This hearty Irish-inspired beef stew is loaded with tender beef, vegetables, and stout, and is conveniently made in the slow cooker. Make it for St. Patrick’s Day or when you need to warm up with a bowl of cold-weather comfort food.
Adapted from Jessica Beacom and Stacie Hassing | The Real Food Table | Simon Element 2022
Our version of this classic dish is rich and flavorful thanks to stout beer, beef broth, and low and slow cooking. The stew is filled with tender hunks of beef and vegetables that just beg to be served over fluffy garlic mashed potatoes for the ultimate soul-warming, budget-friendly comfort food.–Jessica Beacom and Stacie Hassing
Why our testers loved this
There’s a whole bunch of reasons our recipe testers gobbled this crock pot Irish beef stew up. They loved the convenience of making it in the slow cooker, and were wowed by the “unbelievably tender beef” and “very flavorful sauce.” Tina Head was delighted with this “budget friendly comfort food” and was extremely pleased that it was a “truly versatile recipe.”
Leah Lemoine’s husband declared it “better than the Guinness stew at his favorite pub(!!!)”
Notes on ingredients
- Beef chuck roast–Look for a roast that has marbling throughout. It may be labeled as blade roast. If you prefer a richer stew, you could substitute boneless beef short ribs, as one of our testers did.
- Stout beer--To make this recipe gluten-free, use gluten-free beer. If you are avoiding alcohol, you can also substitute 2 cups of beef broth.
- Carrots and celery–If you want to boost the vegetable content of the stew, feel free to add extra carrots and/or celery.
How to make this recipe
- Season the beef with salt and pepper. Working in batches, brown the beef in oil and transfer it to the slow cooker.
- Sauté the onion in oil and 1/2 cup beef broth until softened. Add the garlic and cook briefly. Mix the onion and garlic into the beef in the slow cooker.
- Stir in the remaining ingredients. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.
- Season to taste and serve.
I don’t have a slow cooker. Can I make this in the oven?
Yes. Prepare the stew as directed through step 6, combining everything in a large Dutch oven. Pop it into a 225°F oven and let it burble away until the meat is tender, about 5 hours.
Can I make this stew in an Instant Pot or multicooker?
You sure can, and it even eliminates a dish to wash. Use the sauté function of your Instant Pot for steps 1 through 6, then combine everything in the pot and use the slow cooker function for cooking the stew until the meat is tender, about 8 hours.
How does this differ from traditional Irish stew?
Traditional Irish stew is usually made with lamb or mutton, and often contains potatoes in the stew itself. Both types of Irish stew contain other vegetables like carrots and onions and can be flavored with beer, stock, or wine.
- Don’t overcrowd your skillet when browning the meat, or it will steam instead of browning. If the meat won’t fit comfortably in an even layer in 2 batches, split it into 3 batches and use an additional 2 teaspoons of oil.
- If you prefer a thicker beef stew, whisk 2 tablespoons of cornstarch into 2 tablespoons of cold water. When the stew is finished cooking, use the sauté function (if using a multicooker) or set your slow cooker to high and whisk in the cornstarch slurry. Cook until thickened.
- Store any leftovers in airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- This recipe is suitable for dairy-free diets. To make it gluten-free, use gluten-free stout or replace it with beef broth.
More great beef stew recipes
☞ If you make this recipe, or any dish on LC, consider leaving a review, a star rating, and your best photo in the comments below. I love hearing from you.–David
Slow Cooker Irish Beef Stew
- 2 1/4 pounds boneless beef chuck roast trimmed of excess fat and cut into 3/4-inch (19 mm) cubes
- Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 6 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil or avocado oil divided
- 1 large (9 oz) yellow onion diced (about 2 1/2 cups)
- 1 cup low-sodium beef broth divided
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 4 medium (9 oz) carrots peeled and sliced 1/4-inch (6 mm) thick
- 3 medium (6 oz) celery stalks sliced 1/4-inch (6 mm) thick
- One (15- to 16-ounce) can stout beer or 2 cups low sodium beef broth
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- Garlic mashed potatoes for serving (optional)
- Chopped fresh parsley or thyme for garnish (optional)
- Pat the beef dry with paper towels, then season with salt and pepper.
- Place a large heavy-bottomed skillet or pot over medium-high heat. When hot, add 2 teaspoons of the oil and swirl to coat the bottom. Add half of the beef in a single layer and cook until well browned on all sides, about 7 minutes.
- Transfer to a 6-quart slow cooker. Repeat with 2 more teaspoons of the oil in the skillet and the remaining beef.
- Add the remaining 2 teaspoons oil to the skillet and decrease the heat to medium. Add the onion and 1/2 cup of the beef broth. Cook, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the skillet with a wooden spoon, until the onion starts to soften, 6 to 8 minutes.
- Add the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 1 minute.
- Transfer the onion and garlic to the slow cooker. Stir in the carrots, celery, beer, tomato paste, bay leaves, thyme, and remaining 1/2 cup broth. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.
- Remove the bay leaves. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve over garlic mashed potatoes, if desired, and garnish with parsley or thyme, if using.
- Browning the meat–Don’t overcrowd your skillet when browning the meat, or it will steam instead of browning. If the meat won’t fit comfortably in an even layer in 2 batches, split it into 3 batches and use an additional 2 teaspoons of oil.
- Thicken the stew–If you prefer a thicker beef stew, whisk 2 tablespoons of cornstarch into 2 tablespoons of cold water. When the stew is finished cooking, use the sauté function (if using a multicooker) or set your slow cooker to high and whisk in the cornstarch slurry. Cook until thickened.
- Storage–Store any leftovers in airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- Dietary–This recipe is suitable for dairy-free diets. To make it gluten-free, use gluten-free stout or replace it with beef broth.
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We’d love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
My husband and I both loved this slow cooker beef stew. I used boneless short ribs, and as we are not beer drinkers, I replaced the stout with more beef stock. The end result was luscious tender beef in a very flavourful sauce that went perfectly with garlic mashed potatoes.
I cooked the onions until soft and brown and used some of the stock to deglaze the pan. The more browned bits added to the cooker, the better, as far as I’m concerned.
I made half the recipe as there were only two of us, so I needed to use my very old small slow cooker. After 6 hours the beef was still on the tough side, so I turned it up to high for the last 2 hours. The beef was perfectly tender.
I let the stew sit for a few minutes while finishing off the mash so that some of the fat could be skimmed off.
This recipe is a keeper for us. The stew is nice and beefy without being overly rich. I can see it being a good option for prepping the night before.
With the temperature above 90ºF and the AC blasting, I conjured up the perfect winter meal with this Irish beef stew. Served with roasted garlic mashed potatoes and fresh peas from the farm stand down the road, it was a delicious supper. It will surely be in my winter rotation.
I made a few tweaks along the way. Since my slow cooker is rather large, I used my Dutch oven and cooked the stew in a 200ºF convection oven for 5 hours. The result was perfectly tender beef in a luscious sauce.
I used Guinness Stout (not gluten-free). I did not opt for the cornstarch.
The simplicity of this recipe is its best attribute. Once you have cubed your beef you can prep the veg while the beef is browning, simmer your onions, dump all of the ingredients back in the pot, stick it in the oven, and wait for a delicious dinner! And you only have one pot to clean.
This Irish beef stew recipe was exactly as advertised. Budget-friendly comfort food, adaptable (gluten-free or not), with flavour notes you can adjust depending on your choice of liquid and seasonings.
We made ours in an Instant Pot. It couldn’t have been easier. One pot for sauteing, braising, slow cooking, and presto. We cooked ours overnight and let it sit warm until lunch. The meat and veg were still intact, and delish. That’s good because we’re just two and going to freeze the extra.
We served ours with roasted garlic mashed potatoes, but this would be just grand over rice, noodles, polenta, couscous or … well, just about any starch. Or braised cabbage or mashed turnip.
We made ours with Guinness beer, which is not gluten-free. But there are so many choices today of well-crafted, artisanal stout beers, many of them gluten-free and some (even a Guinness) without alcohol, so this recipe is truly versatile.
The stout beer and thyme give this Crock Pot Irish Beef Stew an interesting flavor. There is an ample amount of “gravy “ to combine with the garlic mashed potatoes. I will probably add more carrots and celery the next time.
I served with biscuits and a green salad for a filling, satisfying meal.
My only problem with the recipe is that I look to slow cooker recipes to be quick prep and forget it. This recipe has quite a lot of prep required before it goes into the slow cooker. I would suggest doing the prep the night before so you can just put it in and turn it on in the morning to have it ready for dinner.
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
This slow-cooker Irish beef stew is my beloved’s favorite recipe I’ve tested for Leite’s so far! He is not a florid man when it comes to cooking compliments – “It’s tasty!” is usually the highest praise I get – so I was tickled when he told me multiple times how delicious and “amazing” it is. He said it is even better than the Guinness stew at his favorite pub (!!!).
The recipe is a bit of work at the start, but the slow cooker really does the rest of the work beautifully. The beef and veg are unbelievably tender, and the depth of flavor from the beef broth, onions, garlic, thyme, tomato paste, and Guinness is incredible. I did need to add quite a bit more salt at the end – about 2 teaspoons of Diamond Crystal kosher – to bring up the flavors.
I served the stew over garlic mashed potatoes and paired it with a Guinness for my partner and a red blend for me. I can’t wait to cook this all fall and winter – and reap more compliments.