You don’t need the luck o’ the Irish to make a phenomenal beef and Guinness Stew, just a bottle of the good stuff and a pot big enough to hold it all. This stew is so rich and hearty, it might become your new standard stew recipe!
Give me a big bowl of Guinness stew, beef or lamb, and I am in Heaven. Meat stew with beer is one of Wisconsin’s winter staples, so as soon as it dips below 60, I’m lugging out the Dutch oven and getting to work browning beef.
Just like in my Easy Beef Bourguignon (or Boeuf Bourguignon, if you want to get technical) you don’t need a fancy cut of meat to make Guinness Stew. What you do need, though, is some time to let that meat get tender. And most importantly, you have to brown the beef.
But more on that later. Did I mention that if you serve this stew with mashed potatoes, you'll have double potatoes? Yeah! But you don't have to. I make Irish Soda Bread to eat, too, in case you're more of a bread person.
That’s why this Guinness Stew recipe is just as delicious in the slow cooker as it is on the stove (or even the oven). I’ll take you through all the different ways to make it, so all you have to do is pick your favorite cooking method and gather up the beef stew ingredients.
Making Guinness Beef Stew for the best St. Pat’s Day ever? Just don't forget to wear green. Click and slide the number next to “servings” on the recipe card below to adjust the ingredients to match how many you’re feeding—the recipe does the math for you, it’s that easy.
What is in Guinness Stew?
Like all good traditional Irish stews, it's made with beef chuck, bacon, onion, potatoes, carrots, celery, garlic, beef broth, a little Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, some herbs, and, of course, Guinness.
However, if you care to add turnips, mushrooms, parsnips, leeks, barley, rosemary, or, God forbid, leave out the potatoes, you absolutely can. Most Irish stew is made with mutton or lamb, because cattle were more valuable, so if you’re craving lamb stew, go ahead and make the switch.
After all, every single family and pub in Ireland has their own traditional beef and Guinness stew recipe, and each one is slightly different.
What is the best beef for beef stew?
I love using an inexpensive cut like chuck roast. They have a lot of fat, but the long cooking time means that fat breaks down into meltingly tender chunks of beef and a rich, full-bodied sauce.
Sometimes the same cut goes by a different name, so if you can't find what the recipe calls for, look for these:
- Chuck Shoulder
- Chuck Roast
- Chuck-Eye Roast
- Top Chuck
- Bottom Round Roast
- Bottom Eye Roast
- Rump Roast
- Eye Round Roast
- Top Round
- Round Tip Roast
- English Roast
- Pot Roast
How to make traditional Guinness Stew:
First, gather your ingredients. Does it have to be Guinness, exactly, for making Irish beef stew? Not really. You can use any full-bodied stout for this recipe. It will cook down and add a really nice roasted flavor to the stew.
- In a heavy-bottomed pot, cook the bacon. After the bacon is cooked, take it out and set it aside. You'll use the bacon grease to brown the beef.
- The important part of making beef stew is browning the cubes of beef chuck. While the bacon is cooking, you can get the beef chopped and dredged in flour. This will make a beautiful brown crust on the beef, and serve as a gentle thickener later on.
- Work in batches, taking out the beef when it's browned to make room for the next batch.
- After the beef is all brown and delicious, you can toss in the onions and cook until soft and translucent. Potatoes, celery, and carrots come next, then the garlic.
- When the carrots and celery are a little soft, you can deglaze the pan with some beer. Use a wooden spoon to scrape down the bottom of the pan. Then you can add the tomato paste, beef broth, Worcestershire, bay leaves, thyme, and whatever else you feel like throwing in.
- The stew gets brought up to a boil, and then simmered on the stove for about 2 hours, or until the beef is tender. Five minutes before serving, add the peas--this keeps them green. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper.
How to cook Guinness Stew in the oven:
Sometimes, it's easier to let something cook in the oven, at a lower temperature, rather than worry about it bubbling over or overcooking on the stove. Once the stew is fully assembled and all you have to do is simmer, you can continue to cook it in the oven instead. Just make sure your pot is oven-safe.
If you need the stove for other things (like mashed potatoes) I’d bake it at 325 degrees, probably closer to 3 – 3 1/2 hours. And set a timer--you may want to wait to add the potatoes during the last 1 to 1 1/2 hours of baking.
How to make Guinness Stew in the slow cooker:
Got an urge for beef stew in the crockpot? Here you go. Just remember to cook the bacon and brown the beef on the stove to get things going.
- In a large heavy-bottomed pan, cook bacon over medium-high heat. Turn slow cooker on*. When bacon is crispy, remove from pan and set aside. Keep bacon fat in pan—do not discard.
- After tossing the beef together with salt, pepper, and flour, add to the pan with the bacon drippings and cook until all sides of the chunks are browned.
- While beef is browning, add potatoes, bacon, Worcestershire, bay leaves, carrots, celery, onion, thyme, garlic and tomato paste to the slow cooker. Stir.
- Deglaze the pan you cooked the beef in by pouring about half of the stout to the pan to loosen up the browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pan, scraping with a wooden spoon.
- Add browned beef, beef broth, and remaining Guinness to the slow cooker and stir to combine.
- Cook for 3-4 hours on high, 8-10 hours on low.
- Add peas and give the stew a good stir, and season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper. Serve with mashed potatoes.
Guinness Stew in the Instant Pot:
An electric pressure cooker takes the pressure off of you so you can concentrate on the important things, like mashed potatoes. I hope you have the big Instant Pot, otherwise you'll be making this again tomorrow!
- Set Instant Pot to sauté function, and add bacon, cooking until crispy. Remove bacon when done and set aside. Do not discard bacon fat.
- Add flour-dredged beef (working in batches) and let cook about 3 minutes on each side, or until browned. Set browned beef aside on a plate.
- Add Guinness to deglaze the pan, scraping the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to loosen up any browned bits.
- Add beef, bacon, onions, celery, garlic, tomato paste, Worcestershire, bay leaves, thyme and beef stock.
- Secure lid, make sure valve is set to sealing and set Instant Pot to Meat/Stew function for 30 minutes.
- Use quick release valve to release steam.
- Remove lid, add potatoes and carrots. Secure lid back on and set to pressure cook/manual for 4 minutes.
- Use quick release valve to release steam. Remove lid and stir in peas.
- Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper. Serve with mashed potatoes.
Guinness Stew Recipe
- 6 slices bacon thick cut, chopped
- 2 pounds boneless beef chuck roast or chuck pot roast, cut against the grain into 1-inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 large onion chopped
- 5 medium red potatoes chopped
- 3 carrots peeled and chopped
- 3 stalks celery chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 16 ounces Guinness Extra Stout
- 2 cups beef broth
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cup peas thawed
- Mashed potatoes for serving
- In a dutch oven over medium heat, fry bacon until crisp. Remove bacon from pot and reserve rendered bacon fat. Meanwhile, season beef generously with salt and and toss with flour to coat.
- Working in batches as necessary to prevent over-crowding, fry beef in reserved bacon fat until well-browned on each side, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate and repeat with remaining beef.
- Once all beef has been browned and removed, add onions and cook until softened and lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add potatoes, carrots, and celery and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Add the Guinness and bring to boil, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Boil for 2 minutes.
- To the pot add browned beef, chopped bacon, beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, thyme, and bay leaves. Bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 2 hours or until the beef is tender and the vegetables are cooked through.
- Stir in peas. Remove bay leaves and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with mashed potatoes.