Slow Cooker Recipe: Corned Beef and Cabbage

March 3, 2014

Slow Cooker Corned Beef & Cabbage. So good you will work this into your monthly rotation.   |   Design Mom

By Gabrielle. Photos by Lindsey of Café Johnsonia.

Today, I’m delighted to share the second recipe in my Slow Cooker Series. This one is especially timed for March, and St. Patrick’s Day!

Do you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? Or maybe you have some Irish ancestry? Or perhaps you just love Ireland — its people, culture, and food? Then this recipe is for you! But it’s not just for green-themed holidays. This menu is delicious any time of year you’re craving something hearty and warming.

As for the Blairs, we’ve heard our surname is English, Scottish, or Irish — maybe it’s all three! I know there is a Blair Tartan. In fact, when we were newlyweds, I wove Ben a sturdy wool scarf in the Blair Tartan pattern. I also know there is a Blair Castle in Scotland, so I mostly associate the name as Scottish.

That said, our kids feel much more connected to Ireland. Partly because in both New York and France they happened to make friends with Irish expat families, and partly because of our trip there. It was almost a year ago exactly — we arrived in Ireland on St. Patrick’s Day! If you like, you can see images from our trip here.

How about you? Does your family feel any connection to Ireland?

Slow Cooker Corned Beef, Cabbage & Carrots. So good you will work this into your monthly rotation.   |   Design Mom Slow Cooker Corned Beef & Cabbage. So good you will work this into your monthly rotation.   |   Design Mom

Now back to the menu. It’s a classic combo and it’s easy as can be, I promise! My recommendation? Make a big batch and have friends over for a St. Patrick’s Day dinner party, or work this into your monthly recipe rotation. You won’t be disappointed.

And now to the recipe: Slow Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage

Slow Cooker Corned Beef & Cabbage. So good you will work this into your monthly rotation.   |   Design Mom

Slow Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage

One 4-5 pound corned beef plus enclosed spice packet
1 large onion, sliced
4-5 large carrots, peeled and cut into halves
1 small head green cabbage, cut into thick wedges
optional – parsnips, turnips, rutabaga
fresh ground black pepper
For serving – Irish soda bread, grainy mustard, parsley, mashed potatoes

Have a slow cooker ready. Line the bottom with the sliced onions. Place the corned beef brisket on top of the onions, fat side up. Sprinkle the spice packet evenly over the top. Add enough water to come up 1-inch. (Don’t add too much, or it will have too much liquid at the end.) Place lid on top of slow cooker and set to HIGH for 4-5 hours, or LOW for 8-10 hours.

If you are cooking it on HIGH, add the carrots after THREE hours. Place lid back on top and continue cooking. Add the cabbage during the last 30 minutes of cooking time.

If you are cooking on LOW, add carrots after SIX hours. Place lid back on top and continue cooking. Add the cabbage during the last 60 minutes of cooking time.

The corned beef will be done when it is very tender and easily shreds with a fork. The veggies should be tender, but not mushy. Remove everything from the slow cooker. Transfer the meat to a cutting board and remove the layer of fat on top. Slice the corned beef on an angle against the grain of the meat. Transfer to a large platter and arrange the vegetables along the side. Sprinkle with chopped parsley, if desired.

Serve with mashed potatoes, grainy mustard, and Irish soda bread.

Slow Cooker Corned Beef & Cabbage. So good you will work this into your monthly rotation.   |   Design Mom

- Don’t be tempted to add too much water for this recipe. Some slow cooker recipes call for submerging the meat in liquid. Corned beef only needs about an inch of water in the bottom. The vegetables and meat will release more liquid as they cook.
- You can cook potatoes and other vegetables with the corned beef. Just be sure to add them near the last hour (or two hours for LOW) of cooking time or they will become waterlogged and mushy. Serving with mashed potatoes is one solution.
- If you like the vegetables to be more tender, add them to the slow cooker earlier. For vegetables that are less tender, add them later.
- Slicing the meat agains the grain will prevent a the meat from being stringy.  It can also be shredded.
- Don’t be tempted to add salt! The corning process makes the meat salty enough and also provides enough salt for the vegetables.
- The cabbage cooks very quickly. If you prefer it to be tender crisp, add it during the last 15 minutes. Remember that it will keep cooking more as the leftovers are reheated.
- The leftover sliced corned beef makes the best sandwiches ever, or you can also make corned beef hash by dicing it.
- This can also be done in the oven or on the stovetop. The cooking time will be much less. Follow the package directions for correct times.

P.S. — As I’ve mentioned before, these recipes can be used with an electric slow-cooker, or a heavy duty pot — similar to this. I currently go the heavy duty pot route, because I don’t own an electric slow-cooker at the moment, though I have in years past and know how helpful they can be!

Slow Cooker Corned Beef & Cabbage. So good you will work this into your monthly rotation.   |   Design Mom

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Birdy& Bambi March 3, 2014 at 11:21 am

Those look so yummy!

Greetings from Germany and thanks for sharing!

Birdy and Bambi


2 Summer March 3, 2014 at 11:56 am

Just knowing St. Patrick’s Day is coming up has had me CRAVING this! I might have to give it a try. Thanks!


3 Laura March 3, 2014 at 12:17 pm

Yum! My grandma was Irish, and I always had corned beef on St. Patrick’s Day growing up, but I stopped when I got married (my hubby’s not a fan of corned beef OR cabbage). I think this year he’ll just have to make a pb&j, because I am making this! :)


4 Lindsay March 3, 2014 at 12:35 pm

This series couldn’t come at a better time! As we remodel and I’m without an oven, I’m relying on my trusty crock pot more than ever. Thanks for sharing these recipes!


5 Linda K March 3, 2014 at 3:04 pm

I’ve been a vegetarian for 30 years, but this post brought tears of nostalgia to my eyes. This was my favourite meal growing up. My mom is from the east coast of Canada (and of Irish heritage) and this is called ‘boiled dinner’ where she is from. It was so yummy and comforting!! Her version ALWAYS had turnip in it and I highly recommend adding it. My kids/husband aren’t vegetarians, so I think you’ve inspired me to make this for them. Thanks for inspiration!


6 Krista March 3, 2014 at 4:33 pm

I live in Atlantic Canada, and I had to laugh when I read your comment because as soon as I saw this blog post I thought: “ah, boiled dinner!”. My grandmother always made it too with turnip and I think it is time I make it for my own family.


7 Hannah Carpenter March 3, 2014 at 4:09 pm

I WILL be making this and, soon after, EATING this.


8 Katie March 3, 2014 at 7:23 pm

My mom’s side of the family celebrates St. Patrick’s Day every year with a big family dinner. We used to eat corned beef, cabbage, stuffed cabbage, etc. However the younger generation did not care for that menu. We now have homemade pasta. No we are not Italian. :-) It’s been fun getting together and learning how to make ravioli and spaghetti.


9 Kelly March 4, 2014 at 6:14 am

I will be trying this one! Thank you!


10 Design Corral March 4, 2014 at 9:49 am

Looks delicious Gabrielle! I can’t wait for St. Paddy’s Day!


11 Victoria March 4, 2014 at 2:36 pm

I love the new recipe series! I started back to work in January, and meal prep has become so much more stressful than it should be.

Would it be possible to include a link to the recipe in a more printer friendly format? Sorry, don’t mean to add more work to your work! :)


12 mom in mendon March 4, 2014 at 3:35 pm

Hint: corned beef straight out of the pot is ready to eat but may not look appetizing. If I want to spiff it up for serving, I remove the fat (as directed in the recipe above) and put the meat under the broiler for 2-5 minutes to crisp up the residue of fat that covers the top.


13 Therese March 6, 2014 at 11:06 am

I’m from Ireland living in the US and get nostalgic at this time of year for obvious reasons but not for corned beef and cabbage. It’s not actually a dish we eat in Ireland! The more traditional is bacon and cabbage but the type of bacon is not available here so I guess Irish immigrants used what was and created this.
The dish looks good and may give it a whirl – but not on the 17th!

By the way – there are only 3 leaves on a shamrock (never 4), and no raisins or sugar in soda bread.


14 Missy March 6, 2014 at 8:45 pm

You make this traditional meal look so elegant! I put a twist on mine this year with Corned Beef Stuffed Cabbage. Check it out!


15 Heather March 13, 2014 at 9:00 pm

I made this tonight. It was easy and delicious! It was so much better (& easier) than my mother’s “boiled” corned beef/cabbage/carrots/potatoes St Patty’s feast! I’ll be making this every year for St Patrick’s Day!
Thank you, Gabi!


16 Design Mom March 14, 2014 at 3:49 pm

Yay! So glad you tried it, Heather.


17 shawn in tn March 16, 2014 at 9:53 am

how many people does this recipe serve?


18 Blair March 16, 2014 at 2:32 pm

If your name is Blair from a family name, you are definitely Scottish! I am named after many female ancestors going back to before the 1600s: Elizabeth Mariah Blair was my grandmother who was named after her great- great grandmother. Thanks for the Irish recipe!


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