Say good-bye to tough, dry corned beef and say hello to this incredibly simple to prepare, deliciously fork-tender Slow Cooker Corned Beef. A hearty and filling one pot meal that includes potatoes and cabbage; and that will also make the sandwich leftovers of your dreams!

potatoes, carrots and corned beef on a white plate with striped blue napkin and white background

5 star review

“Thank you so much for this fabulous recipe! It was the first time I ever made it, and your recipe sounded perfect out of all that I’ve found. It turned out fantastic!! Thanks again!!”

– Rachel D.

About this Crockpot Corned Beef Recipe

Okay, let’s be honest, I think over the years corned beef has gotten a bad rap.

I mean, who wants overly salted meat that’s been boiled for hours?

And who wants to deal with pickling, brining, and boiling meat, just to end up tough, hard to chew results?

Um, not me, that’s for sure.

My solution: make it a simple and effortless slow cooker recipe.

I absolutely love using the crockpot to make juicy, tender and low-effort meals — I’m looking at you Slow Cooker Turkey Breast!

The slow cooker is really the best method for cooking corned beef because it yields absolutely perfect, tender results every time.

Plus, since this recipe uses potatoes, carrots, and cabbage, it serves as a complete one-pot meal that is a dump-and-go slow cooker meal (meaning to pre-browning required), resulting in a truly no-brainer way to feed a crowd.

Of course, you can also skip the veggies if you want to go meat only, but I will say the veggies add so much flavor to the broth and makes this a complete Irish themed one post meal, so I personally love to add them.

How to Use Leftover Corned Beef

Once cooked, this corned beef makes amazing sandwiches, in particular Reubens! It’s also great in a simple corned beef hash.

top down view of slow cooker corned beef ingredients in a black crockpot on a white background

Process & Tips for Tender Corned Beef

This recipe couldn’t be simpler to make, as you’re really just throwing all your ingredients into a crockpot and letting it do the work for you. 

First, the potatoes and brined beef brisket go into the pot and cook for several hours.

And then the carrots and cabbage go on top of that towards the end of the cooking time so everything finishes together in one pot, without ending up with overly mushy veggies.

You can cook the corned beef on low or high, directions for both have been included below to keep your options open on busy weeks – so it’s entirely up to you.

But as a heads-up, if you’re cooking this recipe on low you’ll need to allow 8-10 hours total for the meat and veggies to be cooked and tender. 

It’s nearly all hands-off time, but be sure to get it started early enough in the day so it’s done by the time you’re ready to eat, especially if you’re making this corned beef for St. Patrick’s day, you’ll want it to be ready in time for dinner.

During the cook time you might notice a white foam float to the top.

Do not remove the lid to skim the foam during cook time, as each time you open the lid extends the cook time. 

Instead, wait until the cook time is over, skip the foam, and then remove the meat and veggies per the recipe instructions.

top down view of slow cooker corned beef ingredients in a black crockpot on a white background

Ways to Serve this 5-Ingredient Slow Cooker Corned Beef Recipe

If you’re cooking this with all the recommended veggies, you can enjoy this as a complete meal – serving the meat sliced with the delicious cooked potatoes, carrots and cabbage on the side.

If you’re cooking it by itself without the vegetables, then the corned beef would also great with sides like Slow Cooker Red CabbageSlow Cooker Cabbage, Slow Cooker Potatoes, Slow Cooker Baked Potatoes or Slow Cooker Carrots.

You can also use leftovers to make the most delicious sandwich with any greens, traditional (or gluten-free) bread, and choice of condiments.

Of course, this corned beef would make a fantastic Reuben sandwich – you can use classic ingredients like dark rye bread, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, Russian dressing, and thinly sliced corned beef!

What to Do with Leftover Corned Beef Cooking Liquid

There will be quite a bit of liquid remaining after the beef is cooked. Put this tasty liquid to use by either straining it and using it as a dipping sauce on the side for the meat and vegetables, as a dipping sauce for sandwiches, or to make soup out of the leftover meat.

Ingredient Notes & Substitutions for Corned Beef

Corned beef brisket: You’ll notice this recipe does not call for any additional salt. That’s because a store-bought corned beef brisket comes already brined for you in a mixture of nitrites, salt, sugar, and/or spices, so there’s no need to add more salt at home.

Pickling spice: Most corned beef briskets come with a pickling spice packet that can include spices such as cinnamon, allspice, mustard seed, coriander, cloves, black pepper, ginger, bay leaves, and juniper berries; but you can make this recipe with a brined corned beef brisket without pickling spices if you prefer, as it should still have plenty of flavor from the pre-brining process.

Potatoes: I like to use red or yellow potatoes cut in half for this recipe, they make a classic, hearty option to pair with the corned beef. If you want additional potatoes as a side dish, try this easy slow cooker potato recipe.

Carrots: Fresh medium-sized carrots work best for this recipe. Baby carrots will work, but will not be as flavorful

Green cabbage: I love how silky and tender cabbage gets when cooked like this but you can certainly make this corned beef by itself without any vegetables. Just add enough water to barely cover the beef. You may also need to reduce the cook time slightly. If you prefer to cook the cabbage separately, try this slow cooker red cabbage or slow cooker cabbage recipe.

Water: I tested this recipe with water as well as beer, and found that water yielded tasty results while keeping the ingredient list simple and streamlined. However, if you want to add even more flavor, swap in mild beer such as a lager, hard apple cider, or apple juice for the water in this recipe. 

Butter: The butter at the end is a rich & delicious addition but totally optional. You can use traditional butter or dairy-free butter.

Using Guinness Beer in a Corned Beef Recipe

I tested this recipe with Guinness beer in place of water, and found the stout beer caused the carrots and potatoes to be overly bitter and off color. If you want to use Guinness, I’d suggest skipping the carrots and the potatoes in this recipe!

potatoes, carrots and corned beef on a white plate with striped blue napkin and white background

How to Store & Freeze Leftovers

This is one of those recipes that still tastes totally delicious the next day, and leftovers make a great lunch (who wouldn’t love eating Reuben sandwiches all week long!).

It keeps well in the fridge for up to 3-4 days, in a sealed container.

This meat also freezes beautifully, either in a gallon ziplock bag, or individually in mason jars.

You can store it in a sealed freezer friendly container for up to 2-3 months.

This Recipe Is… 

top down view of slow cooker corned beef ingredients in a black crockpot on a white background
4.96 stars (22 ratings)

Slow Cooker Corned Beef

Say good-bye to tough, dry corned beef and say hello to this incredibly simple to prepare, deliciously fork-tender Slow Cooker Corned Beef, a hearty and filling one pot meal that also makes the sandwich leftovers of your dreams.

Ingredients

  • 1 3-4 pound corned beef brisket, fat trimmed to ¼ inch
  • 1 tablespoon pickling spice, or pickling spice packet
  • 10 medium red or yellow potatoes, halved
  • 10 medium carrots, halved lengthwise
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 small head green cabbage, about 1-pound, cored and cut into wedges

For serving

  • optional: 2 tablespoons butter, traditional or dairy-free

Instructions 

  • In a large 6-quart slow cooker, arrange the potatoes in an even layer. Coat the brisket evenly with the pickling spice, then place on top of the potatoes, fat side up. Add the water, it should come to just the top of the beef, but not submerge it.
  • Cover and cook until the beef is very tender, about 7 to 8 hours on low or 5 to 6 hours on high. Do not remove the lid during the cook time other than to add the remaining vegetables.
  • Uncover, add the cabbage and carrots on top of the beef, then recover and cook an additional 2 to 3 hours on low or 1 to 2 on high, or until the veggies are tender and a fork slips easily in and out of the meat.
  • Turn off the slow cooker. Transfer the beef to a cutting board, allowing to rest for 5 minutes. Slice against the grain into ½-inch thick slices. Serve with the cooked potatoes, carrots, and cabbage, dotting with butter if desired.

Notes

If you are gluten-sensitive, be sure to double check that the corned beef and the pickling spices are gluten-free.
I prefer cooking this brisket on low, but if you’re tighter on time, the high setting will also work.
There will be quite a bit of liquid remaining after the beef is cooked. Put this tasty liquid to use by either straining it and using it as a dipping sauce on the side for the meat and vegetables, or later as a dipping sauce for sandwiches such as a Reuben, or to make soup out of the leftover meat.
Nutrition information calculated including butter.
For more ingredients & substitutions, see blog post above.

Nutrition Information:

Calories: 331kcal, Carbohydrates: 76g, Protein: 10g, Fat: 1g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 1mg, Sodium: 168mg, Potassium: 2209mg, Fiber: 13g, Sugar: 14g, Vitamin A: 17163IU, Vitamin C: 92mg, Calcium: 139mg, Iron: 4mg
Nutrition disclaimer
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