How to Cook Boiled Dinner with Corned Beef: A Step-by-Step Guide

Boiled dinner featuring corned beef is a comforting, hearty one-pot meal. By simmering the corned beef with potatoes, carrots, cabbage and other vegetables, you end up with a soul-warming dish perfect for chilly days. Follow this complete guide to learn how to make boiled dinner with corned beef from start to finish.

Overview of Boiled Dinner

  • Also called New England boiled dinner or Irish boiled dinner
  • Traditionally contains corned beef, potatoes, carrots, cabbage
  • Simmered together in one pot to meld flavors
  • Results in tender, fall-apart corned beef
  • Vegetables soak up seasoned broth for added flavor

Ingredients Needed

Corned beef brisket – The star ingredient! Choose a size based on 1/2 lb per person.

Potatoes – Go with russets or Yukon Golds. Cut in large chunks.

Carrots – Peel and cut carrots into large pieces.

Cabbage – Cut in wedges or chunks. Leave core intact.

Onions – Peel and cut in half or quarters.

Bay leaf – For seasoning the broth.

Whole cloves – For seasoning the broth.

Water – To cover ingredients while simmering.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Follow these simple steps for foolproof boiled dinner.

1. Prepare the Corned Beef

  • Rinse the corned beef under cold water to remove excess salt.

  • Trim away any hardened fat or sinew.

  • Place the corned beef in a large pot or Dutch oven.

2. Add Water and Begin Simmering

  • Cover the corned beef completely with water. Water should extend 2-3 inches above meat.

  • Bring to a boil over high heat.

  • Reduce heat and simmer gently for 15 minutes, skimming any foam that rises to the top.

3. Add Onions and Seasonings

  • Stud the onions with whole cloves – this adds flavor.

  • Add onions to the pot along with 1-2 bay leaves.

  • Let simmer 30 minutes.

4. Allow Corned Beef to Cook Until Tender

  • Cover pot and adjust heat to maintain a gentle simmer.

  • Cook corned beef for 2 1/2 – 3 hours until fork tender.

  • Check periodically and add more water if needed to keep meat submerged.

5. Add Potatoes and Carrots

  • Place potato and carrot chunks in bottom of the pot.

  • Increase heat slightly to return to a simmer.

  • Cook vegetables for 15 minutes until starting to become tender.

6. Add Cabbage Wedges

  • Remove corned beef from pot and set aside, keeping warm.

  • Arrange cabbage wedges in pot.

  • Replace corned beef on top of cabbage.

  • Cover and simmer 15 minutes more. Cabbage will soften and absorb flavors.

7. Check Vegetable Doneness

  • Test potatoes and carrots with a fork or knife tip – they should be fork tender.

  • If needed, simmer another 5-10 minutes until fully tender.

  • When done, turn off heat.

8. Slice Corned Beef and Serve

  • Carefully remove corned beef from pot and slice across the grain into thin pieces.

  • Arrange slices on a platter.

  • Surround with vegetables and moisten everything with a ladle of the seasoned cooking broth.

  • Garnish with mustard, horseradish or parsley. Enjoy!

Handy Tips for Perfect Results

  • Choose a corned beef with ample fat marbling for moisture.
  • Add whole cloves, bay leaves, peppercorns or other herbs to the broth for extra flavor.
  • Keep the corned beef submerged at all times during simmering.
  • Allow 3-4 hours total cooking time for a nice tender brisket.
  • Slice the meat across the grain for most tender results.

Make it in a Slow Cooker

Want an even easier approach? Make boiled dinner with corned beef in a slow cooker:

  • Place corned beef in cooker and add water to cover.

  • Add onions, potatoes, carrots, cabbage wedges.

  • Cook on LOW for 7-8 hours.

  • During last hour, remove meat and slice, then return to pot.

Serving Ideas for Leftovers

Boiled dinner leftovers make great:

  • Reuben sandwiches – pile corned beef, Swiss, sauerkraut and Russian dressing on rye bread.

  • Bubble and squeak – chopped corned beef and veggies fried together.

  • Hearty soup – simmer leftovers with broth.

  • Hash – corned beef diced with potatoes and onions, then fried crispy.

More Classic One-Pot Meals to Try

If you love boiled dinner, try these other satisfying one-pot meals:

  • Pot roast – Beef chuck roast braised with carrots, onions and potatoes.

  • Beef stew – Beef chunks simmered with potatoes, carrots and peas.

  • Chicken and dumplings – Shredded chicken in a thick broth with fluffy dumplings.

  • ** Chili** – Ground beef or turkey simmered with beans, tomatoes and spices.

  • Coq au vin – Chicken braised in red wine with mushrooms and bacon.

  • Beef bourguignon – Beef braised in red wine with carrots and mushrooms.

  • Chicken cacciatore – Chicken cooked with tomatoes, wine, vegetables and herbs.


How long should I cook corned beef for boiled dinner?

Cook corned beef for 2 1/2 – 3 hours to reach fork-tender doneness. Very large cuts may take up to 4 hours.

Should the vegetables go in at the beginning?

No, add sturdy vegetables like potatoes and carrots halfway through so they don’t overcook. Add more delicate cabbage at the very end.

Is boiled dinner supposed to have a lot of liquid?

Boiled dinner should have a moderate amount of broth. If it seems too thin after cooking, remove cover and turn up heat to reduce liquid.

Can I use pre-cut corned beef instead of a whole brisket?

Pre-cut corned beef will work but may be saltier since the seasonings penetrate the smaller cuts more. Rinse well before cooking if using pre-cut meat.

What’s the best way to store and reheat leftover boiled dinner?

Refrigerate in an airtight container up to 4 days. Reheat in a pot on the stove until heated through, adding a bit of water or broth to moisten.

The Takeaway

With its melt-in-your-mouth corned beef and tender vegetables, boiled dinner is the ultimate comfort food. Follow the step-by-step instructions to let the ingredients simmer together into a delicious one-pot meal. The seasoned broth soaks into every bite. Make this hearty dish on a chilly weekend and enjoy a warming dinner ready-made to satisfy any craving.

Let’s Make Corned Beef & Cabbage New England Boiled Dinner!


What do you put in the water when boiling corned beef?

Step 1 Rinse beef in cold water to remove surface brine. Place into a heavy-based pot and cover with cold water. Step 2 Bring pot to boil, remove grey foam that rises to the surface, then reduce heat to a low simmer. Step 3 Add aromatics such as a bay leaf, brown sugar, onion and cloves.

What happens if you don t rinse corned beef before cooking?

1. Not Rinsing the Meat Before Cooking. If you cook the meat straight from the plastic packaging or pulled the meat right away from the brine solution in the fridge without rinsing, you just might be in for a saltier meal than you bargained for.

What cooking method is best for corned beef?

The most common method for cooking corned beef and cabbage is boiling. Put the meat in a large pot, cover it with water or beef broth, add a seasoning packet and boil before lowering the heat to a simmer. Cook for 2 to 3 hours or until the meat is tender and cooked to your liking.

What’s the difference between stew and boiled dinner?

In a stew, all the pieces are cut down into bite-sized pieces that will fit on an eating spoon, and the broth is thickened and served with them. In a boiled dinner, the pieces in it all are larger, and the broth is not served.

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