sliced corned beef on a cutting board

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Why I love this baked corned beef recipe

Did you know that corned beef made from beef brisket? It’s just preserved with spices and curing salt which contains sodium nitrate – this is what gives it it’s unique pink color. In general, brisket benefits from low and slow cooking methods, and by baking the corned beef at a low temperature, we can render the fat and connective tissue that can make corned beef tough.

It’s important to note that you can’t just open the corned beef and toss it in the oven. Corned beef is preserved in a ton of salt, and the traditional method of boiling it pulls that salt out. So while my oven heats up, I soak my corned beef in water for about 15 minutes or so. I do this right in the dish that I plan to bake it in to save on clean up.

The cooking method alone will make a better corned beef brisket, but adding flavor is never a bad thing. I like to give my corned beef a nice of coat of brown sugar and whole ground mustard – with that classic seasoning packet mixed in – and I always add some Guinness to the pan the ensure the brisket doesn’t dry out. You can’t go wrong with Guinness on St. Patrick’s Day.

sliced and shredded corned beef on a platter

Here’s what you’ll need to make it

Ingredients & substitutes

  • Corned beef brisket – I used a 4 pound corned beef. Get whatever size you need to feed your family, but make sure it will fit in your baking dish.
  • Guinness – You don’t need to use Guinness. You can use any dark beer of your choice, just keep in mind that not all beer is dairy free. If you want to avoid alcohol, try some apple cider or even a cola! It will be a bit sweeter, but should produce great results.
baked corned beef and cabbage on a platter

How to cook corned beef in the oven

Soak. Preheat your oven to 325˚F and while it heats, soak your corned beef in cold water. This helps remove the excess salt. If your water gets super cloudy after a few minutes, change out the water and continue soaking for a total of 15 minutes.

Season. Drain the water and pat the corned beef dry. In a small bowl, mix the seasoning packet with brown sugar and mustard. Spread this mixture onto the corned beef. The fat side should be up and this is where you want to put the seasoning.

Bake. Cover the pan – with a lid or with aluminum foil – and bake for 1 hour per pound. During the final 15 minutes of baking, remove the lid to allow the seasoning to brown. Remove from the oven and allow the corned beef to rest on a cutting board for about 10 minutes before slicing.

closeup of sliced corned beef on a cutting board

FAQs and tips for making the best corned beef

Do I need to soak corned beef before cooking?

If you plan to bake your corned beef like I normally do, I recommend soaking it in cold water for at least 15 minutes to reduce the amount of sodium. If you’re boiling it, make sure you rinse your corned beef a few times before adding it to your pot.

How long should I cook my corned beef?

Corned beef brisket needs to be baked for about 1 hour per pound at a temperature of 325˚F. If you’re boiling, it should be simmered for about 50 minutes per pound.

Do you put corned beef fat side up or down?

Whether you’re baking or boiling corned beef, it should be placed fat side up. When it’s baked, this allows the fat to melt through/over the meat while it cooks and keeps it nice and juicy while adding flavor.

How do you know when corned beef is done?

Corned beef needs to cook for a long time to make it tender, so it’s technically cooked fully before it’s ready. You will know your corned beef is ready to eat when it’s fork tender.

Which way do I cut corned beef?

As with any meat, it’s best to slice corned beef against the grain, but if you cook your corned beef just right, you should be able to shredded it with a fork and it won’t matter which direction you’re slicing it.

baked corned beef sliced on a platter with cabbage

More St. Patrick’s Day recipes:

More beef recipes you’ll love:

Have leftover corned beef?

sliced corned beef on a plate with sauteed cabbage and mashed potatoes

Baked Corned Beef

This classic Irish-American dish is traditionally boiled with cabbage, but if you want the most flavorful, tender corned beef, there’s a better way. This baked corned beef is topped with mustard and brown sugar and braised in Guinness. Serve it with mashed potatoes and sautéed cabbage for a complete St. Patrick’s Day meal.

  • Author: Melissa Belanger
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 4 hours
  • Total Time: 4 hours 20 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x
  • Category: Mains
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Irish/American


  • 1 4-pound corned beef brisket, with seasoning packet
  • 1 cup Guinness or other stout
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoon whole grain mustard


  1. Preheat oven to 325˚F.
  2. Submerge corned beef in cold water for 15 minutes. Drain and pat dry.
  3. Place corned beef in a baking dish and add Guinness to the pan.
  4. In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar, mustard and seasoning packet that came with the corned beef. Rub this onto the top of the corned beef.
  5. Cover the pan and bake for 4 hours, removing the cover for the final 30 minutes of cooking.
  6. Remove from oven and allow the corned beef to rest for about 10 minutes before slicing.


If your corned beef is larger than 4 pounds, add 1 hour per pound to the cook time.

Keywords: dairy free, egg free, easy, 5 ingredient, beef, brisket, corned beef, St. Patrick’s Day

Last Updated on December 1, 2021 by Melissa Belanger

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