Braised Beef Cheeks with Vanilla

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Note: This recipe is high in gluten, soy, and sodium. People with hypertension and gluten sensitivity should use it carefully. It is low on carbs, so you can consume it on a diet.

Beef cheeks have become wildly popular lately we now know why. They are an cheap, economical cut of meat that’s still huge on flavour and deliciously succulent when slow braised like they are in this recipe. They can be served in many ways like a stew or a ragu but i’m sure you’ve never tried them with vanilla. Yep, that’s right, vanilla!

The sweet aromatic flavour of the vanilla pod works so well with a rich slow-cooked dish like this compliments the earthiness of the beef. With a hint of everyone’s favourite Cardamom to add a smoky, spicy hum and served with a side of fluffy potato mash this is comfort food at its best.

Cooking tips:

  • Order fresh beef cheeks before cooking from your butcher. Fresh meat tastes better.
  • Place in a preheated oven set at 180°C to reheat the frozen meat for at least 20 to 25 minutes.
  • The flavour of the dish enhances if you prepare the beef cheeks at least two days before.
  • You can keep it uncovered in the refrigerator or cover the container with parchment paper or wax paper if you are leaving it outside.
  • Remove all the fat before reheating the meat.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are beef cheeks?

It is literally what the name means. The beef cheek is the facial muscle of the cow. Such animal has been grazing and chewing food throughout life which makes their cheek meat tough and ready to use for a tasty meal. If you cook it properly, the connective tissue becomes soft and tender enough to melt in your mouth.

Are beef cheeks healthy?

Beef cheeks meat is sticky and tender due to the slow cooking process, which results in the breakdown of collagen. This collagen is healthy for skin, nails and hair. It has no sugars, and all other ingredients in this recipe are natural, so it is a healthy meal.

What is a good substitute for beef cheeks?

If you are unable to get Beef Cheeks, you can try the same recipe with all slow cooking beef options. To recommend, beef ribs, shorter ones, would be the best substitute.

What do beef cheeks taste like?

Beef cheeks taste more like oxtail meat and pot roast and have a texture of short ribs. The meat is more delicate and tender when compared to steak. It has a richer taste and deeper flavour. Some people might find the taste of beef cheeks a bit heady. Make sure to cook it long enough to avoid such situations.

Watch below to see Emma whip up this delicious, sumptuous, luxurious dish and try for yourself at home with our easy-to-follow recipe. This is definitely one to wow your friends!

Spices used in this recipe


  1. Preheat the oven to 150°C (300°F).

  2. Sift flour onto a plate. Pat dry the beef cheeks and toss in the seasoned flour, shaking off any excess. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium-high saucepan and fry on each side until the colours are brown.

  3. Transfer cheeks into a cast-iron casserole dish. Sauté the celery, carrot,shallots and garlic in the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, in the same saucepan that the beef cheeks were fried in. Deglaze with the port and pour the mixture into the casserole with the beef cheeks.

  4. Add in the remaining ingredients (including vanilla bean and seeds). Add extra water to cover, if required. Place a cartouche (a piece of baking paper, cut to the size of the casserole dish) on the surface of the beef cheeks.

  5. Cover with the lid and cook for 3–4 hours. Alternatively, put in a pressure cooker (without cartouche) and cook at pressure for 1½ hours.

    Serve with a side of mashed turnips and swedes and buttered green beans.

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