Slow Cooker Corned Beef

5 from 2 votes
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Enjoy rich, succulent slices of slow cooker corned beef complete with a side of tender potatoes and savory onions. This recipe takes only 5 minutes of prep before your slow cooker does the rest!

Sliced corned beef on a white plate next to a fork, with cooked onions in the background.


This juicy slow cooker corned beef is the best hands-free method for cooking brisket that’s fall-apart tender and full of flavor. With just three ingredients and a few minutes to prepare, you can leave the rest to your slow cooker or crock pot! There’s even the option to toss in some chopped cabbage toward the end, for easy corned beef and cabbage, complete with a side of tender potatoes and flavorful onions. If you’re looking for an effortless dinner recipe to make for St. Patrick’s Day, it’s time to get out your slow cooker.

Why You’ll Love This Slow Cooker Corned Beef Recipe

  • Hands-free. This one-pot recipe for slow cooker corned beef comes out succulent and tender, with hardly any effort.
  • 3 ingredients. It’s as easy as adding your beef, potatoes, and onions to the pot with a bit of water.
  • Low and slow. Slow cooking is one of the best ways to cook brisket. Set your crock pot to cook in the morning and return hours later to the softest, most flavorful beef.
Sliced corned beef next to cooked onions on a wooden cutting board.

What Exactly Is Corned Beef?

Corned beef is the flat part of a brisket that’s been salt-cured. Traditional salt beef recipes hail from a time before refrigeration when curing in brine was the best way to preserve meat. The term “corned” actually refers to the large grains of rock salt used in the curing process. 

You don’t need to be Irish, and it doesn’t have to be St. Patrick’s Day to enjoy juicy corned beef! If you’re looking for more delicious cooking methods, try my Instant Pot corned beef and cabbage, and this easy sous vide corned beef.

Recipe Ingredients

You only need 3 easy ingredients to make this juicy slow cooker beef recipe. Be sure to scroll to the recipe card below the post for the full measurements and recipe details.

  • Corned Beef Brisket – You’ll find flat-cut beef brisket in most major supermarkets, or you can ask your local butcher. The corned beef you’ll find in stores often includes a packet of pickling spices that you’ll add to the slow cooker to flavor the meat.
  • Onion – Any variety of white or yellow onion, chopped into cubes.
  • Potatoes – Good choices for slow cooking are waxy potato varieties like red potatoes, yellow potatoes, or fingerling potatoes. 

How to Make Slow Cooker Corned Beef

You’ll find detailed instructions in the recipe card, but for now, here’s a quick overview of the easy steps to make corned beef in the slow cooker:

  • Prepare the beef brisket. Take your beef brisket and seasoning out of the packaging and discard any liquid. Place the beef directly into the crock pot, and sprinkle over the seasoning mix.
  • Combine and cook. Pour in some water, add the chopped onions, then cover and set the pot to cook on low for 8 hours. At the 4-hour mark, add your potatoes.
  • Add cabbage. This part is optional, but if you’d like to add cabbage, chop up the cabbage and chuck it into the pot for the last half-hour.
  • Serve! Once the cooking time is up, remove your beef, potatoes, and veggies from the pot. Slice up the beef, and serve.
Cooked corned beef, onions, and potatoes inside the slow cooker.

Tips for Success

Keep the following tips in mind for tender and juicy slow-cooked beef:

  • Don’t rinse the beef. Once you’ve removed your corned beef from the packaging and dumped the brine, you can place the brisket right into the slow cooker. There’s no need to rinse it first. 
  • Slice against the grain. The “grain” is the direction that the muscle fibers (lines) run in the meat. You’ll want to use a sharp knife to cut across the grain, not along it, for tender cuts of beef.
  • Use waxy potatoes. Baby potato varieties are better for slow cooking, unlike larger, starchy potatoes like Idaho or Russets, which tend to break down in the heat.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I place beef fat-side-up or down in the slow cooker?

Place the beef brisket fat-side-up in the cooker before adding the pickling spices and water.

Do I need to cover corned beef with water in the slow cooker?

Yes. Make sure your slow cooker model is large enough for the water to circulate on all sides, and the brisket to be completely submerged while it cooks.

Why is my slow cooker corned beef tough?

If your beef is tough coming out of the slow cooker, it could be that it’s overcooked or undercooked. A 3-4 pound brisket needs 8 hours on low, so check the meat for doneness after 7 hours and go from there.

Sliced corned beef next to cooked onions on a wooden cutting board.

What to Serve With Corned Beef

Corned beef is a delicious traditional Irish meal for any occasion. This slow cooker recipe comes ready to serve with potatoes and vegetables, but you can absolutely round out the meal with more tasty dishes. Enjoy this beef and potatoes with an additional side of potato bread or beer bread and a fresh tossed salad. Or, make it a holiday meal with cornbread stuffing and cranberry sauce. Don’t forget a slice of Irish cream chocolate poke cake for dessert!

Storing and Reheating Leftovers

Store this beef and vegetables together or separately in airtight containers. They’ll keep in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. To reheat, warm the meat and potatoes in the oven or microwave. Slice up leftover beef to use in sandwiches, or dice it to toss with oven-roasted potatoes for an easy corned beef hash.

Can I Freeze Corned Beef?

Yes! Freeze any leftovers airtight for up to 2-3 months. Defrost the beef in the fridge overnight before reheating.

More Easy Slow Cooker Recipes

Sliced corned beef on a wooden cutting board.
5 from 2 votes

Slow Cooker Corned Beef

By Erin
Enjoy rich and succulent slow cooker corned beef complete with tender potatoes and savory onions. This recipe takes only 3 ingredients and 5 minutes of prep!
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 8 hours
Total: 8 hours 5 minutes
Servings: 8 servings


  • 3-4 pound corned beef brisket

  • 1 ½ cup water

  • 1 onion, cubed

  • 1 pound potatoes, peeled and chopped


  • Open the corned beef brisket and dump out the liquid. Save the seasoning packet, and do not rinse the meat. Place in the crockpot.
  • Sprinkle the seasoning packet over the meat. Pour the water around the edges, and add chopped onion to the pot. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.
  • After 4 hours add the potatoes to the crockpot to cook with the meat.
  • If you want to add cabbage, coarsely chop and add during the last 30 minutes of cooking.
  • Remove everything from the crockpot and slice the corned beef to serve.


  • For a richer flavor, use beef broth.
  • You can use baby potatoes (slice in half) and leave the peel on, or russet potatoes and peel and chop.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 713kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 67g | Fat: 42g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 20g | Cholesterol: 240mg | Sodium: 117mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Author: Erin
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 5 minutes
Course: Dinner Recipes
Cuisine: American
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 713
Keyword: corned beef, corned beef recipe, slow cooker corned beef
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  1. I’ve always believed the key to really good corned beef is cooking it nice and slow. This recipe proves that because it’s really good!

  2. This corned beef was absolutely amazing!! Everyone wants me to make it again soon. It was a real hit and made our meal together special.

  3. We really loved the slow cooker corned beef! It was a delicious and comforting meal that I’m excited to make again. It’s definitely going to be one of my go-to recipes!

  4. This is one of my new favorite meal! So easy to make in a slow cooker and very little ingredients! And it was yummy!