Classic Irish Stew Recipe for Cozy Comfort Meals

As a chef specializing in British cuisine, I couldn’t be more thrilled to share with you my take on the classic Old-Fashioned Irish Stew recipe. This hearty and wholesome meal is a traditional Irish stew that has been passed down for generations. It is a simple yet satisfying dish that is perfect for those cold winter nights when all you need is something warm and comforting to eat.

One of the things that make this recipe so special is how it brings families and friends together around the dinner table. I remember growing up in South Africa; we would often make stews similar to this one, made with root vegetables and hearty meat cuts. It reminds me of my grandmother’s kitchen where we would gather every Sunday for her delicious stew.

The ingredients used in this recipe are simple yet flavorful, and when combined, they create an irresistible taste that warms your soul. The beef broth adds a depth of flavor, while the vegetables like onions, potatoes, carrots, and fresh parsley bring out a natural sweetness that balances everything out.

If you have never tried making an Irish stew before, now is the perfect time to give it a try! It’s easy to make and requires minimal effort; all you need is just a few ingredients and a bit of patience as you let it simmer until ready.

So go ahead, gather your loved ones around the table, pour yourself a pint of Guinness (if you’re feeling extra Irish), and indulge in the classic flavors of this Old-Fashioned Irish Stew recipe. I guarantee it will become a staple in your weekly meal rotation!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Old-Fashioned Irish Stew
Old-Fashioned Irish Stew

Dublin may be known for its jovial spirit and Guinness beer, but it also boasts a traditional dish that has been around for centuries: the classic Irish Stew. This stew is hearty, comforting, and filled with an array of flavors that will warm you from the inside out. Once you try it, you’ll surely fall in love with this recipe.

What I adore about this Irish Stew recipe is that it’s so easy to make yet incredibly satisfying at the same time. With just a few simple steps, you can prepare a savory and hearty beef and lamb stew that is rich, tender, and perfect for any cold evening.

One of the most significant benefits of this stew is its versatility – it’s a year-round classic! It makes no difference whether it’s summer or winter; there is simply nothing like tucking into a bowl of fresh-from-the-pot Irish Stew. The lamb and beef provide protein while the root vegetables such as carrot, onion, onions, and potatoes offer vital vitamins to create a healthy balance.

The ingredients intensify each other’s flavors to create a dish that’s balanced and well-rounded. Additionally, it’s easily customizable based on your preferences or dietary needs. Make substitutes as needed without jeopardizing the taste.

Another reason why I love this recipe is because it can feed a crowd or store in the fridge for an additional meal throughout the week. While some stews require long cooking times with multiple steps, this recipe’s simplicity provides plenty of flavor without any fuss.

If you find yourself seeking comfort food while admiring South African sunsets or yearning for delicious casserole-style meals from Greece, try incorporating authentic tastes of Ireland instead! This old-fashioned Irish Stew recipe will satisfy your cravings and make you a recipe box staple. Surely you don’t want to miss out on an easy and delicious way to take your tastebuds to Dublin on their next adventure.

Ingredient List

 Hearty Irish Stew, perfect for cold winter nights
Hearty Irish Stew, perfect for cold winter nights

Irish Stew Ingredient List

For this traditional Irish stew recipe, you’ll need the following stew recipe ingredients:

Ingredients 1

  • 2-3 large lamb necks (about 2 pounds or more), cut into 1 ½ – 2 inch chunks
  • 3-4 boiling potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks (preferably floury potatoes)
  • 2 large onions (white or yellow), peeled and diced
  • 2-3 carrots, peeled and cut into big chunks
  • Fresh parsley, chopped
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Beef broth (or lamb broth), enough to cover the meat with a layer of about an inch

Ingredients 2

  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • Guinness Beer (Optional, replaced by water or beef broth)

Ingredients 3

  • Roux: Melt butter in a saucepan over low heat. Gradually stir flour until it looks like wet sand. Cook gently for about two minutes, stirring occasionally. Use as necessary for thickening the stew.

Note: You can adjust the amount of ingredients based on your preferred taste and quantity.

The Recipe How-To

 The rich aroma of herbs and spices fills the air
The rich aroma of herbs and spices fills the air

Now that you’ve got your ingredients sorted, it’s time to start cooking! Here is a step-by-step guide for making the perfect old-fashioned Irish stew recipe.

Step 1: Brown the meat

First things first, you need to brown the stew meat. Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add half of the lamb necks and/or beef stew meat until browned on all sides, then remove from pan and set aside. Repeat with the remaining meat.

Step 2: Cook the onions

To enhance your stew’s flavor, we will be sweating the onions. Without cleaning your pot, add a little more oil if needed and toss in the large onions, which should be roughly chopped into 2-inch pieces. Cook until translucent and then remove from the pan and set aside.

Step 3: Add broth and bring to a boil

Pour in 2 cups of beef broth (traditional or Guinness) while scraping up all of the brown bits from the bottom of the pot. Once everything is well combined, stir in half of your fresh parsley and bring everything to a boil.

Step 4: Add sliced potatoes and carrots

While waiting for your broth to boil, prepare your root vegetables by washing them thoroughly, peeling (if desired), then slicing your boiling potatoes, since they can soften quickly, into roughly 1-inch thick pieces. Do this same process with the carrots, halving or cutting them into roughly large chunks. Once done, toss these together with the broth reminiscently cooked meat in the pot.

Step 5: Bring everything to simmer

Return now your initially cooked lamb/beef back to your dutch oven/pan (along with any juices that may have collected) along with more beef stock or water until everything is covered and bring to a low simmer.

Step 6: Allow the stew to cook

Allow everything to simmer and cook for 1-2 hours, or until the vegetables are cooked through, and your meat is tender. It’s important not to over boil your stew since it can result in a chewy meat-like texture instead of meltingly tender. So, pay attention to the time!

Step 7: Add final touches

After 1-2 hours, it is time for you to add some last-minute flourishes. Put in more fresh finely chopped parsley, then sprinkle some salt and pepper before giving everything a good stir. Serve hot and enjoy!

Substitutions and Variations

 Tomatoes and beef broth create a savory base
Tomatoes and beef broth create a savory base

A traditional Irish stew recipe is as hearty and filling as it is delicious, making it a perfect meal for any occasion. However, there are a few substitutions and variations you can explore to tailor the recipe to your own tastes.

One substitution that works well if you’re not keen on mutton or lamb necks is using beef stew meat instead. Irish beef has a similar taste and texture to lamb, although it is slightly different. You could also try mixing lamb and beef stew meat together for a unique flavor combination.

Another variation is swapping out the root vegetables in the recipe for different ones that you may prefer. Turnips, parsnips, rutabaga, and celery root all work well in place of carrots and potatoes if you want to switch things up.

For those who prefer to use a slow cooker or Dutch oven, this recipe can easily be adapted for these cooking methods. Simply sear the meat first before transferring it along with potatoes, onions, and broth into your preferred cooking vessel.

If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you could also consider adding in some Guinness stout to give the dish an extra depth of flavor. Just make sure to use just enough so that it doesn’t overwhelm the other ingredients.

Ultimately, there are plenty of ways to personalize traditional Irish stew to make it your own while still maintaining its eponymous characteristics. The key is experimenting with different substitutions and variations until you find what works best for you!

Serving and Pairing

 Tender vegetables make this stew a crowd-pleaser
Tender vegetables make this stew a crowd-pleaser

Once your Traditional Irish Stew is cooked to perfection, it is time to serve and enjoy! This hearty beef and lamb stew can be served as is, straight from the pot or dutch oven. I find that this stew goes very well with a slice of crusty bread. To make the meal complete, consider serving some boiled root vegetables like carrots or parsnips on the side. Alternatively, a simple green salad with a light vinaigrette would pair beautifully with the rich flavors of the stew.

If you prefer a heartier option, then try serving mashed potatoes. The mash is perfect for soaking up all the delicious gravy in this stew. I often add fresh parsley to my mashed potatoes for an extra layer of flavor.

In Ireland, this dish is traditionally served with a pint of cold Guinness. However, if beer is not your thing, then try pairing it with a glass of full-bodied red wine like Cabernet Sauvignon or Pinot Noir.

This Irish Stew is an excellent option for family dinners and gatherings since it is quick, easy to make and a crowd-pleaser for both big and small appetites alike. Add this flavorful recipe to your meat casserole menu today!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 The ultimate comfort food
The ultimate comfort food

My darlings, if you’re like me, you appreciate a dish that can be made ahead of time and still taste heavenly when reheated. Traditional Irish Stew is one such dish. You can prepare it a few days before the big event and store it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve it. It’s like a warm hug from your favourite friend.

If you make the stew ahead of time, let it cool down completely before storing it in an airtight container in the fridge. When you’re ready to serve, gently reheat on stove-top or in the oven. Add some water or beef broth to prevent the stew from becoming too thick.

If there are any leftovers from your traditional Irish Stew (which I doubt), you can store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. When reheating, stir well and give it some time to come back up to temperature slowly. Avoid heating it on high as this will affect the flavours and texture of your dish.

For those who prefer freezing meals for future enjoyment, traditional Irish Stew freezes well too. Allow the stew to cool down entirely before transferring it into freezer-safe containers or plastic bags. Label and date your containers clearly and freeze stews for up to 3 months max.

When thawing, allow your frozen Irish Stew to defrost completely overnight in the refrigerator before reheating as described above.

My loves, remember that reheated stews often taste much better than freshly cooked ones – allowing all the flavors mingle wonderfully together over time, producing perfect results which are both comforting and delicious!

Tips for Perfect Results

 A simple recipe that packs a flavorful punch
A simple recipe that packs a flavorful punch

When it comes to making a traditional Irish stew, there are some tips and tricks that can help you achieve the perfect flavor and texture. As a chef deep rooted in British cuisine, I’ve cooked up my fair share of stews but I do understand that this recipe will soon be your favorite. Let me share with you some of the tips for making this hearty dish an old-fashioned (and delicious) irish stew!

1. Use Lamb Neck instead of Lamb Stew Meat

While lamb stew meat may seem like the obvious choice for Irish stew, using lamb necks actually results in a much richer flavor and more tender meat. The neck bones contain gelatin which melts during cooking and gives the sauce a silky texture.

2. Brown All Your Ingredients

When browning your meats, potatoes, onions, and carrots before adding them to the broth, always remember to get a good color on them as it will deepen the flavors immensely.

3. Take Your Time

The key to a perfectly tender stew is to allow it plenty of time to cook low and slow. Don’t rush the cooking process or try to turn up the heat if things seem to be taking too long.

4. Salt and Pepper, Season Gently

Start by adding just a little salt and pepper, then taste later and adjust as needed. It’s easy to over-season because flavors tend to intensify over time.

5. Strain Your Broth

Once your lamb necks are cooked through and the broth is done simmering on low heat, let it cool then strain it using a fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth. This removes any solids from the broth that would lead to an unappetizing texture.

6. The Perfect Potatoes and Carrots

Boiling potatoes tend to fall apart quickly when cooked for an extended period so stick with floury or waxy potatoes instead which hold their shape better in stews. Cut your vegetables large enough to prevent them from turning into mush but not too large that they won’t cook well and absorb the flavors.

7. Serve with Fresh Parsley

Garnishing your Irish stew with fresh parsley brings color and freshness to the dish, plus it’s a classic addition to traditional Irish cuisine.

8. Store and Reheat Correctly

Store leftover stew in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days or in the freezer for up to three months. Reheat on low heat, stirring regularly, until heated through.

Remember these tips even as you add your personalized twist to the recipe!


Before you get started with this traditional Irish stew recipe, you may have some questions about the ingredients, cooking time and serving suggestions. It is important to address any concerns or queries to ensure you achieve the perfect result. Here are some frequently asked questions to help guide you along the way.

What makes Irish stew different from regular stew?

When comparing beef stew and Irish stew, the primary contrast lies in the broth and the meat selection. Beef stew typically features cubed pieces of beef, like chuck roast or stew meat, whereas Irish stew is traditionally made with mutton or lamb and has a dense and flavorful beer-based broth.

What is traditional Irish stew made of?

While some may argue that a true Irish stew should only include mutton, onions, and potatoes, the fact is that there are many traditional variations that incorporate a variety of vegetables such as carrots, celery, turnips, swedes, parsnips, leeks, kale, and cabbage. So, feel free to experiment with different combinations of ingredients to create your own authentic Irish stew.

What gave the Irish stew its fresh Flavour?

When it comes to making a classic Irish stew, one of the essential components for adding flavor is using lamb or mutton. The ideal cuts of meat to use are the neckbones and shanks, which infuse the stew with a rich and hearty taste. Additionally, incorporating root vegetables such as carrots, parsnips, and turnips can elevate the dish to the next level.

What is traditional Irish stew called?

The classic Irish stew referred to as “ballymaloe” or “stobhach gaelach” in Gaelic involves the use of lamb or mutton chunks along with potatoes, onions and parsley. It is said that the stock is made from the shanks, neck bones and other trimmings.

Bottom Line

this traditional Irish stew recipe is sure to become a staple in your household. It’s easy to make and full of hearty, comforting flavors that are perfect for any occasion. Using fresh parsley and quality beef broth elevates the dish, while the combination of lamb necks, potatoes, onions, and carrots perfectly embodies the heartwarming nature of both Irish cuisine and culture.

Don’t hesitate to try out this recipe for an old-fashioned Irish stew that will transport you to the lush hills of the Emerald Isle. Whether you’re looking for a cozy casserole on a chilly winter night or hosting a St. Patrick’s Day feast, this stew is bound to impress.

So go ahead and give it a try! You won’t regret indulging in this classic comfort food that has truly stood the test of time. Remember to play around with substitutions and variations to make it your own, and enjoy sharing it with your family and friends. Sláinte!

Old-Fashioned Irish Stew

Old-Fashioned Irish Stew Recipe

This recipe comes from an August 1986 issue of Bon Appetit that featured an article titled "An Irish Ramble" that included recipes from Houses and Hotels in Ireland. Americans usually use lamb shoulder for Irish stew, but in Ireland neck slices are the thing. And here's some advice every good Irish cook heeds; "A stew boiled is a stew spoiled," meaning, keep the kettle at a simmer.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Irish
Keyword < 4 Hours, European, Lamb/Sheep, Meat, St. Patrick's Day, Stew, Vegetable
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Calories 143kcal


  • 3 lbs lamb necks, slices fat trimmed and reserved (1-inch thick)
  • 4 medium onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 lb medium carrot, peeled, halved crosswise and quartered lengthwise
  • 1 lb medium boiling potato, peeled, one sliced thinly, remainder quartered
  • 3 cups lamb stock or beef broth
  • 4 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • salt & freshly ground black pepper


  • Mince lamb fat; cook in heavy Dutch oven over high heat until fat renders, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes.
  • Strain drippings and return to Dutch oven; heat over medium high heat.
  • Pat lamb dry with paper towels, add in batches (do not crowd) and cook until brown, about 5 minutes per side.
  • Transfer to large bowl using slotted spoon.
  • Add sliced and chopped onions,carrots and sliced potato to pan and cook until light brown, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes.
  • Return lamb to pan, spooning vegetables on top; add stock.
  • Reduce heat, cover and simmer gently 1 hour.
  • Add quartered potatoes, pushing into liquid.
  • Cover and simmer until potatoes and lamb are tender when pierced with fork, about 35 minutes.
  • Drain liquid from pan into large heavy skillet; degrease cooking liquid.
  • Boil until reduced by half, about 15 minutes; return to stew.
  • Mix in 2 tablespoons parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Ladle stew onto heated platter, sprinkle with remaining parsley and serve.


Serving: 365g | Calories: 143kcal | Carbohydrates: 31.9g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 0.7g | Saturated Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 0.4mg | Sodium: 346mg | Fiber: 4.8g | Sugar: 8.1g

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