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A bowl of Guinness lamb stew on burlap with herbs and beer to the side.

Guinness Lamb Stew

When you need some hearty comfort food, it doesn’t get better than this Guinness lamb stew! Tender chunks of lamb shoulder simmer in a rich, flavorful stout broth with potatoes, carrots, onions and barley to make one satisfying meal. You will love every cozy bite.
Course Soups and Stews
Cuisine Irish
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 10 minutes
Servings 8 people
Calories 545kcal


  • Large Dutch oven or stock pot
  • Cutting board
  • Kitchen twine


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil plus ¼ cup more if needed
  • 2 pounds lamb shoulder cut into 1- to 2-inch pieces
  • Salt and pepper
  • ½ pound bacon chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 yellow onion chopped
  • 4 large carrots peeled and cut diagonally into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 4 garlic cloves grated or minced
  • 1 (12-ounce) Guinness bottle
  • 5 cups beef stock
  • 3 fresh rosemary sprigs
  • 10 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 3 fresh sage sprigs
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound baby white potatoes quartered
  • ¾ cup pearl barley not hulled barley
  • Fresh chopped parlsey for garnish, optional


  • Heat oil on medium-high heat in a large stock pot. Sprinkle the lamb with salt and pepper. When the oil is hot and shimmering, add half the lamb and cook just until browned on one side. Flip and repeat on the other side. Remove the lamb and reserve on a plate. Repeat with the second half of the lamb.
  • Turn the heat down to medium. Add bacon and cook until the fat renders and the bacon browns. Remove the browned bacon. Measure the bacon fat that rendered. If you don't have ¼ cup, add enough oil to make ¼ cup and add back to the pot.
  • Whisk in the flour. This is our roux. Continuously whisk the roux until it turns a light brown color, about 10 minutes.
  • Stir in the onions, carrots and tomato paste. Cook until the onions soften, about four to five minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly.
  • Pour in the Guinness, scraping at the brown bits on the bottom of the pot to loosen. Now pour in the beef stock. Add the lamb and bacon back to the pot. Tie the fresh herbs with kitchen twine and add those, the bay leaves and salt as well.
  • Bring the liquid to a boil. Cover and turn the heat down to maintain a simmer. Continue to simmer for an hour. Stir occasionally.
  • Add the potatoes and cook for 15 minutes. Now add the barley. Bring to a boil again and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook until the potatoes and barley are soft, about 30 minutes.
  • Remove the herbs and bay leaves. If desired, garnish with chopped fresh parsley. Enjoy!



  • You can make ahead and store in an airtight container for up to three days. As it sits, the mix-ins will absorb some broth, so you might need to add a little more liquid if you want it to be soupier. 
  • Ask your butcher to cut the meat for you. We want 1- to 2-inch chunks with the excess fat removed.
  • While I love the flavor of lamb, it can be harder to find, and some people don’t love the gamey flavor. Instead cut beef chuck into cubes and cook as you would the lamb.
  • If your store is out of traditional pearl barley, you can substitute that instead. Just make sure you adjust the cooking time according to the package’s directions.
  • I prefer my carrots soft, so I add them earlier. However, if you’d like your carrots to have more of a bite, add them with the potatoes.
  • Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.


Serving: 1bowl | Calories: 545kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 34g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 16g | Cholesterol: 73mg | Sodium: 738mg | Potassium: 947mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 5164IU | Vitamin C: 15mg | Calcium: 52mg | Iron: 3mg