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Can I cook my corned beef ahead of time?

Quick Answer

Yes, you can cook corned beef ahead of time. The key is properly storing the cooked corned beef until you are ready to serve it. There are a few different storage methods you can use:

  • Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days
  • Store in the freezer for up to 3 months
  • Store in the refrigerator after slicing for up to 5 days

The important thing is cooling the cooked corned beef quickly before storing it. Cutting it into smaller pieces will help it cool faster. Reheating fully cooked corned beef that has been properly stored is quick and easy.

How Far in Advance Can I Cook Corned Beef?

Corned beef can be fully cooked up to 5 days before serving it. The key is properly storing it after it is cooked. Here are some tips for cooking corned beef in advance:

  • Cook the corned beef according to your recipe. It usually takes 2-4 hours of simmering to fully cook a corned beef brisket.
  • Once cooked through, remove the corned beef from the liquid and let it rest for about 15 minutes.
  • Transfer the corned beef to a rimmed baking sheet and refrigerate until completely cooled, about 1-2 hours.
  • Wrap the cooled corned beef tightly in plastic wrap and foil. Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

You can also slice or cube the corned beef before storing it. Cutting it into smaller pieces allows it to cool faster. Make sure to wrap the pieces well before refrigerating.

Properly stored cooked corned beef will keep for 3-5 days in the fridge before the quality starts to deteriorate. After 5 days, it’s best to discard it.

Freezer Storage

In addition to refrigerating it, you can also freeze cooked corned beef for longer term storage. Here’s how:

  • Follow the same steps for cooking, cooling, and slicing the corned beef.
  • Place the sliced or cubed corned beef in a freezer bag or airtight container.
  • Remove as much air as possible and seal the container.
  • Freeze for up to 3 months.

Frozen corned beef holds up well for up to 3 months in the freezer before the texture or flavor starts to degrade. Make sure your freezer is 0°F or below.

How to Reheat Corned Beef

Reheating cooked corned beef is easy, whether it was stored in the fridge or freezer. Here are some reheating methods:


  • Preheat oven to 325°F.
  • Place refrigerated corned beef in an oven-safe dish.
  • Cover with foil and bake until warmed through, about 20-30 minutes.

The oven provides even, gentle reheating. Just make sure not to overcook the corned beef or it could dry out. An instant-read thermometer should read 140°F.


  • Place slices or pieces of corned beef on a microwave-safe plate.
  • Microwave on High in 30 second intervals until warmed through, about 1-2 minutes.

Microwaving is the quickest reheating method. Be careful not to overcook the corned beef. Check it frequently and stop early if needed to prevent drying out.


  • Place refrigerated corned beef and cooking liquid in a pot.
  • Gently simmer until warmed through, about 10-15 minutes.

This method works well if you have leftover corned beef cooking liquid. The moisture helps keep the meat tender. Do not let the liquid boil or the meat may toughen up.


  • Cube corned beef into bite-sized pieces.
  • Heat a skillet with oil or butter over medium-high heat.
  • Cook corned beef pieces until warmed through, about 3-5 minutes.

Sautéing is a great way to get a nice crispy exterior on the corned beef while heating it through. You can add spices, onions, or other veggies while sautéing for extra flavor.

Serving Leftover Cooked Corned Beef

There are lots of ways to use up leftover cooked corned beef beyond just reheating it plain. Here are some delicious options:


Pile sliced corned beef with Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and Thousand Island dressing on rye bread for a hearty Reuben sandwich. You can also make great corned beef sandwiches with mustard, pickles, and peppers on the side.


Chop corned beef and combine it with potatoes, peppers, onions, and eggs cooked together for a corned beef hash. Served with a fried egg on top, this is a filling brunch or dinner.


Scrambled eggs get an instant upgrade when you add in diced corned beef. The saltiness pairs perfectly with the creamy eggs. You can also top an omelet with corned beef for an easy protein boost.


Toss cubed corned beef into your favorite pasta dish. It’s excellent with creamy alfredo, zesty marinara, or even just olive oil and garlic. The meaty pieces pair well with all kinds of pasta shapes.


Simmer chopped corned beef in vegetable or bean soup for heartiness. You can also make corned beef and cabbage soup or use it in potato soup. The flavors work well in hearty soups and chowders.


Chopped corned beef makes an excellent salad topping. Pair it with sturdy lettuces like romaine along with blue cheese, avocado, tomato, and vinaigrette dressing. The flavors and textures complement each other.


For an easy weeknight dinner, fill tortillas with corned beef, cheese, and sautéed onions or peppers. Cook the quesadillas until the cheese melts for dinner in minutes. Kids will love this fun twist on tacos.


Another way to reinvent leftovers is loaded corned beef nachos. Layer tortilla chips with corned beef, beans, salsa, cheese, jalapeños, and guacamole for the ultimate appetizer or light meal.

The key is properly storing cooked corned beef until you’re ready to use it. With proper refrigeration or freezing, you can cook corned beef up to 5 days in advance with delicious results.

Storage Method Timeframe Notes
Refrigerator Up to 5 days Store tightly wrapped in foil/plastic wrap
Freezer Up to 3 months Store in air-tight container
Sliced in refrigerator Up to 5 days Cut into smaller pieces for faster cooling

Key Tips for Cooking Corned Beef in Advance

Follow these tips for successfully cooking corned beef ahead of time:

  • Completely cook the corned beef until tender before storing.
  • Allow it to cool completely, about 1-2 hours.
  • Cut into smaller pieces to allow faster cooling.
  • Refrigerate or freeze promptly in proper storage containers.
  • Use within recommended timeframes for safety and quality.
  • Reheat gently and thoroughly before serving.
  • Avoid overcooking when reheating to prevent dryness.

With proper handling, you can enjoy delicious corned beef for meals throughout the week when you cook it ahead on the weekend or a busy day.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you cook a corned beef and then freeze it?

Yes, corned beef can be cooked fully then frozen for longer term storage. Let it cool completely before freezing. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating gently to serve.

How long does cooked corned beef last in the fridge?

Properly stored cooked corned beef will last 3-5 days in the refrigerator. Be sure it is cooled completely before refrigerating. Keep it wrapped tightly to maintain quality. After 5 days, it’s best to discard used corned beef.

What is the best way to reheat corned beef?

Gentle reheating methods work best for corned beef to keep it moist and prevent drying out. Bake in the oven at 325°F, simmer in liquid, or sauté with a little oil or butter. Microwave briefly in 30 second increments just until heated through.

Can you reheat cooked corned beef in the slow cooker?

Yes, the slow cooker is a great way to safely reheat corned beef without overcooking it. Add some liquid like broth or water, cover, and set on low for 1-2 hours until heated through. The gentle heat keeps the meat tender.

How do you know when corned beef is done cooking?

Corned beef is fully cooked when it is fork-tender but not falling apart. The internal temperature should reach at least 145°F. Allow it to rest for 15 minutes before slicing, and the temperature will continue rising to a safe 165°F.


Cooking corned beef in advance allows you to enjoy delicious meals throughout the week. With proper storage in the fridge or freezer, corned beef will keep safely for several days. Slicing the meat and allowing it to fully cool minimizes risk.

Gentle reheating maintains the corned beef’s texture and flavor. Beyond just reheating the leftovers, you can also repurpose corned beef in many recipes like sandwiches, eggs, pasta, and more. With some planning, you can enjoy your favorite comfort food any night of the week.