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Food & Recipes

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

Plus, a simple trick that enhances the flavor of this classic St. Paddy's Day dish!

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 Chiusano suggests 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 guide on 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

Irish corned beef and cabbage
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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!

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch fresh thyme
  • 6 cinnamon sticks
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3 carrots, cut diagonally into ½-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

Directions:

  • 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

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