Irish Lamb Stew


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Lamb stew is a warm and flavorful combination of tender lamb, potatoes, turnip, and onions. It’s incredibly easy to make with only a handful of ingredients. Just let everything simmer in a pot and you’ve got the perfect hearty Irish stew for a chilly night.

Lamb stew in a bowl.

Lamb Stew (Irish Stew)

Coming from a New Zealand Irish background, lamb stew was a special recipe I grew up with. It’s a comforting recipe that blends together savory, meaty, and vegetable flavors, similar to this beef stew.

Typically, this stew is simmered in a beefy Guiness broth. And while there’s no Guinness or flour used in this recipe, there’s honestly no need for it. Fresh vegetables, tender lamb and flavorful spices work together beautifully all on their own. Whip this up for an easy weeknight meal or prep for St. Patrick’s Day!

Lamb Stew Ingredients

Here is a quick list of what you’ll need. But follow along in the recipe below on how to prep each ingredient. 

  • Lamb: 2 ½ pounds of lamb shoulder 
  • Bacon: 4 slices of bacon
  • Onions: 2 onions 
  • Potatoes: 2 pounds new potatoes 
  • Carrots and Turnip: 6 small carrots and 1 turnip 
  • Chicken or Vegetable Broth: 4 cups of either broth
  • Salt, Pepper, and Thyme: 1 teaspoon dried thyme with salt and pepper to taste
Making lamb stew.

What Cut of Lamb is Best for Stew

When it comes to stews, lamb shoulder or shanks are best.

Lamb shoulder exudes lots of flavor and becomes extremely tender after slow roasting. Lamb shanks are a more inexpensive cut of meat, but the collagen in this makes it great for braising and slow cooking. By the time it’s done cooking, the meat turns into a soft melting texture that falls right off the bone.

Lamb stew in a large pot.

How to Make Lamb Stew

So let’s chat about the recipe. I used organic New Zealand lamb shoulder and cubed it into two-inch chunks. The lamb will shrink a bit when it’s cooked, so it’s okay if the chunks seem big. From there, the stew comes together really easy.

  • Just sauté a few slices of bacon, season the lamb with salt and pepper and brown all sides of the lamb in the bacon fat.
  • Remove the lamb to a plate and sauté the onions until golden.
  • Add the lamb back to your pot along with broth and dried thyme and simmer for an hour.
  • While the lamb is simmering, chop up some carrots, potatoes and a turnip and then add to the stew and cook an additional 20 minutes.

And that’s it. A hearty, melt-in-your-mouth, flavorful lamb stew recipe.

Lamb stew in a bowl.

How To Store Leftovers

Before you put the stew away, let it cool down to room temperature. Then store in airtight containers in the fridge for about 3-4 days. Or you can place it in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Eating lamb stew in a bowl.

More Hearty Winter Recipes

Lamb stew in a bowl.

Lamb Stew (Irish Stew)

5 from 10 votes
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 2 hours
Total: 2 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Author: Lisa Bryan


A traditional Irish Lamb Stew recipe that’s simple to prepare yet full of flavor. It’s hearty, nourishing and delicious.


  • 2 ½ pounds lamb shoulder, cubed
  • 4 slices bacon, sliced into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 onions, cut into wedges
  • 2 pounds new potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 6 small to medium carrots, peeled and sliced into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 turnip, cubed
  • 4 cups chicken, beef or vegetable stock
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • salt and pepper, to taste


  • Season the lamb with salt and pepper and set aside.
  • Heat a large dutch oven on medium heat and add the bacon. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until the bacon is crispy. Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon to a paper towel.
  • Increase the heat to medium-high and add the lamb pieces (working in batches), browning all sides in the bacon fat. Remove the lamb to a plate.
  • Add the onion to the dutch oven and cook for 2-3 minutes or until golden. Add the lamb back to the dutch oven along with the broth and dried thyme. Bring the broth to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for one hour.
  • After one hour add the potatoes, carrots, turnip, and bacon. Cook for an additional 20 to 30 minutes or until the vegetables are fork-tender.


Calories: 458kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 36g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 113mg | Sodium: 270mg | Potassium: 1363mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 10240IU | Vitamin C: 40.9mg | Calcium: 74mg | Iron: 4.2mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Irish
Keyword: Irish lamb stew, Irish stew, lamb stew
Did you make this recipe?Mention @downshiftology or tag #downshiftology!

Originally posted November 2016, but updated to include new information. This post was created in partnership with Simply Organic. Thank you for supporting the sponsors that help keep Downshiftology going! As always, all opinions are my own. 

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About the author

Lisa Bryan

Lisa is a bestselling cookbook author, recipe developer, and YouTuber (with over 2.5 million subscribers) living in sunny Southern California. She started Downshiftology in 2014, and is passionate about making healthy food with fresh, simple and seasonal ingredients.

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Recipe Rating


  1. I’m so glad you posted this recipe in time for St. Patrick’s Day. Absolutely delicious. Will be using this recipe from now on.5 stars

  2. This was SO good! Made slight modifications to suit my low-carb diet and allergies: Used daikon white radish for the potatoes (tasted the same!) and used a substantial amount of scallions instead of the onion. Oh and, yes, I added a few extra strips of bacon. :) This totally MADE our St. Patrick’s Day celebration a delight. Thank you for the recipe!5 stars

    1. You’re more than welcome, Bridget! So happy you loved it and those tweaks sound perfect, including the extra bacon, which I’m always a fan of. ;)

  3. For a Kosher option of this recipe would the bacon be left out or is it replaced with something else? Perhaps pressed beef / Macon?

  4. I plan on making this for dinner tonight. Quick question do you simmer for one hour covered or uncovered? Thanks!

  5. The stew is simmering right now.  Perfect for a cold winter day in Ottawa, Canada.   Thank you for the recipe.  It smells delicious 😋 

  6. Lisa, 
    Your recipes & videos are so awesome! (Just the right amount of conversational content without getting sidetracked ;-) as they do in so many videos!) So fun but efficient :) 

    Anyway, I’ve got the Lamb Stew on the slow cooker right now. First time making it :) Haven’t added the veggies yet. 
    Does it go in after 1hr or simmering or 2.5hrs?🤔

    Thank you so much, please don’t stop Downshiftology!

    PS. Made the Shepherds Pie few weeks ago and it was such a hit! Even ones who don’t like peas! 😍

    1. Hi Danielle – so happy you’re loving my recipes and videos! Thank you for your kind words. :) The veggies go in after the meat has been simmering for one hour. I just clarified it a bit on the directions. Hope you enjoy the stew (and happy you loved the shepherd’s pie as well!).

  7. Hi Lisa,
    I bumped into your website 3 days ago and I have been blown away by your recipes, very creative and healthy👍👍👍👍👍5 stars

    1. Hi Daniel- Welcome to the Downshiftology community! I’m so glad you’re enjoying all the recipes so far :)

  8. Hi Lisa! This stew looks amazing. Just wondering how many medium sized lamb shanks would you use to replace the lamb shoulder? Also, what cuts of beef would be okay to use? Lamb shanks and shoulders are quite expensive her, so I’m trying to figure out other ways I could substitute to make a cheap and cheerful hearty stew. Thanks in advance!

    1. Hi Phebe – it’s hard to go by a number, so I’d just go by weight and ask you butcher for an equal weight in lamb shanks. For beef stew meat you could use chuck or round. Hope that helps!

    1. Hi Virginia – The bacon is not meant to be put back into the stew as we are using just the bacon fat. But, you can feel free to put the bacon pieces back into the soup a few minutes before you’re ready to serve.

      1. Yes, I ended up doing that. The soup is simple and filling, yum! Perfect for this time of year.5 stars

      1. I know this is probably sacrilege, but could I use water instead of broth? I’m dealing with oxalate and histamine issues and have to avoid the broth. ☹

  9. Hi Lisa, i love your recipes. My husband and i have tried out a few of them over the last year! A few days ago i checked out your ‘pulled pork’ recipe and now the irish stew recipe. I was wondering if i do these recipes witout pork, what do recommend: what do you need to consider when you make pulled beef/chicken or lamb and how would you replace the bacon in the irish stew recipe?

    1. Hi Fatma – I’m happy you love my recipes! Unfortunately each meat cooks slightly differently, so they would be different recipes (and it’s not so easy to give simple replacements here). :)

  10. Melt in your mouth delicious. I didn’t have any turnips but did not miss them. I’m not into gamey meat but everyone raved about this, even my toddlers loved it. Will definitely make again. 5 stars

  11. Great recipe and very authentic…being Irish, I know! I make my stew in my pressure cooker (instant pot). Bung it all in together (leave the potatoes whole so they don’t go mushy) and cook for 15mins. Flavourfull fast food.4 stars

    1. Thanks Mary! And I appreciate that coming from a true Irish woman. :) You really can’t beat this classic lamb stew recipe, can you?

  12. Made this for dinner this evening.  It was delicious!  I used turkey bacon because we don’t eat pork anymore.  After I browned the turkey bacon I added a splash of olive oil to the pan – since the turkey doesn’t render as much fat.  

    Recently found you on YouTube.  I was searching for “how to cook hard boiled eggs”.  By the way, your technique is the best I’ve found and believe me, I’ve tried TONS of other ways.    Enjoying Downshiftology! :)5 stars

    1. Wonderful! Turkey bacon is a great sub as well. And I’m happy you love all my recipes and videos – including those boiled eggs. It’s such a fail-safe method, I’m just trying to share the knowledge. ;)

  13. I have family who doesn’t like the taste of lamb. Would the cook times vary if you subbed out lamb for beef stew meat? 

  14. Oh my goodness, it’s barely lunchtime and I’m already craving this for dinner. The flavors you’ve put together sound mouth-wateringly delicious!5 stars