Everyone’s favorite St. Patrick’s Day meal, this Dutch Oven Corned Beef and Cabbage is loaded with flavor and great all year long.
This post has been updated from its original March 15, 2018 publishing with new content, photography, and updated recipe card.
Corned beef and cabbage is probably the most iconic of dishes for St. Patrick’s Day.
Fun fact: This is not an Irish dish at all. It’s an Irish-American dish. Made popular by Irish immigrants who had access to this (then) cheap cut of cured meat. They began serving it for St. Patrick’s Day and the rest is culinary history.
How to make Corned Beef and Cabbage
This is one of the few times I don’t prep all my vegetables first. I work on them while the corned beef is boiling and baking. But you do you.
Preparing the Corned Beef
Remove corned beef from its package. I always rinse the meat because there tends to be this congealed gooey stuff that rather unappetizing.
There’s usually a nice fat cap on one side, leave that. But on the other, there can be clusters of fat and such that can be trimmed away.
This will vary from package to package. Some years, there’s none, it’s pristine. Other years it’s like there’s two fat caps. This year I did trim some away with a sharp knife. This is a personal call.
After trimming the beef, place it in the Dutch oven and cover the entire thing with water, about 10 cups or so. Bring it to a boil over medium high heat.
As the corned beef begins to boil reddish-gray foaming film, which I call scum, will rise to the surface. Spoon this out and discard. Preheat the oven to 350 F at this time.
What is the reddish-gray foaming film when boiling corned beef?
So what is this scum?
That reddish-gray foam that rises to the surface as the corned beef boils is basically a mixture of sodium nitrate (used to cure the beef, giving it the reddish-pink hue), some additional spices that may have been injected with the sodium nitrate, and possibly a bit of boiled blood. Tasty!
You’ll want to remove this while cooking because gross! All in all, it takes about 30 minutes or so for all the scum to rise to the surface.
Once all the scum has been released and removed, add more water to cover the corned beef, as some may have reduced while boiling.
Add the seasoning packet that comes with the corned beef and the bay leaves. Cover, toss it in the oven and cook it for an hour.
After the hour, reduce the temperature to 300 F and bake for an additional 90 minutes.
Preparing the vegetables
Peel and chunk the carrots, quarter the onions and cube the potatoes. Place them all under corned beef. While you’re doing this, remove a cup of liquid.
Don’t cut the potatoes too small or you will end up with mashed potatoes by the end of cooking. If you accidentally cut them too small, don’t add them at this point. Save them for later. (See tips below.)
Put some rosemary down with the veggies and a sprig on top of the corned beef. Peel of the outer layers of cabbage and slice into steaks or wedges if your pot has the room.
Place the cabbage on top of the corned beef. I don’t submerge the cabbage, preferring to let it steam more than boil. Pour the reserved cup of liquid over the cabbage, just to moisten in for steaming. Cook for 90 minutes.
Remove the dish from the oven, plate up the meat and veggies, and enjoy.
Tips for making corned beef and cabbage in the Dutch oven
- If you like your cabbage completely soft, add it with all the other veggies as mentioned above.
- If you want crisper cabbage, do not add it with the other veggies. Replace the lid and bake for an hour. Then remove the dish from the oven, scoop up some liquid, place the cabbage on top, pour the liquid over and resume baking. Covered for 30 more minutes.
- If you diced your potatoes too small, you will want to add them the last 45-30 min of cooking time. You’ll have to disrupt most of the dish to get them under the meat, unless you’re adding the cabbage at the end of cooking, then it’s easy-peasy.
- If this last step of cooking the vegetables is too long you may increase the temp to 350 F, toss in the veggies, and cook for about 30 minutes.
- Once done, remove everything from the Dutch oven, save the broth for another use. We don’t dump liquid gold down the drain.
- You can skip the boiling method and go straight to the oven, there will be less impurities that rise to the surface, but remove any that have when adding the spices and lowering the oven temp.
Dutch Oven Corned Beef and Cabbage
- 7 qt Dutch Oven
- 4 lbs. flat cut corned beef with seasoning packet
- 10 cups water
- 1½ lbs red potatoes (4-6); halved
- 10 oz carrots (5-7); chopped
- 2 onions halved
- 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 head green cabbage sliced
- Rinse the corned beef and place in the Dutch Oven.
- Cover with water, about 10 cups.
- Preheat oven to 325°F.
- Bring corned beef to a boil, removing film from surface, about 30 minutes.
- Replace any evaporated water: add the spice packet and bay leaves.
- Cover and bake for 1 hour.
- Reduce the temperature to 300°F and bake for an additional 1½ hours.
- Remove one up of liquid; set aside.
- Nestle the onions, carrots and potatoes UNDER the cornbed beef.
- Add rosemary sprigs around the vegetables and one on top of the corned beef.
- Place the cabbage on top; pour the reserved liquid over the cabbage to moisten it.
- Cover and bake for 1½ hours. (See notes)
- Remove everything from the Dutch oven; allow the corned beef to rest for a couple of minutes before serving.
- Serve with the optional dipping sauce and enjoy.
Dipping Sauce for Corned BeefOptional dipping Mustard Sauce. Mix together:
- 8 oz sour cream
- 2 tbsp dijon mustard
- ¼ tsp sugar