Transform a slab of brisket into fork-tender meals with one of these four techniques for the perfect corned beef.

By Vanessa Greaves
Updated February 24, 2021
Slow-Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage
Credit: Detroit_Rox

Before you get started, it's helpful to know a little bit about the cut of meat you're about to cook. Corned beef is made from brisket, a cut of beef from the heavily exercised front limbs of the animal that is consequently tough and chewy. However, when corned beef has been soaked in a seasoned brine of water, curing salt, and spices, and cooked low and slow with moist heat, the connective tissue in this muscle-bound cut melts down, making a tough cut of meat juicy and succulent.

Keep Reading: What Is Corned Beef?

Watch: What Is Corned Beef (and How to Make It in Your Instant Pot)

How to Cook Corned Beef Four Ways

Here are four ways to cook corned beef: in your Instant Pot or pressure cooker, boiled, oven-braised, and in your slow cooker.

1. Instant Pot/Pressure Cooker Corned Beef

Instant Pot Corned Beef sliced
Credit: Xan Y

Fork-tender brisket in a fraction of the time. That's the beauty of using your electric pressure cooker or Instant Pot multi-cooker to make corned beef.

  1. Place corned beef on the trivet of your pressure cooker. Add any additional seasonings. Pour just enough water to cover.
  2. Cook the corned beef on high pressure for about 90 minutes. Release the pressure.
  3. If you want to make it corned beef and cabbage, add carrots and and cabbage to the liquid surrounding the meat once, and cook again on high pressure for about 10 to 15 more minutes.

Popular Instant Pot/Pressure Cooker Corned Beef Recipes: 

2. Boiled Corned Beef

  1. Place the brined corned beef in a large pot or Dutch oven along with the liquid and spices that accompanied it in the package.
  2. Pour in enough water to cover the beef, then bring the water to a boil on the stovetop.
  3. Reduce the heat to a simmer, and cover the pot.
  4. A three-pound corned beef could take three hours or more to become perfectly tender. Check the meat occasionally, adding more water if necessary. The beef is ready when it pulls apart easily.

    Tip: For a one-pot feast, you can add shredded cabbage and chunks of potatoes and carrots to the pot during the last half hour of cooking. Watch the video for Corned Beef and Cabbage I to learn more.

Popular Boiled Corned Beef Recipes: 

3. Oven-Braised Corned Beef

Braised Corned Beef Brisket
Credit: KGora
  1. Use a large roasting pan or Dutch oven, with or without a rack, depending on the recipe you use. It could take about one hour or more per pound to cook, depending on the thickness of the roast.
  2. Since corned beef needs to cook with moist heat, you'll cover the pan or wrap the roast with aluminum foil to prevent it from drying out.
  3. Check the liquid as it cooks, replenishing it if needed. You can add vegetables during the last hour of cooking. This video for Braised Corned Beef Brisket shows you how it's done.

Popular Oven-Braised Corned Beef Recipes:

4. Slow-Cooked Corned Beef

Slow Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage
Credit: Allrecipes
  1. Popping everything into the slow cooker is the easiest, most convenient way to cook corned beef.
  2. If you're cooking carrots and potatoes with the meat, consider adding them about halfway through. A four-pound roast will take four to five hours on HIGH, or eight to nine hours on LOW.
  3. Cabbage doesn't take much time to cook, and can be added in the last hour. For more, watch the video for Slow Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage.

Popular Slow-Cooked Corned Beef Recipes:

At What Temperature Is Corned Beef Done?

When using raw brisket, cook it to a minimum internal temperature of 145 degrees F measured with a food thermometer.

How to Make Your Own Corned Beef Brine

If you'd like to prepare your own corned beef from a fresh brisket, allow about a week for the brisket to soak in the brine.

These recipes give you complete instructions to brine and cook corned beef: