Blissfully Delicious

Slow Cooker Guinness Beef Stew

Would you believe me if I told you that I have never had a homemade beef stew? I probably had some version of it from the can, and it would have been a LONG time ago. And I’m pretty sure that it wasn’t very good. Because when Red kept on suggesting Beef Stew for our meal planning, I have never agreed to it, until recently, about two weeks ago. Just like this Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff, which I ended up loving – and now shows up on a regular basis on our menu rotation. Seriously, the ONLY reason that I was willing to give this a go was because I got to use my slow-cooker. I think we all could use a new slow cooker recipe that works, right?

As a pessimist to the initial idea of Beef Stew (in a slow cooker nonetheless), I was pleasantly surprised at how scrumptious this stew turned out. I normally don’t like getting that bitter beer flavoring that sometimes comes through when you’re cooking with it. But I was very happy to say that I couldn’t taste any of the bitterness. The beef was fork-tender, the veggies were hearty (my first time trying and cooking with parsnips!), all coated in this rich broth that was complex in flavor (a slow cooker surprise!) and was just freaking delicious.  This dish also made a big nice batch, that was even better as leftover. The complexity of the flavors continued to develop, while none of the components of the dish (veggies or the meat) disintegrated. I’m now a Beef Stew convert!

4 lbs boneless beef chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 1-1/2-inch chunks
Salt and pepper
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 onions, chopped about 2 cups
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1-1/2 cups Guinness Draught
1 tbsp light brown sugar
1 tsp dried thyme
1 ounce bittersweet chocolate, chopped (yes, chocolate!)
2 bay leaves
5 carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 lb parsnips, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1-1/2 lbs baby red potatoes (about 24), scrubbed
1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tbsp minced fresh parsley


Pat dry the beef cubes with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tsp of oil in a large skillet over medium high heat until just smoking. Cook half of the beef until browned on all sides, about 8 minutes. Transfer to the slow cooker insert and repeat with an additional 2 tsp oil and the remaining beef.

Add the remaining 2 tsp oil, onions and 1/4 tsp salt to the skillet and cook until the onions are lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the broth, 1-1/4 cups of the beer, sugar, thyme, chocolate, and bay leaves and bring to a boil, using a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits. Transfer to the slow cooker insert.

Add the carrots, parsnips, and potatoes to the slow cooker insert. Cover and cook on low until the meat is tender, about 9-10 hours (or cook on high for 6 to 7 hours, but I have only tried this recipe on low for 10-hrs). Set the slow cooker to high. Whisk the flour and remaining 1/4 cup beer until smooth, then stir the mixture into the slow cooker. Cook, covered, until the sauce thickens about 15 minutes. Remove and discard the bay leaves, stir in the parsley, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve.

Yield: 6-8 servings

Adapted from The Best of American Test Kitchen 2008


80 Responses to “Slow Cooker Guinness Beef Stew”

  1. #
    Erin — December 6, 2011 at 9:55 am

    How convenient, I have some Guinness in the fridge right now!

    • h2babe — December 7th, 2011 @ 7:09 pm

      Awesome, hope you enjoy it :)

  2. #
    Geni — December 6, 2011 at 10:29 am

    I absolutely DO need another slow cooker recipe. When you’re right, you’re right. This stew looks marvelous and I love the added bittersweet chocolate. How can you go wrong?

    • h2babe — December 7th, 2011 @ 7:09 pm

      Thanks dear! :)

  3. #
    Tracey — December 6, 2011 at 6:40 pm

    I have been struggling to come up with new meal ideas lately, so this couldn’t come at a better time. Can’t wait to try it!!

    • h2babe — December 7th, 2011 @ 7:10 pm

      I know what you mean Tracey, we’re on a meal-rut too! Hopefully you enjoy this.

  4. #
    Courtney — December 6, 2011 at 7:23 pm

    You gotta love America’s Test Kitchen. They never steer you wrong. :)

    • h2babe — December 7th, 2011 @ 7:10 pm

      I agree with you!!

  5. #
    Kate — December 6, 2011 at 11:20 pm

    Hi, thanks for sharing this recipe. I’m curious about the chocolate – could you explain why it’s there? How does it alter/round out the flavour?

    • h2babe — December 7th, 2011 @ 7:09 pm

      Per the recipe, it adds depth in flavor to give it that rich “beefy stew” flavor without the acidity that you normally gets from using cocoa!

  6. #
    Simply Tia — December 7, 2011 at 4:33 am

    This stew looks rich, hearty, delicious and satisfying! Wonderful job!

    • h2babe — December 7th, 2011 @ 7:10 pm

      Thanks Tia!

  7. #
    texas food and travel — December 7, 2011 at 3:19 pm

    This looks so yummy. thanks for sharing

    • h2babe — December 7th, 2011 @ 7:10 pm

      Thanks for the visit and comment :)

  8. #
    Katherine Martinelli — December 8, 2011 at 1:39 am

    How did you know that I’ve had beef and guiness stew on the brain?! Your rendition looks amazing – no wonder you’re a beef stew convert now!

  9. #
    Kiran @ — December 8, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    Guiness, chocolate, stew and slow cooker? Match made in heaven :D

  10. #
    Reem | Simply Reem — December 9, 2011 at 3:20 am

    This stew looks wonderful…
    I so need to take out my slowcooker…
    Great recipe dear.

  11. #
    Jen — January 1, 2012 at 2:08 pm

    Just out of curiosity, is there a reason why we can’t just throw everything in the slow cooker all at once? Anyone know what happens if you do? Thanks!

    • h2babe — January 1st, 2012 @ 3:03 pm

      I think it would cook fine, but browning the cubed meat and sauteing the onions add complexity and depth in the flavor.

    • Q — January 14th, 2013 @ 11:59 pm

      Browning the meat first makes the meat more tender and juicy! :)

  12. #
    Colleen — January 1, 2012 at 6:27 pm

    I plan on making this stew this week- it looks delicious! Out of curiosity, can you tell my why you used chicken broth rather than beef?

    • h2babe — January 1st, 2012 @ 6:34 pm

      Great, let me know how it turns out! Good question – I didn’t even think about the broth type. The recipe calls for chicken broth, and I went back to check if they had any explanations on why they used chicken instead of beef broth – and there was none. My guess is that you can easily substitute the chicken for beef broth in this recipe. Chicken broth may just be more readily available in most pantries.

  13. #
    Stefanie — January 5, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    I bought all the ingredients today, and plan on making this as soon as my slow cooker is available from the pulled pork I made in it. :) This stew looks soooo good!! And I have Guinness in my frig, so it’s like it was calling to me!!

  14. #
    Terri — January 8, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    It smells DELISH…it’s in the crock pot, neighbors are invited,free to spend a nice afternoon with the hubby and anticipate a hearty meal :)

    • h2babe — January 8th, 2012 @ 2:32 pm

      Oh awesome! Enjoy your dinner, I hope you like the stew!

  15. #
    Terri — January 8, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    see above

  16. #
    Dianne — January 12, 2012 at 9:50 am

    Tried this last night and sorry to say it didn’t impress. I had high hopes because the sauce that you put in at the beginning was rich and full of flavor. However, what happened to me was that after cooking for 10 hours, with the crockpot lid closed, it created more liquid, thereby diluting the richness of the flavors. Maybe I can cook it a different way, like on the stovetop, so that the sauce is preserved. I will say that the sauce was super good with the guinness and the chocolate. Who would have thought?

    • h2babe — January 12th, 2012 @ 10:17 am

      What a bummer! :( But I can see that the additional condensation on the lid will dilute the sauce. Was it super soupy then? When I made mine, I think I pulled it after around 9-hrs. Thanks for sharing!

      • Dianne — January 12th, 2012 @ 12:18 pm

        It was more like a soup. Like I said I may try a stovetop version cause I was pretty impressed that chocolate would be so good in a savory meal. I might try the shorter cooking time but I went to work so it was in there a good 10 hours.

        • h2babe — January 12th, 2012 @ 12:49 pm

          Hi Dianne, yes, I was also impressed to see how chocolate enhanced the complexity and depth of flavors for the stew. When you do try the stovetop version, let me know!

  17. #
    Autumn — February 1, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    I just walked in the door and my house smells delicious! Got this stew going around 8:30 this a.m. and it was ready by 4:30. I had a little taste and am sold!!! Delicious!!! Thank you so much for sharing!

  18. #
    T — February 2, 2012 at 10:20 pm

    What size slow cooker should I use? I have a 6 quart which filled up to more than 3/4 with the recipe and I got nervous about the stew cooking over. It’s now in my fridge and I might just try this in the stove.

    • Yudith — February 3rd, 2012 @ 9:13 am

      6-quart! Sorry for the delay in response!

  19. #
    diane Clapsaddle — March 15, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    thank you so much. I have been looking for an Irish stew recipe, but unfortunatly I already bout my corned beef for st patties day. But I am certain there will be guiness left so I can make this next week. Bless your heart.

    • Yudith — March 17th, 2012 @ 12:24 pm

      Hi Diane, thank you so much! Let me know how you enjoy this! :) Happy St. Patrick’s Day :)

      • Erin — March 17th, 2012 @ 3:44 pm

        This looks amazing! We have plans for St. Patty’s dinner, but it’s supposed to storm all weekend. What else to do with the leftover Guinness and chuck we have? Excited to make it…

        • Yudith — March 17th, 2012 @ 7:33 pm

          Awesome Erin, let me know how you like the recipe!

  20. #
    Leah — November 15, 2012 at 7:17 pm

    I made this today to enjoy with my husband when he got home from
    work. He ate it in silence then told me it just might be the best dish I’ve
    ever made!! I’d have to agree with him! It’s AMAZING! I will admit I did add another 1/4 cup Guinness at the end and additional flour & it blended
    perfectly! Thanks again!

    • Yudith — November 18th, 2012 @ 5:53 pm

      Glad you and your hubby approved this recipe Leah! And thanks for sharing your modifications :)

  21. #
    lindsay — December 13, 2012 at 5:57 pm

    Hi! This looks great! I am featuring it in a slow cooker collection here

  22. #
    Joy — December 29, 2012 at 6:05 pm

    This was my first beef stew… and it was delicious!!!
    Thanks for posting!!

  23. #
    Renee — December 30, 2012 at 10:04 am

    I am so excited to try this! I love Guinness and stew so much! I just got it all made and it’s sitting in the crock right now, hope it’s as good as it sounds, looks and as everyone else says!
    Thank you for sharing this!

  24. #
    Tracy — January 6, 2013 at 1:42 pm

    This was great! I tried the 6-7 hour version and it was perfect.

  25. #
    angel — January 14, 2013 at 8:01 pm

    what is Guinness Draught

  26. #
    jenna — February 26, 2013 at 10:56 am

    I’m making this now, for the second time. By far THE most delicious stew I have ever had. And I hear that from everyone who tries it! I add a beef bouillon cube to give it an even more beefy flavor, and today I added celery, so I’ll see how that goes. Thanks so much for the recipe! :)

  27. #
    shelli german — March 15, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    Is bittersweet chocolate the same as unsweetened chocolate?

    • Yudith — October 5th, 2013 @ 11:49 am

      No its different

  28. #
    A — August 26, 2013 at 9:15 am

    “I normally don’t like getting that bitter beer flavoring that sometimes comes through when you’re cooking with it.”

    Sounds like you’ve been doing it wrong for a while..

  29. #
    Joy — September 25, 2013 at 8:31 pm

    Thank you for the recipe! It is delicious!!

  30. #
    Rebecca — October 5, 2013 at 10:02 am

    Hi! This sounds delicious but I only have coors light on hand, do you know how it would taste if I substituted the Guiness for a different beer? (never tried Guinness)


    • Yudith — October 5th, 2013 @ 11:48 am

      I would not substitute since Coors has different flavors than Guinness.

  31. #
    Bekah — November 5, 2013 at 7:31 am

    I have this stew cooking in the crock-pot right now. I’m curious, did you have any trouble getting it all to fit? I have a large 6-quart crock and I had to leave out some of the vegetables in order for it to fit. I hope it turns out well regardless!

  32. #
    Linda White — December 15, 2013 at 11:29 am

    My granddaughter and I and three great grandchildren made this the evening before Thanksgiving. Not certain we followed the recipe perfectly with the little children chopping and adding but it is a very forgiving recipe apparently because it was just delicious! It was for the turkey “dislikers”! I am making it again on Christmas Eve for Christmas dinner and serving some ham as well with a large green salad and homemade bread. Thanks so much. This my very favorite stew and my go to from now on! I had to double the flour addition for thickening but not a problem and not unusual with a lot of vegetables…you have to respond to the amount of liquid you end up with and adjust.

    • Yudith — December 15th, 2013 @ 4:32 pm

      It is an awesome soup recipe :) Glad you enjoyed it – especially if you don’t mind the mess :)

  33. #
    Linda White — December 15, 2013 at 11:34 am

    Forgot to add: it filled up my large Cuisinart slow cooker. I cooked it overnight, ten hours, and left it on warm for four hours (never removed the lid) Then heated it on the stove and thickened it. Had left overs and liked it even more the next day!

  34. #
    sue — February 16, 2014 at 7:39 am

    WOW- Guinness and chocolate. Sounds AMAZING. Going to try this week. Wondering if it would taste ok with venison? Ive had some in my freezer that someone gave me and don’t know how to cook it?!

    • Yudith — February 18th, 2014 @ 11:49 am

      Hmm… I have never cooked with venison, so I can’t say :) If you try it, please report back so we know your verdict! Thanks Sue!

    • Amanda — March 16th, 2014 @ 9:18 pm

      Venison should work perfect! It *can* be a little gamey sometimes, but the beer and chocolate should balance that out. I absolutely love venison and it takes extremely well to slow cooking. It’s nice and lean as well, just like stew meat usually is

      • Yudith — March 17th, 2014 @ 4:56 pm

        Hi Amanda – yes, that’s what I have heard too, that’s why I haven’t attempted cooking them :)

  35. #
    Dani — March 17, 2014 at 8:41 am

    Thanks for the recipe! I pinned it, and it’s in the slow cooker now. Serving with roasted cabbage and soda bread biscuits. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

    • Yudith — March 17th, 2014 @ 4:57 pm

      Hi Dani, Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you too. Hopefully you and your family enjoy the Irish-themed dinner :)

  36. #
    Megan — September 20, 2014 at 2:57 pm

    Hi! I have made this a few times already and my family loves it! With baby #2 on the way I was thinking of making I t and freezing it. Do you think it would turn out ok? Any suggestions? Thanks

    • Yudith — September 20th, 2014 @ 6:09 pm

      Megan, while I have never tried to freeze it myself, I think it should work. My rule of thumb is that as long as it doesn’t have any dairy in it – soups freeze relatively well. If you do, please report back and let us know if it’s successful. Congrats on #2 :)

  37. #
    Leah — December 25, 2014 at 1:35 am

    Making this again for the holidays! It’s AWESOME! Happy Holidays!

  38. #
    Ashley — March 12, 2015 at 11:44 pm

    Can you substitute white potatoes? I have a bunch left over from my last recipe.

  39. #
    Nicole — October 15, 2017 at 3:34 pm

    This is absolutely delicious, and we have been making your recipe for years now.
    With the popularity of the Instant Pot, I’d LOVE to see if this same recipe could be adapted for this type of cooking!
    Thanks for all of the amazing recipes!


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