Beer-Braised Chicken Stew

4.89 from 35 votes
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A delicious beer-braised chicken stew recipe where the richness of beer melds perfectly with tender chicken and hearty vegetables. This comforting dish promises a symphony of flavors in every spoonful.

A big pot of chicken ale stew with corn and carrots.

This hearty chicken ale stew is a whole meal packed into one pot. It has everything you could want in a satisfying meal: big chunks of tender chicken, baby potatoes, carrots, sweet potato, mushrooms, and corn on the cob.

Unlike my classic beef stew, for this recipe, I use a secret ingredient: beer, to make the braising liquid more flavorful. If you haven’t tried adding the fermented ingredient to your soups and stews yet, you’re in for a treat! The hoppy flavor adds dimension to the dish, which is balanced with a hint of brown sugar.

“Holy Moly! There’s a lot going on in this stew. But it works fabulously. I’ve never thought of putting in sweet taters. It certainly goes well in this stew. I’ve gotten high praise at the dinner table twice this week.”—Chris

Recipe ingredients

  • Beer: I use a pale ale because of its dark amber color, slight bitterness, and big, hoppy flavor.
  • Chicken: If you like a leaner cut of meat, chicken breasts work great. If you are hesitant about the dryness factor, chicken thighs tend to stay moist because they have more fat. Bone-in chicken can add more flavor and body to the sauce.
  • Vegetables: Hearty root vegetables like potatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes, and corn are good for a braised chicken stew since they will cook for a while in the oven.
  • Seasoning: Aromatic ingredients like onions, garlic, thyme, and brown sugar to balance the bitterness of the beer.
  • Thickening: Flour and tomato paste are added to the braising liquid to thicken the consistency.

See the recipe card below for all ingredients and measurements (US and metric).

Step 1: Set the oven rack to the lower position and preheat to 300 degrees.

Prepare the chicken

Step 2: I prefer a rustic chicken stew. Keep the chicken pieces whole, then season both sides generously with salt and pepper.

Step 3: Sear the seasoned chicken pieces in hot olive oil over medium-high heat to add flavorful browning to the surface. Flip the pieces and turn the heat down to medium to finish cooking. This process only takes about 10 minutes. Don’t overcook the meat, as it will finish in the oven.

Pro Tip: To make this a one-pot dish, use a large oven-proof pot, like a Dutch oven.

Step 4: Let the meat cool for 5 minutes to redistribute the juices. If it’s not too hot, roughly shred the chicken with your hands or a fork. Keep it chunky so it doesn’t dry out when stewing in the oven.

Cook the aromatics

Step 5: Once you remove the chicken from the pan, use the flavorful drippings to cook the aromatics. Add olive oil, and saute the diced yellow onions until translucent to mellow the raw taste, and bring the natural sugars to the surface. Briefly cook the garlic to coax out the savory aroma. It’s all about building layers of flavor.

Thicken the liquid

Step 6: Cook the tomato paste to enhance its sweetness; the solids will help add thickness. Stir in the flour and cook to remove the raw starchy taste. Flour is a traditional ingredient that adds richness to the consistency. Add the chicken broth or stock, beer, brown sugar, and fresh thyme. Stir and simmer until the liquid slightly thickens.

Add the chicken and vegetables

Corn on the cobb and shredded chicken simmering in a Dutch oven.

Step 7: Add the shredded chicken, white potatoes, sweet potatoes, and carrots to the pot. Root vegetables hold their structure after being braised in the oven for an hour. I also add wheels of corn on the cob and fresh kernels. Season with salt and pepper, then stir the stew.

Cook the stew in the oven

Step 8: Add the stew ingredients to the pot, cover with the lid, and transfer to the preheated oven. The raw root veggies will cook for about an hour. Test to see if the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork. Add more time as needed. Most of the alcohol evaporates during the cooking process, so the brew’s complex flavors add depth to the sauce.

Serve the stew

Big bowl of beer-braised chicken stew with hearty vegetables.

Step 9: I like to garnish the bowl of stew with freshly chopped parsley and thin slices of crisp radish. Enjoy a glass with the meal if you have a cold beer in the fridge from making the recipe. It’s the perfect pairing!

Flavor variations

It’s easy to switch up the recipe for a chicken stew. Try these tasty options:

  • Beer: You can certainly try other varieties, as their character will change the stew’s flavor. Try a dark stout like Guinness, or add a lager for a lighter flavor and color.
  • Cream: If you like a creamy texture, stir heavy cream into the stew after braising and reduce it on the stovetop if needed.
  • Vegetables: Add diced bell peppers, celery, white button mushrooms, turnips, rutabaga, or parsnips. Use Yukon gold or red potatoes instead of white potatoes.
  • Herbs: Add bay leaf, rosemary, tarragon, or oregano to infuse into the braising liquid. Garnish with chives or sliced basil.

Serving suggestions

Frequently asked questions

Can I use bone-in chicken?

Yes, bone-in breasts, thighs, or a whole chicken cut into smaller pieces can be used in the stew. Sear both sides of the chicken until golden brown. Add the pieces to the pot before braising in the oven. Cook for an hour, adding more time to fully cook the meat.

Can I omit the beer in the stew recipe?

Yes, add more chicken stock or broth. Replace the amount of beer that you are omitting with the stock.

Can I use wine instead of beer in the stew?

Yes, I recommend a buttery chardonnay or a crisp pinot grigio. A blush wine will add a more tannic flavor from the red grapes, or use a lighter pinto noir or merlot.

How to make chicken stew thicker?

The stewing liquid can be reduced on the stovetop by boiling until the desired consistency is reached. Whisk in a beurre manie, an equal mixture of kneaded butter and flour paste at the end of cooking.

Can I make the chicken stew gluten-free?

Use equal parts cassava flour to replace the flour. After cooking in the oven, add a cornstarch slurry: Mix 3 tablespoons cornstarch with ⅓ cup of water. Bring the stew to a boil on the stovetop, stir in the slurry, and cook until thickened.

Can I make the stew in advance?

This easy chicken stew recipe is great for meal prep! Let it cool, then place it in an airtight container. Refrigerate for up to 5 days. Alternatively, freeze for up to 1 month. Reheat individual portions in the microwave or on the stovetop.

Chunks of chicken, corn, and potatoes in a bowl.

Recipe Science

Finishing the stew in the oven versus on the stovetop

This recipe for a chicken ale stew starts on the stovetop to brown the meat and simmer the stew liquid. I finish the braising process in the oven to allow the steam to collect inside the pot and cook the meat and vegetables slowly and evenly at a consistent temperature. Sometimes, there are hotspots under the burners, so you have to check and stir the pot regularly.

Beer-Braised Chicken Stew

A comforting and hearty meal that warms you up on a chilly day. The way the flavors come together with tender chicken and vegetables in a rich broth is always a hit with my family and friends.
4.89 from 35 votes
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time1 hour
Total Time1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Course Soup
Cuisine American

Ingredients 
 

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 ½ pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, or thighs
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup diced yellow onion, ½” dice
  • 1 clove garlic, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups unsalted chicken stock, or broth
  • 1 cup pale ale beer
  • 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon chopped thyme
  • 1 cup diced white potatoes, 1" pieces
  • 1 cup diced sweet potatoes, peeled, 1" pieces
  • 1 cup sliced carrots, peeled, 1" pieces
  • 1 cup sliced brown mushrooms, ¼" thick
  • 2 corn on the cob
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 4 radishes, thinly sliced

Instructions 

  • Heat the Oven – Position oven rack to the lower position. Preheat the oven to 300°F (149ºC).
  • Prepare the Chicken – Season each side of the chicken breasts with salt and pepper.
  • Cook the Chicken – In a large oven-proof pan or Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and sear until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and flip the pieces. Cook for about 3 to 5 minutes. Turn off the heat.
  • Shred the Chicken – Transfer the chicken to a clean plate, shred it into large pieces, and set aside.
  • Cook the Aromatics – The chicken will leave browned bits at the bottom of the pot. Leave this in, as it adds flavor to the stew. Heat the pot over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the diced onions, and sauté for 3 minutes until tender. Add the minced garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
  • Thicken the Liquid – Add the tomato paste, stir, and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in chicken stock, beer, brown sugar and thyme. Scrape the bottom and sides of the pot to incorporate any browned bits of flour. Bring the liquid to a simmer and cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the Chicken and Vegetables – Add the shredded chicken, potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, and mushrooms. Cut one corn on the cob into 4 pieces. Cut the kernels off of the other cob. Add the kernels and whole-cut pieces to the pot. Add 1 teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper, stir to combine.
  • Cook the Stew – Cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and transfer it to the oven. Cook until vegetables are tender, about 55 minutes. Remove from the oven, then taste and season with salt and pepper as desired.
  • To Serve – Serve the stew garnished with parsley and radish.

Notes

  • Storing: Cool and transfer leftovers to an airtight container. Refrigerate for up to 5 days. Freeze for up to 1 month.
  • Make it Gluten-Free: Use the same amount of cassava flour as an all-purpose flavor. Alternatively, combine 3 tablespoons of cornstarch with ⅓ cup of water. Add to the pot after cooking in the oven. Boil on the stovetop, and stir until the stew is thickened.

Nutrition Facts

Serves: 4 servings
Calories 532kcal (27%)Carbohydrates 54g (18%)Protein 26g (52%)Fat 23g (35%)Saturated Fat 4g (20%)Polyunsaturated Fat 2gMonounsaturated Fat 10gCholesterol 178mg (59%)Sodium 1224mg (51%)Potassium 553mg (16%)Fiber 5g (20%)Sugar 11g (12%)Vitamin A 8750IU (175%)Vitamin C 15.7mg (19%)Calcium 40mg (4%)Iron 2.9mg (16%)

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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  1. Anete says

    And I forgot to add that I added one bell pepper, smoked paprika powder, and a squeeze of lemon when serving the dish.

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