Homemade Corned Beef Brine

Catalina Castravet
By Catalina Castravet
Updated:
Published:
5 from 7 reviews

Beef Holiday Food Main Dishes Recipes St. Patrick's Day

Homemade Corned Beef tastes even better than what you can get at the deli, and is easier to make than you think! It’s amazing on sandwiches, with vegetables, in a breakfast hash, and more. All you need is the best brine recipe is you make your own.

Enjoy an Irish-inspired spread anytime, not just on St. Patrick’s Day! This Lamb Stew, Irish Soda Bread, and Irish Coffee taste fantastic all year.

How to Make Brine for Corned Beef

Homemade Corned Beef is leagues away from anything you can buy at the grocery store or the deli. Ever noticed how store-bought ones often taste the same? My recipe yields flavor-packed brisket that basically melts in your mouth!

Don’t be intimidated by the curing time. Once the meat is soaking in brine, flipping once a day is the only thing left to do. Honestly, the hardest part of this recipe is waiting to finally eat it! And once it’s done, you’ll have the tastiest corned brisket you’ve ever had in your life.

Terrific with on a crusty bread sandwich, sauteed with vegetables, in soups, and many more!

What is corned beef?

It’s basically meat cured in salt. The dish begins by curing the brisket in salt and spices for several days, then slow-cooking until it’s unbelievably tender.

The word “corn” comes from the big pieces of salt, as big as corn kernels, which was traditionally used for curing. This recipe was created to help preserve meat before the days of accessible refrigeration. 

What cut do you use to make corned beef?

Brisket is the ideal cut for this cooking method. It’s a tough but super flavorful part, which becomes tender throughout the brining or salt-curing process.

What do you need to homemade corned beef brine?

It’s a basic brining solution made of water, about 300 grams of salt, brown sugar, and a dash of our homemade pickling spices. I also like throwing in half a stick of cinnamon for a boost of warm spice flavor.

How do you brine corned beef?

  • Chill the brine. Mix the brine ingredients. Bring to a boil so all the flavors get infused into the brining solution. Turn off heat and cool, then place in the fridge until it’s very well-chilled. 
  • Cure the brisket. Take a large container that can fit both the brisket and the brining solution. You can also use a 2-gallon bag for this. Place the meat in there, and cover with the brining liquid. Chill from 5 to 7 days. Flip once every day, so every part of the meat is cured evenly.

How long can you brine corned beef?

At most, you can soak the meat in brine for as long as 10 days. But for this recipe, which uses a smaller cut, 5 to 7 days is enough to infuse the meat with all the brine flavors and tenderize it.

Do you cook corned beef in brine?

No, you need to rinse it off before cooking. Don’t worry about wasting all those flavors— they’ve already penetrated deep into the meat!

How do you cook corned beef?

Once the curing period is over, rinse off your brined brisket carefully. Pour an inch of water into the pot. Add about a tbsp of pickling spices before letting it boil. Next, reduce heat to a very low simmer. Leave the brisket to cook from 3 to 4 hrs. until it’s tender enough to cut with a fork. At this point, it’s done and ready to enjoy!

Recipe variations:

  • Simmer in beer: For a delicious twist, slow simmer it in some ginger beer or your favorite beers.
  • Use other cuts: Can’t find brisket? Rump roast will do in a pinch!
  • Cook with veggies: Instead of just water, simmer the meat with chunks of carrots and potatoes for more flavor.

What to serve with corned beef?

It’s phenomenal in these rye sandwiches with sauerkraut, zesty pickle relish, and melted Swiss cheese! Try subbing the turkey in this grilled cheese recipe with thin slices of brisket. 

I also love serving it with cabbage for a fast and hearty weeknight meal. For breakfast, it’s hard to beat it in a hash with the creamiest scrambled eggs. Want to try something new? Top a plate of creamy Fettucine alfredo with chunks or strips of the meat!

How to store:

Once it’s completely cool, transfer to an air-tight container before placing in the fridge. It will stay fresh and delicious when consumed within 4 days or up to a week.

Can you freeze corned beef?

Yes! To freeze, make sure it’s entirely cool first. You may also slice it for easier freezing and storage. Wrap in plastic tightly before placing it in a freezer-friendly container. Keep frozen for up to 3 mos.

To reheat, thaw and cook according to the recipe you’re using. 

More recipes:

Recipe tips:

  • Always slice carefully against the grain for maximum tenderness.
  • Do NOT skip brining for a few days as recommended! This is essential!
Save Recipe
5 from 7 reviews

Homemade Corned Beef Brine

Homemade Corned Beef tastes even better than what you can get at the deli, and is easier to make than you think!

Author: Catalina Castravet Serves: 8 servings
Prep time: 1 hour Total time: 5 d 1 hr

Ingredients

Pickling Spices:

Brine:

Brisket:

Instructions

Pickling Spices:

Brine:

Cook the corned beef:

Nutrition information

Calories: 511 Carbohydrates: 18 Protein: 59 Fat: 21 Saturated Fat: 7 Cholesterol: 176 Sodium: 14798 Potassium: 1035 Fiber: 2 Sugar: 13 Vitamin A: 171 Vitamin C: 2 Calcium: 90 Iron: 6
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Comments

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ANN DISS

I cook corned beef every 2 weeks. There is never a Iny waste. I think it a complete waste of time to salt the beef. I buy it already salted. I use water as a base. Add malt vinegar, approx 1 cup which I add to the water. I add 3/4 cup dark brown sugar. Place 4 bay leaves on top of meat with 5 whole cloves or 1/2 Teaspoon of ground cloves. Be very careful using too many/much cloves as they can be overpowering. I add a quartered orange. Roughly cut 2 large onions and let cook for same time as meat. An hour befor cooking time is finished add roughly chopped carrots and potatoes. When meat is tender and ready to fall apart drain off all liquid Use 2 cups to either make a white onion sauce or use directly as gravy.

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Beth

Yum! I can't wait to give this recipe a try! Looks so delicious and will definitely be a big hit here at the house!

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Erin | Dinners,Dishes and Dessert

This Homemade Corned Beef looks incredibly delicious!

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katerina @ diethood.com

YUM! This Homemade Corned Beef is amazing! The brine sounds like a great idea!

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Beti | easyweeknightrecipes

I can't wait to try this recipe! The brine sounds fantastic!

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Toni Dash

This is so good!! I love how easy it is to make!

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Sara Welch

Such a flavorful recipe that never disappoints! Adding this to my dinner line up this week; no need to wait for St. Patrick's Day, indeed!

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Allyson Zea

I've never tried to make corned beef myself, so I am interested in trying this recipe. Thank you for the easy to follow directions.

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Kevin

This looks so good! Love how easy the recipe is to follow!

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