Perfectly Seasoned Irish Beef Stew Recipe

As soon as I start thinking about Irish cuisine, the first dish that comes to my mind is undoubtedly the beloved Irish Lamb or Beef Stew. This hearty and rich stew has been a staple in Irish kitchens for centuries and is a true comfort food classic. Its roots can be traced back to the days when Irish peasants had little access to meat and would slow-cook tough cuts of lamb, mutton or beef with water, onions, potatoes and root vegetables until they became fall-apart tender.

Nowadays, this traditional Irish stew has evolved into an even heartier and more flavorful version. In addition to its base ingredients, some variations include a splash of Guinness Stout, fresh thyme, dried thyme, fresh parsley and even lamb chops on top. This magical combination of ingredients creates a savory stew that will warm you up from the inside out.

So if you’re in the mood for something truly special, cozy and full of flavor – this Irish Lamb or Beef Stew Recipe is calling your name. Get ready to savor every single bite while you transport yourself straight to the Emerald Isle.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Irish Lamb or Beef Stew
Irish Lamb or Beef Stew

My dear food lovers, let me tell you something: this Irish Lamb or Beef Stew recipe will change your life forever. If you’re a fan of hearty stews with rich and deep flavors, then you will definitely fall in love with this dish. But wait, that’s not all! This recipe is not only delicious but also incredibly easy to make.

Imagine coming home after a long day, feeling tired and hungry. All you have to do is chop some root vegetables, brown the meat, add some broth and let it simmer for a few hours while you relax on the couch. The next thing you know, your entire house is filled with the most amazing aroma, and your stomach starts to growl in anticipation.

But what really sets this stew apart is its versatility. You can switch between lamb and beef depending on your preference, or even combine the two for an extra special flavor. You can also substitute the traditional Guinness beer for any ale of your choice if you’re not a fan of its bitter taste.

Trust me when I say that this stew will warm your soul and make you feel like you’re sitting by a cozy fire in a quaint Irish cottage. Don’t just take my word for it though – go ahead and give this recipe a try. I promise that it won’t disappoint!

Ingredient List

 A hearty bowl of Irish comfort food
A hearty bowl of Irish comfort food

Ingredients list for a traditional Irish Lamb or Beef Stew Recipe

For traditional Irish stew, the most important ingredients are lamb or beef, potatoes, onions, carrots, and water. Guinness can also be added for extra flavor.

  • 3 pounds of lamb or beef stew meat cut into thick 1 ½ – 2 inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 cups water or beef broth
  • 1 cup Guinness (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Fresh parsley
  • Fresh thyme sprigs
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and sliced into rounds
  • 1 lb. root vegetables such as parsnips or turnips (optional)
  • 6 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes

Note that the above ingredients’ portions can be adjusted to suit your preference. If you prefer a more hearty stew with more root vegetables like parsnips or turnips, feel free to add them. In general, lamb is the preferred meat for traditional Irish stew. Still, if you can’t find it or prefer something else, beef will work well too.

The Recipe How-To

 Perfect for a cozy night in
Perfect for a cozy night in

Now that we have all the ingredients, let’s start making our Irish Lamb or Beef Stew. This recipe requires a little bit of patience, but the end result is definitely worth it.

Step 1: Prepare the Meat

  • Trim and cut the lamb or beef meat into 1 1/2-inch to 2-inch pieces. Don’t go too small because you want them to hold their shape while cooking.
  • Season them with salt and pepper.

Step 2: Sauté the Onions

  • Heat up a large pot over medium-high heat and then add some oil.
  • Add onions and cook until translucent for about 5 minutes.

Step 3: Add the Meat

  • Once the onions are done, add the seasoned meat.
  • Brown each side of the meat until they get a nice, golden crust (about 5 minutes).

Step 4: Add Water

  • Add enough water to cover everything in the pot (usually about 6 cups).
  • Add fresh thyme, dried thyme, and bay leaves.

Step 5: Simmering Time

  • Bring it all to boil, then reduce heat to low, cover the pot with a lid and let it cook for about an hour.
  • After an hour, take off the lid and let it simmer uncovered until meat is tender (usually takes around another hour)
  • While simmering add more water if needed.

Step 6: Add Potatoes and Other Vegetables

  • Add potatoes cut into chunks to your stew, followed by carrots cut into rounds [Tip: use root vegetables such as swedes or parsnips for variation].
  • Simmer for another 30 minutes until vegetables are tender.

Step 7 Optional Step : Make It Thicker or Gravy-like

  • If you want to make it thicker, add a couple of tablespoons of purpose flour mixed with cold water to make a slurry
  • Stir well and simmer for another 10 minutes.
  • After 10 minutes, it should be thicker, more like a gravy.

Step 8: Season and Serve

  • Season the stew again with salt and pepper if needed.
  • Discard bay leaves fresh thyme stems.
  • Serve hot and garnish with fresh parsley.

Tip: This stew recipe is even better the next day as flavors develop more. Store any leftovers in the fridge and consume within three days.

Now that you have read how easy it is to make this Irish Lamb or Beef Stew, grab your apron and your cooking pot; let’s create a comforting dish that will warm your soul.

Substitutions and Variations

 Rustic ingredients come together in delicious harmony
Rustic ingredients come together in delicious harmony

A good stew recipe always allows for some flexibility in ingredient choices. Here are some of my favorite substitutions and variations that you can try.

– Meat: For a slightly gamey flavor, swap the lamb for mutton or venison. If you prefer beef, look for a cut with good marbling like chuck or round.

– Vegetables: Root vegetables like parsnips, turnips or rutabagas can be added alongside the potatoes for extra flavor and nutrition. You could also use sweet potatoes instead of regular ones for a twist on tradition.

– Beer: If you don’t have Guinness or prefer a lighter flavor, try using an Irish red ale instead. Or skip the beer altogether and use beef or chicken broth instead.

– Herbs: Experiment with different herbs to suit your taste. Rosemary, bay leaves or oregano can all work well in a hearty stew like this one.

– Cooking Method: While traditional Irish stew is simmered slowly on the stove or baked in the oven, you could also make it in a pressure cooker for faster results. Another option is to use your slow cooker and let the flavors meld together while you go about your day.

Remember, these are just suggestions – feel free to use what you have on hand or what sounds most appealing. The beauty of a good stew recipe like this is that it’s customizable to your tastes and preferences.

Serving and Pairing

 A warm hug in a bowl
A warm hug in a bowl

When it comes to serving Irish Lamb or Beef Stew, you can’t go wrong with some crusty bread on the side to soak up all that delicious broth. Alternatively, serving with some mashed potatoes would also be a fantastic choice. The creamy and buttery texture of mashed potatoes provides a perfect complement to the rich and hearty stew.

As for pairing, I would recommend that you serve this Irish stew with a bold and full-bodied red wine like Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, or Zinfandel. These wines have enough structure and tannins to stand up to the meatiness of the stew while balancing out the robust flavors with their subtle notes of berries, spices, and earthy undertones.

For beer lovers, you can’t go wrong with adding a pint of Guinness to your meal. The roasted and smoky flavors of Guinness make it an excellent pairing for any hearty stew. And if you’re feeling extra adventurous, why not try a lambic beer or cider to add some sweetness and acidity to your palate?

No matter how you choose to serve or pair your Irish Lamb or Beef Stew recipe, one thing is for sure: this dish is a crowd-pleaser perfect for any time of year. So gather your family and friends around the table and enjoy some traditional Irish comfort food together!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 The ultimate winter stew
The ultimate winter stew

As a chef, I know how important it is to plan ahead, especially when it comes to meal prep. The good news is that this Irish lamb or beef stew recipe is perfect for making ahead of time and storing for future meals.

To make this stew ahead of time, simply follow the recipe instructions and let the stew cool completely before transferring it to an airtight container. The stew can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

When it comes time to reheat the stew, you have a few options. If you’re short on time, feel free to microwave individual servings until heated through. However, for the best results, I recommend reheating the stew on the stovetop over low heat. This will help maintain the quality and texture of the ingredients without overcooking them or losing any of their flavor.

If you find that your stew has become too thick after refrigerating or freezing, simply add a splash of water or broth to thin it out. Additionally, if you prefer your stew with a bit more liquid than the recipe calls for, feel free to adjust the amount of water or broth added during the cooking process.

Overall, this delicious Irish lamb or beef stew recipe is perfect for make-ahead meal prep and will still taste as fresh as ever when reheated properly.

Tips for Perfect Results

 Irish tradition at its finest
Irish tradition at its finest

Creating the perfect Irish lamb or beef stew may require patience and attention to detail, but the results are worth it. Here are some tips to ensure that your next batch of stew turns out delicious, hearty, and satisfying.

1. Sear the meat first: To pack in as much flavor as possible, sear the lamb or beef in several tablespoons of oil until browned on all sides before adding other ingredients. This will give your stew a richer depth of flavor.

2. Use fresh herbs: While dried thyme can be convenient, fresh thyme adds a much more nuanced flavor to your dish. Fresh parsley is also a great way to finish off your stew before serving.

3. Don’t skimp on the onions and root vegetables: Onion adds a sweetness that balances out the salty broth, while celery and carrots offer a pleasing crunch when cooked with potatoes.

4. Add Guinness beer or beef stock: While this recipe can be made with either lamb or beef, for an authentic taste of Ireland, Irish cooks would use Guinness beer or beef stock instead of water for the broth. The strong flavors complement the meaty, savory base of the stew and create a heartier dish.

5. Keep the meat pieces large: To prevent overcooking and to maintain tender textures in your lamb or beef stew, cut your meat into 1 ½ – 2 inch pieces. This will give you perfectly juicy and flavorful meat that hasn’t been reduced to tough shreds.

6. Thicken with flour: For an added touch of richness and thickness to your broth, mix unsweetened flour with cold water and drizzle it into the pot during the last 30 minutes of cooking time.

By following these tips, you’ll create the best-ever Irish lamb or beef stew with a traditional homemade flavor that just might make you want to visit Ireland!


Before we wrap up this article, I thought it might be beneficial to address some frequently asked questions about this Irish Lamb or Beef Stew Recipe. These questions cover some aspects of the recipe that may not have been discussed in earlier sections but are still important to know to get the most out of your cooking experience. So, let’s dive into these FAQs and discover even more tips and tricks for perfecting this traditional Irish dish.

What’s the difference between beef stew and Irish stew?

When comparing beef stew and Irish stew, the dissimilarity lies in the type of meat and broth used. Typically, beef stew comprises of cubed beef, like chuck roast or stew meat. In contrast, Irish stew traditionally utilizes lamb or mutton and is brewed with a hearty, dense beer-based broth.

What is the best meat for stews recipes?

For this British cuisine recipe, we will be using a variety of flavorful cuts of meat. These include bone-in short rib, bohemian (bottom sirloin flap), oxtail, fatty brisket (also known as “point” or “second cut”), and cross-cut shanks. Each cut has its own unique taste and texture that will add depth and richness to the dish.

What cut of beef is best for Irish stew?

When it comes to making a delicious stew, you’ll want to opt for chuck steak, which is also referred to as gravy beef or braising steak. This cut of beef is derived from the animal’s forequarter, specifically the neck, shoulder blade, and upper arm. It’s both cost-effective and widely available, making it an excellent choice for anyone whipping up a hearty stew.

Which meat does a traditional Irish stew contain?

When it comes to making stews, there are significant differences between Irish stew and beef stew. Irish stew can feature different meats like mutton, lamb, or beef, whereas beef stew is exclusively made with beef. Both types of stews include similar vegetables, seasonings, and thickeners.

Bottom Line

As you can see, this traditional Irish lamb or beef stew recipe is more than just a hearty and delicious meal. It embodies the spirit of a rich culinary heritage and brings together flavors that will transport your taste buds straight to the countryside of Ireland.

Whether you choose to make it with lamb or beef, in a pressure cooker or slow cooker, there are endless ways to enjoy this beloved classic. And with the tips, substitutions and variations that I’ve shared with you throughout this article, there’s simply no excuse not to try making this stew at home.

So whether it’s a chilly winter evening, a dinner party with friends, or just a relaxing weekend at home, consider making this traditional Irish lamb or beef stew recipe your go-to meal for any occasion. Bon appétit!

Irish Lamb or Beef Stew

Irish Lamb or Beef Stew Recipe

This is comfort food. Serve with Irish soda bread and a mix of carrots and peas. This stew can also be cooked in a crockpot, layer the same and cook on low for 8 hours.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Irish
Keyword < 4 Hours, Canadian, Easy, European, Free Of..., Kid-Friendly, Lactose-free, Lamb/Sheep, Lunch, Meat, Oven, Potato, Potluck, St. Patrick's Day, Stew, Vegetable, Weeknight, Winter
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 35 minutes
Calories 220.7kcal


  • 2 lbs boned lamb (Lamb is traditional) or 2 lbs boned beef, sliced, 1/4 inch slices (Lamb is traditional)
  • 2 lbs peeled potatoes, thinly sliced (a mandolin slicer works best)
  • 3 large onions, thinly sliced
  • salt and pepper, each layer to taste
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 13 ounces water


  • Trim the meat, leaving a little of the fat and slice.
  • Season the meat and veggies with salt, pepper, 2 teaspoons of parsley and the thyme.
  • Layer the potatoes, meat and onions in a large casserole, starting and finishing with a layer of potatoes.
  • Add the water and cover tightly.
  • Cook in a preheated oven at 275 degrees for 2 1/2 hours, shake occasionally to prevent sticking, and check liquid now and then.
  • Do not add unless absolutly necessary.
  • The potatoes will thicken the finished stew so it should not be too runny.
  • Just before serving, remove lid and brown the top under a hot broiler and sprinkle with remaining parsley.
  • The potatoes on top should be nice and brown and crisp.


Serving: 289g | Calories: 220.7kcal | Carbohydrates: 50.3g | Protein: 5.9g | Fat: 0.3g | Saturated Fat: 0.1g | Sodium: 22mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 6.6g

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