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The Best Corned Beef and Cabbage

The Best Corned Beef and Cabbage from Karista's Kitchen

I’m not kidding when I tell you this is the best corned beef and cabbage recipe.  I believe I’ve prepared corned beef and cabbage half a dozen different ways and this, by far, is the best method.

I know you’ll be surprised… but I don’t use Guinness.  GAH! I know. It’s sad. But the problem with using a stout beer like Guinness or a dark porter is that it can make the entire recipe taste bitter.  I’ve used Guinness Draught instead and although it’s tasty, still a bit too much bitterness for me.  If you love a traditional corned beef and cabbage, but not the bitterness of strong beer, try using an IPA.

The Best Corned Beef and Cabbage prepared with Pacific Northwest IPA from Karista's Kitchen

Beer is an excellent braising liquid for beef or pork. Not only does it keep the meat moist while cooking, it imparts a hint of flavor to the meat, complimenting the overall dish.  

However, the type of beer is key.  Most IPA (India Pale Ale) Beer is flavorful but some IPA’s can be on the bitter side so I’d recommend an IPA with a lower IBU on the bitterness scale.

I previously used a Ninkasi Total Domination IPA and one of my favorite IPA’s to use for this dish is, Deschutes Brewery Fresh Squeezed IPA – both giving subtle hints of complimentary flavor but not overwhelming the dish with bitterness or the heavy taste of beer.

Another key is to rinse, dry and brown your corned beef before cooking.  The browning process deepens flavor, especially when slow braising a large piece of meat in liquid.  I like my cabbage slightly tender but not completely wilted, so I throw it in at the last-minute and only simmer just until tender but not falling apart.

The Best Corned Beef and Cabbage using a Pacific Northwest IPA for excellent and balanced flavor. From Karista'

Sometimes I toss fingerlings or small new potatoes into the pot and sometimes I serve the corned beef and cabbage with mashed potatoes; depending on how I’m feeling at the moment (or what I might have on hand in the pantry).

Despite tradition, I never add carrots to the pot.  This is totally my personal food quirk (I have several unfortunately) but carrots contain a lot of sugar and when added to soups, stews or braised meat recipes, they add a slight sweetness to the dish.  For me, that sweetness doesn’t always compliment the other ingredients and often changes the intended flavor profile.  Instead, I roast the carrots and add them as a side dish to the corned beef and cabbage.  It adds a burst of color and a little caramelized sweetness to the meal, but not to the meat.

A traditional corned beef and cabbage wouldn’t be complete without a little Irish Soda Bread to compliment the dish and soak up all the delicious juices.  I make a traditional Irish Soda Bread with currants but I’m really loving this Mini Irish Soda Bread from my friend Caroline over at Taste, Love and Nourish.  She’s also got a Cranberry Orange Soda Bread and a Vegan Cherry Almond Soda Bread.  All so fantastic for your St. Patrick’s Day Celebration!

If you decide to make this recipe, keep me posted! Let me know how you like it. 🙂  Or if you have a question, feel free to send me an email.

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,


The Best Corned Beef and Cabbage

Serving Size: 6

The Best Corned Beef and Cabbage


  • 3 ½ - 4lbs good quality, flat cut corned beef
  • 1 (12ounce) bottle of IPA Beer (preferably one with a lower IBU)
  • 1 yellow onion, quartered
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves (optional)
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 head green cabbage, quartered
  • 1-1½ lbs. baby red potatoes, fingerlings or small new potatoes, washed
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped Italian parsley for garnish


  • Rinse the corned beef with cold water and then pat dry.
  • Heat a Dutch Oven or heavy pot over high heat and add a splash of oil. When the oil is hot brown the corned beef on both sides.
  • Add the beer, onions, garlic, spices and pepper to the pot and then add enough water to cover all the ingredients.
  • Bring the liquid to a boil, give it a stir to combine the spices with the liquid and then turn the heat down to a simmer, cover with a lid and cook for about 2 hours and 45 minutes.
  • Add the cabbage wedges and small potatoes and let it cook for another 15-20 minutes or until the potatoes are soft and cabbage is crisp tender.
  • Transfer the meat and veggies to a platter and keep warm. Place the Dutch Oven or heavy pot over high heat and reduce the cooking liquid until you have about 2-3 cups left in the pot.
  • Serve the corned beef, cabbage and potatoes with the sauce, sour cream and a side of roasted carrots. Garnish with chopped Italian parsley.
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  • Reply
    March 10, 2016 at 5:58 pm

    Oh sweet friend…how kind of you share those soda breads! Love those guys! This corned beef looks so yummy! I agree about the bitterness of stout beer in cooking. I so love the flavor of the beer as a compliment, but I also want to taste the flavors of the other ingredients as well. I’m an IPA girl! 🙂 Lovely post! 🙂

    • Reply
      March 11, 2016 at 8:10 am

      You’re so welcome Caroline! I love that you have a vegan recipe too! Funny, I learned to like beer while living in Arizona years ago… it seemed the perfect drink to temper the heat. Started off “light” and once I moved to the Pacific Northwest I graduated to IPA’s. 🙂

  • Reply
    Lori R.
    March 16, 2016 at 6:11 am

    Following your lead on this today! I need to adjust it a bit because I bought a smaller cut of meat, but thanks so much for the tips!

    • Reply
      March 16, 2016 at 6:47 am

      You’re so welcome Lori! I do the same when I’m cooking just for my husband and myself, although the only thing I don’t change is I still use the entire 12oz bottle of beer… minus one sip. 🙂

  • Reply
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