Guinness Corned Beef with Cabbage

What you’ll learn:

  • Using Guinness beer or an Irish Stout instead of water dramatically increases the flavor of the corned beef. The resulting sauce is dark, rich, complex flavor.
  • Beef brisket is usually packed in a solution of salts and preservatives – discard the solution and rinse beef before cooking.
  • Cooking in the oven, low and slow guarantees moist, flavorful, incredibly tender corned beef recipe.
  • Cooking the vegetables separately prevents the vegetable from overcooking and becoming mushy.

For several years, I used to work for Guinness, based in the San Francisco offices. Actually, I worked for their parent company, Diageo, working on a top-secret technology project and then moving on to their wine portfolio, helping them build their Internet strategy.

One of the perks of working for Diageo, was a trip to Scotland and London, and being immersed in the world of Guinness – from culture to dozens of recipes featuring Guinness as an integral ingredient. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to make a side trip to Dublin, but perhaps in the near future, with my family.

Since that time, I’ve learned to use Guinness in place of water, stock and wine in recipes. It adds a deep, rich, earthy flavor profile to the dish. Naturally, Corned Beef with Cabbage featuring Guinness was a no-brainer to test.

We normally associate eating Corned Beef with Cabbage during St. Patrick’s Day, and ironically, the dish isn’t distinctly Irish — it’s more an Irish-American tradition, something we made up to go great with copious amounts of beer.

So I thought it would be fitting to braise this Corned Beef in Guinness Beer, instead of water or the “stuff” that the brisket is magically suspended in inside the package.

The “stuff” is a solution of salt, seasoning and other preservatives that I really don’t care for. It’s also incredibly salty. I always rinse the corned beef well, getting rid of the solution and then pat dry.

Why is it called “Corned Beef”?

After all these years of enjoying Corned Beef several times a year, I finally had the bright idea to actually look up why it was called “corned” beef.  Is there corn involved in the pickling process? Did a “Mr Corned” exist and it was named after him?

It turns out after a simple search, it’s an easy explanation. The beef brisket used in making Corned Beef is salt and pickle cured and the salt pellets used resemble corn kernals.

Okay, that makes sense.

How to Cook Corned Beef Recipe with Guinness and Cabbage

For the Corned Beef – you’ll need dark brown sugar, 2 bottles of Guinness, pickling spice (only if it doesn’t come in your corned beef package, onion, garlic and of course the corned beef meat that’s been rinsed very well and then patted dry.

This recipe works well either on the stove, oven or slow cooker.

Cut the onion and the garlic in half lengthwise. You’ll just need these halves.

In a large pot, combine the brown sugar and the Guinness.

Add the pickling spice, either that you’ve purchased (recommended) or the packet that comes with the meat.

Add the onion and garlic.

Then slide and snuggle in the beef.

Look at that beer froth!

We’re going to slow cook the Corned Beef in the oven, but first, let’s give it a head start on the stove and bring the beer to a simmer. Keep an eye on this – beer easily bubbles over and it’s a pain to clean. Of course, you could completely skip this route and throw this baby in the slow cooker.

After the liquid begins simmering, we’ll cover and slip it into the oven at 300F for 4-5 hours. Low ‘n slow.

I flip the meat once during the half-way point.

For the vegetables, here’s what you’ll need: cabbage, red potatoes, carrots and *whispers* Mangalitsa Pig Lard!!! Okay, you don’t need Mangalitsa Pig Lard — you could use bacon lardons (a la Michael Ruhlman, which I’ve borrowed his technique for the cabbage). But if either option just seems over the top, regular ol’ cooking oil will do just fine.

Why not throw the vegetable in with the corned beef? Well, two very good reasons:

1) The vegetables really don’t need that long to cook – I want my carrots to taste like carrots, not overcooked corned beef sauce.

2) Vegetables cooked with the meat always end up looking all brown and sad. I want my carrots to look like carrots!

Cooking them separately allows me to cook the vegetables perfectly. I add in some of the corned beef sauce to flavor the vegetables – just enough for nice flavor.

Cut the cabbage into 8 wedges, the potatoes and carrots into 3/4-inch chunks.

You’ll brown the cabbage wedges on each side. Medium heat, just a few minutes per side.

Then flip to brown the other side.

Next add the potatoes and the carrots.

Pour in 2 cups of the Corned Beef cooking liquid into the pot. The liquid is incredibly flavorful and will do wonders for the vegetables. I promise you, this is way better than just boiling cabbage in water!

Cover and cook for 15 minutes. Carefully remove the cabbage (it should be done by now) and leave the carrots and potatoes to cook for another 5-7 minutes, until they are cooked through. You can check by piercing with a paring knife or fork.

The last step is to sprinkle with freshly minced parsley.

Slice the corned beef and serve with the vegetables. Spoon some of the cooking liquid over the meat.



Guinness Corned Beef with Cabbage Recipe

Servings: 6 Prep Time: 5 minutes Cook Time: 4 hours

Normally, brisket for corned beef is packaged suspended in some kind of brine loaded with preservatives and may come with a small pickling spice already. You want to make sure you rinse the brisket well, removing the thick brine. Pat very dry. You can use the small seasoning pickling spice in the package, or you can use your own spices.

You can use a slow cooker instead of cooking in oven.


For the Corned Beef

2 bottles Guinness beer (or other stout beer)
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 1/2 pound packaged brisket for corned beef, drained, rinsed well and patted dry
1 tablespoon pickling spice
1/2 onion
1 head garlic, halved

For the Vegetables

1 head cabbage
1 tablespoon cooking oil
4-5 carrots, cut into 3/4-inch chunks
1 pound of red potatoes, cut into 3/4-inch chunks
2 tablespoons freshly minced fresh parsley


1. Preheat oven to 300F. In a large pot, whisk together the beer and the brown sugar. Snuggle in the brisket, it should almost be completely covered by the beer (see photo). Add the pickling spice, onion and the garlic. Bring to a simmer on the stovetop, uncovered is best so you can keep an eye on it. Boiled-over beer is no fun to clean.

2. Once it begins simmering, cover the pot and place in oven to roast for 4-6 hours, flipping meat once during halfway point. Remove from oven. Spoon out 2 cups of the corned beef braising liquid to cook the cabbage.

3. To make the vegetables, cut the cabbage into 8 wedges. In a separate large, wide pot, heat up oil on medium-high heat. When hot, add the cabbage wedges and cook until browned, about a 3-4 minutes. Turn to brown the other side. Add in the carrots and potatoes. Pour in the reserved corned beef cooking liquid, bring to a simmer and cover the pot. Turn the heat to low and let cook for 10-15 minutes. Use tongs or a large spoon to carefully remove the cabbage and reserve. Continue cooking the carrots and potato another 5-10 minutes or cooked though (pierce with fork to check doneness). Sprinkle with parsley and plate up with the cabbage.

4. Slice up the corned beef and serve with the cabbage and vegetables. Pour a bit of the sauce over the corned beef just before serving.

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Comments 150

  1. Bryan Paul

    Mmm.. This is a must try. Thank you! I must interject on one thing as a beer fan.

    Many people hold Guinness to such high esteem, and while it certainly beats the Miller and Busch varieties of “beer”, there are much better stouts out there.

    I encourage everyone to experiment and try some, but my personal favorite is Samuel Smith’s Russian Imperial Stout. Similar consistency, but much better flavor!

  2. Melissa Gldstein

    Wow..This sounds fantastic! Usually I’m the only one who eats this but now I think everyone will enjoy this. Only I have to omit the carrots My Hubby is allergic..any other good substitutions for carrots?

  3. jennyblue

    my husband makes something very similar to this version. he rubs the brisket down with the brown sugar first, as well as adding some to the liquid. my addition was to add some honey to the brasing liquid after it has cooked for a while, to counteract some of the bitter. we also cook the carrots, cabbage and potatoes in the same pot as the brisket. i have never liked corned beef and cabbage until he cooked it in guiness for me! yay guiness!!

  4. SocialKim

    I usually slow cook my corned beef in Guiness but haven’t thought to add onion and garlic. They are two of my favorite things so this year they are definitly going in the pool with the rest! I am definitely using your cabbage recipe. Found corned beef at a tremendously great price this past week so I have one for the freezer and one for this week. I always wondered what the blood goo was all about in the package. Will rinse the beef this time so I can control the sodium better.

  5. Richard

    This looks like a winner and I will make it this week. When it becomes a hit with me I would like your permission to add it to my collection on my website. Of course I would acknowledge steamykitchen,com as the source.

  6. BeerWolf

    Maybe you could try parsnips?
    Similar sweetness but different flavour.
    They look like “white” carrots.

    Good Luck

  7. bonsmom

    this looks really delicious! what kind of pot/dutch oven are you using? it’s very pretty 🙂

  8. Melissa McNeil

    I just bought very nice corned beef Sat. Thank you for the recipe. I cant wait to try it. It sounds wonderful. I love the dish you cooked your brisket in, it is lovely. Thanks again for all you do for us. Especially the giveaways. I enter every day. I’m sure my facebook friends feel a little left out. If i post any thing any more it is about you and the giveaways. Several have thanked me for introducing your site to them. Kudos!

  9. SteamyKitchen

    Well thank you Melissa! btw, you don’t have to post on FB, as long as you’ve clicked “Like” (you only have to do this once) you’re IN with a bonus entry. 😉

  10. Erin A.

    Ah, yumm! That’s how I make mine too! I used a crock pot though.

    For dessert, I made a Double Chocolate Stout Cupcake with Irish Cream Buttercream last night and posted it to my blog this morning. DELICIOUS…the stout brings out a wonderful flavor in the chocolate. Check them out!

  11. Alisa

    How long would i cook it for in the crock pot, and would i have to cook on stove top or just add everything to the crock pot?

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  14. Jane

    I make a yummy Guiness Beef Stew, but never thought to make corned beef with it! Can’t wait to try it over the weekend in my slow cooker! thanks for the wonderful idea!

  15. Dee

    Darnit, guess everyone else wanted to try your recipe, too! All the uncooked corned beef brisket was out when I ran out to the groceries this morning so all I got was cooked (and flavored) beef brisket. Am toying with rinsing and then dumping it into the slow cooker all the same. ;p Gotta try this, the real way, when I can get some brisket.

  16. Amy

    My first corned beef. I just took this out of the crockpot and it is DELICIOUS. Tender, succulent, perfect. Thanks for the recipe!

  17. angie finnegan

    Just finished washing the crockpot…..this was ridiculously delicious. Love how you taste a hint of beer when eating the meat and so much better as far as the salt factor goes. We skipped the lard though and just used a drizzle of olive oil. This is a new tradition for us Finnegan’s. Kinda nice having some left over Guiness too….. 🙂


  18. Gail

    OMG! This is the best corned beef recipe ever! I cooked the meat in my 6Q slow cooker – 3 lb brisket took 4 hours on HIGH from start to finish. I had planned for another hour, but once I stuck the meat thermometer in, it was already up to 170F, so we ate early! My sweet Irish husband’s eyes were bugging out of his head. And they were smiling, too. Unfortunately, for him, he’s a vegetarian, so he had to endure the enticing aroma that filled our house, while I oooohed and aaaaahed at the marvel(s) on my plate. If ever anything could have enticed him away from his 40-year vegetarian diet, this dish would have done it. Oh, and the cabbage was fantastic. Not just a side dish here. I browned it separately in a chef’s pan, then added the potatoes (no carrots, only because I forgot to buy them), and the meat broth, and cooked for 15 minutes. Then I removed the cabbage and cooked the potatoes an additional 10 minutes. Perfect all the way around. I am so full, I can hardly move, but once I finish typing this, I’m heading back to the kitchen for just a little more. Thank you for a perfect recipe. My daughter, Shasta, turned me on to your site. Yum.

  19. Terri

    Thanks for the recipe. We have 3 teenage sons and they love Corned Beef. I make it weekly just for them in my crock pot. I use Brown Sugar and Apple Juice for the brine. Your recipe sounds wonderful and I am going to have to try it out. I never ever thought to rinse the beef before. From now on, I am going to rinse that sucker to get all of the sodium off of it. Thanks for all of your recipes & tips and Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

  20. Wendy

    I showed my husband this recipe and I had him at Guinness. We made this yesterday (we brined our own corned beef) and it was completely, insanely delicious! The beef was SO SO tender and chocked full of flavor. Cooking the vegetables separately with the Guinness broth was ingenious.
    We doubled the recipe; we’re huge spice lovers so we tripled the spices, 2-3 whole onions, 3 whole heads of garlic, S+P and garlic salt!
    This one is a definite keeper!

  21. Lamar

    This dish was awesome. Great tasting and so tender, not stringy at all. Thanks I’ll use this every St. Patty’s Day

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  23. Maggie

    I think there’s definitely a time and a place for cooking with Guinness but I have to agree with you that something a little more intense would go best with the strong flavors of this dish. I think Great Divide’s Yeti would cook well with this. It’s stronger and I think that hops taste on the end would cut through the beef and go well with the salt. Maybe even Samuel Smith’s Oatmeal Stout?

  24. Homemade Sausage Blog

    I love the idea of cooking the veggies apart from the corned beef. I’m sure the corned beef tastes amazing after being cooked in the guinness. I’m going to try it this way next time we have it. Thanks for posting.

  25. Carolyn

    I made this and will definitely make it again next year, but with a few alterations. Most of my braising liquid cooked off after I turned the corned beef so I’ll make sure my lid isn’t on too tightly, maybe just a little askew. The flavors were outstanding though so no complaints on that score! Also I’ll reduce to one half a head of cabbage.
    All in all, an excellent recipe!

  26. Jane

    Received oodles of compliments for this recipe – so my thanks to you! I did it in my crock pot all day on low. House smelled devine, and the corned beef was delicious. For my taste, I may put the pickling spice in a bag next time so I have less to strain, or indeed, I may reduce the quantity a bit. Was really amazed at how strong the smell of the brown sugar was — must have carmelized somewhat with the Guinness. Absolutely a recipe that is going in my keep file!

  27. Kathy Schleicher


    ABSOLUTELY STUPENDOUS!! Even those words don’t really describe how much my guys loved the recipe!!

    I’ve been making corned beef and cabbage, etc. for quite a few years, and several times a year. My guys like corned beef, so I like to cook it every once in a while for a change of pace. AND I learned how to make it from my very-Irish grandmother… But somehow my recipe never quite managed to come out as good as hers?! Well, thanks to you – I have found out her SECRET! BEER!!

    I didn’t add Guinness, but rather an old bottle (from Christmas 2009) of Heinekens lager I had found in the back of the refrigerator. The guys thought it would be “flat,” so they wouldn’t drink it and kept putting it back! Well, that bottle was added to the pot. I totally forgot to add the brown sugar, but that was OK, since two of us have diabetes. I added parsnips and celery to the veggies, too.

    Regardless, the meat and veggies turned out perfectly. The cooking liquid was DIVINE! All of us literally feasted for over 2 days on this delectable meal!

    Thank you so much for a great recipe!! (But then again, 99.99% of your recipes are terrific! LOL!!)

  28. Betty Ramsey

    I tried this last Sunday with great results. I have always been disappointed with my corned beef meals, the meat is not as tender as I would like. With this recipe, the meat was so tender and just delicious! My husband ate two helpings! I am elderly and had to sit down to deal with the veggies (I usually have to do frozen) but they turned out great with lots of flavor. My husband is enjoying finishing off the beer. Thanks…Betty

  29. Becky Barnes

    Wow this was really delicious! I must admit I am not a great cook, but this sure made me look like a pro! Instead of the pig lard I actually cooked the veggies with half a pound of fresh bacon. All the different flavor mingled so nicely together!Thanks for making me look good!

  30. Sarah Charbonneau

    I’m making this right now and it looks and smells amazing!
    Can’t wait to try it!

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  35. Karen M.

    Hi Jaden,
    For some reason I can’t get this recipe to print, neither with the icon at the top of the recipe, nor with the one at the bottom. When I click on these icons, it takes me to another page where it just says “Print”, and nothing else and it’s not a clickable link. I was able to select the recipe and print it that way but not with your links… By the way, I’m making it tomorrow and can’t wait – it looks and sounds spectacular!

    Any thoughts?

  36. Jill C

    This is how I always cooked my corned beef – I thought using water was such a waste. The only thing is I never used any brown sugar…does it make that much of a difference? For desert, try a Guinness float:
    3 scoops vanilla ice cream
    1 tablespoon brown sugar
    1/2 ounce Blackberry Brandy
    6 ounces Guiness

    Pour this drink on the side of the glass. Do NOT let the spout touch the ice cream. Top it with whipped cream and Garnish with brown sugar.

  37. Michele Mom of 9

    There is more than one type of fat? I thought lard was lard…

    And I always thought Corned Beef got its name from being soaked with peppercorns…thanks for the history and the recipe. We’re trying this tonight!

  38. Marty J

    I made this for supper tonight, & everyone LOVED it!! The general consensus was that it’s the best corned beef we’ve had in years!! I didn’t use the Mangalitsa Pig Lard to brown the cabbage, instead I just used butter & it turned out just fine.

    Thanks for the recipe, it will be our standard from now on!!

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