Learn how to make tender corned beef in the slow cooker with this slow cooker corned beef recipe. It’s an easy, lazy way to make the perfect corned beef in less than 5 hours. 

Easy Crock Pot Corned Beef

Last year, I made corned beef brisket with Guinness, and I didn’t really love it. Don’t get me wrong, I love Guinness, especially the Foreign Extra version, but the beer flavor took away from the corned beef brine and acidity.

So, I decided to make my corned beef sober. I asked my Facebook followers how they wanted me to prepare it, and (along with my husband in Afghanistan, whose vote counts twice) the Crock Pot preparation won hands down.

Making corned beef in the slow cooker is the easiest way to do it. Since corned beef is a tougher cut of meat, slow cooking it at a low temperature in the crock pot breaks down the connective tissue. The result is a tender piece of meat perfect for shredding or slicing. 

Before this bad boy was thrown in the pot, I seared it up on the stovetop to lock in the brine and juices. I wanted the beef to soak up as much flavor as possible before hours of cooking in the crock pot. 

Then, I didn’t go fancy at all, just some pickling spice, apple cider vinegar and water. Then, a splash of Worcestershire sauce accents the beef flavor amid all the acid. I thought it would take 8-10 hours to cook on low, but it was fork tender in 4 1/2 hours. 

Whether you’re eating this delicious slow cooker recipe on St. Patrick’s Day or a random weeknight, you’ll love this easy corned beef.

4 from 6 votes

Crock Pot Corned Beef Brisket

Slow-cooked in a crock pot, corned beef brisket becomes irresistibly tender, infused with savory flavors, perfect for a comforting meal.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 6 hours 10 minutes
Total Time: 6 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 4


  • 1 corned beef brisket, 3 lb
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tbls Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbls pickling spice


  • Season: Season the brisket all over with salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat and add the brisket to the pan.
  • Sear: Sear on all sides, about 5-10 minutes per side.
  • Cook: Place the seared beef in a Crock Pot (fat side up). Add the vinegar, water, Worcestershire sauce and pickling spice. Put the lid on top and cook on low for 4-6 hours.
  • Serve: Slice and serve with cabbage and potatoes or on sandwiches.


Serving: 1gCalories: 579kcalCarbohydrates: 3gProtein: 33gFat: 47gSaturated Fat: 13gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 26gCholesterol: 122mgSodium: 2798mgPotassium: 745mgFiber: 1gSugar: 0.5gVitamin A: 20IUVitamin C: 62mgCalcium: 42mgIron: 4mg

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

Additional Info

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Did you try this recipe?Be sure to rate it, leave a comment and save it so you can make it again. Show off your awesome results on social by tagging @zestuous

Ingredients for corned beef

  • Corned beef brisket: Typically found in the meat section of the grocery store, especially around St. Patrick’s Day. It’s a cured beef brisket, often with a spice packet included, but I discarded this. 
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil: Found in the baking aisle. Used for browning and adding richness to the meat.
  • Apple cider vinegar: Usually located in the condiment or vinegar section. Adds a tangy flavor to balance the richness of the beef.
  • Water: Used as a liquid component for the slow cooker, contributing to the cooking process.
  • Worcestershire sauce: Typically in the condiment section. Adds depth of flavor and a hint of umami to the dish.
  • Pickling spice: Often found in the spice aisle or near the pickles. It’s a blend of spices like mustard seeds, coriander, cloves, and bay leaves, providing aromatic flavors to the corned beef.

See the full recipe card for servings and a full list of ingredients.

How to make slow cooker corned beef

  1. Season: Season the brisket all over with salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat and add the brisket to the pan.
  2. Sear: Sear on all sides, about 5-10 minutes per side.
  3. Cook: Place the seared beef in a Crock Pot (fat side up). Add the vinegar, water, Worcestershire sauce and pickling spice. Put the lid on top and let the corned beef cook on low for 4-6 hours.
  4. Serve: Slice and serve with cabbage and potatoes or on sandwiches.
corned beef sandwiches on a baking sheet

How to serve slow cooker corned beef

Slice up the corned beef and serve alongside some cabbage and potatoes or on top of buns to make Reuben sandwiches.


Leftover corned beef can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. It can also be frozen for 2-3 months. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you reheat slow cooker corned beef?

Preheat the oven to 350F and place your leftover corned beef in an oven-safe dish with a little broth (beef, chicken or vegetable). Cover the dish with foil and cook for at least 10 minutes or until the corned beef is heated.

Where does corned beef come from?

According to Food and Wine, corned beef made its first appearance in the 16th century. Corned beef eventually made its way over to the United States when Irish immigrants came over during the Great Potato Famine in the 1840s. Now, corned beef is a St. Patrick’s Day favorite, along with Reuben sandwiches and Irish soda bread. 

What if I don’t have a slow cooker?

No worries. Just make the recipe like normal, but add the corned beef and the other ingredients to a large pot and cook on the stove for 2-3 hours or until fork tender. 

What else can I add to this corned beef recipe?

Feel free to add baby or large carrots, root vegetables, gold potatoes or cabbage to the corned beef. 

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Christie Vanover

About Zestuous

Hi. I’m Christie, the head cook and award-winning competitive pitmaster for Team Girls Can Grill. I have won multiple grand championships and have dozens of top ten category finishes. People know me as the girl who is forever hovering over a grill, smoker or campfire with tongs in one hand and a glass of wine in the other.

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Recipe Rating


  1. Revise my 1 star comment.
    @ low or high the brisket never boiled in the crock pot.
    When I put it in a regular pot, I boiled then simmered. After getting it to tenderness, which was probably 6 hours total, the sharp taste of the apple cider vinegar had smoothed out and it was a quite tasty recipe.

  2. Maybe the people telling you how wrong you are about searing and slicing should take a class on how to be a decent person.
    Good grief

  3. Sorry people are being grumpy/critical with their comments. Thanks for the recipe – I like the addition of the Worcestershire sauce. And a bigger THANK YOU to you and your husband for serving our country!

  4. Searing does not seal in juices, in fact, there is a slightly greater moisture loss. This was debunked a while ago. We are willing to exchange the slight moisture loss for the browning flavors developed by the Maillard reaction. For reference, start with Harold McGee’s On Food and Cooking.

  5. Well after the other very aware and cearly experienced comments, not alot needs to be added. unless your making sandwiches, cool the meat in the frige to ease the slicing and less hacking, less juice soaking a perfectly toasted bun. you can always heat abit to melt swiss or whatever cheese or sauerkraut. We have boiled, baked, slow cooked, the “BBQPIT” slow roast is by far the best way to prepare. We have corned beef at least 5-6 times a year.

    1. I just wanted to say thank you SO much for this flavorful recipe! I have made corned beef every year but the sear added color and texture, while the Worcestershire and vinegar added delicious flavor. I was out of apple cider vinegar and had to use red wine vinegar but it turned out great! My son was diagnosed w Chrons so we can’t do cabbage anymore. I have always loved the cabbage flavor, but your recipe w potatoes n carrots gave it all the extra pizzazz we were hoping for without making it watery or mushy. Slainte!

    1. Sorry,
      Did not like the taste of the apple cider vinegar. Takes away the traditional flavor of a corned beef brisket. Even after cooking 4 hours on low , it was tough. I had to transfer it to a regular pot.

  6. You slice corned beef against the grain to get a smooth slice instead of the stringy slices shown in your photo.

    1. Yep, I noticed that also. NOT the proper way to slice a brisket! Also, there is no way on earth I would EVER sear a corned beef brisket! Seeing that the brisket is going to be slow cooked in water searing it will do absolutely nothing to seal in the juices.