Traditional Corned Beef & Cabbage

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Making corned beef is a lot easier than you think! Corned beef is made in a homemade brine and then slow cooks to tender perfection alongside cabbage, carrots, and potatoes. This meal is perfect for St. Patrick’s Day!

If you are looking to celebrate St Patrick’s Day for dessert too, then you should try this shamrock shake, this Irish potato candy, or these fantastic mint brownies!

Corned beef in a bowl with carrots, potatoes and cabbage.

What is Corned Beef?

Corned beef is a cut of beef brisket brined in a pink rock salt brine. There is no corn in the beef, but the large grains appear to be corn because of the pink rock salt and give the beef that salty flavoring. It has carrots, potatoes, and cabbage on the side when served. This is a traditional Irish meal, especially for St. Patrick’s Day.

St. Patrick’s day is a time for fun and festivities and brings out the Irish in you. This corned beef is mouth-watering and full of so much flavor. It tasted so good that I couldn’t stop eating it. Then, you mix the meat with vegetables, and it is the perfect combination for a meal. Cabbage is an Irish staple and tastes good, tender, and soft with corned beef. It is that good! Enjoy this traditional corned beef and cabbage recipe that is so delicious and will melt in your mouth.

Pink curing salt #1 in a bag and bowl next to it with seasonings and brown sugar in bowls.

Ingredients You Need to Make Corned Beef and Cabbage

The ingredients for this are actually pretty simple! Once you try this dish, then you will forever have your St. Patricks Day meal planned because you will never want to go back to anything else again! See the recipe card at the bottom of the post for exact measurements.

Brine:

  • Water: Warm water is best.
  • Salt: You will use just a pinch so that the brine enhances all of the flavors in the recipe.
  • Brown Sugar: This will sweeten the corned beef.
  • Pink Curing Salt: *Not pink Himalayan salt* Add a little more coloring making this brisket that beautiful pink meat when it is done cooking.
  • Pickling Spice: This helps with flavoring the meat and the soaking the meat in the brine.
  • Beef Brisket: I prefer the flat cut but round will also slow cook well too.

Vegetables:

  • Carrots: Slice the carrots into chunks.
  • Baby Potatoes: Cut these in half.
  • Onion: Cut in quarters.
  • Salt and Pepper: Just a dash for taste and flavoring.
  • Pickling Spice: To add to the flavoring
  • Cabbage: Quarter the cabbage and separate a bit.

How to Make Corned Beef

There are many different ways that you can cook it and have it turn out delicious! So pick which one works best for you and give it a try. You will love it!

  1. To make the brine: Combine warm water, salt, brown sugar, and pink curing salt if using and stir until sugar and salt in a large pot until dissolved.  Add the brisket and cover and put in the fridge for 5-7 days until your meat brines equally.  If your meat starts to float, put a heavy plate on top.
  2. To make corned beef in the slow cooker: In a 5 quart slow cooker add carrots, potatoes, onion and salt and pepper.  Remove the brisket from the brine and rinse in cold water.  Place on top of the vegetables and top brisket with pickling spice.  Fill with water until meat is almost fully covered.  Cook for 7-8 hours on low and 5-6 on high adding in the cabbage the last hour of cooking.

*Pink curing salt is optional but is what makes the meat turn pink in color. You can find it online or at a specialty meat shop. Read warnings about ingesting directly.

Additional Ways to Cook Corned Beef

Here are a few more ideas on how you can cook up your corned beef! There should be something for everyone!

  • Stovetop: Rinse the corned beef with water to remove salt. Place the corned beef in a large pot and fill with water and add pickling spice. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer to 50 minutes per pound or until tender. Add in the vegetables the last hour and cabbage the last 15 minutes before serving. 
  • Instant Pot: Rinse the corned beef with water to remove the salt. Place the beef in the instant pot and fill with water and pickling spice. Select high pressure and cook for 90 minutes. When finished cooking quick release the pressure according to the manual. Remove the brisket and leave 2 cups water. Add in the potatoes, carrots, onion, and top with cabbage. Salt and pepper. Select manual setting and cook on high for 5 minutes or until the veggies are tender. Release the pressure according to the manual. 
  • Oven: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the brisket into a roasting pan and add 3 cups of water and pickling spice. Cook for 2 hours. Remove from the oven and add vegetables. Bake uncovered for another hour until vegetables are tender.
4 pictures showing how to make the brine and add everything to the slow cooker.

What to Serve with It

I love to add potatoes, carrots, and fresh cabbage to make this crockpot corned beef a complete meal. However, there are plenty of other sides that would taste delicious. Below are a few options!

Corn beef in a slow cooker with cabbage and chopped up carrots and potatoes.

FAQ’s About Corned Beef

  • What is in the spice packet that comes with the beef? The spice packet has a seasoning that will help with flavoring of the beef. It usually is peppercorn, ginger, bay leaves and mustard seed with an assortment or variations of other seasonings and spices.  
  • Do you rinse the brisket beef before cooking? Yes! This is very important! It is best to rinse the corned beef in cool water right before placing it in the slow cooker.
  • Does corned beef need to rest? You can let it rest after it is done cooking it but that is not necessary. I will set my corned beef out for about 10 to 15 minutes before slicing it. By letting it rest before slicing it seems to make it easier.
  • Which cut of corned beef is more tender? It is nice because now you can purchase already brined corned beef at your local grocery store or have a brisket ready. Flat or round cut brisket gives you a tender and juicy corned beef and it doesn’t shrink while cooking.
  • How do you know when corned beef is done? The best way to know is by using a meat thermometer. The corned beef needs to be at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Can you overcook corned beef in the slow cooker? When cooking any meat there is always a possibility of overcooking even in a slow cooker. I would recommend using a meat thermometer to be sure or checking it with 1 to 2 hours left in the slow cooker. 
Corned beef being sliced on a wood cutting board.

Different Ways of Cooking Corned Beef

  • To make corned beef on the stovetop:  You will want to rinse the cut with water to remove all of the extra salt.  Next you will want to put the corned beef in a large pot with water and add the spices.  Next you can cover and bring to a boil.  At this point you can reduce the heat to a simmer and allow to cook for 50 minutes per pound.  If you are including vegetables, you can add them for the last hour.  With cabbage, you will want to wait until about 15 minutes before servings.
  • To make corned beef in the instant pot: You will want to rinse the corned beef with water to remove salt. Place the beef in the instant pot and fill with water and pickling spice. Select high pressure and cook for 90 minutes. When finished cooking quick release the pressure according to the manual. Remove the brisket and leave 2 cups water. Add in the potatoes, carrots, onion and top with cabbage. Salt and pepper. Select manual setting and cook on high for 5 minutes or until the veggies are tender. Release the pressure according to the manual.
  • To make corned beef in the oven: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the brisket into a roasting pan and add 3 cups of water and pickling spice. Cook for 2 hours. Remove from the oven and add vegetables. Bake uncovered for another hour until vegetables are tender.
A platter of sliced corned beef with vegetables.

Traditional Corned Beef and Cabbage

5 from 2 votes
Making corned beef is a lot easier than you think! Corned beef is made in a homemade brine and then slow cooks to tender perfection alongside cabbage, carrots, and potatoes. This meal is perfect for St. Patrick's Day!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 20 minutes
Author Alyssa Rivers
Servings: 6 People

Ingredients
  

Brine:

  • 1 gallon warm water
  • 2 cups kosher salt
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 5 teaspoons pink curing salt (not pink Himalayan salt)
  • 2 Tablespoons pickling spice
  • 4-5 lbs flat cut beef brisket

Vegetables:

  • 4 medium carrots (sliced)
  • 1 lb baby potatoes (halved)
  • 1 onion (quartered)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon pickling spice
  • 1/2 cabbage (quartered)

Instructions
 

To Make the Brine:

  • Combine warm water, salt, brown sugar, and pink curing salt if using and stir until sugar and salt in a large pot until dissolved. Add the brisket and cover and put in the fridge for 5-7 days until your meat brines equally. If your meat starts to float, put a heavy plate on top.
    *Pink curing salt is optional but is what makes the meat turn pink in color. You can find it online or at a specialty meat shop. Read warnings about ingesting directly.

To Make Corned Beef in the Slow Cooker:

  • In a 5 quart slow cooker add carrots, potatoes, onion and salt and pepper. Remove the brisket from the brine and rinse in cold water. Place on top of the vegetables and top brisket with pickling spice. Fill with water until meat is almost fully covered. Cook for 7-8 hours on low and 5-6 on high adding in the cabbage the last hour of cooking.

To Make Corned Beef on the Stovetop:

  • Rinse the corned beef with water to remove salt. Place the corned beef in a large pot and fill with water and add pickling spice. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer to 50 minutes per pound or until tender. Add in the vegetables the last hour and cabbage the last 15 minutes before serving.

To Make Corned Beef in the Instant Pot:

  • Rinse the corned beef with water to remove the salt. Place the beef in the instant pot and fill with water and pickling spice. Select high pressure and cook for 90 minutes. When finished cooking quick release the pressure according to the manual. Remove the brisket and leave 2 cups water. Add in the potatoes, carrots, onion, and top with cabbage. Salt and pepper. Select manual setting and cook on high for 5 minutes or until the veggies are tender. Release the pressure according to the manual.

To Make Corned Beef in the Oven:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the brisket into a roasting pan and add 3 cups of water and pickling spice. Cook for 2 hours. Remove from the oven and add vegetables. Bake uncovered for another hour until vegetables are tender.

Notes

Originally Posted March 1, 2020
Updated March 5, 2022

Nutrition

Serves: 6

Calories638kcal (32%)Carbohydrates10g (3%)Protein45g (90%)Fat45g (69%)Saturated Fat14g (70%)Polyunsaturated Fat2gMonounsaturated Fat22gCholesterol163mg (54%)Sodium43406mg (1809%)Potassium1134mg (32%)Fiber2g (8%)Sugar3g (3%)Vitamin A6811IU (136%)Vitamin C88mg (107%)Calcium103mg (10%)Iron6mg (33%)

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods and portion sizes per household.

Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Irish
Keyword Corned beef and cabbage
Tried this recipe?Mention @alyssa_therecipecritic or tag #therecipecritic

Alyssa Rivers

I am Alyssa and the blogger behind The Recipe Critic. I started my blog in June of 2012 as a place to share my passion for cooking. I love trying new things and testing them out with my family.

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  1. Happy to try this, but having 20 guests! Can I triple the recipe and cook the 3 together at one time in the oven? And how many pounds of beef for each recipe?

    1. Sounds like a party!! I would only cook one at a time. Adding more than that could make them cook unevenly in the oven! Each recipe will need 4-5 lbs of flat cut beef brisket. I hope that you love it!!

  2. 5 stars
    Made this at the end of February and we agree it was the best ever. I did 3 hours on high and then 4 hours on low. Doing again next week for St. Patrick’s day. Americans love this tradition but not so much the Irish. It’s a British recipe and the Irish will more than likely have Irish Stew or Irish Pot Roast. At the time of it’s invention there was little to no beef in Ireland to speak of or was it affordable at that time. St. Patrick (Patrick was not his real name) was born a Roman and ordained as a French priest. Sorry TMI. Got carried away there.

    1. Correct, it’s 7-8 hours on low or 5-6 hours on high. When cooking any meat there is always a possibility of overcooking even in a slow cooker. I would recommend using a meat thermometer to be sure or checking it with 1 to 2 hours left in the slow cooker!

  3. 5 stars
    we made this on March 22-28, left it for 7 days in fridge, it turned out beautiful..couldn’t have made it any better than it was. thank you for this wonderful way to make our own rather than store made which is soo much more expensive. Excellent recipe!!!!

  4. When it says add water to slow cooker.. do i add The water from the brine ??? Or regular water?? I was Going to add the brine water for more flavor!

  5. This recipe is so good- it tastes like “holiday”! I had to order pink curing salt #1 online (do not use pink curing salt #2- they are not interchangeable) and brine it in a plastic bag. I almost brined it in a disposable aluminum roasting pan and thought, “I better look that up”- big no! Salt and acids will react to aluminum. Once I got that all straightened out, the rest was easy-peasy! Thanks for the deliciousness!

  6. thank you for this very detailed walk through, I don’t make corned beef often enough to remember all of the steps, but will need it fairly soon!

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