My easy Instant Pot corned beef with cabbage and carrots cuts the cooking time in half and makes the perfect St. Patrick's meal.
For as long as I’ve worked at UCSD, I got to experience St. Patrick’s Day thanks to Bob, an Irish colleague who cooked a corned beef feast with cabbage, carrots, and potatoes for our entire department every year. Sadly Bob retired last year and we haven’t found anyone to take on the job. After baking the soda bread, I became nostalgic for previous St. Patrick’s Day celebrations and decided to cook a feast of my own. I turned to one of the oldest Irish cookbooks, Irish Food & Cooking by Biddy Leon and Georgina Campbell, for inspiration and made Instant Pot corned beef with a few accompaniments for dinner. The Instant Pot cuts the cooking time in half and makes it an ideal one pot meal!
- Corned beef: corned beef is brisket that has been cured in salt and spices. The meat becomes incredibly tender after curing. Buy one that’s brined but uncooked. Look for a dark red color which means it’s more fresh. Note the amount of salt on the packaging so you don’t go overboard when adding it. I didn't add any salt to for this recipe.
- Spices: each package comes with a little sachet of pickling spices and so use it for flavoring the meat. You can add in cloves, bay leaves, and crushed garlic for additional flavoring.
- Cabbage: I used a small head of purple cabbage for this recipe. You can use white cabbage or savoy cabbage.
Tips for Cooking Corned Beef in the Instant Pot
- I bought a 3 pound piece of corned beef which takes about 60 minutes to cook. Add another 15 minutes for each additional pound.
- If the meat is too large, cut it in half so everything could fit into the instant pot.
- Corned beef is safe once the internal temperature has reached at least 145 °F. Cooking it longer will make it fork-tender.
- Cook the cabbage and carrots separately from the meat as they don’t require a lot of time. If you cook them together, they’ll become mushy and become corned beef stew.
How to Cut Corned Beef
Look for the parallel lines of visible muscles fibers running down the meat as this is the “grain” of the meat. Always cut corned beef against the grain (perpendicular to it) instead of slicing with it. Cutting through the muscle fibers shortens them and makes it easier to chew.
How to cook the cabbage and carrots
After removing the meat, drain the cooking liquid through a fine mesh sieve and reserve 2 cups. Add the liquid back in the Instant Pot along with the cabbage and carrots. Cook them on High Pressure for 3 minutes and manually release the pressure. Transfer the cooked vegetables to a serving plate otherwise they will continue to cook in the hot liquid.
I was really happy with how the Instant Pot corned beef turned out. The meat was tender and salty which served as a nice contrast against the sweet cabbage and carrots with a sour cream and mustard horseradish sauce to bring everything together. I couldn't think of a more perfect meal to celebrate St. Patrick's Day and pay homage to Bob who fed us his corned beef feast and Guinness soda bread for many years!
Instant Pot Corned Beef with Cabbage and Carrots
- 1 8-quart Instant Pot
- 3 pound corned beef (cut in half if the piece is too large to fit IP)
- 1 spice package
- 6 garlic cloves, lightly crushed with the back of a knife
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 4 cups water
- 1 small cabbage head, core left intact, cut into 6-8 wedges (green, purple, savoy)
- 1 pound carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
- ½ cup sour cream
- 1 ½ tablespoons mustard with horseradish
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- ¼ cup chopped parsley for garnish
- Remove the corned beef the packaging and reserve the spice packet. Rinse the beef well under cold running water to remove excess salt and and pat it dry with paper towels.
- Place corned beef in Instant Pot. Add content of spice packet, garlic, sugar, and water.
- Lock the lid and pressure cook on HIGH pressure for 60 minutes. Let the steam naturally release for 15 minutes before manually releasing the rest.
- Open the pot and use tongs to transfer the corned beef to a cutting board. Let it rest for 15 minutes.
- Use mittens to remove the inner pot an strain the cooking liquid through a fine mesh sieve. Reserve 2 cups of cooking liquid.
- Put inner pot back in Instant Pot. Add cabbage, carrots, and cooking liquid.
- Lock the lid and pressure cook on HIGH pressure for 3 minutes. Manually release the pressure and transfer the cooked vegetables to a serving plate.
- In a small bowl, whisk sour cream ad mustard with horseradish. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- When ready to serve, slice corned beef against the grain into desired thickness.
- Serve sliced corned beef with cabbage, carrots, and sauce. Drizzle meat and vegetables with a little bit of the cooking liquid and garnish with parsley.