New England Boiled Dinner

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 you may want to rinse it first before cooking. If making boiled dinner with corned beef, we just use it as is and don't add any more seasoning or salt. 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 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 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 the meat in thin slices against 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 against 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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Showing 4 of 58 Comments

  • Huw Raphael

    I LOVE this recipe (my English grandmother made it all the time… not so much the Irish side of the family.)

    Actually, corned beef is not an Irish dish – and not a few of them seem horrified to have it attributed to their culture: for in Europe “corned beef” is a tinned product that is rather scary. Pick one up at Safeway and open it – the smell alone will send you for a loop!

    Still, the history is vague:

  • Joanne

    Thank you! My Grandmother always made New England Boil dinner for St. Patrick’s day and no matter how easy it always seems to look, I inevitablely miss something. I follwed your directions to the tee and my entire family agreed….YUMMMMMMY! Thanks!

  • Heidi

    I agree with you that although the name is New England boiled dinner, I do think this is an Irish meal and there are many Irish in Boston and the greater Boston area. During the past week before St. Patrick’s Day (a big celebration here in Boston), super markets had pre-packaged all of the non-meat items already cut up and displayed right next to the meat.

  • Leslie

    This is very similar to a traditional Newfoundland meal called Jiggs Dinner … Salt Beef boiled with potatoes, carrots, turnips, and cabbage .. and of course peas pudding! If I’m not mistaken it most definitely has Irish roots (as does most of Newfoundland!)
    We soak the meat overnight first and throw out the water when it’s ready to cook, that removes most of the extra salt.

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