Corned Beef and Cabbage

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Corned beef and cabbage isn’t just for St Patrick’s day, it’s also an incredibly comforting and wholesome dinner dish as well. This is an all-in-one meal in a pot, with your meat, starches and vegetables cooked together!

If you are going for a traditional Irish meal, a good side dish for this corned beef could be some classic Colcannon, or use leftovers from this recipe to make a Classic Reuben Sandwich.

Corned Beef and Cabbage

Corned Beef and Cabbage

Corned beef is one of the most classic recipes in existence and uses a simple, tough cut of beef and turns it into melty, salty, and deliciously shreddable beef in just a few hours.

This recipe might seem incredibly simple, but there is a lot of fancy and interesting meat chemistry going on behind the scenes that you don’t even need to worry about. As long as you cook it long enough so that the meat has the right kind of supple texture, you will end up with some really delicious corned beef no matter what.

The addition of cabbage in this recipe not only aids the flavor but also provides a nice texture contrast that works really well with the slightly chewy beef.

Corned Beef and Cabbage ingredients

Corned Beef and Cabbage Ingredients

Don’t forget to see the recipe card at the very bottom for the complete list of ingredients.

  • Corned beef brisket
  • Brown sugar
  • Garlic cloves
  • Bay leaf
  • Red Potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Cabbage

How to Make Corned Beef and Cabbage

  • Place the corned beef in a large Dutch oven and add enough water to cover
  • Mix in the accompanying spice packet,  garlic, and bay leaves, then bring to a simmer on the stovetop
  • Put the lid on and simmer for 3 hours
  • Add in the potatoes and carrots, cooking for 10 minutes, and then add in the cabbage, cooking until tender
  • Remove the beef, rest for 10 minutes and then slice across the grain and serve

Corned Beef and Cabbage on a white platter

Why Is It Called “Corned” Beef?

Corned beef is a pretty common tinned meat at the supermarket, as well as a really common sandwich filling. Part of this is because of how cheap it is, but also because of its incredibly frequent use in wars, leading to generations of people that literally grew up eating almost nothing but tins of corned beef.

But why is it called “corned?”

Well, despite the immediate assumption that it might have something to do with corn, corned beef is just beef that has been seasoned and treated using especially large grains of rock salt, which used to be called “corns” of salt.

The saltiness of corned beef isn’t the only defining quality of this classic meat. However – it also has a very distinctive color. Typically pink and glistening, the unique coloration of corned beef is due to sodium nitrite, also known as curing salt. This turns the typically red myoglobins in the meat into nitrosomyoglobin, which has a slightly pinkish tinge.

It is pretty much the same color change as what happens in bacon, only it is more noticeable due to the thickness of the meat.

This is also the thing that makes it incredibly long-lasting and stops it from pretty much ever spoiling.

uncooked corned beef brisket and spices in a white Dutch oven

How To Season Your Corned Beef Yourself

Most corned beef that you buy from the supermarket will come pre-packaged with a simple seasoning mix to add that typical corned beef flavor to your recipe.

However, in the event that you can only find a whole corned beef cut and no spice mix, here’s how to make your own.

The basic corned beef spice packet is a mix of salt and some different herbs and spices. At its most simple, these spices are about 8 allspice berries and a half teaspoon of mustard seeds, but you don’t have to stop there.

You could add in some cloves, fennel seeds, and even a piece of star anise to really make something especially spicy.

Corned Beef and Cabbage sliced on a platter

How to Serve Corned Beef

Corned beef has a reputation as something particularly salty and kind of flavorless, but this recipe not only gives you something really delicious but also incredibly versatile as well.

You could serve this corned beef on its own or with something like a traditional colcannon from Ireland. Or, you could forget adding the vegetables, and just cook the corned beef, then slice the corned beef into thin strips and serve in a sandwich and make a classic corned beef on rye.

This corned beef is also really good served with some scrambled eggs, especially if you dice it up really fine.

By tinkering with the specific spices and flavorings, you can make whatever kind of corned beef you like to use in any number of different recipes.

Looking for more tasty beef recipes? Try these out:

Happy cooking!




Corned beef and cabbage isn't just for St Patrick's day, it's also an incredibly comforting and wholesome dinner dish as well.

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Corned Beef and Cabbage

Corned beef and cabbage isn't just for St Patrick's day, it's also an incredibly comforting and wholesome dinner dish as well.
5 from 10 votes
Prep Time
10 minutes
Cook Time
3 hours 30 minutes
Main Course
Karlynn Johnston


  • one 3 pound corned beef brisket with spice packet
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 8 small red potatoes cut in half
  • 4 large carrots peeled and cut in half
  • 1 small head cabbage cut into wedges


  • Place the corned beef in a large Dutch oven and add enough water to cover the corned beef. Mix in the spice packet, brown sugar, garlic cloves and the bay leaves.
  • Put the lid on and simmer for 3 hours
  • Add the potatoes and carrots and cook for 10 minutes, then add in the cabbage. Cook until all of the vegetables are tender.
  • Remove the beef from the pot and place on a platter. Let rest 10 minutes, then slice across the grain.
  • Serve with the vegetables arranged around the corned beef on the platter.

Recipe Notes

  • You can play around with the amounts of vegetables if desired

Nutrition Information

Calories: 217kcal, Carbohydrates: 50g, Protein: 6g, Fat: 1g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 96mg, Potassium: 1394mg, Fiber: 8g, Sugar: 11g, Vitamin A: 8154IU, Vitamin C: 66mg, Calcium: 90mg, Iron: 2mg

All calories and info are based on a third party calculator and are only an estimate. Actual nutritional info will vary with brands used, your measuring methods, portion sizes and more.

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Karlynn Johnston

I’m a busy mom of two, wife & cookbook author who loves creating fast, fresh meals for my little family on the Canadian prairies. Karlynn Facts: I'm allergic to broccoli. I've never met a cocktail that I didn't like. I would rather burn down my house than clean it. Most of all, I love helping YOU get dinner ready because there's nothing more important than connecting with our loved ones around the dinner table!

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  1. Mel Heinrichs says

    You say simmer for three hours. At what temperature?

  2. Linda Rogers says

    Can you rinse the meat to avoid all the salt??

    • Karen Sheehan says

      What’s the brown sugar for? It’s not mentioned in the instructions after being listed in the ingredients.

      • Mr. Kitchen Magpie says

        Fixed in the recipe card. Thanks for finding that.

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