Slow Cooker Guinness Stew

If molasses were a beer, it would be a Guinness stout—rich, thick, dark, caramelly, deeply flavorful. It is Ireland’s most popular brew with, get this, more than 1.8 billion pints sold around the world every year. (That’s a lot of beer!) Around here it’s a favorite for St. Patrick’s Day, and you can find stacks of Guinness displays at practically every store that sells beer. Naturally Guinness has made its way into flavoring many dishes, including breads and cakes as well as stews like this one. Guinness stew is Ireland’s answer to Belgian carbonnade, with stout instead of ale, and with root vegetables such as parsnips, carrots, and turnips.

This stew we are making in a slow cooker (though you could make it in the oven as well). The controlled low and slow cooking is perfect for tenderizing the flavorful but tough pieces of beef chuck roast, while keeping the root vegetables intact. The trick is to brown the meat first, before adding to the slow cooker. That way you get all of the wonderful flavor from the browned meat in your stew. Enjoy!

Slow Cooker Guinness Stew on Simply Recipes

Slow Cooker Guinness Stew Recipe

  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 4 hours, 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6-8.

These instructions are for making the stew in a slow cooker. If you don't have a slow cooker and would prefer to make the stew in the oven, cook everything in a large Dutch oven. After you add the liquid, bring it to a simmer on the stovetop then put it, tightly covered, in a 225°F oven for 6 hours (or a 300°F oven for 4 hours).

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 pounds (900 g) well marbled chuck beef roast, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • Salt
  • 2 cups chopped onion (about 1 large onion)
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 pint (16 ounces, 475 ml) Guinness extra stout (make sure you use extra stout and not draught)
  • 3 cups (700 ml) beef broth
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2-3 parsnips, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 pound (475 g) young turnips, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • Salt
  • 4 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley (optional)

Method

slow-cooker-guinness-stew-1 slow-cooker-guinness-stew-2

1 Heat the butter in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Brown the beef in the butter, starting with the fattiest pieces of meat, fat side down in the pan. This will allow some beef fat to render out. Work in batches as to not crowd the pan.  Sprinkle salt over the beef as it browns. Once browned on all sides, transfer the beef pieces into the slow cooker.

slow-cooker-guinness-stew-3

2 Add the onions and celery to the pan in which you just browned the beef. Sauté the onions and celery until they begin to brown at the edges, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and mix well. Cook for a minute or two, then add a little of the Guinness, enough to make it easier for you to scrape up any browned bits at the bottom of the pan. Transfer the celery and onions into the slow cooker.

slow-cooker-guinness-stew-4 slow-cooker-guinness-stew-5

3 Add the rest of the Guinness, the beef broth, carrots, parsnips, turnips, and thyme to the slow cooker. Add two teaspoons of salt. Cover and cook on "high" for 4 hours, or "low" for 8 hours. When done, add more salt to taste. If you want, sprinkle with fresh parsley to serve.

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Links:

Vegetarian Guinness Stew, from The Kitchn

Corned Beef with Guinness and Cabbage, from Steamy Kitchen

Poutine with Guinness Gravy, from Food for My Family

Slow Cooker Guinness Stew on Simply Recipes

64 Comments

  1. Alec

    My only problem with it might be the carrots, parsnips, turnips, and potatoes. Could you add them in later so they would not be mushy?

    • Elise

      There are no potatoes in this recipe. Potatoes would tend to turn mushier with the long cooking. The parsnips, carrots, and turnips hold up fine. Just cut them into big pieces.

    • Terry Dillow

      No way this gets done in 4 hours in a slow cooker even on high! Had to take my guests out to dinner after 6 hours on high didn’t do the trick. Hate it when the directions are so bogus.

      • Elise

        Hi Terry, it sounds like you had some seriously tough meat, or something’s off with your slow cooker.

  2. Mike

    I’ve got a celery root that I need to do something with. Think it would be good if I chopped it up and threw it in w/the other root vegetables?

    Unless that sets off some kind of warning klaxon in anyone’s head, I’ll give it a go and report back.

    • Elise

      Sounds like a great idea! I love the taste of celery root, and it’s such a tough root it would hold up well to the long cooking.

  3. pat

    Looks delicious! Can you substitute potatoes for the turnips?

    • Elise

      You can, but I would put them in an hour or two before the end of cooking, not from the beginning. Potatoes tend to disintegrate with long cooking times.

  4. Simply Recipes Addict

    Mmmmmm…..as usual. Though I have the same question as Alec – could we add the vegetables later? Your picture looks as though the vegetables held up well but whenever I do stews in my slow cooker they always come out mushy. Delicious but still mushy. And I never go to the max time of my slow cooker because it seems to be a bit hotter than the average. Now I’m just wondering if adding your recipe for Colcannon as a side to the stew for St. Paddy’s meal would be overkill (likely).

  5. Janine

    Of course it probably undoes the whole concept but what could one substitute if they didn’t want to use alcohol?

    • Elise

      Yes, the point of this stew is to use Guinness. If you want to make a regular beef stew in the slow cooker, you can do that too. Just add 5 cups of beef stock (or 4 cups if you want an even quart). Or, if you might try adding Kaliber “near beer”, a brand of very low alcohol beer, that is somewhat malty and sweet, also made by Guinness. Note that I haven’t tried it in cooking.

  6. Nina Y.

    I really want to make this for a party this weekend. Can I use a Dutch oven for it?

  7. ben

    This is a wonderful recipe, I love it — but it’s for winter! St Patrick’s Day in Ireland means spring, hope, and *lamb*!

  8. Julia

    Yum! Do you think this would work in a pressure cooker?

  9. Sharon

    I just made this. I found it to be a little bitter. I added 1/2c. of barley trying to mellow it out which helped a little. It was good & something I might try again with less stout.

  10. Larry

    We found it a bit bitter too, but we thought it was the parsnips. Added potatoes at the right time instead of turnips and threw in 8oz. of sliced mushrooms. Also added 2 tsps sugar early on. Wife and I both loved it. The beer tenderized the meat perfectly.

    • Elise

      Parsnips should be sweet, like carrots. Turnips however can be quite bitter, as well as parsley. Guinness “Extra” Stout, which is what is most commonly available here, isn’t a particularly bitter beer. But if you think the stew needs a little more sweetness to balance the bitter for your taste, I recommend a little molasses.

  11. franky

    3 cups beef broth +
    1 pint Guinness +
    liquid from vegetables =
    when done in a slow cooker, seems like a very soupy stew for 2 lbs meat.

    About the bitterness, could it be from the extra stout?

    • Elise

      Hi Franky, there are a lot of vegetables in this soup that absorb the liquid. I found the liquid ratio in this stew to be just right. The broth is so good, what extra is there is perfect for sopping up with crusty bread. As for bitterness, no one I served the stew to found it at all bitter. But everyone’s taste is different.

  12. Michelle MacNeil

    Tasty stew and the aroma filled my kitchen …….will definitely make again. Added 5 cloves of garlic….1 cup red wine (decreased broth) and bay leaves. I thickened it slightly with corn starch/water. The soda bread was ideal for soaking up the gravy/juices.

  13. Kathy

    I made this stew but forgot to buy the Guinness, so I used a cabernet sauvignon. It was delicious. I marinated the beef (which was a sirloin tip roast) in olive oil with Italian seasonings. I did brown the meat first. I also added potatoes along with the turnip, parsnips and carrots. This will be a favorite in this household for a long time.

  14. Julia

    Had this yesterday for St. Patty’s Day – it was delicious!

  15. Erica

    Overall, I liked this stew. My daughter thought it was bitter, but she’s used to turnips in our stews and soups so I think it was the addition of the Stout. I included potatoes and rutabaga in mine and it was sweet enough. I think I’d add more herbs than just the thyme; didn’t seem to do much for the overall flavor. I’ll definitely make again, but work in a few changes.

  16. Beverly

    No freshly ground black pepper anywhere??? Oversight?? I’ve never seen salt on meat or in meat dishes without some pepper.

  17. Lauren

    I made this last night for my boyfriend, and it was outstanding! I’ve never cooked with turnips before and I was nervous about the bitter reviews, but it wasn’t bitter at all. We will be eating this all week long! Thanks for the recipe, Elise!

  18. Kayleigh

    Does anybody think this dish would be decent with a slow roasted chicken breast instead of beef? I’ve made the decision to be a “no red meat” vegetarian.. But this does sound amazing. Very similar to what my grandmother made me as a child!

  19. Florian

    What exactly does “tightly covered” mean here? I am planning to try out this recipe, but I don’t have a slow cooker. Do I simply put the pot in the oven with the lid on? Do I need to seal it somehow? Advice would be very much appreciated.

  20. Angie

    I tried this stew this weekend and it was a hit with everyone! I ommited the turnips and parsnips and added potatoes and it turned out great…very soupy however, so I will add more veggies next time!
    Thank you!

  21. Steve @ The Black Peppercorn

    Very nice Elise! I make beef stew with beer, but haven’t with Guinness which is a surprise since I love the stuff. How were the parsnips? Were the woody and stringy in the middle? I love them but sometimes find that I have to core the larger ones.

    • Elise

      Sometimes parsnips can be rather woody in the center, which then needs to be cut out. I try to choose parsnips that look like they are younger to avoid that.

  22. Theresa

    I am making this right now, followed the recipe to the “T”, cooking it on high for about 3 hrs. and I just now turned it on low to cook another 3. But it appears very soupy – I was hoping it would be a thickened broth. Any ideas besides thickening it with flour which I really don’t want to to?

    • Elise

      The stew is on the soupy side initially, though it does thicken up over time, especially if you are eating leftovers for several days. If you want it more thick, you can peel and chop up a russet potato and add to the stew. Adding the potato to the halfway point should be fine. In the future, you may want to reduce the amount of added liquid, either the stock or Guinness.

  23. Russ Whaley

    Just wanted to leave a note and let you know I’ve shared on my blog… this is a gorgeous recipe. I collect rustic recipes and this is one of the best I’ve seen yet. Thanks for putting it up!

  24. Martin Andrews

    Regarding the inclusion of potatoes, I serve the stew on a bed of garlic mashed potato which really adds something, and soaks up the liquid.

  25. Heather

    This was great!! Just had it tonight for dinner and made it yesterday. I boiled some potatoes while I reheated the stew and when I served this dish I mashed them up a bit and put them on top of the stew. I didn’t find that any thing was too mushy besides the celery but I am not the biggest fan of celery so it worked out great for me. I do like a bit of a thicker base so as I was reheating I just added a bit of flour like I was making a gravy. It got rave reviews in my place and will be making this again! Thank you so much for sharing.

  26. Sus

    Love love love your recipes, Elise! Made this stew in my crockpot before I left for work, just got home to taste test and everything is perfect – the veggies are soft but not mushy, the beef is tender, and the broth has so much flavor. The only hard part was holding back on drinking a Guinness at 6 AM. Thanks for another wonderful meal idea!! xoxox

    • Pam D.

      Hahaha! I’m sipping away on a Guinness and it’s only 12:30 pm but it must be 5:00 somewhere in the world!

  27. Pam D.

    Years ago I came across a Guinness stew recipe that was quite similar to yours but somewhere during a move I lost it. I do recall that my old lost recipe included prunes but they are not necessary in your creation as the carrots and parsnips will certainly add a depth of sweetness. As I write, the stew is merrily simmering away in my slow cooker and is smells luscious. I will be making British roast potatoes to accompany your recipe. I thank you for posting and will follow up with a very positive review!

  28. Jerrica B.

    I’m making this as I type. Mine was turning out bitter as well, so I added some more tomato paste (about a tablespoon with a little hot water to pour) and it fixed that right up — this is turning out excellent, I can’t wait to eat! :)

  29. Minnow in Hampton Roads

    I’ve had this in my slow cooker for four hours and my home smells AMAZING! Cannot wait until 5:00 to have this wonderful stew. I’m going to prepare course-ground grits with garlic and cheese and then pour the stew over … perfect comfort meal while we’re wrapping Christmas gifts. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe! I feel certain it’ll be a keeper! Merry Christmas!

  30. Susie

    I made this stew over the weekend and found the liquid to be bitter as some other reviewers also said. I did not add parsnips to mine. Could it have been from the thyme or celery? Wonder why some people had good results while others had bitter-taste to stew I did?

    • Elise

      Hi Susie, I’ve been wondering the same thing, and I think it might have to do with the way different people are sensitive to bitter flavors. Due to genetics, some people (maybe a quarter of the population) are much more sensitive to bitterness in foods than others. Question for you, is straight Guinness at all bitter to you? To me it is not.

    • Elise

      Another thought about this. There is a marked difference between the taste of Guinness Draught beer and Guinness Extra Stout. Guinness Draught tastes like a regular dark beer, with bitter notes. Guinness Extra Stout is rich and caramel-y and not nearly as bitter as the draught. The bottles look very similar though, so it would be easy to mistake one for the other. If one made this stew with Guinness Draught, it wouldn’t be nearly as good and it would be on the bitter side.

  31. Elle

    This recipe looks fantastic! Will be making on Monday. How long should it cook for in my crock pot on low? 6 or 8 hours?

  32. Joanna

    Looks delicious! Any suggestions for a gluten free version? What would be a good substitute for the Guinness? Thank you!

    • Elise

      The distinct taste of Guinness comes from the roasted barley with which it is made. Since barley has gluten in it, there’s no way to make a Guinness stew without gluten. That said, you can always just make a regular beef stew, replacing the Guinness with red wine or stock.

  33. sue

    Hi,

    this recipe seems delicious.. I’ve never used turnips and parsnips in my cooking .. I’ll looking forward to cooking this but what can I replace the Guinness extra stout with? We don’t use alcoholic beverages
    thank you

    • Elise

      Hi Sue, Given that it is a Guinness stew, there is no substitute for the Guinness. That said, you can make a perfectly good beef stew using beef stock in place of the Guinness.

  34. Joan

    Made this today and it was delicious! Thanks for sharing.

  35. Bob @ Cooking with an Evolved Dad

    Made this as a night before St. Patrick’s Day dinner and loved it. The Guinness added a very nice flavor. I thought the stout might be over-powering, but the Guinness added a very nice subtle flavor which complemented the beef and vegetables nicely.

  36. peter van der Meulen

    Hey, I tried your recipe with “russian imperial stout” ( 70.7 euro bitterness units) instead of guinnes. A bit more tomato gave back the right taste. Lovely recipe! My friends and I realy enjoyed it!

  37. Jenny

    If i want to make half the amount (450g of beef) how long do I cook it for? Sorry i am a very novice cook!! :)

    • Elise

      Same amount of time.

      • Jenny

        Thank you. Just eaten it and it was delicious!!!! :) used a local double stout as they only sell Guinness draught in my village. Will definitely make again!

  38. Maritza M

    Following the recipe to the ‘T’
    But
    its bitter. And it’s taken forever. SO I’ll eat it tommorrow :)

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