Homemade Corned Beef (Dry-Cured)

Homemade dry-cured corned beef is extremely flavorful, incredibly tender and easier to make than you might think! Just make sure to plan ahead: this corned beef recipe calls for one week of dry brining!

This homemade corned beef recipe is dry-cured for maximum flavor! Making homemade corned beef can sound intimidating, but really it only takes about 20 minutes of active prep and then patience — one whole week of patience while your brisket cures to salty, flavorful perfection. But once you try this dry-cured corned beef, we guarantee you’ll never go back!

Sliced corned beef with cabbage and potatoes.

Recipe ingredients

Homemade corned beef is made by salt-curing brisket with a delicious blend of spices.

  • Beef brisket: While you can get away with point cut, I recommend using flat cut for dry brining corned beef. Flat cut brisket has a uniform thickness, which allows the brine to penetrate the meat evenly and makes for easy slicing.
  • Kosher salt: The word corned actually comes from the coarse salt grains that were originally used to preserve and tenderize the meat, which were at the time referred to as corns of salt! Make sure to note whether you’re using Morton’s coarse kosher salt or Diamond Crystal kosher salt — we’ve noted different volumes for each due to a difference in granule size.
  • Pink curing salt: Pink curing salt (also called prague powder) is added to the rub to prevent the growth of unwanted bacteria. It’s dyed pink so that it can easily be distinguished from table salt. The curing salt enhances the brisket’s flavor and is what gives corned beef its characteristic color. Just make sure to use the right amount! You don’t need much at all — one teaspoon per five pounds of meat is the recommended ratio.
  • Brown sugar: Sugar helps to balance the salty and savory components of the dish and also contributes to the texture of the corned beef.
  • Spices: While I’ve included a recipe for the mixture of spices that we used, you can definitely mix and match with your favorite ingredients. I’m not too particular here and just used what we had in our cupboards! Here’s what I used this time: allspice berries, juniper berries, black peppercorns, yellow mustard seeds, whole cloves, red pepper flakes and bay leaves.

Step by step instructions

A note on dry-brining corned beef: When it comes to curing your brisket, you can either use a wet brine (where the meat is submerged in water along with the spices and salt) or a dry brine (where the salt and spices are rubbed into the meat). Dry brining corned beef has several advantages. First, it takes up much less room, which is very important when you have limited fridge space. And second, dry brining allows the brisket to sit in its own liquid drawn out by the salt (resulting in a more concentrated flavor!) instead of being diluted by the water of a wet brine.

Toasting the whole spices in a skillet to release their flavors.

Step 1: Toast the spices. Toasting the spices for several minutes in a dry skillet helps release their flavor.

Ground spices in spice grinder.

Step 2: Grind the spices. A coarse grind is perfect for corned beef, it shouldn’t be too powder-like.

Ground spices, brown sugar, kosher salt and pink curing salt mixed together in bowl.

Step 3: Combine the ground spices with the kosher salt, pink curing salt and brown sugar. Mix thoroughly to ensure the spices and pink salt are evenly distributed.

Brisket on cutting board.

Step 4: Trim the brisket and pat dry. Trim any excess fat. If your brisket is really large, you can cut it in half so it fits in a sealed bag.

Salt and spices sprinkled over brisket.

Step 5: Rub the spice mixture into the brisket. Make sure the brisket is evenly coated on all sides.

Corned beef coated in spices and placed in zip-top bag.

Step 6: Place the brisket in a sealed zip-top back. Place the brisket in the coldest part of your fridge for seven days. Flip daily.

Make ahead and storage

To cook your dry-cured corned beef, I recommend our Dutch Oven Corned Beef and Cabbage recipe. It’s simple, effective and delicious!

Corned beef can be made a day or two in advance. Place the corned beef in a dutch oven and cover with water. Simmer on the stovetop for 3-4 hours or until tender. Transfer the corned beef to an airtight container with the cooking liquid and refrigerate for 1-2 days.

When you’re ready to cook your corned beef and cabbage, transfer some of the cooking liquid to a large pot along with any vegetables (cabbage, carrots, potatoes, etc.). While the vegetables are cooking, slice the corned beef thinly against the grain. Heat the corned beef slices in a skillet with a cup of the reserved water until warmed through.

Cooked corned beef will keep covered in the fridge for up to four days. It can also be frozen for up to three months.

Slicing corned beef while cold to get thin slices.

Expert tips and tricks

  • Toast the spices for maximum flavor. Just a few minutes in a hot dry skillet is enough to release the flavors. Don’t get carried away — spices burn easily!
  • Rub the entire brisket. Pay attention to the corners and edges of the brisket and ensure the meat is evenly coated.
  • Flip the meat daily. This helps to evenly distribute the salt and spice mixture and prevents uneven curing.
  • Don’t skip the rinse. Rinsing the brisket before cooking is essential to removing excess salt and spices. Thoroughly rinse the brisket under cold running water. Use your hands to dislodge any remaining spices or salt clinging to the meat.


What is dry-brining?

Dry-brining is a relatively new term that simply means salting and resting food before cooking. Brining typically involves a salty water-based mixture, so technically “dry-brining” isn’t brining at all. We sometimes use the term “dry brine” in this context just to differentiate from the more typical wet brine. More accurately, this recipe is dry-cured corned beef.

Is there a substitute for pink salt?

No, you can’t skip the pink salt in this recipe. Pink salt, also called Prague powder or curing salt, is a mixture of table salt and sodium nitrite. It preserves the meat, prevents bacterial growth, imparts a pink hue and enhances the flavor of the corned beef.

Do I have to rinse the brisket before cooking?

Yes, thoroughly rinsing the brisket under cold running water is necessary before cooking. Don’t worry – you aren’t losing any flavor, you’re just washing away the excess salt and corned beef is salty enough as it is! Skipping the step will result in corned beef that is way too salty.

How long will corned beef keep?

Once cooked, corned beef will keep covered in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days or frozen for up to three months.

How do I get thin slices of corned beef?

Slicing through hot corned beef makes it difficult to get thin slices. If thin slices (like those in the photo above) are what you’re after, cut the corned beef while still cold after letting it sit in the fridge overnight.

Sliced corned beef on a platter with cabbage, potatoes and carrots.

Loving this dry-cured corned beef recipe? Here are some more of our slow-cooked favorites that make for a perfect Sunday dinner feast!

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Thinly sliced homemade corned beef.

Homemade Corned Beef Recipe

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  • Author: Brit Kapustina
  • Total Time: 172 hours 20 minutes
  • Yield: 6
    • Prep Time: 20 minutes
    • Dry-Cure: 7 days
    • Cook Time: 4 hours
    • Category: Dinner
    • Method: Dry-Cure
    • Cuisine: Irish


  • 5 lbs (2.25 kg) beef brisket, flat cut
  • 1 cup (150 grams) Diamond Crystal kosher salt*
  • 1 teaspoon (5 grams) pink curing salt
  • ¼ cup (50 grams) brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon allspice berries
  • 1 tablespoon juniper berries
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 4 bay leaves


  1. Toast the allspice, juniper berries, peppercorns, mustard seeds, cloves, red pepper flakes and bay leaves in a dry skillet over medium heat just until fragrant (1-2 minutes). Make sure not to let them burn! Using a spice grinder or mortar and pestle, process the spices to a coarse grind. Combine with the kosher salt, pink salt and brown sugar.
  2. Trim the brisket of excess fat and pat dry. Rub the spice mixture all over the brisket to thoroughly coat. Place in a sealed plastic bag and press as much air out as you can. Refrigerate for seven days. Flip the meat once daily.
  3. Before cooking your corned beef, thoroughly rinse off the salt and spices under cold running water.
  4. To cook the corned beef, place it in a dutch oven and cover with water by several inches. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 3-4 hours or until tender.
  5. Transfer the corned beef to a cutting board and allow to rest for 10 minutes before thinly slicing against the grain.


Kosher salt: Types of kosher salt vary significantly in granule size, which is why we specified Diamond Crystal kosher salt. If using Morton’s coarse kosher salt, which we have also tested for this recipe, use 1/2 cup (which will still be 150 grams).

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