How to Make Slow-Cooker Guinness Beef Stew
Full of chunks of beef, carrots, parsnips and potatoes, this deeply flavorful slow-cooker Guinness beef stew makes a hearty meal any time of year.
There’s nothing like coming home to a delicious bowl of stew, especially Guinness beef stew. And you don’t have to wait until St. Patrick’s Day to enjoy it! Like any good slow-cooker dinner recipe, it’s easy to make: Just put lots of vegetables, chunks of beef, a bottle of Guinness and a few other ingredients in the pot, and let it simmer low and slow all day.
Is slow-cooker Guinness beef stew Irish stew? Well, it’s definitely Irish in origin. Historically, any Irish stew started with potatoes, onions and water. If there was meat to throw in the pot, even better! But it was most often lamb or mutton (older, less tender sheep) because those were more available and not as valuable as cows. Eventually, beef made its way into stews, along with root vegetables like carrots, parsnips and turnips. Purists say a traditional Irish stew is made only with lamb, but you’ll find variations made with both lamb and beef today.
Using Guinness as a flavor enhancer is a no-brainer when it comes to making a rich and hearty stew. Those malty, sweet, coffee, chocolate, caramel and toasty notes that make the smooth stout delicious also add complexity to beef stew. There’s even a bit of smokiness that comes through. Once the stew cooks down, any alcohol and hoppy bitterness have subsided, making slow-cooker Guinness beef stew super gratifying.
Key Ingredients in Slow-Cooker Guinness Beef Stew
Let’s talk about what ingredients you need for this delicious beef stew.
Like most beefy braises, the best cut of meat for Guinness beef stew is chuck roast. Anything labeled “chuck” comes from the cow’s shoulder area; it’s sometimes also called blade roast, 7-bone roast or arm roast. Chuck is an affordable and lean cut of beef that’s known for a rich, beefy flavor, and it becomes super tender in low-and-slow braises. If you can’t find chuck, you can also use tri-tip roast, top round or bottom (rump) roast.
This Guinness beef stew features a good amount of vegetables like onions, carrots, potatoes and other root vegetables like parsnips. When deciding what type of potatoes to use for stew, think about how or if they break down. Starchy spuds like russets pretty much disintegrate in a long slow-cooker stew, but white and red potatoes hold their shape, making them perfect for stew (plus, you don’t have to peel them if you don’t want to). Yukon golds are great for stew, too.
While you can use any type of beer in this beef stew, Guinness is the preferred choice for its color and deep malty flavor. You’ll get both in the end result. But if you don’t have Guinness, any dark beer or ale will do, or even red wine or broth if you’re out of beer. Don’t feel bad about buying a whole six pack of stout just to use one bottle for stew—there are so many more recipes to make with Guinness.
Broth or Stock
The other important part of the braising liquid for beef stew is broth or stock. Beef broth or stock will add more beefy flavor, but chicken or even vegetable broth will do. Of course water also works in a pinch.
Like any soup or stew, some vegetables add more flavor rather than texture to the broth, including onions, celery and garlic. Herbs like thyme are equally important to the final taste.
Slow-Cooker Guinness Beef Stew Recipe
1-1/2 pounds potatoes (about 3 medium), peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
3 medium carrots, thinly sliced
2 medium onions, chopped
2 medium parsnips, peeled and thinly sliced
2 celery ribs, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 boneless beef chuck roast (about 3 pounds), cut into 2-inch pieces
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1-3/4 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
2 garlic cloves
1 bottle (12 ounces) Guinness stout or beef broth
1 can (14-1/2 ounces) beef broth
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
Minced fresh parsley
Step 1: Fill the slow cooker
Place all the vegetables into the pot, including the potatoes, carrots, onions, parsnips and celery.
Step 2: Add the beef
Combine the flour, salt and pepper in a shallow dish, then dredge the beef cubes in the seasoned flour. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat and brown the beef on all sides in batches, but don’t cook it through. With a slotted spoon, add the beef to the vegetables in the slow cooker.
Step 3: Make the braising liquid
Reduce the heat to medium, and using the same skillet, add the tomato paste and garlic. Cook together, stirring for 1 minute. Next add the Guinness, and using a wooden spoon or spatula, scrape to loosen the caramelized brown bits, or the fond. That’s all flavor right there! Pour the whole mixture into the slow cooker, and stir in the broth and thyme.
Step 4: Cook low and slow
Like other slow-cooker beef recipes, cook, covered, on low until the beef and vegetables are tender, about seven to eight hours. Serve in big bowls garnished with parsley.
Tips for Making Guinness Beef Stew
How else can you make Guinness beef stew?
You can make this Guinness beef stew in a Dutch oven on the stove or in the oven, or in a pressure cooker. If using a Dutch oven, follow similar directions for this beef stew made on the stovetop or this one for oven beef stew. For a pressure cooker, follow the slow cooker instructions and cook on high for 40 minutes or until the meat is tender.
How do you thicken beef stew?
If your Guinness beef stew isn’t thick enough, you can make a slurry with equal parts flour and water whisked together until smooth. Add that to the stew and stir to prevent clumps. Let it cook a few minutes longer to let the flour mixture work its magic. Need more tips for making stew? We’ve got you covered.
How do you store slow-cooker Guinness beef stew?
Like other stews and soups, this beef stew only gets better the next day. It will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days. To reheat, place in a small saucepan on the stove and simmer over low to medium heat. You can also reheat it in the microwave. You can store Guinness beef stew in the freezer for up to three months. Make sure to thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating.
What do you serve with slow-cooker Guinness beef stew?
Chock-full of vegetables and beef, this is a meal unto itself. But you can’t go wrong with a nice green salad along with buttery dinner rolls, a nice crusty French loaf or Irish soda bread.