Mulligan Stew

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An oldie but a goodie! This hearty and easy recipe for Mulligan Stew features tender beef chunks simmered with carrots and potatoes in a tomato soup broth. This stovetop recipe is perfect for a quick family dinner. 

This stew recipe bears my Mother-in-Law’s name in their church cookbook, and this family recipe is her “claim to fame” among stew recipes.

I always say that church cookbooks are the best because who is going to share a recipe with their whole community with their name attached if it’s terrible?  No way, I mean who needs to be judged?

If you have never made stew before, try this one. It’s a simple and easy-to-follow recipe that you can make in your crock pot or on your stovetop. It is the perfect comfort food that we simply serve with bread and butter.

This recipe is my hubby’s favorite comfort food, and he especially loves it when it’s snowing and blowing outside.  Not that it has to be cold to enjoy this, we eat it year-round!

Mulligan Stew

You really can’t go wrong with classic ingredients like beef, carrots, and potatoes. True stew staples that add flavor, texture, and color to a hearty and nourishing dish. Simmering these ingredients with onions, tomato soup, and some browning sauce creates a savory, wholesome dish that’s bound to be loved by all. 

Mulligans Stew

This mulligan stew recipe is a true classic. Thought to have originated in the early 1900’s by American hobos when food was often scarce, this stew was usually made with whatever meat or vegetables people could scrape together. 

Nowadays our access to food is a little easier but it’s still a great recipe to come back to as food prices increase as you can use whatever you’d like to make this mulligan stew. 

If you love this beef stew recipe you are sure to love these too: Beef and Barley Stew, Ground Beef Ragout, or Beef and Noodles

Mulligan Beef Stew

Simple to prepare with your choice of meat and fresh or frozen vegetables, this mulligan beef stew is very versatile and easily customizable. I’d say it’s also a great ‘clean out the fridge’ kind of stew where you can use whatever leftover ingredients you have at the end of the week. Serve the stew with these Buttermilk Biscuits or this Honey Cornbread and you’ve got the perfect meal. 

Ingredients for this easy recipe for mulligan stew

For complete ingredients and instructions scroll to the bottom of this post for the full printable recipe card. 

  • Beef stew meat – Choose your favorite type of stew meat. 
  • Oil –  I like to use extra virgin olive oil but any kind of oil will work.
  • Salt and pepper – Add salt and black pepper to taste.
  • Tomato soup – A can of tomato soup adds flavor. 
  • Water – Use 2 cans of the tomato soup can.
  • Carrots – Sliced carrots add some color and texture.
  • Potatoes – Any type of potatoes, cubed, add more flavor and texture.
  • Onion – I used a white onion, chopped, but any type of onion will work. 
  • Celery seed  – Celery seed adds more flavor.
  • Kitchen Bouquet – This browning sauce is optional but it does add a deep savory flavor.

I like to add a couple of chopped stalks of celery to mine also.  My Mother-in-law uses frozen stew veggies in hers sometimes, too.  The other thing that makes this super yummy is if you can find those little frozen pearl onions, but I can’t always find them.

How to make this mulligan stew recipe

This one-pot beef stew comes together quickly and easily. 

Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add stew meat, and season with salt and pepper. Use a wooden spoon to gently stir. Brown meat evenly and stir to remove any of the brown bits at the bottom of the pot. Add Kitchen Bouquet.

Reduce heat. Add tomato soup and water, cover, and let simmer for about an hour, or until meat is tender.

Add carrots, onion, potatoes, and celery seeds. Cover and cook for 30 minutes more. If there is not enough liquid add a little water. If the stew is too thin, cook uncovered to thicken.

Leftover mulligan stew can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. You can also freeze the leftovers for up to 3 months. Defrost in the fridge overnight and reheat over the stove or in the microwave. 

Love it? Pin it!

If you love this hobo stew make sure that you don’t lose it! Pin it to your favorite Pinterest recipe board before you go!

FAQs about this classic Irish stew

  • What is Mulligan stew made of? Mulligan stew is usually made with meat, potatoes, and vegetables. You can also throw in whatever else you have on hand. 

  • Why do they call it Mulligan stew? This soup is called Mulligan after a popular Irish last name as the stew is an adaptation of a classic Irish Beef Stew. During the Great Depression, this type of stew was made with whatever food scraps people could find.

  • What is another name for mulligan stew? Another name for Mulligan stew is hobo stew. 

  • What is hobo stew made of? A hobo stew is made with whatever meat or vegetables you can scrounge up.

  • What is a Mulligan? A Mulligan is a stew made from odds and ends, food scraps, or whatever bits and pieces you can find.

What’s a great side dish to Beef Stew?



Remember that when it comes to making substitutions in recipes, you don’t need to be afraid to get creative and use ingredients that suit your personal taste and dietary preferences. Make it your own!

  • Use ground beef instead of beef chunks.

  • Try adding green beans or corn for more veggie goodness.

  • Substitute a combination of tomato paste and cold water for the tomato soup. 

Tips & Tricks

  • If possible, use a waxy potato which will hold up better in the stew. Russet potatoes may be too starchy and dissolve in the stew but red potatoes will hold up better. 

  • Make slow cooker mulligan stew by letting the ingredients simmer on low in your slow cooker instead of over the stove. Simmer the beef first then place everything in the slow cooker.

  • For added flavor stir in a few bay leaves, a few cloves garlic, or Worcestershire sauce.

  • If you’d prefer mulligan soup, add beef broth or chicken broth to thin out the stew. 

  • For a heartier stew add lima beans or any canned beans you happen to have in the pantry. 

  • If you want a super thick stew you can stir one of the following thickening agents; all-purpose flour or cornstarch.

Hamburger Soup With or Without Noodles in a white bowl

More Recipes to Love

This Mulligan’s Beef Stew is the perfect comfort food. I hope that your family loves it for generations to come, just as mine has. 

Michaela signature

Close up of Mulligan's Stew in a white bowl
4.60 from 32 votes
Print Recipe

Mulligans Stew

Simple ingredients and easy to follow recipe for beef stew.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time2 hours
Total Time2 hours 10 minutes
Course: Beef
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Mulligan's Beef Stew
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 289kcal
Author: Michaela Kenkel


  • 1 1/2 pounds beef stew meat
  • 1-2 Tablespoons oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoned pepper
  • 1 can tomato soup
  • 2 cans water
  • 3 carrots sliced
  • 3 potatoes cubed
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Kitchen Bouquet optional


  • Heat oil in a dutch oven over medium heat. Add stew meat, season with salt and pepper. Brown evenly. Add Kitchen Bouquet.
  • Reduce heat, Add tomato soup and water, cover and let simmer for about an hour, or until meat is tender.
  • Add carrots, onion, potatoes and celery seed. Cover and cook for 30 minutes more. If there is not enough liquid add a little water. If stew is too thin, cook uncovered to thicken.


To prepare stew in crock pot, brown meat before adding to the crock pot. Add everything to pot ad cook on low for 6-7 hours.
I like to add a couple of chopped stalks of celery to mine also. My Mother-in-law uses frozen stew veggies in hers sometimes, too. The other thing that makes this super yummy? If you can find those little frozen pearl onions, but I can't always find them.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 289kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 84mg | Sodium: 455mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g


This recipe was originally posted on December 9, 2015. It has been updated to improve user experience and reshared on March 13, 2024.

Overhead of Mulligan's Stew in a white bowl

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  1. 5 stars
    This recipe is exactly why I bought a huge beef roast. I cut the whole thing up and made a large batch of this stew. It’s delicious comfort food that the whole family loves and I put leftovers in the freezer for an easy busy day dinner.

  2. 5 stars
    Love this Mulligan Stew recipe, is so delicious and juicy. Will make it for dinner. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  3. 5 stars
    I love trying new family recipes – this was so tasty and delicious. Thank you so much for sharing your mother-in-law’s recipe.

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