Corned Beef and Cabbage

Looking for the best food to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? Then let us show you how to cook corned beef and cabbage! Tender corned beef brisket is cooked with aromatic spices and paired with tender sweet cabbage. If you think you don’t like cabbage, then you need to try this cooking method! Whether it’s St. Patrick’s Day or any day, our easy recipe promises a hearty, flavorful dish that’s sure to become a family favorite.

Why is it called corned beef?

If you’re curious as to why corned beef is called that (it has nothing to do with corn on the cob), it’s because the salt that is used to cure the meat is typically large rock salt—also called “corns” of salt. The more you know! Because of this curing method, corned beef can be very salty straight out of the package. I’ve found that just rinsing it under cold water for a few minutes and scrub-scrub-scrubbing takes away a lot of saltiness, but if you’re looking to really remove salt, you can boil it in fresh water for a few minutes, then discard the cooking liquid before proceeding with the recipe.

Corned Beef and Cabbage

Is corned beef and cabbage a traditional Irish dish?

Even though you’ll pretty much find every restaurant in North America serving corned beef and cabbage today, it isn’t a very traditional Irish dish—it’s definitely more of an Irish-American invention thanks to the availability and affordability of beef cuts (specifically the tougher kind that are tenderized by “corning”) when Irish immigrants first moved to the United States during the mid to late 19th century. Chime in if I’m wrong Irishmen and women, but I doubt you’ll see any restaurants in Dublin serving up corned beef on St. Patrick’s Day (except maybe to sucker tourists).

Do I rinse corned beef before cooking?

We recommend it, unless you want salt to be the predominant flavor of your dinner! Corned beef is cured with large rock salt, and that makes the meat pretty salty straight out of the bag. Rinse the beef under cold water for a few minutes to tone down the salt.

Corned Beef and Cabbage

Is it better to cook corned beef in the oven or boil it?

In this recipe, we call for cooking the corned beef in the oven with pickling spices like whole cloves, whole allspice, mustard seeds, and peppercorns. Baking it in the oven with the spice blend gives the corned beef so much more flavor than boiling does!

Talk to me about this cabbage side dish.

Enough about the corned beef, let’s talk about this sautéed cabbage. It might seem like it’s taking second fiddle (or second Celtic instrument of your choice), but it’s really spectacular and worthy of the spotlight. It’s also mega easy to make. Just sauté up some garlic and onion, and then add the cabbage and some salt to help it wilt. Once it becomes brown, caramelized, and tender, you’re ready to serve. It takes less than 10 minutes to make. That’s my kind of side dish! I’ve heard a lot of horror stories about cabbage, but if you cook it well, it can be a delicious, sweet veggie side dish. The key is not to steam it (or, for the love of god, don’t boil it), and keep any cooking you do to it fast—the longer cabbage cooks the more sulfur is released, and that’s when you get that yucky, stinky cabbage smell and taste that foodie nightmares are made of.

Corned Beef and Cabbage

Tell me how to cook corned beef and cabbage!

  1. Rinse the corned beef and pat it dry with paper towels. Set the beef, fat-side-down, on a piece of foil in a shallow baking dish. Sprinkle with whole spices.
  2. Pinch the corners of the foil to create a boat that will catch the beef drippings. Bake at 350°F for 2 hours, or until fork tender.
  3. Towards the end of the beef cooking time, heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Sauté the onion and garlic until fragrant, then add half the cabbage and sprinkle with salt. Cook until the vegetables start to brown, then add more cabbage and salt.  Continue cooking and stirring until the cabbage is golden brown and tender.
  4. Scrape the whole spices off the beef. Whisk the mustard and brown sugar together, and spread it on top of the beef. Broil for 3 minutes, and then allow the meat to rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Serve with cabbage.
Corned Beef and Cabbage

How long do you cook corned beef in the oven at 350°F?

To get tender corned beef that melts in your mouth, plan on the meat spending around two hours in the oven. When the corned beef is ready, an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center of the meat should read 145°F. The meat may still be pink, but as long as the internal temperature is correct, it should be safe to eat.

What should I serve with corned beef and cabbage?

A St Patrick’s Day classic is to serve your corned beef with Irish soda bread, but you could also go the roasted potatoes route. If you need some more veggies, we recommend roasted or glazed carrots

Enjoy! Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Corned Beef and Cabbage
Corned Beef and Cabbage

Corned Beef and Cabbage

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes

Corned Beef and Cabbage is an Irish-American dish typically served on St. Patrick's Day, but delicious all year 'round!


For the Corned Beef:

  • 3 pound packaged corn beef (see notes)
  • 1 tablespoon whole cloves
  • 1 tablespoon whole allspice berries
  • 1 tablespoon mustard seeds
  • 1 tablespoon peppercorns
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

For the Cabbage:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 head cabbage, outer leaves removed, sliced
  • Salt, to taste


For the Corned Beef:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Remove the corned beef from the package, and discard seasoning packet. Rinse the corned beef under cold water and scrub, until the corning solution is removed. Pat the corned beef dry with paper towels, and then place the beef, fat side down, on a large piece of aluminum foil set in a shallow baking dish.
  3. Mix together the cloves, allspice berries, mustard seeds, and peppercorns in a small bowl. Sprinkle the mixture over the top of the corned beef.
  4. Pull together the sides of the aluminum foil around the corned beef, to make a package/boat for the drippings to collect.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 2 hours, or until the meat is fork tender.
  6. Remove corned beef from oven, preheat broiler, and unwrap the foil. Scrape off the majority of the whole spices. Mix together the mustard and brown sugar in a small bowl, and then spread on top of the corned beef. Place under broiler and cook until the topping is browned and bubbly, about three minutes. Remove beef from oven, transfer to a carving board, and then let rest for 10 minutes before slicing into thin slices.

For the Cabbage:

  1. With 10 minutes left in the corned beef cooking time, heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add in the onion and garlic and cook until just fragrant and tender, about five minutes. Add in half the cabbage, sprinkle with salt, and spread into one layer.
  2. Cook until just beginning to tenderize and brown, about two minutes. Add in the remaining cabbage, sprinkle with more salt, and spread into one layer. Cook until cabbage begins to brown, about two minutes, and then stir. Continue stirring and spreading into one layer until all cabbage is tender and golden brown. Taste for seasoning and add more salt if necessary.


Most major supermarkets will carry pre-packaged corned beef in their meat sections. Especially around St. Patrick's Day, you'll probably find it on a display.

Three pounds might seem like a ton of meat to serve only six people, but in the oven, the corned beef can lose half it's weight or even more.

No need to stress about getting each and every peppercorn off the top of the corned beef before putting the mustard glaze on. Just remove most of them—a crunch or two from a whole spice is part of the corned beef experience, in my mind.

Adapted from Simply Recipes.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1 serving
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 712Total Fat: 47gSaturated Fat: 15gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 25gCholesterol: 222mgSodium: 2602mgCarbohydrates: 29gFiber: 7gSugar: 16gProtein: 45g

At Wholefully, we believe that good nutrition is about much more than just the numbers on the nutrition facts panel. Please use the above information as only a small part of what helps you decide what foods are nourishing for you.

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  1. awwwww, i loved hearing you talk about your love for your husband!! so sweet! blessings to y’all and your sweet girl!!

  2. Happy anniversary!

    On Sunday night my boyfriend made a delicious corned beef dinner with cabbage. It was really good.

  3. I’m Irish (born and bred in Dublin as opposed to the American definition of Irish), and corned beef (or ham) and cabbage is a speciality of my Grandparents. I ate it almost every time I had dinner at their house! It must be served with copious amounts of brown sauce, and the cabbage is best mashed up with some potatoes. You are right though, I would be very surprised if I found that on a menu in a restaurant, and I don’t think it’s a staple in every household 🙂

  4. Happy Anniversary!
    And thanks for clearing up the whole corned beef mystery. Corned beef here is completely different (comes in tins, doesn’t look anything like yours!) and I could never work out why what was Irish about it. Now I know!