Skip to Content

How to Make Corned Beef Brisket | 5 Ways

Learn how easy it is to make your own Corned Beef from scratch. You start with a beef brisket that gets preserved in a brine with pickling spices and then can be cooked in 5 different ways. The result will be a flavorful, juicy, and super tender Corned Beef dinner!

Corned Beef Recipe

It may be hard to find corned beef in the grocery stores all year round but come mid-March you will start seeing it in every grocery store. It will be featured on the specials menu at tons of restaurants, but now I can show you how to cook corned beef from scratch.

Don’t be nervous, it’s actually pretty easy to make! When I first started learning how to cook after I got married, I tended to stay away from roasts or any type of beef because I was afraid and not quite sure how to cook them.

However, as I got more confident and started to widen out, I started embracing beef and roasts, so if you have any reservations about that too, don’t worry you’ve got this. 

When it comes to cooking corned beef brisket, you can cook it from scratch which involves brining the meat, adding pickling spices, and then you have 5 different ways you can cook it

Or you can cheat and buy the pre-packaged corned beef and also cook it 5 different ways. Let’s get right into it.

What is Corned Beef?

Corned Beef with carrots and jicama

Corned beef is a beef brisket cured in a salt brine with pickling spices to give it some extra added flavor. When cooked properly corned beef is tender and will give you a salty yet slight sour touch due to the spices. 

So many people love to add stone-ground mustard to their cooked corned beef and is most commonly served with cabbage, carrots, and potatoes. 

You will find corned beef brisket at any good deli, and let me tell you that’s one amazing sandwich!

Why is it Called Corned Beef?

To be honest I didn’t know why corned beef is actually called corned beef considering that it’s a brisket. But after doing some research I learned that the word “corned” came from an old English word for grain or small pieces of hard things as small as a grain of salt. 

Corned beef got its name from the curing process used to preserve meat by covering the beef with large “kernels” of rock salt. The salt draws out the moisture and prevents bacteria from growing.

What Does Corned Beef Taste Like?

I always have a hard time describing what food tastes like, but I’ll do my best. 

Since corned beef is typically made from brisket, you might think it tastes just like regular roast beef, but that’s not the case.

Due to the brining process that it goes through it takes on a balanced taste of salty, a little sour, and spices. Don’t worry the briny flavors aren’t overpowering at all.

Pastrami vs Corned Beef

As we know so far corned beef is made from brisket, which comes from the lower chest of the cow.

Pastrami too can come from brisket as well, or it can come from the cow’s naval area. The naval cut is a fatty cut, which holds up well to a longer cooking process. 

Corned beef is cooked after it’s been salt-cured, whereas pastrami is seasoned using a dry spice mix, then it’s smoked and steamed again before it’s served. 

Pastrami and corned beef are often found side by side at a deli served on traditional rye bread with mustard. Mustard isn’t my favorite, so I always ask for my bread plain. 

Corned beef is not only famous for being on delicious sandwiches or served alongside cabbage and potatoes, but it’s also a super popular breakfast item. Is there anyone here who loves corned beef hash?? I do!!!!

What Makes Corned Beef Pink?

The Best Corned Beef Brisket

The key ingredient in giving corned beef its vibrant pink color, which is called the “corning” process, is to use Pink Curing Salt. 

Pink curing salt is made using sodium nitrate, which prevents food from going bad while it’s being stored. Curing salt is dyed pink so that it’s not mistaken for regular while table salt.

You can buy it online, at a specialty market, or a butcher shop. 

Sodium nitrate is used in curing other foods such as bacon, ham, and pancetta. High amounts of nitrates are not super healthy and some people choose not to have nitrates in their diets at all. 

As an alternative to using the curing salt, some people choose to add 1-2 beets to the boiling water when it comes time to cook the corned beef.

By adding the beets it will give you the pink color you want in your corned beef brisket. I personally haven’t tried this method, but if you have tried it let me know how it worked out.

Is Corned Beef Brisket Healthy or Bad for You?

Corned beef isn’t the healthiest option out there, but doesn’t mean you it isn’t ok for an occasional treat. I don’t recommend eating it every day but once and a while is fine. 

It’s not just corned beef but pretty much any type of cured meat really shouldn’t be eaten on a regular basis due to the nitrates.  

When treating yourself to this corned beef recipe and still wanting to stay as healthy as possible try to pay attention to your portion size.

Pre-Packaged vs Homemade Corned Beef

uncooked Corned Beef in baking dish

Whether you want to pick up a store-bought corned beef from the grocery store or even Costco, or you want to go ahead and make your own, both options will work and there are a few perks either way. 

  • In making your own homemade corned beef recipe you have more control of what actually goes into it.
  • Another perk of making your own corned beef recipe is that it can be hard to find all year round at the store.

So you may be better off getting a brisket and making it from scratch that way you can have it anytime you want. 

Something to keep in mind though is the brine can take 7-10 days so it’s not a super quick process, whereas if you make a store-bought corned beef you can have it much much quicker.

How to Make Corned Beef from Brisket

Slicing Corned Beef Brisket

I will explain in more detail below how to cook corned beef in 5 different ways but I will quickly give you instructions on how to prepare corned beef from a raw brisket. 

Here’s what to do: 

  1. Make a salty curing brine consisting of pickling spices.
  2. Marinate the brisket in the salty brine for 7-10 days, keep in the fridge. 
  3. Drain the brisket and cook using one of the following 5 ways until cooked and tender.

Which Cut of Corned Beef More Tender?

There are 2 cuts of brisket that are most popular when making your own corned beef brisket, or when buying it already pre-brined: Point Cut or Flat Cut.

POINT CUT – A point cut brisket is rounder, thicker, and has more marbling and fat, which means you get more flavor and is more tender. Brisket, in general, can be a tougher cut of meat, to begin with, so most people prefer the point cut due to it being more tender. 

FLAT CUT – The flat cut of the brisket is leaner and is easier to slice uniformly. When cooking corned beef in a slow cooker some people prefer to use the flat cut because it holds its shape better and shrinks less in the pot. 

So overall the point cut is the more tender and flavorful cut of brisket but that doesn’t mean the flat cut isn’t good either. Choosing the right cut of corned beef ultimately comes down to your personal preference but both of them will work and both will be delicious. 

If you can’t decide which cut to get, there’s an easy way to solve that problem…make both cuts of brisket! In my opinion, having leftovers is always a great idea, and what’s even better is you can make some homemade corned beef hash.

Brining Corned Beef

Now that we know which cut of brisket is more tender…it’s the Point Cut in case you missed that, let’s get into the brining process.  

I’m gonna start off giving you the recipe for the brine: 

  • 1 gallon water
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 2 tsp pink curing salt
  • 4 tbsp pickling spice blend 
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced 
  • ½ cup swerve brown sugar (use regular brown sugar if not eating low carb or on keto)

To make the brine:

  1. In a large pot add all the brine ingredients, place on the stove, and bring to a boil
  2. Once the brine has begun to boil remove from the heat and let it cool to room temperature. Once it’s cooled, place in the refrigerator until it’s completely chilled. 
  3. Place the brisket in a pot, or large flat container, then pour the chilled brine over the meat. You want the brine to completely cover the meat. 
  4. Put the meat back into the fridge for 7-10 days.

Do You Rinse Corned Beef Before Cooking It?

Rinsing the corned beef isn’t a requirement but I do recommend it. By quickly giving the corned beef brisket it will remove any excess salt remaining on the meat.

The brisket is soaked in a salt brine, so it will have plenty of flavors already, so don’t worry about washing away the flavor.

Seasoning Corned Beef Brisket

Corned Beef ingredients

Whether you are making a corned beef brisket from scratch or pre-packaged, we highly recommend seasoning at before cooking it.

As far as seasoning the corned beef it kinda depends on which way you’re cooking it and how much seasoning you like. 

The way I like to season it which is a little unconventional is after it’s been brined and ready to be cooked I sprinkle a little bit of garlic powder about 1 tsp and about 1-2 tablespoons of Montreal steak seasoning.

The reason for this is we like our corned beef to be a little crispy on top and the seasonings get nice and crunchy. 

Another way to season it is to add 1-2 tablespoons of the pickling spice to the corned beef. You could either sprinkle it on top of the corned beef or add the seasoning to water if you are boiling it, slow cooking it in the crockpot, or pressure cooking it.

5 Ways to Cook Corned Beef

Once your corned beef is seasoned, it’s now ready to be cooked. 

Again, it doesn’t matter if you choose to make your own corned beef from scratch or if you buy a pre-packaged one, you can follow any of the 5 ways below to make the most mouth-watering corned beef recipe you’ve ever had!

Corned Beef seasoned and ready to cook

If you have ever had any reservations on how to make corned beef, this article has step by step directions and lots of tips.

How to Make Corned Beef in the Oven/Baked

How to bake Corned Beef in the oven

Why Do It? – Cooking this corned beef recipe in the oven has always been my family’s go-to way. I like my corned beef to be crispy on the top, and broiling it at the very end is the best way to do that. 

How to Do It – For a 5lb brined corned beef brisket. 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 
  2. Place the corned beef into a large glass baking dish, or in a dutch oven. 
  3. Sprinkle 1-2 tbsp of pickling spice or Montreal steak seasoning over the meat. 
  4. Pour 4 cups of water or beef broth into the pan. 

How Long to Cook? – Cover with foil and cook in the oven for about 3 ½ – 4 hours. Check periodically and add water or broth if necessary to keep the brisket from drying out.

To crisp up the top, remove the foil at the very end and broil for 3-5 minutes.

Corned Beef cooking in the oven

TIP: If you are adding potatoes, carrots, or cabbage, add them to the pan at the same time as the corned beef. 

Do I Have to Cover It with Foil? – Yes. Keep the corned beef covered with foil, it will keep the corned beef moist and tender.

How to Cook Corned Beef on the Stove/Boiled

Why Do It? – Slowly cooking the corned beef on the stove gives you tender slices of corned beef every time. An easy way of cooking a brisket. 

How to Do It – For a 5lb brined corned beef brisket. 

  1. Place the corned beef in a large stockpot or dutch oven. 
  2. Sprinkle 1-2 tbsp of pickling spice or Montreal steak seasoning over the meat. 
  3. Pour 4 cups of water or beef broth into the pot. 
  4. Turn onto high heat and bring the broth or water to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cover. 

How Long to Cook? – Cook for 3 ½ – 4 hours. Add more water or broth to keep the corned beef covered.

How to Make Corned Beef in an Instant Pot

Perfect Corned Beef

Why Do It? – Instant Pot’s are all the rage right now and you can make so many recipes with it. This is an easy way to pressure cook quickly, while not having to be nervous about a pressure cooker exploding.  Using an Instant Pot is one of the quickest ways to cook corned beef. 

How to Do It – For a 5lb brined corned beef brisket. 

  1. Place the metal trivet in the bottom of the Instant Pot. 
  2. Add the corned beef to the pot, fat side up. 
  3. Sprinkle 1-2 tbsp of pickling spice or Montreal steak seasoning over the meat. 
  4. Pour 4 cups of water or beef broth. 
  5. Place the lid on, lock it, and close the vent. 

How Long to Cook? – Set on High Pressure for 90 minutes using a natural pressure release. 

TIP: If you are adding potatoes, carrots, or cabbage then remove the corned beef to a plate and cover with foil. Add the veggies and potatoes to the Instant Pot, seal the lid, and set to High Pressure for 4 minutes. Now do a quick release.

How to Cook Corned Beef in a Slow Cooker/Crock Pot

Why Do It? – It’s a slower way of cooking corned beef, but you can start it in the morning and come home after work and your dinner is ready. 

How to Do It – For a 5lb brined corned beef brisket. 

  1. Place the corned beef in the slow cooker. 
  2. Sprinkle 1-2 tbsp of pickling spice or Montreal steak seasoning over the meat. 
  3. Pour 4 cups of water or beef broth into the crockpot and place the lid on. 
  4. Turn onto low heat and cook for 8-10 hours. 

How Long to Cook? – Turn onto low heat and cook for 8-10 hours. If you are in a hurry cook on high for 4-5 hours instead. But cooking on low is my recommendation. 

TIP: If you are adding potatoes, carrots, or cabbage add to the crockpot about halfway through the cooking process. 

Can Corned Beef Overcook in a Crock-Pot? – Yes, it is possible to overcook corned beef in a crockpot. Try to stick with the cooking times suggested, and cooking on low will help it from drying out and becoming tough.

How to Make Corned Beef in the Pressure Cooker

Why Do It? – This is a little more of an older generation’s way of making a corned beef recipe. Pressure cooking can be a little scary but a lot of people still love it. It’s very similar to an Instant Pot. 

How to Do It – For a 5lb brined corned beef brisket. 

  1. Add the corned beef to the pressure cooker, fat side up. 
  2. Sprinkle 1-2 tbsp of pickling spice or Montreal steak seasoning over the meat. 
  3. Pour 4 cups of water or beef broth. 
  4. Place the lid on and lock it. 

How Long to Cook? – Set on High Pressure for 90 minutes. After the timer goes off, turn off the pressure cooker and allow it to rest for 10 minutes while still sealed. 

Remove the brisket and cover with foil until ready to serve. 

TIP: If you are adding potatoes, carrots, or cabbage then remove the corned beef to a plate and cover with foil. Add the veggies and potatoes to the Instant Pot, seal the lid, and set to High Pressure for 4 minutes. Now do a quick release.

Properly Cutting Corned Beef

Cutting Corned Beef

Not only is cooking a corned beef properly important, but cutting a corned beef brisket the right way is just as important too. 

TIP: Always slice the corned beef against the grain, rather than cutting with the grain of the meat. Try slicing the meat in ⅛”-¼” thick slices.

Cutting Corned Beef Brisket with knife

The reason for cutting against the grain is cutting through the muscle fibers shortens them, making the pieces easier to chew.

When you cut with the grain of the meat it leaves you with much chewier pieces, and that’s what you don’t want.

What Knife is Best?

Choose the right knife! Be sure to use a sharp knife, that way it will be easier to slice the corned beef and will still leave it tender. 

Do NOT use a serrated knife because it will tear the meat leaving you with slices of stringy corned beef and it just won’t look that good either.

Best Tips for Corned Beef

Easy to make Corned Beef
  • The point cut brisket is the more tender cut. 
  • Brining takes 7-10 days, so keep that in mind when preparing. 
  • Rinse the corned beef after it’s been brined. Don’t worry it won’t rinse any of the flavors away.
  • High heat is no friend to corned beef. Cook slowly for the most tender corned beef. 
  • Corned beef can be cooked in 5 ways: Baked, Boiled, in an Instant Pot, a Slow Cooker, and a Pressure Cooker. 
  • Cook in the oven for a crispy coated corned beef. 
  • Rest the corned beef for a few minutes before slicing
  • Do not use a serrated knife, use a smooth sharp knife instead. 
  • Cut against the grain, it will give you less stringy and more tender slices.
  • Corned beef isn’t the healthiest protein option, but when eaten occasionally it’s a great treat. 
  • Pink Curing Salt is what gives the corned beef it’s vibrant pink color. But DO NOT think it’s the same as table salt. Pink curing salt can be toxic when ingested in large amounts. It’s dyed pink so that you don’t get the 2 different salts confused. 
  • Potatoes, carrots, and cabbage are classic sides to be served with corned beef. 
  • For a low carb option replace the potatoes with Jicama
  • Corned Beef Hash is the perfect recipe to make with your leftover corned beef. 
  • To freeze: Wrap the cooked or uncooked corned beef securely in freezer paper and freeze for 1-3 months.
  • For a keto and low carb version, replace the brown sugar in the brine with Swerve Brown Sugar, or another low carb brown sugar replacement. 
  • 1.3 NET CARBS PER 6 OUNCES

Don’t Cook it at a High Temperature

It is possible to ruin the corned beef if you cook it at too high of a temperature. You want it to be soft and tender, but cooking it at a boil for too long. it can turn out chewy and tough. 

Instead, you should cook it over low heat, whether on the stove, in the oven, or even in a crockpot. You will get tender corned beef doing it this way.

Make Sure to Cook it Long Enough

Corned Beef Brisket out of the oven

You want to make sure the corned beef is cooked to at least 145 degrees for food safety reasons. The easiest way to ensure it’s cooked all the way is to use a meat thermometer. 

My mom is one of those cooks that can just look at the meat and pretty much knows when it’s cooked, but I’m not like that, so I prefer using the thermometer.

Can You Overcook Corned Beef?

Overcooking any type of meat is possible, including corned beef. Try your best to stick with the suggested cooking times, and cook the corned beef slowly.

Making it More Tender

Brisket is a tough cut of meat so to ensure the best results, making sure you cook it nice and slow is key. You don’t want to cook the meat on too high of a temperature and for not long enough.

Instead, use a low setting for a longer amount of time. 

Another way to make sure the brisket is tender is to give it time to rest on the counter before cutting. Allowing the corned beef to rest for a few minutes should be enough time. 

I hope you enjoy how tender this corned beef brisket is.

Making it Crispier

The best thing I would do to get the corned beef crispier is if you are baking it in the oven, place the oven on broil.

TIP: Don’t let it broil for too long, only a few minutes and you will start to see the top sizzle and give you some crunchiness.

Diets This Recipe is Good For

How to make Corned Beef from Brisket

Keto-Friendly, Sugar-Free, and Candida-Friendly: The way the recipe is exactly, it does contain brown sugar in the brine. All you need to do is replace the brown sugar with Swerve Brown Sugar, or your go-to favorite brown sugar replacement and now it’s completely sugar-free, keto-friendly, and candida-friendly. 

Nut-Free: This is a completely nut-free recipe, which when eating keto or low carb sometimes that may be difficult to find since almond flour and other nut flours tend to be a staple. 

Dairy-Free: Everyone who is dairy-free is gonna love this recipe! No butter, cream, or milk…you’re gonna love it.

What to Do with Leftover Corned Beef?

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of leftover corned beef?? That’s right….CORNED BEEF HASH!!!!!! 

Corned beef hash is the perfect breakfast recipe to make using your leftover corned beef.

But fun fact…did you know that if you are on a low carb diet you still can enjoy corned beef hash with your eggs in the morning? I promise it’s true. In fact, we now have our delicious recipe for Low Carb Corned Beef Hash up for you to enjoy. 

In the meantime, here are a few other ideas you can do with your leftover corned beef brisket:

  1. Corned Beef and Cabbage Casserole 
  2. Reuben Sandwich 
  3. Corned Beef and Cabbage Soup 
  4. Corned Beef Tacos – I don’t know about you, but I’m definitely making these next time with my leftovers.

These are just a few but there are many other ways to use leftover corned beef. Let us know which is your favorite!

What to Serve with Corned Beef?

Corned Beef with vegetables

Traditional corned beef dinner is served with: 

  • Cabbage 
  • Boiled potatoes
  • Carrots

I personally prefer mashed potatoes instead of boiled, but that’s me. 

But if you can’t eat potatoes due to their carb content then a great alternative is boiled or baked Jicama.

Another good low carb option is Garlic Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes. I love being able to dip my meat into something creamy like mashed cauliflower.

Other sides that work well with corned beef are:

OH, and don’t forget to add the mustard to your slices of corned beef…you can’t forget that!

How to Store

You can store the leftover corned beef in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for 3-4 days. If I’m being honest, it usually doesn’t last that long in our house though. It’s typically gone after day 2.

How to Reheat

To reheat the corned beef you can either place the slices, covered in the oven at 300 degrees, or you can place in the microwave for 60-90 seconds.

Can You Freeze Corned Beef?

Have you ever heard of freezer paper? I was recently introduced to it and now all my meat is wrapped in it and placed in my freezer. 

Wrap the cooked slices of leftover corned beef in freezer paper and freeze for up to 3 months. 

You also can freeze the corned beef brisket uncooked as well.

  1. First, rinse the whole brisket after it’s been brined.
  2. Then pat it dry with paper towels, and wrap securely with freezer paper, and place it in the freezer for up to 1 month.
  3. Lastly, thaw and cook.
Perfectly cooked Corned Beef Brisket

More Roasted Meat Recipes

If you’re in the mood for some other recipes for roasted meat in the oven, check out our:

Roasted Prime Rib Recipe
Print
clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
Corned Beef feature

How to Make Corned Beef Brisket | 5 Ways


  • Author: Stephanie Parlegreco
  • Prep Time: Brine Time – 7 Days
  • Cook Time: 4 Hours
  • Total Time: 7 Days and 4 Hours
Save Recipe

Description

Learn how easy it is to make your own Corned Beef Brisket from scratch. You start with a beef brisket that gets preserved in a brine with pickling spices and then can be cooked in 5 different ways. The result will be a flavorful, juicy, and super tender Corned Beef dinner! These ways also work perfectly to cook a pre-packaged corned beef.


Ingredients

Scale

Brine

  • 1 gallon water
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 2 tsp pink curing salt
  • 4 tbsp pickling spice blend 
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced 
  • ½ cup swerve brown sugar (use regular brown sugar if not eating low carb or on keto)

Cooking the Brisket

  • 5 lb brisket 
  • 1 tbsp pickling spice blend 
  • 4 cups beef broth (only if cooking in Instant Pot, Slow Cooker, or Boiled on the Stove) 

Pickling Spice Blend 

  • 2 tbsp mustard seed
  • 1 tbsp whole allspice berries 
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 2 tsp whole cloves
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 bay leaf, crumbled 
  • 1 cinnamon stick

Instructions

To Make the Brine (Can Skip if Using Pre-Packaged Corned Beef)

 

5 Different Cooking Methods

OVEN-BAKED (For a 5lb brined corned beef brisket):

 

BOILED (For a 5lb brined corned beef brisket):

 

INSTANT POT (For a 5lb brined corned beef brisket):

 

SLOW COOKER (For a 5lb brined corned beef brisket):

 

PRESSURE COOKER (For a 5lb brined corned beef brisket):

Notes

The point cut brisket is the more tender cut. 

Brining takes 7-10 days, so keep that in mind when preparing. 

For a keto and low carb version, replace the brown sugar in the brine with Swerve Brown Sugar, or another low carb brown sugar replacement. 

Rinse the corned beef after it’s been brined. Don’t worry it won’t rinse any of the flavors away.

High heat is no friend to corned beef. Cook slowly for the most tender corned beef. 

Corned beef can be cooked in 5 ways: Baked, Boiled, in an Instant Pot, a Slow Cooker, and a Pressure Cooker. 

Cook in the oven for a crispy coated corned beef. 

Rest the corned beef for a few minutes before slicing. 

Do not use a serrated knife, use a smooth sharp knife instead. 

Cut against the grain, it will give you less stringy and more tender slices. 

Corned beef isn’t the healthiest protein option, but when eaten occasionally it’s a great treat. 

Pink Curing Salt is what gives the corned beef it’s vibrant pink color. But DO NOT think it’s the same as table salt. Pink curing salt can be toxic when ingested in large amounts. It’s dyed pink so that you don’t get the 2 different salts confused. 

Potatoes, carrots, and cabbage are classic sides to be served with corned beef. 

For a low carb option replace the potatoes with Jicama. 

1.3 NET CARBS PER 6 OUNCES

  • Category: Main Courses
  • Method: Baking

Keywords: Corned Beef, Corned Beef Brisket, Corned Beef Recipe, Corned Beef Brisket Recipe, Best Corned Beef, Easy Corned Beef, How to Make Corned Beef, How to Cook Corned Beef, How to Brine Corned Beef

Easy Low Carb Keto Zucchini Fritters
← Previous
Baked Turkey Zucchini Meatballs
Next →
Recipe rating