Corned beef and cabbage is a hearty traditional St. Patrick’s day meal made in one pot resulting in juicy tender seasoned corned beef and the classic recipe with cabbage, carrots, and potatoes!
There doesn’t need to be a special occasion to enjoy other melt-in-your-mouth fender and flavorful beef recipes. Easy Meatloaf or Butter Steak Bites are a couple of other quick, easy, and cost-effective weeknight dinner options when corned beef isn’t on the menu!
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Stove Top Corned Beef and Cabbage
Making corned beef and cabbage is an Irish-American family tradition that we look forward to every year on March 17th! I’ve made it in the Dutch oven, the slow cooker, and the Instant pot, but I must say the one-pot stovetop version of this traditional boiled dinner is my favorite way to make it! Sure it takes a little longer, and there are a few moving parts, but it’s worth it!
This easy corned beef is made with well seasoned juicy brisket that is cooked until fall-apart tender along with the classic sides like cabbage, carrots, and potatoes that absorb all of that delicious flavor. This tasty dish is the ultimate hearty meal and from prep to table, it’s ready in under 3 hours. It makes enough to serve a crowd and still have plenty of leftovers for corned beef sandwiches for lunch the next day!
What is Corned Beef?
Corned beef is made by adding brisket to a salt brine for curing and then boiling it. The term “corned” is a British term not relating to the vegetable, but a small granule, like small corns of salt. This process, which includes a pickling salt called Prague powder, gives the brisket that signature pink hue.
What cut is best for corned beef? Flat cut or Point cut?
When making homemade corned beef, I recommend flat cut. It’s got more meat to work with, as point cut has much more fat and connective tissues to deal with, meaning less meat. Flat cut also has a thick layer of fat on top of it which helps keep the brisket moist.
- Corned beef brisket – It usually comes with a spice pack which is so convenient! There’s no need to come up with your own blend of spices.
- Water – Enough to cover the beef, probably about 4-5 cups.
- Red potatoes – aka new potatoes You want to cut them into quarters so they cook until fork tender.
- Carrots – Use either baby carrots or diced regular carrots. Feel free to add extra carrots if your’d like.!
- Head of green cabbage – Wash the cabbage head and remove any outer layers that are wilted or discolored. Then, cut into 4 wedges.
- Bay leaves – Optional for added seasoning.
How to Make This Easy Corned Beef
This recipe will come together all in one pot! The ingredients get added in stages, depending on how long they take to cook. In the end, you’ve got a complete traditional St. Paddy’s Day meal!
Step 1: Grab a large pot or large Dutch oven and place the brisket inside. Fill with enough water to cover the beef and sprinkle in the seasoning spice packet. If you’re using bay leaves throw them in there.
Step 2: Bring contents of the pot to a boil over medium-high heat then reduce the heat. Cover and simmer for 2 hours.
Step 3: After 2 hours of cooking add the potatoes and carrots to the pot. Bring to a boil once more and cook for an extra 30 minutes until the carrots and potatoes are tender.
Step 4: Last, you’ll add in the cabbage wedges. They get added in towards the end because they don’t take a long to cook. Bring everything back to a boil and cook for the final 15-20 minutes until tender.
Step 5: Transfer the corned beef to a serving platter and let it rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Serve with cabbage, potatoes, and carrots and top with mustard or horseradish, if desired.
How to cook Corned Beef in a Slow Cooker
Place the quartered potatoes, carrots, and a onion (if using) into a large slow cooker. Then place the corned beef on top and fill about ½ full with water (about 3-4 cups). Cook on low for 7 hours. Then add the cabbage wedges and cook for an additional 1 ½ hours.
For firmer vegetables, add them in after 3 hours of cooking the beef in the water.
How to Bake Corned Beef in the Oven
Preheat your oven to 325° F. Place the corned beef in a large baking dish or roasting pan (fat side up). Add 3-4 cups of water to the pan and sprinkle the seasoning packet into the water.
Cover with foil and bake for 2 hours.
After cooking for 2 hours, place all the vegetables around the corned beef and stir to coat with juices.
Bake for another 60 minutes, stirring after 30 minutes.
How to Make Corned Beef in an Instant Pot Pressure Cooker
Place the trivet into the bottom of the instant pot and place the corned beef on the trivet. Add 3 cups of water (or beef broth) and any additional seasoning like garlic, a small onion, peppercorns, or bay leaves. Place the lid on and turn the knob on top to close. Cook on Manual – high pressure for 90 minutes then let it naturally release (approx. 15 minutes) then manual release / quick release the remaining pressure.
Then add all the vegetables into the liquid and turn the knob to close the vent again. Cook on Manual – high pressure for 4 minutes and then do a manual release.
- Throw in quartered white onions or sweet/pearl onions in with the potatoes.
- Add 4-5 cloves of minced garlic cloves.
- Use 4 cups of beef broth and a can of Guinness beer instead of water for even more flavor.
- Add 4 tablespoons of butter
- If you like mushrooms, adding 8 ounces of mushrooms would be a great addition.
- If the pot is too full after potatoes and carrots have cooked, remove them from the pot with a slotted spoon and place them in a bowl and cover them with aluminum foil to keep warm. Then add the cabbage to the pot.
- Top veggies with butter when serving and watch the melted butter sink into everything!
- Slice the meat against the grain. This helps to shorten the fibers, which makes a more tender bite than it already is.
- Be sure to allow your meat to rest before slicing. You want to give the juices time to redistribute throughout the entire meat rather than pouring out too quickly.
- Use red potatoes, Yukon gold potatoes, white potatoes, or small potatoes. No need to peel them.
- Make a homemade Horseradish sauce of ¾ sour cream, ¼ horseradish, 1 tablespoon dried chives, and a tablespoon of lemon juice.
- Add a few more mustard seeds if the spice packet doesn’t have enough.
- Add 2-3 stalks of celery if your’s like too.
Keep leftovers stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Potatoes don’t always freeze well as they tend to become mushy upon thawing, but everything else is freezer-friendly.
Boiling corned beef is done in liquid (obviously!) which means it’s best to place the corned beef fat side up. Typically when you’re cooking the brisket directly on top of the heat source, like the grill or pan, you would place the fat side down to get a nice sear.
You can and you probably should! Corned beef is quite salty, so rinsing it under cold water a few times will help eliminate the overpowering saltiness. The brining penetrates the salt deep into the meat so a little rinse beforehand won’t affect the flavor. It’s not the end of the world if you don’t do it, but you may just find yourself extra thirsty afterward!
Reheat a small portion (a single serving or two) in the microwave for a quick reheat. If you’re reheating lots of leftovers for dinner the next day, reheat everything on the stovetop, either in a pot or skillet until everything is heated through.
Best Easy Corned Beef and Cabbage
- 4 pounds corned beef brisket with spice packet (3-4 pounds)
- 4-5 cups water
- 2 pounds red potatoes cut into quarters (about 7-10 medium potatoes)
- ½ pounds baby carrots or 2 large carrots diced
- 1 head head of cabbage cut into 4 wedges
- 2 bay leaves optional
- Place the corned beef into large stock pot and seasoning packet.
- Fill the pot with enough water to cover the beef. Add bay leaves if using.
- Bring to a boil over medium high heat and then reduce to simmer and cover.
- Cook covered for 2 hours.
- Add quartered potatoes and carrots to the pot, bring to a boil again and cook for 30 minutes or until potatoes and carrots are tender.
- Then add the cabbage wedges, bring to a boil again and cook for 15-20 minutes or until tender.
- Remove the corned beef from pot and place on a serving plate and let stand 10 minutes prior to slicing.
- Top with mustard or horseradish if desired.