This Slow Cooker Irish Beef Stew is full of fall apart tender beef, potatoes and carrots, with a rich broth flavored with Guinness. After cooking all day in the crock pot, enjoy this Guinness beef stew on St. Patricks day or any other day of the year!
It’s no secret that I LOVE St. Patrick’s Day. As an Irish American girl, I grew up eating Irish Beef Stew more often than Corned Beef and Cabbage. A few years ago I developed an Irish Guinness Beef Stew recipe, that is still one of my favorite St. Patrick’s day recipes. But making a good stew can take a few hours in the oven, and that isn’t always a possibility on a weeknight. That is why I decided to develop this Guinness beef stew for the crock pot.
A slow cooker is great for those times you want to “set it and forget it” – but sometimes it can lose all the delicious flavor that we normally get from braising in the oven. I tried to recreate as much of that slow roasted oven flavor in this crock pot stew recipe, so there are a few extra steps at the beginning. But once you get everything in the crock pot, it is hands off!
How to make a flavorful beef stew in the Slow Cooker
It is important to develop some flavor before putting all the ingredients into the slow cooker. We toss the beef in flour, salt and pepper. The flour helps the stew thicken as it cooks. We start by browning the beef, then sauteing some onions. We also add some tomato paste for a richer flavor, and finally the guinness, which adds a deep flavor. These steps help to create a flavorful stew, even when using your crockpot.
How do you thicken Irish Beef Stew?
In this recipe, we toss the beef with flour before browning it. Adding the flour helps the broth to thicken as it cooks. It is important to use all the flour that is called for to toss with the beef. If you find that the stew is not as thick as you would like when it is done cooing, you can create a slurry to reach the desired consistency.
To make a slurry, mix a few tablespoons of flour with about 1/4 cup of broth from the stew. Mix until it is a smooth consistency, then add it back to the stew and stir to fully combine. Allow the stew to cook for 20-30 more minutes, broth will thicken as it cooks.
What sides go with Irish Beef stew?
Stew can easily be a one pot meal, but you may want to serve some sides with it.
A nice, hearty bread is a great side for stew, especially good for dipping into the hearty broth. Check out my Irish Guinness Brown Bread recipe.
Since the stew is so rich, serving it with a nice fresh green salad will make for a balanced meal. Other great side dishes for Irish Stew are Roasted Asparagus or Sauteed Cabbage.
What do you drink with Irish Stew?
Guinness is the obvious choice! But if you would prefer an Irish cocktail, try my Irish Mule or Irish Maid cocktail! I also think red wine goes really well with beef stew.
Slow Cooker Irish Beef Stew
- 3 ½ pounds beef chuck cut into 1 and 1/2 inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 2 onions finely diced
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 3 cups beef broth
- 1 1/4 cups Guinness beer divided
- 1 ½ tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
- 1 pound carrots cut into 1 inch pieces
- 1 ½ pounds Yukon gold potatoes cut into 1 inch pieces
- fresh parsley
- Season beef with salt and pepper toss with flour to fully coat. Use all the flour.
- Heat a dutch oven over medium high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of oil. Brown beef on all sides, working in batches if necessary to avoid over crowding pan. Remove beef from pan and transfer to slow cooker.
- Return pan to heat, add another tablespoon of oil. Add the onions, season with salt and sauté until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Reduce heat as needed to avoid burning the onions.
- When onions are golden, add the tomato paste and garlic, stir until combined and a "fond" (the brown bits) is starting to develop on the bottom of the pot.
- Slowly whisk in the beef broth, scrapping up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Add 1/2 a cup of the Guinness, the brown sugar, and the fresh thyme. Whisk to combine.
- Add potatoes and carrots to slow cooker. Carefully pour broth over meat and vegetables.
- Set slow cooker to low and cook for 6-8 hours. If broth is not desired consistency, see notes for how to thicken it.
- When finished cooking, stir in the remaining 3/4 cup of Guinness and fresh chopped parsley. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve.
What could I use if I don’t have beer or red wine?
Hi, you can just use more beef broth.
Beverly Somersall says
Would ordinary beer work as well as Guinness?
Hi Beverly – yes I think that would be fiine!
Lourde Jones says
Wowy zowy– this is really good. Truly fantastic.
So glad you loved it!
Bobbie Szulczewski says
I need to make this the day before and then reheat. Is that possible? Should I reheat in crock pot?
Hi Bobbie, yes, it is great the next day. You can reheat it in the slow cooker if you want, or stovetop or even microwave.
Jim P says
I’ve actually found that this recipe, like a lot of similar recipes, tastes better the second day after it’s had a chance to meld together in the fridge.
As for the reheat, I’ve found it best in a pot on the stone on low. Just leave enough time to get back up to temp. The slow cooker on low is still technically cooking it and not warming it up and it can get overdone.
Jim P says
This recipe is outrageously good but it’s not for a novice in the kitchen. This takes a lot of time up front. Anyone thinking this is a typical ‘throw everything into the slow cooker’ is in for a big surprise. If you can make it thru the first hour than this is the best beef stew I’ve had. I think it’s great that you added the method for the slurry because I’ve made this 3 times now and it’s been needed every time. I just don’t think the flour on the beef ends up being enough as a thickener. Great stuff.
So glad you love it!
My husband thought this was a great stew recipe! I have to agree! 5 STARS
So glad to hear that!
Asia K. says
Wow! Great tasting stew ! I made it today for St Patrick Day dinner and the whole family loved it 😋 Thank you for this wonderful recipe !
I’m so happy you loved it!
Anthony Quinones says
So glad you loved it!
kiley cruse says
Am I missing something. Ingredients call for 1.5 cups of Guinness, divided. But the instructions use 1/2 cup in step 5 and 3/4 cup in step 8 which don’t equal 1.5.
Hi Kiley – you are right, that is a typo! It should be 1 and 1/4 cups Guinness, divided. We will get that updated. Thanks for pointing that out!
Is there a typo in the substitution of brown sugar to white sugar too? I’m a greenie and thought 1 cup of white sugar was too much so I used 1/2 cup and it was still too sweet…I’ll presume you meant tablespoons now as brown sugar was in tablespoons not cups. Should change it on the substitutes menu…
Hi Alan, I’m not sure where you are seeing that substitution? I don’t see it anywhere in the recipe. If you do choose to use white sugar instead of brown sugar, I haven’t tested it but I would just use the same amount as the brown sugar.
Could I substitute the Guinness with red wine? I realize that takes away from the Irish part of it.. But it’s all I have on hand. Would it still turn out well?
Hi Erin, I think that would be fine! I also have a red wine stew recipe on the site, although it is made in the oven. https://www.foxandbriar.com/red-wine-beef-stew/
Barb Hall says
This stew was absolutely fantastic! I cooked it in the oven instead of slow cooker. Oh my gosh so good. Beef melts in your mouth. I followed your directions but put in covered roast pan at 325 for 3 hours. I did need to thicken a bit but not much. I left lid off for the last 25 mins to brown up. Yum!
So happy to hear that Barb!
I notice you use hot liquid to add to a slurry if you did that wouldn’t you get clumps? I do. I mix cold water with the flour to makes a slurry and then added to the stew
Hi Wayne – I haven’t had that problem with the hot liquid. It does need to be whisked to remove lumps. However, you may not need the slurry at all, as the beef is coated with flour and that often will thicken the stew enough.
This stew is AMAZING. The beef just melts in your mouth and it has the most flavorful stew.
Yay, so glad you loved it!
Tacos were amazing 👌! I was short on time so had to put the crock pot on high for 4.5 hours. Still tender as could be and flavorful.
So glad to hear that Ryan!
Ashlyn @ F5 Method says
This beef stew looks like such a cozy dinner! The tenderness of those beef pieces though omg…..