Irish Beef Stew

This Irish Beef Stew was a surprising win in the Weeknight Dinners For Everyone category. And moms, it also means you did a St Patrick’s day recipe!


a bowl of irish beef stew with beef, carrots, celery and a wonderful gravy


Hold onto your britches, I’m actually posting something for St Patrick’s day! I know, I’m a lame mom that doesn’t go crazy on every single holiday, but this Irish Beef Stew is perfect for the 80% of you who also are not Pinterest moms but still want to make memories with your family.

Now let’s just point out the obvious, this Irish Beef Stew does not have the traditional Guinness Beer which is what normally makes it an Irish Stew Recipe.

Here’s the deal, we don’t drink alcohol. This isn’t the type of thing where I found some secret way that’s better or anything, this is purely what works for our family. Because of our religious beliefs we don’t drink alcohol and while it does cook out, we just avoid.


a bowl of irish beef stew with beef, carrots, celery and a wonderful gravy


Using Beer in Irish Beef Stew

Alright, so here’s how you make it happen. If you’d like to use beer in place of the pop (do you say pop or soda?) just substitute equal amounts. That’s it!

What Beer for Irish Stew?

The darker the alcohol is going to be better, try using a Guinness Beer that is dark.. I’ve read all about it and you can trust me even if I’ve never drank it. That’s the best I can offer. Sorry I’m not more help. But don’t worry, I still know how to cook and this recipe for Irish Beef Stew is still the

(Sometimes I say that in text and it automatically links to a real website which always makes me panic a little. Does the government watch that stuff and know I’m not actually looking up such a thing?!)


a bowl of irish beef stew with beef, carrots, celery and a wonderful gravy


Irish Beef Stew

We did a big ol’ comparison of stews a while back, and as I’m a purist I completely expected to be all about the traditional stew, but this Irish Beef Stew totally and completely won my heart over. It is so good!!

An Irish Beef Stew is a very simple combination of ingredients that while slowly cooked begin to transform into a hearty, tender, melt in your mouth stew.

What’s in an Irish Stew that makes it different than a traditional stew? Really nothing other then alcohol instead of straight broth. While our’s doesn’t have the alcohol we did use a dark soda, Coke.

What to Use Instead of Beer in Stew

If you’re like us and you don’t drink, merely substitute Coke and some Worcestershire Sauce to achieve that umami flavor. Don’t worry so much about what you use, beer is fine if that’s what you use, coke is great if you don’t. Both will leave you with the same outcome, a delicious stew with absolutely tender meat.


a bowl of irish beef stew with beef, carrots, celery and a wonderful gravy


How to Serve Irish Stew

I’ve seen a lot of Irish Stew recipes, but not all are served the same way, so how do you serve Irish Stew?

It all depends on what is in the Irish Beef Stew, if there’s potatoes then you generally don’t serve it over potatoes. If there isn’t you can serve it alone as a stew with an Irish Soda Bread or alongside rolls, or you can serve it over creamy mashed potatoes.


How to Thicken Irish Stew


A stew should always have a thick consistency in my humble opinion. None of this broth business. Broth is the starting point, but not the ending point. That’s a beef soup, there’s a difference.

To achieve that thick and creamy, but never gloppy texture, use a slurry which consists of cold water and all purpose flour. No other flour should be used as it will not have the same effect.

Whisk the mixture until it’s perfectly smooth then, while stirring add it to the stew and simmer until thickened.


a bowl of irish beef stew with beef, carrots, celery and a wonderful gravy


How to Substitute Cornstarch instead of Flour

If you would rather use cornstarch instead of flour that’s totally fine. Just half the water and use half the amount you would normally use if it was flour.

Usually I’m all for making a roux or using cornstarch in sauces, but when it comes to a stew, a slurry of water and flour actually works very well. In fact, I prefer it for a stew.


a bowl of irish beef stew with beef, carrots, celery and a wonderful gravy


Can You Freeze Irish Stew?

Irish stew is one of the best ideas for a freezer meal. Go ahead and completely prepare the Irish stew and then cool completely. Use a FoodSaver to seal up the stew and lay flat in the freezer for up to 3 months.

When you’re ready to reheat a frozen stew, place it first in the refrigerator to defrost. I know, it’s really tempting to dump a frozen stew into a pot and get it warming up, but that’s actually a recipe for disaster. Soups should always be slowly defrosted and slowly brought back to temperature.

Is Irish Stew Gluten Free?

Irish Stew is only gluten free if you choose to go with the cornstarch mixture. If you use the flour slurry it is no longer a gluten free stew. All other ingredients are gluten free so it’s a fantastic meal idea for a family that has food allergies or dietary restrictions.


a bowl of irish beef stew with beef, carrots, celery and a wonderful gravy


Soup and Stew RECIPES

Looking for more soup and stew recipes?  Mom’s Fabulous Slow Cooker Stew, Taco Stew, Cheeseburger Soup,  Slow Cooker Potato Bacon Corn Chowder or Honey Lime Chicken Enchilada Soup!


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Yield: 6-8

Irish Beef Stew

Irish Beef Stew
This Irish Beef stew was a surprising win in the Weeknight Dinners For Everyone category. And moms, it also means you did a St Patrick's day recipe!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 45 minutes


  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2.25 lb Beef Chuck or Stew Meat, cubed
  • 3/4 Teaspoons Salt
  • Black pepper
  • 3 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 2 Red onions, one minced and one chopped in bigger chunks
  • 4 Slices Bacon, diced
  • 15 Ounces Coke (Coca Cola pop)
  • 4 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
  • 2 Teaspoons Better than Beef Bouillon plus 2 cups of water or 2 Cups Beef Broth
  • 1 Teaspoon Better than Chicken Bouillon plus 1 cup of water or 1 Cup Chicken Broth *see note
  • 3 Large Carrots , peeled and cut into chunks on a diagonal
  • 2 Large Celery Stalks, chopped
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 1 Sprig Fresh Thyme, or 1/2 Teaspoon Dried Thyme
  • 1/4 Cup Flour
  • 1/2 Cup Cold Water


  1. Prepare the meat by patting dry with paper towels, then sprinkle with salt and pepper, tossing to coat. Allow to sit out for 5-8 minutes before cooking.
  2. Heat oil in a heavy based pot over high heat. Add beef in batches and brown on each side, removing the meat to a plate as it finishes and repeat with remaining meat.
  3. Remove pot from heat and add a drizzle of oil if needed.
  4. Return the pot to medium heat, add garlic and onions. Cook for 3 minutes until softening, then add bacon, stirring occasionally.
  5. Cook until bacon is browned.
  6. Dump the meat and all accumulated juices back into the pot. Mix well then add remaining ingredients.
  7. Bring the stew to a simmer then lower heat so it is bubbling gently.
  8. Place a lid on the pot. Cook for 2 hours, the meat should be practically falling apart by now.
  9. In a glass measuring cup, add the flour and water together, whisking vigorously to combine.
  10. With the stew simmering, slowly stir the flour mixture into the pot.
  11. Remove the lid and simmer for 30 - 45 minutes or until the beef falls apart at a touch.
  12. Remove bay leaves and thyme.
  13. Serve with bread!


We use better than beef and chicken bouillon because the flavor is much better than canned broth.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1 bowl

Amount Per Serving:Calories: 49 Total Fat: 2g Saturated Fat: 1g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 1g Cholesterol: 17mg Sodium: 112mg Carbohydrates: 2g Fiber: 0g Sugar: 2g Protein: 6g

a bowl of irish beef stew with beef, carrots, celery and a wonderful gravy

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Carrian Cheney

Lover of all things beautiful, good and delicious. Wife, mother, friend, foodie.

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11 comments on “Irish Beef Stew”

  1. Pingback: Better than Grandma’s Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup – JW Designs

  2. I made this a few days ago and it was absolutely delicious!!! I followed the recipe exactly, even using the better than bouillon that was recommended.  I did notice a nice depth of flavor. It smelled amazing simmering in my kitchen and the end result was a delicious, full of flavor stew that my whole family loved.  I actually had beef stew in Ireland when I went there, not lamb stew, though I know that is more often the meat traditionally used.  When I had it there, it was served over mashed potatoes, so I made some mashed potatoes to serve it over at home.  Bottom line; I have never been disdappointed by a recipe from your blog and this was another big win.  It was amazing!!! Thank you!

  3. Pingback: Mostly Healthy Authentic Irish Recipes For St. Patricks Day : Over The Hill Fitness | OthFit

  4. Call it what you want, it looks delish! I got the ingredients to make it tonight. Will let you know how it turned it out.

  5. Why do you use both beef and chicken bouillon flavors? This is the first I’ve ever read of using both in all my years of cooking.

    Thanks for answering!?

  6. Irish stew is Lamb and potatoes no fancy beer .they lived in stone huts .a traditional Shepherd’s Pie is Lamb and Potatoes , mostly the Irish meal was potatoes . they had no beef to make (cottage Pie ).I am sure your salt and cube of chemicals stew tastes great but it is not Irish , nor healthy .Everything Irish has potatoes IE potato pancakes , Potato cakes (potatoes with a bit of flour baked in the oven ). Potatoes and Potatoes that’s why thousands died when the potato crop of the tenant farmers failed and the Rich landlords did nothing to save them from starvation .
    Call your stew Santa Clause stew ,but not Irish .. What part of it do you think is Irish just BTW