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Perfect Corned Beef and Cabbage with Guinness

This corned beef recipe is one of the oldest on this site. I’ve made a few small tweaks to it over the years and now it’s simply perfect. It has amazing flavor with little effort! Make it on the stovetop, in the oven, a crockpot or the Instant Pot – instructions are included for all!

A plate of corned beef and cabbage with potatoes and carrots on a wooden table with a fork and knife

Making corned beef is incredibly easy. I look forward to St. Patrick’s Day just to make this recipe, although I do make it throughout the year. Corned beef generally goes on sale around the holiday, so I pick up a few corned beef briskets when it’s at its cheapest and toss them in the freezer.

This recipe is very versatile since it can be made on the stovetop, in a slow cooker, in the Instant Pot, or in the oven. I’ve included the directions for all of these methods, and the end result for all is a flavorful, tender, and complete meal with minimal effort.

What is corned beef?

Corned beef begins as beef brisket, which is a cut of beef that needs to be cooked slowly to get it tender. The brisket is salt-cured with rock salt the approximate size of corn kernels, which is where it gets its name.

Why add beer to corned beef?

The reason beer is often added to corned beef and cabbage recipes is for the flavor! It won’t taste like beer, especially since the Guinness is diluted with enough water that it will just have more flavor. If you haven’t tried cooking it with Guinness before, take the leap and give it a try.

A plate of corned beef and cabbage with potatoes and carrots on a wooden table and a beige napkin

How do you cook corned beef brisket so it’s not tough?

The secret to tender corned beef that’s not tough is to cook it “low and slow”. Whether you simmer it for a few hours on the stovetop, use a crockpot, or braise it for a few hours on low in the oven, the end result will be incredibly tender meat. The exception to this is cooking it in a pressure cooker, such as an Instant Pot, which cuts down the cooking time significantly yet still produces a very tender roast.

Tips for making the best corned beef

  • Rinse the corned beef after removing it from the package. This helps remove some of the salty solution it’s packed in.
  • After rinsing, pat the corned beef as dry as possible. This is important to get a good sear.
  • Don’t skip searing the corned beef! This small step adds incredible flavor.
  • Make sure to use Guinness draught, not stout, or there will be a slight bitterness to the dish.
  • Don’t rush the cooking process. Three hours of simmering might seem like a long time, but it’s necessary time that allows the beef to get perfectly tender.
  • Slice the corned beef against the grain – the visible tiny lines of muscle fibers – similar to how you’d cut a steak. Although some of the meat will simply fall away, it will still need to be cut and this will help keep its tenderness.
A closeup of a plate of corned beef and cabbage with potatoes and carrots on a wooden table

How to make this Corned Beef Recipe in a crockpot

To make corned beef and cabbage in the crockpot, sear it first on the stovetop per the directions in the recipe. Put the meat in the crockpot, add the beer and enough water to cover the roast. Cook on low for 4 hours.

Add the potatoes, carrots, and onion to the slow cooker, and continue cooking for another 2 hours. Add the cabbage and cook for another hour, or until the meat is very tender.

The directions for making this Guinness Corned Beef and Cabbage in the slow cooker can also be found in the recipe below.

How to make this Guinness Corned Beef Recipe in the Instant Pot

Press “Saute” to preheat your IP and set the temperature to “More”. When the word “hot” appears on the display, add the oil. Brown the corned beef brisket well on all sides (cut it in half if necessary to fit on the bottom of the pot). Add the Guinness draught to the pot, then enough water to cover the meat completely.

Close and lock the lid of the IP. Press “Manual” and immediately adjust the timer to 70 minutes. Check that the cooking pressure is on “high” and that the valve is set to “Sealing”.

When the time is up, allow the pressure to release naturally for 15 minutes, then use the “Quick Pressure Release” to release any remaining pressure. Carefully remove the lid, then remove the corned beef, place it on a cutting board, drizzle it with about 1/2-1 cup of the cooking liquid, then tent it with foil.

Discard all but 2 cups of the liquid that remains in the pot. Add the potatoes, carrots, onions, and cabbage. Close and lock the lid of the Instant Pot. Press “Manual” and immediately adjust the timer to 3 minutes.

When the time is up, release the pressure using “quick pressure release” and remove the lid.

Continue with the directions in the recipe below as normal. The directions for making this Guinness Corned Beef and Cabbage in the Instant Pot can also be found in the recipe below.

A plate of corned beef and cabbage with potatoes and carrots on a wooden table with a fork and knife

What to serve with corned beef brisket?

It’s possible to make just the corned beef without the cabbage, carrots, and potatoes and serve it with something else entirely. Here are a few suggestions:

Ideas for leftover corned beef

Any of the recipes below are a great choice for corned beef leftovers. I’m a huge fan of corned beef sandwiches, especially the mini version served on cocktail rye bread.

Corned beef hash and eggs is also my go-to. The way I make it is to brown the corned beef hash in a skillet, and just when it’s almost as browned as I like it, I press it down with a spatula then crack a few eggs directly on the top (use a spoon to make indentations where the eggs will go to help prevent the whites from running off).

Cover the skillet and cook for around 5 minutes or so until the eggs are as done to my liking (check them often as once they get to a certain point they cook really quickly). Then I “cut” it into sections using the spatula and place each one (or two) on a serving plate. I’ve been making my corned beef hash and eggs this way since the early 90’s when I was on a camping trip. It works well with canned corned beef hash, too!

Here are a few more ideas for leftover corned beef hash:

Homemade Corned Beef and Cabbage with Carrots and Potatoes

Corned Beef Recipe with Guinness & Cabbage

Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 20 minutes

Adding Guinness to your Corned Beef and Cabbage gives it a deep, rich flavor.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp avocado oil, or another with a high smoke point, such as canola
  • 4 lb corned beef brisket
  • 1 11.2-oz bottle Guinness draught, draught (not stout, or it will turn bitter)
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and cut into wedges (or two small)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 head cabbage, cut into wedges, outer leaves removed
  • 6 medium red potatoes, halved or quartered depending on their size (cut them smaller if using the Instant Pot)
  • 1 lb carrots, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces (or baby carrots)

Instructions

Stovetop Method:

Rinse the corned beef and pat it dry (this is important to get a good sear).

Preheat a dutch oven over high heat then add the oil. Add the corned beef roast and brown it well on all sides.

Add the Guinness to the pot plus enough water to the cover roast completely. Add the onion, garlic, bay leaf, cinnamon, cloves, allspice and pepper. Bring it to a boil.

Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer for three hours. (Low temperature should keep it at a very gentle simmer; if it doesn't, increase the heat slightly).

Add the carrots and potatoes and simmer for another 20 minutes. Add the cabbage and simmer 10 minutes more.

Remove the meat, veggies and potatoes to a serving platter. Slice the meat against the grain – it will be very tender – and enjoy it with a nice cold bottle of Guinness!


Oven Method:

Preheat the oven to 300F. Follow the directions through step 3, then cover and put in the oven for 3 hours. Add the carrots, cabbage, and potatoes and cook for another 30 minutes to 1 hour, or until the corned beef is tender and the vegetables are cooked through. Continue with the recipe at step 5.

Crockpot Method:

Follow the directions through step 2. Put the meat in the crockpot, add the beer and enough water to cover the roast. Cook on low for 4 hours.

Add the potatoes, carrots, and onion to the slow cooker, and continue cooking for another 2 hours. Add the cabbage and cook for another hour, or until the meat is very tender. Continue with the recipe at step 5.

Instant Pot Method:

Press “Saute” to preheat your IP and set the temperature to “More”. When the word “hot” appears on the display, add the oil. Brown the corned beef brisket well on all sides (cut it in half if necessary to fit on the bottom of the pot). Add the Guinness draught to the pot, then enough water to cover the meat completely.

Close and lock the lid of the IP. Press “Manual” and immediately adjust the timer to 70 minutes. Check that the cooking pressure is on “high” and that the valve is set to “Sealing”.

When the time is up, allow the pressure to release naturally for 15 minutes, then use the “Quick Pressure Release” to release any remaining pressure. Carefully remove the lid, then remove the corned beef, place it on a cutting board, drizzle it with about 1/2-1 cup of the cooking liquid, then tent it with foil.

Discard all but 2 cups of the liquid that remains in the pot. Add the potatoes, carrots, onions, and cabbage. Close and lock the lid of the Instant Pot. Press “Manual” and immediately adjust the timer to 3 minutes.

When the time is up, release the pressure using “quick pressure release” and remove the lid. Continue with the recipe at step 5.

Notes

Reserve a small amount of the cooking liquid to drizzle over the corned beef and vegetables, if desired.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 880Total Fat: 42gSaturated Fat: 17gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 20gCholesterol: 240mgSodium: 172mgCarbohydrates: 45gFiber: 8gSugar: 9gProtein: 72g

This data was provided and calculated by Nutritionix.

Kristy Bernardo
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Heather

Thursday 18th of March 2010

Kristy, we made this last night with incredibly yummy results! Delicious!!!

the wicked noodle

Thursday 18th of March 2010

Heather!! That's so awesome...thanks so much for telling me. There's just something about Guinness that makes it extra delish :-)

Maria

Monday 15th of March 2010

Perfect meal for this week!

tasteofbeirut

Saturday 13th of March 2010

My neighbor Mary is proudly Irish and proudly Chicagoan by birth and I am going to make her this! She will love it!

Daily Spud

Saturday 13th of March 2010

This would be just perfect for my Paddy's Day Food Parade round up! Mind if I include it? http://www.thedailyspud.com/dont-cry-for-me

the wicked noodle

Saturday 13th of March 2010

Of course not, I'm thrilled! It's actually simmering on my stove right now :-)

Heather

Saturday 13th of March 2010

I never know what to do with corned beef, other than season it with the spices it is already pre-packaged with. It's shameful, I know! We're going to give this a try!

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