cup chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
  • 2 cups water
  • 23 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

For Serving (optional, but encouraged):

  • Cooked basmati rice
  • Ground sumac
  • Mast-o-khiar or plain yogurt


  1. Set Instant Pot to “Sauté” and adjust to “more”. Add butter. Once melted, add beef and onions and sauté, stirring occasionally, until the meat is browned, about 5 minutes. Add cinnamon, salt, pepper, and nutmeg and cook for another minute or two, stirring constantly, until well combined and fragrant. Stir in celery and parsley, then add water.
  2. Close the lid, adjust the vent to “sealing” and set the Instant Pot to “Manual” high pressure for 20 minutes. Once the timer goes off, let the pressure release naturally.
  3. Open the lid, and stir in 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and lemon juice as needed.
  4. Serve stew on top of basmati rice (I made one with dried dill stirred in) with as much of the liquid as you like spooned over top. Garnish with a sprinkling of ground sumac, a few spoonfuls of mast-o-khiar, and a sprinkling of parsley if desired.


Total time doesn’t account for the time it takes for the Instant Pot to reach pressure, and to release naturally at the end. It will likely take another 20-30 minutes total, but it’s hands-off time.


  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 284
  • Sugar: 3.3 g
  • Sodium: 499 mg
  • Fat: 16.5 g
  • Saturated Fat: 9.3 g
  • Carbohydrates: 9 g
  • Fiber: 3.2 g
  • Protein: 26.6 g
  • Cholesterol: 105.3 mg

Keywords: Instant Pot recipes, beef stew, Persian stew, budget-friendly

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Ashley Covelli is a food photographer, recipe developer, and culinary instructor based in Ossining, New York. She loves helping people become enthusiastic and adventurous in the kitchen so that they can build skills and confidence to cook for themselves and their loved ones. She can almost always be found with at least 3 different beverages within arm's reach.


  • Elaine Benoit

    This beef stew looks so scrumptious! I love the cookbooks you have above, especially Plenty! You just gave me another reason to love my IP. Can’t wait to make it!

    • Ashley

      I’ve been trying to make sure I utilize my cookbooks more often. Ottolenghi’s books are always so inspiring! Hope you love this stew whenever you give it a try! 🙂

  • Jenni LeBaron

    I love that this comes together so simply in the pressure cooker. The flavors of cinnamon and nutmeg sound lovely in this. I would love to try this for a hearty fall dinner!

  • Gloria

    I don’t ‘like the cold, but I do love the comfort food that goes along with it. This stew sounds so hearty and delicious. The perfect way to warm up on a cold day. If it fits in a bowl, it works for me.

    • Ashley

      I’m with you, Gloria! I love the warm weather and am not much a fan of the cold. It’s incredible that it was close to 90 degrees here 2 weeks ago, and yesterday we had frost. So crazy!

  • Emily Leary

    This such an attractive and delicious looking dish and just right for the cold evenings here in the UK. All of the ingredients are so good especially the cinnamon and nutmeg ! Yum!

    • Ashley

      There are SO many fun ways to use them, right? I’m glad you’re enjoying the recipes – be sure to let me know if you find any awesome recipes using your multi cooker, too! I always love fresh recipe inspiration 🙂

    • Ashley

      Thanks so much, Tammy! The Instant Pot has been one of the best purchases we’ve ever made – I still use it all.the.time and I’ve had it for a few years now. It’s so versatile!

  • Amanda Mason

    This looks amazing! I’ve been on the hunt lately for really good Instant Pot recipes and this one looks so perfect! Perfect for leftovers too! I’ll be giving this one a try!

  • Chef Markus Mueller

    I love traditional recipes and cookbooks! I have never done much Persian cooking but would absolutely love to try more of it! This stew or ‘sauce’ looks fantastic!

    • Ashley

      Persian food is SO much fun! I’m a fan of most Middle Eastern cooking, and Persian recipes are very heavy on the stewed meats – there’s an endless variety of combinations out there to explore. Happy cooking!

  • Nicolas Hortense

    I had no idea that October is a month dedicated to cookbooks. I definitely need to use mine more often so thanks for the inspiration. Just reading about this Persian cuisine is making my tummy rumble. So yummy (:

    • Ashley

      I didn’t realize October was National Cookbook Month, either, until a librarian friend told me. It was a great excuse to dive into some new and old cookbooks. I hope you enjoy this one if you give it a try!

  • Nicoletta Sugarlovespices

    I didn’t know that October was a month dedicated to cookbooks. We have quite a collection and always like to make recipes from them. This looks great!

    • Ashley

      It’s a great excuse to break out some less used cookbooks and get in the kitchen, right? I don’t do it often enough but I need to get back into the habit of cooking from them more often!

  • MB

    Looks amazing! I will be trying this over the weekend. I have a Vitaclay instead of an Instapot. Any idea how I would change the cook time for that? Thank you!

    • Ashley

      I don’t have any experience with a Vitaclay, but I looked it up and it looks really interesting! I hope you enjoy this recipe – let me know how it turns out!

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