We love Irish cooking (especially these classic recipes). It’s exceptionally homey feeling with hearty ingredients and farm fresh produce. Some of our favorites, like Colcannon potatoes, soda bread and Irish stew just make us feel cozy—particularly the Irish stew.
A low-and-slow stew might seem like the kind of dinner you have to babysit all day, but making a traditional lamb stew doesn’t need to be difficult. In fact, when you opt to use a slow cooker, you can get that all-day flavor with minimal hands-on time.
This slow cooker Irish stew tastes like it’s straight from the Emerald Isle.
How to Make Slow Cooker Irish Stew
We’ve adapted one of our favorite Irish dishes to make this lamb stew recipe. The original uses a Dutch oven (here’s the recipe), but we’ve tweaked it slightly for the slow cooker.
- 1-1/2 pounds lamb stew meat, cut into one-inch cubes
- 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, divided
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 3 medium onions, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 4 cups reduced-sodium beef broth, plus a splash for deglazing the pan
- 2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 4 medium carrots, cut into one-inch pieces
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 2 tablespoons water
Step 1: Prep and Brown the Lamb
Preheat your slow cooker on low (trust us, it’s worth it) and heat a cast-iron skillet (or any other heavy pan) on medium-high.
Toss the lamb with a third cup of flour until coated. You can do this by sealing the two ingredients in a zip-top bag, then shaking, or by tossing them together in a large mixing bowl.
Once the skillet is hot, brown the lamb with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. You don’t need to cook the lamb long—just enough to get some nice color on the outside. When it’s nicely browned, remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.
In the same pan, saute the onions and garlic for a minute or two. Hit this with a splash or two of the beef broth—this will help deglaze, or loosen all the tasty browned bits from the pan. Again, you don’t need to cook these completely—the slow cooker will take care of that.
Test Kitchen tip: Even though this recipe relies on your trusty slow cooker to get that fork-tender texture, browning gives ingredients a big flavor boost.
Step 2: Start Slow Cooking
When the slow cooker is warmed, add the lamb and the onion, garlic and broth mixture—you want every bit of flavor from the skillet going into the slow cooker. Then stir in the potatoes, carrots, seasonings, Worcestershire sauce and beef broth.
Let the stew cook on low for 8 to 10 hours.
Step 3: Add the Finishing Touches
Peas cook quickly in the slow cooker, so wait until the last half hour to stir them in.
This is also the time to give your stew a bit more body. So, thicken the stew with a bit of flour. Whisk together 1 tablespoon of flour with 2 tablespoons of water until nice and smooth. Then stir into the stew. Place the lid back on the slow cooker and let the stew bubble away for 30 minutes more.
The result is a hearty stew that’s perfect for chilly evenings. We recommend serving it up alongside some nice soda bread—we’ve got a great step-by-step tutorial.