How to Eat Corned Beef: 28 Creative Ways to Cook and Serve This Tasty Meat

Corned beef is a versatile and delicious cured meat that is often relegated to sandwiches around St. Patrick’s Day. But there are so many more creative and tasty ways to eat corned beef! This hearty meat can be used in everything from appetizers to main courses to even desserts. Read on to discover 28 mouthwatering recipes that will have you eating corned beef all year long.


Corned beef gets its name from the “corns” or large grains of salt used to cure the meat, which is usually brisket. While it is traditionally associated with Irish and Irish-American cuisine, especially around St. Patrick’s Day, corned beef has so many more applications beyond a Reuben sandwich. The rich, salty flavor pairs well with many ingredients and its hearty texture stands up to cooking methods like grilling, smoking, braising and more. So it’s time to expand your corned beef repertoire! This article will explore 28 amazing ways to cook and serve corned beef beyond just throwing it between slices of rye bread.


Kick off a meal with these creative corned beef appetizers:

Reuben Egg Rolls

Take all the flavors of a classic Reuben sandwich and wrap them up egg roll style. Fill wonton wrappers with sliced corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and Russian dressing. Fry until golden brown and crispy for an appetizer everyone will devour. Serve with extra dressing for dipping.

Pickle Reuben Bites

For a fun twist on a Reuben, stuff pickle slices with corned beef, Swiss cheese and dressing. Bake until the pickle is tender and the cheese is ooey-gooey for a salty, tangy bite.

Reuben Nachos

pile tortilla chips high with sliced corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and dressing then bake until bubbly and melty. The nachos give you the satisfying crunch you crave. Garnish with extra pickles and Thousand Island dressing.

Salads and Bowls

Transform corned beef into healthy and delicious salads and grain bowls:

  • Make a Reuben salad by topping mixed greens with slices of corned beef, sauerkraut, shredded Swiss cheese and dressing.

  • Build a Reuben grain bowl over quinoa or farro then top with corned beef, sauerkraut, shredded Swiss and dressing.

  • For a warm Reuben chopped salad, saute spinach, cabbage and carrots then top with warm sliced corned beef, Swiss cheese crumbles and dressing.

Soups and Chilis

Warm up with these hearty corned beef soups:

  • Make a Reuben soup with a corned beef and vegetable broth base topped with melted Swiss cheese and dressing.

  • Simmer corned beef, potatoes, cabbage and seasonings in broth for a cozy corned beef and cabbage soup.

  • Cook corned beef with tomatoes, beans, chiles and spices for a bold corned beef chili. Top with shredded cheddar and sour cream.


Yes, corned beef is perfect in classic Reuben sandwiches. But why stop there? Kick your sandwiches up a notch with:

  • A French dip sandwich with thinly sliced corned beef piled high on a toasted hoagie roll. Serve with hot au jus for dipping.

  • Corned beef sliders on mini buns with Swiss cheese, mustard and pickles.

  • Grilled corned beef and kimchi sandwiches with melted provolone on thick slices of grilled bread.

  • Corned beef tacos with shredded cabbage, queso fresco and chipotle crema in soft tortillas.

Main Dishes

For hearty main dishes that make corned beef the star:

  • Corned beef fried rice with carrots, cabbage, green onions and sesame-ginger sauce. Top with a fried egg.

  • Corned beef hash made with cubed potatoes, bell peppers, onions and seasonings. Fry up and serve with eggs.

  • Sheet pan corned beef and vegetables roasted together for an easy dinner.

  • Corned beef enchiladas stuffed with pepper jack cheese then smothered in enchilada sauce and baked.

Side Dishes

Jazz up side dishes with a boost of corned beef flavor:

  • Toss chopped corned beef into your next batch of creamy mac and cheese.

  • Mix corned beef into stuffed potatoes along with cheddar, sour cream and scallions.

  • Make Reuben fries by topping fries with corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and dressing.


Finish off your meal with these sweet and salty treats:

  • Reuben cupcakes filled with corned beef cream cheese frosting. Frost with more cream cheese or Swiss buttercream.

  • Quick breads like corned beef banana bread or corned beef zucchini bread. The saltiness pairs well with the sweetness.

  • Corned beef brownies made with chocolate ganache and chunks of chopped corned beef. An unexpected salty-sweet delight!

Tips for Cooking Corned Beef

  • Look for high quality corned beef with a good amount of fat marbling for moisture and flavor. The meat should have a firm, dense texture.

  • Rinse corned beef before cooking to remove excess saltiness.

  • Cook low and slow! Braise, simmer or roast corned beef gently for hours until fork tender.

  • Adding spices like bay leaves, peppercorns, mustard seeds or garlic can boost the flavor.

  • Let roasted or braised corned beef rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing to allow juices to redistribute.

  • Slice corned beef across the grain for a tender texture. Cut thick for sandwiches or thin for appetizers.


Corned beef deserves so much more than just an annual appearance between bread slices. With its deeply savory flavor and hearty texture, this cured cut of meat can be transformed into everything from game day nachos to quick weeknight tacos to fancy stuffed enchiladas. So next time you pick up a corned beef brisket or see cans on the grocery shelf, think beyond the Reuben and try one of these 28 creative and delicious ways to cook and serve corned beef. Your taste buds will thank you!

Canned Corned Beef Recipes and Corned Beef Pickle Dip


How is corned beef traditionally eaten?

Even if you aren’t Irish, you’ve probably enjoyed, or at least heard of, corned beef and cabbage — a dish traditionally eaten on St. Patrick’s Day, and often served aside potatoes and Irish soda bread.

What is the best way to serve corned beef?

Serve with a dish of grainy Irish mustard. Serve with boiled new potatoes. Shred the corned beef with two forks if you prefer that consistency! Make a leftover corned beef sandwich with a slice of brisket and a wedge of cabbage on rye.

Can you eat corned beef directly?

Canned corned beef is already cooked. It is safe to eat straight from the can. You’ll probably improve the texture by warming it up, and you’ll probably improve the flavor by browning it a bit in a hot skillet. But technically, you don’t NEED to do any of that.

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