Corned beef is a delicious deli meat that pairs perfectly with rye bread, sauerkraut, and Russian dressing. Whether you’re making a Reuben sandwich, corned beef hash, or just want a quick snack, you’ll want your corned beef nice and hot.
Reheating corned beef in the microwave is the fastest and easiest way to go. With just a few simple steps, you’ll have warm, moist corned beef ready in under a minute. Keep reading to learn tips, timing, and the best practices for microwaving corned beef.
Why Reheat Corned Beef in the Microwave?
There are a few different ways you can reheat leftover corned beef, including:
- Skillet/pan on the stove
So why choose the microwave over other reheating methods? Here are some of the benefits:
- Speed – The microwave reheats corned beef in just 20-30 seconds. Much faster than an oven or steaming.
- Convenience – No extra tools or equipment needed, unlike a steamer or skillet.
- Moistness – The microwave steams the corned beef as it reheats, keeping it tender.
- Easy temperature control – Microwaves heat food evenly, preventing overcooking.
Microwaving is the ideal choice for quick weeknight meals or grabbing a fast snack. While the oven takes 15+ minutes to preheat and heat the meat through, the microwave has your corned beef ready in less than a minute.
Tips for Reheating Corned Beef in the Microwave
Follow these tips and tricks for the best results when microwaving corned beef:
- Use deli-sliced corned beef – Pre-sliced deli meats reheat more evenly than homemade cooked corned beef.
- Arrange in a single layer – Overlapping slices may cause uneven heating.
- Cover with a wet paper towel – The towel traps moisture and steam to prevent drying out.
- Microwave in short intervals – Start with 20 seconds and add 10-15 seconds as needed.
- Let sit briefly – A short 1-2 minute resting time lets heat distribute through the meat.
- Add a splash of water or broth – For extra moisture insurance if you don’t have a paper towel.
Microwave wattages can vary from 500-1200 watts. A higher wattage microwave will reheat corned beef faster than a lower wattage model. Refer to your microwave manual if you’re unsure of the wattage.
Here are some general microwave timing guidelines based on wattage:
Always check for doneness and add extra time if needed. Better to reheat in short intervals than overcook the corned beef.
Here is a simple step-by-step walkthrough for reheating corned beef in the microwave:
1. Prepare the Corned Beef
Take your corned beef out of the fridge and remove any plastic packaging. Separate slices if they are stuck together.
Ideally you’ll want single slices placed in an even layer on the plate or paper towel.
2. Cover with a Wet Paper Towel
Dampen a paper towel with water and wring out any excess moisture. Lay the paper towel over the top of the corned beef.
The wet towel will create steam to help keep the meat moist and tender.
Place the corned beef in the microwave and heat for 15-20 seconds at full power. The time will vary slightly depending on your microwave wattage.
For a 1200W microwave, start with just 15 seconds. For a lower 700W microwave, go with 20 seconds.
4. Check and Stir
Once the initial microwave time is up, open the door and check the corned beef. Give the slices a stir or flip and make sure the meat is hot throughout.
If there are any cold spots, put it back in the microwave for an extra 10-15 seconds.
5. Let Sit
After microwaving, let the corned beef sit for 1-2 minutes before eating. This allows the heat to evenly distribute for properly hot meat.
And that’s it! In less than a minute you can have perfect hot corned beef ready to enjoy.
Moisture Is Key
The most important factor for great reheated corned beef is keeping it moist. Dry corned beef is not appetizing.
Here are some extra tips for guaranteed moisture:
- Use deli-sliced corned beef rather than homemade – it has more moisture content.
- Add an extra splash of water or broth before microwaving.
- Use a covered bowl or plate to trap in steam.
- Skip the paper towel and cover with a damp cloth or wet plastic wrap with venting holes.
- Microwave in 30 second intervals and stir in between.
If your corned beef still seems dry after microwaving, try steaming it for a minute or two to add moisture back in.
Alternative Microwaving Methods
While the wet paper towel technique works perfectly, here are a couple microwave variations you can try:
Microwaving with Plastic Wrap
Rather than paper towel, cover the plate of corned beef with plastic wrap. Poke a few holes in the plastic with a toothpick or fork to allow venting.
The plastic helps retain more moisture than a paper towel.
Microwave with Broth
For extra juicy corned beef, add 2-3 tablespoons of broth, water, or beer to the plate before microwaving. The excess liquid will create steam and infuse flavor.
Use chicken or beef broth for more savory flavor. For an authentic Reuben sandwich, you could use a splash of lager or pilsner beer as the liquid.
Use Your Defrost Setting
Many microwaves have a “Defrost” option which pulses on and off. This can be used to gently reheat corned beef without overcooking.
Refer to your owner’s manual for defrost instructions specific to your microwave model.
Cooking With Reheated Corned Beef
Once you’ve mastered the microwave method, here are some tasty ways to use up that delicious hot corned beef:
- Corned beef hash – Dice and mix with potatoes, peppers, onions.
- Reuben sandwich – With Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, Russian dressing.
- Corned beef rolls – Spread cream cheese on tortillas with corned beef and pickled vegetables.
- Eggs Benedict – Top an English muffin with ham, poached eggs and hollandaise sauce.
- Potato skins – Fill potato boat halves with corned beef, cheddar and bacon.
- Nachos – Pile tortilla chips with corned beef, salsa and melted cheese.
Spice up your leftovers with these creative recipes using reheated corned beef!
FAQ About Microwave Corned Beef
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about reheating corned beef in the microwave:
How long does corned beef last in the fridge?
Leftover corned beef will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days. After that it starts to dry out. For longer term storage, freeze corned beef for 2-3 months.
Should you cover corned beef when microwaving?
Yes, always cover corned beef when reheating it in the microwave. Leaving it uncovered will cause the meat to dry out. Use paper towel, plastic wrap, or a lid.
Is deli corned beef already cooked?
Yes, sliced deli corned beef is fully cooked and ready to eat. You only need to reheat it to serve. Unsliced corned beef brisket must be cooked before eating.
Can you reheat corned beef without drying it out?
Covering the meat and using short cooking times prevents drying. A wet paper towel or steam environment works best. Check regularly and don’t overheat.
How do you microwave corned beef without a microwave-safe plate?
If you don’t have a microwave-safe dish, place the corned beef slices between two damp paper towels on a regular plate. Or use wax paper or parchment paper under the towels.
How long does it take to reheat corned beef in the oven?
Oven reheating takes 10-15 minutes at 350°F. Microwaving only takes 30-60 seconds.
What’s the best way to reheat a corned beef brisket?
For whole corned beef brisket, cover with broth in a roasting pan and reheat in the oven at 250°F for 60-90 minutes. Or sous vide at 190°F for 1 hour.
Reheating sliced corned beef in the microwave with a wet paper towel is the quickest and easiest method. With just 20-30 seconds of cook time, you can have hot, juicy corned beef ready for sandwiches, hash, Reubens and more. Use shorter intervals for the best moisture retention.
Now that you know the perfect way to reheat corned beef, you can quickly prepare it anytime for delicious meals. Enjoy your corned beef warmed up in your microwave.