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Slow Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage

This easy Slow Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage is perfect for a St. Patrick’s Day celebration or for a delicious all-in-one-pot dinner any day of the year!

The meat is melt-in-your-mouth tender while the cabbage, potatoes and carrots are perfectly cooked (i.e. not mushy). And the slow cooker makes it all super simple by doing most of the work for you!

Plus, this crock pot corned beef and cabbage is budget-friendly too. I spent less than $25 and got 6 servings out of this tasty meal.

You’ll most easily find corned beef in the grocery store leading up to St. Patrick’s Day, and it’s often sold at a great price during this time (so consider stocking up!).

What is corned beef?

Despite the name, it has nothing at all to do with corn! Corned beef is simply beef brisket that has been cured in a salt brine with spices.

The term “corned” comes from the days before refrigeration when salt was used to preserve meat. The large grains of rock salt used were referred to as “corns” of salt.

And, in case you were wondering, it’s sodium nitrite that gives corned beef it’s classic pink color.

Since brisket is a tougher cut of meat, to make corned beef that is wonderfully tender rather than tough and chewy, you’ve got to cook it low and slow (it takes 8 hours, so be sure to plan ahead). This makes it a perfect dish for the slow cooker!

corned beef, cabbage, carrots and potatoes arranged on a serving platter

Flat Cut vs. Point Cut Corned Beef

Flat cut corned beef is rectangular in shape and is leaner and easier to cut into nice even slices. This is the cut that I prefer to use and recommend for this dish.

Point cut corned beef has a more triangular shape and is fattier. It will give you less-even slices with more marbling. If you want shredded meat, this cut is the better choice.

Fun Fact

Although corned beef and cabbage is an Irish-American St. Patrick’s Day tradition here in the States, it’s not actually an authentic or traditional dish from Ireland. Irish bacon, which is made from pork and is similar to ham, is much more conventional.

When Irish immigrants came to America back in the late 1700s and early 1800s, pork products were very expensive. Corned beef (which is actually of Jewish origin) was a less-costly but acceptable substitute, and so corned beef and cabbage was born.

It’s a fusion dish for sure!

two plates of sliced corned beef, cabbage, potatoes and carrots with a large serving plate, serving fork and salt and pepper shakers in the background

Ingredients You Need

  • Onions
  • Corned beef brisket with spice packet (I use and recommend flat-cut)
  • Light brown sugar
  • Garlic cloves
  • Small red potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Water
  • Green cabbage
  • Melted butter (for serving, optional)
  • Chopped fresh parsley (for garnish, optional)
  • Stone-ground mustard (for serving, optional)
  • Creamy horseradish sauce (for serving, optional)

Note: Ingredient amounts are in the recipe card at the end of the post.

Special Equipment Needed

  • Slow cooker (6-quart or larger so that everything fits in the pot)

Note: The above video is just a brief overview of the steps. Scroll down to the recipe card at the end of the post for the full printable recipe with ingredient amounts and detailed instructions.

Recipe Tips & Tidbits

  • Although I don’t find it necessary, if you’re concerned about the salt level, you can rinse the corned beef under cold water before adding it to the slow cooker.
  • For even cooking, make sure your potatoes are all approximately the same size. If you don’t have the smaller red potatoes, you can use larger red potatoes (about 6 ounces each) and cut them in half.
  • You can peel the potatoes if you prefer.
  • Two cups may not seem like a lot of water at first, but it’s plenty because the meat and veggies will release a lot of liquid as they cook (the meat will shrink quite a bit).
  • Adding the cabbage during the last 2 hours of cooking allows it to get tender but not mushy. If you like it softer, you can add it earlier. Or you can add it later if you want it more firm.
  • No peeking! Every time you take the lid off, it takes an extra 20 minutes for the slow cooker to come back up to temperature.
  • Don’t be tempted to use the HIGH setting to speed things up and shorten the time. The corned beef will only end up being tough and chewy.
  • Be sure to slice the corned beef against the grain for tender slices. If you slice it with the grain, it will be chewy.

Substitutions & Variations

  • Small golden or waxy white potatoes can be used instead of red potatoes. I don’t recommend using russets; the skin is thicker, and they are more prone to falling apart after the long cooking time.
  • You can use one pound of baby-cut carrots instead of peeling and chopping whole carrots.
  • Savoy cabbage is a nice substitute for regular green cabbage.
  • If your corned beef didn’t come with a spice packet, use 1 to 2 tablespoons of pickling spice.
  • For extra flavor, you can use chicken or beef broth instead of water (chicken would be my preference, only because beef broth can turn the veggies a little brown). Or you could use beer in place of all or some of the water (I haven’t tried this one yet).
corned beef, cabbage, potatoes and carrots on a large serving plate

Storing Leftovers and Reheating

Store leftover corned beef and veggies in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 to 4 days. I recommend saving some of the cooking liquid as well (keep it in a separate container in the fridge).

To reheat, place the desired amount of meat and veggies in a baking dish, add some of the cooking liquid to keep things moist, cover the dish with foil, and cook in a preheated 325°F oven until heated through.

What to Serve With Slow Cooker Corned Beef & Cabbage

One of the great things about corned beef and cabbage is that it’s got meat, potatoes and vegetables all in one dish, so you really don’t need anything else. That being said, I do love to serve it with some bread or dinner rolls.

Also, the vegetables (especially the potatoes) most definitely benefit from a generous drizzle of melted butter.

And although this dish is plenty tasty, it’s often served with stone-ground mustard, horseradish or a creamy horseradish sauce (this one is my favorite…it’s so, so good, and I highly recommend it; the recipe is in the notes of the recipe card below).

I hope you try this Slow Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage recipe and love it as much as I do. Thanks for visiting today!

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More Beef Recipes To Try

Want even more beef recipes? Check out my Beef Recipes page!

If you make this recipe, I’d love to know how it went! Please leave a star rating and comment below. Thanks!

corned beef, cabbage, potatoes and carrots arranged on a platter with a serving fork on the side

Slow Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage

This easy Slow Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage is perfect for a St. Patrick's Day celebration or for a delicious all-in-one dinner any day of the year!
Print Recipe Rate/Comment Pin Recipe
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours
Resting Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 8 hours 20 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 553
Author: Michelle / Now Cook This!

Ingredients

  • 1 large onion, about 8 ounces, peeled and thickly sliced (¾ to 1-inch slices)
  • 1 (3-pound) corned beef brisket with seasoning packet, I use and recommend the flat cut
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 pounds small red potatoes, about 3 ounces each, leave whole
  • 1 pound carrots, peeled and cut into large pieces (about 2 to 3 inches long)
  • 2 cups water
  • pounds green cabbage, cut into 6 wedges (leave core intact to keep the wedges together)

For Serving (all are optional)

  • melted butter
  • chopped fresh parsley
  • stone-ground mustard
  • creamy horseradish sauce, recipe in notes below

Special Equipment

  • Slow cooker (6-quart or larger so everything fits in the pot)

Instructions

  • Place the sliced onions in a 6-quart or larger slow cooker.
  • Place the corned beef on top of the onions, fat side up.
    Although I don't find it necessary, if you're concerned about the dish being too salty, you can rinse the meat under cold water before putting it in the slow cooker.
  • Sprinkle the brown sugar and the contents of the seasoning packet on top of the corned beef.
  • Add the garlic, potatoes and carrots to the slow cooker.
  • Pour the water into the slow cooker.
    Two cups may not seem like a lot of water at first, but it's plenty because the meat and veggies will release a lot of liquid as they cook (the meat will shrink quite a bit).
  • Put the lid on the slow cooker and cook on LOW for 6 hours.
  • Place the cabbage wedges in the slow cooker.
    If needed, move the potatoes and carrots around or cut the cabbage to make everything fit.
  • Put the lid back on the slow cooker and cook on LOW for an additional 2 hours.
  • Remove the meat from the slow cooker; place on a cutting board or a plate and let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes, then slice it against the grain (this is important for tender slices of meat; if you cut it with the grain, it will be chewy).
    Alternately, you can shred the meat if you'd rather.
  • Arrange the cabbage, potatoes, carrots, onions, and sliced meat on a platter and serve.
  • If desired, spoon some of the cooking liquid over everything, drizzle the veggies with melted butter, and serve with stone-ground mustard and/or creamy horseradish sauce (this is my favorite, and I highly recommend it!).

Notes

  • I leave the skins on my potatoes, but you can peel them if you prefer.
  • If you don’t have or can’t get the small red potatoes, use large potatoes (about 6 ounces each) and cut them in half.
  • Adding the cabbage during the last 2 hours of cooking allows it to get tender but not mushy. If you like it softer, you can add it earlier. Or you can add it later if you want it more firm.
  • No peeking! Every time you take the lid off, it takes an extra 20 minutes for the slow cooker to come back up to temperature.
  • Don’t be tempted to use the high setting to speed things up and shorten the time. The corned beef will only end up being tough and chewy.
  • Estimated calories shown are for the corned beef, cabbage, potatoes, and onions only and do not include melted butter, mustard or creamy horseradish sauce.
  • Creamy Horseradish Sauce: stir together ½ cup sour cream, 1 tablespoon horseradish (or to taste), and salt and pepper (to taste) in a small bowl until well-combined. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.
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