This Instant Pot Irish Lamb Stew is rich and hearty meal. The meat is tender and you can make this satisfying dinner in just 30 minutes, thanks to the electric pressure cooker!
During my travels to Ireland, I learned so much about the history, the cuisine, the land, the people. It really opened my eyes to the depth and traditions of Irish cuisine. I am forever grateful for those delicious experiences.
In addition to the abundance of fresh seafood and what seemed like unlimited amounts of Guinness Brown Bread, I also enjoyed some of the best lamb in Ireland.
There's one county in Ireland that's famous for its lamb: County Kerry, in Southwest Ireland. You'll find Kerry Lamb used in restaurants throughout the country. It's especially prized in the famous Irish stew.
🥘 What is Irish stew?
The warm, comfort food we know as Irish stew originally came about as a necessity during economically challenging times.
During the early 19th century, much of Ireland endured difficult impoverished conditions. Making stew was something that even the poorest families could do to get nourishment: they just needed a pot, a fire, and basic, easy to find ingredients.
Originally, traditional Irish stew was made with mutton meat and inexpensive, abundant onions and potatoes. In the early 19th century, sheep were kept around longer for their wool and milk, so the meat was tougher. Stewing older sheep meat, AKA mutton, was a good way to cook the meat until it was tender.
Nowadays, most Irish stew is made with lamb. Lamb is the meat of a young sheep that is around one year old. It's less tough than mutton - and easier to find in grocery stores now.
🥔 Ingredient notes
Bacon - Bacon builds a delicious flavor foundation for the stew. After sauteeing, you'll set the cooked bacon pieces aside and top each serving with bacon before serving.
Olive oil - You'll need olive oil to sauté the garlic and diced onions.
Lamb - Use lamb shoulder if that cut is available where you live. It breaks down nicely in stews.
Salt & pepper - Use kosher salt and finely ground black pepper to season the lamb; use more if needed after it's cooked.
Potatoes - Russet potatoes stand up to pressure cooking so they're not mushy but soft enough to soak up all of the delicious flavors of the stew. Make sure you cut the potato pieces into similar sizes so they cook evenly.
Carrots - Peel then chop the carrots into about 1 to 2-inch pieces. Make sure the pieces are of similar size so they cook evenly.
Garlic - Finely mince two cloves of garlic. You can use just one clove if you prefer. Or, you can bump it up to three cloves if your cloves are on the smaller side - or if you love garlic as much as we do.
Onions - The recipe calls for diced and sliced yellow onions. Diced onions are used in the beginning to add aromatics to the flavor foundation. Sliced onions are added just before pressure cooking, to add even more flavor as it cooks.
Beef broth - Use homemade or canned beef broth.
Guinness - The recipe calls for 1 cup of Guinness beer, so you can enjoy drinking the rest while waiting for the stew to cook! ;) You can also substitute any other stout beer, just make sure it's not a flavored stout.
Sugar - A little bit of granulated sugar helps balance the flavors of the stew.
Thyme - You can use fresh or dried thyme leaves.
Bay Leaf - Remember to take the bay leaf out after the stew is done cooking, before you serve it.
Step-by-step pressure cooking instructions
Here are some helpful cooking instructions for your Instant Pot, Ninja Foodi, or other electric pressure cooker/multicooker. Be sure to print out the full recipe card in this post to get the exact measurements and instructions.
In a large bowl, toss together the lamb, salt, pepper, and flour until the meat is fully coated. Set aside.
Set your pressure cooker to SEAR/SAUTE setting, then add the bacon. Sauté the bacon until cooked, then remove with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with paper towels. Set aside.
Pour a bit of the beef broth into the pot and gently scrape up any brown bits to deglaze the pot.
Pour the olive oil into the pot, add the lamb and brown on all sides. Afterward, deglaze the pot with a little more beef broth, if necessary.
Next, add the minced garlic and diced onions, and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes, just until they become soft and fragrant.
Then, add the carrots, sliced onions, potatoes, thyme, remaining beef broth, Guinness, and sugar to the pot.
Add the bay leaf, then stir to combine.
Secure the pressure lid and PRESSURE COOK on HI for 30 minutes.
Then allow for natural release (it can take 15 minutes or more for full natural release).
Once all of the pressure has been released and the pressure release valve is all the way down, carefully open the lid.
Remember to remove the bay leaf before serving. Top each serving with cooked bacon crumbles.
You can use beef stew meat instead of lamb shoulder.
You can also use turnips or parsnips instead of potatoes. And you can add celery if you like. Just make sure to keep the amount of vegetables about the same so that cooking time is not affected. Also remember to chop any other vegetables into similar sized pieces so they cook evenly.
Allow the stew to cool completely, then store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Absolutely! Allow the stew to cool completely, then place into airtight freezer-safe bags or containers and freeze for up to 2 months. When ready to serve, thaw the stew in the refrigerator overnight.
🍳 Kitchen tools and equipment
For this recipe, you just need a few basic kitchen tools:
Mixing bowl - You'll need a mixing bowl to season and flour the lamb.
Wooden spoon - You'll need a wooden spoon to stir together the ingredients.
Ladle - Use a soup ladle or large spoon to scoop out the soup and serve.
🍞 What to serve with Irish stew
Instant Pot Irish Lamb Stew is a classic main course that shines in a meal with other Irish dishes.
Serve it with some thick slices of Guinness Brown Bread and generous pats of Kerrygold pure Irish butter. The bread is perfect for breaking off and dunking into the stew!
🍷 Best wine pairings for lamb stew
This hearty stew calls for a big red wine that can stand up to the bold flavors of the dish. Serve it with a Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, or Merlot.
It also, of course, goes down just as deliciously with a pint of Guinness beer!
More hearty dinner recipes
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Instant Pot Irish Lamb Stew
- 1-½ pounds boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 6 slices bacon
- 3 cups beef broth
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ cup small yellow onion, diced
- 2 cups chopped carrots, sliced into 1-inch pieces (about 5 medium carrots)
- 1 cup sliced yellow onions
- 2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces (about 4 medium potatoes)
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 cup Guinness beer (or other stout beer)
- 2 teaspoon sugar
- 1 bay leaf
- In a large bowl, toss together the lamb, salt, pepper, and flour until the meat is fully coated. Set aside.
- Set your pressure cooker to SEAR/SAUTE setting, then add the bacon. Sauté the bacon until cooked, then remove with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with paper towels. Set aside.
- Pour a bit of the beef broth into the pot and gently scrape up any brown bits to deglaze the pot.
- Add the olive oil to the pot, add the lamb and brown on all sides. Afterward, deglaze the pot with a little more beef broth, if necessary.
- Add the garlic and onions, and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes, just until they become soft and fragrant.
- Add the carrots, sliced onions, potatoes, thyme, remaining beef broth, Guinness, and sugar to the pot. Add the bay leaf, then stir to combine.
- Secure the pressure lid and PRESSURE COOK on HI for 30 minutes. Then allow for natural release (it can take 15 minutes or more for full natural release). Once all of the pressure has been released and the pressure release valve is all the way down, carefully open the lid.
- Remember to remove the bay leaf before serving. Top each serving with cooked bacon crumbles.
Nutrition information is a general estimate. Actual nutrition details may vary depending on the exact foods & brands you use to make this recipe. It does not take into account any substitutions, toppings, or optional ingredients.