This Slow Cooker Corned Beef recipe makes the classic St. Patrick’s Day dish so easy, you’ll want to eat it year-round! It’s juicy, fall-apart tender, and perfect for pairing with carrots, potatoes, and cabbage.
While my Instant Pot Corned Beef has been incredibly popular, I know that not everyone has an Instant Pot, so I wanted to create a recipe for slow cooker corned beef with beer that was similar. It’s just as easy, with the same amount of hands-on time, but you have to wait for it a little bit longer. (Believe me, it’s worth the wait!)
This slow cooker corned beef and cabbage with beer is a cinch to make, it’s so tender and juicy it practically melts in your mouth, and it makes enough that you’ll have plenty leftover to make Corned Beef Hash or a Classic Reuben Sandwich.
Just add a pint of Guinness (or a shamrock shake) and you have the perfect St. Paddy’s Day dinner!
What exactly is corned beef?
Corned beef is beef that is cured in a salt solution, or brine. Before the days of refrigeration, brining meat was one of the primary ways of preserving it. Corned beef is usually made from beef brisket, and it retains its pink color even when thoroughly cooked thanks to an ingredient in the curing salt called sodium nitrite.
What you’ll need
Bring the carrots, potatoes, and cabbage to room temperature long enough to remove chill before adding them to your slow cooker. This keeps the broth from cooling down once the veggies are added!
- Corned beef brisket – Don’t discard the seasoning packet; you’ll use it in this recipe. Also, keep in mind that corned beef shrinks to half its original weight because the fat renders out of it as it cooks.
- Bay leaves
- Beer – Use lager or stout, or substitute an equal amount of water or broth.
- Water or beef broth
- Carrots – Packaged baby carrots can be used in place of whole carrots, but leave them whole so they don’t overcook.
- Potatoes – Use red or Yukon gold potatoes.
- Green cabbage – Cut the cabbage into wedges with the core intact so it doesn't fall apart in the slow cooker. (Remove the core after cooking.)
What is the best cut of corned beef for slow cookers?
When it comes to choosing between point-cut corned beef vs. flat-cut corned beef, it’s a matter of preference.
Point-cut corned beef has more fat marbling, which results in a fall-apart tender, juicy texture. Flat-cut corned beef is leaner, with less connective tissue, and is best for slicing. I use point-cut for this crockpot corned beef with beer and my Instant Pot corned beef.
Does corned beef need to be rinsed before cooking?
Corned beef is brined, so when you rinse it before you cook it, you’re washing away some of its flavor. If you’re watching your sodium intake, you may want to rinse off the brine before you cook your corned beef, but otherwise, there’s no reason to do so.
How to cook corned beef in the slow cooker
No pre-cooking, no prep, just add everything and go!
Add ingredients to the slow cooker. Place the corned beef, seasoning packet contents, garlic, bay leaves, beer, and water or broth in your crock pot.
Cook. Cover the slow cooker and cook the corned beef on Low for 6 hours.
Add the vegetables. Place the carrots and potatoes in the liquid around the corned beef brisket, then pile the cabbage on top.
Continue cooking. Put the cover back on the slow cooker and continue to cook on Low for about 2 hours, or until the veggies are fork-tender and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the corned beef registers at least 190ºF.
Serve. Transfer the corned beef to a cutting board and slice it against the grain. Serve with the cooked vegetables.
Tips for success
Here are my best tips for perfect crockpot corned beef and cabbage:
- Don’t rush it. I don’t recommend cooking this slow cooker corned beef on the high setting, as the meat won’t be as tender. Low and slow is the way to go!
- How to tell if corned beef is done in the slow cooker. When corned beef is done, it will be fall-apart tender and register an internal temperature of 190ºF. While 160°F is considered a safe temperature to eat corned beef, optimal tenderness and flavor are reached at 190°F because at this temperature, the connective tissues break down.
- Need more time? If the veggies are done but the corned beef hasn’t reached 190ºF yet, remove the cooked carrots, cabbage, and potatoes, then cover the slow cooker and continue cooking the corned beef.
How to store and reheat leftovers
To store, allow the corned beef and vegetables to cool completely. Refrigerate for up to 5 days in an airtight container.
You can place the beef and vegetables in a roasting pan, cover them with foil, and reheat them in a 350ºF oven until warmed through; although leftovers can also be heated in the microwave, it’s not ideal, particularly for the meat.
Can I freeze slow cooker corned beef?
If you have leftovers that you can’t eat within 5 days, they can be frozen in a freezer bag or airtight container for up to 3 months. Thaw them in the refrigerator and reheat them according to the instructions above.
More slow cooker recipes
Slow Cooker Corned Beef
- 1 Corned Beef Brisket (with seasoning packet), 2 to 4 pounds
- 5 cloves Garlic, peeled and smashed
- 2 Bay Leaves
- 2 (12 oz) Beers, lager or stout
- 3 cups Water, or beef broth
- 5 medium Carrots, peeled (about ½ lb.)
- 10 small Potatoes, red or gold, scrubbed (about 2 lb.)
- 1 head Green Cabbage, quartered (about 2 lb.)
- Place CORNED BEEF and contents of the seasoning packet in the slow cooker. Add GARLIC, BAY LEAVES, BEER, and WATER.
- Cover and cook on LOW setting for 6 hours.
- Place CARROTS and POTATOES in the liquid around the corned beef brisket. Stack CABBAGE wedges on top of the brisket.
- Cover the slow cooker and continue cooking on LOW until veggies are fork-tender (about 2 hours, depending on your cooker).
- Insert an instant-read thermometer in the corned beef to confirm 190°F internal temperature. If it needs more time to reach this temperature, transfer the cooked carrots, cabbage, and potatoes out of the cooker to prevent overcooking. Cover the cooker and continue slow cooking the corned beef.
- To serve, transfer the corned beef out of the cooker. Slice it against the grain and serve with cooked vegetables.
- To store, allow corned beef and vegetables to cool completely. Refrigerate up to 5 days in an airtight container.
Traci's Recipe Tips
Nutrition data provided as courtesy estimates using unbranded ingredients from a nutrition database. Please consult preferred resource for precise data.