Slow Cooker Corned Beef

4.93 from 38 votes
↓ Jump to Recipe 17

This post may contain affiliate links | disclosure policy

Are you looking for a delicious Irish feast for St. Patrick’s Day? Try my slow cooker corned beef and cabbage with Guinness mustard sauce! The beef brisket cooks low and slow in a Crock-Pot with hearty root vegetables until everything is tender and flavorful.

Interested in other methods? Try my Instant-Pot or baked corned beef.

Slow cooker corned beef and cabbage.

It must be the luck of the Irish that you found this recipe! Cooking corned beef in a slow cooker is ideal for yielding tender slices of meat and perfectly cooked vegetables. The consistent moist heat in the enclosed vessel ensures that this tough cut of beef gets braised gently.

A hearty combination of root vegetables simmers along with the corned beef, making it a complete meal to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. To enhance the dish, Guinness mustard is spread on top of the roast then it’s broiled right before serving to create a flavorful crust. Yes, the words flavorful and Irish food can coexist! 🙂

Corned beef and vegetables inside a Crock-Pot.

What exactly is corned beef?

Corning is another way to describe curing meat in a salted brine for some time. The beef brisket comes from the cow’s lower chest area, which is rich in fat and connective tissue. It’s typically brined for about a week so that the salty flavors intensify and the meat is better preserved.

The salt-cured beef is sometimes reddish when you buy it from the store due to pink curing salt #1. Sodium nitrite is used to kill harmful bacteria during the curing process. It’s best to braise this tough cut of beef to gelatinize and tenderize the muscles.

The best cut to purchase

The brisket is often portioned into the flat cut and point cut. The flat cut is what’s often prepackaged at the market. It’s leaner and has a more consistent width which makes it easier to slice. The point cut is thicker with a tapering end with more marbling and tends to cook up more tender and juicy. An excellent selection if curing the brisket at home.

Knife slicing pieces of corned beef on a wooden cutting board.

Trim the fat to prevent a greasy liquid

There’s typically a large fat cap left on the brisket during the curing process. Trim most of it off, leaving about a 1/8-inch layer on top, or remove it completely. Too much fat when braising will make the liquid greasy.

Use the prepackaged seasoning packet

For convenience, I use the pickling spice packet that comes with the brisket. It adds intense aromatics to the cooking liquid and infuses more flavor into the meat. It’s typically made up of black peppercorns, mustard seeds, coriander, dill, celery seeds, bay leaves, and sometimes red pepper flakes.

How to cook corned beef in a slow cooker

Place the corned beef first in the slow cooker. This ensures it will be submerged in the liquid. Add the potatoes, colorful carrots, celery, onion, and bay leaves along the sides and on top of the beef.

Make sure to cut the vegetables into larger pieces to account for the long cooking time, as they tend to shrink. Sprinkle the spice packet over the ingredients and then pour in the beef broth. Cover and cook until the meat and vegetables are fork-tender.

For a 2-to-3-pound corned beef brisket, cook on high for 4-to-5 hours or low for 8-to-9 hours. And that’s before adding in the cabbage. The meat will still appear pinkish when fully cooked.

Mustard, beer, and honey sauce in a white bowl.

Cook the cabbage towards the end

Soggy, mushy cabbage happens when simmering too long in the broth. To avoid this, cut the cabbage into 2-inch wedges. Add the cabbage on top of the beef towards the last hour of cooking. This yields sweet, steamed leaves that still hold their shape and texture.

Checking for doneness

To test for doneness, pierce the thickest part of the beef with a fork. It should slide in and release easily. Slice a piece of meat off and take a bite. Overly chewy pieces are signs of the meat being undercooked, whereas stringy beef is overcooked. Make sure to slice against the grain.

This flavorful sauce is a must!

For a tangy and sweet sauce with a hint of bitterness, combine coarse-ground mustard, honey, and Guinness beer or any stout. After the Crock-Pot corned beef is done cooking, slather on the mustard sauce and serve. However, I recommend broiling the roast in the oven for a few minutes to create a nice crust that clings to the surface. Save the extra sauce to serve on the side for dipping.

Irish recipes you might also like

Close up photo showing corned beef slices with mustard sauce crust.

Can you overcook corned beef in a slow cooker?

Yes! As you get closer to the end of your cooking time, check visually to see if it looks dried out and taste it for tenderness. A safe internal temperature for eating is 145ºF (63ºC), although manufacturers typically recommend 160ºF (71ºC) for better texture. Avoid slicing it open too many times as you want to retain the juices inside the meat.

Slow Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage

Slow cooker corned beef with Guinness mustard is a traditional Irish feast all in one pot! Tender beef brisket cooked with hearty fresh vegetables.
4.93 from 38 votes
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time5 hours
Total Time5 hours 15 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Course Entree
Cuisine Irish

Ingredients 
 

Corned Beef

  • 2 pounds corned beef brisket, plus pickling spice packet
  • 1 cup celery, 3" pieces
  • 2 cups carrots, 2" pieces
  • 1 small yellow onion, 1" wedges
  • 1 pound red potatoes, halved
  • 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 1 small cabbage, 2" wedges, about 8 pieces
  • 4 cups beef broth

Mustard Sauce

  • ¾ cup dijon mustard, coarse ground
  • 2 tablespoons guinness beer
  • ¼ cup honey

Instructions 

  • Prepare the Corned Beef – Trim most of the visible fat off of the corned beef, leaving about a ⅛ inch layer on top, or remove completely. Place it in a 6-quart slow cooker, fat side up. Sprinkle with pickling spice.
  • Add the Vegetables – Add the celery, carrots, onion, potatoes, garlic, and bay leaves along the sides and remaining on top. Add beef broth to the pot.
  • Slow Cook – Cover and cook until the corned beef and vegetables are tender, 4 to 5 hours on high or 8 to 9 hours on low setting.
  • Add the Cabbage – Arrange cabbage on top of the corned beef, cover, and continue to cook until cabbage is tender, 30 to 60 minutes on high.
  • Make the Mustard Sauce – In a small bowl, mix together mustard, beer, and honey. Cover and refrigerate.
  • Check for Doneness – The meat is done when a fork can easily pierce into the meat, and the internal temperature reaches at least 160ºF (71ºC). Remove the beef from the pot, and trim off any excess fat if desired. Transfer to a foil-lined baking sheet.
  • Glaze with Sauce – Spread a thin layer of mustard sauce on top of the corned beef.
    Optional: For a browned crust, broil in the oven about 6 inches away from the top heating element, until the mustard is lightly browned, about 5 to 8 minutes.
  • To Serve – Slice corned beef against the grain and serve with vegetables and extra mustard sauce.

Notes

  • Alcohol Alternative: Substitute apple juice for Guinness beer.
  • Storing: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days. 
  • Reheating: Cover and microwave on high setting in 30-second increments until hot. 

Nutrition Facts

Serves: 4 servings
Calories 516kcal (26%)Carbohydrates 24g (8%)Protein 36g (72%)Fat 30g (46%)Saturated Fat 12g (60%)Polyunsaturated Fat 0.4gMonounsaturated Fat 1gCholesterol 140mg (47%)Sodium 3225mg (134%)Potassium 686mg (20%)Fiber 5g (20%)Sugar 8g (9%)Vitamin A 10250IU (205%)Vitamin C 25.6mg (31%)Calcium 40mg (4%)Iron 2.3mg (13%)

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.

Tried this recipe?

Tag me on Instagram. I'd love to see how it turns out!

Tag @jessica_gavin

Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

Quick & Easy Meals in Under 30 Minutes!
Get 25 simple meals your whole family will love.
Jessica Gavin standing in the kitchen

You May Also Like

Reader Interactions

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




17 Comments Leave a comment or review

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Thank you so much Jamie! I’m so happy that you enjoyed the recipe and that it will be a tradition 🙂

  1. Danielle D. says

    Your recipe sounds amazing! I have an odd question. Does leaving the cabbage in the crock pot for 45 min on high/1.5 hrs on low cause your kitchen to stink? I don’t know how long it can be cooked before it starts to give off that awful smell. Thank you!

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Thank you Danielle! When cabbage is cooked too long it starts to emit a rotten egg smell from hydrogen sulfide, a gas that is released when the cabbage has been overcooked. It’s a challenge since you are slow cooking, so if you want to avoid the smell or at least reduce it, I would cook the cabbage separately in boiling water until tender, right before you serve. great question! For this recipe, I didn’t feel the smell from the cabbage was too strong because of the cured meat and seasonings cooking with the cabbage.

  2. Nancy says

    Hi, looks so good! Will be making this for sure this year. Question, on the nutrition facts, is that based on the recipe serving two people, and the label is for one serving? Thanks!

  3. susan troccoli says

    I have to ask: In the 2nd picture (with the crockpot) there are 2 red and yellow speckled logs with a solid yellow center, almost like a pretzel w/cheese in the middle. Can’t find anything in the recipe that this could be. What is it?

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Great questions Susan! Those are just purple carrots (heirloom carrots), however, you can use whatever carrots are available.

  4. Michelle says

    This corned beef was fantastic! I used a point tip, 3#, rubbed the seasoning, kosher salt and some pepper. Then added 4 cups beef broth with a tablespoon mango rice vinegar for the acid component. 5 hours on low, internal temp 185. Just perfect! I was unsure if I wanted to do the oven or slow cooker method and am so glad I used the slow cooker! Thank you for the great recipe!

  5. analisa says

    I had never made corned beef and cabbage before, but I found this recipe and decided to give it a go. It was outstanding. I followed the recipe exactly as Jessica explains on this webpage. The meat was very tender and so flavorful, and the mustard was fantastic. My boyfriend and I both had two helpings last night for dinner…. and we have a little left for lunch today. This will be the only corned beef recipe for me going forward.

  6. Jodi says

    The point tip corned beef I bought comes with the usual seasoning packet, however the package also states that the corned beef is already seasoned. will cooking it with beef broth in the slow cooker result in the meat being too salty? Wondering if I should just use water instead?