This tender, beer-infused Instant Pot Corned Beef and Cabbage is the perfect way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Using the pressure cooker function makes it easy and convenient to cook a traditional corned beef dinner in less time. For a recipe without an Instant Pot, check out my Beer-Braised Corned Beef.
Since I got my Instant Pot, I’ve been having fun adapting and testing some of my classic recipes in it, mostly to see how the results differ using the pressure cooker function.
Being perfectly honest, I’ve found that I do prefer some dishes cooked with traditional processes. As I’ve said before, I don’t think my heart will ever stray from its devotion to slow-braises in my Dutch oven!
Many times, though, the dishes that have emerged from my pressure cooker have been just as well-enjoyed as their slowly-cooked counterparts, with an added bonus of the convenience of not having to watch a pot for 3 or 4 hours on the stove or in the oven. Our yearly Corned Beef and Cabbage dinner has been one of those.
Adapting my beer braised corned beef for the Instant Pot was one of the first things I had in mind when I bought it. We were not disappointed! The pressure cooker corned beef, infused with aromatic pickling spices and lager, was just as tender, succulent, and full-flavored as when I make it in my Dutch oven.
Making Instant Pot Corned Beef
As with most classic recipes I’ve adapted for the Instant Pot, I found that I needed more spices and less liquid than when I cook a corned beef on the stove or in a Dutch oven. I doubled my usual pickling spices from 1 tablespoon to 2 to infuse into the brisket, and only needed 4 cups of liquid total, as compared to 5-6.
Unlike other meats, I don’t recommend making Instant Pot Corned Beef with the minimum amount of liquid required for the unit (usually 1 to 1-1/2 cups). Corned beef can be very salty, and without adding enough liquid to reach to the sides of the brisket, you won’t draw enough of that salt out of the meat during the cooking process.
How Long Does it Take to Cook Corned Beef in a Pressure Cooker?
Instant Pot corned beef saves you about an hour of time, as compared to braising in the Dutch oven. In comparison to crockpot corned beef recipes, which can take up to 8 hours, it’s substantially quicker.
For a 4-pound corned beef (flat or point cut), we liked the texture of the meat best when cooked at high pressure for 85 minutes, with a 20-minute natural release. The meat was fork-tender, but still sliceable against the grain without falling apart. Adding about 15 minutes to the cooking process for the Instant Pot to heat up to pressure, the corned beef itself takes about 2 hours total.
Read about the difference between flat and point cut brisket in “Tips for Buying Brisket” from Cooks Illustrated.
We always make a corned beef around 4 pounds to ensure leftovers for sandwiches and corned beef hash, but if you make a much smaller brisket, it will likely need a shorter cooking time. Instant Pot recommends 70 minutes at high pressure for 2 pound briskets, with an abbreviated natural release.
Cooking Vegetables for a Pressure Cooker Corned Beef Dinner
Adding potatoes, carrots, and cabbage to an Instant Pot corned beef dinner is a breeze. I like to strain the cooking liquid after I remove the corned beef from the pot, and discard the pickling spices and solids. Then, I just add some of strained liquid back into the pot with the vegetables, and cook on high pressure for 3-4 minutes, with a manual release.
I love the flavor that the pressure cooker infuses into the vegetables from the beer-based cooking liquid. I don’t usually get that excited about boiled or steamed cabbage wedges, but I really enjoyed the flavor of these.
Serving Instant Pot Corned Beef
When the corned beef comes out of the Instant Pot, I like to place it in a dish with a bit of the reserved cooking liquid and cover with foil to keep the meat warm and juicy. When ready to serve, slice the brisket against the grain in 1/8 to 1/4-inch slices.
Check Out: Here’s How (and Why) to Slice Meat Against the Grain from Kitchn.
If there is a substantial fat cap on the corned beef, you might want to trim it down or remove it entirely before slicing. This is entirely a matter of personal preference. We like to serve the brisket with some of the fat left on.
When serving, spoon a little bit of the strained cooking liquid over the sliced corned beef on the platter, and offer guests whole grain mustard on the side. I sprinkle the vegetables with chopped fresh parsley for a pop of color and freshness, and sometimes, treat them to a light drizzling of melted butter.
Have leftovers? Try making my Corned Beef Hash and Eggs for breakfast!
Instant Pot Corned Beef
A tender corned beef and cabbage dinner, infused with the light flavor of lager-style beer and warm pickling spices. This recipe is written for a 4-pound corned beef using a 6-quart Instant Pot.
- 1 small yellow onion , sliced (use 1/2 if large)
- 4 cloves garlic , peeled and lightly smashed with the back of a knife
- 2 tablespoons pickling spice
- 2.5 cups water
- 4 pound corned beef brisket , rinsed
- 12 ounces lager-style beer (nothing too bitter)
- 1 pound tiny potatoes (about 1-1/2 inches in diameter), or red-skinned potatoes cut into 1-1/2 inch wedges
- 1 head cabbage , cut into 8 wedges
- 1 pound baby carrots
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley , for garnish
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter , melted (optional)
- whole grain mustard , for serving (optional)
Combine onion, garlic, pickling spices, and water in the insert of a 6-quart Instant Pot. Place the corned beef brisket, fat side up, on a rack on top of the onions. Pour beer over the brisket.
Seal lid and set the unit to HIGH pressure for 85 minutes. Let pressure release naturally for 20 minutes, then manually release the remaining pressure.* Remove corned beef and place on a dish or a cutting board, spooning a bit of the cooking liquid over the top. Cover with foil to keep warm.
Strain cooking liquid and discard solids. Return 1-1/2 cups of liquid to the Instant Pot and add potatoes, carrots, and cabbage wedges. (Reserve remaining cooking liquid.) Seal lid and set the unit to HIGH pressure for 3-4 minutes, depending on how soft you like your vegetables. Quick release pressure.
Slice corned beef against the grain. Spoon a little bit of the reserved cooking liquid over the corned beef slices on your platter. Sprinkle parsley over the vegetables, and if desired, drizzle with melted butter. Serve corned beef with mustard.
*Since the beer foams up in the pressure cooker during the corned beef cooking process, you might find that the initial force of manually releasing the steam (after the 20 minute natural release) causes some liquid to spray out of the valve. Sometimes it's happened to me, other times, it hasn't.
A little bit of liquid is fine, but if you release the pressure and find that too much liquid is coming out, re-seal the valve, and try releasing the remaining pressure again in another 5 minutes. Or, release the steam more slowly by turning the valve just until you hear a hissing noise and carefully holding it in that position (be sure to wear a heat-proof glove).
Read more about gradually releasing the steam in this article, section #3.
Some have recommended covering the lid/valve with a towel while releasing the pressure. Do not do this, as obstructing the vent can damage your pressure cooker and cause a safety issue.
To Glaze The Corned Beef (Optional)
This corned beef is also delicious served with my Irish Whiskey-Mustard glaze. The ingredients and directions can be found in my recipe, Beer Braised Corned Beef with Whiskey Mustard Glaze. After fully cooking the corned beef in the Instant Pot (instead of Dutch oven braising), follow the directions to "Glaze and Serve".