Dutch oven corned beef and cabbage is the perfect one pot St. Patrick’s Day meal simmered in stout and beef broth with potatoes and carrots.
Like many Americans, I grew up eating corned beef and cabbage once a year on St. Patrick’s Day and always loved it! My mom made it in a pressure cooker and others like the simplicity of a slow cooker, but I prefer making it stovetop in a large dutch oven. The pickled flavor is just so unique and this delicious recipe does it right.
I love that this classic dish is a one pot meal that the whole family can enjoy too. Plus, the leftovers are great in corned beef fritters and so many other things! If corned beef isn’t your thing though, definitely check out my Instant Pot Irish stew recipe for another tasty Saint Patrick’s day meal.
Did you know corned beef isn’t a traditional Irish dish? It became popular for Irish immigrants once they got to the United States. Apparently bacon was preferred but brisket was cheaper so corned beef became a new traditional meal. Throw in some cabbage, carrots and potatoes and you have yourself a complete meal!
- 3-4 lb. brined corned beef brisket – preferably choose one sold with a seasoning packet, like most grocery stores sell them, but it’s perfectly fine if yours has the spices already added to the brine
- avocado oil – or other neutral cooking oil with a high smoke point
- beef broth
- stout – I recommend Guinness but you can substitute more broth instead if you want to skip the alcohol or make the dish suitable for paleo. Typically there is brown sugar in the brine though so if you’re strict about this be sure to check the ingredients on your corned beef.
- bay leaves
- Worcestershire sauce – you can leave this out if you want but it adds a nice peppery flavor to the dish. Choose a gluten free version if you need that.
- yellow or red potatoes – either work well here so use what you have on hand or sub in baby potatoes for less slicing
- carrots – I used whole sliced into pieces but you can substitute baby carrots here
- yellow onion – or a white onion works
- green cabbage – a medium sized green head of cabbage is perfect here
- Salt and pepper
- parsley – this is optional as a garnish to brighten up the dish at the end
How to make corned beef and cabbage in a dutch oven
This dutch oven corned beef recipe has several steps to it but isn’t as complicated as it may seem. Here’s what you need to do:
- Drain the extra liquid from the corned beef and pat it dry with paper towels to get rid of excess salt and congealed slime on the meat.
- Rub corned beef with spices from the included spice packet on both sides.
- Heat your Dutch oven to medium-high heat and add oil.
- Sear the brisket on all sides.
- Flip it over so it’s fatty side up and pour in the broth, beer, Worchestershire sauce and add the bay leaf and enough water to cover the meat (if you need any).
- Bring to a low, gently simmer over low heat (very important – do NOT boil), cover with a tight-fitting lid and let cook for 40-45 minutes per pound until you have a tender corned beef.
- While the corned beef simmers away, cut the vegetables. Cut potatoes into 2 inches pieces (either quartered or cut in half depending on the size of the potato). Peel the carrots and cut each into 3-4 pieces, about half the size of the potatoes. Slice cabbage into wedges and onion into thin wedges.
- Submerge the potatoes, carrots and onion in the pot alongside the corned beef and place the cabbage wedges on top, spooning the broth on top.
- Cover the pot again and let the vegetables cook with the meat at a gentle simmer for 25-35 minutes until potatoes and carrots are cooked through.
- Remove the meat and let it rest for 15 minutes before slicing. While the meat rests, use salt and pepper to season the vegetables and cooking liquid. Remove the vegetables from the pot and add it to the serving plate. Save some of the cooking liquid to serve with the meal if you’d like.
- Slice the corned beef against the grain, at a 90° angle to how the lines in the meat run naturally.
- Plate corned beef in the center of the cooked vegetables with Dijon mustard, stone ground mustard, or cream style horseradish sauce and the cooking broth.
Tips for making it perfectly
- Slice against the grain or it will not slice well and have the right texture. This means cutting the meat perpendicular to how the lines naturally run in the meat.
- Make sure to cook at a very gentle simmer or it will become tough and you won’t get tender beef. After covering, check the pot a few times and adjust the temperature if needed to keep it low and slow.
- Make sure your carrots are smaller than your potatoes! Carrots cook slower than potatoes do so cut them to be about half the size of your potatoes.
- If you’re using a cast iron dutch oven, heat the pot slowly, warming first and then increasing the temperature. On most stoves, a medium setting will be sufficient.
- Remove your corned beef if it is already done and almost falling apart tender before cooking the vegetables. You can wrap in foil to keep it warm and let it rest while the vegetables cook.
- Wait to slice the beef! Seriously, I know it’s tempting but wait about 15 minutes so the juices settle into the meat and don’t leak out when you slice it.
Frequently asked questions
Yes it is recommended. Rinsing removes any congealed pink film from the brining process and rinses off any extra salt to keep the end product from being too salty.
At a low simmer, cook corned beef submerged in broth for 40-50 minutes per pound.
If your corned beef didn’t come with a spice packet or had spices included in the brine you can season the meat with about 2 tablespoons of pickling spice or make your own corned beef seasoning with mustard seeds, peppercorns and other whole spices.
Not in this recipe. This is done mostly for aesthetic reasons since the gray foam looks unappetizing and will make the liquid in the pot unclear and cloudy. Since this recipe uses Guinness though, it is already dark and you don’t need to care about a clear broth. Boiling can actually turn your corned beef tough so it’s best to keep it at a simmer and skip it. That being said, if you notice a lot of foam forming in the pot and you want to skim it off, of course you can go ahead and do so.
Of course! Cast iron dutch ovens hold heat well so they work great in a recipe like this but any pot that is big enough (5.5 – 6 quarts) will work.
Corned beef should be at 190-200° F when a meat thermometer is inserted into the thickest part of the meat. If it gets past 200° the meat will get tough quickly so its best to pull it out right around 190° F.
Leftovers and freezing
Leftover corned beef is one of the best parts of making this dish! It’s delicious in so many things so get a big one so you’ll have lots of leftovers. Plus, it freezes well so you can pull it out months later and extend that corned beef goodness even longer!
What to do with leftover corned beef
Leftovers will keep for up to 5 days in the refrigerator. Re-heat in the microwave with a sprinkle of water on top to keep the meat moist. Or use it to make corned beef fritters, corned beef hash, or a reuben sandwich.
Or, if you have lots of leftover corned beef and cabbage and want to use the potatoes and rest of the leftover vegetables together in a lovely breakfast, I have just the thing. Sauté the leftover beef, chopped cabbage and potatoes in a skillet with butter (dairy free is fine!) or oil over medium-high heat. Crack eggs on top and bake at 350° F (180° C) for 8-10 minutes until whites set but yolks are still runny.
You can freeze the corned beef meat in a tightly sealing freezer safe bag or airtight container for up to 4-5 months. To use, defrost overnight in the refrigerator. You can microwave it, adding a little sprinkle of water to the container (just a few drops) but it will dry out easily so defrosting in the fridge is recommended. The vegetables are best fresh.
- 3-4 lb. brined corned beef see notes on spice packet
- 1 Tablespoon avocado oil or other neutral cooking oil with a high smoke point
- 4 cups beef broth
- 16 oz. can of stout I used and recommend Guinness; you can substitute more broth instead
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 ½ lbs. yellow or red potatoes
- 1 lb. large carrots 5-7 depending on size
- 1 yellow onion
- 1 medium green cabbage
- Salt and pepper
- 1 Tablespoon chopped parsley for garnish optional
- Drain and discard extra liquid from corned beef package, keeping the seasoning packet if there is one.* Rinse the corned beef to remove any pink goop and pat dry with paper towels.
- Rub corned beef evenly with spice packet contents (if there is one*).
- Heat oil in a dutch oven over medium-high heat.
- Place corned beef in dutch oven and sear on both sides for 2-3 minutes.
- Flip the meat over so the fatty side of the meat is facing up and add broth, beer, Worcestershire sauce and bay leaves to the dutch oven and stir to mix in around the corned beef. Add additional water if needed until the top of the corned beef is just barely covered in liquid. It may float to the surface which is fine, no need to add more liquid.
- Bring to a low simmer (do not boil!), cover and let it cook for about 40-45 minutes per lb. until meat feels tender (exact time will depend on exact cooking temperature and size for brisket). Lift the lid to check several times during cook time to make sure the pot is still at a low simmer and adjust the burner accordingly.
- While the corned beef cooks, prepare the vegetables. Cut potatoes in half, quarters or smaller until they are about 2 inches in size. Peel the carrots and cut each into 3-4 pieces. If any are really large, cut thick parts in half. They should be half the size of the potatoes. Slice onion into thin wedges and separate into individual slices. Slice cabbage into 2 inch thick wedges, removing and discarding the hard inner core at the bottom.
- Once corned beef is fork tender, but not falling apart, add the vegetables. Place carrots, potatoes, and sliced onions alongside the brisket submerged in the liquid. Place cabbage on top, spooning liquid over the top of the cabbage if it isn’t submerged.
- Cover and cook at a gentle simmer for 25-35 minutes until potatoes and carrots are cooked through and meat is fully cooked. You may need to increase the temperature to get the pot back to a low simmer after adding the vegetables.
- Remove corned beef from the pot and place on a plate. Let the meat rest for 15 minutes.
- While meat rests, add salt and pepper to season the vegetables and cooking liquid to taste. Then drain the vegetables reserving some of the cooking liquid (optional) to serve with the meal.
- Use a very sharp knife to thinly slice corned beef against the grain (crosswise at 90° to how the lines in the meat naturally run).
- Place vegetables around corned beef on a serving platter and serve with Dijon, stone ground mustard and/ or cream style horseradish and reserved pan liquid.