Slow Cooker Guinness Beef Stew

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Guinness beef stew is a classic St. Patrick’s Day recipe with tender pieces of corned beef and root vegetables infused with beer and spices. This method uses the stovetop and slow cooker for maximum flavor.

Guinness beef stew in a white bowl.

My family looks forward to celebrating our Irish heritage with a big feast each year! Corned beef is always on the menu. When I’m not making a baked honey mustard roast, I’ll chop up the meat and vegetables into chunks for a stew instead.

After a brief sear to develop surface flavors, I simmer the tough cut of meat for hours in the slow cooker for fork-tender pieces. To make the gravy incredibly delicious, add Guinness. The malty stout has deep roasted coffee notes that complement the beef. 

Meat selection

Corned beef is a tough cut of meat with lots of intermuscular fat and gelatin. It benefits from prolonged, moist-heat cooking, so a slow cooker or dutch oven are ideal preparation methods. Corned beef gets its characteristic pink hue and taste from being cured in tinted brine.

If you prefer a less salty taste, use beef chuck or chuck roll, which I use in my classic beef stew.

Cubes of corned beef with herbs and pickled spices in a Crock-Pot.

Sear the beef first

Before placing the corned beef in the slow cooker, I sear the meat in a pan on the stovetop. This process develops a flavorful brown crust that a steamy slow cooker can not achieve. This step adds a little extra work to the recipe, but the results are worth it.

Since corned beef has a fatty layer on top, trim most of it off, so it doesn’t make the stew too greasy. Also, cut the brisket into large 1-inch pieces as it will shrink down as it cooks. Season the meat with salt and pepper before adding it to the hot pan.

Prepare the aromatics

Heat the chopped onions, sliced garlic, and tomato paste in the microwave to add depth to the stew. This technique quickly softens the onions and mimics cooking them in a pan. The dry heat helps to concentrate the flavor of the alliums and glutamates in the tomatoes. 

Alternatively, you can saute the ingredients over medium heat in the same pan used to sear the beef if you prefer.

Using a variety of vegetables

To complement the chunks of beef, I like to use a variety of root vegetables and squash. The starches in red potatoes soak up the flavorful liquid and hold their shape well while simmering. You can use other types of potatoes like Yukon Gold for a buttery and creamy texture, but avoid Russets that break apart easily.

Butternut squash, when softened, still adds a nice contrast in texture. Corn kernels add little chewy bits to the stew. You can add other vegetables like parsnips, sweet potatoes, or other gourds. Cut them into similar sizes to cook evenly, about 1-inch pieces. 

What beer is best for beef stew?

For this Irish-inspired recipe, flavoring the stew liquid with a stout like Guinness is preferred. It has a heavy body that’s dark in color. The sweetness of the malt balances the slight bitterness from the hops. The beer adds a chocolate and coffee note to the stew. 

Be sure to use Draught beer and not the extra stout kind, which tends to be more bitter. I add some brown sugar which contains molasses, to offset some of the astringent alcohol taste. 

Close up of meat and vegetables stewing in a slow cooker.

To thicken the sauce

After a few hours in the Crock-Pot, the simmering stew liquid will still be a thin consistency. Make a flour slurry by whisking some of the hot stock with all-purpose flour to thicken the sauce. Pour that into the slow cooker, along with the starchy corn kernel. In about 30 minutes on high, the sauce will lightly thicken and should cling to the meat and vegetables.

Making Guinness beef stew in a dutch oven

Suppose you don’t have a slow cooker, no problem. Brown the beef and remove it from the pot. Saute the onion, garlic, and tomato paste until tender. Sprinkle in the flour and cook for 1 minute. 

Stir in the liquid ingredients and seasonings, then add the vegetables and beef. Cover and bake at 350ºF (177ºC) until vegetables and meat are tender, about 75 to 90 minutes. Add corn and simmer on the stovetop until cooked through.

Serve this with

Frequently asked questions

Can I use regular beef instead of corned beef?

I recommend using a beef chuck or beef chuck roll to substitute the corned beef. They are tough cuts that tenderize with low heat and a slow cooking process. However, the taste will be much less savory. Adjust with more salt at the end of cooking.

Can you make the stew gluten-free?

Yes! Cassava flour, arrowroot powder, or a cornstarch slurry can be used instead of all-purpose flour.

Why is my stew bitter?

The beer ingredients like hops and barley contribute to a slightly bitter coffee flavor. The stout has a slightly sweet taste but to balance the flavor in the beef stew, add in a small amount of brown sugar, increasing if needed.

Irish beef stew with tender pieces of meat and root vegetables.

Benefits of browning the meat

You can add the beef straight to the slow cooker if you’re short on time. However, the meat will be less flavorful. Searing corned beef develops hundreds of new flavors on the surface, called Maillard browning. This step also helps render the fat, so the stew doesn’t become greasy.

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Slow Cooker Guinness Beef Stew

A hearty beef stew with tender pieces of corned beef and root vegetables infused with beer and spices, perfect for St. Patrick's Day!
4.82 from 44 votes
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time3 hours 30 minutes
Total Time4 hours
Servings 6 servings
Course Soup
Cuisine Irish


  • 2 pounds corned beef brisket
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ cup olive oil, divided
  • 2 cups yellow onion, ½” dice
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 cups baby red potatoes, quartered, 1” pieces
  • 2 cups carrots, 1” pieces
  • 2 cups butternut squash, 1” cubes
  • 3 cups unsalted beef stock
  • 1 ½ cups beer Guinness Draught
  • 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon chopped thyme, or ½ teaspoon dried
  • 1 packet pickling spices, comes with corned beef, optional
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup corn kernels, fresh or canned
  • 1 tablespoon minced parsley


  • Prepare Corned Beef – Trim the excess fat off the surface of the beef, leaving a thin layer. Cut into 1-inch cubes, about 3 cups—season with salt and pepper.
  • Sear the Meat – In a large frying pan, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. Once hot, brown the meat for about 2 minutes on each side, 8 minutes total. If needed, work in batches, keeping the pieces in a single layer in the pan. Transfer to a 6-quart slow cooker.
  • Microwave the Aromatics – In a microwave-safe dish, combine the onions, garlic, tomato paste, and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Microwave on high for 5 minutes, stopping and stirring every 2 minutes. The onions should be tender. Transfer to the slow cooker.
  • Add the beer and vegetables – Add the potatoes, carrot, butternut squash, beef stock, Guinness beer, brown sugar, thyme, and pickling spices (if using) to the slow cooker. Stir to combine.
  • Cook – Cover and cook for 3 to 4 hours on high or 6 to 7 hours on low. The potatoes should be fork-tender.
  • Thicken the Sauce – In a medium bowl, combine flour with ¾ cup of the hot stew liquid and whisk to combine. Pour the mixture back into the slow cooker and stir. Add the corn kernels—cover and cook on high for 30 minutes.
  • Serve – Pour the stew into bowls and garnish with parsley right before serving.


  • Make it Gluten-Free: Use equal amounts of cassava flour instead of the all-purpose flour. For cornstarch, mix 3 tablespoons cornstarch with 6 tablespoons of water. Use a gluten-free beer.
  • Storing: Cool completely, then cover and store inside the refrigerator for up to 5 days or freezer for 1 month.
  • Reheating: Cover and reheat individual portions in a microwave-safe bowl on high in 30-seconds increments until hot. Alternatively, simmer on the stovetop until hot.

Nutrition Facts

Serves: 6 servings
Calories 491kcal (25%)Carbohydrates 45g (15%)Protein 26g (52%)Fat 21g (32%)Saturated Fat 8g (40%)Polyunsaturated Fat 0.5gMonounsaturated Fat 2gCholesterol 94mg (31%)Sodium 1509mg (63%)Potassium 870mg (25%)Fiber 6g (24%)Sugar 10g (11%)Vitamin A 10600IU (212%)Vitamin C 52.8mg (64%)Calcium 50mg (5%)Iron 2mg (11%)

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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Reader Interactions

23 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Judy says

    Hi Jessica,

    This will be the next soup/stew I am making. Probably after New Years but just made my list for ingredients.

    Thank you for another great recipe.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      I can’t wait to hear what you think Judy! A yummy recipe for the winter or st. patrick’s day 🙂

      • Larry Scheiber says

        Do you think the Guinness corned beef stew receipe would also work using a crockpot?
        Thank you.
        Larry S

        • Jessica Gavin says

          Hi Larry! Yes, I think you could make this in a slow cooker. I would still brown the meat before adding to the slow cooker. Microwave the onions, garlic and tomato paste together for about 5 minutes until softened (stir every 2 minutes). Add the flour, stir and microwave 1 minute. Add that to the pot. Add the rest of the ingredients to the pot (broth, vegetables, beer) and cook until the vegetables are tender. I would estimate 3 hours on high and 6 hours on low. Let me know how it turns out!

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Chris! I think you could leave it out, but maybe reduce the Guinness to 1 cup so the soup doesn’t taste bitter. The brown sugar helps balance the bitterness. Would you be okay with substituting maple syrup, honey or some pureed dates instead?

  2. Nicole Pellegrini says

    So I made this today (no, it’s not St. Patrick’s Day, but I wanted to use up some corned beef in my freezer). This was easily the best corned beef I have ever made in my life! My partner usually hates corned beef made the traditional way but this was a winner, and a keeper. So much more flavor and the broth was delicious!

    The only changes I made were I soaked the corned beef for an hour in water, just to drain out some of the saltiness. And I didn’t have butternut squash so I threw in some turnips instead. Yum!

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Yay Nicole! You made my day 🙂 I’m so happy that you enjoyed the corned beef stew, even though it’s not St. Paddy’s day, hehe. I love the idea of using turnips. I’ll have to try soaking the corned beef next time. Happy eating!

  3. Theresa W Halford says

    Hello Jessica,

    I made this stew for a family gathering and I had such great feedback. One stated it was the best stew she ever had. This will be a repeat again and again. Thank you.

  4. Judy Caywood says

    I’m making this right now. I am using chuck since that is what I had in the freezer. Cannot wait to finally try it. Will let you know how it turns out.

    I told my husband I am wearing your favorite perfume – ode de garlic. Grin We both like garlic.

  5. Mary says

    Word of caution for gluten free: You must not only change the flour to a gluten free option but utilize GLUTEN FREE BEER. Guinness is not gluten free!

  6. Cynthia says

    Am I the only person that has a problem with mushy vegetables when you put it in with the meat? Every time I make a dish that says put the veg in with a tough meat, it happens. How do you prevent that? To me, the vegetables are the best part and its ruined.

  7. Jennifer Raye says

    Tasted like a regular stew but with a tough of meat. Missed the cornbeef taste. Followed recipe to a tee. Will use recipes with a roast again but not cornbeef. Why do?

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Thanks for the feedback, Jennifer! Glad to hear that you would use the recipe again with regular beef. Do you prefer to eat corned beef more as larger pieces are sliced instead of stew for a stronger brined taste?

  8. Mike West says

    I bought already cooked corned beef. Will it work and when should I add the corned beef? Making it tomorrow Saint patty’s day…thanks!

  9. Michael J. Kraemer says

    I am one of these people who change 15 things in a recipe and then wonder why it doesn’t come out as advertised! Couldn’t find Corned beef, so I used a chuck roast. To my palate, “Dirty Bastard” beer has a similar taste to Guinness and also has molasses in it and it was what I had on hand. This came out very bitter. I have never used pickling spice other than for corned beef, and since I didn’t have a packet I guessed at 1 tablespoon. Don’t know if this was a factor. Since I didn’t follow the recipe not fair to give a rating.

    My wife liked it. She hates beer. Go figure.

  10. Theresa says

    The Guiness Irish Stew is my favorite. I have made this numerous times over the years. It is my go to if I am making a stew to take to friends. This week I make and delivered to two of our friends. I get the “that is the best stew I have had”. Thank you Jessica for such an easy stew that is so great!

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