Corned Beef is the most delicious and flavorful entree, perfect served alongside potatoes and cabbage (or for making a delicious Reuben Sandwich)!
If you’ve never had it before, St. Patrick’s Day is the perfect opportunity to try corned beef. A brined beef brisket is simmered with seasonings (and a bit of Guinness) until fork tender. This classic Irish staple couldn’t be more delicious!
What is Corned Beef? It is a brine-and-spice-cured beef brisket. The curing process is what gives corned beef its characteristic pink color. The word “corned” refers to the large chunks or rock salt, called “corns” that are used in brining.
Typical spice mixes used for corned beef brining recipes include bay leaves, pepper corns and allspice. Some mixes may also include ginger, cinnamon or other warming spices. Nowadays, corned beef most often comes with a spice packet for you to use while cooking (and if yours doesn’t have the spice packet, pickling spices is a great substitution).
Brisket is a flavorful, though tough cut of meat that comes from the breast section of the animal. You can find corned beef in an oblong shape, but more commonly, it is triangular.
Corned beef typically has a thin layer of fat on one side. Don’t trim that off! It makes for better flavor. An oblong corned beef is a little nicer for making even slices. But whatever shape you choose, corned beef is easy comfort cooking.
How to Cook Corned Beef
Corned beef should be simmered until it is fork tender. To make corned beef:
- Place the corned beef a stock pot. Add the spice packet, a bottle of dark beer and enough water to cover the corned beef completely.
- Bring it to a boil and cover, cooking on a low simmer for 2 1/2 – 3 1/2 hours. This cooking time will vary depending on the size and shape of the corned beef.
- Suggested cook time is 45-50 minutes per pound. Ensure it is a low simmer. Check a small piece and ensure it’s tender.
- Once fork tender, remove the corned beef from the liquid and rest for at least 20 minutes.
While the meat is resting, add the vegetables to the corned beef water and simmer about 25 minutes. The water has tons of delicious flavor perfect for potatoes, carrots and cabbage. Toss them in butter, salt and pepper, and fresh parsley.
Corned Beef must always be cut across the grain. Look at the beef and you can see the direction of the fibers of the meat, you’ll want to cut the opposite way the fibers run for the most tender meat!
Instant Pot Corned Beef: You can also make Instant Pot Corned Beef using the same ingredients. Simply place the corned beef, 1 bottle of beer and 2 cups of water in the Instant Pot. A 3.5-4lb corned beef will need about 90 minutes (with 15 minutes natural release).
What To Serve with Corned Beef
More Recipes You’ll Love
- Corned Beef and Cabbage Slow Cooker Recipe (Video) – another easy way to make this meal!
- Corned Beef Hash (video) – just in case you have leftovers
- Boozy Shamrock Shake – perfect for St. Patrick’s Day
- Reuben Dip – my favorite dip
- Shepherd’s Pie – classic!
- 1 corned beef brisket 3-4 pounds
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 bottle dark beer optional
- 1 ½ pounds baby potatoes halved
- 3 large carrots
- ½ head cabbage cut into wedges
- 3 tablespoons salted butter or to taste
- salt & pepper
- ¼ cup fresh parsley
- Place the corned beef in a large stock pot. Add spice packet if your corned beef came with one (see note if you don't have one).
- Add one bottle of beer (optional) over corned beef and enough water to cover completely.
- Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cover. Simmer 45-50 minutes per pound (until meat is fork tender). Approximately 2 ½ -3 ½ hours.
- Once tender, remove meat from the pot and cover (reserve the cooking liquid, this will flavor your vegetables). Place corned beef in a 250°F oven to keep warm.
- Bring the corned beef water back up to a boil. Add in vegetables and cook an additional 20-30 minutes or until tender.
- Place vegetables in a large bowl and toss with butter. Add parsley to taste.
- Slice the corned beef against the grain.
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)