Easy Corned Beef and Cabbage

Easy corned beef and cabbage recipe

The Spruce / Victoria Heydt

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 3 hrs 15 mins
Total: 3 hrs 30 mins
Servings: 6 to 8 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
991 Calories
57g Fat
28g Carbs
88g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 to 8
Amount per serving
Calories 991
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 57g 73%
Saturated Fat 22g 110%
Cholesterol 314mg 105%
Sodium 513mg 22%
Total Carbohydrate 28g 10%
Dietary Fiber 4g 13%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 88g
Vitamin C 23mg 117%
Calcium 94mg 7%
Iron 8mg 45%
Potassium 1460mg 31%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

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 are great for feeding a large group and only requires one pot so think casual entertaining, tailgating, and potlucks.

And the bonus of cooking corned beef and cabbage is the leftovers: Cold corned beef on dark bread with mustard makes a hearty sandwich.

Before you begin, note that 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 of the directions.


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  • 3 1/2- to 5-pound corned beef brisket

  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste

  • 1/2 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 bay leaf

  • Spice packet from the corned beef package, optional

  • 3 quarts water

  • 2 pounds red potatoes, halved

  • 4 medium carrots, peeled and cut into chunks

  • 1 large onion, diced

  • 3 ribs celery, diced

  • 1 medium head cabbage, cut into wedges

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for corned beef and cabbage
    The Spruce / Victoria Heydt
  2. Place the corned beef, 1 teaspoon of the salt, pepper, bay leaf, and contents of the optional spice packet into a large pot along with 3 quarts of cold water.

    Corned beef in pot
    The Spruce / Victoria Heydt 
  3. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Turn down the heat to low and simmer for 2 1/2 hours.

    Cover pot
    The Spruce / Victoria Heydt 
  4. Add the remaining salt if needed, potatoes, carrots, onions, and celery. Simmer covered for 30 minutes.

    Add vegetables
    The Spruce / Victoria Heydt
  5. Add the cabbage wedges and cook for another 30 minutes or until the potatoes and vegetables are tender.

    Add cabbage
    The Spruce / Victoria Heydt
  6. Remove from the pot and let rest for 10 minutes, loosely covered with aluminum foil. Remove the bay leaf and discard it.

    Remove from pot
    The Spruce / Victoria Heydt
  7. Slice the corned beef against the grain and serve in a bowl topped with cabbage, vegetables, and some of the cooking liquid. Accompany with dark bread and mustard on the side. Enjoy.

    Serve corned beef
    The Spruce / Victoria Heydt

Recipe Variations

  • Variations on this recipe are limited only to what the chef prefers. A small peeled and diced rutabaga or a few turnips can 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 potatoes, carrots, and celery. Alternatively, try adding a few small peeled boiling onions.

The Origins of Corned Beef and Cabbage

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.