Our New England boiled dinner is a classic version made with corned beef brisket, potatoes, cabbage, carrots, turnips, and pearl onions.

Sliced corned beef, cabbage wedges, carrots, turnips, pearl onions and red potatoes on a serving platter.

New England Boiled Dinner is a classic, hearty dish with a long history documented in written cookbooks as far back as the early 1800s.

Depending on the source of the recipe, there’s some variance in the ingredients, but the essentials (meat boiled with along with root vegetables) have remained the same throughout the centuries.

Also known as corned beef and cabbage, New England Boiled Dinner became popular fare for St. Patrick’s Day in America, but the origin of the connection between the recipe and the holiday remains somewhat unclear.

Our recipe is a fairly standard modern version that consists of a corned beef brisket simmered until tender and combined with potatoes, cabbage, carrots, turnips and pearl onions that have been boiled in the liquid from the beef for added flavor.

Served with horseradish cream sauce and coarse grain mustard this dish is easy to make and loaded with flavor.

The main ingredient: What is corned beef?

Corned beef is most commonly made from the brisket, an inexpensive cut of beef taken from the breast section of the cow. The term “corned” originated in 17th century England where the large grains of salt used to cure the meat were referred to as “corns.”

Modern recipes for corned beef are made by brining the beef for a week or more in a seasoned solution made from salt, pickling spices, and sodium nitrite (pink curing salt).

Once the brining is complete, the beef is braised until tender, then sliced across the grain for serving.

This recipe uses store-bought corned beef, but if you’d like to try homemade corned beef, Kevin is Cooking has a detailed recipe that even includes Instant Pot instructions!

New England Boiled Dinner arranged on a large serving platter

This recipe for corned beef and cabbage is included in our St. Patrick’s Day recipe collection. Be sure to check out that post for more Irish-inspired dishes.

New England Boiled Dinner Recipe

New England Boiled Dinner

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Our New England Boiled Dinner recipe is a classic version made with corned beef brisket, potatoes, cabbage, carrots, turnips and pearl onions.


  • 1 uncooked corned beef brisket, 2 to 3 lbs
  • 10 peppercorns
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 lb baby red potatoes
  • 1/2 lb baby carrots
  • 3/4 lb purple-top turnips, peeled and cubed
  • 1/2 lb pearl onions, peeled
  • 1 small to medium head of cabbage, quartered (leave the core intact)

For the Horseradish Cream Sauce:

  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • Place the corned beef in a stock pot, cover with water by 3 inches and bring to a rapid simmer. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes, then skim off any foam that has formed on the top and discard.
  • Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the peppercorns, cloves and bay leaf. Cover and continue cooking until the corned beef is fork-tender, 2-1/2 to 3 hours.
  • Transfer the corned beef to a cutting board and cover loosely with foil to keep warm. Add the potatoes to the stockpot and increase the heat to medium-high. Cover and cook for 5 minutes, then add the carrots, turnip and pearl onions.
  • Simmer for an additional 10 minutes, then add the cabbage wedges and continue cooking until the potatoes and vegetables are tender when pierced with a knife, 10 to 15 minutes longer.
  • While the vegetables cook, prepare the horseradish cream sauce and slice the corned beef. Combine the sour cream and horseradish in a small bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper and transfer to a serving bowl.
  • Slice the corned beef across the grain into 1/4-inch thick slices.
  • Once the vegetables are cooked, use a slotted spoon to transfer them to a large serving platter.
  • Return the sliced corned beef to the pot for 2 minutes to reheat, then arrange on the serving platter with the vegetables. Serve with horseradish cream and coarse grain mustard for dipping.
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