Corned Beef and Cabbage


Once a year, come mid-March, we Americans enjoy the best excuse ever to make corned beef and cabbage, St. Patrick’s Day!

Never mind that the dish isn’t really eaten in Ireland, or at least not with the enthusiasm for it that you’ll find here. We’ll celebrate the day the way we like, and raise a toast with a pint of Guinness as well.

The traditional way to prepare corned beef and cabbage is to boil it, both the beef and the cabbage.

Several years ago my friend Suzanne introduced me to her favorite way of making the corned beef—speckled with cloves, slathered in honey mustard and baked, served alongside sautéed cabbage.

One day we cooked the dish both ways, boiled and baked. The winner?

The whole family agreed, the baked version, hands down.

But traditions die hard. So, here we present to you both versions, a baked corned beef with honey and mustard (blanched first to extract some of the excess salt), and a boiled version. Also we show two ways to cook the cabbage, boiled or sautéed.

By the way, when buying corned beef you have a choice between “flat cut” and “point cut”. Either cut will work with these methods.

The point cut will have more fat marbling throughout the meat, making it a more flavorful cut, but there will be more shrinkage due to fat rendering out of the meat, so you will need more to have the same amount of cooked meat. The flat cut is a leaner cut of corned beef.

(By the way, here’s how to cure your own corned beef.)

Enjoy and Happy St Patrick’s Day!

Updated from the archives. First posted 2009. 

Corned Beef and Cabbage Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 2 hours, 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 5

Corned beef is cured in a salt mixture, so it can be very salty, depending on the source. We recommend first bringing the corned beef to a boil in plain water, and discarding the water, (repeat for less salt), before proceeding with the baked version.




Corned Beef (baked)

  • 3 lbs corned beef (in package)
  • 10 whole cloves
  • 1/4 cup hot sweet honey mustard
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar

Corned Beef (boiled)

  • 3 lbs corned beef (in package, including spice packet)

Cabbage (sautéed)

  • Olive oil and butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large head of cabbage, sliced into 3/8-inch to 1/2-inch wide slices
  • Salt

Cabbage (boiled)

  • 1 large head of cabbage, sliced into 3/8-inch to 1/2-inch wide slices
  • Additional vegetables such as a couple carrots (cut to 1 inch pieces) or several new potatoes (quartered)


Corned Beef (Baked)

1 Lightly boil to remove excess salt: Take the corned beef from the package and discard the spice packet. Note that one side of the roast should have a layer of fat, the other side should have distinct lines indicating the grain of the beef.

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Corned beef can be very salty, especially when baked. To remove some of the salt before cooking, place it in a pot fat side up. Cover with water, bring to a boil, and discard the water. Repeat to remove even more salt.

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2 Top with cloves, honey mustard, brown sugar: Preheat oven to 350°F. Lay the corned beef, fat side up, on a large piece of heavy duty, wide, aluminum foil (you may have to get creative with the way you wrap the beef if your foil isn't wide enough).

Insert the cloves into the top of the slab of corned beef, evenly spaced. Spread the top with the hot sweet honey mustard. Sprinkle brown sugar over the top.

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3 Wrap in foil and bake: Wrap the corned beef with foil in a way that allows for a little space on top between the corned beef and the foil, and creates a container to catch the juices. Place foil-wrapped corned beef in a shallow roasting pan and bake for 2 hours at 350°F.

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4 Add more honey mustard, broil: Open the foil wrapping, spread a little more honey mustard over the top of the corned beef, and broil it for 2-3 minutes, until the top is bubbly and lightly browned.

5 Slice: Let rest for 5 to 10 minutes, then place on cutting board. Pull out and discard the cloves.

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Lift the corned beef up to see which direction the grain of the meat is.  Then cut the meat at a diagonal, across the grain of the meat, into 1/2-inch thick slices.

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Serve immediately.

Corned Beef (Boiled)

1 Place corned beef in a large (6 to 8 quart) pot. Cover the beef with an inch water. Add the contents of the spice packet to the water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer.

Simmer for 2-3 hours, until the corned beef is fork tender. Remove from pot to a cutting board. (Reserve cooking liquid for boiling cabbage, if you plan to boil and not sauté the cabbage.)

Cut slices across the grain, into 1/2-inch thick slices. Serve.

Cabbage (Sautéed)

1 Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil (enough to well coat the pan) on medium high to high heat in a large, wide pot (8-quart if available) or large, high-sided sauté pan. Add chopped onions, cook for a couple of minutes, then add garlic.


2 Add a third of the sliced cabbage to the pan. Sprinkle with a little salt and stir to coat with oil and mix with onions.

Spread out the cabbage evenly over the bottom of the pan and do not stir until it starts to brown. If the heat is high enough, this should happen quickly. The trick is to have the burner hot enough to easily brown the cabbage, but not so hot that it easily burns.

When the bottom of the cabbage is nicely browned, use a metal spatula to lift it up and flip it, scraping the browned bits as you go.

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3 Once the cabbage in the pan has browned on a couple of flips, add another third of the cabbage to the pan. Mix well, then spread out the cabbage and repeat. Add a bit of butter to the pan for flavor, and to keep the cabbage from sticking too much to the pan. Once this batch has cooked down a bit and browned, add the remaining third of the cabbage and repeat.

Serve with the corned beef. Serve with boiled new potatoes. Can be made ahead and reheated.

Cabbage (Boiled)

1 Once you have removed the corned beef from the pot, add the cabbage and any other vegetables (carrots, new potatoes) to the pot. Taste the liquid. If it is too salty, add more water to the pot. Raise the heat until the liquid is simmering well. Simmer until the cabbage and any other vegetables are cooked through, 15-30 minutes.

Place vegetables in a serving bowl, add a little of the cooking liquid to the bowl.

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Home Cured Corned Beef here on Simply Recipes

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Corned Beef and Cabbage

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Showing 4 of 235 Comments

  • Ms. Michael McKenna

    I love Corned Beef and Cabbage! This dish was derived from Imigrants from Ireland they didn’t have a lot of money and had to make due with what they had. They decided on a cheaper cut of meat, brisket, and boiled it like they used to in Ireland. So this dish is not from Ireland, the preparation is the same as they boil ham, but culturally speaking, this is an Irish American dish!

  • Ivana

    Thank you for the delicious recipe – it was getting to be the 11th hour and I finally decided to go with the bake method because it just sounded more appealing and freed up stove top space. My SO loved this and requested that I make this every two months (I replied that ‘sorry, once a year only’). Served this with sauteed cabbage (added a splash of Guinness to move things along), roasted carrots and Irish soda bread.

  • Lisa

    The baked corned beef has become a favorite tradition with us. Thanks so much for making each mid-March better! I rely on a lot of your recipes. This is one we especially look forward to!

  • Alison Brennan

    Here in Ireland the traditional dish is bacon (ham) and cabbage. We boil or bake the ham joint similarly to your recipe for corned beef. We bake the ham with cloves, and a glaze of honey and mustard. We also bake a joint of ham in this way at Christmas as an accompaniment to roast turkey. Today in Ireland (St. Patrick’s Day) the weather is beautifully dry and sunny. People are attending the parades all around the country – and some are possibly over indulging in Guinness!

  • Angela

    I lived in Ireland for a year. Not a single Irish person I knew ate corned beef and I never saw it on a menu. My Irish friends kept asking me why Americans ate it as an Irish dish so I did some research. Bacon and cabbage is a traditional Irish dish (which I did see while I was there), but when the Irish came to Boston long ago the bacon was too expensive and they substituted it with our much cheaper corned beef. So it’s an Irish-American dish – and quite a delicious one if you ask me :)

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