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Jun 19, 2021

Traditional Irish Stew

This Irish stew, with just the traditional ingredients of lamb, potatoes, onions, thyme, and parsley is slow simmered until the meat is tender and the vegetables are full of flavor. 

Traditional Irish Stew in a bowl

This recipe for traditional Irish stew uses a slow cooker to braise the all of the ingredients. You can cook the stew on high for about 5 hours, or on low for about 8 hours. Your house will smell amazing when this stew is cooking.

The flavors of the lamb, onions, and potatoes meld to make the perfect comfort food for anyone of Irish descent, like my husband, who is Dublin-born and grew up on the "plain as plain can be" flavors of old-fashioned Irish dishes. 

When he got a craving for the old country, he found and made the recipe for Irish stew in my 1971 copy of The Joy of Cooking. He was in heaven with the results, as were our kids. 

The recipe includes just lamb (or mutton if you can find it), potatoes, onions, water, and parsley. He used to make it every St. Patrick's Day and it was such a treat. 

With its plain flavors, our kids loved it. 

Traditional Irish Stew with potatoes

It's been a long time since he's made this stew and our kids have since "launched." While I have lots of Irish-style stew recipes on this site, including Dublin Coddle and Guinness Beef Stew, I had never tried making traditional Irish stew with just the lamb, potatoes, and onions. 

True old-style Irish stew contains mutton instead of lamb, because sheep were kept also for their wool, not just for food. When sheep no longer produced enough wool, they were then used for stewing. The only other ingredients are potatoes, onions, water, and salt and pepper. If you're fancy, you might sprinkle the top with some parsley. 

For this recipe, I stepped out and used beef stock instead of water, and added some fresh thyme to the cooking liquid. I also assembled all of the ingredients in the Crock Pot and braised everything for 5 hours on high. 

Traditional Irish Stew in the slow cooker

Irish Stew Recipe Variations:

You can substitute beef stew meat for the lamb. 

You can also add some carrots, parsnips, or rutabagas to the stew if you like. 

After your stew is finished cooking, you can stir in a cup of thawed frozen peas and let the heat of the stew warm the peas before serving. 

Soup saturday logo

This month, the Soup Saturday Swappers are sharing Father's Day recipes. This recipe is in honor of my husband, who is a great dad (and grandpa) and lover of traditional plain Irish food. He loved this stew. It's approved by a real Irishman! 

Traditional Irish Stew with lamb, potatoes, and onions

Traditional Irish Stew

Traditional Irish Stew
Yield: 8 servings
Author: Karen's Kitchen Stories
This Irish stew, with just the traditional ingredients of lamb, potatoes, onions, thyme, and parsley is slow simmered until the meat is tender and the vegetables are full of flavor.


  • 2 pounds lamb stew meat, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch slices
  • 3 medium yellow onions, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch slices
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley


  1. Layer half of the lamb, potatoes, and onions in a 6 quart slow cooker. Sprinkle with half of the salt, pepper, and thyme. 
  2. Layer the rest of the lamb, potatoes, and onions and sprinkle with the rest of the salt, pepper, and thyme. 
  3. Pour the broth over the top. 
  4. Cover and cook on high for 5 hours. 
  5. Skim any fat off of the finished stew and sprinkle with the parsley to serve. 

Nutrition Facts



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Lamb, soup, stew
Main dish
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Would you like to comment?

  1. Happy Fathers' Day to your husband. That looks like a delicious stew. I know Jake will love it. Can't wait to try.

  2. This sounds delicious Karen. Happy Father's Day to your husband and all the men in your life.

  3. This looks so delicious and filling!

  4. I'm not normally into a hearty soup like this in the summer, but the fresh herbs on top make it look so good!

    1. Thanks! Plus, you can save it for next spring!

  5. So happy to see you make this with lamb which is the best! Irish stew is a huge favorite in our house!

  6. The flavors of the soup is awesome and love your presentation too.


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