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How to Tell If Corned Beef Is Cooked & 2 Cooking Methods

How to Tell If Corned Beef Is Cooked & 2 Cooking Methods

Last Updated on 22nd June 2023 by

Corned beef is a flavourful brisket that is used in dishes as culturally important as corned beef and cabbage and as warm and comforting as corned beef and hash browns. It’s a versatile meat that’s takes longer to cook than other beef types. What makes it different from typical beef or most any kind of meat is that it may not change colour much once it is done cooking and it may take longer to cook.

You can cook this meat all the way through and yet it could still retain its colour. What could cause that to happen? That’s due to the nitrite used for curing corned beef. It has an incredible effect of fixing the beef’s pigmentation, even when cooked.

Unlike most meats, you might not be able to tell when the corned beef is done just by looking at it. There aren’t always visual identifiers to let you know that the meat has been cooked all the way through. Your corned beef won’t necessarily turn brown or greyish once it is ready to be taken off the heat, and yet sometimes it will.

So, how to tell is a corned beef is done? We’ll give you a few methods of knowing when to stop cooking this meat.

Use the Thermometer

The simplest and safest way to test if your corned beef has finished cooking is to stick a thermometer in it and check the temperature.

How to tell is corned beef brisket is done?

The USDA recommends that the beef brisket be thoroughly cooked to 145°F. That is hot enough to have killed most of the bacteria that could be living there and hot enough that the beef is now safe to eat.

This is the safest and most foolproof way. Any other method leaves room for doubt, which is why we recommend the thermometer.

If you want to be really safe and sure that your brisket is fully cooked, then you should check the temperature in a few different places.

It might not have cooked all the way through everywhere and may not have cooked evenly. This is especially important with larger pieces of corned beef brisket.

Cooking Time

Another way to tell if your corned beef is done is to make sure it cooks at the right temperature for long enough to be considered fully cooked. If you follow a recipe for corned beef precisely, then that should mean the meat is safe to eat once you have reached that point.

Corned beef is made from tougher cuts of meat than other types of beef, which may be the brisket, rump, or round. This means that it takes longer to cook and usually needs to cook at a low heat for a lengthy period of time. That can make it frustrating to bake, roast, or grill and it will cook slower than other beef cuts. However, it is necessary to ensure that it is fully cooked and not serving as a comfortable home for bacteria.

How to tell if corned beef is done? You may just have to trust the recipe and it’s cooking time if you don’t have a thermometer handy.

How to Tell If Corned Beef Is Cooked & 2 Cooking Methods
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Corned Beef with Mashed Potatoes

A traditional dish that will warm your heart and your belly, this Corned Beef with Mashed Potatoes is perfect for a comforting family dinner.
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time3 minutes
Total Time3 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 4


For the Corned Beef

  • 2 Ibs corned beef brisket
  • 1 nion, peeled and quartered
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 whole peppercorns
  • Water to cover

For the Mashed Potatoes

  • 4 large russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 1/2 cup warm milk
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Place the corned beef in a large pot along with the onion, garlic, bay leaf, and peppercorns. Add enough water to cover the beef. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 3 hours, or until the beef is tender.
  • When the beef is almost done, start making the mashed potatoes. Boil the potatoes in a large pot of salted water until they are tender, about 15-20 minutes.
  • Drain the potatoes and return them to the pot. Add the warm milk and butter, then mash until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Once the beef is done, remove it from the pot and let it rest for a few minutes before slicing. Serve the sliced beef with the mashed potatoes.


This recipe is easy to follow and will bring a classic comfort food to your table. Enjoy your cooking!

How to Tell if Corned Beef Is Done- Slow Cooker Method

We’ve just described corned beef as a meat that needs to cook for long periods of time, so a crock pot may seem like the obvious tool for the job. You can just put your corned beef in there for a while and not have to watch it closely. It’s a cook-and-forget kind of kitchen appliance, which makes it ideal for busy cooks who want to get other things done than be kept in the kitchen all day to watch their food cook.

If you want to use a crock pot/slow cooker or crock pot with just enough water to cover it up. If you are cooking any root vegetables with it, they can be placed underneath the beef in the pot.

Cook for about an hour on the high setting and then turn it down to a low setting for an additional 10 minutes. How to tell if the corned beef is done? It should be greyish brown at that point, but you can still check it with a thermometer to be sure. Remember that the corned beef needs to reach an internal temperature of 145°F to be safe for eating.

How to tell if corned beef is done in crock pot? It’s the same method as a slow cooker.

How to Tell If Corned Beef Is Cooked & 2 Cooking Methods

Cooking Corned Beef on the Stovetop

Another way to cook your corned beef is in a pan on the stove. You’ll have to stay with it and watch it to ensure it doesn’t burn, but if you don’t have a crock pot, this method works pretty well.

You’re basically boiling the corned beef in water with a stovetop cooking method. You need to cover the beef in water and then cover the pan with a lid. Try not to open it up too often to check if it is done.

How to tell if boiled corned beef is done by sight? The colour will change, but it may change long before the beef is cooked all the way through. Just figure that you need to cook each pound of beef for an hour. That should give you a good estimate to go by, and then you can check the finished beef with a thermometer to see if it is fully cooked.

In general, remember that it’s always safest to check the temperature of the corned beef. Anything else is too risky, and it’s a good idea to buy a thermometer to before you cook a corned beef brisket. That way, you won’t have to guess when it is done.

Cooking corned beef is different from cooking a steak or pork chops. These change color on the outside about the same time the inside is done, if they are not thick cuts.

Beef brisket isn’t always going to give you that kind of visual tell, so if you are wondering how to tell if corned beef is done, it’s always safest to check the temperature.

Anything else is too risky, and it’s a good idea to buy a  thermometer to before you cook a corned beef brisket. That way, you won’t have to guess when it is done.

Wrap Up

Now that you know how to tell if corned beef is cooked, you’re ready to try it out for yourself!

Here are a few of our favorite corned beef and beef recipes to get you started:


Why is corned beef called corned?

“Corned beef” is called “corned” because it’s cured using large grains of salt, or “corns” of salt, an old English term for grain or small hard particles.

What exactly is corned beef?

Corned beef is a type of salt-cured beef product. It’s prepared through brining in a solution of water, salt, and spices, then slowly cooked until tender.

What is the best method to cook corned beef?

The best method to cook corned beef is by simmering it slowly in a pot of water with spices until it’s tender. This process can take several hours, but it ensures a flavorful, tender result.

Is corned beef healthy or no?

Corned beef can be high in protein and certain vitamins, but it’s also high in sodium and fat. It can be part of a balanced diet, but moderation is key due to its salt content.

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I'm Pauline, a mother of four grown children, my passion for cooking stemmed from the joy i get cooking for my family. I love to try new dishes, especially when dining out but creating and sharing my own recipes is my favourite thing to do!

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