Classic Stovetop Corned Beef and Cabbage

published Feb 18, 2023
Corned Beef and Cabbage Recipe

A hearty St. Patrick's Day classic.

Serves4 to 6

Prep15 minutes

Cook3 hours 15 minutes

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Corned beef and cabbage served on a plate.
Credit: Photo: Linda Xiao; Food Stylist: Jessie YuChen

Over the years, I’ve cooked corned beef and cabbage every which way. I’ve pulled out my slow cooker for an all-day simmer when I couldn’t be in the kitchen, and I’ve used the Instant Pot when I didn’t have much time on the clock. But my favorite method that I come back to again and again is stovetop corned beef and cabbage.

It’s a simple, straightforward method that requires a Dutch oven and about three hours of time on the clock. This classic stovetop method calls for simmering corned beef brisket in a flavorful broth of beer, water, pickling spices, and a splash of apple cider vinegar. After a couple of hours, you’ve got a full meal of perfectly tender slices of corned beef, creamy baby potatoes, sweet carrot spears, and thick-cut wedges of cabbage.

What Does It Mean to Corn Beef?

No, there’s not actually any corn in corned beef. The “corn” in corned beef refers to the grains of salt used in the process of curing the beef.

Let’s back up for a minute: Corned beef is commonly made using beef brisket that’s been cured in a salt brine with a mix of spices, like bay leaf, peppercorns, mustard seed, juniper berries, coriander seed, and whole cloves. And if you’re thinking that mix sounds a lot like pickling spice, you’re exactly right!

Cured corned beef is readily available at most grocers, so there’s little prep work required before cooking (just be sure to rinse the corned beef first). But if you’re game for a project, you can cure a piece of brisket at home to make homemade corned beef.

Tips for Stovetop Corned Beef and Cabbage Without Overcooking

  1. Keep the heat on low. After the broth comes to a boil, drop the heat to low to maintain a gentle simmer. A low, steady heat ensures that the meat will cook through evenly while preventing any overcooking.
  2. Wait to add the vegetables. Corned beef requires a much longer cook time than the vegetables. To ensure the vegetables are tender and delicious (rather than overcooked and mushy), you’ll wait to add them to the broth until after the meat is cooked through and removed from the pot.
  3. Cook until fork-tender. It takes about two to three hours for the corned beef and 15 minutes for the carrots, potatoes, and cabbage to become fork-tender.
Credit: Photo: Linda Xiao; Food Stylist: Jessie YuChen

Other Ways to Make Corned Beef and Cabbage

Using a Dutch oven on the stovetop is just one of several methods you can use to make corned beef and cabbage. If you’re after a mostly hands-off approach and time isn’t a factor, the slow cooker is a great option. And if time is of the essence, you can make corned beef in your Instant Pot in about half the time it takes on the stovetop.

Corned Beef and Cabbage Recipe

A hearty St. Patrick's Day classic.

Prep time 15 minutes

Cook time 3 hours 15 minutes

Serves 4 to 6

Nutritional Info


  • 1

    medium yellow onion

  • 1

    (3- to 3 1/2-pound) ready-to-cook corned beef brisket, preferably flat cut

  • 1

    (12-ounce) bottle or can lager or brown ale

  • 8 cups


  • 1 tablespoon

    apple cider vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon

    pickling spices (or use the included spice packet)

  • 2 teaspoons

    granulated sugar

  • 1 pound

    carrots (5 to 6 medium)

  • 1 pound

    Savoy or green cabbage (about 1/2 small head)

  • 1 1/2 pounds

    baby or small Yukon Gold or red potatoes


  1. Peel and cut 1 medium yellow onion into 1-inch thick wedges.

  2. Remove 1 corned beef brisket from its packaging and rinse under cool running water for 1 minute, rinsing off any spices that may have come in the brine. Place in a Dutch oven or large pot with the fat cap facing up.

  3. Scatter the onion over the brisket. Add 1 (12-ounce) bottle lager or brown ale, 8 cups water, 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon pickling spices (or use the included spice packet), and 2 teaspoons granulated sugar. The beef should be fully submerged.

  4. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cover and cook until cooked through and fork tender, 2 hours and 15 minutes to 2 hours and 45 minutes.

  5. About 30 minutes before the corned beef is ready, peel and cut 1 pound carrots crosswise into 2-inch pieces. Cut 1 pound Savoy or green cabbage into 1-thick wedges, leaving the core intact. From 1 1/2 pounds small or baby Yukon Gold or red potatoes, halve any that are larger than 2-inches wide.

  6. When the corned beef is ready, transfer to a cutting board and tent with aluminum foil to keep warm. Add the potatoes and carrots to the broth. Simmer until the vegetables are almost tender, about 15 minutes. Add the cabbage, cover, and simmer until tender, 12 to 15 minutes.

  7. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the vegetables to a bowl or serving platter. Slice the corned beef across the grain and serve with the vegetables.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days.