Irish Stew

Irish stew is THE classic slow cooker recipe. In fact, it’s probably the most well-known slow cooker recipe around. But, don’t let that put you off – it’s really easy to make, uses cheap ingredients, and tastes delicious.

Some Irish stew recipes are little more than meat and potatoes but this one contains a few more ingredients but, don’t worry, it’s still super simple to make and, even if you have no kitchen skills, you’ll have no problem throwing this one together. It makes a great Sunday dinner and the leftovers are perfect the next day for lunch.

Serves 6

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 8 hours

Slow cooker used: Hamilton Beach Set n Forget – my review here.


  • 1 tablespoon sunflower oil
  • 7 ounces smoked bacon, cut into chunks
  • 32 ounces cheap stewing lamb e.g. middle neck or scrag, cut into large chunks
  • 1 small bunch thyme
  • 3 onions, thickly sliced
  • 5 carrots, cut into large chunks
  • 6 medium potatoes, cut into big chunks
  • 1 pint lamb stock
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3 ounces dry pearl barley
  • 1 large leek, washed and cut into chunks
  • 1 small knob of butter


Heat the slow cooker on Low. Heat the oil in a frying pan and brown the bacon and then the lamb for around five minutes. Tip the meat into the slow cooker and add the thyme, onions, carrots, potatoes, stock, bay leaves and enough water to cover the lamb. Cover and cook on Low for seven hours.

Stir in the pearl barley and leek, and cook on High for one more hour, until the pearl barley is tender.

Stir in the butter, season and serve straight from the pot.

You don’t have a slow cooker ? No problem, use your oven – Learn to convert slow cooker recipes to the oven here.

Nutrition per serving 

  • 673 calories
  • 40 grams protein
  • 40 grams carbohydrates
  • 7 grams fiber
  • 38 grams fat

Slow Cooking Recipes

Slow cooking recipes for two, for kids, with beef or chicken, for beginners or for weight loss. All recipes organised here.

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All slow cooking recipes here

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