Slow Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage Recipe

Fill your home (and your belly) with the spirit of St. Patrick's Day with this easy slow cooker recipe.

Corned beef and cabbage is a St. Patrick’s Day tradition.

Corned Beef and Cabbage

Corned beef and cabbage is a St. Patrick’s Day tradition.

Corned beef and cabbage is a St. Patrick’s Day tradition.

Corned beef and cabbage has long been regarded as the meal of choice to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. This classic combination of brined beef and a leafy cool-weather crop may seem as Irish as it gets, but it may come as a surprise to learn the tradition began right here in America.

In the 17th century, corned beef, a cut of beef cured in pickling spices and easily recognized by its pinkish hue, was a product exported from Ireland, but few natives could afford the expensive meat. Instead, less expensive cured pork was the meal of choice, most commonly served with potatoes. So why do we associate corned beef and cabbage with Ireland?

The answer lies with 18th century Irish immigrants coming to America in search of a better life. Upon landing on U.S. soil, they were stunned to find beef was not only plentiful, it was inexpensive. Cabbage, another cost-effective commodity in the U.S., quickly became a popular companion to a meat that once represented luxury, but was now affordable to even those struggling to make ends meet. While this working folk's meal may not have originated in Ireland, it is undeniably Irish, born from the Irish immigrants making their way in a land of opportunity.

Corned beef and cabbage may not have started in Ireland, but there’s no better way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Our slow cooker recipe makes it easy. Left to cook all day long while we’re out watching parades or chasing snakes, cabbage is added in the last hour to complete the feast.

This recipe uses a bottle of Irish beer to add wonderful flavor, but may be replaced with an additional cup and a half of water, if desired.

Slow Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage

  • 5 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 8 small red potatoes, quartered
  • 2 medium onions, cut into wedges
  • 3-4 pound corned beef brisket
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 (12 oz) bottle beer 
    (Guinness is recommended, but any stout or porter will add good flavor)
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 head cabbage

Serves 6-8

Place carrots, potatoes and onions in the bottom of a slow cooker.

Trim any fat from corned beef brisket and place on top of vegetables.

Pour water and beer over brisket

Combine brown sugar, garlic, mustard seeds and peppercorns and sprinkle over brisket.

Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours.

About an hour before serving, cut cabbage into 8 wedges with a strip of core left on each wedge to hold it together.

Add cabbage to slow cooker and continue to cook for 1 hour.

Remove meat from cooker and let rest 10 minutes before slicing.

Plate corned beef with vegetables and cabbage wedges to serve.

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