Boiled Corned Beef

Chef's notes:

One of the simplest and also the most traditional methods of preparing corned beef is to boil it. There are a few ways to boil corned beef and there are many things to boil it with. Perhaps the most common things with which to boil corned beef are cabbage, carrots, and potatoes. Which is how my Mom taught me to cook Corned Beef. It’s basically a variation of the New England boiled dinner. The vegetables cook much quicker than the corned beef and therefore often come out over-cooked and mushy. To eliminate this potential problem you could try cooking them separately. Of course, cooking the vegetables in the corned beef broth also adds a lot of flavor to them so you may want to consider cooking them with the broth. So in order to avoid over-cooking just add them towards the end of cooking. The last hour should be sufficient.


  • 4 pounds corned beef brisket
  • 2 Tbsp pickling spice
  • Apricot glaze
  • Water to cover

Boiled Corned Beef Brisket Recipe, Boiled with Pickling Spices and Glazed with Spiced Apricot Preserves

  1. Buy some corned beef or make it yourself. Corned beef is rather plentiful near the end of winter and the beginning of spring. You may not be able to find it as easily as the year drags on. And since I really love corned beef and like to cook it at strange times of the year, I started making my own. In the article How to Corn Beef, you will learn how to corn a beef brisket from scratch (if you are so inclined).
  2. Put the corned beef in a large pot. Remove the corned beef from the packaging and drain the juices. Lay it in the bottom of a large metal pot and cover with about 3–4 inches of cold water. Add the seasoning packets it came with or if it didn’t come with any, use the pickling spice mixture I describe in the right sidebar. Place the pot on the stove over medium-high heat and put the lid on.
  3. Boil the corned beef. Once the pot achieves a boil, you can reduce the heat to below medium so that the boil is very gentle, almost a simmer. We want to cook the corned beef gently, not boil the crap out of it. After an hour and a half of gently boiling, check the internal temperature of the corned beef using a digital thermometer. It should read 180–185 degrees F. Remove the pot from the stove and let the meat rest in the broth and juices for one hour.
  4. After boiling you may want to glaze the corned beef. Wait until the meat has rested for the full hour before moving onto this step. First, preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Then place the corned beef on a roasting pan or rack and cover it with the glaze. The recipe for my glaze is up and to the right. Pop the corned beef into the oven for a few minutes until the glaze caramelizes and becomes all tasty. Remove from oven and let it sit for 10 minutes. Slice thinly and serve with mustard.

Tips & Tricks

  • Making your own corned beef is simple, but it takes a long time (7–10 days). You may prefer to buy yours from the store.
  • Some stores will steeply discount corned beef after Saint Patrick’s Day to get rid of their stock. Take advantage of this deal. Corned beef for Easter dinner?
  • The seasoning packets that come with the corned beef are of varying quality. This is why I always make my own high-quality mixture. The recipe for my pickling spice is up and to the right.
  • If for some reason you don’t want to glaze your corned beef, just skip that step. Slice it thinly after resting it for an hour and serve with mustard or horseradish.
  • Leftover corned beef is never a bad thing—so buy extra.

Pickling Spice Recipe

  • ½ tsp black peppercorns
  • ½ tsp allspice berries
  • ½ tsp mustard seed
  • ½ tsp coriander seed
  • ½ tsp whole cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 dried chili peppers
  • pinch of cinnamon (optional)
  • pinch of cardamom (optional)

Apricot Glaze Recipe

  • 1 cup apricot preserves
  • 2 Tbsp grainy mustard
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground cloves
  • ½ tsp ground ginger