Beef Recipes Sandwiches Slow Cooker St. Patrick's Day

Last updated on June 26th, 2024 at 04:08 pm

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Homemade Corned Beef Sandwiches

Corned Beef Sandwiches are the homemade take on the classic New York delicatessen staple, served on toasted rye bread with sauerkraut and homemade Russian dressing.

If you have never been to a New York delicatessen before, you are really missing out on some of the most incredible sandwiches. They really know how to make the most from meat, cheese (optional), veggies, and condiments. Add some secret sauce, and they can turn anything into a fantastic sandwich masterpiece. These homemade corned beef sandwiches were inspired by a Jewish deli in New York where I lived. I miss that place.

Sandwiches and Corned Beef are my weakness. I lived in New York City, and there you can find lots of deli shops here. We also have a lot of Jewish eateries. Do you know what those two have in common? They serve amazing sandwiches! One place specifically had the best Corned Beef sandwiches in town.

I could not get enough of the thick, juicy meat, crispy grilled rye bread, perfectly melted Swiss cheese, and tangy mustard. And they served it with a huge dill pickle on the side. But now I make them at home, which is a good thing since we do not live in that area anymore. It is an easy recipe to make from scratch and does not take long.

With my easy recipe for slow cooker corned beef , you can make NYC Katz deli corned beef sandwiches anytime you want at home! Save money, and a trip to NYC!

Why you will love this recipe 

  • The authentic taste: This is a genuinely authentic corned beef sandwich recipe.
  • It is quick and easy: It takes 10 minutes and is as simple as making a sandwich.
  • Versatile: Change the bread, cheese, or even the dressing without ruining the sandwich.
  • You can take it on the go: You can take it to the park, the lake, or your backyard.

What you’ll need to make the best homemade corned beef sandwiches

Special items

  • Baking pan – To heat corned beef. 
  • Mixing bowl – For mixing the dressing.
  • Cast iron skillet – To grill the sandwiches.


For the sandwich:

  • Corned beef – You can get yours from the deli sliced about a quarter inch thick, or make Instant Pot Corned Beef recipe. You can also try your hand at brining corned beef from scratch.
  • Sauerkraut – Freshly made or bought from the deli. 
  • Rye bread – Jewish rye bought at the deli, sliced thin.
  • Butter – Unsalted and softened to room temperature.
  • Russian dressing – I share my recipe below if you do not have your own.
  • Pickle relish – I prefer dill pickle relish for this sandwich.
  • Swiss cheese – Thick slices of fresh-cut Swiss cheese.

For the Russian dressing:

  • Mayonnaise – I use high-quality full-fat mayo for its creaminess.
  • Sour cream – You can substitute this for Greek yogurt if you like.
  • Ketchup – Any brand you prefer.
  • Pickle relish – Same as above. Dill pickle relish.
  • Lemon juice – For the best flavor, use freshly squeezed lemon juice.
  • Horseradish – I use grated horseradish from a jar to add a spicy and tangy taste.
  • Salt – Kosher salt is a clean and fresh flavor with no additives.
  • Pepper – I grind my own from peppercorns for tongue-tingling taste and feel.

How to make the best homemade corned beef sandwiches?

  1. Heat the beef: First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a baking pan with aluminum foil. Add two tablespoons of water to the pan and fold the ends of the foil up to seal the beef. Once the oven is hot, let the meat cook for 10 minutes.
  2. Make the dressing: Now, mix all the dressing ingredients in a bowl and stir well. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
  3. Fix the sandwich: Then, brush one side of each bread slice with butter and cook on a hot skillet until toasted as you spread the dressing on the other side. As you go, top one slice with relish and corned beef on the other side per sandwich. Put cheese on top of the beef and then add sauerkraut. Once it melts, put the sandwiches together and transfer to a plate. 

Expert tip

Sliced or shredded

This is a matter of opinion for sure. I love this sandwich both ways. However, it also depends on the meat. If your corned beef ends up being too full of gristle or fat, you may end up having to shred it to make a sandwich out of it. Sometimes, you cannot remove all the fat without destroying the slices. If you are cutting your brisket, and it is not too bad, go ahead and cut it in thin slices against the grain after it rests for about 15 to 20 minutes. The thinner, the better.

However, if your meat is tough and full of pockmarks that will leave you with nothing but chunks, go ahead and shred it. If you want it even more tender, toss it in the food processor and let it do all the work for you. In fact, you can even toss in some herbs and seasonings if you like. Some call it chipped when you slice your corned beef so thin that the meat falls apart. But technically, they are still shredded to me.

In this recipe, I call for sliced corned beef. However, you can use shredded corned beef, too. The recipe is the same either way. As I said, it is a matter of preference. If you like big, thick, juicy slices of corned beef, go ahead and make your sandwiches that way. Of course, in most families, everyone wants their sandwiches both ways, so you make them both, as do I.

Recipe variations and add-ins:

  • Other sauces: Although traditional sauces are Russian or Thousand Island, you can choose what you like. Sometimes, I use French or Catalina dressing.
  • Southwestern corned beef sandwiches: Top with Cajun seasoning, bell peppers, onions, and lots of pepper jack cheese instead of Swiss. 
  • Sweet corned beef: Instead of sauerkraut, use cabbage and add some sugar to your Russian dressing for a sweeter sandwich.
  • Mexican night: Sprinkle with taco seasoning, top with salsa, and switch the Swiss with nacho cheese sauce. Then remove the sauerkraut and add lettuce and Rotel for a Mexican-style sandwich.
  • Gluten-free: Use gluten free bread for a GF sandwich.
  • Press: Use a panini pressed to make these crispy and the cheesy melt.

Serving suggestions:

Corned beef sandwiches are delicious for lunch, snacks, or even for dinner with other dishes. Try one of these great ideas.

  • These delicious deli sandwiches pair well with coleslaw. Try my easy recipe for homemade coleslaw made with my Dijon mustard dressing.
  • Pack your sandwiches, potato chips, bottled water, and other snacks like pickles, fruit, or veggie sticks for a picnic in the park with the kids.
  • Triple or quadruple the recipe and chop it into smaller pieces for a party or celebration with other sandwiches and snacks.
  • Any kind of soup is great with this sandwich. Especially my instant pot tomato soup. It is so easy to cook in just minutes.
  • You can always make these sandwiches a hearty meal by serving them with side dishes like macaroni and cheese, or a traditional colcannon.

Frequently asked questions

What is the difference between corned beef and pastrami?

Both meats are cured and made from beef, but they are different in how they are cut, processed, and cooked. Pastrami is from navel cuts, which are fattier, but corned beef is sliced from the leaner part of the brisket. When processing, corned beef is just seasoned in brine, while pastrami is seasoned with herbs and spices before brining. To cook, corned beef is slow-cooked or boiled with vegetables, but pastrami is typically just smoked or steamed. As for taste and texture, corned beef is firm, lean, and meaty, while pastrami is rich, smoky, and tender.

What is the best cut for making corned beef?

The most commonly used cut for corned beef is brisket. It has a good amount of fat and is naturally tough, so it is perfect for moist, tender, and flavorful meat after being cured in brine for a long time. The brisket comes from the lower chest area and has a lot of muscle fibers. Always buy more than you think you need because it will melt. In addition, choose grass-fed beef. Also, use a fresh brisket rather than one that has been frozen.

Is a Rueben and a corned beef sandwich the same thing?

No. Although you can find both of these delicious sandwiches in a Jewish deli in New York City, and they both have corned beef with sauerkraut on grilled rye bread, there is where the similarities tend to stop. A corned beef usually keeps it simple with mustard and relish, but a Reuben sandwich dresses it up with a sweet and tangy Russian or Thousand Island dressing and melted Swiss cheese. Another thing that sets these apart is that even though they are both found in Jewish delis, a Reuben is not kosher because it combines cheese with the meat.

What is the best mustard for this sandwich?

Although some say this should be a matter of opinion, I somewhat disagree. The rich and fatty corned beef flavor and texture need a good high-quality spicy brown mustard to get through it all. It adds enough zing to ensure you know it has mustard while not overpowering it. You do not need to drench it to make it known because its bold flavor reaches out and grabs your tongue, so you feel it. I like Eden Organic and Gulden’s Spicy, but many out there are just as delicious.

How to store leftovers:

  • Refrigerate: These sandwiches tend to get soggy if you do not eat them right away. Only make as many as you plan to eat. If you have leftovers, you can refrigerate them. They will still be good for two days, but the bread will be soggy, so you will need new bread and maybe some new sauerkraut and cheese.   

More delicious sandwich recipes:

Recipe tips:

  • If you do not like rye bread, you can use sourdough, pumpernickel, or whole-grain bread.
  • To substitute sauerkraut, try using kimchi, coleslaw, or cabbage.
  • Horseradish is an essential ingredient in Russian dressing. If you do not like it, use Thousand Island dressing instead.
  • Corned beef is made with fatty meat that is brined for a long time to make it tender and rich. You will need some spicy brown mustard to bring out the flavors.
  • Turn it into a vegetarian sandwich. Leave out the corned beef and Swiss, and add vegan cheese.
  • You can use any skillet if you do not have a cast iron skillet.

Other St. Patrick’s Day Favorites:

I have some other delicious and amazing recipes that are perfect for St. Patrick’s Day. Some of all-time favorite Irish inspired recipes are:

Corned Beef Sandwiches

Corned Beef Sandwiches are the homemade take on the classic New York delicatessen staple, served on toasted rye bread with sauerkraut and homemade Russian dressing.

  • Prep Time10 MIN
  • Cook Time7H 40 MIN
  • Servings 6 servings


  • 1 lb sliced corned beef
  • 1/2 lb sauerkraut
  • 8 slices Jewish rye bread
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter softened
  • 8 tablespoons Russian Dressing
  • 4 tablespoons Dill Pickle Relish
  • 8 slices Swiss cheese

If you don’t have Russian dressing, here is how to make it:

  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon dill pickle relish
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice or pickle juice
  • 1 teaspoon grated horseradish from a jar
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


If Making Homemade Corned Beef:

  • If you are making homemade corned beef follow this recipe.

If Using Store Bought Corned Beef:

  • If you use store-bought, deli corned beef, add it to a baking pan lined with aluminum foil. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and add two tablespoons of water to the corned beef. Bring foil ends up and seal the meat.
  • Transfer to the oven and heat for about 10 minutes.

If Making Homemade Russian Dressing

  • Combine all the dressing ingredients in a medium bowl and stir well. Season dressing with salt and pepper and set aside.


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Brush one side of the bread slices with butter. Cook on a hot cast iron skillet, buttered side down, until toasted, just a few minutes.
  • Spread Russian dressing generously all over the un-toasted side of the bread slices.
  • Per sandwich: top one slice with dill pickle relish. Pile corned beef on the other slice.
  • Top beef with sauerkraut. Top with the slice with dill pickle relish over the corned beef.
  • Slice and enjoy!

If using Swiss Cheese (the recipe won't be kosher):

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Place bread slices on a baking pan.
  • Spread Russian dressing generously all over the untoasted side of the bread slices.
  • Per sandwich: top one slice with dill pickle relish. Pile corned beef on the other slice.
  • Top beef with Swiss cheese slices. Toast the cheese-laden slices in the oven for 3-5 minutes until the cheese is melted.
  • Top beef with sauerkraut.
  • Top with the slice with dill pickle relish over the corned beef.
  • Slice and enjoy!

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Easy, simple and delicious! I love using leftover corned beef and make these. Super delicious and highly recommended!



Hello! Thank you for this recipe. Could you tell me if you used the point or flat cut of corned beef? I'm making corned beef for my Irish girlfriend and her family, and these sandwiches look better. I just don't want to mess it up. I want them to look shredded/pulled exactly like yours. Thank you. :)

Catalina Castravet

Catalina Castravet

Usually, the flat cut is used, and it shreds amazingly! I have the recipe on the blog, look for Slow Cooker Corned Beef of Instant Pot Corned Beef!

roger perner

roger perner

Ummmmm....where you been hiding ? Pickle relish been around since year dot. You been missing out. Enjoylol.



Going to make this today Happy New Year 2020 Thank You

Catalina Castravet

Catalina Castravet

Happy New Year :)

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