14 Ways To Use Leftover Corned Beef

Corned beef is, of course, not precisely Irish: While St. Patrick's Day in the Emerald Isle might be celebrated with lamb stew, Irish bacon, or a carvery meal, there's only one option in the U.S. of A.

Mid-March is the time of year when everyone remembers just how good corned beef really is. The cabbage that it's often served alongside might be a love-or-hate sort of thing, but pile on the mashed potatoes, add some Coleman's mustard, and it's a winning meal. Sure, it's not really that healthy, but everything in moderation, right?

Cooking corned beef is a commitment: It's a brisket that's prepared in a particular way, and that usually means you'll have to dig out that massive pot that sits in the back of the closet and only gets used around special occasions. In turn, that means a lot of leftovers, and while post-Paddy's Day (and please, it's never with a "t") Reubens are delicious, there's only so many a person can eat. They're great hot or cold, traditional or with a few substitutions, but get halfway through that loaf of rye bread, and most people have had enough of corned beef for the rest of the year. That definitely doesn't have to be the case! Let's talk about some ways to use up all that leftover corned beef that are so good you might opt for making it outside of everyone's favorite springtime holiday.

Fried Rice

Fried rice is all too often relegated to simply being a side dish, and that's a shame because not only is it tasty, but the only thing better than a creative way to use up one kind of leftover is a recipe that uses two. Enter: Fried rice. Since most fried rice recipes recommend using pre-cooked rice, that makes this the perfect way to use up white rice from a takeout order or the rice that's inevitably leftover from the previous night's curry ... because no matter how carefully you measure, there's always more than you think there's going to be.

There's nothing wrong with that, especially considering fried rice is a versatile dish that can be a full meal — especially with the addition of heft ingredients like corned beef. Diced and sautéed to give it a nice char, it's super easy to add to your favorite fried rice recipe — especially egg fried rice. Swap soy sauce for a dash or a few of your favorite hot sauces, and check the fridge for any other leftovers you can toss in. Half a bag of peas? A single carrot? Throw it in! You not only have a great dinner but a lunch that's super easy to heat up in the microwave. Total win!

Baked/Twice-baked potatoes

It's no secret that corned beef goes great with a heaping pile of mashed potatoes, but there's no need to stop there — it's also pretty perfect for topping either once or twice-baked potatoes. Picked up a sack of potatoes for that big St. Patrick's Day meal? Be sure to save a few for leftovers, and there will be zero regrets.

First, talk about baked potatoes because they're slightly easier but no less tasty. Make as usual, then fine-dice some of that leftover corned beef to serve on top. Maybe you're feeling cheesy — add a drizzle of melty cheese — or while the potatoes are baking, brown that corned beef along with some onions, parsley, and maybe some peppers. Spoon into the hot-out-of-the-oven potato, and enjoy! It's just as easy to incorporate into your favorite twice-baked potato recipe. Fine-dice and either mix it into the potato filling with other ingredients like bacon and cheese or save it until the end and sprinkle it on the top. Also? Don't forget the cheese!

Egg rolls

Egg rolls are one of those foods that can be hit-or-miss ... but when they're good, they're not just good; they're phenomenal. Of course, egg rolls have to be fried to get the crisp coating that's a sign of a truly well-made roll, and here's the thing — there's no reason to stick with the old standbys when it comes to filling. You need a good corned beef egg roll recipe.

At a glance, it might seem far-fetched. But it isn't! Corned beef as the protein in an egg roll filling is completely logical: It is, after all, served with traditional egg roll ingredients like cabbage and carrots the first time around. (Since the vegetables in egg rolls are traditionally pre-cooked at least a bit, this is also a great way to use up any leftover cabbage and carrots — as long as they weren't originally overcooked.) Fill wrappers, wrap, fry, and enjoy, and if there's one more thing we might add, how about a Russian dressing dipping sauce?

Dips: Hot or cold

Dinner doesn't always have to be the typical protein and veg. There are some nights when it's fun just to whip up a dip or two, grab some chips, pretzels, crackers, or toast some bread, and then sit together and share what's on the platter. There are no shortages of dip options out there, and believe it or not, some can benefit from the addition of some leftover corned beef.

What kind of dips is that? For starters, take that winning Buffalo chicken dip and swap in some corned beef, shredded instead of diced. Already diced? What about stirring it into some queso and scooping it out with some tortilla chips? For anyone who likes the idea of a clam dip but isn't sure about the seafood aspect — reach for the corned beef instead. The distinctive flavor of corned beef goes great with the mild creaminess of mayonnaise, dill, and sour cream dips, and if you're looking for something hot, you can take a page out of the same book that created spinach and artichoke dip. Opt for corned beef and sauerkraut instead for a Reuben-inspired dip, and Friday night dinners might never be the same.


Still using taco shells and nacho chips for the same old standby of flavored ground beef, cheese, and salsa? It's time to up the game for Taco Tuesday because the possibilities are endless. Taco shells — soft and hard — and nachos are just a vehicle for whatever you want to put on top, and reaching for the corned beef instead of the ground beef is such a game-changer that it could become a regular thing.

The idea here is the same regardless of what vehicle you're opting for. And here's the thing: rather than dicing or slicing your leftover corned beef, it can be shredded, too. Pile that on nachos or tacos, then get creative. Add some creamy coleslaw, some pickled jalapenos — or pickled cabbage — diced red onions, bacon, your favorite avocado dressing, scallions, and don't forget the cheese. It's also a completely legitimate option to add a drizzle of Thousand Island or ranch dressing, and here's a pro tip: Instead of plain nachos, check out the wide variety of Doritos that are inevitably available. Cool Ranch corned beef nachos? Yes, please!

Bread pudding casserole

Bread pudding is a take-it-or-leave-it sort of dish, and that's largely due to the potential for a very questionable texture. That's a mistake that can be easily avoided — just use a baguette! — and that's a game-changing tip that opens up a whole slew of possibilities.

While bread pudding is typically considered a dessert, there are savory versions, too — and that's where corned beef comes in. Think of corned beef bread pudding as a cross between a deconstructed Reuben and a pasta bake: Assemble all the ingredients of a Reuben in a casserole dish, bake it like a pasta dish, and you're done! The moisture from the sauerkraut gives it that soft-yet-firm texture and the distinctive taste of a Reuben, while the corned beef means there's some bite left. Melt cheese over the top and serve with a side of dressing, and if any family members cringe at the idea of a bread pudding, just tell them it's a Reuben bake!

Corned beef hash

When taking a look at what chefs suggest are the worst brunch dishes to eat — the ones you should really consider skipping when going out to eat — one of the no-go dishes was, surprisingly, corned beef hash. Why? For the same reason that the dish is a brilliant way to use up leftover corned beef. It's so versatile that when diners order it off a restaurant menu, there's no telling what will come out of the kitchen. But when you're making it at home, that versatility is truly an amazing thing.

Is there a recipe for corned beef hash? Absolutely, but it's also safe to think of these more as a guideline than a recipe because hash can have everything up to (but not quite including) the kitchen sink thrown in. Onions, parsley, and chives are a must — along with frying for long enough to get that golden brown char — but there's no end to the options. Throw in some crispy bacon, some diced jalapenos — or sweet peppers — and don't forget to add a fried egg. Gone are the days of hash that's got the texture of cat food: Today's hash is chunky, flavorful, and appetizing.


St. Patrick's Day might be about the time of the year when most people stop thinking about warm and hearty soups. But dicing up some leftover corned beef for your favorite potato soup recipe is such a cozy addition that it might just be reason enough to make a giant corned beef 'round about October and freeze the leftovers for use throughout the winter. Cube them, bag them, and freeze them for something quick, easy, and hearty to add to pretty much any soup you might find yourself craving on a blustery winter day. 

Anyone who loves diced ham in their potato soup is guaranteed to love the extra saltiness that corned beef brings, and this isn't the only soup that can benefit from corned beef. It's also brilliant in lighter broth soups — think corned beef, onions, noodles, carrots, and peppers — or as an addition to your favorite vegetable soup. (This is also a great option for appeasing family members who might be trying to go more vegetarian: Since the leftover corned beef is already completely cooked, it's a great addition to keep the family's carnivore happy while others opt for veg-only.) And finally, it's also succulent in split pea soup in lieu of ham.

Omelets and scrambled eggs

There's nothing better than a hearty breakfast ... unless, of course, it's having a hearty breakfast meal for dinner. That's where this suggestion comes in: While many breakfast dishes might not seem hearty enough to be a filling, satisfying dinner, the addition of corned beef to your favorite egg dish is a great way to get your breakfast fix and be sure no one's going to leave the table hungry.

Corned beef lends itself to breakfast, and there are a ton of ways to get creative. Fold finely diced corned beef into an omelet — and don't forget the cheese. Use that same diced corned beef to bulk up some scrambled eggs, or if you're looking for something that's even more hands-off (and who isn't?), then grab a casserole dish and use chunks of your leftover corned beef as the basis for a hearty frittata or quiche. There's also the breakfast sandwich route: In place of sausage or ham, add a slice of corned beef to the fried egg and bacon sandwiched between the halves of your favorite bagel.


Getting creative with leftover corned beef will only lead to one realization: It's incredibly versatile, and although it has a unique flavor, it's a flavor that can add a whole new dimension to a favorite dish. Take your favorite chili recipe. Now, replace the meat with chunks or shreds of leftover corned beef. Pretty amazing, right?

Using leftover corned beef as the protein in chili is a great way to mix things up because not only is it a great substitute for a tomato-based red chili, but it's great in white chili, too. That's because corned beef is a weird thing: It's beef, but it has some serious ham vibes going for it, too. Swap out the chicken or turkey typically found in a white chili recipe. Rest assured that corned beef will pair wonderfully with the chicken stock and white beans typically found in this perhaps less common but no less lovely chili.

Cottage pie

Corned beef might not be entirely Irish, but cottage and shepherd's pie are. This hearty, casserole-like dish is made by cooking a thick, stew-like mixture of meat and vegetables, then topping it with potatoes (usually mashed), and popping it back into the oven to brown. If there's one thing that all corned beef fans know, it's that this meat does great with vegetables like carrots and peas — which means swapping the more traditional forms of beef (or lamb) and replacing it with corned beef is an absolute win.

But let's clarify: That makes it a cottage pie, not a shepherd's pie. The difference is an important one; if you're ordering in a restaurant, you want to know what protein you're going to be getting. It's only shepherd's pie — technically — if it's made with lamb. (Shepherds watch sheep, after all, not cattle.) If it's made with beef — like corned beef — then it's cottage pie. Either way, it's delicious!

Loaded fries

The day loaded fries were invented, the world never looked back. In theory, it's possible to put almost anything on fries and call it a day, but some things are definitely better than others — and it turns out that leftover corned beef is one of those better things.

There's no end to the possibilities here, but let's talk about some options. For anyone who loves the flavor of a Reuben but gets tired of the same old thing, try Reuben-inspired fries. (And this, in particular, works great on waffle fries.) Shredded corned beef, pickled cabbage, and a drizzle of dressing all make for a simple yet mouthwatering option, and should bacon also be added? Probably! Fries are better with something to dip them in, so what about turning some of that corned beef chili into a fry topping, complete with cheese and your favorite hot sauce? There's nothing wrong with simplicity, either: Corned beef and a drizzle of your favorite beer mustard, and you've got a brilliant plate. 

Pro tip? When you're making mashed potatoes to go with corned beef on the first go, save a couple of potatoes, make your fries in the air fryer, and top them with your corned beef. It makes all the difference!

Potato pancakes/boxty

Head to Ireland for St. Patrick's Day, and you might not get corned beef, but you'll definitely get potatoes. They've been a staple for centuries for a heartbreaking reason: As University College Cork historian Helene O'Keeffe recounts (via RTE), potatoes were one of the few crops that would grow in Ireland's difficult, wet, boggy, and rocky terrain, and yield enough to feed a family. Necessity is the mother of invention, which means the Irish have many delicious ways to eat potatoes — including potato pancakes.

Grated potatoes retain their texture, and when they're fried, the result is precisely that: a potato pancake. Use a mix of grated and mashed potatoes, and you'll have a traditional Irish dish called boxty — and either way, adding fine-diced or shredded corned beef to the mixture — along with spices and veg — is a great way to dress them up. Serve with cheese and a dip to break through that fried potatoey goodness, or reach for that leftover Coleman's mustard. (Does it have to be Coleman's? In this case, it absolutely does: Keep a tin of the dried powder in a cabinet, and you'll appreciate the tip later.)

Eggs Benedict

If there's any breakfast food that walks the line between food and art, it's eggs Benedict. Notoriously difficult to get right but amazing when it all comes together, the challenging part is the Hollandaise sauce. That's difficult enough that it might take a few tries to get the whole thing down pat, but once you're there, you have what might be the perfect dish to serve on a Sunday morning, particularly alongside a few of those breakfast cocktails that are oh-so-good.

Traditionally, the rest of the dish includes an English muffin, poached egg, and Canadian bacon — but that last one is where our leftover corned beef comes in. Swapping in a slice of corned beef isn't just acceptable, the fall-apart texture of it might make it a better option than Canadian bacon, which can be considerably more difficult to cut through. There's another option, too — instead of just a slice of corned beef, add a layer of corned beef hash. The meat — along with the veg and the potatoes — topped with an egg and drizzled with that scrumptious sauce might be the perfect brunch. Slainte!