This rustic Guinness Beef Stew is loaded with aromatic veggies and chunks of beef and potatoes, all swimming in a velvety broth with profound, malty flavors compliments of Ireland’s national brew. Make this your go-to recipe for chilly weather, a celebratory dinner for St. Patrick’s Day, or just a bowl of comfort when you need it. I’m also including alcohol-free options if you’re not a fan of beer.
*I originally published this recipe in March 2018. It’s been updated with new images, detailed recipe steps, and metric measurements.*
What is Guinness?
Guinness is an Irish stout that has notes of malt and coffee. Guinness is not only the most popular beer in Ireland, but it’s the most popular Irish beer in the world. It is definitely the quintessential Irish beer and one they’re fiercely protective of. There’s even a 6-step process to pouring the perfect pint. I know this because I tried, and failed, to do it. Having studied in Ireland and enjoyed a pint (or two or three) in Dublin, I can say with certainty that what you get in a bottle (or even from the tap) here in the States doesn’t compare to a pint in Ireland.
In the case of Guinness, a stout is a type of beer that is quickly fermented. Stouts get their name from the boldness or strength of their flavors. Guinness is a less sweet stout in a world surrounded by sweeter brews from England and the States. Guinness provides a wonderful balance of coffee and nutty notes despite its lack of sweetness when paired with meaty sauces and gravies.
What is Beef Stew?
Beef stew is a dish of chunks of beef and vegetables in a flavorful liquid. Stewing meat is a two-step process beginning with browning the meat and it ends with simmering the meat in liquid. The best beef stew has tender, succulent pieces of beef in a rich sauce with tender vegetables.
What’s so great about Guinness Beef Stew?
What’s great about this Guinness Beef Stew is the stout that replaces the beef stock allows it to have a more profound flavor. Where other beef stews use wine or stock to deglaze the fond (or brown stuff on the bottom of the pot), the malty brew is used in this recipe adds tons of interesting flavors.
In addition to the bold, velvety flavors this Guinness beef stew has, the preparation is simple. Even though it is simple, the process allows you to build flavors as you go making this the best beef stew you’ll ever taste.
What do I need to make Guinness Beef Stew?
To make Guinness beef stew, you need beef chuck, salt, pepper, granulated garlic powder, onion, garlic, Guinness, tomato paste, fresh rosemary, thyme, bay leaves, carrots, celery, mushrooms, potatoes, and beef broth.
Make your beef stew in a 6-quart dutch oven, so you have room to stir everything without spilling. Ask me how I know that it’s important.
Can I make this without beer?
You can make this Guinness beef stew without the beer if you abstain from alcohol. Just replace the Guinness in this beef stew with more beef broth.
What cut of beef do I need?
The best cut of beef to use when making beef stew is chuck. Chuck comes from the shoulder of the steer, which means it’s tough. As a result, cook beef chuck for a longer time at a lower temperature to ensure it is nice and tender.
I always buy a boneless beef chuck roast because it’s less expensive and easy to cut down into chunks. Try to avoid purchasing a cut of chuck that has tons of fat on it. Buy beef stew meat (cut in chunks already) if you’re short on time. Avoid “extra lean” stew meat, however. It won’t give your stew the flavor you want. And, since we all should be fans of flavor, a little fat on our meat never hurt nobody.
If you opted for the whole roast, use a chef knife to cut the beef into 1 1/2-inch cubes of meat. No need to do anything if you bought chunks.
Can I replace it with a different type of meat?
This recipe is easily modified if you want to use other types of meat. Replace the beef in your beef stew with similar lamb, bison, pork, or boar meat cuts. Remember, though, stick with a tough cut of meat: something from the shoulder or round (back legs).
Add the meat to a mixing bowl and season it liberally with kosher salt, black pepper, and granulated garlic powder. Because I don’t want to fuss too much with this recipe, I season liberally at the beginning. That way, in the end, I only need to add a minimal amount of salt or pepper to taste (if any).
Allow the seasonings to penetrate the meat for at least 20 minutes. This is a great time to start prepping the rest of the ingredients in the recipe. You can also leave this seasoning to sit on the meat overnight. Cover the bowl and keep it in the fridge until 30 minutes before you plan to sear it. The meat needs to warm up slightly to prevent it from seizing up when you introduce it to the hot pan.
What’s the purpose of searing the meat?
Once the meat is ready, heat a small amount of vegetable oil in a dutch oven over medium-high heat. Once the oil ripples, add 1/3 of the meat to the pot. Sear the meat in small batches for 2-3 minutes on two sides, or until crusty and golden brown.
Once again, stewing meats is a combination cooking method. Combination cooking methods use two techniques to accomplish one goal. In stewing, the first step is searing or browning the beef in fat. The goal in this step is only to caramelize the amino acids in the protein/meat- also known as a Maillard reaction- which appears as a dark, crusty exterior. Later, that caramelization on the beef and the pan drippings will give our Guinness beef stew color and flavor.
The inside of the beef will still be very pink when you remove it from the pot. After removing the first batch, add the next 1/3 to the pot. You will have 3 batches of beef to sear. It is important to sear the meat in batches to achieve that caramelization.
What’s the key to a really tasty stew?
After searing the meat, carefully spoon out or pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the rendered fat in the pot. I recommend doing this so your beef stew doesn’t have tons of grease floating on the top when it’s finished.
One of the key steps in creating a flavorful beef stew is layering the flavors. You started by caramelizing heavily seasoned meat. The next step in making a tasty beef stew is sauteing onions and garlic until they are golden brown. Add the aromatics to the oil in the pot and sauté them for 3 minutes over medium-high heat. Stir the veggies frequently to keep them from sticking to the bottom of the pot. They will take on a deep golden, almost brown color.
What does deglazing the pot do?
Pour the Guinness into the pot. Use a wooden spoon to scrape the stuck-on bits of caramelized food off the bottom of the pot. Bring the liquid in the pot up to a boil and allow the beer to evaporate for 3-4 minutes.
This step is called deglazing the pan, or in our case, the pot. Deglazing is stirring a liquid, like stock or wine, in the pot to dissolve the cooked bits of food that remain on the bottom. It’s another layer in that quilt of flavor we’re building in this Guinness beef stew.
How do I ensure the meat in my stew is tender?
After allowing the Guinness to evaporate slightly, stir in the tomato paste, rosemary, thyme, and bay leaves. Adding tomato paste to beef stew gives it a darker color and gives the stew more umami flavor.
Use your tongs to return the meat to the pot. I try to avoid dumping the meat into the pot. One: because the likelihood of me getting popped with hot liquid is high. Two: because I don’t want any of that rendered grease to go into my pot.
The second part of the stewing process is the slow and low simmering of the meat in liquids. To achieve tender beef stew, gently simmer the beef in the liquid for at least 45 minutes.
Once the beef chunks are in the pot, add the potatoes, carrots, celery, and mushrooms to the pot.
How long do I cook the Guinness Beef Stew?
Pour the beef stock into the pot and carefully stir everything together to combine.
Bring the liquid in the pot up to a boil, then decrease the temperature to medium-low. Cover the pot and simmer the Guinness beef stew for 45 minutes to 1 hour, stirring every 20 minutes. If it starts to boil too rapidly, decrease the temperature to low.
Fifteen minutes before the cooking time is up, you can thicken your beef stew by whisking together 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour with 1/2 cup of the stew broth. Quickly stir this slurry into the broth in the pot and continue cooking the beef stew for another 15 minutes. This is optional. I’m pretty content with the thickness of the stew as is.
Can I make this Guinness Beef Stew the Slow Cooker?
Make this a Slow Cooker Guinness Beef Stew:
- Season and sear the beef as instructed above.
- Deglaze the pot with the Guinness and bring the beer in the pot up to a boil. Allow the beer to boil for 3 minutes.
- While you’re waiting for the beer to evaporate slightly, use a whisk to stir together the tomato paste and 1/4 cup of the beef stock in a mixing bowl. Once you’ve formed a smooth sauce, add the rest of the beef stock to the mixing bowl and stir to combine.
- Add the seared beef, potatoes, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, mushrooms, rosemary, thyme, and bay leaves to a 6-quart slow cooker. Pour the Guinness and the beef-tomato mixture into the slow cooker.
- Cover and cook the stew on low heat for 7-8 hours or high heat for 3-4 hours.
- If you prefer your stew with a thick broth, whisk together 2 tablespoons of flour and 1/2 cup of broth from the stew in a small bowl. Quickly stir in flour mixture into the slow cooker. Return the cover to the slow cooker and cook on high heat for another 30 minutes, or until thick.
Searing the meat is important because it’s what gives the stew flavor.
What about in my Instant Pot?
To make this an Instant Guinness Pot Beef Stew:
- Season the meat as instructed above.
- In a 6-quart (or larger) Instant Pot, press the sauté button and the vegetable oil to the pot. When the oil starts to sizzle, add the meat and sear the meat in batches until browned, or 3 minutes per batch. Remove the meat to a dish for now.
- Add the onions and garlic to the pot and sauté for 2 minutes.
- Pour the Guinness into the Instant Pot and use a wooden spoon to scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Stir in the tomato paste until the mixture forms a smooth sauce.
- Return the meat to the pot and add rosemary, thyme, bay leaves, potatoes, carrots, celery, and mushrooms. Add them in this order to avoid the herbs getting stuck in the vent. Close the lid and steam valve on the Instant Pot.
- Cook on high pressure for 35 minutes. Allow the pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes, then do a quick release.
- If you prefer a thicker broth, stir 2 tablespoons of cornstarch and 2 tablespoons of cold water in a small bowl until smooth. Stir this slurry into the stew and allow the liquid to thicken.
A cornstarch slurry is ideal for this cooking method since you don’t want to go through the hassle of bringing it back up to heat to boil it.
How do I serve Guinness Beef Stew?
The Irish soda bread is my favorite side to serve it with because the currants add a hint of sweetness.
How do I store leftovers?
Allow beef stew to cool to room temperature before transferring it to a storage container. Store Guinness beef stew in the fridge for 3-4 days.
Transfer a portion of the beef stew to a container and reheat in the microwave for 1 minute. You can also reheat this Guinness beef stew in a pot on the stove over medium heat until warmed through.
Can I freeze leftover stew?
Allow the beef stew to cool completely, transfer it to a freezer-safe storage container and freeze for 6 months. You can thaw frozen beef stew in the fridge and reheat as instructed above.
Be sure to give this Guinness Beef Stew a go for dinner. It’s a true comfort dish and is so simple to prepare that I’m positive you’ll love it. Let me know what you think in the comments below, and don’t forget to share and pin it to your dinner boards.
Rustic Guinness Beef Stewat Sense & Edibility
- 2 1/2 lbs beef chuck cut into 1- 1 1/2" pieces
- 1 1/2 tablespoons (20 grams) kosher salt plus more to taste
- 1 tablespoon (4 grams) granulated garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons (2 grams) black pepper plus more to taste
- 3 tablespoons (45 milliliters) vegetable oil
- 1 large (3 cups or 305 grams) yellow onion chopped
- 4 cloves (2 tablespoons) garlic rough chopped
- 1 11.2-ounce bottle Guinness (or 1 1/2 cups beef stock)
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary or 1 tbsp dried
- 1 sprig fresh thyme or 2 tsp dried
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 large (4 cups or 715 grams) russet potatoes cut in 1 1/2-inch cubes
- 10 ounces (2 cups or 285 grams) baby carrots halved (or 3 large carrots, peeled and chopped)
- 8 ounces (3 cups or 227 grams) baby portobello mushrooms quartered
- 3 stalks (2 cups or 175 grams) celery chopped
- 3 cups (750 milliliters) beef broth
Season the Beef
- In a large mixing bowl, season the beef chunks with the salt, granulated garlic powder, and black pepper.Set this aside to marinate while you prep your vegetables (about 20 minutes).
Sear the Beef
- In a large dutch oven or stock pot, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil ripples, add 1/3 of the meat to the pot. Sear the meat in small batches for 2-3 minutes on two sides, or until crusty and golden brown.Using tongs, transfer the cooked meat to a bowl. The inside of the beef will still be very pink when you remove it from the pot. After removing the first batch, add the next 1/3 to the pot. Continue searing until all the meat is browned.
- After searing the meat, carefully spoon out or pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the rendered fat in the pot.Add the onion and garlic to the oil in the pot and sauté them for 3 minutes over medium-high heat or until they are deep golden, almost brown color, stirring frequently to keep them from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
Deglaze the Pot
- Pour the Guinness into the pot. Use a wooden spoon to scrape the stuck-on bits of caramelized food off the bottom of the pot. Bring the liquid in the pot up to a boil and allow the beer to evaporate for 3-4 minutes.
- After allowing the Guinness to evaporate slightly, stir in the tomato paste, rosemary, thyme, and bay leaves. Use your tongs to return the meat to the pot.
Simmer the Guinness Beef Stew
- Once the beef chunks are in the pot, add the potatoes, carrots, celery, and mushrooms to the pot. Pour the beef stock into the pot and carefully stir everything together to combine.
- Bring the liquid in the pot up to a boil, then decrease the temperature to medium-low. Cover the pot and simmer the Guinness beef stew for 45 minutes to 1 hour, stirring every 20 minutes.
- After the cooking time has elapsed, uncover the pot and remove, then discard, the herb stems and bay leaves. Ladle into soup bowls and serve with warm slices of your favorite bread.
Swaps and Substitutions
- Replace the beef in your beef stew with cuts of lamb, bison, pork, or boar meat that are similar in toughness.
- Replace the Guinness in this beef stew with your favorite stout beer, merlot, pinot noir, cabernet, or beef broth.
Tips and Techniques
- Avoid using "extra lean" stew meat in this recipe. It won't give you the flavor you want.
- You can leave the meat to season overnight. Cover the bowl and keep it in the fridge until 30 minutes before you plan to sear it. Allow the meat to warm up for 20 minutes before searing to keep it from seizing up when you sear it.
- It is important to sear the meat in batches to achieve that caramelization.
- If the stew starts to boil too rapidly, decrease the temperature to low.
- To thicken your beef stew, 15 minutes before the cooking time is up, whisk together 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour with 1/2 cup of the stew broth. Quickly stir this slurry into the broth in the pot and continue cooking the beef stew for another 15 minutes.
- Allow beef stew to cool to room temperature before transferring it to a storage container.
- Store Guinness beef stew in the fridge for 3-4 days.
- Transfer a portion of the beef stew to a container and reheat in the microwave for 1 minute or reheat it in a pot on the stove over medium heat until warmed through.
- Allow the beef stew to cool completely.
- Transfer it to a freezer-safe storage container and freeze for 6 months.
- Thaw frozen beef stew in the fridge and reheat as instructed above.