How to Make the Tastiest Irish Corned Beef and Cabbage — Easy Slow Cooker Recipe (2024)

If you’re celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, dinner should be a no-brainer: Irish corned beef and cabbage. It’s a comforting and hearty meal that produces some of the best leftovers the next day. But, before you start searching for recipes, consider our test kitchen’s Beer-Braised Corned Beef and Cabbage — which cooks in the slow cooker. This easy method ensures that both the meat and veg become perfectly tender. Since the machine locks in moisture, you have to worry about the dish drying out or burning. This coupled with another trick for infusing flavor into the dish helps create a succulent meal. Keep reading for pointers on making this beloved St. Paddy’s day dish without hassle!

The basics of corned beef and cabbage

This dish largely contains corned beef (a cut of brisket that’s cured in salt and spices) and green cabbage. The beef provides the dish with salty, spiced and tangy flavors, while the cabbage adds a sweet and earthy taste. Other vegetables such as potatoes or carrots are sometimes included to make the dish more filling. This meal originated in the 19th century as a way for Irish immigrants in the US to replicate a homeland dish known as bacon and cabbage. Over time, this affordable dish became a favorite for celebrations and holidays like St. Patrick’s Day. Many corned beef and cabbage recipes either cook it on the stove or in the oven. However, using your slow cooker is the easiest option that delivers on big flavor.

Why you should cook this dish in the slow cooker

Your trusty slow cooker is the superhero of every comforting braise, stew and even mac and cheese dish. Show it some more love by using it to cook your Irish corned beef and cabbage on St. Paddy’s Day, too! The low and slow cooking method allows for all of the ingredients to develop into a richer, more intense flavor. Plus, you can prep it in the morning, put everything in the slow cooker and then enjoy the delicious smells wafting through your home as it cooks all day. A general rule of thumb when braising cuts of meat in the slow cooker is that they’ll be fully cooked and tender after 4 to 5 hours on a high setting and 8 to 9 hours on low. Then, during the last hour of cooking, First for Women Test Kitchen Manager Susan Chiusanosuggests adding 1-inch wedges of sliced cabbage. This allows the veggie to soften without becoming too mushy. Before you know it, you’ll have a rich and hearty meal for your holiday dinner table.

Bonus tip for an extra flavorful dish

Instead of sprinkling whole seasonings like bay leaves and cinnamon sticks directly into the dish, simply make a spice pouch. This involves placing the spices in cheesecloth and tying it with kitchen twine. The pouch can then be added to the slow cooker with the other ingredients. This trick allows the spices to infuse the dish with their aromatic flavors, and keeps them in one place so they’re easy to remove afterwards. All you need is a pair of scissors, a roll of cheesecloth and some kitchen twine. Watch this video from the MyRecipes YouTube channel for a simple guideon how to make a spice pouch.

A mouthwatering corned beef and cabbage recipe

These simple tricks will ensure that your corned beef and cabbage tastes amazing, but also help you spend less time in the kitchen. They’re great to use when making our Beer-Braised Corned Beef and Cabbage recipe — which boasts hints of caramelized and spiced flavors.

Beer-Braised Irish Corned Beef and Cabbage

Kissed with cinnamon, our slow-cooker main dish served with tender pearl onions, carrots and fresh herbs makes the perfect centerpiece for your celebration feast!


  • 1 bunch fresh thyme
  • 6 cinnamon sticks
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3 carrots, cut diagonally into½-inch slices
  • 2 cups frozen pearl onions
  • 1 medium head green cabbage, cut into 1-inch wedges
  • 4 lbs. low-sodium corned beef
  • 2 cups low-sodium beef broth
  • 2 (12 oz.) bottles stout beer, such as Guinness, about 3 cups
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • 1 tsp. mustard seeds


  • Active: 20 mins
  • Total time: 8 hrs, 30 mins
  • Yield: 10 servings
  1. Add 2 sprigs thyme, 1 cinnamon stick and bay leaves to center of 8-inch square cheesecloth; tie with kitchen string to enclose. Place herb packet, carrots and pearl onions in 6-quart slow cooker; top with corned beef. Add beef broth, beer, molasses and mustard seeds. Cover; cook on low until very tender, 8 hours.
  2. During last hour of cooking, add cabbage to slow cooker, cover and continue cooking.
  3. Remove herb packet from slow cooker; discard. Transfer beef to platter; surround with cooked carrots and pearl onions, remaining 5 cinnamon sticks and remaining thyme sprigs. Let stand 10 minutes before slicing. Serve corned beef with braising liquid.
  4. Easy variation:Make it Smoky Braised Corned Beef. Omit cinnamon. Add 1 Tbs. smoked paprika and 2 Tbs. liquid smoke. Continue with recipe.

Continue reading for more yummy St. Patrick’s Day recipes!

Homemade Irish Cream Recipe Is So Easy to Make in Just 5 Minutes

Beyond Corned Beef: This Traditional St. Patrick’s Day Recipe Is Irish Chef’s Favorite

These Irish Cookies Are the Perfect Buttery Treat for St. Paddy’s Day: 2 Easy Recipes

How to Make the Tastiest Irish Corned Beef and Cabbage — Easy Slow Cooker Recipe (2024)


How do you make corned beef taste better? ›

Add a tablespoon or two of pickling spice as well as a few garlic cloves, a quartered onion, a carrot, and a few stalks of celery if you like. Bring everything to a boil, cover, and reduce the heat to maintain a steady simmer.

What are the secrets to cooking corned beef? ›

Slow cooking with a crock pot or using an instant pot is a fantastic way to cook corned beef, resulting in melt-in-your-mouth, tender meat throughout. You can make a delicious, hearty meal with simple ingredients and a crock pot or instant pot.

Does corned beef have to be covered in water in slow cooker? ›

You can add seasonings other than salt, like black peppercorns and bay leaves. Keep the brisket submerged at all times as well since it's the water actually transferring heat into the meat and cooking it. Letting the top become exposed will dry out the meat and slow down the cooking process, leading to uneven doneness.

What's the best cut of corned beef to use for corned beef and cabbage? ›

The flat cut, with its leaner meat and minimal fat cap, is ideal for the classic corned beef and cabbage dish.

What makes corned beef taste good? ›

Corned beef is typically made from beef brisket – a relatively inexpensive cut of beef – cured in salt brine, with some pickling spices: bay leaf, peppercorns, mustard seed, juniper berries, coriander seeds, and whole cloves. Corned beef gets its characteristic sweet and tart taste from the brine.

What gives corned beef its flavor? ›

The flavor profile often includes bay leaf, black peppercorn, mustard seed, dried red pepper and coriander. If that blend sounds familiar, it's because it's same list of spices that are packaged as pickling spice. Not surprising, since corned beef and pickles are commonly made in the same place: a deli.

What not to do when cooking corned beef? ›

5 Mistakes to Avoid When Making Corned Beef
  1. Not Rinsing the Meat Before Cooking. ...
  2. Cooking Over a High Temperature. ...
  3. Not Filling the Pot with Enough Water. ...
  4. Not Cooking the Meat Long Enough. ...
  5. Cutting the Meat Incorrectly.
Sep 3, 2020

How do you cook corned beef so it's tender? ›

Because corned beef comes from brisket, a tough cut of meat. You need its connective tissue to break down so you can have tender results. Some like to braise their corned beef in an all-water liquid, with various spices and salt; others add beer to the mix to further tenderize the meat.

Does corned beef get more tender the longer it is cooked? ›

Information. Corned beef is made from one of several less tender cuts of beef like the brisket, rump, or round. Therefore, it requires long, moist cooking. Corned beef is safe once the internal temperature has reached at least 145 °F, with a three minute rest time, but cooking it longer will make it fork-tender.

How do you know when corned beef is done in a slow cooker? ›

Please note that crock pot cooking times may vary greatly depending upon brand and style. It is important to check the meat with a meat thermometer to ensure it has reached at least 160°F for food safety; for optimal tenderness, cook to an internal temperature of 190°F. For best results, monitor at regular intervals.

Can you overcook corned beef in a slow cooker? ›

You can overcook corned beef in a Crock-Pot if it's cooked for too long at too high of a temperature. Overcooked corned beef can taste tough and stringy. It's best to follow the recommended cook time and temperature within the recipe.

What happens if you don't rinse corned beef? ›

Depending on the pickling solution used for the meat, you may be in for a saltier meal than you bargained for if you cook the meat without rinsing it. And don't worry: Rinsing won't make the beef taste bland! The flavor is infused deep into the beef during the curing process.

What is the most flavorful cut of corned beef? ›

If you're looking for a more tender and juicy meat, the best cut of corned is point cut. It has more marbling and fat which is the reason why it's more flavorful, soft, and juicy than flat cut. Both cuts are tough cuts of meat though, so they require low heat and slow-cooking methods.

What goes with corned beef and cabbage? ›

**Mashed potatoes**: Creamy mashed potatoes are a classic accompaniment to corned beef and cabbage. Serve them alongside the leftovers to create a comforting and hearty meal. 2. **Irish soda bread**: Enjoy leftover corned beef and cabbage with slices of freshly baked Irish soda bread.

How do you make store bought corned beef better? ›

If I'm doing it in a crockpot, I generally add some additional seasonings:
  1. more quality corned beef spices than what comes in the little pouch.
  2. onions/carrots/thyme (basic aromatics)
  3. enhance the cooking liquid (I like a dark beer, particularly Negra Modelo, or sometimes beef stock)
Sep 29, 2016

How do you fix bland corned beef? ›

Submerge the corned beef brisket in a large pot of boiling water boil five hours before you plan to eat; add any included flavoring pack or pickling spice. If your brisket came without a flavoring packet, then you can make your own.

How to spice up bland corned beef? ›

Cover the corned beef with water. Add several tablespoons of pickling spices, or make your own blend with bay leaves, whole black peppercorns, mustard seeds, juniper berries, allspice berries and whole cloves.


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