New England Boiled Dinner

New England boiled dinner, a one pot dish consisting of corned beef or plain brisket, cabbage, carrots and potatoes.

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Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

New England boiled dinner is a one pot dish consisting of corned beef or plain beef brisket or smoked picnic ham shoulder, with cabbage, carrots and potatoes.

When made with corned beef, it’s an Irish-American corned beef and cabbage dish, traditionally made around St. Patrick’s Day.

My parents like to make it with plain, uncured brisket. Others make it with smoked ham shoulder. The following recipe is for boiled dinner made with either corned beef or plain beef brisket.

New England Boiled Dinner Recipe

  • Cook time: 4 hours, 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6 to 8

Corned beef can be pretty salty, so if you are making boiled dinner with corned beef you may want to put it in a pot, cover with cold water, bring to a boil, and then discard the water before starting the recipe. If the broth ends up being too salty, you can serve just the meat and vegetables, without the broth, or add water to the broth to dilute it.


  • 3 1/2 pounds corned beef brisket or plain beef brisket
  • 15 peppercorns
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt, if using plain brisket
  • 2 medium sized turnips, peeled and quartered
  • 4 red new potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 3 large carrots, cut into thirds and the thickest pieces quartered lengthwise
  • 1 small head cabbage, cut into fourths


1 Put corned beef in a pot, cover with water, add seasonings, simmer: Put the brisket in a 5 or 6 quart Dutch oven and cover with an inch of water.

If you are using corned beef brisket and it does not come already packed in seasoning, add peppercorns, cloves, and a bay leaf to the pot.

If using plain brisket, add a teaspoon of salt for every quart of water.

Bring to a simmer and then cover, lower the heat until it is barely simmering. Keep at a low simmer for four hours or until the meat is tender (a fork goes through easily).

2 Remove meat, add vegetables, simmer: Remove the meat and set aside, keeping the meat warm. Add the vegetables to the pot. Check the broth for taste. If it is too salty, add a little more water to taste.

Raise the temperature and bring the soup to a high simmer. Cook at a high simmer until done, about 15-30 minutes longer, depending on the size of the cut of your vegetables.

3 Slice meat across the grain: Slice the meat in thin slices across the grain. You may find it easier to slice if you first cut the roast in half along the same direction as the grain of the meat. Then slice smaller lengths across the grain.

Serve in bowls, a few pieces of meat in each, add some of the vegetables and some broth. Serve with horseradish or mustard or both.

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New England Boiled Dinner

Showing 4 of 43 Comments

  • Kim McCulley

    I loved this recipe, it’s the same way my Mother cooks hers. I love the taste of Corn beef, so I wouldn’t think of adding sausage. It’s great with mustard and horseradish.
    Thank you for sharing!

  • Sam

    I love this meal.I also bake the meat afterwards. I slice it thin and and drizzle maple syrup over it.Delicious.

    Oh, and I include onions with the vegetables.

  • Filipe Antolin-Teixeira

    If I can add a different hint regarding the roots of this dish, I would say it seems like a variation of portuguese «Cozido»… which means «Boiled»…It’s an historical dish in Portugal using cabbage and potatoes, and sometimes white beans, and radish, with some sort of meats. Regarding the emigration of portuguese commuity to New England it may have had an influence!

    Bye for now

  • Tina

    My New England family and I have always used a smoked shoulder for our boiled dinner. Boil the meat for an hour, change the water, do this three times. On the fourth time, we add the carrots, potatoes and cabbage. Reminds me of my grandmother!

  • norma martin

    Being originally from Massachusetts, I can remember having New England Boiled Dinner all my life, at any time of the year, only instead of corn beef my mom cooked, Boston Smoked Shoulder and she didn’t marinate the meat, so, maybe thats why it’s called New England boiled dinner. I still make it, and love my friends and family love it.

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