Beef Stew with Dumplings is the perfect Irish inspired dish to make for St. Patrick's Day. It has slow roasted beef, potatoes, and carrots stewed in a Guinness spiked broth that gets thick and glossy while it cooks. And to top it all off, homemade cheddar dumplings bake up extra fluffy in this beef and ale stew.
On a cold day, it's hard to beat a meat-and-potatoes meal, and this stew is such a great spin on that classic combination. The beer, herbs, and beef broth marinate with the beef juice and vegetables to create an aromatic, delicious broth you'll be craving as it cooks.
If you're in need of more hearty, cozy meals, soups or sides, try this Pennsylvania Dutch Chicken Pot Pie or Turkey Pot Pie with Puff Pastry
This hearty stew and dumplings recipe is not only rich and delicious, it's super easy to make! All of the ingredients get cooked in a dutch oven or a large pot, so there is very little cleanup, and most of the work is done hands-off in the oven. And if you want to make this in a crockpot instead of a dutch oven, see the crockpot instructions below the recipe photos.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
Succulent meat - because this beef and dumplings recipe cooks for quite a while, the meat breaks down and becomes soft and delicious. It gets so tender, you won't even need a knife.
Guinness - there's nothing like a Guinness to put you in the St. Patrick's Day mood, and the stout gives this stew a complex, rich flavor that can't be beat.
Fluffy biscuits - these semi-homemade Bisquick dumplings get an extra flavor kick from garlic powder, cheddar, and chives. They bake right on top of the stew, so the bottoms soak up that delicious gravy.
Warming and hearty - there's really nothing like a bowl of beef of dumplings on a cold Winter or Spring night, and because it cooks for several hours, your whole house will smell like delicious stew.
Amazing leftovers - this Irish stew with dumplings makes a good amount of food, and is fantastic as leftovers! The flavors continue to meld together and get better over time.
- Chuck roast. This is the best cut of meat for the recipe, as it can be broken down into the correct size, and produces the best slow-cooking results.
- Vegetables. Carrots, potatoes, onions and celery are used. Mushrooms are also a great addition to add an extra meaty texture. They get cut rather large to stand up to the cooking time.
- Herbs. Fresh rosemary, thyme, and parsley are used in the stew, and fresh chives are used in the cheddar dumplings.
- Tomato paste. This helps to add a depth of flavor to the stew. While it can be omitted, I suggest using it.
- Guinness. Used to make this an Irish stew officially, and lends color and caramelization during the cooking and reduction.
- Bisquick. Store-bought Bisquick is used to make the dumplings, just as my family has always done!
- Cheddar cheese. I suggest using a sharp aged cheddar such as Dubliner cheese. Without a very powerful flavor, the cheese flavor can get lost.
See recipe card for full ingredients list and quantities.
What Cut of Beef Should I Use in Stew?
Chuck roast is a great option because it lends well to long cooking times and has a ton of flavor. Pre-cut stew meat can also be used, or a rump roast or bottom round.
A large cut of meat is preferred so it can be broken down into larger chunks. Stew meat is already cut relatively small, so the cook time would need to be adjusted and vegetables added earlier.
Substitutions and Variations
- If you prefer plain dumplings, omit the cheddar cheese from the dumplings.
- Swap out the Guinness with another brew or red wine, or use more beef stock in its place to keep it alcohol-free.
- For extra umami flavor, add Worcestershire and even whole mushrooms with the other vegetables.
- You can make this in a slow cooker or pressure cooker. Just transfer the stew to the stovetop for the final 20 minutes when adding the dumplings to the stew.
How to Make This Recipe
Hot tip! Before browning the meat, be sure it's completely dried and seasoned well with salt and pepper. This leads to the best browning on each piece of meat.
One: Brown the meat on all sides, working in batches, then remove to a plate.
Two: Add more olive oil, then stir in one of the onions, herbs, tomato paste, and garlic.
Three: Add Guinness and stir to remove any brown bits, then add beef stock and bay leaves. Cook for 1.5 hours.
Four: Add the chopped, uncooked vegetables, more beef stock, and Guinness, and cook for an additional 1.5 hours until the meat is very tender.
Fluffy Dumplings for Stew
Five: Mix together the Bisquick, garlic powder, cheddar cheese, and chives.
Six: Add the milk and mix until a thick, fluffy wet batter forms.
Seven: Bring the stew to a low simmer on the stove, then add spoonfuls of dumplings to the stew. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
Eight: Uncover the stew and simmer for another 10 minutes, then sprinkle with extra chives.
- Cut the meat into smaller pieces for a slightly quicker cook time.
- Dry off the meat well before cooking to get help to get it very brown.
- Don't boil the stew when cooking the dumplings - keep it to a low simmer.
- As tempting as it will be to dig right in, allow the stew to cool for about 30 minutes before enjoying so the gravy can set up.
How to Make Slow Cooker Beef Stew and Dumplings
To make this beef and ale stew in the slow cooker, follow these slightly varied recipe steps:
- Brown the meat in a pan, adding the aromatics, onions, garlic, and tomato paste.
- Transfer the above ingredients to a slow cooker and add the beef stock and Guinness.
- Add the chopped vegetables to the top and sides, and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on low for 4-6 hours.
- Transfer the mixture to a large pot on the stovetop and bring to a simmer. Add the dumplings and cover for 10 minutes, then uncover and simmer for another 10 minutes.
Yes, the dumplings will thicken the broth slightly during the cooking process. The broth also reduces during the final simmer.
Using layers of seasonings, herbs, and flavors is a good start. However, patience and cooking the stew slowly will develop and enhance the flavors while cooking.
This typically takes between 10-20 minutes. You'll know the dumplings are done when there are no longer any wet spots on the dumplings and they have at least doubled in size.
Store the beef stew with dumplings in a sealed container in the fridge for up to five days. Reheat slowly in the microwave or on the stovetop.
To freeze, remove the dumplings and freeze the stew on its own. Reheat on the stovetop, adding a touch of water or beef stock, and follow recipe instructions to add the dumplings.
The dumplings do not freeze well, so the above method is recommended.
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Beef and Cheddar Dumplings
- cutting board
- chefs knife
- dutch oven
- mixing bowl
- 3 pounds chuck roast cut into 2-inch cubes
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil divided
- 2 large yellow onions peeled and quartered
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 4 cloves garlic peeled and minced
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 cups Guinness divided
- 6 cups beef stock divided
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 6 large carrots peeled and cut into 2 inch pieces
- 3 medium potatoes peeled and quartered
- 3 stalks celery cut into 2 inch pieces
- 2 cups button mushrooms whole or halved, optional
Cheddar Chive Dumplings
- 2 cups Bisquick 240g
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 ½ cups aged sharp cheddar cheese shredded, 100g
- ¼ cup minced chives reserving some for garnish
- ⅔ cup milk 160ml
- Dry off all pieces of meat with a paper towel, then salt and pepper all sides of meat generously.3 pounds chuck roast
- Coat bottom of a dutch oven with olive oil over medium high heat. When hot, add meat to dutch oven leaving plenty of space between each piece to maximize browning (this will need to be done in batches). Thoroughly brown all sides of meat and move to plate while browning the rest of the meat.¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- Once all meat is browned, coat the pan with olive oil and add one of the quartered onions, the thyme, rosemary, garlic, and more salt and pepper. Cook for a few minutes, then stir in the garlic and tomato paste until everything is coated. Allow to cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally.2 large yellow onions, 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme, 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary, 4 cloves garlic, 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- Add one cup of the Guinness and stir, making sure to remove any browned bits from the bottom of the pan with your spoon and bring the liquid to a simmer.2 cups Guinness
- Add the beef (and its juices) to the pot along with the 5 cups of the beef stock and bay leaves.6 cups beef stock, 2 dried bay leaves
- Bake, covered, at 325°F for 1 ½ hours.
- Remove from oven, add in carrots, potatoes, celery, mushrooms (if using) and remaining onion and stir gently. Add the leftover cup of Guinness and leftover cup of beef stock. Cover again, and bake for an additional 1 ½ hours until the meat is completely tender and pulls apart easily with a fork.6 large carrots, 3 medium potatoes, 3 stalks celery, 2 cups button mushrooms
- Bring the stew it to a boil on the stove, then reduce to a low simmer.
- Using a fork, toss together the bisquick, garlic powder, cheddar cheese, and chives. Drizzle in the milk, then use the fork to mix until combined and no dry spots remain.2 cups Bisquick, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, ⅔ cup milk, 1 ½ cups aged sharp cheddar cheese, ¼ cup minced chives
- Once simmering, drop spoonfuls of the dough on top of the liquid. Cover and simmer (a low simmer) for 10 minutes.
- Uncover and simmer for another 10 minutes. Garnish with more minced chives. Allow the stew to rest for 15-30 minutes, then serve..
I plan on making this, but I never cook with Bisquick. Can I use self rising flour instead?
Hi Tina, I suspect that would work since it already contains the salt and leavener -- but you'll need to cut some fat into it. For this recipe, I'd suggest using 2 cups self-rising flour, and cutting in 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter (either via food processor or with your fingertips) until it's totally incorporated. Follow the dumpling instructions from there. Curious how this works out - please report back if you try it!
This recipe is perfection - even the 1 year old gobbled it up. Despite a well-meaning husband who accidentally bought green onions instead of chives for the biscuits (they do look similar I suppose), they were delicious and the perfect addition to the thick, rich stew. YUM!
I'm sure the green onions were a perfect substitute honestly! So happy to hear even the 1 year old enjoyed it. Thanks for reporting back!
This stew is really delicious! I followed the recipe almost exactly, including using the optional mushrooms and Worcestershire, but my chives were too small to snip, so the dumplings were chiveless. Its even better the next day, as is usual with soups and stews. It took me over 2 hours to prep everything and get it into the oven, but totally worth the time and effort--maybe I'm just slow! It also made a bit more than my 5qrt Dutch oven could accomodate but I was able to use a smaller dutch oven in addtion, so it all worked out in the end! The smell was heavenly as it baked for 3 hours.Will certainly make this again, we loved it.