Today I’m sharing what will be your favorite Holiday main dish! Seriously! What could be better than making your Christmas dinner main dish ahead of time and serving the most scrumptious make-ahead Holiday Beef Brisket!

Our Christmas dinner is usually easy to make.

After a huge fancy brunch, lots of gift-giving, nibbling on cheese trays and hors-d’oeuvres, eating our weights in cookies, and time with family the last thing I want to do is make a complicated meal.

So I have several easy company-worthy dinners up my fur-cuffed sleeves to quickly and almost effortlessly put a gorgeous Christmas dinner on the table!

One of my favorite main courses is Holiday Beef Brisket. It’s a make-ahead-in-the-slow-cooker meal. What could be easier! I’ll show you how I make it!

This very Holiday Beef Brisket will be our Christmas meal!

HOLIDAY BEEF BRISKET- A scrumptious, slow cooker. make ahead, Christmas main course.

Just 3 ingredients and a bit of time will give you scrumptiously tender, full of flavor meat! I use canned cranberry jelly in my recipe. It makes it extra delicious!

Brisket loves to be cooked low and slow as it becomes soft and shreddable and its rich beefy flavor develops. Cook it in the slow cooker on low.

5 from 4 votes


A rich, shreddable beef with a holiday au juice. Make it in the slow cooker and make it easy!
Print Recipe


  • 3 1/2 pound beef brisket This is important- have your butcher cut the fat cap off of the beef brisket. If your butcher does not do this you can do it with a sharp knife.
  • 1 packet of Onion Soup Mix
  • 1 14 oz. can of cranberry sauce


  • Put the brisket in the bottom of a slow cooker. Mix the Onion Soup Mix and the Cranberry Sauce together with just a little water. in a medium size bowl. Pour the mixture over the brisket.
  • Cook for 6-8 hour on or until the beef is very tender and falling apart.
  • Take the beef out of the slow cooker and shed or slice. Wrap in foil and refrigerate.
  • Put the au juice in the refrigerator until the fat separates from the liquid and forms a cap. Take off the fat cap and discard and reserve the rest of the juice as a sauce in the refrigerator.
  • To heat: Add a 1/4 cup of the au juice over the beef brisket and heat in the microwave. Heat the remainder of the au juice and serve it on the side.


Make this main dish a day or two before Christmas or party and heat just before eating.
Adapted from Aunt Sue
Author: Yvonne @ StoneGable

Here’s what’s on the menu for Christmas dinner this year:

Most of these recipes I can make ahead and then put them together just before dinner! Easy-Peasy!

I hope you will give Holiday Beef Brisket a try!

HOLIDAY BEEF BRISKET- A scrumptious, slow cooker. make ahead, Christmas main course.
HOLIDAY BEEF BRISKET- A scrumptious, slow cooker. make ahead, Christmas main course.

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Recipe Rating


  1. The presentation of the brisket makes it look so elegant. Looks like you have spend hours in the kitchen. Must duplicate your effort this year.

  2. Love the simplicity of this meal! What are you serving for dessert and beverage? Thanks so much Yvonne and Happy New Year!

  3. The addition of the cranberry sauce is surprising. I will definitely make this over the holidays while visiting our daughter. All of your recipes look delicious and doable for most of us who are “home cooks”.

  4. Yvonne – shame on you girl ! You made me lick my iPhone screen !!! This looks like the most delicious meal ever. Definitely going to have this either on Christmas or the day after with snowflake rolls. Yummmm !! Hugs, Dorinda

  5. This is a dinner I look forward to cooking for family. Everyone loves brisket and the addition of cranberry sauce to the onion soup mix is a nice holiday surprise.

    Merry Christmas,

      1. What is the best thickness of the brisket to have for this recipe? I went looking yesterday for a brisket at 2 separate markets, but most seemed so thin to me…at about 1″ to1 1/2″. Thank you!

  6. I wholeheartedly agree, Yvonne. My mother spent the better part of the day in the kitchen cooking a turkey & ham with all the fixings. I like to keep it simple, as we tend to nibble all day and I want to enjoy my family.

  7. I agree with the others – this sounds delicious and so easy. I think this will be a perfect meal on Christmas Day! Thank you!

  8. I think I am placing this on our menu! Would love the recipes for the twice baked potatoes and the
    roasted root vegetables!!

  9. Am so excited to try this with the cranberry sauce. [We generally have roast pork, but this year we need a change!]

  10. Thank you for timely recipe. I went back and read instructions on your Pinterest site. The time was 6 to 8 hours low and slow in slow cooker. .
    Hope you and your family have a Joyous Family Christmas. Christ is the Reason.

  11. Thanks for sharing this easy recipe. I need to keep things simple for Christmas dinner and never thought of making a brisket in the slow cooker. I will definitely be saving this recipe.

  12. Yum, Yvonne! I love a good brisket. Here in Texas, we eat a lot of brisket. This is such a simple but delicious sounding recipe! So easy, I am definitely going to try this. Thank you!

  13. Yvonne, this sounds absolutely delish and the perfect entree I’ve been looking for to an easy family Christmas meal. I’m going to steal your ideas for the spring greens salad and some type of easy potato dish too, Just what I needed this morning to finish up my Christmas day planning! I’ve been so busy decorating my mother’s and son’s home for Christmas just now getting around to mine, so haven’t had alot of time to concentrate on food this year. So, thanks for all of your great Christmas ideas!

  14. I most certainly will try this recipe. We have turkey for Thanksgiving and at Christmas we want something more than ham. Thanks for sharing this scrumptious looking dish and the fact that it is easy to prepare makes it all the better 🙂

  15. This sounds so tasty and easy to make. I think the cranberry sauce with the onion soup will taste so good. I add cranberry sauce to a cocktail meatball recipe I use often. It is mixed with chili sauce, brown sugar and little lemon juice. I was surprised when it called for cranberries when I found the recipe. Lovely presentation. Have a wonderful Christmas with your family and new grandson.

  16. I am definitely going to be making this – it sounds and looks positively delicious! Could you please be specific with the type of cranberry sauce,? I didn’t realize there were several options since my family prefers gravy with the turkey – so I never had to purchase it.

  17. Hi Yvonne,
    Just wondering if I don’t have a slow cooker can I make the brisket in the oven, at a lower temperature in a covered pot?

      1. 5 stars
        You most certainly can. Keep your oven temp at 200 degrees and leave it in there for 8-10 hrs 12 uf you feel it isnt as tender as you’d like it to be.

  18. This does sound delicious ! Still not clear on the which kind of cranberry sauce. You had answered that there are two, but which one ? Thanks in advance for your answer. Can’t wait to make. Judy

    1. I read in a previous post she said either type your preference. I saw others used orange marmalade/red wine and grape jelly with chili sauce. Sounds like your imagination is the limit.

  19. I was looking for an easy recipe for Christmas dinner. Well I more than doubled the recipe and used two crockpots. It was absolutely delicious! Everyone raved about how great it was! Will definitely make this again!

  20. I am making this dish because it is easy and sound delicious . What other suggestions would you offer to replace the cranberry sauce ?

  21. I am about to make your Beef Brisket recipe and wonder if you could clarify the slow cooker setting?
    Should I use the high setting for 6-8 hours?

  22. Merry Christmas Yvonne…
    I within last three weeks have a really bad blood clot. Am new to blood thinner medicines; however, Cranberries I’m told interferes with the Warfarin.
    I really want to make the brisket…no standing etc. plus sounds really good …
    What might you suggest to use instead of the Cranberry sauce that I would have loved?

    1. I wonder if you could use grape jelly? It is used in a popular meatball recipe along with chili sauce, and you can’t tell what it is.

    1. Use the canned jellied cranberry sauce. I just made one yesterday and the jellied cranberries had whole cranberries in them. I garnish with fresh cranberries. But we don’t eat them.

      1. Thank you!, I used a can of whole cranberry sauce this time, it came out great,will try the jellied next time!Probably doesn’t matter either way! Thanks again,Laura

  23. I made this for dinner tonight, it was wonderful. The best brisket ever! Had a 2.5 lb. piece, used 1 packet onion soup mix, 1/2 can of cranberry sauce (leftover from Thanksgiving), 2 tablespoons of orange marmalade (the end of a jar), and a splash of red wine. Cooked in the slow cooker 6hrs. Served it with twice baked potatoes and green beans. Family loved it. Thank you, Yvonne, for a fabulous recipe. Will make this many times, I am sure.
    Merry Christmas !

  24. I made this yesterday, it’s in the fridge and will be heated up for and aftER church family dinner. Thnx for this recipe!

  25. I made this yesterday and it was really good. Next time I will add alittle more water to the soup / cranberry mixture or use less soup mix.

  26. Your crock pot beef brisket recipe looks amazing and is so easy, just have a question, is it cooked on high or low for 6-8 hours? With everything you do, how do you have time to be in a book club, yikes, you busy girl!! Thank you for your blog, I love reading it and I get so inspired!

    1. I love everything you do!!!thank you for so any great ideas.
      I love this holiday brisket recipe and imagine it is to be cooked
      on Low! Is that correct?

  27. This beef brisket recipe looks amazing! Just one question, do I mix the onion packet according to it’s directions on the box or just use one packet, a little water and the cranberry sauce?

  28. This sounds very good; I’m going to try it for Christmas night. For how long and at what power setting should I plan to warm it up in the microwave? And how many people does it serve?–Thanks, Jeanie

      1. Yvonne,
        Jeanie Gushee asked in the above text how long to heat up the beef in the MICROWAVE. Your response was 8 hours?. I believe 8 hours is the time in the crock pot.
        Minutes in the MICROWAVE, JEANIE.

        MY husband recently heated a piece of PIZZA IN THE MICROWAVE FOR 20 MINUTES INSTEAD OF 20 SECONDS…NOT A GOOD IDEA! ???

        1. LOL! Thanks for catching that. I heat it up in 2-minute intervals until it is hot. It also really depends on the wattage of your microwave. Just warm it up a little at a time so it is not cooking but heating.

  29. Hi Yvonne,
    I have made this recipe several times and, as you say, it is super easy and delicious! I made it for Christmas dinner last year and gave it a first time “trial run” three weeks before serving it up for Christmas. The first time, although the meat was delicious, the onions from the soup mix were still crunchy! So for Christmas I put the soup mix in a very small amount of hot water and let it set about 10 minutes to soften the onions… then I added it to the cranberries and finished off the recipe. The Christmas brisket was divine and the onions were soft and flavorful. I am not sure why the onions did not soften up the first time in my crock pot!But this is a simple and spectacular meat dish!!!Making it my Chritmas go to!!! THANKS Yvonne for another great meal!

  30. You say : “Cook for 6-8 hour on or until the beef is very tender and falling apart.” Do we cook this on low or high?

  31. Since this Christmas will be so different from Christmas past….no family….I’m going rogue with the dinner too. No turkey or ham for us! Quick question….jellied cranberry sauce? Thank you!

  32. Sounds delicious!
    My husband does not like onions. Will it have an oniony taste using the onion soup mix? If so is there another option I could use?

  33. The Beef Brisket recipe is a must try for me.
    Love your blog have made Nanas braised chicken,
    all are delicious..
    Wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas and Wonderful 2021!
    Keep well and stay safe.
    Love and Hugs Carol…

  34. Yvonne,
    I have used so many of your delicious recipes ober the years. The onion soup mix is very tasty but so full of sodium. Any idea on how to cut that down? Wondering if I can only do 1/2 packet and add a low sodium broth?

  35. This sounds so delicious! My mother and aunt used to make a similar roast back in the 50’s and 60’s before we had slow cookers. They made it in THE small appliance of that era – the electric skillet. I think my mother used a chuck roast. If I close my eyes and think about it I can still taste it how yummy it was. It was my favorite meal. What could be better?! Well…..adding cranberry sauce (one of my favorite things). YUM!!! Thank you, Yvonne.

  36. Yvonne, the first time you shared your brisket recipe I made it for our Christmas dinner. Absolutely delicious. The following Christmas, dinner was your brisket recipe again. This Christmas I’m serving brunch for my daughter’s family and relaxing the rest of the day. Merry Christmas and thank you for your incredible blog. I have followed you since the beginning.

  37. Thanks, Yvonne, for sharing your recipe! It is so easy and looks so delicious! I am going to make this over the holidays. We are not sure just what our Christmas dinner will be as it will be only my hubby and I. Our province is on total lockdown at the moment. We usually have roast turkey with all the trimmings for our Christmas dinner. This year it just might be a big chicken!

    This has been such a different year and our Christmas is really going to be different, too.

  38. You mentioned that you had several easy recipes for Christmas dinner. Would you please share you other recipes as well? I’m always looking for easy but elegant recipes for company.
    Thanks and Happy Holidays!

  39. Planning to make this recipe this year. The first time I made it, I waited too long to find a brisket so I used a beef roast. Probably a bottom round or rump roast. It was delicious. I plan to make again this year using a beef roast. I’ve also frozen the homemade whole berry cranberry sauce from Thanksgiving and used that to add to the roast rather than canned sauce ( I love the smooth version with the can lines!!). Thank you for such a wonderful recipe. I enjoy your blog. May God bless you and your family richly this holiday season. Jesus is the Reason for the Season!

  40. Can you make this in the oven? If so what temp? I have a 9lb brisket and want to make this recipe but I know it won’t fit in the crock pot what would he equivalent for the oven? And should I double the recipe since it is a bigger brisket?

    1. I’m sure you can make it in the oven. I don’t know what temp or for how long. Why not “google” cooking a brisket in the oven and see what you can find. Sorry, I can’t help you more!

      You might think about cutting the brisket in half and see if it will fit into your slow cooker. Or make it in two batches. If you make it all at once I’d use one more packet of the soup mix and more cranberry sauce. Let us know how it turns out if you make it.

  41. Hi Yvonne, I’m super excited to make this beef brisket. How many people does this serve? I am having my family over and want to make sure I have enough. Is it enough for 8 adults and a few little kids?

    1. It really all depends on the size of your brisket and how many other sides you will serving. This brisket will serve about 8. So I might make a bigger brisket. The other ingredients can stay the same. Hope this helps. You will love the brisket! Merry Christmas

  42. This brisket was so easy and delicious. My husband raved. I used a mix of leftover homemade and canned cranberry sauce. We are thinking of using this recipe when we make our homemade tamales. Love a super easy recipe that feeds a crowd.

  43. I am interested in beef brisket recipe. Question… is this cooked on high or low for 6 to8 hours? Thanks.

    1. Hi Linda, It depends on how big your brisket is and how hungry the people at your table are. I think this beef brisket would serve about 8. I hope you make it and enjoy it. You can freeze it too!

  44. Thank you for sharing your plan ahead list for the holidays. I share your love of lists! It’s the only way to truly be prepared, and enjoy the season. I am so excited to try your brisket recipe for the holidays! Please tell me if you use a can of whole cranberries, or jellied cranberry sauce?


  45. Love your brisket! Made it for Christmas following your recipe the first time you gave it out to your readers.
    Making it to bring to my sister’s Christmas Eve party.

  46. Yvonne, do you garnish with fresh cranberries or were those from the can of cranberry sauce? (whole berry cranberry sauce??)

  47. HI! You inspired me to try the brisket recipe. Does adding the cranberry sauce give the brisket a ‘sweet’ flavor when it is fully cooked?
    Thank you.

  48. 5 stars
    I have made this many times. I have also used a tri tip and cooked it low and slow in the oven. A maaaa zing! It is a go to for company. Thank you so much. Your recipes always get rave reviews

  49. What do you serve with this? It looks somewhat shredded and I am not certain if you would eat it by itself, add to a roll, or? Would it work for a buffet table? I am a California gal and we don’t do much with brisket.

    1. Yes, it is perfect for a buffet. You can also shred it all up and use it in a sandwich, but I like to serve it as a main course. You can serve it with mashed potatoes, cheesy polenta, scalloped potatoes, and a rice dish made with beef stock and maybe sauteed mushrooms and a bit of Maderia. Hope this helps.

  50. This looks amazing!! I will be making this on Christmas Day. Can you tell me the instructions for the Au jus gravy when making day of?
    Thank you!!