Surprising Ingredients That Will Make Canned Corned Beef Taste Gourmet

canned corned beef slices on plate
canned corned beef slices on plate - Maliflower73/Shutterstock

If you have a can of corned beef in the cupboard and want to make it taste gourmet, there are plenty of things you can add to it to take it to the next level. There's no need to limit yourself to ordinary uses like corned beef hash with potatoes or turning it into an ordinary sandwich. Just a few extra ingredients can help you forget it even came out of a can.

While it's possible to find a variety of canned corned beef recipes out there, we thought we'd talk to some canned corned beef experts to see what they suggested. One was Jessica Nerthling, the Associate Manager of Public Relations and Digital Media at B&G Foods, Inc. B&G makes Underwood's canned Corned Beef Spread. The other canned corned beef expert who gave us some interesting ideas was Jason Hron, Foods Brand Manager for Retail Marketing and for Convenient Meals and Protein at Hormel.

As Hron said, "What we love about corned beef is that it's not just ingredients that make it gourmet, it's the cuisine and tradition that elevate it beyond a convenient meat in a can." So, if you're looking for both time-tested and unique canned corned beef ideas, read on.

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Add It To A Reuben Sandwich

Reuben sandwich
Reuben sandwich - Lauripatterson/Getty Images

While Reuben sandwiches that you order from a restaurant typically use fresh corned beef, there's no reason you can't make a Reuben at home with the canned variety. For many U.S. shoppers, fresh corned beef is no5t as easy to find at the grocery store when it's not close to St. Patrick's day. So, canned corned beef gives you a way to make it at home without too much fuss. You may even end up liking it better because all the ingredients intermingle, as some have argued.

Nerthling says that Underwood's Reuben sandwich recipe is a "fan favorite." It enhances the brand's corned beef spread by mixing in Thousand Island salad dressing and a bit of pungent horseradish. For the full experience, craft the sandwich with rye bread, the enhanced spread, sauerkraut, and Swiss cheese. To make it even better, toast the assembled sandwich in a skillet with melted butter, much like you would for a grilled cheese sandwich.

You can adapt canned corned beef to any Reuben sandwich recipe; just sub in the canned version for the fresh beef. Some people suggest warming up the canned meat first for ease of use and an enhanced eating experience.

Sloppy Joe Mix

sloppy Joe
sloppy Joe - Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

Nerthling also told us that lots of people use canned corned beef to make Sloppy Joes. So, if you find yourself with a can of Sloppy Joe mix and a can of corned beef, all you really need for a meal is some bread or buns to serve things with.

Of course, you can always get a little more gourmet and make your sloppy Joe from scratch. Just substitute in canned corned beef for ground beef and simmer it with grilled onions, peppers, garlic, tomato sauce, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, and brown sugar. Onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper are all the seasonings you need. Put the result between two buns or pieces of bread to serve.

The other option for making sloppy Joes with canned corned beef is to use a powdered mix. Cook as directed with the powder and tomato paste, substituting in canned corned beef for cooked hamburger meat.

Potatoes, Garlic, Onions, Tomatoes, And Rice (Cornsilog)

cornsilog white plate
cornsilog white plate - ArleneSolisChua/Shutterstock

Hron told us that, while growing up, "I loved a Filipino corned beef hash dish that we had regularly, made with corned beef, potatoes, garlic, onions, and tomatoes then served over rice." This dish is known in the Philippines as silog. However, there are a multitude of silogs in the Philippines; to be specific, the corned beef variety is often known as cornsilog.

There are several variations even on cornsilog. Many of them include a fried egg served on the side or over the top in addition to the bevy of ingredients Hron mentioned. Some people even use grated cabbage in the mix. Everything is fried up together in a skillet and served over rice. Plain rice works fine for this purpose, but garlic rice is even better. Making garlic rice simply involves cooking rice with sauteed garlic and finishing it off with a drizzle of fish sauce at the end. And if you would prefer to avoid cooking the tomatoes along with everything else, you can serve sliced tomatoes on the side instead.

Taco Or Burrito Fixings

taco and fixings in many bowls
taco and fixings in many bowls - Tatjana Baibakova/Shutterstock

Mexican flavors taste great with canned corned beef, so it makes an excellent stand-in for the meat you would normally use in tacos or burritos. There are a couple of ways to make this happen. One is to simply add the canned meat to your skillet and sauté it with two or three tablespoons of tomato sauce and your favorite taco seasoning mix. Alternatively, you can sauté the meat in olive oil with diced tomatoes, onions, jalapeños, and seasonings like oregano, cumin, garlic, and cilantro. For a breakfast version, just add an egg to the rest of the ingredients while cooking.

Serve the meat in a taco shell or wrapped in flour tortilla to make a burrito. You could even put the meat mixture in a tortilla (corn or flour) and grill it in a skillet with some butter. Some ideas for fixings include lettuce, tomatoes, shredded cheese, sour cream, jalapeños, onions or pickled onions, guacamole or avocado slices, cilantro, and salsa.

Worcestershire Sauce

Worcestershire sauce pouring into spoon
Worcestershire sauce pouring into spoon - kai keisuke/Shutterstock

Hron mentioned an ingredient you may have completely ignored for elevating your canned beef: Worcestershire sauce. "If you want some stand-out corned beef and cabbage, you can't leave out the Worcestershire sauce," he said. We've found lots of other corned beef recipes that also use Worcestershire sauce as its secret ingredient.

Corned beef and cabbage are often served side-by-side or together, especially on St. Patrick's Day. You can enhance the canned version with a few splashes of Worcestershire sauce, spices like paprika and thyme, and herbs like parsley and dill. Another way to add zing to it is to sauté the cabbage (and other ingredients like onions and carrots) with a couple of tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce. For even more bite, add two or three tablespoons of vinegar. Season it with garlic, caraway seeds, and Italian seasoning before adding this mixture to hot canned corned beef.

Worcestershire sauce also tastes good in classic corned beef hash recipes. Sauté the canned meat with diced potatoes (regular or sweet work well), diced onions, Worcestershire sauce, caraway seeds, salt, and pepper. Grainy mustard is a good addition, too. Don't forget the option of topping it with a fried egg and maybe even a bit of brown sauce.

Add It To Shakshuka

shakshuka blue bowl
shakshuka blue bowl - Gado/Getty Images

One inventive way to turn canned corned beef gourmet at breakfast is to add eggs, tomatoes, and spices to turn it into shakshuka. All you have to do is add canned meat to an ordinary shakshuka recipe to make both the canned corned beef and the shakshuka better.

To make basic canned corned beef shakshuka, sauté the canned meat with onion and bell peppers in olive oil in an oven-proof skillet. Then, add spices, crushed tomatoes, and make nests in the sauce for holding the eggs. Some people also crumble feta cheese or cooked potatoes into the mixture for extra flavor, texture, and nutrition. The skillet then needs to go into the oven for 10 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit to set the eggs.

Some basic spices to consider bringing to the table here include garlic, cumin, paprika, red pepper flakes, caraway, and nutmeg. For extra heat, try adding jalapeños or chipotles in adobo sauce. Good toppings include cilantro and scallions.

Potato Salad

potato salad white ramekin
potato salad white ramekin - 4kodiak/Getty Images

Corned beef often comes either on its own or with potatoes in the form of corned beef hash. Since potatoes combine so well with canned corned beef, it's not too much of a stretch to imagine how it might combine with potato salad. Of course, there are many types of potato salad, so you'll want to use a variety that really brings out the flavors of canned meat. The strong flavors in a dill pickle, mayo, sour cream, or Dijon mustard-based potato salad work especially well with the flavor of corned beef. Add in extra dill to amp up the flavor.

Another option is to make Irish potato salad with common corned beef accompaniments. In addition to canned meat, cooked potato cubes, and mayo, it includes flavorful ingredients like vinegar, dill pickle relish, green onions, Dijon mustard, chopped cabbage, and chopped radishes. You can also add in celery seed, dill, and mayo.

Your Favorite Stir Fry Ingredients

stir fry in small bowl
stir fry in small bowl - Lindsay D. Mattison/Mashed

If you're trying to think of something to elevate canned corned beef, don't forget to add stir fry ingredients. What really takes the stir fry to the next level is the addition of an Asian-inspired sauce.

You can use canned corned beef as the protein in any stir fry recipe. However, if you want to wing it, then start by tossing canned corned beef in a wok together with your favorite stir fry veggies. Good vegetable options for this purpose include green onions, bell peppers, broccoli, Napa cabbage, and mushrooms. Finish it off with a good sauce and serve over rice.

If you want to make your own sauce for corned beef stir fry, consider using beef stock, red wine vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, chili garlic sauce, and a little cornstarch for thickening. Garnish with cilantro, green onions, toasted sesame seeds, or chili garlic sauce for maximum flavor.

Fried Rice

fried rice cast iron
fried rice cast iron - 4kodiak/Getty Images

Another way to elevate canned corned beef is to add it to fried rice. It's a great way to turn it into a more filling meal. Making canned corned beef fried rice is as simple as bringing a can of corned beef into your favorite fried rice recipe. Season the meat with freshly minced or ground ginger and garlic, then cook it on the stove with chopped onions and mixed veggies (we suggest carrots, bell peppers, corn, and peas). Next, either add pre-scrambled eggs directly to the pan or push the ingredients to the side and lightly scramble two eggs before adding leftover cooked rice to the pan. Then, mix it all together with a dash or two of soy sauce or a more complex mixture of soy sauce, brown sugar, and rice wine vinegar.

If you're looking for shortcuts, you can combine canned meat with leftover restaurant fried rice and warm that together in a skillet. You could also combine it with frozen fried rice, selected from the grocery store.

Spiced Tomato Sauce, Noodles, And Cheese

spaghetti with meat and tomato sauce
spaghetti with meat and tomato sauce - Yinyang/Getty Images

Considering combing corned beef with noodles, tomatoes, and a hearty cheese for a new take on this ingredient. You can go two different directions with this one: either Italian or Filipino.

The Italian version involves simmering together canned corned beef with spaghetti sauce, serving it over spaghetti noodles, and topping it with grated parmesan cheese. You can also make your own spaghetti sauce by simmering together sautéed onion and garlic with the canned meat, then adding blanched and peeled tomatoes, tomato paste, and fresh basil. For even more flavor, try boiling your noodles in chicken broth or water flavored with chicken bullion.

The tomato sauce for the Filipino version has quite a flavor twist in the form of banana ketchup, which joins tomato paste, tomato sauce, soy sauce, white sugar, and black pepper. Serve over noodles and top with shredded or grated cheese.

Macaroni And Cheese

macaroni and cheese on fork
macaroni and cheese on fork - Angela Latimer/Mashed

Sure, you could just mix prepared mac and cheese from a box in with canned beef, but for a more gourmet approach, make the mac and cheese from scratch or turn it into a casserole.

To add it to baked homemade mac and cheese, combine the meat with a homemade mornay sauce. Then follow a standard baked mac and cheese recipe to add the rest of the ingredients. To take it up a notch, cook diced onions with the meat first and add a can of cream of mushroom soup to all the other ingredients before popping it in the oven.

You could also make a stovetop version of this dish, though it's hard to turn down a good baked version with a crispy top. Further enhancements include a can of cream of chicken soup and minced onions with buttery cracker crumbs crumbled and then sprinkled on top.

Cornbread Muffin Mix

corn muffins closeup
corn muffins closeup - Lauripatterson/Getty Images

Savory, meaty muffins? Well, why not? One way to take the combination of canned corn beef and cornbread muffins is to go spicy and cheesy. If you're using a whole can of corned beef, grab two boxes of cornbread mix. Make the muffins according to the directions on the package, then mix in the canned corned beef with wet ingredients like milk. What really takes these muffins to the next level is the addition of diced jalapeños and shredded cheddar cheese. Once you've mixed everything together, bake it according to the package instructions.

Another way to make it is as a layered muffin that starts with a greased muffin tin and a couple of tablespoons of corned beef. Make a well in the meat and add an egg, topped with a light sprinkle of salt and pepper. Then pour prepared cornbread muffin mix on top to fill the muffin cups. Bake the muffins as directed on the package.

Sweet Potatoes And Other Veggies

stuffed baked sweet potatoes
stuffed baked sweet potatoes - AS Foodstudio/Shutterstock

Sweet potatoes and other veggies are excellent additions to canned corned beef, either in hash or baked form. If you want to make them into a hash, start with boiling or baking cubed sweet potatoes. Then combine cooked potatoes in a skillet with meat and veggies like onions, peppers, or even cooked beets. Another variant of this recipe involves adding mashed sweet potatoes to an oiled skillet with sautéed onions, sautéed zucchini, canned corned beef, hash browns, and cheese. If you'd like to make it for breakfast, make wells in the hash and add eggs to cook until set.

You can also add canned corned beef hash to baked sweet potatoes. Start out by baking the sweet potato. Then, scoop out the insides and mix the fluffy interior with the corned beef, sautéed kale, green onions, and shredded cheese before refilling the potato and reheating it in the oven.

Party Dip

creamy dip with potato chip
creamy dip with potato chip - Lauripatterson/Getty Images

Nerthling gave us the interesting idea to "combine [canned corned beef] with other ingredients for a dip with chips or veggies." Even better is the fact that there's room for plenty of variation here, as there are both hot and cold versions of this dish.

A strong and flavorful cold dip combines a can of crumbled corned beef with diced onion, mayonnaise and sour cream, fresh parsley, and dried or fresh dill. If you want something even easier, simply mix together a can of meat with an envelope of onion soup mix and a carton of sour cream.

A hot baked variation combines the beef with cream cheese, sour cream, chopped bell peppers, scallions, Worcestershire sauce, onion salt, horseradish, hot sauce, and chopped pecans. Another brings together canned corned beef with sautéed onion, cream cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, Swiss cheese, and garlic powder. It's especially good when served inside bread bowls.


meatballs with dipping sauce
meatballs with dipping sauce - Lauripatterson/Getty Images

Nerthling also recommended adding canned corned beef to meatballs, directing us to "mix some Underwood into your meatballs for extra flavor prior to cooking." This idea works well with a soft pate-style corned beef like that produced by Underwood. You can either mix it in with ground beef or use only corned beef. Then, fry the meatballs or bake them according to your favorite mouthwatering meatball recipe. Serve them as you would regular meatballs or alongside cooked cabbage.

It's possible to blend canned meat in with regular ground beef when making meatballs. For this, mix a can of corned beef with a half pound of regular ground beef. Then, add a beaten egg, bread crumbs, and spicy brown mustard along with garlic powder or any other seasonings you want.

A corned beef meatball made without additional meat can also capture the flavors of St. Patrick's Day with chopped cabbage, eggs, flour, and whole grain mustard seasoned with onion flakes, salt and pepper.

Canned Or Homemade Soup Or Stew

beef and vegetable stew
beef and vegetable stew - Rudisill/Getty Images

Nerthling makes the point that canned corn beef can help you easily "add more protein to canned soup." However, there's no need to limit yourself to canned soup, since this easy addition will work with homemade soup just as well. While you could choose canned soups like cream of mushroom or vegetable soup that don't have any meat in them, you can also opt for a meat-filled canned stew as well and make the result even meatier.

As for homemade soups and stews, considering making a simple soup with shredded cabbage, corn, garlic powder, butter, water, salt, and pepper (as well as with canned corned beef, of course). Simmer it for about an hour before serving with sour cream and crusty bread. A heartier stew combines canned beef with sautéed onions, beef stock, carrots, and potatoes. Add cauliflower, apple cider vinegar, salt, and pepper during the last 10 minutes and finish with cornstarch to help thicken the result.

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