Guinness beef stew is an Irish-style stew that’s made with chunks of beef, carrots, and potatoes simmered with Guinness, beef stock, and thyme, and is best served with crusty bread slathered with Irish butter. This hearty stew is perfect for cold weather but is especially good on St. Paddy’s Day.
Guinness beef stew is great to make when the temperature drops and you just want a warm bowl of hearty stew.
Guinness is a wonderful addition to many dishes, including chili, and it really lends a tremendous depth of flavor to this Irish beef stew.
We hope you love this recipe as much as we do!
How to make it
Each number corresponds to the numbered written steps below.
- Cut 4 slices of thick-cut bacon into 1-inch pieces. Trim the fat from a 3-pound chuck roast and cut it into 2-inch pieces. Chop 2 medium onions and mince 4 cloves of garlic. Peel 3 medium carrots and 3 medium Yukon gold potatoes and cut both into 1-inch pieces. Chop 2 large celery ribs into 1-inch pieces (Photo #1).
- Preheat the oven to 300f and make enough room on the middle rack for a Dutch oven. Heat a large Dutch oven to medium-low heat, then add the bacon. Cook the bacon until most of the fat has rendered, about 8 minutes. Remove the bacon pieces and allow them to drain on a paper towel-lined plate (Photo #2).
- Remove some of the bacon fat leaving approximately 4 tablespoons in the pot and turn the heat to medium. Pat the beef dry with paper towels, then season with salt and pepper on all sides. Sear the beef in the pot for 8-10 minutes until it’s well browned on both sides, then move the beef to a plate and set aside (Photo #3). Note: If your Dutch oven isn’t large enough to fit the beef without overcrowding, work in batches.
- Add the onion to the pot and saute for 5 minutes or until softened, then add the garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes, or until fragrant (Photo #4).
- Add 3 ounces of tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes while stirring frequently to prevent sticking (Photo #5).
- Add 12 ounces of Guinness and turn the heat to high. Use a wooden spoon to dislodge any brown bits from the bottom of the pot and boil for 2 minutes (Photo #6).
- Add the beef and bacon back to the pot along with 2 cups of low-sodium beef stock, 4 sprigs of thyme, 1 large bay leaf, and 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce. Stir it all together and bring the stew to a boil (Photo #7).
- Once boiling, turn off the heat and cover the pot with a heavy lid. Place the pot in the oven and cook for 90 minutes (Photo #8).
- After 90 minutes, remove the pot from the oven and skim the top layer of fat. Then and add the potatoes, carrots, and celery and return the pot to the oven without the lid and cook for another 75 minutes or until the beef and vegetables are tender (Photo #9).
- Remove the pot from the oven and remove the thyme and bay leaf. Any excess fat can again be skimmed off the top. Taste test the stew and season with salt and pepper (Photo #10).
- At this point, you will need to make a decision about the thickness of your stew. It might be perfect for you right here and no further work needs to be done. Or if the stew is almost thick enough to your liking, you can boil it on the stovetop for 5-10 minutes. For an even thicker stew, you can bring the stew to a simmer and add a slurry of cornstarch, potato starch, arrowroot, or a buerre manié (Photo #11). Just one of those of course, but I want to give you options!
- Once the stew’s consistency is just right, turn off the heat and serve in bowls with crusty bread, Irish brown bread, or soda bread (Photo #12).
- Beef. We used a 3-pound chuck roast for this Irish stew recipe. Buying the whole roast is usually slightly cheaper than buying cubed beef and allows you to cut the pieces into the size you want. Often if you buy stew meat that’s precut it may include other cuts of beef. Chuck roasts are often very fatty so be sure to trim some of the fat before cutting into chunks.
- Bacon. We recommend using thick-cut bacon, or Irish bacon if you can find it. You want to use a basic bacon and not one that’s flavored.
- Guinness. Guinness is one of the main components of this stew, but if you can’t find Guinness another dark stout or porter would do. In the recipe, sugar is noted as an optional ingredient. If the Guinness taste is a bit too bitter for your liking, simply add a touch of sugar.
- Thickness. Some folks like their stew thick, while others prefer thinner. When you’re almost done with the stew, you’ll need to decide how thick you want your stew and adjust as needed by either adding a slurry or cooking the stew a bit longer.
More beef favorites
If you like Guinness beef stew, we think you’ll love these other recipes.
- Shepherd’s pie – ground lamb, Guinness, peas, and carrots topped with a crust of cheesy mashed potatoes.
- Beef Stroganoff – seared steak and mushrooms in a tangy cream sauce with buttered egg noodles.
- Salisbury Steak – ground beef patties simmered in a brown mushroom gravy.
- Peposo – Tuscan beef stew with red wine and black pepper.
- Italian beef stew – chuck roast stewed with red wine, carrots, celery, and mushrooms.
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Guinness Beef Stew
- 4 slices thick-cut bacon cut into 1-inch pieces
- 3 pounds chuck roast cut into 2-inch pieces
- 2 medium onions chopped
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 3 ounces tomato paste or half of a standard 6-ounce can
- 1 12-ounce bottle of Guinness
- 2 cups low sodium beef stock
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 4 sprigs thyme
- 1 large bay leaf
- 3 medium carrots peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
- 3 medium Yukon Gold potatoes cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 large celery ribs chopped into 1-inch pieces
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon sugar optional, see notes below
For cornstarch slurry (optional)
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 ounce water
- Preheat oven to 300f and make room on the middle rack for a large Dutch oven. Heat a large Dutch oven to medium-low heat, then add the bacon. Cook the bacon until most of the fat has rendered (about 8 minutes) then remove the pieces to a paper towel lined plate and set aside.
- Leave approximately 4 tablespoons of bacon fat in the pot and turn the heat to medium. Pat the beef dry then season with salt and pepper on all sides. Sear the beef in the pot until well browned (about 8-10 minutes total time) then remove the beef to a plate.
- Add the onion to the pot and saute for 5 minutes or until softened. Add the garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes or until fragrant.
- Add the tomato paste to the pot and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently then add the Guinness and turn the heat to high. Using a wooden spoon scrape up all of the brown bits and boil for 2 minutes.
- Add all of the beef and bacon to the pot. Also, add the beef stock, thyme, bay leaf, and Worcestershire sauce. Stir it all together and bring the stew to a boil. Once boiling, turn off the heat and cover the pot with a heavy lid. Place the pot in the oven and cook for 90 minutes.
- After 90 minutes, remove the pot from the oven and skim off and discard the top layer of fat with a large spoon. Add the potatoes, celery, and carrots. Return the pot to the oven without the lid and cook until the beef and vegetables are tender (about 75 more minutes).
- Remove the thyme and bay leaf and any excess fat that has risen to the top. Taste test the stew and season with salt and pepper.
- If the stew isn't thick enough to your liking boil on the stovetop for 5-10 minutes to reduce and thicken. Alternatively, bring stew to a simmer and add a cornstarch slurry and stir until thickened (about 1 minute). Serve in bowls with crusty bread. Enjoy!
- If you want a thicker stew use a slurry of cornstarch, potato starch, arrowroot, or beurre manié. But if the stew is close to your desired thickness, simply put the pot on a burner and raise the heat to medium-high. Cook for a few minutes while stirring to reduce and thicken.
- If the stew is too bitter, a touch of sugar can be added right before serving, but it’s usually not needed.
- Leftovers can be saved for up to 3 days in the refrigerator and 3 months in the freezer. Reheat in the microwave or over medium-low heat on the stovetop until hot.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.