How To Make Corned Beef
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How To Make Corned Beef In A Slow Cooker

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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 will 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.

How To Make Corned Beef In A Slow Cooker

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.”

In case you missed this post, Pulled Pork In A Slow Cooker or this post, Soda Bread: Step By Step How To Make It

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!

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.

How To Make Corned Beef

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.

Cutting Vegetables

Step Three: Add Chopped Vegetables

Add the chopped vegetables to the slow cooker.

Add the vegetables

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.

How To Make Corned Beef

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.

Adding the cabbage to the slow cooker

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.

How To Make Corned Beef

Step Seven: Heat Oven to (350°F ) = (176°C), 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°F ) = (176°C) 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.

How To Make Corned Beef

Step Eight: Bake 20-30 Minutes

Bake 20-30 minutes until the brown sugar looks crispy. This is the most tender recipe you will ever make. The meat will be ‘fork tender’ when finished cooking. Delicious!

How To Make Corned Beef

Finished Product

Serve immediately with vegetables.

How To Make Corned Beef

How To Make Corned Beef Recipe

5 from 8 votes
How To Make Corned Beef
Corned Beef Slow Cooker Recipe
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
16 hrs
Total Time
16 hrs 15 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 8 people
Author: Linda Loosli
  1. 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.

  2. The next morning, grab a cutting board and chop the potatoes, carrots, and onions into thick wedges.

  3. Add carrots, potatoes, and onions to the slow cooker. Set the slow cooker to cook for another 6 hours on HIGH.

  4. Chop or slice the cabbage. I typically only use about 3/4 of the cabbage.

  5. 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.

  6. After cooking the corned beef in the slow cooker or Instant Pot, remove the corned beef and place it in a greased baking pan.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

Recipe Notes

PRESSURE Cooker Recipe:

*same ingredients as above*

  1. 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.
  2. Add the cabbage and vegetables of choice and pressure for another 15 minutes.
  3. Remove the meat from the pan and do the same as above to give the meat a yummy texture and flavor.
  4. 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.
  5. 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 a 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 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 in the refrigerator. Canned foods have magical powers. I grew up on sandwiches made out of it.

Read More of My Articles  Soda Bread: Step By Step How To Make It

What does Corned Beef taste like?

If you were biting into Corned Beef for the first time, you would taste something 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 in a variety of delicious ways!

  • Corned Beef Hash – A traditional dish from Ireland
  • Reuben Sandwich
  • Corned Beef Brisket
  • Side of Mashed Potatoes
  • Steamed Green Beans
  • Boiled Potatoes
  • Sauerkraut
  • Apple Sauce
  • Coleslaw

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 general rule when making 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 a 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, and 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 the meat has not been cooked thoroughly. I recommend that you use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature. The meat when cooked should reach an internal temperature of (160°F) = (71°C) 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.

Do you love this corned beef recipe? Check out these other recipes!

St. Patrick’s Day Traditions

Green Bread

5 from 8 votes
St. Patrick’s Day Green Bread
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
27 mins
Rising Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 47 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Servings: 8 loaves
Author: Linda Loosli
  • 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)
  1. 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.

  2. Add the eggs and lightly mix it in the Bosch so the eggs do not “cook.” This is where I add the food coloring.

  3. Then add the warm milk and flour slowly.

  4. Continue to add flour until the bread dough pulls away from the sides of the Bosch bowl.

  5. Knead for about 7-8 minutes. Place the dough in a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap.

  6. Let the dough rise until double the original size.

  7. Punch down the dough and make into loaves and place these in greased pans (I make eight-1-pound loaves).

  8. Let it rise once again (using the same plastic wrap) until it doubles and then bake them at 350 degrees for 27 minutes.

  9. Lightly butter the tops of each loaf after baking and remove from the pans.

Recipe Notes

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 Bread

Green Finger Jello

5 from 8 votes
finger jello
St. Patrick’s Day Finger Jello
Prep Time
15 mins
Fridge Time
2 hrs
Total Time
15 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 6 people
Author: Linda Loosli
  • 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
  1. Boil the Jello, sugar, and water (3 cups) stirring constantly.

  2. Dissolve the Knox Unflavored Gelatin by stirring in the cool water (2-1/2 cups) and set aside.

  3. 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.

  4. 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 with green food coloring

Cold cereal with green milk

Green breadsticks (bread dough with green food coloring)

Final Word

If you have never learned how to make corn 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.

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  1. 5 stars
    We love this recipe! We make it every St Patrick’s Day. It is sooo delicious! I love your step by step instructions with pictures! Thank you sooo much for sharing!❤️

  2. 5 stars
    I’m excited to try this recipe ! Corned beef is one of my favorite St. Patrick Day traditions.

  3. Linda,looks like a delicious meal! You are a very creative cook. Who doesn’t like corned beef and cabbage?! I used to make it in a slow cooker until I got a standard pressure cooker.You mentioned Instant Pot. Now that I have an Instant Pot I use that all the time. Much better! Technology sometimes has it’s benefits. Love your recipe!
    God Bless and stay safe…

    1. Hi Bill, I love my slow cooker and my pressure cooker. If I want a lazy day I set and forget the slow cooker. BUT, I love to use that pressure cooker to speed things up!! I’m so glad you like corned beef and cabbage because I do too!!! Thank you for your kind words! Life is so good, Linda

  4. Linda,
    We love St. Patrick’s Day. It is Pat’s and our son-in-law’s birthday. However, you can enjoy the corned beef in my place. Neither Pat nor I have ever liked the stuff. Must be something about good beef needing to be either BBQed or grilled. And, since daughter and SIL are coming for that weekend, I think I will just throw a brisket on the pit and smoke it. Texas cooking. LOL!!

    1. HI Harry, oh I know Texans know how to BBQ! And they have some of the best beef in the country! I still remember flying to Austin for two funerals years ago and the neighbors treated us to some really good home-cooked meals! I will never forget their hospitality! I loved it! Linda

  5. I’ve always loved corned beef as far back as I can remember–but I’ll have to try the extra bake with brown sugar! Nothing like a new twist!

    We like to have it with colcannon, another Irish dish. Mashed potatoes, mixed with chopped cabbage and onions previously sautéed, crumbled bacon, and lots of butter! It’s a meal in itself!

  6. 5 stars
    Hi Linda,
    Your recipe IS the World’s Best Corned Beef! This recipe gets rave reviews and it is the only one I use!
    Blessings and Hugs,
    Jackie Perkins

  7. 5 stars

    Thanks for this terrific recipe. I printed it out AND pinned it. I’m a huge fan of corned beef and cabbage (and carrots, red potatoes and onions) but never thought to actually corn my own beef. I’ll be doing that very soon. I also love slicing the left overs into sandwiches. I love how you included directions for the pressure cooker, as that’s how I’ll make it. (Patience is not my long suit).

    I’ll also try the mustard and brown sugar topping. Maybe I’ll be able to convince Jane, who can’t even stand the smell of corned beef, to try it. Okay, now I’m hungry.

    1. Hi Ray, thank you for the 5 stars, my sweet friend!! OH, I use my Zagor pressure cooker every day. It makes my life so much easier and faster! LOL! P.S. Mark does not like corned beef or squash, these are the only two foods he does not like to eat! LOL! Linda

  8. I was very disappointed when I actually opened this message, it was just a recipe on how to COOK a corned beef dinner. Albeit an excellent recipe, I was looking forward to find out how to actually MAKE my own corned beef. So I guess the joke is on me. :>(

    1. Hi Elaine, no worries, I actually wrote this post several years ago. But when I update old posts I add NEW information that I hope others can use. I love learning new things and making my own corned beef was my task this month! Linda

  9. I Should have actually took time to read it…it has the instructions !!!! So Thank you, Linda. Now, I am red-faced on top of everything else. You can have a good laugh on me.

    1. Hi Elaine, Please don’t be red-faced. I often wonder if my readers realize when I repost an old post I add NEW information, so now you know how to make your own corned beef. AND you can adapt to your liking. I learn something new every single day and I LOVE it! Linda

  10. 5 stars
    Great recipe. Including the colcannon one. Sadly, we’ve not been able to have corned beef for years, due to dietary restrictions (son cannot tolerate nitrates and nitrites, and I have bad reactions to more than a bare hint of mustard). Hoping I can adjust this to try making my own!

    1. Hi Terry, thank you for the 5 stars, my sweet friend! Dietary restrictions are rough, I totally understand. Oh, the mustard, hmmm! I have a grandson who can’t eat onions, and we have had to modify several recipes. I will have to check our corned beef this year for nitrates, thank you, Linda

  11. 5 stars
    This looks so good. I’ll make it sometime. We already have our menu figured out; reuben sandwiches for the German husband and colcannon for Scots/Irish me. Thanks Linda!

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