While lamb meat is traditional in Irish Stew, this recipe swaps out the lamb for beef to make an incredibly flavorful Irish Beef Stew, filled with tender beef, hearty root vegetables, and a rich Guinness-infused broth. Whether prepared in the crockpot or Instant Pot, this Irish Stew comes together easily to deliver a cozy, comforting meal.
Just like Instant Pot Corned Beef and Cabbage, Reuben Dip, and Colcannon, Irish Beef Stew is an obvious choice when it comes to recipes celebrating St. Patrick's Day. However, this Irish girl is here to tell you this delicious stew deserves to be served year-round.
Rather than being cooked in a broth made with tomatoes and beef broth, like my recipe for Instant Pot Beef Stew, this Irish Stew features a Guinness-infused broth that is complex, tangy, and robust.
Reasons to Love Irish Beef Stew
- Authentic Flavor. Even when made using beef, rather than lamb, this recipe delivers the distinctive flavor of Irish Stew which is known for its unique, slightly sweet flavor with caramel undertones.
- Easy-to-Find Ingredients. With the addition of beef and stout beer, this stew is made with humble ingredients that you likely have on hand.
- Versatile Preparation. This delicious Irish Stew comes together easily using the oven, Instant Pot, or Crockpot.
Notes on Ingredients
- Beef: You can opt to purchase stew meat, which is already cubed for you, or purchase a beef chuck roast and cube it into bite-sized pieces.
- Stout Beer: Stout beer, such as Guinness, gives this stew its rich, caramel, coffee undertones. I recommend using the stout variety, not a draught, for the biggest punch of flavor. There is no substitute for stout beer in this Irish Stew recipe, as it is key to the unique, robust flavor.
- Beef Stock: Use low-sodium beef stock to control the level of sodium in the stew.
- Aromatics: Onions, garlic, and celery build intense flavor in this beef stew.
- Tomato Paste: A bit of tomato paste adds a rich tomato flavor to the stew, along with a bit of sweetness.
- Seasonings: Kosher salt, pepper, dried thyme leaves, bay, and Worcestershire sauce will help to create a rich and robustly flavored Irish Stew.
- Maple Syrup: Maple syrup is added to counteract some of the bitterness in the beer. Feel free to omit it or replace it with honey or brown sugar, but the maple notes pair beautifully with the caramel undertones in the beer.
- Potatoes: Yukon Gold, red, or russet potatoes are all suitable choices to use when making Irish Stew.
- Carrots: Use baby carrots or whole peeled carrots.
- Parsnips: If you can find parsnips, I highly recommend using them in addition to carrots. They have a nice sharp, slightly sweet, fresh taste, almost like a mellow carrot. If you don't have them on hand, replace them with regular carrots.
- Replace the Beef with Lamb: Feel free to use lamb shoulder that has been cubed into bite-sized chunks.
- Don't Cook with Alcohol? Unfortunately, there is no substitute for the Guinness beef. However, if you would rather not cook with beer, use my recipe for Instant Pot Beef Stew, made with beef broth and tomato sauce.
- Thick or Thinner Irish Stew? Use between 2 to 3 cups of beef stock to control if your stew is thicker or features more broth. The recipe also provides instructions on how to thicken your stew with cornstarch if desiring a super thick version of Irish Stew.
- Using Frozen Stew Meat: If your cubed beef is frozen, you can still make this Irish Beef Stew using the Instant Pot method. Skip searing the beef and add the frozen beef to the inner pot along with the beef broth. Instead of cooking for 30 minutes, cook for 40 minutes on high pressure.
Tips for Making the Best Irish Beef Stew
Whether you opt to prepare Irish Stew using the slow cooker or Instant Pot, the following tips are provided to help you achieve perfect results. You will find the detailed instructions in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Step One: Sear the beef. In a deep, heavy-bottomed pan, or the inner pot of an electric pressure cooker, sear the seasoned beef until browned on each side. Once browned, remove the beef to a plate.
Step Two: Saute the Aromatics. Saute the onion and celery until the onion has softened, and then add in garlic, thyme leaves, and tomato paste and saute until just fragrant. This will help to enhance the flavors of the herbs and tomato paste.
Step Three: Deglaze the Pot with Beer. Regardless of the method used for cooking the Irish Beef Stew, you want to add the beer, let it reduce, and scrape up all the browned bits off the bottom of the inner pot, as this flavors the stew (and prevents a burn notice from occurring on the Instant Pot).
Step Four: Layer and Cook. If pressure cooking the stew, add the beef stock, seasonings, and seared beef to the inner pot and pressure cook for 30 minutes on high pressure. This will allow the meat to become tender and ensure our veggies don't become mushy. If slow cooking, layer everything together in a large crockpot and slow cook on low for 7-9 hours or on high for 3-4 hours.
Step Five: Add Veggies. If pressure cooking this Irish beef stew, you want to add in the potatoes, carrots, and parsnips after the beef has been pressure cooked with a natural pressure release. Then proceed to cook for 3 minutes on high-pressure. After the cooking time has elapsed, allow the pressure to release naturally for at least 15 minutes, to ensure the beef stays tender and the vegetables are fully cooked.
Nothing goes better with stew than crusty bread. Serve this Irish Stew with Irish Soda Bread, Italian Bread, or Whole Wheat Dutch Oven Bread. And of course, it doesn't hurt to pair it with a Guinness to drink as well.
Which Method is Best for Preparing Irish Stew?
The flavor of this Irish Beef Stew is fairly identical whether prepared in the slow cooker or Instant Pot. However, each option has its advantages. Choose the method that best suits your needs.
- Slow Cooker: The advantage of cooking Irish Stew using the slow cooker is that you don't have to add the root vegetables later in the cooking process. The slow cooker uses a more gentle heat, which will not overcook the vegetables while the meat gets tender.
- Instant Pot: Not only is the Instant Pot the fastest method for preparing an Irish Stew, but it is also the only method that allows you to cook with frozen beef. The disadvantage is that you will have to first pressure cook the beef, allow for the pressure to release naturally, then add the vegetables and pressure cook again. It is simple to do, but something to keep in mind.
More Hearty Beef Recipes
- Vegetable Beef Soup
- Slow Cooker Pot Roast
- Instant Pot Beef and Barley Soup
- Instant Pot Italian Beef
- Instant Pot Beef Barbacoa
- Instant Pot Beef Bourguignon
- Instant Pot French Dip Sandwiches
If you tried this recipe for Irish Beef Stew, please be sure to leave a comment and review below.
Irish Beef Stew
- 1½ tablespoons olive oil divided
- 1¼ pounds beef or lamb stew meat cut into 1½-inch chunks
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt divided
- 1 teaspoon black pepper divided
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 large yellow onion chopped
- 1 stalk celery thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
- 12 ounces Stout Beer
- 2 -3 cups low-sodium beef broth *see note
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup optional
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 pound Yukon Gold, Russet, or red potatoes peeled, cut into ½-inch pieces
- 2 carrots peeled, cut into ½-inch pieces
- 2 parsnips peeled, cut into ½-inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon water
Instant Pot Instructions
- Pat the meat dry with a paper towel and then season generously with 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon black pepper.
- Turn the Instant Pot to saute, add 1 tablespoon of oil, and let heat. Once the oil has heated, add in the seasoned beef and sear until the beef is fully browned. Once the beef is browned, remove it to a plate.
- If your inner pot looks dry, add in the additional ½ tablespoon of oil. Then add the diced onion and celery to the Instant Pot and saute for 2-3 minutes, until the onion begins to caramelize. Add the garlic, tomato paste, and dried thyme for the last 30 seconds of cooking just to toast the spices and tomato paste.
- Add the beer to deglaze the pot. Use a wooden spoon to scrape any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Let the mixture cook for 3-4 minutes. Turn the saute function off by hitting cancel.
- Add 2 to 2 ½ cups of beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, maple syrup, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon pepper, and bay leaves to the Instant Pot. Add the seared meat back into the inner pot and stir well.
- Secure the lid on the instant pot. Set to cook on HIGH PRESSURE for 30 minutes by using the manual or pressure cook button. When the cooking time has elapsed, allow the pressure to release naturally on its own for 15 minutes.
- Open the Instant Pot and add the carrots, parsnips, and potatoes to the inner pot. Return the lid to the instant pot. Set to cook on high pressure for 3 minutes. After the cooking time has elapsed, allow 15 minutes of natural pressure release.
- At this point, the stew is ready to be served. However, if you would like a thicker stew, thicken it up by hitting cancel to turn off the keep warm feature and then hit saute. Whisk together the cornstarch and water until the cornstarch is fully dissolved. Whisk the cornstarch slurry into the stew, and let simmer and bubble until thickened, stirring often.
Slow Cooker Instructions
- Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large, deep skillet or pan over medium-high heat.
- Pat the meat dry with a paper towel and then season generously with 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon black pepper and then add to the heated oil. Brown on all sides. Once browned, add to the base of a 6-quart slow cooker.
- To the same skillet that you sauteed the beef, add in the onion and celery, and saute for 3-4 minutes, or until softened. Add the garlic, tomato paste, and thyme leaves and saute for 30-60 seconds more.
- Add the beer to the saute pan and allow the beer to come to a boil. Simmer for 2-3 minutes, or until slightly thickened, stirring frequently.
- Pour the beer mixture over the meat. Add in 3 cups of beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, maple syrup, potatoes, carrots, parsnips, and bay leaves. Season with 1 teaspoon of salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Stir to combine.
- Cover and cook on low for 7-9 hours or on high for 3-4 hours.
- Optional step for thicker Irish Stew: After the cooking time has elapsed, remove the lid from the slow cooker, and turn the heat to high. Whisk together the cornstarch and water until the cornstarch is fully dissolved. Whisk the cornstarch slurry into the stew, and let cook for 30 minutes on high, with the lid removed, stirring occasionally. Remove the bay leaves and serve.