Traditional Irish Stew With Beef & Lamb

With St. Patrick’s Day only a few days away, I’m continuing to share some of my favorite traditional Irish food. This Traditional Irish recipe for beef stew is a simple but delicious dinner time meal for families and frankly the best Irish stew I’ve ever had! 

Irish Beef & Lamb Stew for St. Patrick's Day Food

Traditional Irish Beef Stew

There’s really nothing more warming and delicious in the dead of winter than an authentic, hearty Irish stew with beef, potatoes and carrots. Once spring rolls around, I like to add lamb for extra flavor but it’s just as good without it. In Ireland, we eat stew all year round. It’s a traditional dish for a reason! And while Pinterest may have you believe that Irish stew includes Guinness, the regular dinner-time version that Irish Mammies and Daddies cook for their families certainly does not. That’s just restaurants trying to make it a bit fancier ;-)

A bowl of stew in a blue bowl on a blue/white checkered towel with a spoon nearby

What’s in a Traditional Irish Stew?

An authentic Irish stew is traditionally made with beef and lamb (or mutton). Around here, I can usually only find lamb in the spring when it’s in season so for the rest of the year I choose to just make a beef stew with potatoes and carrots. You can of course add in other vegetables like turnip (I like it this way, too!) and some people add celery (which I don’t eat).

Authentic Irish Stew with beef, lamb, potatoes and carrots

How To Make Thick Irish Stew

The longer you cook the stew and allow the flavors to combine together and the potato to break down, the thicker the stew will be. My mom always made stew with dumplings, so the flour is those also really helps to thicken everything up. If by the end of the cooking process the stew is not thick enough for your liking, simply add some flour or cornstarch and cook it for another 10-15 minutes to thicken the gravy up.

Irish stew can be thickened by allowing it to cook for a long time and by adding dumplings made from flour.

A bowl of beef and lamb stew with a sprig of garnish on top

Can This Irish Stew Recipe Be Made in The Slow Cooker?

Absolutely! This is in essence a slow cooker (or crock pot!) recipe since it’s important to let it cook for several hours. I have a big “stewing pot” that I use but I’ve also used my slow cooker that has a built-in searing feature. 

Authentic Irish Stew Recipe with beef and lamb. St. Patrick's Day food at its best

How Do You Make an Irish Stew?

The recipe is below! The amounts I specified are purely for guidance. Sometimes I use less potatoes or more depending on whether I want leftovers or not. I mean, I ALWAYS want leftovers. Next day stew is even better than the first day’s :-) But feel free to play around with the amounts as you see fit.

Irish beef stew with potatoes is a simple and affordable St.Patrick's Day meal.

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Traditional Irish Stew

Authentic Irish Stew with beef, lamb, potatoes and carrots
How do you make traditional Irish stew? My authentic recipe using beef and lamb is below!
Jenna Shaughnessy
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 20 minutes
Serving Size 7 people


  • 8 medium potatoes, quartered washed & peeled
  • 5 carrots, chopped into coins washed & peeled
  • 1 large yellow onion diced
  • 4 cups beef stock
  • 1 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • pinch salt
  • pinch of pepper
  • ½ lb stewing beef
  • ½ lb lamb

Optional: Savoury Dumplings

  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons parsley finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoons butter diced


  • Making sure meat is cut into even pieces, season with salt & pepper, then dredge with flour. On a medium to high heat, sear the meat to seal in the juices. Once every side of the meat is brown, set aside.
  • Quarter potatoes and place them along with the chopped carrots and onion into a large pot or dutch oven. Fill will just enough water to cover them. Bring to a boil then allow to simmer until the potatoes are just about soft enough to prick with a fork. 
  • Add the beef stock, seared meat, worcestershire sauce and parsley. Leave to cook on a low heat for a minimum of 3 hours. I like to make my stew early in the morning and leave it cook all day long. This intensifies the flavors for the best tasting stew.
  • If you choose to add the dumplings, they will get added in the final hour. Sieve the dry ingredients into a bowl. Add the parsley and diced butter. Add enough mix to make a dough that comes together. It should be a bit sticky. Drop into the stew and cook for the final hour with the lid on.


Optional vegetables to add: Turnip and/or celery. 
Lamb is optional but adds a nice flavor. I only use lamb in the spring when it’s in season, I make my stew with just beef in the winter.
While I choose to make my stew in a pot, you can of course use a slow cooker since this is in essence a slow cooker recipe. Once the meat has been seared, set the stew on high for 30 minutes to an hour and then low for as long as needed.
A bowl of beef and lamb stew with a sprig of garnish on top

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