On Saint Patrick’s Day in my house, you’re guaranteed to find a corned beef brisket in the Instant Pot.
It takes just under two hours for the beef to cook to perfection, so it’s tender yet sliceable without falling apart. With a generous pile of pressure-steamed cabbage, carrots, and potatoes on the side, you’ve got a full Irish-American dinner to celebrate the holiday.
What Is Corned Beef?
Corned beef can be made with brisket or round, but brisket is my favorite since it tends to be more tender. If you’re lucky, yours will come with a nice fat cap on top, which keeps things extra moist.
The “corning” process is a salt cure, and the name comes from the large pieces, or “corns,” of salt. Salt curing is actually common to many countries, with roots in British, Irish, and Eastern European cuisine.
As such, it’s no surprise that Irish immigrants living in New York would often buy their corned beef from Jewish butchers, a fact that makes this dish all the more fun to serve in my Jewish-Irish/Mexican household.
Every year when March arrives, I buy at least two corned beef briskets from the grocery store. Like a delicate spring vegetable, they only seem to be “in season” (and also on sale) for a few weeks before they disappear from the shelves. I always stock away the extra in the freezer to enjoy a couple months later, when a craving strikes again.
How to Make Corned Beef Less Salty
When I cook my corned beef, I like to add one extra step to the process: a 12- to 24-hour, cold-water soak in the refrigerator.
This helps to draw out some salt from the beef, which is more to my taste (and leaves me feeling less puffy the next morning!). Rest assured, even with a full day’s soak, the beef is still well-seasoned after cooking.
Of course, if you don’t mind the extra salt, you can just cook your corned beef straight from the package after a thorough rinse under cold running water.
What to Serve With Corned Beef
For dinner, I like to serve my corned beef with a generous pile of steamed cabbage, carrots, and potatoes.
These steam right in the Instant Pot after you cook the corned beef. I’ll usually just start the corned beef in the morning, and then leave it on the “warm” setting until dinner time when I steam the vegetables. The cooked corned beef just hangs out in the Instant Pot on its “Keep Warm” setting all day long, without becoming overcooked. Once you steam the veggies, you can serve them plain, with a little cooking liquid ladled over them, or toss all of the veggies in butter and parsley.
What to Do With Leftover Corned Beef
If you have any leftover corned beef, consider yourself lucky—sandwiches are in your future!
For a lunchtime treat, layer warmed corned beef between slices of rye bread, with plenty of yellow or brown mustard. You can go all out and do it up Rueben-style with some melty Swiss cheese and sauerkraut.
More St. Patrick’s Day Recipes!
Instant Pot Corned Beef and Cabbage
For stovetop pressure cookers: Follow the recipe as directed, but decrease the cooking times to 47 minutes for the corned beef, and 3 minutes for the vegetables.
- 1 corned beef brisket (up to 4 pounds)
- 1 pound yellow waxy potatoes, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
- 1 pound carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch lengths
- 1 small (1 1/2 pounds or less) green cabbage, cut into 2-inch thick wedges
- 1 tablespoon salted butter or margarine (optional)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped parsley (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
Rinse the meat:
If there is a spice packet, set it aside. Rinse the corned beef under cold running water.
Soak the meat:
Place the corned beef in a large bowl and cover with cold water. Place in the fridge and leave to soak for at least 12 hours, or up to 24 hours.
Pressure cook the meat:
Transfer the corned beef to the Instant Pot, fat side up, and add 6 cups water. Add the spice packet to the water if there is one.
Secure the lid and set the pressure release valve to its sealing position. Select the Meat/Stew or Manual setting on your pressure cooker and set the cooking time for 55 minutes at high pressure.
The pot will take about 20 minutes to come up to pressure before the cooking program starts.
When the cooking program ends, let the pressure release naturally, completely. This will take about 40 minutes. A natural pressure release will ensure the most tender corned beef.
At this point, you can either open the pot right away to continue with the recipe, or leave the corned beef in the pressure cooker on its “Keep Warm” setting for up to 10 hours.
Transfer the beef and prepare the pot for vegetables:
Using tongs, gently transfer the corned beef to a carving board and tent it with aluminum foil. Wearing heat-resistant mitts, lift out the inner pot and pour out all but 1 cup of the cooking liquid (or 1 1/2 cups if using an 8-quart IP), and return it to the housing.
Cook the vegetables:
Place a wire mesh steamer basket inside the pot. Place the carrots and potatoes in the steamer basket, and layer the cabbage on top so that it will fit in the pressure cooker when the lid is on. It’s okay if the vegetables are slightly above the 2/3 “max fill” marking inside the pot, but they should not be piled far above the rim of the pot where it could block the pressure valve mechanisms in the pressure cooker lid.
Secure the lid and set the pressure release valve to its sealing position. Cancel the cooking program, then select the "Steam" program for 4 minutes at high pressure.
The pot will take about 15 minutes to come up to pressure before the cooking program starts.
When the cooking program ends, perform a quick pressure release by moving the pressure release valve to its venting position right away, taking care not to get burned by the steam.
Plate the vegetables:
Open the pot and, using tongs, gently transfer the cabbage, carrots, and potatoes to a serving platter. Or, if you like, toss the vegetables in butter, parsley, and 1/2 teaspoon salt, then transfer to the serving platter.
Carve the beef and serve:
Carve the corned beef to the thickness you prefer (I like about 1/3 -inch thick slices) and arrange it on the serving platter. Pour a little bit of the cooking liquid over the beef and vegetables and serve right away.