Corned beef cabbage is synonymous with St. Patrick’s Day, but we’re here to say this comforting dish shouldn’t just be relegated to being served for a few days in March. Made with brisket, potatoes, carrots and cabbage, this hearty meal deserves to become a cold-weather staple.
While corned beef cabbage is thought of as a traditional Irish dish, the meal was actually popularized by Irish-American immigrants in the nineteenth century. At the time, pork was the primary protein in Ireland with beef being so expensive that only a wealthy class was able to afford it. Many Irish immigrants lived next to Jewish neighborhoods and took notice that salt-cured brisket was similar to Irish bacon, but significantly cheaper. Paired with affordable cabbage and made in one pot, the dish became the staple that it is today.
Corned beef and cabbage is known for being an easy one-pot meal, but by making it in a slow cooker, that ease is taken to another level. All it takes to prepare this dish is adding the ingredients in stages until each is cooked through and tender. It’s truly the perfect set-it-and-forget-it meal.
Technique Tip: While this recipe is particularly easy in a slow cooker, you can also make it in a Dutch oven by braising it low and slow in the oven.
Swap Option: Corned beef cabbage combines a handful of staple ingredients. You can experiment by adding different types of root vegetables or cabbage to the dish to make it your own. For a nonalcoholic version, replace the beer with an additional 1½ cups beef broth.
- 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch coins
- 1 medium yellow or sweet onion, thinly sliced
- 1 large clove garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 large bay leaf
- 1 3-pound corned beef brisket (in package with spice packet)
- 1 (12-ounce) bottle of dark beer such as stout or porter
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1-2 cups beef broth, plus more as needed
- 6-8 medium red potatoes, washed and quartered
- 1 small head green cabbage
Place the carrots, onion, garlic and bay leaf in the bottom of a 6-quart slow cooker. Place the corned beef on top of the vegetables.2.
In a mixing bowl, whisk together the corned beef spice packet, beer, vinegar, brown sugar and mustard. Pour over the corned beef, then add beef broth. The liquid should completely submerge the vegetables and partially cover the corned beef — the amount needed to do this will vary depending on the depth and model of slow cooker, so add more broth as necessary.3.
Place the potatoes on top of the corned beef. Close the slow cooker and cook on low for 6½ hours before adding the cabbage. If your slow cooker has a warm function, you can hold the beef and vegetables for up to 90 minutes before adding the cabbage if needed.4.
Meanwhile, core the cabbage and slice into 8 wedges. Remove the lid and place the cabbage on top of the potatoes and corned beef. Close and cook for another 1½ hours, until the cabbage is tender but still retains its shape.5.
Use tons to remove the cabbage, then carefully lift the corned beef out of the liquid and transfer to a cutting board. Strain the potatoes, carrots and onions from the cooking liquid, discarding the liquid. Slice the corned beef and serve with the cabbage and vegetables.