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Exactly How to Reheat Corned Beef – I Test 5 Methods [Pics]

A corned beef sandwich just isn’t the same with cold meat.

But what’s the best way to reheat your corned beef to keep it moist? A dry sandwich is no good either!

I tested five different ways of reheating corned beef to discover the answer. 

Read on to find out my favorite step-by-step way to perfectly reheat corned beef.

A note on my experiment

I saved several deli slices of Katz Delicatessen corned beef to test out five ways to reheat it.

I tested:

  • The microwave (which produced the best results in my book)
  • A skillet
  • The oven (the worst method)
  • Steaming
  • A water bath

I found that the microwave produced the best results quickly and conveniently. 

The skillet, water bath, and steaming all produced decent results. 

The oven took the most time and effort, and while it wasn’t inedible by any means, it just wasn’t a great way to reheat.

A couple of methods (like the skillet and water bath) took a little bit of trial and error to get right. I’ve provided some tips that will help you if these methods appeal to you over the microwave.

Reheating corned beef in the microwave

The best way to reheat corned beef is in the microwave, lay your slices of corned beef on a microwave-safe plate. They can overlap or even be stacked. Cover the corned beef with a wet paper towel, then microwave on HIGH for 20 to 30 seconds until the meat is warmed through.

This method is particularly quick and convenient, especially if you’re reheating a small amount of corned beef. I found microwaving produced the best overall results.

How to reheat corned beef in the microwave:

  1. Place slices on a microwave-safe plate, either in a single layer or overlapping.
  2. Cover the slices with a very wet paper towel.
  3. Microwave on HIGH for 20-30 seconds.
  4. Let cool slightly before eating.

This method won’t really work for larger servings, as you’ll have too many overlapping or stacked slices to heat evenly.

The wet paper towel produces steam which heats the meat.

This is a great way to get moist corned beef, as one of the reasons people shy away from microwaving meat is fear of a dry, tough end product.

If you don’t want to use a paper towel, another option is to sprinkle water over the corned beef and then cover the plate with plastic wrap. Make sure to poke holes in the plastic wrap before heating.

My verdict

I really liked this method; it was the best out of all the ways I tried. 

You can’t beat the short amount of time it takes to reheat in the microwave. Plus, the results were excellent and moist with a good texture.

Reheating corned beef by steaming

Set up your steamer basket and bring an inch or so of water to a gentle simmer. Then lay the slices of corned beef in the steamer basket. Put the lid on the steamer and heat for 30-60 seconds. The more pieces you’re steaming, the longer they’ll need.

Steaming the corned beef ensures it stays nice and juicy.

How to reheat corned beef by steaming:

  1. Set up your steamer.
  2. Bring the water to a gentle simmer.
  3. Place slices of corned beef in the steamer basket.
  4. Cover with a lid.
  5. Simmer for 30-60 seconds.
  6. Remove slices from the steamer basket and enjoy.

If you don’t have a steamer, you can create a makeshift version. 

Use aluminum foil to make an elevated platform in your pan, then place the corned beef on a plate resting on the foil. Fill the bottom of the pan with water, and you have your steamer.

Beyond that, the rest of the steps are the same.

When placing the corned beef in the steamer, be sure to lay the slices flat and don’t layer too many on top of each other.

If you do, the slices may not heat evenly.

My verdict

The results of steaming were very similar to the microwave method. Because of the way steaming works, there’s no risk of drying out or overheating the meat this way.

However, it does take a bit more time and effort, especially if you’re using a makeshift steamer.

If you don’t want to microwave for whatever reason, steaming is a good alternative.

Reheating corned beef in a skillet

To reheat corned beef in a skillet, start by heating the skillet over low heat. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of water or beef stock. Add the corned beef. Cover the skillet and let it steam for 30-60 seconds. This produces moist meat. For dryer meat, use a higher heat and oil the pan instead of using water.

Beef stock adds more flavor than water. You could even use chicken or vegetable stock if you don’t have beef to hand.

How to reheat corned beef in a skillet:

  1. Place a skillet on the stove over low heat.
  2. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of water or stock to the skillet and heat until steaming.
  3. Add corned beef.
  4. Cover the skillet with a well-fitting lid.
  5. Steam for 30-60 seconds. If you have a lot of corned beef in the pan, it might take longer.

If you want crispier corned beef, heat oil in the skillet rather than water or beef stock. 

You will effectively be frying the corned beef this way. Fry the slices for about 30 seconds on each side, being careful when flipping with a spatula.

If you want corned beef that is less crispy, use additional liquid to completely cover the beef slices. 

My verdict

At first, I only used a little bit of water in the experiment to see what happened. 

The corned beef dried out slightly and crisped around the edges. Personally, I didn’t like the crispy effect, but you might!

Adding lots of water avoided the crisping and kept the meat moist. This method takes a bit of trial and error to figure out what you like best.

Overall, the results were similar to steaming and microwaving. So the method you choose just depends on the equipment you have to hand.

Reheating corned beef in the oven

To reheat corned beef in the oven, preheat the oven to 350° Fahrenheit (180° Celsius). Sprinkle a tablespoon of water or stock over the corned beef and wrap it in aluminum foil. You can stack the corned beef if you need. Heat for 4 to 6 minutes until the meat is warmed through.

The more corned beef you stack, the longer it will take to heat.

How to reheat corned beef in the oven:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
  2. Sprinkle a tablespoon of water or stock over the corned beef.
  3. Wrap the corned beef in aluminum foil, stacking the slices if you need.
  4. Heat for four to six minutes until warmed through.
  5. Enjoy!

Adding water to the foil packet before heating creates steam. 

This has the same effect as the steaming method or adding a wet paper towel in the microwave, producing juicer meat.

Without the liquid, the meat would dry out.

I tend to stack no more than 3-4 slices of meat together to keep the heating times down and ensure the middle slices don’t struggle to get warm.

My verdict

Of the methods I tried, the oven was my least favorite way to reheat corned beef. 

The results weren’t bad – the final texture was similar to microwaving or steaming. 

The process just takes longer.

You have to wait for the oven to preheat, which takes longer than the actual time it takes to reheat the corned beef (unless you have a toaster oven).

This is an okay method if you aren’t in a hurry. But I would only recommend the oven if you have a large amount of corned beef to reheat all at once.

Reheating corned beef in a water bath

First, check that your packaging is safe for use in a water bath. Then, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once it’s boiling, turn the heat to low, submerge the packaged corned beef, and cover the pot with a lid. Heat for five minutes. Always check that the meat is warmed through before serving.

An important note about this method –

To heat any food in a water bath, the packaging MUST be able to withstand the heat of boiling water. 

Regular zipper-top plastic bags will not cut it, as they start to soften and break down at temperatures above 195° Fahrenheit (90.6° Celsius). If you have the proper packaging, read on for how to reheat corned beef in a water bath.

How to reheat corned beef a water bath:

  1. Remove corned beef from the fridge and check the packaging is safe to use in a water bath.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  3. Turn the heat down to low.
  4. Submerge the packaged corn beef in the water and cover with a lid.
  5. Heat for five minutes until meat is warmed through.

The food-saver bags used with vacuum sealers are a safe option, as they are designed with water-bath heating in mind.

If you’re using Katz Delicatessen corned beef, as I did, you can also keep the corned beef in the original packaging (provided you haven’t opened it yet and broken the vacuum seal).

This is the method Katz Delicatessen recommends for unopened packages. If you’ve opened your corned beef, they recommend microwaving.

My verdict

A water bath is a good method if you have the proper packaging and only want warm corned beef. 

But it is difficult to tell when the meat is ready without opening the packaging and checking, which can be a hassle. 

It’s also more time-consuming than most of the other methods.

How to store corned beef

To store leftover corned beef, keep it in a shallow, airtight container. Alternatively, you can wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or heavy-duty aluminum foil. Store the corned beef in the fridge, where it will last 3-4 days. After a few days, the deli meat will start to dry out.

To tell if your leftover corned beef is still good to eat, trust your nose. 

Corned beef that has gone bad will have a slightly sour smell. It will also look and feel slimy. 

If either of these descriptions matches the corned beef in your fridge, throw it out immediately.

Never store corned beef at room temperature. 

Bacteria will start to grow after only two hours. Always keep corned beef in the fridge or freezer.

Can you freeze corned beef?

Yes, you can absolutely freeze corned beef. For sliced corned beef, place a piece of wax paper between each slice before placing it in airtight packaging. For best quality, consume the corned beef within three months. But if consistently stored at 0°F, it will keep almost indefinitely.

If you know you’ll want to reheat larger amounts later or plan to keep it in a deep freeze for a long time, keep it in one big stack.

Bigger portions are less susceptible to freezer burn.

How to freeze corned beef:

  1. Layer slices of corned beef with pieces of waxed paper.
  2. Tightly wrap in plastic wrap or heavy-duty aluminum foil, or both.
  3. Place packaged corned beef in a zipper-top freezer bag and squeeze to remove as much air as possible.
  4. Freeze at or below 0°F, and consume within 3 months.

The parchment paper will make it easier to take out individual slices later on without having to defrost all of it. 

To remove the air, use a straw to suck it out. Or place the open freezer bag in a pot of water. The pressure from the water will force the air out, and you can seal the freezer bag.

A great alternative for long-term freezing is to use vacuum-sealed Foodsaver bags. 

For best results, lay slices of corned beef on a tray or baking sheet in a single layer, not overlapping. 

Freeze for at least two hours. 

Then transfer the frozen pieces to a Foodsaver bag and vacuum seal according to the machine’s instructions. 

Then put the vacuum-sealed package in the freezer as above. Packaged this way, the corned beef can last up to a year!

How to Thaw Corned Beef

To thaw corned beef, take it out of the freezer, keep it in the packaging and let it thaw in the fridge overnight. You can also thaw sliced corned beef by running cold water over the packaging to speed up the process. 

Never thaw corned beef (or any meat) at room temperature because you may accidentally leave it in the ‘danger zone’ for bacteria for too long.

Once your corned beef is thawed, reheat slices in the microwave, or use whatever method you prefer. If you have a whole corned beef, reheat it in the oven.

How to Reheat Frozen Corned Beef

It’s also possible to reheat frozen corned beef without thawing it first.

If you’ve frozen your corned beef in such a way that you can separate individual slices, you can use whatever reheating method you prefer from above. Just extend the total heating time and check the temperature of the corned beef along the way.

If you froze your corned beef whole or in a stack of slices, your best bet is to reheat it in the oven. Remove the corned beef from any plastic wrapping, sprinkle with water, and rewrap with aluminum foil. Then warm as above until heated through.

Exactly How to Reheat Corned Beef

A corned beef sandwich just isn’t the same with cold meat.
But what’s the best way to reheat your corned beef to keep it moist? A dry sandwich is no good either.
I tested five different ways of reheating corned beef to discover the answer. 
No ratings yet
Prep Time 1 min
Cook Time 3 mins
Course Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 1 person
Calories 251 kcal

Equipment

Wet paper towel

Ingredients
 

  • 1 slice corned beef

Instructions
 

  • Place slices on a microwave-safe plate, either in a single layer or overlapping.
  • Cover the slices with a very wet paper towel.
  • Microwave on HIGH for 20-30 seconds.
  • Let cool slightly before eating.

Notes

This method won’t really work for larger servings, as you’ll have too many overlapping or stacked slices to heat evenly.
The wet paper towel produces steam which heats the meat.
This is a great way to get moist corned beef, as one of the reasons people shy away from microwaving meat is a fear of a dry, tough end product.
If you don’t want to use a paper towel, another option is to sprinkle water over the corned beef and then cover the plate with plastic wrap. Make sure to poke holes in the plastic wrap before heating.

Nutrition

Serving: 100gCalories: 251kcal
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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