Delicious Irish Stew Recipe: A Hearty Comfort Food

In the land of rolling green hills and picturesque countryside, there’s nothing quite like a steaming hot bowl of Irish stew to warm you up on a chilly evening. This traditional Irish dish has been satisfying hungry bellies for centuries, and once you try it, you’ll understand why it’s a classic.

The main difference between Irish stew and other stews, like beef stew or Mulligan stew, is the use of lean boneless lamb, mutton or chuck roast as opposed to stew meat or English beef. The hearty meat is cooked low and slow with root vegetables like onions, potatoes, and carrot, along with flavorings like dried thyme and ground black pepper to create this delicious and warming dish.

This classic Irish stew recipe is the perfect comfort food on a cold day, whether you’re in Ireland or far away in South Africa. It’s easy to make in a slow cooker or Dutch oven and pairs beautifully with an ice-cold Guinness or your favourite lager. So grab your apron, roll up your sleeves, and let’s get started making this taste of traditional Ireland in your kitchen.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Classic Irish Stew
Classic Irish Stew

This traditional Irish stew recipe is the ultimate comfort food that you’ll find hard to resist. It’s a hearty and wholesome meal that simultaneously satiates your hunger and warms your soul. If you’re a meat lover, then you’re in for a treat because this dish is made with tender and flavorful lean boneless lamb or beef stew meat cut into 1-2 inch chunks, depending on how much bite you prefer. The meaty aroma is enhanced by the addition of sautéed onions that impart a caramelized sweetness to the stew.

To give this classic Irish stew recipe its distinct flavor, I use dried thyme and ground black pepper as my go-to seasoning combo. These ingredients add just enough depth and complexity to the dish without overpowering it. But what really makes this recipe delightful is how easy it is to prepare using simple ingredients that are readily available at your local grocery store.

Whether you crave something savory and filling, want a hearty meal to warm up on cold days or need a nourishing meal to feed a crowd, this traditional Irish stew has your back. Its characteristically rich taste lends itself well to many serving options, from enjoying it as a standalone dinner to pairing it with some crusty bread or brown rice.

So trust me when I say that once you try this classic Irish stew recipe, it will become a cherished favorite in your household for years to come – giving Mulligan Stew or Greek casseroles a run for their money!

Ingredient List

 A hearty Irish classic that will warm your soul and fill your belly.
A hearty Irish classic that will warm your soul and fill your belly.

Let’s take a look at the list of ingredients that you will need for this Classic Irish Stew recipe:


  • Lean boneless lamb or beef stew meat cut into 1 to 2 inch chunks (2 pounds).
  • Potatoes and onions: For this recipe, I recommend using 4 medium potatoes and 2 large onions.
  • Carrots: You can use any root vegetables like parsnips, turnips, or even sweet potatoes. Add 2 to 3 carrots chopped in chunks.
  • Bacon: Cook the bacon until crispy and chop into small pieces before adding it to the stew.
  • Beef or chicken broth: Use your preferred type of broth per your preference or what you have available.
  • Guinness beer: The iconic Irish stout gives a unique flavor to the dish.
  • Dried thyme and ground black pepper: Seasonings are important. Use a teaspoon of dried thyme leaves, and half a teaspoon of ground black pepper.
  • Salt: 1 to 1.5 teaspoons salt, or to taste.
  • Extra virgin olive oil divided into 2 parts.

The Recipe How-To

 Perfect for a cozy night in or a St. Patrick's Day celebration.
Perfect for a cozy night in or a St. Patrick’s Day celebration.

Here’s how to make a Traditional Irish Stew just like they do in Ireland. It’s a hearty comfort food that you’ll want to make again and again, especially on cold winter nights.


  • 2 lbs lean boneless lamb, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 cups water or beef broth
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 4 potatoes, peeled and chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 4 large carrots, peeled and chopped
  • Optional: extra potatoes (for topping)


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).
  2. In a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, add one tablespoon of olive oil.
  3. Brown the lamb for about four minutes on each side until browned all over.
  4. Remove browned lamb from the pot to a plate.
  5. Add onions and garlic to the pot with some extra oil if necessary and sauté for about four minutes until softened.
  6. Pour in the broth, add thyme leaves and return the lamb to the pot.
  7. Bring everything to a rapid simmer, reduce heat to low, cover and cook for one hour until meat is tender.
  8. Add carrots and potatoes; cover again – cook for an additional hour until vegetables are tender.
  9. If you prefer, add additional peeled potatoes sliced thin like scalloped potatoes on top & cook for an additional 12-15 minutes or until these additional potatoes are cooked through & golden crispy on top.


This dish can be made in a slow cooker/crockpot. Follow steps 1-5 then place the ingredients into your slow cooker along with 1 cup of broth, cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours or until the vegetables are soft and the meat is tender.

Pro Tips:

  • Sautéing the onions and garlic will make them more flavourful.
  • Use enough liquid to cover the ingredients.
  • Cut your root vegetables in uniform sizes to ensure even cooking.
  • If desired serve with a side of soda bread to mop up all those juices.

Now, serve yourself a bowl of hot Traditional Irish Stew, garnish with fresh herbs (such as parsley) & enjoy!

Substitutions and Variations

 Tender chunks of beef, potatoes, carrots, and onions cooked to perfection in a savory broth.
Tender chunks of beef, potatoes, carrots, and onions cooked to perfection in a savory broth.

One of the great things about stew is that it’s a very forgiving dish- you can make a lot of substitutions and still end up with a delicious meal. Here are some substitutions and variations you can try:

– Meat: While lamb is traditionally used in Irish stew, beef or even pork make great alternatives. If you prefer a leaner cut, you can use beef chuck roast instead of stew meat.

– Vegetables: You can use a variety of root vegetables like parsnips, turnips, or carrots in place of the potatoes (or alongside them if you want to mix it up). Some recipes even call for green peas or celery.

– Broth: Instead of using water or beef broth, you can add a dark beer like Guinness to your stew for extra flavor.

– Herbs: While dried thyme is often used in Irish stew, you could also add some bay leaves or rosemary for additional seasoning.

– Bacon: If you’re looking to add some smokiness to your stew, cook a few slices of bacon before starting the recipe and crumble them over the top before serving.

– Slow Cooker: If you don’t have a Dutch oven, you can still make this dish in a slow cooker. Simply follow steps 1-3 in the main recipe and then transfer everything to your slow cooker instead of a pot. Cook on low for six to eight hours.

No matter what substitutions or variations you make, this hearty dish is sure to warm you up on a chilly day.

Serving and Pairing

 The ultimate comfort food that can feed a crowd or be enjoyed as leftovers.
The ultimate comfort food that can feed a crowd or be enjoyed as leftovers.

The Classic Irish Stew is a hearty and filling meal on its own, but it can also be paired with various sides that complement its robust flavors. This stew is best served hot in a large bowl, garnished with fresh parsley.

For an authentic Irish experience, try pairing it with freshly baked Soda Bread. The bread’s crunchy crust and tender interior make a perfect match for the stew’s thick and savory broth.

You can also serve the stew over mashed potatoes or on top of fluffy white rice. The starch helps balance out the acidity and saltiness of the dish, making it a rich and satisfying option.

If you’re looking to add more greens to your meal, you can also pair the stew with a fresh green salad. This simple combination provides a refreshing contrast to the richness of the dish.

And if you’re feeling adventurous, you can try pairing the stew with a pint of Guinness or your favorite dark beer. The bitterness of the beer complements the earthy flavors of the lamb and root vegetables in the stew.

No matter how you choose to serve it, this classic Irish Stew is sure to satisfy your comfort food cravings and impress your dinner guests with its delicious flavors.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 The aroma of the stew simmering on the stove will make your mouth water.
The aroma of the stew simmering on the stove will make your mouth water.

After making a delicious pot of traditional Irish stew, you might want to save some leftovers for later. By following these simple tips, you can ensure that your stew remains flavorful and hearty long after it was first cooked.

To make ahead, allow the stew to cool completely before transferring it to airtight containers. When properly stored in the fridge, the stew can last up to 4 days without losing any taste quality. If you plan on reheating leftovers, simply scoop out desired portions and reheat on medium heat until hot throughout.

If you have a large pot of Irish stew leftover that you’d like to keep longer than four days, freezing is your best bet. All you need to do is let the stew cool down before portioning it into freezer-safe containers. For safekeeping, cover the dish tightly with a plastic wrap or lid and mark your containers with the date of preparation. The stew will last up to 3 months in the freezer.

To reheat frozen Irish stew, remove it from the freezer and let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Again, scoop desired portions into a pot and reheat slowly over medium heat until heated throughout.

One important tip when reheating Irish stew is not to bring it to boil. Using high heat will cause the vegetables to become mushy and ruins its overall texture. Instead, warm your leftovers slowly over low-medium heat and stir occasionally.

Now that you know how to keep your fresh-made Irish stew viable for longer periods, what’s stopping you from making larger batches? With these easy steps, storing and reheating leftover classic Irish stew is as easy as pie.

Tips for Perfect Results

 With just a few simple ingredients, this recipe is easy to make and guaranteed to impress.
With just a few simple ingredients, this recipe is easy to make and guaranteed to impress.

Preparing the perfect Irish stew requires patience, attention to detail, and some know-how. With these tips, your classic Irish stew recipe will come out just right every time.

First, when selecting your stew meat, choose a lean boneless lamb, mutton or chuck roast cut into 1-2 inch chunks. Meat that is too fatty can make the stew greasy and less flavorful.

Secondly, be careful not to overcrowd the pot when browning the meat – this step is essential for adding depth of flavor to the stew. If you overcrowd the pot, you’ll end up steaming instead of searing the meat.

It’s also important to get a good caramelization on your onions and garlic. Be patient and let them cook slowly until they are a deep golden brown color. This will add a rich, savory depth of flavor to your stew.

When it comes to seasoning your traditional Irish stew, use salt and pepper to taste along with dried thyme and ground black pepper. Don’t over spice it – remember that the flavors will intensify as the stew simmers.

Another tip for perfect results is to take care when adding vegetables like potatoes, carrots, onions and root vegetables. Cut them into chunks that are roughly the same size as your meat so that they’ll cook evenly.

Lastly, keep in mind that traditional Irish stew is meant to be hearty and comforting – it’s not meant to be a fancy gourmet meal. Serve it up with some crusty bread or mashed potatoes for a truly satisfying experience.


Now that you know how to make a classic Irish stew, it’s time to address some frequently asked questions. Below are the answers to some of the most common inquiries about this hearty dish.

What is traditional Irish stew made of?

Traditionalists contend that an authentic Irish stew must comprise only mutton, onions, and potatoes; however, the fact is that several vegetables such as carrots, celery, turnips, swedes, parsnips, leek, kale, and cabbage could be incorporated and are perfectly consistent with the traditional style.

What makes Irish stew different from regular stew?

When it comes to stews, there are slight variations that set them apart from each other. For instance, a beef stew has a different broth compared to an Irish stew, along with the meat of choice. While beef stew uses beef chuck or stew meat made into cubes, an Irish stew typically includes lamb or mutton and a thick broth made from beer.

What gave the Irish stew its fresh Flavour?

To give your recipe its intended savory taste, it is customary to use either lamb or mutton while preparing traditional Irish stew. The most appropriate cuts of meat for this purpose are lamb or mutton neckbones and shanks, complemented by root vegetables such as carrots, parsnips, and turnips, to enhance the flavors.

What is the difference between Irish stew and Mulligan stew?

When it comes to stew, the type of meat used plays a significant role in the dish’s overall flavor. While Irish stew typically features lamb or mutton as its protein, Mulligan stew opts for beef instead. Additionally, Mulligan stew is known for incorporating a diverse array of vegetables, allowing for more flexibility in the recipe.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, this classic Irish stew recipe is the perfect hearty and comforting meal to warm you up on a chilly day. With its traditional Irish flavors and simple ingredients, this stew is easy to make, and it’s a crowd-pleaser.

Whether you want to use lamb or beef, root vegetables or soft onions and potatoes, the choice is yours. You can serve it over mashed potatoes or with crusty bread on the side. The possibilities are endless.

This recipe has been handed down from generations to generations of Irish families, and it is a testament to the richness of their culinary culture. Trust me; once you taste this classic Irish stew recipe, you’ll never go back to any other beef stew recipe.

So don’t wait any longer! Grab your dutch oven or slow cooker today and start cooking. You won’t regret it!

Classic Irish Stew

Classic Irish Stew Recipe

I have not tried this yet,pulled it out of my files,but it sounds good!
Course Main Course
Cuisine Irish
Keyword < 4 Hours, Easy, European, Healthy, Lamb/Sheep, Low Cholesterol, Meat, St. Patrick's Day, Stew, Stove Top, Weeknight
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Calories 872.6kcal


  • 8 large potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/2 inch thick pieces
  • 6 large onions, sliced into 1/4 inche pieces
  • 4 lbs lean boneless lamb, cut into 2 inch cubes 4 tsp salt
  • 4 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme


  • In a large stewpot or dutch oven,make a solid layer on bottom with half of the potatoes.
  • Layer half the onions on top of this.
  • Arrange all the lamb over the onions.
  • Sprinkle salt, pepper and thyme over top of all.
  • Cover with remaining onions and potatoes.
  • Pour in enough cold water to cover and bring to a boil.
  • Simmer over low heat for 1 1/2 hours.
  • Check pot frequently and add more water if liquid has simmered away.


Serving: 710g | Calories: 872.6kcal | Carbohydrates: 153.2g | Protein: 45.6g | Fat: 10.1g | Saturated Fat: 3.6g | Cholesterol: 92mg | Sodium: 123mg | Fiber: 20g | Sugar: 15.4g

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