Cooking with Guinness can leave a bad taste in your mouth. For beer flavor minus the bitterness, the secret’s in the sauce.

Beef stew recipes made in the slow cooker produce succulent meat and tender vegetables, but the addition of Guinness stout can turn this Guinness Beef Stew recipe bitter and harsh. To avoid this, the experts at America’s Test Kitchen added chocolate to this Guinness Beef Stew recipe to enhanced the beer’s complex coffee and chocolate flavors. Adding the Guinness in two stages—at the beginning for a base flavor and at the end for a fresh kick provided the best flavor overall.


    • vegetable oil
    • low-sodium chicken broth
    • Guinness Draught
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 5 carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
    • 1 pound parsnips, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
    • 1 ½ pounds baby red potatoes, scrubbed
    • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
    • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves


Make sure to buy large chunks of stew meat. Trim meat of excess fat, as necessary, and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces. Be gentle when stirring in the flour in step 3-the fork-tender beef will fall apart if stirred too aggressively.


    1. Pat beef dry with paper towels and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in large skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Cook half of beef until browned on all sides, about 8 minutes. Transfer to slow cooker insert and repeat with additional 2 teaspoons oil and remaining beef.
    2. Add remaining 2 teaspoons oil, onions, and 1/4 teaspoon salt to skillet and cook until onions are lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add broth, 1 1/4 cups stout, sugar, thyme, chocolate, and bay leaves and bring to boil, using wooden spoon to scrape up browned bits. Transfer to slow cooker insert.
    3. Add carrots, parsnips, and potatoes to slow cooker insert. Cover and cook on low until meat is tender, 9 to 10 hours (or cook on high for 6 to 7 hours). Set slow cooker to high. Whisk flour and remaining 1/4 cup beer until smooth, then stir mixture into slow cooker. Cook, covered, until sauce thickens, about 15 minutes. Stir in parsley, season with salt and pepper, and discard bay leaf. Serve.

Make Ahead: You can prepare the recipe through step 2 the night before the ingredients go into the slow cooker. Refrigerate the browned beef and the onion mixture in separate containers. In the morning, transfer the beef and the onion mixture to the slow cooker and proceed with step 3.