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What is beef bourguignon traditionally served with?

Beef bourguignon is a classic French stew made with beef braised in red wine, broth, and aromatics. This hearty dish originated in the Burgundy region of France, which is known for its excellent wines that are ideal for cooking. While there are many variations on how to prepare beef bourguignon, certain key ingredients and accompaniments traditionally go with this beloved dish.

Origin of Beef Bourguignon

Beef bourguignon has its roots in traditional French peasant cuisine. Cooks aimed to transform the less desirable cuts of beef into tender, flavorful stews by braising them slowly in wine. The abundance of red Burgundy wines in the region made them the perfect cooking liquid. Over time, the dish became more refined and eventually found its way onto the menus of upscale restaurants around the world. Julia Child helped popularize the classic preparation in America with her cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking and long-running TV show. Her Beef Bourguignon recipe remains one of her most well-known and beloved dishes.

Traditional Ingredients

While variations exist, an authentic beef bourguignon contains several standard ingredients:

  • Beef – Usually chuck roast or another stewing cut, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • Red wine – Traditionally a full-bodied Burgundy, but can also use other dry red wines like Pinot Noir
  • Mirepoix – Equal parts chopped onion, celery, and carrot
  • Broth – Beef broth
  • Herbs – Thyme, parsley, bay leaves
  • Mushrooms – Sliced brown mushrooms
  • Bacon or salt pork – For smoky flavor
  • Flour – To thicken the stew
  • Garlic
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Tomato paste
  • Seasonings – Salt, pepper

The long braise results in extremely tender beef that absorbs all the complex flavors of the wine-based sauce. The usual veggies like onion, celery, carrot, and mushrooms add even more depth. Herbs, garlic, and tomato paste round it all out.

Traditional Side Dishes

An authentic beef bourguignon dinner includes a few classic accompaniments that complement the richness of the stew beautifully:

Buttered Noodles

Egg noodles boiled then tossed with butter are the most traditional starch served with beef bourguignon. The noodles soak up the delicious sauce and offer a neutral base for the deeply flavored stew. French-style egg noodles are ideal, but regular egg noodles work too.

Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes are another classic pairing, able to absorb all the wonderful sauce. Leave them plain and creamy or mix in roasted garlic or cheese for extra flavor.

Roasted Potatoes

Crispy, well-browned roasted potatoes offer a bit of textural contrast to the tender beef. Small red potatoes or fingerling potatoes work well. Toss them in olive oil, herbs, and garlic before roasting.

Braised Root Vegetables

Hearty root veggies like carrots, parsnips, turnips, and celery root that are braised in broth complement the beef stew. Cook them in the beef bourguignon broth for extra flavor.

Buttered Peas

Fresh peas that are simply boiled then tossed with a bit of butter make a bright, verdant side. Canned peas can also work in a pinch.

Green Salad

A simple green salad dressed with a classic vinaigrette provides freshness and acidity to balance the rich stew. Crisp bibb lettuce, mixed greens, or arugula all work well.

Traditional Breads

In addition to starchy sides and vegetables, beef bourguignon is often served with freshly baked artisan breads. These breads are ideal for soaking up the incredible sauce in the stew.


The classic, crusty French baguette is perfect for dipping into the hearty bourguignon gravy. Good bread is vital for enjoying this dish.

Butter Croissants

Buttery, flaky croissants are another excellent bread choice. Tear off pieces to soak up every last drop of the wine-infused sauce.

Dinner Rolls

Simple soft dinner rolls or buns also pair nicely without competing with the other flavors. They readily absorb the sauce.

Garlic Bread

For a more robust bread pairing, try garlic bread seasoned with parsley and butter. It stands up well to the rich stew.

Dessert Pairings

While beef bourguignon makes for a hearty, savory main course, you’ll want something a bit sweet afterward. Here are some classic French desserts that make excellent pairings:

Crème Brûlée

The rich vanilla custard and caramelized sugar topping of crème brûlée provides an elegant contrast to the stew. It’s a refined classic.


These light pastries filled with ice cream and drizzled with chocolate sauce make for a decadent treat. They hold up well to the heartiness of the bourguignon.

Chocolate Mousse

The intense chocolateyness of a silky mousse or chocolate pudding balances the savoriness of the meal perfectly.

Fruit Tarts

Bright fruit tarts with a sweet pastry crust offer a refreshing, lighter option. Raspberries or apricots work particularly well.

Serving Suggestions

When serving beef bourguignon for dinner, keep these tips in mind:

  • The stew tastes even better when made 1-2 days in advance. This allows the flavors to fully meld.
  • Garnish with chopped parsley just before serving for a pop of color.
  • Offer crusty bread and a ladle for guests to help themselves to more stew throughout the meal.
  • Pour the stew into a shallow bowl or wide rimmed dish so the delicious sauce is prominently displayed.
  • Accompany the stew with a robust French red wine, which will mirror the flavors.
  • Follow the hearty main with a light, refreshing dessert to complete the meal.


Beef bourguignon is all about taking the humble ingredients of French country cooking and transforming them into something extraordinary. When served with the perfect accompaniments like buttered noodles, roasted vegetables, and crispy baguette, this hearty stew becomes an unforgettable dining experience. The rich sauce soaks into the starchy sides while the salad and dessert offer contrasting flavors and textures. Beef bourguignon has endured as a classic French dish for good reason – it’s the ultimate comfort food that brings people together at the dinner table.