Easy Corned Beef and Cabbage

Corned beef with root vegetables and cabbage
Annabelle Breakey/Photodisc/Getty Images
  • 3 hrs 30 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins,
  • Cook: 3 hrs 15 mins
  • Yield: Serves 6 to 8
Ratings (5)

Despite its somewhat mysterious origins, corned beef and cabbage has become known as the traditional St. Patrick's Day meal, at least on the American side of the Atlantic. There's some dispute about whether the meal has the Irish roots many assume. According to the Smithsonian, more Irish people ate bacon as a traditional meal than beef, partly because cows were considered symbols of wealth in Gaelic Ireland, and were not usually killed for their meat. 

But whatever is origins, this recipe for corned beef and cabbage is so easy to make there's no reason it can't be enjoyed year-round. A corned beef and cabbage dinner is great for feeding a large group, and only requires one pot. And the bonus of cooking corned beef and cabbage is the leftovers: cold corned beef on dark bread with mustard makes a hearty sandwich.


What You'll Need

  • 3 1/2 to 5 pound corned beef brisket
  • Spice packet from the corned beef package
  • 1/2 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, or as needed
  • 2 pound red potatoes, cut in half
  • 4 carrots, peeled, cut in chunks
  • 1 onions, large dice
  • 3 stalks celery, large dice
  • 1 green cabbage, cored, sliced in 8 wedges

How to Make It

Note: Commercial brands of corned beef come fully seasoned. This may affect the amount of salt needed, so check the saltiness of the cooking liquid before adding the salt in step 2.

  1. Place the corned beef, 1 teaspoon of the salt, pepper and spices into a large pot along with three quarts of cold water. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Turn down the heat to low and simmer for 2 1/2 hours.
  2. Add the remaining salt if needed (see note above), potatoes, carrots, onions, and celery. Simmer covered for 30 minutes. Add the cabbage and cook for another 30 minutes, or until the potatoes and vegetables are tender. Slice the corned beef against the grain and serve in a bowl topped with cabbage, vegetables, and some of the cooking liquid. Serve with dark bread and mustard on the side.

    Variations on this recipe are limited only to what the chef prefers, really. A small peeled and diced rutabaga or a few turnips may be added along with the vegetables for a more earthy flavor. Some sliced parsnips can be substituted for the potatoes, or included along with them for a bit of variety.

    For a slightly different flavor, use sweet onions instead of standard yellow onions, and add with the with the potatoes, carrots, and celery. Alternately, try adding a few small peeled boiling onions.