How To Undercooked Corned Beef Like a Pro?

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Corned beef is a flavorful and hearty dish enjoyed by many, especially during holidays like St. Patrick’s Day. However, there’s nothing more disappointing than discovering that your corned beef is undercooked.

In this article, we’ll explore the causes behind undercooked corned beef, provide effective fixes, and discuss prevention measures to ensure your next corned beef experience is a culinary success.

How to tell if corned beef is undercooked?

Determining whether corned beef is undercooked involves assessing its color, texture, and internal temperature.

Here are some indicators to help you identify if your corned beef is undercooked:


Undercooked corned beef may appear pink or reddish in the center. Properly cooked corned beef typically has a uniform brown or gray color throughout.

If you notice any areas with a distinct pink hue, it’s an indication that the meat may not have cooked thoroughly.


The texture of corned beef can be a reliable indicator of its doneness. Undercooked corned beef tends to be tough, chewy, and resistant to being pulled apart.

Properly cooked corned beef should be tender, with the fibers easily separating when pulled or sliced.

Internal Temperature:

The most accurate way to determine the doneness of corned beef is by checking its internal temperature using a meat thermometer.

The recommended safe internal temperature for corned beef is at least 145°F (63°C).

  • Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the meat to ensure an accurate reading.
  • If the internal temperature is below 145°F, the corned beef is undercooked.
  • If it reaches 145°F or higher, the corned beef is cooked to a safe level. However, for a more tender result, some recipes suggest cooking it to a slightly higher temperature.

Resistance to Fork or Knife:

Undercooked corned beef will resist being pierced with a fork or sliced with a knife.

If you encounter significant resistance, it may be an indication that the meat needs more time to cook.

Visual Inspection:

Slice the corned beef open to inspect the interior. If you notice any raw or undercooked portions, it’s a clear sign that further cooking is necessary.

By paying attention to these visual and textural cues, along with checking the internal temperature, you can ensure that your corned beef is not undercooked and is safe and enjoyable to eat.

How To Fix Undercooked Corned Beef? 

To fix undercooked corned beef, immediately place it back in the cooking pot with more water, and simmer for an additional 30-60 minutes until tender.

Another option is to slice the beef thinly and pan-sear it until fully cooked. Always ensure the meat reaches a safe internal temperature before serving.

Let’s explore the ways

Finish Cooking On Stovetop

To finish cooking your undercooked corned beef on the stovetop, you’ll need to follow these simple steps:

  1. Fill a large pot halfway with water and bring it to a boil.
  2. Place the undercooked corned beef in the pot, ensuring it is completely submerged.
  3. Cover the pot and let the corned beef simmer for about 30 minutes per pound.
  4. Check for doneness by inserting a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the meat. It should read at least 145°F (63°C).
  5. Once the corned beef is fully cooked, remove it from the pot and let it rest for a few minutes before slicing and serving.

Use A Slow Cooker

If you prefer a hands-off approach to cooking, using a slow cooker is a great option.

Here’s how to fix undercooked corned beef using this method:

  1. Transfer the undercooked corned beef to a slow cooker.
  2. Add enough water or broth to cover the meat.
  3. Cook the corned beef on high for about 4-6 hours or on low for 8-10 hours.
  4. Once the cooking time is up, check the internal temperature of the corned beef to ensure it has reached at least 145°F (63°C).
  5. Allow the corned beef to rest, then slice and serve.

Transfer To An Oven

If you prefer a crispy exterior on your corned beef, finishing it in the oven is a great option.

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
  2. Place the undercooked corned beef in a roasting pan or baking dish.
  3. Add a splash of water or beef broth to the bottom of the pan to prevent it from drying out.
  4. Cover the pan with aluminum foil.
  5. Bake the corned beef for about 30 minutes per pound.
  6. Check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer, making sure it registers at least 145°F (63°C).
  7. Remove the foil and continue baking for an additional 10-15 minutes to allow the exterior to crisp up.
  8. Once done, let the corned beef rest before slicing and serving.

How long and what temperature should I cook my corned beef?

The cooking time and temperature for corned beef can vary depending on the method of preparation, the size of the meat, and personal preferences.

Here are table for cooking corned beef:

Cooking MethodTemperatureCooking TimeNotes
Stovetop (Simmering)Medium Heat2.5 to 3 hours per poundSimmer in a pot, covered, with water or cooking liquid.
Oven (Braising)325°F (163°C)About 3 hoursRoast in a covered roasting pan or oven-safe pot.
Slow CookerLow or High7-8 hours on low, 4-5 hours on highCook with water or cooking liquid in a slow cooker.
Instant Pot (Pressure Cooker)High PressureAbout 90 minutesCook with water or cooking liquid. Follow with a natural or quick release.

Alternative Ways To Salvage Undercooked Corned Beef

One way to salvage undercooked corned beef is by shredding it and simmering it in a flavorful broth.

This method not only ensures that the beef is fully cooked, but it also allows the meat to absorb the delicious flavors of the broth.

Here’s how you can do it:

  1. First, shred the undercooked corned beef into smaller pieces. This will help it cook faster and more evenly.
  2. Next, prepare a simmering broth of your choice. You can use beef, chicken, or vegetable broth depending on your preference. Feel free to add some aromatic vegetables, such as onions, carrots, and celery, to enhance the flavor.
  3. Add the shredded corned beef to the simmering broth and let it cook for about 15-20 minutes, or until the meat is tender and thoroughly cooked.
  4. Once cooked, you can use the shredded corned beef and flavorful broth to create a variety of dishes. Serve it over rice or mashed potatoes, or use it as a filling for sandwiches or wraps.

Slice And Pan-fry:

Another method to salvage undercooked corned beef is by slicing it and pan-frying it.

This technique not only ensures that the beef is cooked through, but it also adds a delicious crispy texture to the meat.

Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Start by slicing the undercooked corned beef into thin slices. Thinner slices will cook faster and more evenly.
  2. In a hot pan, add a small amount of oil or butter and let it melt.
  3. Once the oil or butter is hot, add the sliced corned beef to the pan and let it cook for about 3-4 minutes on each side, or until the slices are browned and heated through.
  4. For added flavor, you can season the slices with your favorite spices or herbs, such as garlic powder, paprika, or thyme.
  5. Once cooked, remove the pan-fried corned beef from the heat and serve it alongside your favorite side dishes, such as roasted vegetables or mashed potatoes. It also makes a tasty addition to sandwiches or salads.

So there you have it – two alternative ways to salvage undercooked corned beef.

Whether you choose to shred and simmer it in broth or slice and pan-fry it, these methods will transform your undercooked mishap into a delicious meal.

Remember, mistakes happen in the kitchen, but with a little creativity, you can turn them into culinary successes.

Why Is Corned Beef Undercooked?

There can be a few reasons why corned beef ends up undercooked. It is important to understand these reasons in order to fix the issue effectively.

Let’s take a look at the most common causes:

Inadequate Cooking Time:

One of the primary reasons for undercooked corned beef is not allowing it enough time to cook thoroughly.

Corned beef is a tough cut of meat that requires slow cooking to break down its collagen and become tender.

If you haven’t adhered to the recommended cooking time, the beef may be undercooked.

Low Cooking Temperature:

Maintaining a consistent and appropriate cooking temperature is crucial. If the heat is too low, the corned beef will take longer to cook, and there’s a risk that it won’t reach the desired level of tenderness.

Insufficient Water Level:

Corned beef is typically simmered or boiled in a liquid. If the water level is too low, the meat may not cook evenly. It’s essential to ensure that the beef is adequately submerged to facilitate even cooking.

Overcrowding in the Pot:

If you’re cooking multiple pieces of corned beef in the same pot, overcrowding can be a problem. The pieces need space to cook evenly.

Overcrowding may result in some portions being undercooked while others are cooked properly.

Large or Thick Pieces:

The size and thickness of the corned beef pieces can affect cooking time. Larger or thicker cuts may require more time to cook thoroughly.

If you’re dealing with a substantial piece of meat, consider adjusting the cooking time accordingly.

Old or Tough Cut of Meat:

The quality of the corned beef itself can contribute to undercooking. If the meat is tough or past its prime, it may require longer cooking times to become tender.

How to Prevent Corned Beef From Being Undercooked? 

When cooking corned beef, ensuring that it is not undercooked is essential.

Undercooked corned beef can lead to tough, unappealing texture and potential food safety concerns.

By following a few simple tips, you can prevent undercooked corned beef and ensure a delicious, well-cooked meal.

Choose The Right Size And Shape

When selecting corned beef, it’s important to consider the size and shape. Choose a piece of corned beef that is uniform in thickness to promote even cooking.

Additionally, consider the size of your cooking vessel to ensure there is sufficient space for the meat to cook evenly.

Thaw Completely

Prior to cooking, it’s crucial to ensure that your corned beef has thawed completely, if it was frozen.

Thawing the meat in the refrigerator is the safest method and ensures that the beef cooks evenly.

Allow ample time for the beef to thaw, based on its size and the refrigerator’s temperature. This will help prevent undercooked portions.

Use A Meat Thermometer

Using a meat thermometer is an effective way to prevent undercooked corned beef.

A meat thermometer allows you to accurately gauge the internal temperature of the meat, ensuring that it has reached the proper level of doneness.

For corned beef, the internal temperature should reach at least 145°F (63°C) for safe consumption.

Adjusting Cooking Time And Temperature For Corned Beef

Adjusting cooking time and temperature is crucial when it comes to fixing undercooked corned beef.

By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your corned beef is cooked to perfection.

Low And Slow

Corned beef is a tough cut of meat that requires low and slow cooking for optimal tenderness.

To fix undercooked corned beef, lower the temperature and increase the cooking time.

This allows the meat to cook through evenly without drying out. To do this:

  • Reduce the oven temperature to 275°F (135°C).
  • Continue cooking the corned beef for an additional 30 minutes per pound.
  • Check the internal temperature using a meat thermometer. The ideal temperature for corned beef is 160°F (71°C), indicating that the meat is fully cooked and tender.

Follow Recipe Guidelines

When adjusting the cooking time and temperature for corned beef, it’s important to refer to the recipe guidelines provided.

Every recipe may have specific instructions tailored to the type and size of the corned beef you’re cooking.

By following the recipe, you can ensure that you’re making the necessary adjustments.

Common Mistakes To Avoid When Cooking Corned Beef

When it comes to cooking corned beef, avoiding common mistakes can make all the difference between a tough and undercooked piece of meat and a tender, flavorful dish.

In this section, we will discuss two common mistakes to avoid when cooking corned beef: using too high heat and skipping the resting period.

Using Too High Heat

One of the biggest mistakes people make when cooking corned beef is using too high heat.

  • If the heat is too high, the outer layers of the meat will cook much faster than the inside, resulting in a tough and chewy texture.
  • To avoid this, it is important to cook corned beef over low to medium heat, allowing it to cook evenly and tenderize over time.
  • Start by placing the meat in a large pot and covering it with water. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer.
  • Cover the pot and let the meat simmer for the recommended cooking time, which is usually around three to four hours.
  • Cooking corned beef slowly over low heat will ensure that it becomes tender and moist, resulting in a more enjoyable dining experience.

Skipping The Resting Period

Another common mistake people make when cooking corned beef is skipping the resting period.

  • After the corned beef has finished cooking, it is important to let it rest for at least 10 to 15 minutes before slicing.
  • This resting period allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, resulting in a juicier and more flavorful final product.
  • Skipping this step may cause the meat to become dry and less enjoyable to eat.
  • During the resting period, you can cover the corned beef with foil to keep it warm.

By avoiding these two common mistakes – using too high heat and skipping the resting period – you can ensure that your corned beef turns out tender, flavorful, and absolutely delicious.

Take your time, cook it right, and you’ll be rewarded with a mouthwatering meal that everyone will love.

Can you eat undercooked corned beef? What happen if you eat?

No, you can not eat undercooked corned beef because consuming undercooked corned beef poses potential health risks due to the risk of bacterial contamination, particularly from bacteria such as Salmonella, Escherichia coli (E. coli), and Listeria.

These bacteria can cause foodborne illnesses, leading to symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and, in severe cases, more serious complications.

Here are some reasons why eating undercooked corned beef can be problematic:

Bacterial Contamination:

Undercooked meat may harbor harmful bacteria on its surface or within its tissues.

Cooking meat to the recommended internal temperature is crucial to kill these bacteria and reduce the risk of foodborne illnesses.


Salmonella is a common foodborne pathogen associated with undercooked meats. Symptoms of Salmonella infection include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, fever, and headache.

E. coli:

Escherichia coli (E. coli) is another bacteria that can be present in undercooked meat.

Some strains of E. coli can cause severe food poisoning, leading to symptoms such as bloody diarrhea, abdominal pain, and in some cases, kidney failure.


Listeria monocytogenes is a bacterium that can grow at refrigerator temperatures.

Undercooked or contaminated meat may carry this pathogen, and consumption can lead to listeriosis, which may cause fever, muscle aches, nausea, and, in severe cases, infections affecting the central nervous system.

If you suspect that you have consumed undercooked corned beef or any undercooked meat, it is essential to monitor your health closely for any signs of foodborne illness.

If you experience symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or abdominal pain, seek medical attention promptly.

Is tough corned beef overcooked or Undercooked?

Tough corned beef is typically a result of overcooking rather than undercooking. Overcooking can cause the collagen in the meat to break down excessively, leading to a dry and tough texture.

To achieve tender corned beef, it’s important to cook it slowly and at the right temperature, allowing the collagen to break down gradually without drying out the meat.

Is chewy corned beef overcooked or undercooked?

Chewy corned beef is often a sign of undercooking. If the beef hasn’t been cooked long enough or hasn’t reached the appropriate internal temperature, the collagen and connective tissues may not have broken down sufficiently, resulting in a chewy and less tender texture.

To avoid chewiness, it’s important to cook corned beef until it reaches the recommended internal temperature, allowing for proper tenderness.


Undercooked corned beef can be a disappointing setback in the kitchen, but with the right knowledge and precautions, it’s easily preventable and fixable. By following proper cooking techniques, monitoring temperatures, and making adjustments when needed, you can ensure that your corned beef dishes are consistently delicious and safe to enjoy.

Happy cooking!

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