Vanilla Braised Beef Cheeks

Vanilla Braised Beef Cheeks is a type of beef stew cooked simply with wine and vanilla bean together with herbs and spices like garlic, onion, thyme and bay leaves.

Vanilla in a savoury dish, that for me at least was unheard of, my reaction when I saw this once on a TV show I was, arhmmmmm. I was sceptical as I never had tried it and that combination does not seem to be logical to me, but after I tried to recreate it at home, it was a revelation.

Now let’s use that sauce on a beef cheeks, trust me it’s marvellous, anyways regardless of what sauce it is, it just simply works. Beef cheeks are amazing, once cooked right and given enough time this tough cut with lots of collagen, transforms into the most delicious, gelatinous, silky, tender meat that has a lot of flavour and depth. I had used beef cheeks as a primary ingredient multiple times and those dishes never failed me. If I had to rate beef cuts then this together with oxtails, tendons, skirt and ribeye are the best. Depending on where you live this cut might be hard to find in your supermarket, but you can ask your butcher to prepare this cut for you.

Romeo and Juliet getting married must be impossible but it makes a really good story, like this dish, it may seem to be odd, but it ended up really well. The flavours are just stunning, sweet, savoury, a bit tangy, melt in your mouth sticky, I am already drooling as I imagine and write my experience. Serve it with mashed potatoes, bread, rice or just on its own, its perfect in its own way.

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Vanilla Braised Beef Cheeks 2

Vanilla Braised Beef Cheeks

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  • Author: Raymund
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 2 hours 30 mins
  • Total Time: 2 hours 45 mins
  • Yield: 4-6 1x
  • Category: Main Course
  • Cuisine: Global


Vanilla Braised Beef Cheeks is a type of beef stew cooked simply with wine and vanilla bean together with herbs and spices like garlic, onion, thyme and bay leaves.


  • 1.52 kg beef cheeks (approx. 6 pcs )
  • 250 ml dry red wine
  • 4 tbsp brown sugar
  • 500 ml beef stock
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 1/4 cup tbsp plain flour
  • 2 pcs thyme sprigs
  • 2 pcs bay leaves
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 vanilla bean, split
  • 4 garlic cloves, pounded
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper


  1. Season beef cheeks with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  2. Place flour in a plate then toss in the beef cheeks to coat with the flour.
  3. In a Dutch Oven add heat olive oil over high heat then brown beef cheeks on all sides.
  4. Push beef to the side then add the carrots, onions and garlic. Sauté for a minute.
  5. Deglaze casserole with wine and once its boiling add stock, tomato paste, sherry vinegar, vanilla and sugar.
  6. Add the thyme sprigs and bay leaves.
  7. Cover your Dutch Oven then place in a 180C preheated oven then cook for 2 hours. Check liquid levels halfway, and if it’s too low top it up with a bit of water.
  8. Remove Dutch Oven from the oven, place in stove top. Set aside the beef cheeks.
  9. Reduce sauce over high heat for 3-5 minutes until it becomes gravy in consistency.
  10. Season with salt, return beef to the sauce, mix then turn heat off. Serve.



4 Responses

  1. What an amazingly flavourful and delicious treat! I had some beef cheek stew months ago and I just loved it! The flavour, gelatin and tenderness after a slow long cooking…just awesome. Love that you have added vanilla bean here…something I gotta try too.

  2. You are right. I have never seen beef cheeks for sale, but will check with the butcher next time I am at the farmers market. The combination of the sauce ingredients sounds quite addictive, and it’s all pretty simple and straightforward. Will definitely save this for the day I find some, cheeks!

  3. Jasline says:

    I usually buy my beef frozen but I don’t think I have came across beef cheeks for sale, I guess it’s not a common cut easily available (or maybe I wasn’t looking hard enough). Adding vanilla sounds like a real splurge, so I’m saving this recipe for a special occasion!

  4. Oh my goodness, these beef cheeks are just calling out to me right now! They so tender and melt-in-your-mouth!

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