How to Pressure Cook Corned Beef for Perfectly Tender Brisket

Pressure cooking is one of the best ways to make incredibly tender, fall-apart corned beef brisket in a fraction of the time it takes with traditional boiling or baking methods. With just 60-90 minutes under pressure, you can transform a tough cut of meat into fork-tender perfection.

Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about how to pressure cook corned beef brisket to juicy perfection every time.

Benefits of Pressure Cooking Corned Beef

Pressure cooking offers several advantages when making corned beef:

  • Shorter cook time – Pressure cooking shaves hours off the cook time, with tender results in 60-90 minutes.

  • More tender meat – The moist heat helps break down collagen for fork-tender meat.

  • Richer flavor – Flavors concentrate under pressure for a more intensely seasoned brisket.

  • Reduced shrinkage – There is less moisture loss so the meat retains size and shape better.

  • Nutrient retention – Pressure cooking retains more vitamins and minerals compared to boiling.

  • Easy cleanup – With everything cooked in one pot, cleanup is a breeze.

Tips for the Best Pressure Cooked Corned Beef

Follow these tips for perfect pressure cooker corned beef every time:

  • Pick the right cut – Choose a 3-4 lb corned beef brisket labeled “deckle off” for the most even thickness.

  • Trim excess fat – Trim off any hard, dry fat caps for better texture. Leave some fat for flavor.

  • Rinse well – Rinse the brisket to remove excess salt from the curing process.

  • Add flavor – Use aromatics like onion, garlic, peppers, and spices for extra flavor.

  • Lift off the bottom – Place brisket on a rack or trivet so it’s not sitting in liquid.

  • Add liquid – Pour in just enough broth, beer, or water to come halfway up the meat.

  • Lock the lid properly – Ensure the lid is securely closed and set to sealing for pressure cooking.

  • Cook time – Cook for 60 minutes for a 2-3 lb brisket or up to 90 minutes for a 4 lb one.

  • Natural release – Allow the pressure to come down naturally for at least 10 minutes before quick releasing.

  • Slice against the grain – Always slice corned beef across the grain for tender results.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Follow these simple steps for perfect pressure cooked corned beef every time:

1. Prep the Brisket

  • Take corned beef out of packaging and rinse under cold water.
  • Pat dry thoroughly with paper towels.
  • Trim off any hardened fat caps or unappetizing bits. Leave some fat for flavor and moisture.
  • Slice brisket in half if needed to fit in your pressure cooker.

2. Add Aromatics

  • Place brisket fat side up on a rack or trivet in pressure cooker.
  • Top with aromatics like onion, garlic, peppers, bay leaves, etc.
  • Sprinkle on any extra seasonings if desired.

3. Pour in Liquid

  • Pour in enough broth, beer, or water to come about halfway up the brisket.
  • About 1 cup of liquid per pound of meat.
  • No need to fully submerge brisket.

4. Pressure Cook

  • Lock the lid in place and set to pressure cook on high.
  • For a 3 lb brisket, cook 60 minutes.
  • For a 4 lb brisket, cook up to 90 minutes.
  • Allow pressure to release naturally for 10-15 minutes before quick releasing.

5. Slice and Serve

  • Use forks to test tenderness. Meat should shred easily.
  • Transfer brisket to a cutting board and slice across the grain.
  • Serve with mustard, horseradish, or gravy. Enjoy!

Variations and Serving Suggestions

Once you master the basic technique, try these variations:

  • Add cabbage, potatoes, carrots, etc. to cook for the last 5 minutes for corned beef and veggies.

  • Use ale, stout, or hard cider instead of broth for deeper flavor.

  • Make corned beef hash with leftovers.

  • Pile tender shreds onto rye bread for tasty Reuben sandwiches.

  • Dredge in flour and pan fry for crispy corned beef tacos.

Pressure cooking truly is the easiest, fastest way to achieve mouthwateringly tender corned beef brisket with tons of rich flavor in under 2 hours. Give it a try and you may never go back to traditional oven roasting methods again!

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Why is my corned beef tough from the pressure cooker?

When cooked on high for too long, corned beef is likely to turn out tough and chewy rather than soft and tender.

How long do you pressure cook beef for?

Cooking Time (in Minutes)
Beef, ribs
20 – 25
Beef, shanks 40 mm wide
25 – 30
Beef, oxtail
40 – 50
Chicken, breasts bone in
6 – 8

What is the most tender way to cook corned beef?

Slow cooking with a crock pot or using an instant pot is a fantastic way to cook corned beef, resulting in melt-in-your-mouth, tender meat throughout. You can make a delicious, hearty meal with simple ingredients and a crock pot or instant pot. Your whole family will enjoy it.

Does pressure cooking beef longer make it more tender?

Pressure cooking, like slow cooking, will tenderize tough cuts of meat like beef brisket, beef chuck, pork shoulder and lots of other cheaper, tougher cuts. Pressure cooking (or slow cooking) is not the best approach for cooking expensive, tender steaks or rib roasts.

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