It is that time of year again. The time in which we start making my famous Corned Beef. I make this every single year for Mark and me. When my kids are in town I make it for them as well. You can’t go wrong making this recipe because it brings back so many memories from years of tradition. You’re going to love the simplicity of this recipe and how you can easily make it for your entire family. Let’s learn all about how to make Corned Beef.
When my daughters were young it was important to me to have traditions on holidays. We made this dish as well as green French Toast, Green Milk, Green pancakes, Green bread, and Green Finger Jello. I have a few recipes below for my other St. Patrick’s Day traditions.
I quote Wikipedia: “Corned beef is not an Irish national dish, and the connection with Saint Patrick’s Day specifically originates as part of Irish-American culture and is often part of their celebrations in North America. The corned beef was used as a substitute for bacon by Irish immigrants in the late 19th century.”
Kitchen Items You May Need
Only a few kitchen items are needed. It’s important that we have items on hand that can help us make the best dish possible. I love making recipes that only call for a few tools!
- Slow Cooker or Instant Pot
- Cutting Board
- A Good Knife
- Baking Dish (for adding the crispy topping after cooking the meat)
Ingredients – Corned Beef
- Corned beef: A type of salt-cured beef made from brisket, round, or various cuts of beef, which are then pickled and cooked in a mixture of spices, vinegar, and water.
- Cabbage: A leafy green or purple biennial vegetable with a compact head of crinkly leaves.
- Carrots: A root vegetable that is typically orange in color. Has a delicious crunch and is high in beta-carotene, which is known as a great vitamin for eye health.
- Potatoes (medium-sized): Potatoes are a nightshade vegetable and are grown for their starchy edible tubers.
- White or Yellow Onion: Both onions have a very distinct spicy flavor that adds a lot to a savory soup, casserole, or another dish. White onions tend to be a bit stronger and pungent in flavor than yellow onions.
- Water: Water is used to wash the potatoes before cooking to help eliminate any dirt on the potato’s surface. It is also used to tenderize the meat and vegetables while cooking in the slow cooker.
- Mustard: A yellow condiment generally made from ground mustard seeds and vinegar.
- Brown sugar: A mixture of granulated white sugar and molasses. It’s added for flavor and to help maintain moisture. It caramelizes as it bakes, creating a robust rich flavor that makes this corned beef truly incredible!
How To Make Corned Beef
Step One: Remove Meat from Package – Place in Slow Cooker – Cook on Low for 10 Hours
Remove the outer plastic package the meat comes packaged in and place the meat in the slow cooker with the goodies from the seasoning and spice packet enclosed and the juice from the bag. Completely cover the meat with water. The “foamy” white stuff you see is the salt from the meat solution of the package, thus corned beef. Secure the lid on your slow cooker. I set my slow cooker for TEN hours on LOW the night before.
Step Two: Chop Potatoes, Carrots, and Onions
The next morning, you will grab a cutting board and chop the potatoes, carrots, or use the carrots shown below, and chopped onions into think wedges.
Step Three: Add Chopped Vegetables
Add the chopped vegetables to the slow cooker.
Step Four: Chop or Slice Cabbage
Chop or slice the cabbage as shown below. I only used about 3/4 of the large cabbage I purchased.
Step Five: Cover Veggies with Cabbage – Cook 6 Hrs on High
Cover the vegetables with the cabbage and set the slow cooker to cook for another 6 hours on HIGH. You will add more water if needed.
Step Six: After Cooked, Remove Corned Beef, Place in Baking Pan
After cooking the meat in the slow cooker or Instant Pot, remove the corned beef and place it in a greased baking pan.
Step Seven: Heat Oven to 350°F, Place Meat Fat Side Up in Pan, Lather with Mustard and Brown Sugar
Here is an awesome trick that makes the corned beef look and taste fabulous. Heat your oven to 350 degrees and place just the meat on a greased shallow pan FAT side up. Lather the fat with mustard and sprinkle with 1/2 cup brown sugar.
Step Eight: Bake 20-30 Minutes
Bake 20-30 minutes until the brown sugar looks crispy. This is absolutely the most tender recipe you will ever make. The meat will be ‘fork tender’ when finished cooking. Delicious!
Serve immediately with vegetables.
How To Make Corned Beef Recipe
- 4 pounds Corned beef with seasonings included
- Cabbage-washed and sliced as desired
- 2 cups Carrots-washed and sliced amount desired
- 2 Potatoes-washed and cut into pieces desired
- 1 Large onion-peeled and chopped
- Water to cover corned beef
- ***Mustard and 1/2 cup brown sugar for the last 20-30 minutes to brown and crisp the top of the meat.
Remove the outer plastic package the meat comes packaged in and place the meat in the slow cooker with the seasoning packet enclosed and the juice from the bag. Completely cover the meat with water. Secure the lid on the slow cooker. I set my slow cooker for ten hours on LOW the night before.
The next morning, grab a cutting board and chop the potatoes, carrots, and onions into thick wedges.
Add carrots, potatoes, and onions to the slow cooker. Set the slow cooker to cook for another 6 hours on HIGH.
Chop or slice the cabbage. I typically only use about 3/4 of the cabbage.
Cover the vegetables with the cabbage and set the slow cooker to cook for another 6 hours on HIGH. You may add more water, if needed.
After cooking the corned beef in the slow cooker or Instant Pot, remove the corned beef and place it in a greased baking pan.
Here is an awesome trick that makes the corned beef look and taste fabulous. Heat your oven to (350°F) = (176°C) and place just the corned beef on a greased shallow pan FAT side up. Lather the fat with mustard and sprinkle with 1/2 cup brown sugar.
Bake 20-30 minutes until the brown sugar looks crispy. This is absolutely the most tender recipe you will ever make. The meat will be 'fork tender' when finished cooking. Delicious! Serve immediately with vegetables.
PRESSURE Cooker Recipe:
*same ingredients as above*
- Add your corned beef to your pressure cooker with the juices from the packaging plus one cup of water. Cook on high for 90 minutes and check for tenderness. If it’s still too tough, pressure for an additional 30 minutes.
- Add the cabbage and vegetables of choice and pressure for another 15 minutes.
- Remove the meat from the pan and do the same as above to give the meat a yummy texture and flavor.
- Heat your oven to (350°F) = (176°C) degrees and place just the corned beef on a greased shallow pan FAT side up. Lather the fat with mustard and sprinkle with 1/2 cup brown sugar.
- Bake 20-30 minutes until the brown sugar looks crispy. Serve immediately with vegetables.
What is Corned Beef?
In simple terms, Corned Beef is just salt-cured brisket of beef. The term corned beef comes from how the meat is treated. Corns of salt are used to cure the meat. This is what makes it so unique and so delicious.
What potatoes are best to use when making corned beef with vegetables?
To be honest, I have tried a variety of potatoes over the years. It kind of depends on what texture and taste you are looking for when making your corned beef. Here is a list of the other potatoes you can use and the outcome you could potentially expect.
- Yukon Gold potatoes: A classic delicious potato. Known for its yellow flesh. When cooked, it has a creamy texture and rich buttery flavor.
- Russet potatoes: A potato commonly used in cooking. It has light brownish skin. When cooked, the flesh is fluffy, moist, and light.
- Red potatoes: A beautifully red-colored medium-sized potato with smooth, thin skin. Very flavorful flesh.
- Fingerling potatoes: A small potato in the shape of a finger. They have very thin and tender skin. When cooked, they have a very buttery, rich flavor.
How long can you keep in the fridge after cooking?
After you make this traditional meal, you may be wondering how to store it. You can store the corned beef in the fridge for at least 3-4 days. As the days go by the texture of the corned beef may change, but it will still be good to eat.
How do I freeze it?
Did you know you can also freeze cooked beef? Once the meat is in a freezer safe container, you can place it in the freezer for 2-3 months. Unthaw and warm up as you normally would.
How to store opened Corned Beef
Let’s say you opened a can of corned beef, but you are not ready to use it all. There is a way to store opened corned beef. As long as it is in an airtight container, you can store the opened corned beef (covered) for 3-4 days. Canned foods have magical powers. I grew up on sandwiches made out of it.
What does Corned Beef taste like?
If you were biting into Corned Beef for the first time, you would taste something that is sweet and sour. It has a very meaty flavor that is also very salty. Corned Beef goes through a brining process that helps give it its flavor. Corned simply refers to the size of the salt used in the process of creating the beef.
How can I serve corned beef?
Corned beef can be served a variety of delicious ways!
- Corned Beef Hash – Traditional dish from Ireland
- Reuben Sandwich
- Corned Beef Brisket
- Side of Mashed Potatoes
- Steamed Green Beans
- Boiled Potatoes
- Apple Sauce
How to pickle beef to make corned beef?
To pickle beef to make corned beef, you will need to brine the beef in a mixture of water, pickling salt/curing salt/pink salt/or kosher salt, sugar, and spices. Depending on the size of the beef, you will need to brine it for anywhere from 2 days to a week. I usually brine my beef for about 5 days.
The brine should include some combination of pickling spices such as peppercorns, coriander seeds, ginger, bay leaves, mustard seeds, allspice berries or juniper berries, cloves, and mace. I like to mix the spices in a small bowl until well combined.
Here is a generally rule of them when making the pickled corned beef.
- Rinse and dry the beef. I recommend the following cuts of meat – brisket, round, or any other variety cut of beef.
- Place the desired cut of beef in a large pot. Cover the meat with a brine made of 4 quarts of water, 1 cup of pickling salt of choice, and 1/4 cup of combination of pickling spices.
- Let the beef marinate in the brine for at least 5 days, stirring every day to ensure even curing.
- After 5 days, rinse off the brine and place the beef into a large pot filled with cold water.
- Bring the water to a boil on medium heat.
- Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for a period of time with part of the lid slightly open. About 1 1/2 – 2 hours until meat is tender.
- Remove the beef from the broth, place it on a baking sheet or cutting board.
- Skim off any excess fat and shred meat with your fingers or a couple of forks.
- The meat is ready to enjoy in a sandwich, stew, or dip. Enjoy!
Why does corned beef have a ‘pink color’?
Although corned beef is known to have a pink color, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the meat has not cooked thoroughly. I do recommend that you use a food thermometer to check that the internal temperature. The meat when cooked should reach an internal temperature of 160°F in the thickest part of the meat.
Corned beef gets its pink color from the nitrites used in the curing process. Nitrites help to preserve the beef and give it its distinct flavor and color.
Love this corned beef recipe? Check out these other recipes!
St. Patrick’s Day Traditions
- 4 Cups Warm Milk
- 8 Tsp. SAF Instant Yeast
- 4 Eggs
- 1/2 Cup Oil (I use olive oil)
- 3 Tsp. Sea Salt
- 1 Cup Sugar
- 1 Cup Warm Water
- 13-14 Cups White Flour
- 1 Ounce Food Coloring (Green for St. Patrick’s Day)
Start with a Bosch Mixer, although you could make this in a bowl. Put the yeast, warm water, salt, oil, and sugar in the bowl.
Add the eggs and lightly mix it in the Bosch so the eggs do not “cook.” This is where I add the food coloring.
Then add the warm milk and flour slowly.
Continue to add flour until the bread dough pulls away from the sides of the Bosch bowl.
Knead for about 7-8 minutes. Place the dough in a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
Let the dough rise until double the original size.
Punch down the dough and make into loaves and place these in greased pans (I make eight-1-pound loaves).
Let it rise once again (using the same plastic wrap) until it doubles and then bake them at 350 degrees for 27 minutes.
Lightly butter the tops of each loaf after baking and remove from the pans.
I like to use different colors of food coloring for different holidays. It takes a whole bottle (1 ounce) of green food coloring for this recipe. ***You can cut the bread into circles, that’s really fun. You can also make French Toast with green bread, I love it!
I just have to share this picture of my sweet granddaughter making some green bread with me.
Green Finger Jello
- 2 6-ounce boxes Jello Gelatin (choose any flavor of gelatin you want)
- 3 cups water
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 5 1-ounce packages Knox Original Unflavored Gelatin
- 2-1/2 cups cool water
Boil the Jello, sugar, and water (3 cups) stirring constantly.
Dissolve the Knox Unflavored Gelatin by stirring in the cool water (2-1/2 cups) and set aside.
After boiling the lime Jello, combine it with the Knox Unflavored Gelatin mixture and pour into a greased (spray with vegetable oil) 9-inch by 13-inch pan.
Set in the refrigerator until it sets up and is ready to cut into cubes, or use cookie cutters.
Green St. Patrick’s Day Traditions
Milk, milk with green food coloring
Mashed potatoes with green food coloring
Green orange juice, add green food coloring
Green gelatin cut into Shamrocks
Pancakes, 1/2-dollar size (gold coins)
Green pancakes, pancakes with green food coloring
Green waffles, waffles with green food coloring
Cold cereal with green milk
Green breadsticks (bread dough with green food coloring)
If you have never learned how to make Corned Beef, now is your chance. It is never too late to create new memories for your family. I have been making this Corned Beef recipe for years and it is without a doubt a tradition in our family. Make this St. Patrick’s Day a special one by making this Corned Beef. It is so important to keep traditions like this alive. May God Bless this world, Linda.