Dutch Oven Corned Beef

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Have you ever made a really good slab of Dutch Oven Corned Beef? Try this amazing recipe which creates fork-tender corned beef and cabbage that melts in your mouth! It's perfect on St. Patrick's Day, or any day in between.

corned beef and cabbage in a dutch oven.
Corned beef, cabbage, carrots and potatoes
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The History Behind This Dish

St. Patricks' Day is celebrated in the United States each March with green beer, four leaf clovers, and delicious corned beef and cabbage!

But, did you know that corned beef and cabbage is not even an Irish tradition? It's actually an American concept which came about when the Irish immigrated to the United States.

The immigrants couldn't afford to make their favorite boiled bacon, so they had to settle for a cheaper cut of beef brisket. The 'corned' describes the brining process, and the cabbage was thrown in the pot because it was an affordable veggie.

point cut corned beef brisket with cabbage, potatoes and carrots in a baking dish.
Dutch Oven Corned Beef is always fork tender!

Why This Recipe Is Best

Corned Beef is not exactly a tender cut of meat. It needs low and slow cooking to reach fork tenderness.

There are many cooking methods out there, but baking brisket in a cast iron dutch oven yields the most tender cut of beef. I use a 7 quart dutch oven (ad) which holds all of the ingredients perfectly.

When you add dark beer to the process, along with pickling spices and steak seasoning, it acts as a tenderizer and the results are amazing!

Baking it in the oven also produces a more tender beef brisket as opposed to boiling or cooking it in a crock pot. It's easy to cozy up with this meal on St. Paddy's Day, or any day of the week! Plus, the leftovers make great Corned Beef Reubens!

whole roast coming out of the oven.
Whole brisket before slicing

Ingredient Notes

For Dutch Oven Corned Beef, you'll need a flat cut or point cut brisket. The flat cut is easier to slice, and the point cut has more fat which makes it better for shredding.

The photos show a point cut brisket, because it was the only cut available. But, flat cut is usually easy to find, and either one works well in this recipe.

A spice packet comes with the beef, but I like to add steak seasoning for an extra layer of flavor. Some people add brown sugar, but doing so will make your veggies sweet. If you don't have a spice packet with your brisket, you can use pickling spices.

You'll also need a couple of bottles of dark beer, water or beef stock, onions, carrots, red potatoes and a head of cabbage to make this delicious one pot meal.

dark guinness beer being poured over corned beef brisket
Use Guinness or a dark beer for best results.

Instructions

Cooking Dutch Oven Corned Beef is so easy! All you do is add onion wedges to the bottom of the dutch oven, (ad) then arrange the corned beef brisket on top of the onions. Be sure to rinse and pat dry the brisket before putting in the pot.

Sprinkle the brisket with spices, then pour dark beer (Guinness), beef stock, or water into the pot until it reaches the top of the meat.

I like to start with a 350 degree oven to get things rolling for an hour, then reduce the heat to 300 degrees for 2 more hours. Turn the brisket over, then add carrots and potatoes to the pot and sprinkle with more steak seasoning.

Cook for another hour, then add cabbage and cook one hour more. That's a total of 5 hours of low and slow cooking for tender, corned beef bliss!

brisket sprinkled with pickling spices.
Dark beer tenderizes the meat and injects great flavor.

Recipe FAQs

How can you tell if the corned beef is done?

If you stick a fork in it and the meat falls apart, that's how you know the corned beef is done and considered to be 'fork tender.' Using the low and slow method for at least 5 hours also guarantees doneness.

Can this recipe be made without beer?

Sure! Just substitute beef or vegetable broth. But, if you do use beer, make sure it's a dark variety like Guinness. It adds richness and flavor that's unbelievable!

Can corned beef be cooked in a crock pot?

It can, but I've tried it and I like the cast iron dutch oven method better. If you do try a crock pot, make sure you cook it at least 10 hours on low for best results.

wooden spoon sitting over a baking dish with corned beef and cabbage.
Corned Beef and Cabbage is a delicious way to celebrate St. Patrick's Day!

Serving Tips

  • Make sure to slice the meat against the grain. To do this, lay the meat on a cutting board and look at which direction the grain is going. Move the cutting board around until the meat's fibers are going in a vertical direction. Then, cut across the brisket horizontally. This actually helps the meat be 'fork tender'.
  • Serve corned beef and cabbage with potatoes and carrots in individual bowls with a side of spicy mustard. Drizzle some of the juice over the meat. It's a delicious one-pot meal!
  • Leftovers are perfect for making sandwiches the next day. Create a grilled Reuben with corned beef slices, sauerkraut, thousand island dressing and swiss cheese on pumpernickel bread!

Corned beef and cabbage is a comforting meal any day of the year. It's not just for St. Patrick's Day, even though that's the traditional time to serve it. Try these other comfort food dishes from my kitchen to yours!

Recipe Card

corned beef and cabbage with potatoes and carrots in a blue dutch oven.

Dutch Oven Corned Beef

Try this amazing recipe for Dutch Oven Corned Beef which creates tender corned beef and cabbage that melts in your mouth! It's perfect for St. Patrick's Day, or any day in between!
4.95 from 19 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dinner, Dutch Oven, Main Dishes
Cuisine: American, Irish
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 hours
Total Time: 5 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 518kcal

*See notes in blog post for detailed tips, photos and instructions.

Ingredients

  • 1 large onion (quartered)
  • 2 to 3 pound corned beef brisket (flat or point cut)
  • 2 Tablespoons dry rub for corned beef (packet comes with brisket, or use my recipe)
  • 1 Tablespoon steak seasoning (optional)
  • 2 bottles dark beer (12 ounce bottles)
  • water or beef stock (as needed)
  • 4 large carrots (cut in wedges)
  • 6 red potatoes (quartered)
  • 1 small cabbage (cut in wedges)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Place onion wedges in bottom of dutch oven. 
  • Rinse and pat dry the brisket with paper towels.
  • Arrange corned beef brisket on top of onion slices.
  • Sprinkle brisket with dry rub and steak seasoning. Or, use the spice packet that comes with corned beef.
  • Pour bottles of dark beer and beef stock (or water) into the dutch oven. Make sure liquid level reaches the top of the meat. Cover with lid.
  • Place in 350 degree oven. Cook for 1 hour.
  • Reduce heat to 300 degrees. Cook for 2 hours.
  • Check liquid level at this point. If it has cooked down too low, add a cup of water or broth to prevent scorching.
  • Turn the brisket over. Add carrots and potatoes to the pot. Sprinkle with steak seasoning or salt and pepper. Cook 1 hour.
  • Add cabbage to the pot. Cook 1 more hour.
  • Don't skip the last two steps. Corned beef needs at least 5 hours of baking at a low temperature for the connective tissues to break down and create fork-tender beef.
  • Serve straight from the pot or transfer to a large baking dish and serve with spicy mustard. Be sure to slice meat across the grain for best results. 

Video

Notes

  • Use my Dry Rub for Corned Beef recipe if you didn't receive a spice packet with your brisket.
  • If your brisket is larger than 3 pounds, you'll need to adjust the cooking time. The best temperature for tenderness is around 200 degrees F.  Or, you can stick a fork in the meat after 5 hours and if it falls apart, it's done. If not, bake it longer, but definitely bake it as directed for at least 5 hours. 
  • You MUST slice the meat across the grain to create a tender cut. Look at the way the grain is going and slice across it. 
  • Using beer makes a difference in the tenderness. It acts as a marinade and breaks down the fibers. But, this recipe can be made without beer if necessary. Substitute beef or vegetable broth instead.
  • Serve corned beef and cabbage with potatoes and carrots in individual bowls with a side of spicy mustard. It's a delicious one-pot meal!
  • Use the leftovers to make Reuben Sandwiches the next day. So good!
  • View this story on how to make Corned Beef in the oven. 

Nutrition

Calories: 518kcal | Carbohydrates: 50g | Protein: 29g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Sodium: 1935mg | Potassium: 1849mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin C: 119mg | Calcium: 135mg | Iron: 6mg

Nutrition info is an auto generated estimate.

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68 Comments

  1. I can not wait to try this! Is it best to cook the corned beef fat side up, or fat side done for best flavor?

    1. Thanks Kari! Since this recipe requires you to turn over the brisket half way through, it doesn't matter which side you start with! Let me know how it turns out! 🙂

  2. The cooking time for this is way off! Luckily I checked at 2 hours and was DONE! 2.5-pound brisket was registering an internal temp of 165. Good thing I checked it. I managed to save it. The rub added a good flavor though.

    1. Hey Kath. The brisket really needs to reach a temperature of 200 degrees for it to be fork tender. But, if you found it to be to your liking after 2 hours that is okay. I always recommend that folks stick a fork in it. If it shreds easily, it's done. Also, the extra hours of cook time at the end is for the vegetables. I leave the corned beef in during that time because it doesn't hurt it to cook longer. In fact, as long as there is enough liquid in the pot, I think those extra 2 hours makes all the difference.

  3. 5 stars
    This is the best corned beef I've ever had in my life. Seriously. My brisket was done before I put all of the veggies in it, but I followed your instructions exactly and it turned out perfectly. I think if you're just baking brisket it may get done sooner, but you need the extra time for the vegetables to cook. Perfect! Thank you!

    1. Thanks Marie! You made my day! You're right, the extra time at the end is for the vegetables. If you're not adding vegetables to the dutch oven, then it's an entirely different recipe and may not need extra time.

  4. 5 stars
    I was never one to cook Corn Beef & Cabbage but when I started dating my new Boyfriend he had to cook it every St Patty's day & was always just okay not very tender so I had to make sure he didn't cook this year. I found this recipe & it was the best Corn Beef so tender & the flavors are just amazing. & yes the smell of my house as it cooked was just torture.

    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to leave this review! I'm so honored that my recipe was part of your St. Patrick Day celebration this year! 🙂

  5. 4 stars
    Very delicious, however it was a bit too salty. How much of your house rub was I supposed to use? Maybe I added to much.

    1. Hi Felicia. I use 2 to 3 Tablespoons of the rub and save the rest for later. It works great on other types of beef and chicken as well!

  6. Oh my Gosh! Best corned beef I've ever made! I'm keeping this one! Thankyou so much for sharing Debi perfect 👌

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