This cozy Slow Cooker Guinness Beef Stew can easily be put together before leaving for the day, simmering slowly all day long and delivering an amazing meal by dinner time. Get ready to enjoy tender beef chunks, fragrant carrots, potatoes and celery combined with a rich Guinness beer (and chocolate!) infused sauce – this is one stew you won’t want to miss out on!
Are you in the mood for a hearty, flavorful meal that won’t take hours of kitchen prep and hovering over a stove? If so, then this Slow Cooker Guinness Beef Stew recipe is definitely for you! This dish combines the deep flavors of Guinness-marinated beef with vegetables cooked long and slow to create a delicious one pot meal sure to satisfy even the hungriest appetites.
Aside from just tasting great, this stew has another bonus – it uses your trusty slow cooker to make all the work as quick and easy as possible. If you’re ready for an amazing flavor experience without lots of effort or fancy ingredients, keep on reading below and grab the recipe to my Guinness beef stew!
Why You’ll Love This
- Complex and rich flavors. The deep flavors of Guinness with the combination of the chocolate yields an intense flavoring that only gets better. The long and slow process of this stew really brings out the rich flavors.
- Easy, hands-off. Quite possibly one of the most easy stews you will put together! After a quick sear of the beef and bacon in the skillet, everything goes into the slow cooker to get all flavorful.
- Versatile. This beef stew can be made in the slow cooker or you may make it on the stovetop or oven as well! Directions for stovetop and oven are below in the “Substitutions and Variations” section.
- The most tender and melt-in-your-mouth beef. Using the right cut of meat is just one step to having tender, fall apart beef. The second is cooking it low and slow for the meat to break down and become super tender and melt-in-your-mouth. It will be silky smooth like butter!
Ingredients You’ll Need
All the ingredients here make up the rich flavors of this Guinness beef stew so you won’t want to skip on any! Make sure to scroll down to view the full recipe for exact measurements.
- Bacon – you can use pork for best flavor or turkey bacon if you cannot eat pork.
- Beef chuck – boneless is easiest to get the most amount of meat.
- Salt and pepper
- Potatoes – I used Yukon gold in this but you may use Russet if you can’t find Yukon gold.
- Worcestershire sauce
- Bay leaf
- Beef broth
- Tomato paste
- Guinness or another dark beer like stout, ale, or porter
- Chocolate – I prefer bittersweet or even dark chocolate in this.
Does it matter what cut of beef to use?
Absolutely! The cut of beef to use for beef stew is what will make or break your stew. I typically stay away from the pre-cut beef that they package up for stew (they label it stew meat). I find that no matter how I cook it, it’s always tough and gristley. My favorite cut of beef to use with stews is chuck roast, and I like cutting it into cubes myself (against the grain!). It has just the right amount of marbling on the meat and it is the cut of beef I have never had issues with when it comes to stews or slow cooked beef.
How To Make Guinness Beef Stew
Here is a general overview of the steps involved to make beef stew in the slow cooker. Be sure to scroll to the bottom of this post for the full recipe.
Fry the bacon and sear the beef. This is where the flavor comes from! In a skillet, cook the bacon to your desired doneness then remove the bacon from the skillet and sear the beef in the bacon fat, just until browned on the exterior. You don’t need to cook it all the way through.
Add ingredients to the slow cooker. Once the beef and bacon are done, add the following to the slow cooker: beef, onion, garlic, carrots, celery, potatoes, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, thyme, bay leaf.
Whisk beef broth and tomato paste together. To ensure the tomato paste is broken up, you’ll want to whisk the beef broth and tomato paste together in a bowl or measuring cup then pour it into the insert of the slower cooker. Then, add the beer and chocolate.
Set the slow cooker. Turn the slow cooker to low and cook for 8 hours.
Thicken the sauce. Once the stew is done, carefully lift the lid of the slow cooker and take about 1 cup of liquid in measuring cup then whisk in the flour. Add the flour mixture back into the slow cooker and stir until mixture is nice and thickened.
Substitutions and Variations
Lucky for you, there are several ways to change up this beef stew to fit your lifestyle! Here are some of my suggestions.
- Change the protein. If you prefer to use another type of protein for this recipe, I would suggest using lamb as an option. The flavor of the lamb would compliment the flavors of the stew incredibly well. I do not suggest using chicken or pork in this recipe.
- Add more vegetables. If you would prefer a vegetable-heavy stew, you can add more vegetables to this! I would suggest using heartier veggies since this will be cooking quite a bit. Heartier vegetables like butternut squash, parsnips, or similar would be perfect to add.
- Make it on the stovetop or oven. This recipe may be made in whichever way is convenient for you. If you’re going to make it on the stovetop, after browning the beef, remove that from the skillet as well. Add the onions and garlic. Stir in the flour. Then add the liquids and vegetables. Add the beef and bacon back in along with the spices and herbs. Bring the mixture to a boil then cover and cook for 2 hours. Remove the lid 30 minutes prior to finishing to let mixture thicken more.
- For the oven, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit while you are preparing everything. Once the mixture has been brought to a boil, carefully transfer it to the oven and cook covered for 2 1/2 hours. Remove the lid 30 minutes prior to finishing.
Tips for Success
Anyone can dump ingredients in a slow cooker or pot and call it a day, but here are some tips and tricks to ensure that your hearty beef stew is a success!
- Try not to omit ingredients. I know it may be tempting to omit ingredients and think that it might not have a huge affect on the end result but trust me, it does. Give the recipe a quick read before going to the grocery store to make sure you have everything!
- Season well. Large batch stews like this require a decent amount of seasoning. Make sure to salt and pepper this to taste!
- Cut against the grain. You know you hear this a lot when it comes to cutting meat and it is fact that if you cut against the grain, you will yield a much more tender result. If you cut with the grain, the meat tends to be really tough.
- Splurge, but don’t go overboard. It might be tempting to get the best cut of beef for this delicious beef stew but you don’t have to go overboard. Really, a nice big chuck roast with generous marbling is all you need. You don’t need to spend $$$ and use Wagyu or sirloin.
- Make sure you have a big enough pot. Nothing is worse than pouring everything in and realizing it’s going to overflow. Have at least a 6 quart pot for this recipe!
Storage and Reheating Instructions
Once the stew is cooled, you may place it into an airtight container and keep it in the fridge for up to 3 days. To reheat, use a microwave or stovetop to warm through.
Can you freeze beef stew?
Yes, after the stew is cooled and placed into an airtight, freezer-safe container, you may put it in the freezer for up to 3 months. To reheat, let it come to room temperature and reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave.
What to Serve with Guinness Beef Stew
I like serving my thick stews with a generous serving of bread to sop up all the delicious stew liquid. Garlic herb parker house rolls would be perfect for this task. However, a bit of an untraditional route, I have had leftover garlic naan before and have used that as a vessel for this beef stew as well and it was so good. A buttery, tender biscuit would be a great compliment too. If none of the above is your pot of gold, a classic French baguette or sourdough bread will do as well!
Slow Cooker Guinness Beef Stew
- 2 pounds (907 g) boneless beef chuck
- Salt and pepper for seasoning
- ½ pound bacon, about 8 slices
- 3 onions, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 ½ cups (355 ml) beef broth
- ¼ cup (66 g) tomato paste
- 2 large carrots, peeled and sliced
- 2 large celery ribs, sliced
- 1 ½ cups (355 g) Yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1 inch cubes
- 2 teaspoons worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground pepper
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 18 ounces (510 ml) dark beer like Guinness
- 1 ounce (28 g) bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- ⅓ cup (42 g) flour
- Cut the beef into 1 ½ inch chunks. Sprinkle it with salt and pepper and set it aside.
- In a dutch oven, fry the bacon until crisp. Remove it from the pan, crumble and set aside but leave the bacon fat in the pan.
- Brown the beef by putting a little in the dutch oven at a time. As the pieces brown, remove them to the insert of the slow cooker. Once done, add bacon to the slow cooker as well.
- Whisk beef broth and tomato paste together and pour into the slow cooker.
- Add remaining ingredients (carrots, celery, potatoes, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, pepper, thyme, and bay leaf) into the insert of a 6-8 quart slow cooker. Finally, pour in the beer and add the chocolate. Stir once more.
- Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.
- Remove lid of slow cooker when finished and carefully remove 1 cup of liquid from the stew and place in a bowl with flour. Whisk together then pour back into the stew and stir to thicken. This will take about 5 minutes or so.
- Remove the bay leaf before serving.
Source: adapted from Blissfully Delicious
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