How to Make Corned Beef in a Crock Pot

by | Mar 9, 2021 | Cook

Store-bought corned beef may be convenient, but it’s actually very easy to corn your own beef and cook it up in the crock pot or instant pot (pressure cooker). The results are healthier, even more delicious and you’ll be surprised just how simple it truly is.

Upclose shot of corned beef, cabbage and veggies in a crockpot.

When I was a kid, we always had store-bought corned beef every year on St. Patrick’s Day. It was an Irish American tradition we loved, in fact, if I remember correctly, we had it more often than just once a year.

I actually still love the store-bought version, but what I don’t love are all the chemicals added to the brining mixture.

Once I researched and learned how the process has been done for centuries (well before refrigeration), I gave it a try and I have never looked back!

After having made this great recipe dozens of times now, I’m excited to share my recipe and method with you.

Why I Love This Recipe

What I love about making corned beef at home, whether it’s in the crock pot, Dutch oven or instant pot, is that it’s so much better than the store-bought version!

This recipe is also very simple to do, it just takes a few days of thinking ahead before the day you want your corned beef brisket ready to eat. (But it’s not too hard to do that, we all plan well in advance for Thanksgiving, right? This is no different – only MUCH less work!)

This homemade version is so much healthier for you than the store-bought corned beef. We’re using real salt, zero nitrites or nitrates, and all good quality herbs and seasonings, so we know every ingredient that goes into this meal is real and healthy.

And WOW to the smell that fills your home the day you’re cooking it! This has got to be the best part. Smelling the corned beef as it slow cooks all day, then seeing that cooked meat when you add in the veggies, it’s just such a fun process and one that makes you hungry for dinner at that first whiff.

What Cut of Meat is Best for Corned Beef?

A large beef brisket sitting in a glass pan.

Traditionally, corned beef is made from brisket. This cut of beef will give you that iconic, tender, fall-apart thick strips of beef. But if you don’t have a brisket on hand (or you don’t want to splurge for one at the store), you can substitute a chuck roast and it will work fantastically.

In fact, the year I filmed this recipe video, our brisket was mistakenly turned into ground beef, so we used chuck and it’s just as good!

And while it won’t technically be corned “beef” any longer you can also use any venison, lamb or goat roast, too.  Just stay away from really fatty meats like pork.

Supplies Needed

A woman adding plastic wrap over a food-grade bucket with a corned beef inside.

In order to make homemade corned beef you’ll need a few supplies:

  • Container – You’ll need a large enough container to hold your roast and the brining liquid, this could be a one-gallon glass jar, a large crock, or even a food-grade bucket like I’m using here (we double, sometimes triple this recipe for our family!).
  • Weight – In order to keep the meat from floating above the brine, you’ll need something to keep it submerged. If you have large stone fermentation weights, these will work great as long as they’re heavy enough to keep your meat under the brine. Or, if you’re like me and all your weights are in use, you can simply use a dinner plate with a jar of water set on top.
  • Crock pot, Instant Pot or Dutch Oven – When you’re ready to cook, you’ll need one of these appliances/pots for your corned beef and veggies. Be sure it’s large enough to fit it all!

Ingredients Needed

Herbs, spices, seasonings, and a beef brisket. All the ingredients needed to make corned beef.

Corned beef is best when the recipe is followed exactly, but if you don’t have one or two of the ingredients listed below, you can make substitutions if needed.

  • Roast – As mentioned, brisket is the traditional cut and what we used for the photos for this blog post, but in the video, I’m demonstrating getting a chuck roast prepped for corned beef.
  • Salt – A high-quality salt is best, as this is the main ingredient in your meal. Using a good sea salt or pink Himalayan salt works great.
  • Spices – There’s no spice packet included with this homemade corned beef. I’m using a combination of herbs and spices such as whole peppercorns, bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, garlic, and more. The exact amounts are listed in the recipe card below. This is where the flavor is mainly going to come from, so try to use all the herbs and spices if possible.
  • Veggies – they don’t call it “Corned Beef and Cabbage” for nothing. You’ll definitely want to bulk up this meal with some root veggies (we love red potatoes and carrots) and, of course, cabbage.

How Long Do I Brine Corned Beef?

A beef brisket inside a food-grade bucket soaking in a brining liquid.

Your meat should brine anywhere from 3-10 days. This time will vary depending on whether you’re leaving the corned beef out at room temperature to brine, or whether you’ll be using the refrigerator.

You can brine your corned beef at room temperature for 3-5 days, however, if your home fluctuates much above 75 degrees F you’ll be better off utilizing the refrigerator and brining your meat for 7-10 days.

Brining Directions

Salt being added to water for a brining liquid for corned beef.

1. In a large stockpot, add one quart of water, 1 cup of salt, and all the herbs and spices.

Herbs and spices inside a pot of water to create a brining liquid for corned beef.
A wooden spoon stirring a brining liquid inside a pot.

2. Turn the stovetop burner on low and heat just enough to allow the salt to dissolve.

Water being added to brining liquid in a dutch oven pot on the stove.

3. Remove from heat and add in the remaining 1 quart of cold water to cool the mixture down. If the brine is still too warm, you can place it in the refrigerator until it is cool to the touch.

Brining liquid being poured over a brisket inside a food-grade bucket.

4. In your large crock, jar, or container that you’ll be brining in, add half the brining mixture, then layer in your meat and cover with the remaining brine.

A plate inside a food-grade bucket with a brisket and brine, holding the brisket under the brine.

5. Take a plate or weight and secure the meat below the surface of the brine, ensuring the meat doesn’t float above the liquid.

A woman adding plastic wrap over a food-grade bucket with a corned beef inside.

6. Cover your container and let brine in a cool area for 3-5 days. A root cellar, basement, cool garage, or a cool area of your home will all work great. If you’re not comfortable leaving the meat out, you can also brine it in the refrigerator for 7-10 days.

Crock Pot Corned Beef Directions

1. Once your meat has been fully brined, remove it from the brining liquid and rinse if desired.

A corned beef brisket inside a crockpot with brine being poured over it.

2. Place meat in a crock pot and cover with a mixture of two cups brining liquid with four cups fresh water.

A woman adding fresh potatoes, carrots and cabbage to a crockpot with a corned beef brisket.

3. Add lid and cook on low for 8-10 hours, adding in whole red potatoes and carrots for the last hour of cooking, and cabbage wedges for the last 30 minutes of cooking.

Corned beef, cabbage and veggies in a while bowl with spoon.

4. Remove roast from crock pot and slice, then return to the crockpot. Serve slices of meat in a bowl with potatoes, carrots, cabbage and more cooking liquid as desired.

Instant Pot Corned Beef Directions

There are other options when it comes to cooking corned beef. Here’s how to cook it in the Instant Pot (follow the same brining instructions above).

1. Once your meat has been fully brined, remove it from the brining liquid and rinse if desired.

2. Place corned beef onto the trivet inside your Instant Pot. Cover with a mixture of two cups brining liquid with four cups fresh water.

3. Add the lid, seal the venting knob and set to high pressure. Set the cooking time for 55 minutes.

4. Do a quick release, carefully open the lid once all pressure has released, then add in whole red potatoes and carrots. Seal the lid and cook on high pressure for 5-7 minutes (depending on the size of your potatoes).

5. Do a quick release again, carefully open the lid once all pressure has released, then add in the cabbage wedges. Seal the lid one more time and cook on high pressure for 2 minutes.

6. Quick release the pressure, allow to cool slightly, then serve slices of the meat in a bowl with potatoes, carrots, cabbage and more brine as desired.

Dutch Oven Corned Beef Directions

1. Once your meat has been fully brined, remove it from the brining liquid and rinse if desired.

2. Place meat in a Dutch oven and cover with a mixture of two cups brining liquid and four cups fresh water.

3. Cook on low, covered for 8-10 hours, adding in whole red potatoes and carrots for the last hour of cooking, and cabbage wedges for the last 30 minutes of cooking.

4. Remove roast from Dutch oven and slice, then return to the Dutch oven. Serve slices of meat in a bowl with potatoes, carrots, cabbage, and more brine as desired.

Did you make this recipe? If so, we’d love for you to rate this recipe below, then snap a photo and tag us on social media @homesteadingfamily so we can see!

A corned beef brisket inside a crockpot with brine being poured over it.

Corned Beef Recipe (Crockpot, Instant Pot, or Dutch Oven)

Corn your own beef at home, then cook up this delicious and easy corned beef recipe using a crock pot, Instant Pot, or a dutch oven.
4.27 from 15 votes
Print Pin
Course: Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: Irish, Jewish
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours
Brining Time: 5 days
Total Time: 5 days 8 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 373kcal
Author: Carolyn Thomas

Equipment

  • Crockpot, Instant Pot or Dutch Oven

Ingredients

  • 2 quarts water
  • 4-5 pound beef brisket or other roast, grass-fed if possible
  • 1 cup sea salt
  • 2 tbsp peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp mustard seed
  • 2 sticks cinnamon
  • 1 tsp whole allspice
  • 1 tsp coriander seed
  • 1/2 tsp whole cloves
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 4-5 cloves garlic or 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp thyme or savory
  • 3 whole bay leaves

Instructions

Brining Instructions

  • Mix 1 quart water with all spices and salt.
  • Heat and stir until salt is dissolved.
  • Add remaining 1 quart cold water and stir. Cool until brine is at room temperature or colder.
  • Pour brine over meat in a non-leaching container, or put meat in a gallon ziplock bag and cover with brine.
  • Seal bag, or place a weight over the meat so it doesn't float above the surface of the brine and cover with saran wrap.
  • Place in refrigerator for 7-10 days, turning meat every day or two. Or, store in a cool area of your home for 3-5 days, turning every day.

Crockpot Cooking Instructions

  • Remove roast from the brine, rinse if desired, then cook on low heat for 8-10 hours in the crockpot in a mixture of 2 cups brine and 4 cups water.
  • Add whole red potatoes and carrots for the last hour of cooking, and cabbage wedges for the last 30 minutes of cooking.

Instant Pot Cooking Instructions

  • Remove roast from the brine, rinse if desired, then place corned beef onto the trivet inside your Instant Pot.
  • Cover with a mixture of two cups brining liquid and four cups fresh water.
  • Add the lid, seal the venting knob, and set to high pressure for 55 minutes.
  • Do a quick release, carefully open the lid once all pressure has released, then add in whole red potatoes and carrots.
  • Seal the lid and cook on high pressure for 5-7 minutes (depending on the size of your potatoes).
  • Do a quick release again, carefully open the lid once all pressure has released, then add in the cabbage wedges.
  • Seal the lid one more time and cook on high pressure for 2 minutes.
  • Quick-release the pressure, allow to cool slightly, then serve slices of the meat in a bowl with potatoes, carrots, cabbage, and more brine as desired.

Dutch Oven Cooking Instructions

  • Once your meat has been fully brined, remove it from the brining liquid and rinse if desired.
  • Place meat in a Dutch oven and cover with a mixture of two cups brining liquid and four cups fresh water.
  • Cook on low, covered for 8-10 hours, adding in whole red potatoes and carrots for the last hour of cooking, and cabbage wedges for the last 30 minutes of cooking.
  • Remove roast from Dutch oven and slice, then return to the Dutch oven. Serve slices of meat in a bowl with potatoes, carrots, cabbage, and more brine as desired.

Video

Notes

  • Be sure the brine has cooled completely before submerging meat.
  • Be sure meat stays submerged below the brine the whole time it’s brining.
  • Feel free to use another roast or cut of beef. Even try lamb, goat, or venison.
  • The salt used in this recipe has been removed from the nutrition facts since it’s just used to brine the meat. If you rinse your meat after brining and don’t consume any of the cooking liquid with your meal, the sodium calculations will be accurate. If you don’t rinse your meat and consume some of the cooking liquid with your meal, the sodium will be higher.

Nutrition

Calories: 373kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 48g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 141mg | Sodium: 193mg | Potassium: 816mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 49IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 55mg | Iron: 5mg
Tried this recipe?We want to see! Tag @homesteadingfamily on Instagram.
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