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Corned Beef and Cabbage

Corned beef and cabbage is a one-dish meal that is so easy to make and delicious to eat. One good sized corned beef with potatoes and veggies can serve several people and can be made several ways, in the instant pot or crock pot, in the oven, and on the stove top in a dutch oven.

Best Corned Beef and Cabbage

Corned beef and cabbage is one of those old fashioned dishes, a hearty New England meal. When my mother was growing up, her family lived in a small town in the White Mountains of New Hampshire and one of their weekly meals was corned beef and cabbage. 

When I grew up we would go visit her family once a year for 4 nights and I cried every time we went because I hated the food so much. They had a set menu for every day of the week, and they never veered from that 7 day list, month after month, year after year. 

Yes you guessed it…corned beef and cabbage was on the schedule every Saturday night. It was an overcooked and stringy piece of meat with mushy carrots, potatoes, and cabbage!! 

The problem is that it was not cooked properly, so of course I had to learn to make it a tasty meal which is now one of my favorite meals. Granted I don’t eat it once a week but we do eat it several times a year. 

We have tried all 3 ways of making this recipe, and while all of them are great, we do have a favorite which I will tell you about later. We also have 2 other recipes you will love: “How to Make Corned Beef Brisket 5 Ways”, and also “Keto Corned Beef Hash”, so please check them out too.

What Makes Corned Beef and Cabbage So Good?

Corned Beef and Cabbage on the Table

Corned beef is so good because it is a one-dish meal that has everything in it, meat, veggies and potatoes. Once you put it all together it cooks and then comes out so delicious. The meat is tender and juicy and melts in your mouth.

Some people only think about eating corned beef and cabbage one day a year, but when you cook it right it can become a favorite for your  family several times a year. 

A helpful hint is not to add the veggies and potatoes at the onset so that they don’t overcook and get mushy. That way the meat will be tender and the veggies will be al dente, just right.

Cooking Methods

Corned Beef in a Bowl on top of Cabbage

There are 3 different ways to make corned beef and cabbage that we will discuss.

  • In an instant pot/crock pot.
  • On the stove in a dutch oven.
  • In the oven in a baking dish.

While we prefer cooking corned beef and cabbage on the stove, any of the 3 methods works fine and makes the recipe come out great.

Is it Better to Boil or Bake Corned Beef?

Boiling and baking are both 2 good ways to cook your corned beef and cabbage. 

I have always baked my corned beef to try to make it a totally different meal than what I ate as a kid, but I have since boiled it on the stove and I also love that method. 

Sometimes I just feel like making a piece of corned beef, so I bake it by itself without veggies and potatoes so that I have some meat to snack on or use it for breakfast to eat with my eggs.

If I want a one dish meal, especially when the weather is on the cool or cold side, then I make it on the stove with all of the added veggies and potatoes.

We will lay out the facts and then you can try it both ways and make a decision for yourself.

What Ingredients are in Corned Beef and Cabbage?

Corned Beef and Cabbage Ingredients
  • Corned Beef – There are 2 cuts of corned beef, flat cut and point cut, either will work good for this corned beef and cabbage recipe.
  • Beef Broth – Regular beef broth in a carton or can. You can also use the low sodium version.
  • Montreal Steak Seasoning – This is a miracle blend of several spices put together and I use it in a lot of my recipes. It has salt, black pepper, red pepper, garlic, onion, and paprika without any gluten, msg or any artificial flavors. We buy a large 29 oz bottle of it at costco which is about the same price as a 2 oz bottle at a regular grocery store.
  • Carrots – Use full size carrots, cut to the appropriate size, rather than baby carrots which don’t have as much flavor.
  • Potatoes – Any kind of potatoes will work, we just use red potatoes when we have them in the house. If not white or russet potatoes will be really good too.
  • Cabbage – Regular green cabbage, savoy cabbage or red cabbage will all work well in this recipe. I just mostly use green cabbage because I like the color contrast in the pot, rather than the red cabbage and red potatoes.

Cuts of Meat for Corned Beef

When you want to cook corned beef and cabbage, there are 2 types of the meat to look for:

  • Flat Cut – A leaner piece of meat that does not shrink too much. 
  • Point Cut – A fattier cut of meat, which tends to be a little more tender but will shrink more.

Different Variations

Cooked Corned Beef

It’s always so nice when you make a basic recipe and then you add some small changes to it that give it an entirely new flavor. The original is great, but of course the changes are always tasty too!

For corned beef there are a bunch of variations in vegetables and spices that you can add:

Vegetables to Add to Corned Beef and Cabbage

Traditionally, we add cabbage, carrots and potatoes to corned beef and cabbage. 

  • Onions
  • Green Beans
  • Turnips
  • Rutabaga
  • Cauliflower
  • Radishes
  • Kale

Onions are another good choice, but you don’t need to add a lot to give your recipe for corned beef and cabbage a yummy flavor. 

Other options to add if you want to increase your veggies are green beans, peppers, or any fall harvest root veggies like rutabaga, or turnips. Radishes are also a good replacement for potatoes without hardly any calories.

Seasonings and Spices

There are so many spices that you can use on your corned beef, but I like to use Montreal Seasoning because it’s a good combo of flavors. However, you can also use:

  • Allspice
  • Peppercorns
  • Mustard Seeds
  • Bay Leaves

Corned Beef and Cabbage Prep

Adding Vegetables to Corned Beef

Now we will get to the fun part of the corned beef and cabbage recipe, taking it from the prepping and cooking part all the way to cutting it and serving it on your plate.

Do you Rinse Corned Beef Before Cooking? 

I rinse the corned beef before I cook it. It’s not like other roasts or steaks because it goes through a corning or pickling process done with a special kind of salt which forms like a jelly that gives the corned beef its distinct flavor.

The thick jelly needs to be rinsed off before cooking since it’s not very appetizing to look at or taste.

How to Make Corned Beef and Cabbage on the Stove

How to Make Corned Beef and Cabbage

The first way that we will show you how to cook corned beef and cabbage is on the stove. This is in my opinion the best way to cook it. 

What Liquid Do I Add?

We use beef broth because it gives the corned beef an added nice beef flavor.

When to Add the Cabbage?

Do not add your cabbage or any of the other veggies at the onset of the cooking. Add them about ½-¾ of the way through the cooking process. This is so that they do not overcook and get mushy.

How Long Does It Take to Cook?

When you cook the corned beef this way, it takes about 2 hours at a simmer/slight boil. It won’t hurt if you want to cook it another 30-60 minutes, it will only make it more tender.

Step by Step

Take your corned beef and season it on all sides.

Place the meat in the dutch oven, with the fattiest part on the top.

Putting Corned Beef in a Dutch Oven

The next step is to pour the beef broth in the pan. Put the lid on and cook for about 2 hours at a slight boil/simmer.

While the corned beef is cooking, cut up the potatoes, carrots, cabbage or any other veggies that you choose to use. Cut the small red potatoes in half, peel the carrots and cut them in half, and cut the cabbage in quarters.

Now add them to the pot. Cook for about 30 minutes or until they reach the desired texture.

Corned Beef and Cabbage Cooking in the Dutch Oven

Take the meat out and place it on a cutting board. Cut it at the desired thickness across the grain so that it will be more tender.

Perfect Corned Beef

Place the meat on a platter and now scoop out the veggies and place them all around the meat and serve!

Easy Recipe for Corned Beef and Cabbage

How to Make Corned Beef and Cabbage in a Slow Cooker

Another way to cook corned beef and cabbage is to use a slow cooker/crock pot. Let’s show you some simple instructions to make it this way.

What Liquid Do I Add?

Corned Beef in Slow Cooker

We choose to add beef broth to the corned beef and cabbage because it adds some really nice beef flavor to your recipe for corned beef and cabbage. 

You can use water if you don’t like beef broth or you don’t have it in your house when you get ready to make your corned beef and cabbage. 2 cups is the desired amount of liquid to use.

When to Add the Cabbage?

Do not add the cabbage at the beginning of the cooking process when you start the corned beef. If you do, it will cook much faster than the meat and you will have soft, soft, soft cabbage that falls apart, unless you like it that way.

We recommend that you put the cabbage in the pot for the last ½ or even the last ¾ of the cooking, depending on how you want your cabbage to come out.

How Long Does It Take to Cook?

When you are using a crock pot to cook anything, the purpose of it is to cook things slowly, so the meat comes out nice and tender. You have two setting options in a slow cooker, low and high. 

  • High: 4-5 hours
  • Low: 7-8 hours

Step by Step

Slow Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage
  1. First season your corned beef on all sides, and place it in the crock pot fatty side up. 
  2. Pour the beef broth over the top of it, cover, and turn the crock pot on, high if you need to cook it quicker or on low if you can let it cook all day long. 
  3. Sometime during the day when you have a few minutes, prep your veggies and potatoes. Peel your carrots and cut them in half or thirds, cut the small potatoes in half and cut the head of cabbage in quarters. Prepare any other veggies that you may decide to add too. 
  4. They will only take about an hour to cook in the slow cooker, so judge accordingly when to add them. Continue to cook.
  5. When everything is done take the meat out, place it on a cutting board. Cut it at the desired thickness, across the grain so that it will be more tender. Place the meat on a platter and now add your veggies and place them around the meat. Serve and enjoy!

How to Make Corned Beef and Cabbage in an Instant Pot

Corned Beef and Cabbage on a plate with carrots and potatoes

Another way to cook your corned beef and cabbage recipe is to use an instant pot. This method will shorten your cooking time over using a slow cooker.

What Liquid Do I Add?

Using the beef broth in the instant pot is great too, it adds more flavor to the meat,  2 cups is the usual amount of liquid to use in the instant pot.

When to Add the Cabbage?

After the meat is cooked, take it out of the instant pot. While it is resting then add the veggies to the steamer basket and cook them in the instant pot for 10 minutes.

How Long Does It Take to Cook?

When you are making corned beef and cabbage in the instant pot, it is a much shorter cooking process than using a crock pot. It should take about 1.5-2 hours to completely cook.

Corned Beef and Cabbage in a Bowl

Step by Step

  1. Prepare your meat by seasoning it on all sides. Now add it to the instant pot along with the beef broth.
  2.  Seal and cook on high pressure for about 90 minutes. Follow the instructions in the manual for quick release of the steam, being careful not to get burned. 
  3. Remove the meat and set it aside.  Now add the veggies to the pot, seal and cook on high pressure for only about 4 minutes. Quick release the steam again. 
  4. Cut the corned beef against the grain, serve on a platter, while also arranging the veggies and potatoes around the meat and serve!

FAQs & Best Tips

Corned Beef Sliced on a Plate

Now we will attempt to address some of the questions that may be running through your head on the actual process of cooking the corned beef. We will also share with you some of the tips we have learned while cooking this recipe.

  • If you find corned beef on sale, buy 2 or 3 of them because they usually have a long expiration date and will last for a while in the refrigerator. You could also freeze them if you want to.
  • If you need to serve more people you could always double the recipe and cook 2 pieces of meat with extra veggies.
  • Always place the fattest part of the corned beef up in the pan. That will keep the meat more tender.
  • Do not cut your veggies too small or they will get mushy easier. 
  • Cut the meat across the grain instead of with the grain for a more tender result.
  • When using the instant pot be careful when you release the steam so that you do not get burned. Also make sure not to release it underneath your upper cabinets. Pull it out to the outer edge of the counters.
  • Freeze leftovers in single serve plastic containers for easy thawing.

How to Make Tender Corned Beef?

Tough corned beef is not enjoyable at all so you need to know how to make sure that it comes out tender. After all, who wants to eat shoe leather for dinner?

  • Brisket corned beef is a tough cut of meat, so cooking it low and slow is a must, especially in the crock pot which is designed to make things at a slow pace.
  • Once the meat is cooked then let it rest for about 15 minutes before slicing.
  • When the corned beef is done resting, now it’s time to cut the meat. Cut it against the grain so that the long fibrous strands get broken up. This is very important for the tenderness of the meat.

How to Make This Recipe Low Carb?

Making sure that this recipe for corned beef and cabbage is low carb is really easy to do.

The majority of carbs come from the potatoes, so omit the potatoes, it’s as simple as that. If you are looking for a replacement you can always add whole radishes.

How to Use Leftover Corned Beef and Cabbage?

Using the leftover corned beef is easy. Use it on a sandwich or scramble it with some eggs for breakfast. The cabbage can be eaten with any other meat or eaten by itself.

  • Reuben Sandwich 
  • Kapusta
  • Corned Beef Hash
  • On top of a Green Salad

What to Serve with Corned Beef and Cabbage?

Best Recipe for Corned Beef and Cabbage

Make Ahead and Storing Options

Many one-dish meals, like soups or stews can be made the day before and stored in the refrigerator.

The same is true with our corned beef and cabbage recipe. The next day it can be heated up and served.

How to Reheat

The quickest way to reheat your corned beef and cabbage is in the microwave, which will only take 1-2 minutes. Be sure to lightly cover it and use a microwave-safe plate or container. 

You could also heat it up on the stove in a saucepan for 5-10 minutes on low.

Also you can heat it up in the oven in an oven-safe pan, which will take about 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees.

Can You Freeze Corned Beef and Cabbage?

How to Cook Corned Beef and Cabbage

Most one dish foods like soups and stews freeze very well and this corned beef and cabbage recipe is no exception, as long as they are stored properly. 

The best way is to put it in a plastic container and then stick the container into a plastic ziploc bag for double protection.

For the best freshness I would recommend freezing it for only about 3 months. Take a portion out of the freezer and thaw it out overnight in the refrigerator.

Tools to Use

  • Pan to cook it in
  • Cutting board to slice the meat
  • Sharp knife
  • Bowl or platter to serve it on

Is Corned Beef and Cabbage Healthy?

Corned beef and cabbage is a healthy one-dish meal because it has protein from the meat and it has a lot of veggies with vitamins and minerals.

For a 3 oz portion it has 200 calories of meat and only a few calories for the vegetables.

Diets This Recipe is Good For

Slow Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage
  • Keto/Low Carb – This is one of those good recipes that is just made up from meat and veggies. Just leave out the potatoes and you will be keto acceptable.
  • Gluten-free – There are so many good recipes that are gluten-free and we are happy to say that this is another one!
  • Nut-free – No nuts or nut products in corned beef and cabbage.
  • Dairy-free – You do not need any dairy products when cooking corned beef and cabbage.
  • Candida – In this limited diet, just omit the potatoes and you are all set.
  • Sugar-free – No added sugar when making the best corned beef and cabbage recipe.
  • Paleo -Another winner for paleo eaters.

Other Similar Recipes

We have a few other similar recipes on our website that you are going to love:

Low Carb Keto Beef Stew

All of them are easy-to-make dinners and will have your friends raving!

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Best Corned Beef and Cabbage

Corned Beef and Cabbage


  • Author: Leigh Oskwarek
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 hours and 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 160 minutes
  • Yield: 8 Servings 1x
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Description

Corned beef and cabbage is an old fashioned one dish meal that has been a favorite of so many people for years. We are going to show you how to make it 3 different ways, all of which are easy to make and delicious to eat. Try one way or try them all and see which one you like the best. 


Ingredients

Scale
  • 3 lbs corned beef brisket
  • 1 tbsp montreal seasoning or pickling spices 
  • 4 cup beef broth, or water 
  • 2 cups carrots 
  • 2 cups red potatoes 
  • 1 head green cabbage, quartered

Instructions

Notes

12.8 NET CARBS 

7.4 NET CARBS WITHOUT POTATOES 

5.4 NET CARBS WITHOUT POTATOES AND CARROTS 

Buy several corned beef if you see them on sale because they usually have a long expiration date. They can also be frozen. 

Don’t cut the veggies too small or cook them too long for the best tasting and texture.

Cut the meat across the grain not with the grain for a more tender piece of meat.

Storing: It is easy to store the leftover corned beef and cabbage in an airtight container in the refrigerator for about 4-5 days.

Reheat: The microwave is always good for heating up leftovers. Make sure to use a microwave-safe dish and it should only take 1-2 minutes to heat it up.You can also use a saucepan on the stove for about 5 minutes on medium heat.

Freezing: You can also freeze your leftovers. Put it in airtight containers and then place the container into a ziploc bag for double protection. It will last for about 2-3 months if properly stored. Thaw it in the refrigerator overnight and heat it the next day.

  • Category: Main Courses
  • Method: Boiling
  • Cuisine: Irish

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