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Your pressure cooker is capable of creating corned beef with perfectly tender cabbage, potatoes, and carrots with the touch of a few buttons. This Instant Pot Corned Beef and Cabbage is an easy way to create this traditional St. Patrick’s Day feast.
From the day that I bought my very first Instant Pot I just knew it would be a master at creating Corned Beef and Cabbage. It took me a moment or two (aka a couple of years) but I got around to testing this recipe about a month ago and friends, I was right. This magical appliance continues to amaze me.
I think I’ve cooked this cut in just about every conceivable way. Each method has it’s own merits and your work schedule may make one or the other a better choice. If you are out of the house for most of the day my Slow Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage might be the way to go. Or, if you don’t own a pressure cooker and have time to babysit a pot on the stove there’s my tried and true Guinness Corned Beef which is done from start to finish on the stove.
But, if you’ve got a couple of hours to devote to your St. Patrick’s Day meal, I don’t think you can beat the end result of preparing your corned beef in the Instant Pot.
Regardless of the method, there are a few things to know about cooking corned beef that I’ll cover here. If you’ve got an Instant Pot, I hope you’ll give this pressure cooking method a try.
If you think this meal is a tradition in Ireland think again! It actually gained popularity with Irish/American immigrants in the 19th century and has become the meal of choice for many across the world on St. Patrick’s Day. Read all about why we eat corned beef on St. Patrick’s Day on Food Network.
Corned Beef Brisket vs. Corned Beef Round
You may see both of these cuts at your local grocery store and be confused in which to buy. So, here’s the rundown on the two cuts and some other information on corned beef in general.
I bought the Shenson Corned Beef Round pictured above at Costco and it is the one used in the preparation of the recipe for this post. This is the cut that I’ve seen in stock at both my old California and my new Oregon Costco locations but brisket cuts are widely available at most grocery stores.
There are several things that are true about both cuts:
- They are tough cuts of beef that come from the parts of the cow where the muscles get used the most.
- Both have undergone a long curing process in a salty, seasoned brine.
- They are typically large and will weigh in at 3 pounds or more.
- When prepared properly they will cook up to be tender and very flavorful.
- Both are an excellent choice for preparing a meal of Corned Beef and Cabbage.
- They typically come packaged with a small packet of pickling spices which you will need for this recipe.
So, what makes them different?
Corned Beef Brisket
The brisket is a flatter cut than the round with a much thicker layer of fat running across the top. It’s a tough cut that comes from the breast portion of the cow. The additional fat in the brisket results in a very moist, tender corned beef. Briskets can either be a “flat” or “point” cuts but you’ll more commonly run across the flat cut at most grocery store chains.
You can easily tell if you’ve got a flat or a point cut brisket just by looking at it. The flat cut brisket is somewhat squared off and a more even thickness from end to end than the point. The point will be just that – it is a bit thicker and will come to a point. It also has more fat running through it than the flat.
Corned Beef Round
The corned beef round is a thicker, leaner cut that typically has a very light layer of fat (see the images below). It comes from the rear of the cow. The slices of the round will be larger while the flatter brisket will have narrower slices. This cut also cooks up very moist and tender but I do think that the additional fat on the brisket cut gives it a bit of an edge as far moistness is concerned. It’s a small difference in my opinion and I love both cuts.
The bottom line – there is no one answer to what is best. It all boils down (ha!) to personal preference. Try the different cuts to find what you like best.
What Kind of Beer is Best for Cooking Corned Beef?
A dark beer with a rich, complex flavor like Guinness Draught will greatly improve the flavor of your corned beef and the resulting cooking liquid. That tasty cooking liquid is also going to impart great flavor to your cabbage, carrots and potatoes.
Another brand of stout beer will do the trick, but if it’s St. Patrick’s Day I feel we should be required to go with an Irish beer. It’s always Guinness Draught in this house.
How to Make Corned Beef in the Instant Pot
The process is a breeze so let’s get started!
Peel and cut an onion into 5 or 6 pieces and add it to the insert of a 6- to 8-quart Instant Pot. Add some low-sodium beef broth and garlic.
Place the brisket on top of the mixture, fat side up. Pictured here is my nearly 4 pound corned beef round.
Pour a bottle of Guinness over the top of the corned beef and sprinkle it with the pickling spices that came in the package.
Close and lock the lid and set your pressure cooker to cook on high pressure for 1 hour and 25 minutes. When the cooking time is complete, allow the Instant Pot to do a natural release for 10 minutes and then manually release the remaining pressure.
Use tongs to transfer the corned beef to a cutting board and tent it with a piece of foil to keep it warm. Use a slotted spoon to remove and discard the onions, leaving the cooking liquid behind in the Instant Pot.
Add the potatoes and carrots to the cooking liquid and place the cabbage wedges on top. Close and lock the lid. Set the Instant Pot to pressure cook on high for 5 minutes. Immediately release the pressure and transfer the cabbage, potatoes, and carrots to a serving platter or bowl.
I like to toss the cooked carrots and potatoes with a few pats of butter and place a few pats on top of the cabbage wedges. Season to taste with freshly ground black pepper and sea salt and wake up the veggies a bit with some chopped fresh parsley. Take care not to use too much salt so that the veggies will nicely balance the salty corned beef.
A little grainy mustard on the side is a nice touch. A loaf of crusty bread and a few bottles of Guinness is all you need to make this the perfect meal for St. Patrick’s Day.
Instant Pot Corned Beef and Cabbage
- 2 cups low-sodium beef broth
- 1 medium onion, cut into 5 or 6 chunks
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 11.2 ounce bottle Guinness beer (I used Guinness Draught)
- 3 1/2 to 4 pound corned beef brisket or round, with pickling spice packet
- 1 pound mini gold or red potatoes (sometimes labeled as Petite, Baby, or Bite-Size)
- 4 large carrots
- 1 small head green cabbage
- 3 tablespoons butter
- fine ground sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 1/4 cup whole grain mustard
- Add the beef broth, onion, and garlic to the insert of a 6- to 8-quart Instant Pot. Place the brisket on top of the mixture, fat side up. Pour the beer over the top and sprinkle the corned beef with the pickling spices. Close and lock the lid.
- Select MANUAL or PRESSURE COOK setting, toggle to HIGH, and set the time for 1 hour and 25 minutes.
- When the cooking time is complete, allow the Instant Pot to do a natural release for 10 minutes and then manually release any remaining pressure.
- Meanwhile, slice the core end of the cabbage off and place the cabbage cut side down so you have a stable base. Slice the cabbage in half and then cut each half in quarters. You should end up with 8 chunks of cabbage. Slice the potatoes in half. Peel and cut the carrots into large 3-inch chunks.
- Transfer the corned beef to a cutting board and tent with a piece of foil to keep it warm. Use a slotted spoon to remove and discard the onions, leaving the cooking liquid behind in the Instant Pot. Add the potatoes and carrots to the Instant Pot and place the cabbage wedges on top. Be sure not to fill the Instant Pot more than 2/3 full. Close and lock the lid.
- Select MANUAL or PRESSURE COOK setting, toggle to HIGH, and set the time for 5 minutes. When finished cooking, quick release the pressure.
- Slice the fat layer off the top of the corned beef (flat briskets will have far more fat than a round) and then slice the corned beef against the grain and transfer to a serving platter. Drizzle the corned beef with a little of the cooking liquid.
- Use a slotted spoon to transfer the potatoes, carrots and cabbage to the serving platter with the corned beef or to a separate bowl. Toss the veggies with butter, season to taste with salt and pepper, and garnish with parsley, if desired.
- Serve with grainy mustard on the side.