Slow Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage
Slow Cooker Corned Beef is deliciously tender and so flavorful. And while it’s a staple of St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, it can – and should – be enjoyed year round!
Got leftover corned beef? I recommend you check out my Classic Reuben Sandwich and my Corned Beef Hash (recipe coming soon).
Easy Corned Beef and Cabbage for St Patrick’s Day
Who’s excited for the best non-Irish Irish meal of the year?
True, corned beef is not as popular in Ireland as it is in North America, but it is a strong element of Irish-American culture and therefore a must for St. Paddy’s Day.
And while I usually make my corned beef from scratch, this time I didn’t plan ahead and ended up buying one at the grocery store. It was surprisingly tasty!
Making your own is not difficult, but requires some planning and a few special ingredients that you might not find at your grocery store.
So, if you don’t have time for that, go ahead and buy the store-bought version! As long as you rinse it well, to get rid of the excess salt, it will be just fine.
What is corned beef?
Corned beef is beef that has been preserved by salt-curing, a process that takes at least 7 days.
It is usually made from a tough cut of meat, like brisket, and it’s supposed to simmer slowly until very tender. When cooked properly, it melts in your mouth and is very flavorful and only slightly salty.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED TO BUY:
- 3 to 4 pounds corned beef – store bought or homemade
- Pickling spices (if buying at the store, it should come with the corned beef)
- 1.5 pounds red potatoes
- 1 savoy cabbage
- 1 pound baby carrots
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 bunch parsley
- 1 container golden syrup
- 1 bottle malt vinegar
- 1 (12oz) bottle stout beer
Ingredients I’m assuming you already have in your pantry. But, if not, make sure to buy them as well!
- Bay leaf
What is Golden Syrup?
Golden syrup, also known as light treacle, is a thick amber-colored syrup that is a by-product of the cane sugar manufacturing process.
Very popular in the British Isles, it is rich and sweet, with a light caramel flavor. It is used in a variety of baking and desserts recipes, or poured over classic breakfast dishes like porridge, pancakes and yogurt.
You can find it at most grocery stores here in the US, named Lyle’s Golden Syrup. In my store, it’s right by the maple syrup, honey and corn syrup.
Golden Syrup Replacements
If you can’t find golden syrup, you can use honey or maple syrup instead.
How to make Slow Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage
In the past, I’ve always braised my corned beef in the Dutch Oven, on the stove.
It wasn’t until recently that I decided to give the crockpot method a try, and now I became a convert! I find that the results are even moister and more tender, which is how I like my corned beef.
If you’re cooking it to make deli-style sandwiches, you might want to cook for less time so it doesn’t get so tender.
Now, you could just throw everything in the slow cooker and set it for 6-7 hours on high or 10-12 hours on low, but you would end up with mushy veggies and cabbage. So I like to add the vegetables in stages.
First I cook the beef for 4 hours on high, but you could do 8 on low. Then, I add the root vegetables, as they will take longer to cook. Cook for 1 hour on high, or about 2 on low.
Finally, add the cabbage, as it will be the quickest to cook. 1 hour on high should do! At this point, the potatoes and carrots should be tender and the cabbage soft but not mushy.
Here’s how I make slow cooker corned beef and cabbage. As always, you will find the printable (and more complete) version of the recipe at the end of this post!
- Rinse the corned beef several times under cool water to remove the excess salt. (Don’t worry about rinsing away the flavors. At this point, the beef is fully infused with all the yumminess.) Then, pat it dry with a paper towel.
- Brown the corned beef on all sides.
- Place the corned beef in the slow cooker, fat side up. Add the beer, water, pickling spices, golden syrup, vinegar, garlic and parsley. Cook on high for 4 hours.
- Add the potatoes and carrots, arranging them around the corned beef. Cover and continue cooking for 1 to 2 hours on high.
- Arrange cabbage over corned beef, cover, and continue cooking until all the veggies are tender, 1 hour.
- Remove the corned beef from the slow cooker and let it rest for 10 minutes. Then, slice against the grain and serve with the vegetables.
- While browning the corned beef is not necessary, and not part of the traditional way of cooking it, I find that it forms a nice, flavorful crust and makes it more visually appetizing.
How long do I cook slow cooker corned beef?
Making corned beef in the slow cooker will take about 6-7 hours on high or 10-12 hours on low.
Cook for the shortest amount of time if you like your corned beef to be firmer and the longest amount if you want it to melt in your mouth!
How to store cooked corned beef
Store cooked corned beef in an airtight container, in the fridge, for up to 3-4 days.
You can also freeze it for up to 3 months.
Reheating corned beef
My favorite way of reheating corned beef without losing moisture is placing the slices in a plastic cooking bags (one for each portion) and vacuum sealing it. I then place the bags in boiling water, set the heat to low and let the corned beef stay there for 5 minutes or until warm.
If you don’t own a vacuum sealer machine, just heat a little of the cooking liquid in a saucepan, over medium-low heat. Once steaming, I add the sliced corned beef and heat for 2-3 minutes per side.
How to serve slow cooker corned beef
Corned beef is traditionally eaten with cabbage and root veggies, like carrots and potatoes.
All of these things are already included in this slow cooker corned beef recipe, but you can leave them out – or substitute them – if you prefer.
Brussels Sprouts, parsnips, turnips, sweet potatoes, green beans, beets and even yuca can be used, but cooking times will vary.
Other sides that would go well with corned beef are:
- Colcannon, champ or mashed potatoes
- Cheddar Boxty Pancakes
- Soda Bread or any other crusty bread
- Roasted Potatoes
- Roasted Brussels Sprouts
- Roasted, fried or sautéed cabbage
You will often see corned beef served with horseradish sauce and/or mustard.
I like to make a mustard sauce, using the corned beef cooking liquid. I make a roux with butter and flour, then slowly add the liquid. Once it’s at a creamy sauce consistency, I add Dijon mustard, a teaspoon of golden syrup (or honey), a splash of malt vinegar, salt and pepper!
It’s sweet, tangy, mustard-y and pairs great with the slow cooker corned beef.
Did you make this recipe? I love hearing from you! Please comment and leave a 5-star rating below. You can also take a photo and tag me on Instagram with #oliviascuisine.
Slow Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage
- 1 (3 to 4 pounds) piece of corned beef brisket with spice packet (see notes)
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 cup stout beer
- 1 ½ cups water
- 1 sprig of parsley
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed with a knife
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tablespoon golden syrup
- 1 tablespoon malt vinegar
- 2 pounds red potatoes, quartered
- 1 pound baby carrots
- 1/2 head cabbage
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- Remove corned beef from its packaging and reserve spice packet. Rinse the corned beef under cold water – to remove excess salt – several times, then pat dry with paper towel.
- Heat a large skillet on the stove, over medium-high heat. Add the vegetable oil and, when shimmering, brown the beef on all sides, about 2-3 minutes per side.
- Place the browned beef in the slow cooker, fat cap side up. Add the beer, water, parsley, garlic, bay leaf, golden syrup, malt vinegar and reserved spices. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours (or low for 8 hours).
- Open the lid and baste the corned beef with the liquid. Add the potatoes and carrots, arranging them around the beef. Cook for 1 hour on high (or 2 hours on low).
- Add the cabbage wedges on top of the corned beef. Cover and continue cooking for one more hour on high (2 on low) or until the corned beef and vegetables are tender. If, by this point, the veggies are still not cooked through, remove the corned beef and tent with foil. Continue cooking the veggies until you can easily pierce them with a pairing knife.
- Season the vegetables with salt and pepper. Slice the corned beef against the grain and serve with the cooking liquid, horseradish sauce, mustard or – my favorite – a mustard sauce made from the cooking liquid (read the post for instructions).
- Corned beef: The fat in your corned beef won’t completely render away during cooking. If there’s a substantial fat cap on your corned beef, you can place the beef on a cutting board and trim it, if you’d like. I’d leave at least a thin layer – 1/8 to 1/4-inch thick – to keep the beef moist.
- Pickling Spices: If you’re using store-bought corned beef, it should come with a spice packet. If it doesn’t you can buy pickling spice or make your own. In that case, use 1 tablespoon or to taste.
- Cooking times: Cook for the shortest amount of time if you like your corned beef to be firmer and the longest amount if you want it to melt in your mouth!
- Leftovers: Keep leftovers in the fridge, in an airtight container, for up to 3-4 days. You can also freeze for up to 3 months.
- Reheating: Place portioned slices in vacuum sealed bags and place the bags in boiling water. Turn the heat down to low and let the corned beef heat for 5 minutes or until warm. (Read the post for an alternative if you don’t own a vacuum sealer machine.)