Easy Corned Beef Recipe

Cooked Corned Beef

Call me Corney, but I love this beef! A beloved tradition by many, corned beef on St. Patrick’s Day represents the spirit of this Irish celebration for all.

When it comes time to make this traditional meat, look no further for the best corned beef recipe. Its tender, flavorful slices are ever present at annual gatherings and hearty feasts during this festive time of year. I have been using this same reliable recipe for almost 2 decades and it’s perfect every time. My only mistake is never making enough!

Corned beef is just like turkey. Why? Because people only make it once a year! I don’t know why- it’s just the way it is. Is it hard to make? No. Is it delicious? Yes. And again, just like turkey, the only thing better than dinner itself, is the leftovers.

Cooked Corned Beef - corned beef recipe

What is corned beef?

The term “corned” basically means it is salted meat. Similar to a cured meat, like prosciutto. However where prosciutto is cured and dried, corned beef is cured but not dried, and still requires cooking.

As for the cut of beef, it is typically the brisket cut and often comes with the fat cap still attached.

How to buy corned beef

corned beef comparison

Not all corned beefs are created equal. Like many cured meats (bacon, sausage, etc.) most corned beefs are loaded with nitrates which are a known carcinogen. I do my best to avoid them, and you should too. It’s nitrates and their nasty comrades that give some corned beef its well known pink color, and also expands their shelf life to question amounts of time. (This also keeps the price down.) When you remove all that stuff, you end up with a less attractive, but more delicious, brown cut of beef. The choice is yours. I always opt for nitrate free when given the option.

What to serve with Corned Beef

Corned beef is really quite easy to make. It’s the fixings that bring it all together. I love a really good, spicy mustard and a side of cabbage. Or, you can make corned beef sandwiches, better known as rubens. There is something so craveable about thinly sliced corned beef smothered with melted Swiss cheese, covered in sauerkraut and mustard on Rye. Ohh… how I love a ruben. Thus, I always make double the amount of corned beef so we have plenty of leftovers!

Roasted Cabbage
This simple yet elegant side dish is a testament to the transformative power of roasting, turning ordinary ingredients into extraordinary culinary experiences.

With its hearty flavors and simple preparation, this corned beef recipe is a delicious way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Whether you’re serving it with a traditional side of cabbage or sandwiching it between slices of bread for a delicious ruben sandwich, this corned beed recipe is sure to become a favorite in your household. So gather your loved ones, raise a toast to tradition, and enjoy the flavors of this timeless Irish dish. Sláinte!

From Tough to Tender

Because corned beef comes in so many different thicknesses, weights and shapes, it’s not always easy to know when it is done. While the average time in this recipe is about 3 hours, there are variables that can impact that. It’s pretty easy to check it with a fork over so often and gauge its level of tenderness, but if you really want a perfect cook, a quick spot check with Thermapen ONE will make sure you’ve hit the target temp of 190°F (88°C). Brisket is a thick, tough cut, so once your corned beef reaches this internal temp, it still needs time for the collagen to break down which will happen during resting from carry over time.

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Pro Tips:

  • To make corned beef ahead of time prepare the meat entirely, let it cool completely, wrap tightly and refrigerate for up to 3 days. When ready to serve, slice cold and place into an oven safe dish. Drizzle with reserved cooking liquid or low sodium chicken stock. Reheat at 350°F until heated through.
  • Corned beef shrinks considerably! You should figure on about a 3/4 to 1 pound a person when buying it.
  • Use a very sharp knife to slice and always slice ACROSS THE GRAIN!
Cooked Corned Beef

Corned Beef

A beloved tradition by many, corned beef on St. Patrick's Day represents the spirit of this Irish celebration for all. Its tender, flavorful slices are ever present at annual gatherings and hearty feasts during this festive time of year.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours 45 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 55 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Irish


  • One 3 lb. corned beef brisket in brine
  • 16 cups cold water
  • 2 bay leave
  • 6 all spice berries
  • 3 whole cloves
  • Mustard for serving
  • A Large Dutch Oven


  • Preheat oven to 275°F. 
  • Rinse Corned Beef. Place beef in dutch oven, add all ingredients and bring to a boil on the stove top. Meanwhile, skim off any scum that rises to the surface. 
  • Cover and transfer to the oven for 3 hrs. It should be fork tender. If it does not want to split with a fork, let it cook longer. (If you have an instant read thermometer, the goal temp is 200°F + rest time)
  • If serving immediately, remove from liquid and set aside. Cover loosely with foil and let rest for about 20 minutes. If you are cooking in advance, remove from heat and let it come down in temperature in or out of the liquid, and then wrap tightly until ready for use.
  • Slice the meat ACROSS THE GRAIN into 1/4 inch slices. If you do not cut this meat across the grain, it will be chewy. To make sure you are slicing correctly, slice a piece and if you can break it apart easily, you are on the right track.
  • Serve with good quality spicy mustard


*corned beef shrinks considerably! You can figure on about a pound a person when buying it. Make extra for leftovers and make Ruben Sandwiches! 

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