Irish Beef Stew

A hearty stew with big chunks of beef sirloin, carrots and potatoes in a beer-rich gravy, authentic for St. Patrick's Day but a really good basic stew recipe all year round too. I especially like this stew because it needn't cook all day, it's ready in a couple of hours, the chunks of beef already tender, the carrots and potatoes firm and sweet, not mushy from long cooking.

Irish Beef Stew ♥, a hearty, beer-rich stew, chunks of sirloin, carrots and potatoes seasoned with caraway.

Home-style Beef Stew, Simple and Perfect. Hearty & Filling. Budget Friendly. One-Pot Meal. Potluck & Party Friendly. High Protein.


Lucky Are the Leprechauns ...

... comin’ home from green-capped mischief on St. Paddy’s Day to stew a-simmerin’ a-stove.

Irish Beef Stew is genuine Irish fare – though a mordant sort might contend that for authenticity, the plates be filled with naught – just meat and onions, carrots and potatoes that cook slowly over a couple of hours, filling the kitchen with earthy-sweet, jig-inducing aromas.

And even if it weren’t authentically Irish, isn’t it somehow authentically American to lustily celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with inauthentic Irish food like Corned Beef & Cabbage and other revelries when the Irish themselves mark the day with little fanfare?

Still, for foodies, it is great fun to cook up something special, especially something special that’s easy to make – and make ahead – and authentic.

You’ll have leprechauns dancing before y’r very eyes.

Every Stew Should Cook for Hours. Wrong!

For Tender Beef, Does Beef Stew Need to Cook Long Hours? No! Many stews do build flavor over the course of several hours in the oven, some, like the French Beef Bourguignon are even made over the course of a couple of days.

In contrast, Irish Beef Stew's meat and onion simmers for 30 minutes, then the potatoes and carrots added and it simmers for another 30 minutes. One hour! And yet the beef chunks are perfectly rich and tender, the carrots and potatoes perfectly firm and cooked.

About This Recipe

  • Irish Beef Stew is a real standout, tender chunks of beef in an almost-sweet beer-spiked gravy, buttressed with big pieces of carrot and potatoes, a very satisfying one-pot meal.
  • Distinctive Ingredients = beef sirloin + stout beer + caraway + mini potatoes + carrot chunks
  • Ingredient List = all the above + oil + onion + garlic + beef stock + bay leaves + salt & pepper + flour
  • It takes about 30 minutes to start Irish Beef Stew, an hour of cooking time, then about 10 minutes to finish. All in all, dinner's on the table in under 2 hours.
  • Beef stews aren't always pretty but this one is. The meat chunks remain distinctive but tender, the carrots and potatoes retain their shape and color.
  • This is pantry-friendly recipe, just add beef to ingredients many cooks keep on hand.
  • This makes a big pot of stew but I would definitely serve this for company and if not, we never mind leftovers.
  • We're big fans of both meat and vegetable stews around here, just check out all the stew recipes, more beef stews plus pork, chicken, lamb, fish and seafood and wow, such great vegetable stews, too.

What Makes Irish Beef Stew, Well, "Irish"?

Isn't it just any ol' beef stew? In a sense, it is just a universally good beef stew, one that might be attributed to any cuisine.

Still, there are several ingredients which give this recipe an "Irish" inclination.

  • Beef and lamb are traditional stew meats in Ireland, here I've chosen beef because it's more easily available and affordable.
  • Beer, specifically a stout, is one of the liquids in the gravy, adding a lovely musky sweetness to the stew.
  • Caraway is the distinctive seasoning, it's an herb that often appears in Irish cuisine.
  • Potatoes, of course, are fundamental to Irish cooking.

What's In Irish Beef Stew?

In all my recipes and most well-written recipes, every ingredient serves a purpose. Each one matters. Each one contributes to the overall dish. It's not that an ingredient can't be substituted by something else but when choosing the substitute, it's important to understand why the original ingredient was present in the first place.

  • The Beef Choose boneless top sirloin, a very tender cut. It's the key to achieving tender, succulent beef in a stew that cooks for such a short time. To substitute rougher cuts of beef (stew meat, round steak, etc.), plan to simmer the meat on its own for longer than 30 minutes, maybe for two to three hours.

  • The Gravy This gravy is so so good! It starts with the flavoring from browning the beef, buttressed by a lot of onion, a little garlic, the stout and beef stock.

  • The Vegetables I sure hope you love carrots and potatoes because dang, these are so good. I love how they are infused with flavor but stay firm.

  • The Seasoning Just salt, pepper and a most distinctive herb, caraway, either ground caraway or whole caraway seeds.

  • The Thickener Just before serving, a little flour is worked into the gravy to thicken it a bit. For a gluten-free stew, here are three different possibilities. One, remove the lid and let the stew simmer for another 30 minutes, some liquid will evaporate, concentrating the flavors and thickening the stew. Two, substitute fine yellow cornmeal for flour, it's a great gluten-free thickener. Three, pull out maybe a half cup of gravy including some onion, a potato and a carrot; purée it all in a mini food processor then stir it all back in.

How to Make Irish Beef Stew

The detailed recipe is written in traditional recipe form below but here are the highlights in five easy steps. You can do this!

  • BROWN THE MEAT in a little oil large Dutch oven, probably in batches to avoid over-crowding which really means to avoid "steaming" the meat in the meat juices. Once the meat is browned, pull it out of the pot and set aside for now.
  • SAUTÉ THE ONIONS Gently cook the onions and garlic until the onion turns golden. Return the meat to the pot, then add the beer and seasonings.
  • SIMMER FOR 30 MINUTES Bring the pot to a boil, then reduce the heat to maintain a slow simmer. Cover the pot and simmer for 30 minutes, be sure to keep an eye on the temperature, you don't want the liquid to boil hard, just to slowly blop-blop-blop.
  • ADD THE CARROTS & POTATOES & SIMMER ANOTHER 30 MINUTES. After adding the carrots and potatoes, bring the liquid back to a simmer, cover again and simmer for another 30 minutes until the vegetables are moist and full of flavor.
  • THICKEN To thicken the gravy just a touch, sprinkle flour across the top and then work it into the gravy, let simmer for another few minutes.

Why Irish Beef Stew Is Worth Making, Not Only for St. Patrick's Day

Why go to the trouble of making this simple beef stew from scratch? Here are a few reasons. Why do you make it? Let me know in the comments!

  • It takes just over two hours to hit the table.
  • It's a one-pot meal, meat and vegetables cooked simultaneously in the same large Dutch oven.
  • It's a simple stew, just tender chunks of beef with no more than carrots and potatoes.
  • Its gravy is completely delicious, a real highlight.
  • It makes a lot, enough for quite a crowd or lots of leftovers.

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How do you save and share favorite recipes? recipes that fit your personal cooking style? a particular recipe your mom or daughter or best friend would just love? If this simple beef stew inspires you, please do save and share! I'd be honored ...

Irish Beef Stew ♥, a hearty, beer-rich stew, chunks of sirloin, carrots and potatoes seasoned with caraway.

(formerly called Emerald Isle Stew)

Hands-on time: 30 minutes to start, 10 to finish
Time to table: about 2-1/4 hours
Makes 11 cups
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 3 pounds boneless beef top sirloin, fat trimmed, cut in one-inch cubes
  • 2 large onions, diced
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • Browned Beef
  • 2 cups (12 ounces) stout beer such as Guinness
  • 3 cups beef stock (or 3 cups water with a cube of beef bouillon)
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seed
  • 1 tablespoon table salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 pound carrots, peeled and cut in large chunks
  • 1 pound red or gold new potatoes, either mini potatoes or larger ones cut in quarters or large chunks
  • 3 tablespoons flour

BROWN THE MEAT Heat oil in a large Dutch oven on medium high until shimmery. Add the meat, in batches if needed to avoid crowding, let it really brown, turning every so often. Lift out the Browned Beef meat pieces and set aside for the moment.

ADD EVERYTHING EXCEPT THE VEGETABLES Stir in the onion and garlic as they’re prepped, let cook until the onions are soft, stirring often. Add back the Browned Beef plus the beer, stock, bay leaves, caraway, salt and pepper. Bring the pot to a boil.

SIMMER Cover, reduce heat to maintain a simmer, then simmer on the stove for 30 minutes. (Cook ahead to here if you like. Return to a simmer to continue.)

ADD THE VEGETABLES & SIMMER Add the carrots and potato, return to a boil, cover and let simmer 30 minutes.

FINISH Remove the bay leaves. Sprinkle the flour over the hot mixture a bit at a time, stirring each bit in before adding more. Let cook 2 – 3 minutes. Serve and enjoy!

ALANNA's TIPS Make sure to have on hand hot Irish soda bread or crusty rolls for dunking into the delicious gravy. Or substitute parsnips or turnips for potatoes in the stew, then serve it atop Potato, Cabbage & Rapini Colcannon or potatoes boiled in their skins. A six-pack of Guinness stout is pretty expensive. But look for a single large bottle of Guinness Extra Stout with the cold beers for less than $3 – a bargain and bonus! which is plenty of Guinness leftover to make Nigella's Chocolate Stout Cake too. The caraway seed somehow "makes" the stew tastes like authentic Irish fare but thyme or rosemary work fine, too, especially during the rest of the year.

FOR MORE INFO If you "skipped straight to the recipe," please scroll back to the top of this page for ingredient information, ingredient substitutions, tips and more. If you print this recipe, you'll want to check the recipe online for even more tips and extra information about ingredient substitutions, best results and more. See .
NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Cup: 252 Calories; 6g Tot Fat; 2g Sat Fat; 53mg Cholesterol; 221mg Sodium; 15g Carb; 3g Fiber; 4g Sugar; 30g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS Old Points 5 & PointsPlus 6 & SmartPoints 6 & Freestyle 5 & myWW green 6 & blue 5 & purple 4 & future WW points
My long-time friend Lisa and I have been swapping recipes since we met way-way back in 1985. Now that Lisa is blogging, she's posted this recipe too, which she calls Good Irish Stew which she serves (and which I must-must some time!) in Potato Bread Bowls.

More St. Patrick's Day Recipes

~ St. Patrick's Day recipes ~
Recipes for St. Patrick's Day ♥, including green food.
Corned Beef with Red Potatoes, Carrot Chunks, Cabbage Wedges & Cheese Sauce ♥, a classic recipe for corned beef with all the trimmings, a long-time family favorite!

Irish Soda Bread Muffins ♥, barely sweet, packed with dried fruit and a surprising touch of caraway. Delicious!

Whole Wheat Irish Soda Bread ♥, traditional Irish soda bread recipe except with whole wheat flour. No yeast!

This Recipe for Colcannon Has Moved

please see

~ Potato, Cabbage & Rapini Colcannon ~

Shop Your Pantry First

(helping home cooks save money on groceries)

~ beef recipes ~
~ carrot recipes ~
~ potato recipes ~

~ All Recipes, By Ingredient ~
~ How to Save Money on Groceries ~

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail, you'll find my current address in the FAQs. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, for more scratch cooking recipes using whole, healthful ingredients, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. If you make this recipe, I'd love to know your results! Just leave a comment below.

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Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. Anonymous7/11/2007

    It looks delicious!

  2. I am very excited to be trying the Emerald Isle Stew recipe. Being of Irish decent I am going to make a few variations that I know are authentic to Irish stew...the addition of parsnips and fresh parsley. But my ancestors didnt use bouillon, garlic or bay leaves, but I am going to.I will definately be letting you know how it turned out and give you my detailed version with whatever changes I made.


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna